Target Property Managers for End of Tenancy Cleaning
When first starting your cleaning journey, there are so many different paths to take. Do I start with carpet cleaning? Housecleaning? Window Cleaning? Office Cleaning? I had the same decision to make when starting out on my own quest. So what pathway did I choose? End of tenancy cleaning.
After doing a bit of research I decided that carpet cleaning and office cleaning would require a larger investment up front and to say the least, I was strapped for cash. I needed to get something started that would bring in an immediate return on investment and I wasn’t even sure if cleaning, in general, would work out for me. So I chose to take the path of least financial resistance and pointed my compass towards the nearest Realtor’s office.
I already owned all the equipment to clean an apartment unit (since I cleaned my own) so the only things that were missing were some advertising materials and an idea of how much I should charge for my services. It was almost impossible to get prices out of the other cleaning companies in the area. I’m not ashamed to say that I called some companies and asked what they would charge to clean an apartment unit from top to bottom after “MY” tenant moved out. Everyone I called said it would depend on the unit, how many bedrooms, the condition it’s in, etc. Makes sense not to bid blindly on a cleaning job over the phone, when the unit could be a wreck and take twice as long as you thought. Can’t fault them for that, but I wasn’t anywhere closer to aligning my prices with the local market.
So, a little dejected, I had an epiphany! If I knew how long it takes to clean a unit, then I would know what to charge. Why don’t I just clean my own apartment from top to bottom the same way I would take care of a landlord or property managers unit? And that’s what I did. Twice. It took me 3-4 hours to clean my own apartment, including: bathroom, fridge, kitchen, vacuum and wash floors. It took me longer than I initially thought it would, I got slowed down when I got to the tub and the fridge. I knew I wanted to be making $20-$25 an hour, so that meant for a unit the same size as my own I would need to charge between $80-$100.
At this point I have my advertising materials (cleaning business cards, flyers, letterhead, Polo shirt with logo) and I have the tools I need to clean an apartment unit. I put together a pricing sheet giving estimates on what prices I would charge for different size apartments (sq footage & number of bedrooms) and also for homes. A lot of property managers work out of a Realtor office even if they own their own business. My plan was to visit each Realtor office, introduce myself and present my flyer with estimates of my services. The office managers were always willing to share my flyers with their agents. This method payed off again and again and again. I’m still providing services for the same agents that hired me in 2011 today.
One other method that proved successful was picking up the phone. A simple Google search gave me a list of property managers in my area, then I just started calling them. Most of them already had people working for them doing the end of tenancy cleanings, but a couple agreed to use my services. The first job is often the most important, so I made sure I went above and beyond what was asked of me. It took a little longer, but the payoff was worth it. The property managers were ecstatic with the job I did and began calling every week with more work.
The first job I did paid for my advertising and I used the revenue from the next couple jobs to buy a small carpet cleaning machine. I used the carpet cleaning as an add-on to the end of tenancy cleaning to maximize the profit from each job. Often times travel and set-up takes as much time as the carpet cleaning itself does, so adding this service to a job I was already at meant it was 95% profit! Carpet detergent is not expensive, I pay $9-$17 a gallon depending on the brand and you can do many units on a single gallon.
Hopefully this will inspire you to reach out to local real estate agents and property managers. There is a lot of money in turning apartment units and houses. I have gone up on my prices over the years, even though it takes less time for me do the cleanings. This is the ultimate goal. Charge a premium price for a trustworthy service. Happy Cleaning!
Got Questions? Leave a Comment!