Why write a business plan? Your bank, and many customers, will ask for it.
The purpose of this article is more to help you think about developing a business plan through understanding what it entails generally – for detailed information on how to make a business plan for home cleaning services, start by reading this article, then pick up something more in-depth.
There are two good ways to gain in-depth knowledge of how to write a business plan. You could check out an idiot’s guide or similar publication from the library, or find a reputable online guide geared toward exactly what you’re doing. This kind of material will have details about each section I describe below, and should be kept pretty up-to-date. There probably isn’t any “idiot’s guide to writing a cleaning business plan”, but a generic guide to how to write a business plan will work. Check out a guide that was published within the last year. This will give the publisher the best opportunity to give you information about banks’ general lending policies, which change regularly.
Prioritize your time when you prepare a business plan. Don’t spend forever sweating about what are good cleaning business names and which ones sound corny. Spend more time thinking about your target market and sales strategy. Here’s a general outline of what you’ll need to eventually have in your hand when you walk in the bank.
The 13 elements of a complete home cleaner’s business plan:
Executive Summary – short couple of paragraphs that answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHY. Don’t fuss too much over including target market information unless it’s a really gimmicky kind of a thing, like a cleaning company for retired doctors.
Objectives – What do you plan to do. If you plan to clean houses, say it. Organize your objectives into concrete bullet-point items. It can be obvious, like, objective one, make a company, objective two, get clients, objective three, make the system sustainable and profitable.
Mission – Like the objective section, but different. Here you can sound a little passionate. Believe in yourself, but don’t deliver an over-the-top inspirational speech. Don’t worry about being a little redundant or obvious. Just don’t be long-winded. Explain your business acumen or professional philosophy.
Company Summary – Describe who will owns the business. Describe projected start-up costs in a table. Be very detailed in this table. Spend a lot of time trying to consider every variable. In the meeting with the banker, if they ask you “How much will you spend on computers?” you should be able to point to a table. If they ask you “What do you plan to spend the most on in the second month?” then you should point to the table’s second column, represents the second month, and point to an individual cell probably containing the word “advertising”.
Services – Explain who you’ll target as far as demographics, and what you mean when you say you’ll clean their houses. For example, “We will target upper-middle class families with two incomes, and we will offer to deep clean their bathrooms, kitchens, organize their garage, etc.” Mention any selling points you would to customers, like, “We’ll use only eco-friendly chemicals”.
Market analysis – Research and describe your findings. Who’s spending on house cleaning. Where do they live. How much do they pay for the service. Research different groups of potential buyers. Be methodical about how you research, and explain how you did the research in the research.
Advertising – Describe your advertising methods and how much they’re going to cost you. Say you’ll try several different methods of low-budget advertising before isolating the most successful method and spending more on that one. Be crafty with how you’ll spend – everything can be an experiment. When in business, record your advertising experiment findings as methodically as you can possibly imagine. How much did you spend on what, when, and how do you know whether or not that worked to get you customers.
Competition – Again, research and describe your findings. A thoughtful competition section is critical to a successful business plan. Who will you be competing with. Display the competition, including rates, location, and selling gimmicks in a table. When in doubt, use tables and charts.
Competitive Edge Summary – Based on the above two points, describe how you’ll still be able to get business, or how you’ll take business away from those competitors.
Sales Strategy – How will you turn phone calls into sales? How will you bid work? Why is your sales strategy an especially good one?
Sales Forecast – You should definitely use a table for this one. Months on the x axis and the y axis should have many different sections. Different rows for different client segment groups. Google “sales forecast in a business plan” and see if you can find pictures of tables people have come up with. This is a good way to learn.
Milestones – What are going to be important milestones for the evolution of your company? Try “establishment of base of operations”, “deployment of advertising campaigns”, “hiring of employee”, etc.
Management Summary – Especially if you plan to have employees, talk about you, as the owner, and your history as a co-worker or manager. Describe your work history in the cleaning industry, if you have it. Kind of a resume section.
Personnel Plan – If you’ll have them, how many employees will you have, when, how will you train them, what will you pay them, how will you ensure quality of their work. Think like a boss.
You’ll need to have well-reasoned number figures arranged in more tables when you’re writing a business plan. These will tell the potential financier what you expect to make, what you expect to lose, what you’ll need in order to break even, and more. Best to turn to your book, or look through another sample business plan. Don’t hesitate, it’s easier than it looks. It’s like filling in the blanks. Everyone should try to make a business plan someday, if only as a learning exercise.