My Residential Cleaning Business Failed

October 16, 2019 0 Comments

In 2006, before I started to make money online I owned a residential cleaning and grocery delivery business. I read about a business in the Boston area that was successful doing residential cleaning and grocery delivery so I decided to do something similar in my town.

I feel like I took it pretty serious. I bought a how to start a residential cleaning business book from Entrepreneur.com. I also bought a book on how to make a business plan. I read a book about getting press attention and writing press releases.

After reading the three books I purchased, I wrote a detailed business plan. I don’t remember everything that what was in it or how long it took me to write it, but I know I put a lot of effort into it.

The most important aspect of the plan was getting customers. One part of my plan was to use Servicemagic, now known as HomeAdvisor.com, for leads. HomeAdvisor.com is a company that would call me with residential cleaning leads for $11 each. At that point I would have to contact the lead and try to convert them into a paying client.

Along with the leads I planned to get from HomeAdvisor.com, I figured I could get some customers via online advertising since I had decent computer skills.

I also planned put fliers on homes in a bunch of different neighborhoods.

Feeling confident I would have no problem getting customers, I decided to pick a business name and get a domain name. It took me a while to decide on a business name, in the end I choose Lifeease Services, LLC. I choose that name over a name with the word cleaning because I wanted to be a company that did more than cleaning.

After picking a name, I proceed to get a logo, business cards, polos and hats, insurance, an LLC, a business phone, cleaning supplies, groceries, a printer, quickbooks, a receipt book and a bunch of other stuff. I bought a lot of stuff. Looking back, much of it I could have went without.

While I was getting all my supplies I was also spending time setting up a website. On the website people could see my contact information, my company bio and what food I was selling. The stuff was mostly boxed and canned foods. At this point I had everything and I was ready to get out there and start making money.

I signed up for HomeAdvisor.com, it wasn’t long before they called me with my first lead. I called the potential customer and scheduled a walk through so I could see their place and give them a quote. It was just a small one bedroom apartment. I told them I could do the job for $30 and they agreed to hire me and made an appointment.

I came back to that apartment a few days later for my first cleaning job. I knew within 30 minutes of cleaning her place that this business would fail. Cleaning sucked, I did not think it would be that bad, but cleaning after yourself versus someone else is a different ballgame.

Cleaning is also one of those things that is subjective. Just because I think something is good doesn’t mean the client will agree. I felt I could be heading down a path of having bad reviews, complaints and no repeat business.

In my time running this business I met with three potential clients. Two hired me one did not. After that I cancelled my HomeAdvisor.com account, my insurance, my phone and I got on the internet looking for business opportunities that I felt was a better fit for me.

What I did wrong

First of all I started a business that did not fit my personality. They say in life you should put yourself out there and get used to being uncomfortable. I agree with that, but when it comes to business your should be doing something you like or you might as well get a job.

Secondly, I spent too much money. I bought quickbooks, a printer, food, and expensive logo and business cards and other stuff I did not need right away. I should have launched the business just cleaning homes and expanded to other services after the cleaning service was established.

Third of all I did it because it seemed like my best option. I had a few thousand dollars in the bank and $10k in credit card limits. I had to do something that was low cost. I tried eBay and drop shipping in the past with no success. I felt like doing something real world was the best option since those online ventures did not work out.

What I learned

The first thing I learned is that if I launched a business in the future I need to do a better job of bootstrapping. I could have launched my cleaning business for half of what I spent.

The face that I launched a clothing ling one year later and overspent tells me that I did not learn from this business failure as quickly as I should have.

The second thing I learned is that real world business is not for me. I don’t have enough ass kissing, the customers always right, yes sir and no ma’am in me. I worked in retail for 7 years prior to launching this business, but as the owner of a service business the ass kissing has to reach a level I don’t want to touch. I would rather stick to opportunities that allow me to be genuine.

The third thing I learned is that family is not encouraging or helpful if you are starting a business. I started this business out of my mother’s home and she was mad and annoyed.

The fourth thing I learned is it is better to wait for the perfect business opportunity to come along rather than taking the best of a bunch of bad options.

Conclusion

The most important thing I said in this entire blog post is wait for the perfect opportunity rather than pursue the best of a bunch of bad opportunities.

A lot of people are so desperate to make money they waste their time, energy and money jumping around from mediocre idea to mediocre idea. Then once a great opportunity comes around they don’t have the money, confidence or energy to pursue it.

Planning and patience are two big parts of becoming successful. Decide what you really want and be patient enough to wait for the opportunity to arise.

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