How to Start a Successful Cleaning Services Company in Kenya

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How to Start a Successful Cleaning Services Company in Kenya


Did you know you can start a cleaning services company in Kenya with only Ksh. 5000 and develop it to a successful business? Let me teach you how.

Just like any other business, starting a successful cleaning services company in Kenya can be a very challenging task. Kindly note, we are talking about success here. Many people start businesses daily. In fact, hundreds of businesses are started every month in Kenya alone. But very few of them survive. That should not be the case. As a result, we are experiencing a very high rate of youth unemployment in this country. The number of youth graduating from universities in Kenya continues to grow year by year. Though it’s argued that most are half-baked, we don’t have opportunities even for the fully baked graduates. Many of them are frustrated with job searching, and the idea of being an entrepreneur is the only savior at the moment.

Or maybe your situation is different. You are just tired of being an employee. You want to manage yourself and create employment opportunities for many young people in our nation. Or maybe you already have a company that has really not grown after many years. Then you are the person we had in mind. In this article, we share knowledge that will help you start and run your own cleaning services company in Kenya successfully. But it doesn’t have to be limited to cleaning companies. Some tips can be borrowed and applied in whatever industry you are venturing into.

In fact, we have applied these same tips we are sharing here and experienced tremendous growth just in a period of one year. And it’s not like we have arrived and achieved whatever we want but we are still striving towards that goal. But we thought? Why not share the little we know, the market is still big, and it can go a long way to help and empower one young man who is still looking for a job years after graduating.

So let’s dive right in.

#1. Create social media accounts.

This is the very first step to starting a successful business in Kenya, leave alone a cleaning services company. We are living in an age where everything is on the internet. Today everyone has at least a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. What does this mean? All your potential customers are online. So if you don’t have a social media account for your business, you are losing it big. Having a social media account for your business does not require any registration documents, does it? No, bundles za shilingi kumi tu (only ten Kenya shillings)

How do you get your first cleaning services client?

Social media is going to give you your first client within a very short period of time. That is where we got our first clients. That is what gave us confidence that this business can actually work. Search this online. How to get the first client for my business? And you will find this answer. Talk to family members and friends.

Social media does it better. On Facebook, for instance, you can invite your friends to like your business page. Don’t be surprised to hear a friend ask you the cost of your services. It’s the perfect word of mouth to all your friends about your new business and a very cheap way of doing it.

Start posting. Post at least once every day. Keep your business page active. Don’t abandon your page. Normally I will never send a message to a page whose last post is more than a week. They are not in a position to handle their own business. I doubt they will be able to handle a client consistently. Sorry but I am out. On this, we are still a working progress. We are looking for someone affordable to help us handle social media posting.

Social media posting tips

  1. Use general terms and keywords you think people use when searching for your services. This will make your page to appear on top of other pages on the search results. Like we now people will search for cleaning companies in Kenya, cleaning services in Nairobi, cleaning services in Kenya, cleaning companies in Nairobi or whatever town you are operating in.
  2. Use the services you offer as keywords in your posting. Office cleaning services in Nairobi, Sofa set cleaning services in Nairobi, Carpet cleaning services in Kenya
  3. Post using questions. What is the cost of cleaning services in Kenya? What are the prices of cleaning services in Kenya?
  4. Be creative and be fun in your post. On a weekend, wish people a good weekend and ask them to leave the cleaning work to be done by your company. This breaks the boredom of being so much commercial. This leads us to the next point
  5. Use images as much as possible. Images reach a bigger audience than paragraphs of texts. If you can be able to design, the better. But design should be your focus share more images. And as you get your first client, take photos and share them on your page. Let people see you in action. Nothing works magic better than this when it comes to images.
  6. Lastly, be social. It's social media. You can just share a funny video on your business page once in a while.

#2. Don’t Buy Cleaning Machines.

First, you don’t have so many clients. Second, hiring can be cheaper for a startup. Unless you have enough capital, don’t spend the little you have on cleaning machines. Instead, invest that in marketing to help you grow your brand visibility and improve awareness and get more clients.

#3. Buy Uniforms. Never work without uniforms.

I have just advised you not to buy cleaning machines. Therefore here is what you should buy, cleaning company uniforms. Here is what you should not do. Never go to a client site without a uniform. You are only a startup. Probably a Facebook page is all you got online. So you don’t have a strong online presence. This is your biggest stage to market your cleaning company as cleaning professionals. Not only to your client, but also to surrounding neighbors. And if you do a good job you have very high chances of earning a referral. You will never get a better client than a referral.

Get good descent polo t-shirts for yourself and a few extra ones just in case need arise. This can cost you something in the area of between Ksh. 750 – Ksh. 1000. Less than Ksh. 5000 will give you four good uniforms.

#4. Narrow Down your scope of service.

When you are starting, be humble. You don’t have the capacity, money and manpower to handle several clients with different cleaning needs at the same time. Like office cleaning has totally different requirements as compared to carpet cleaning.

Narrow down specific related services. This will really improve your client and business management skills. This will be very handy when you grow and start expanding your scope of service. This will help you spend the little capital well.

#5. Do the cleaning yourself.

Why hire someone to do the work you can be able to do yourself? Get to work my friend. Serve your first clients yourself. This provides you an opportunity to provide the best services and get referrals. Nobody can be the best ambassador of your business than yourself. As you start getting more work, find one person to work with. Train them. Let them learn from you that you value quality service provision than money. You will be developing company culture and values that will be passed down to other employees as your grow.

#6. Register your Cleaning company.

Do you know that you can plough back your profits and use them to register your cleaning company? Start with Business name registration at just Ksh. 950 on eCitizen portal. Later on, you can fully register your company as a limited company. Company registration will cost you around Ksh. 15, 000 – Ksh. 30, 000. Though you can work without a license as you start, getting a registration certificate be the top of your priority list just after buying company uniforms. I will emphasize my earlier point. If you don’t have enough cash don’t start by buying the cleaning machines. Buy uniforms, register a company then hire machines before you buy your own.

#7. Create a business website.

How do you grow your cleaning company to compete with established brands? Here is the answer.

As you can see, I am still revolving around the idea of being online. I am not sure of a better way to put it. Hire a reliable web design company or an individual to develop you a website. Do it with caution though. We have so many people out there who can give you a website. But again, you don’t need a website. What? I know you are starting to wonder. You need an online tool help you grow your online brand popularity and bring in more potential clients.

This is what I mean. There is no need of having a website that nobody is visiting. This is where most starter businesses go wrong. At the end of one year, you are renewing the domain and paying for hosting that never earned you a single coin.

Tips for hiring a website and SEO service provider

Here is what you should do. Look for someone who can both develop the website and do search engine optimization (SEO).

  1. Ask for previous work website samples. Ask if they did SEO on them. Where are they ranking on Google? The first page or second page or fifth page or on page ten.
  2. Check the ranking for the provided work samples. Ask for the keywords they are using and verify on checking them yourself. If you don’t know what a keyword is, it’s just a search term that people use to find your business. Like cleaning companies in Kenya.
  3. Will they provide support and website maintenance? Our resourceful web developer helped us understand that if a website is not updated and maintained, it will lose its authority with time and recently created sites that are updated will eventually be ranked on top of them.

This might be one of the costly things you will have to invest in. So talk to them well. Let them help you grow your brand online and make your website visible for the services you offer. Agree on the support and maintenance fee you will be paying. But you can negotiate to start paying the fee after you start getting phone calls and email inquiries from the website.

From an individual you may get a good website at cost not exceeding Ksh. 50, 000 plus SEO services included for at least 6 months. But companies charge differently.

A website is going to be one of the greatest factors that will determine whether your cleaning business succeeds or fails. So don’t rash do your homework well.

NOTE:  You don’t need a website at the very beginning. Start with free social media and once you start getting a few clients you can now go for a website. But if you are in position go for both at the very beginning, it is well.

#8. Required cleaning equipment

What is needed for a Cleaning Services Company in Kenya? Here are the basic items you need:

  1. Vacuum cleaner
  2. Cleaning agents
  3. Spray bottles and Buckets
  4. Toilet brushes

#9. How do you charge for cleaning services?

Don’t charge cheap. Make reasonable profits. But don’t be too expensive as well. If you are too expensive, you may never get subsequent cleaning jobs from the same client if they can find another company offering affordable services. Cheap may even cause you to lose some clients. I am talking about clients who associate quality with money value. Cheap will also make you incur losses. Your business will be forgotten within a short time or you may never be able to grow.

Therefore workaround striking a balance. Don’t operate under losses. But don’t be so expensive as well. Once you have grown and your brand is fully established. Charge as you find fit. You have invested so much to grow that brand name anywhere. But this is not for startups.

Summary

  1. Start by creating a social media account and keep posting.
  2. Start with hiring cleaning machines. Don’t rush to buy.
  3. Buy company uniforms and never work any cleaning job without being in uniforms.
  4. Narrow down on a few cleaning services to offer.
  5. Don’t start with employees, do the cleaning yourself.
  6. Register your company.
  7. Invest heavily in marketing by hiring someone to develop you a website and offer you SEO services.

Here is a summary of the required item description and their cost to fully start a cleaning company. But you don’t need all of them at once if you don’t have enough capital. You may follow my priority list.

Item Description

Price/Cost

Uniforms

Ksh. 5000

Registration

Ksh. 30, 000

Vacuum cleaner

Ksh. 10, 000

Cleaning detergents

Ksh. 10, 000

Buckets and brushes

Ksh. 10, 000

Spray bottles

Ksh. 2, 000

Website and SEO

Ksh. 50, 000

 

Bonus Tip

If you want to just make quick money, use Google ads. But in the long run, the cost of running ads may be way much higher than hiring a brilliant website developer and SEO expert. Here is the advantage. With SEO, once it starts working, you keep getting traffic of potential clients to your website without having to spend extra cash. And once your company is established and your brand has gained a noticeable online presence, you can go back create ads just to increase conversion. But you are not relying on ads to get clients. You can still thrive without them.

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