Become a Green Cleaner
By Steve Gillman
More than ever people want a green cleaner to take care of
their home. House cleaning too often involves noxious chemicals
that are not good for the environment and are also hard on those
who suffer with allergies. In many areas this means you can charge
more for house cleaning if you use "green" products.
At the very least you can compete more easily in the marketplace,
because even those who won't pay extra don't mind what methods
you use--as long as you get the home clean.
One of the nice things about this field is that you can start
as an employee and, when the time comes, transition into a business
of your own without risking much. It isn't necessarily a thrilling
career, but there is definitely a certain satisfaction in seeing
the results of your work so clearly (and believe me, if you do
a good job the client will see it just as clearly). And the money,
though perhaps minimal at first, can be really good once you
grow your business to the point where you have numerous clients
and enough employees to do the work.
How Much Can You Make?
Typical pricing for cleaning of a small house or apartment
(900 square feet) is $70 to $200, depending on the area of the
country and what's included. A three-bedroom 2,200 square-foot
home runs up to $300. Usually there is a discount for regular
cleaning so the price might be $80 for a twice-monthly cleaning
of a small apartment and $150 for a average-size house.
Typical green cleaning service includes straightening up,
sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing sinks and floors in kitchens
and bathrooms, as well as cleaning the toilets and showers/tubs.
With regular cleaning this normally takes 3 to 4 hours for one
green cleaner and 2 to 3 hours with two. Extra charges apply
to cleaning ovens, blinds, walls, windows, and refrigerators.
A set charge is common, but the goal as a business is to get
at least $25 per worker-hour for these services.
As an employee you gain experience, but don't make much. BLS
statistics show the average wage of cleaners (they don't separate
out green cleaners) at about $19,000 annually. Most business
data sources do not separate out the "green" companies,
but for an idea of what's possible, it's worth noting that Manta.com
shows dozens of businesses classified as "cleaning companies"
with estimated revenues of $2.5 million annually.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
You can charge more for special services, like green cleaning
of garages. Specializing in niches, like cleaning recreational
vehicles or cabins or basements can help you avoid competition
to gain more clients.
Have a brochure that explains the benefits of green cleaning,
and rehearse your sales pitch.
Get a job as a green cleaner. Even if your goal is to start
your own business, working in the field first is a great way
to get to know the ropes. Pay attention to what clients want,
to see if there are improvements or other services you can offer
when you have your own company. When you are ready, a few hundred
dollars in tools and supplies should be enough to start, and
you can buy more specialized tools and marketing materials as
you grow your business.
- The Maid Brigade website provides an example of how far you
might go with green cleaning, and this company also offers franchises.
The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas
for Green Cleaning, by Karyn Siegel-Maier - Storey Publishing,
LLC 2008; targets the homeowner, but still has useful ideas for
- A seller of green cleaning products.
a Cleaning Business E-Book - You can download this day or
night to get started.