Start a Cleaning Business – Overview of the Industry

While the cleaning industry may not be a glamorous line of work to be in, it can however be very rewarding for those who are prepared to work hard, manage employees and to scale up into a decent sized operation.

Many segments of the cleaning business appear to be recession proof, particularly commercial cleaning, making it an attractive business to enter no matter what the economic climate is like.

The cleaning industry in the United States is huge. Approximately 10% of American households use a cleaner or maid service at least once or twice a week. Window cleaning, carpet cleaning and other niche cleaning areas make the residential market the largest segment of the overall industry. The cleaning of commercial buildings and office space is the other huge segment of the market, making up around one third of the total market size. Like other service industries, the cleaning industry has had amazing growth over the past few decades, and this growth should continue well into the future.

As cleaning is a service-orientated business, market participants put a strong emphasis on good customer services. For many small cleaning companies, particularly in the residential sector, the main method of attracting new clients is through referrals or word of mouth marketing. Even the smallest cleaning businesses usually also do some kind of advertising and medium and large sized operations usually have advanced marketing strategies.

Entry barriers to the business are minimal as start-up costs are low and most cleaning related tasks can be performed with little or no qualifications or experience. Experience, however does go a long way towards ensuring that cleaning is done properly and efficiently.

While cleaning business operators are required to have a business license, many small businesses and sole operators in the residential sector of the market operate without them.

Some entrepreneurs take the franchising route into the business and there are many different franchise opportunities in the industry. Franchising in the cleaning business is not as strong as it is in its other industries though and as new players can get started cleaning relatively easily without requiring turnkey solutions and expert advice.

Mastering cleaning is the easiest part of the cleaning business but entrepreneurs wanting to start their own cleaning businesses also have to do their market research and learn about insurance, pricing and agreements, marketing and sales, small business management and hiring staff.

Due to the sheer size of the cleaning industry in the US it is almost certain that you can achieve some level of success if you put your mind to it and work hard to grow your business.

Call Center Services Are Here to Stay

In today’s business world, some organizations have taken to business process outsourcing (BPO) to handle some, if not most, of their internal functions and processes. In layman’s terms, it is the process of hiring another company to handle certain business activities for you. Sometimes, it is usually as simple as hiring an answering service company to field or receive calls from your clients, or take messages from callers. This happens when a business does not have enough staff to do these things, does not have enough office space for a telephone operator or does not get enough calls to warrant hiring one. Most of the time, though, the company just plain cannot afford to have someone waiting around the office waiting for someone to call.

Bigger businesses such as banks, credit card companies, and service providers usually have plenty of telephone traffic going through their lines. These companies have many clients, and when a business has many clients, some problems are definitely bound to come up. Often, a company will have a Customer Service Department or helpdesk to handle these calls, but as the company grows bigger, the number of callers with problems the helpdesk has to cope with grows proportionally. At times, the number of calls the helpdesk receives may number in the hundred, or even thousands, per day. The solution to this is contracting a business process outsourcing company that offers call center services.

Originally, call centers were just offices that handled large volumes of requests by telephone. These were classified as inbound. Aside from service providers, these also included police and emergency units. On the other hand, outbound were at first telemarketing firms or surveying organizations, which hired masses of people to make telephone calls. This was done either to make sales pitches, generate leads, or ask questions for a survey or study. As businesses grew, the concept gradually evolved along with the industry’s growth.

Call centers are also not used exclusively anymore by financial institutions, emergency units, or telemarketing and surveying firms. A software or information technology company may have a helpdesk that provides solutions to their clients’ technical problems regarding their hardware or software. A publishing firm may need services to deal with inquiries about publishing rates, sales and deliveries, and new reading material. Even fast-food chains, especially those with plenty of branches, may need a someone to receive food delivery orders or complaints.

An answering service is somewhat different since it provides a more personalized approach to the service. Ideally, an operator or agent is set up to appear that he is actually based in the office of the company that contracted him. The agent is then assigned to handle the company’s clients, and usually develops a more personable relationship with that company’s clients.

Inbound or outbound, personal answering service or not, business process outsourcing companies offering this kind of services provide invaluable support to small- and medium-sized companies that do not have the infrastructure, staff, or budget for an in-house customer service department. With more and more customers experiencing problems, it seems that call centers are here to stay.