Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts.
The point of your Executive Summary is to get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of cleaning services business you have and where it stands. For example, are you just starting out, do you have a cleaning services business that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of cleaning services businesses?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows. For example, give a brief overview of the business of cleaning services. Talk about the kind of cleaning business you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about your ideal customers. Give a brief overview of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team. And explain what your financial plan is.
In your business analysis, you will explain what kind of cleaning business you are running.
For instance, you could run one of the following:
- Residential: This type of cleaning services business does general cleaning for homes. In addition to cleaning the inside of homes, this type of business might also clean the outside.
- Janitorial services are a type of business that cleans both homes and businesses. Some of these businesses, like medical facilities, may be experts in a certain field.
- Carpet cleaning is a type of cleaning service that involves cleaning rugs, carpets, and furniture for both homes and businesses. Companies in this industry also offer a variety of other services, such as dying used rugs, repairing damage, cleaning ventilation ducts, and doing other types of cleaning.
In the Company Analysis section of your business plan, you need to explain what kind of cleaning services business you run and give background information about the business.
Answers should be given to questions like:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Some examples of milestones are reaching your sales goals or opening a new store.
- Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you should give an overview of the business of cleaning services.
Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.
First, learning about the cleaning services industry gives you knowledge. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.
Second, market research can make your strategy better, especially if it shows you what the market trends are. For example, if “green” cleaning services were becoming more popular, it would be a good idea to make sure your plan includes options for eco-friendly products and services.
The third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the industry analysis section of your cleaning services business plan, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the cleaning services business make?
- Is the market going down or up?
- Who are your main rivals in the market?
- Who are the main market suppliers?
- What changes are happening in the field?
- How fast is the industry expected to grow in the next 5–10 years?
- How big is the market that matters? That is, how big a market do you think your cleaning business could have? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the population in your area.
In the section of your business plan for cleaning services called “Customer Analysis,” you should describe the customers you serve or expect to serve.
Families, schools, apartment complexes, etc. are all examples of customer segments.
As you might guess, the type of cleaning services business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Hospital customers would respond to different marketing campaigns and want different prices and product options than residential customers.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, talk about the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the people you want to serve. Because most cleaning services mostly work with people in their own city or town, it is easy to find demographic information on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to get customers and keep them coming back.
In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
Other cleaning services are direct competitors.
Indirect competitors are other places where customers can buy things that aren’t direct competitors. This includes both businesses that hire their own cleaning staff and people who clean their own homes. You need to talk about this competition to show that you know that not everyone who needs cleaning services will hire a cleaning business.
When it comes to direct competition, you should list the other cleaning services you compete with. Most likely, the businesses closest to you that offer cleaning services will be your main rivals.
Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key facts about them, such as:
- What kind of clients do they work with?
- What do they sell and do for you?
- How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
- What can they do well?
- What do they do wrong?
For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. Don’t be afraid to stand outside your competitors’ stores and ask customers as they leave what they like and don’t like about them.
The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. As an example:
- Will you do a great job of cleaning?
- Will you offer ways to clean that your competitors don’t?
- Will you make booking your services easier or faster for your customers?
- Will you treat your customers better?
- Will you price things better?
Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.
Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your marketing plan for a cleaning services business plan should include the following:
Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of cleaning services business you described in your Company Analysis. Then, explain in detail what services you will be providing. For example, do you offer damage restoration services in addition to regular house cleaning?
Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In your marketing plan, the product and price sections are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.
Place: This is where your cleaning services business is located. Write down where you are and how that will affect your success. Talk about how your location could attract a steady flow of customers.
Promotions: The last part of your marketing plan for your cleaning services business is the section on promotions. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:
- Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in your area
- Trying to get in touch with local bloggers and websites
- Social media advertising
- Local radio advertising
- Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing
- Banner ads at local venues
Your business plan for a cleaning service should include not only how you will find customers, but also how you will keep them and keep them from going to another company. After all, it should be much cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one and try to sell to them. Some ways to keep customers are to make them think that they will lose money and time if they switch to a different cleaning service. Others involve refining your customer service skills as part of a customer service system that focuses on keeping customers.
Creating a loyalty program is a good way to make it hard for your customers to switch. For example, if you offer a free cleaning after every 10 cleanings or a special service when certain milestones aren’t met, your customers will worry that they’ll lose the value they’ve saved up that they can only use if they stay with your company.
Levels for Premium Customers
Rewarding how often a customer has their house cleaned is another way to keep them around. For example, customers who order cleanings once a week and keep doing so can join your “premium customer group,” which you can market with a brand name to get people interested. You can give people in this group more freedom to schedule cleanings at the last minute, reschedule or cancel them, give them extra perks, or give them some other kind of priority customer service. Clients who are almost good enough to qualify may try harder to get there so they can get these great benefits.
Keeping track of retention
By keeping track of the numbers and percentages involved in customer retention, you can learn a lot about what you’re doing right or wrong and how successful new initiatives are over time. Customer complaints, the average time it takes to solve a complaint, the percentage of customers in a given month who used your services last month, three months ago, six months ago, a year ago, etc., are all examples of statistics to keep track of. When your staff is aware of these numbers and given goals to reach, it sends a clear message that customer service and keeping customers is a top priority.
In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks you have to do to run your cleaning services business, such as serving customers, buying supplies, etc.
Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. Some of these dates could be when you expect to serve your 100th customer or make $X in sales. It could also be when you plan to hire your Xth employee or open in a new city.
Your cleaning services business needs a strong management team to show that it can succeed as a business. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
You and/or the people on your team should have experience working in the cleaning services business. If so, talk about your experience and skills. But also highlight any experience you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board would help your business in the same way that a mentor would. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have run cleaning businesses or small businesses successfully.
Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all part of your financial statements.
A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.
You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For example, how many customers will you serve each week: 20 or 50? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.
Balance Sheets: Balance sheets have a lot of information on them, but your assets and liabilities are the most important things to know. For example, if you spend $50,000 building up your cleaning business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Also, you don’t have to pay back a check from a bank for $50,000 right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money. For instance, let’s say a company came to you with a huge damage repair contract worth $100,000 that would cost you $50,000 to complete. Well, in most cases, you’d have to pay that $50,000 now for things like supplies, equipment rentals, employee salaries, etc. But let’s say that the company took 180 days to pay you. During that time, you might run out of money.
When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a cleaning services business:
- The cost of equipment like vacuum cleaners, power washers, carts, vans, etc.
- Price of keeping enough supplies on hand
- Payroll or salaries given to employees
- Business insurance
- Taxes and licenses:
- Legal expenses