If your commercial cleaning business plan doesn’t account for economic roller coasters, it might be time for an update.
When you wrote your cleaning business plan, you put a lot of work into it. You poured over numbers and estimates. You explored the costs of opening a business. You figured out the details of licensing and insurance and leasing an office.
As you developed your commercial cleaning business plan, you researched things like how to hire people and how to pay business taxes. You detailed how your business would grow, maybe even with specifics about the types of clients you would take on and your profit margin on a variety of different jobs.
If it’s been a while, your plans may have changed dramatically from what you originally intended. If you’re new, you may explore your business plan more often, wondering if you’re on the right track. But one thing you might not have considered in your planning is the greater economic environment. And if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the overall economy can be a big X factor for business.
So whether things are booming or bottoming out, it’s always a good idea to plan for the unexpected.
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How to enjoy a successful cleaning business plan in any economic environment
Call it a recession, a depression, an economic downturn, or anything else; we all know when things look bleak. You don’t need to be an economist to realize that if your client base and income are shrinking, your business needs to brace for some hard times.
But one benefit of creating a recession-proof commercial cleaning business plan is that you’re prepared for these moments. It essentially balances out that boom and bust cycle. Here are some ways you can ensure your business is recession-proof, or work to move it in that direction.
1. Plan ahead: You already plan ahead, of course, with schedules, bidding, and so on. This type of planning ahead is different, though. Here, you’re looking at your one-year, three-year, and five-year plans. I know it can be challenging to predict the future, especially given so many unexpected changes in the last few years. But looking into the future with your best-educated guess will give you at least some insight into what you might expect. Look at things like the population growth or decline in your area, how many commercial spaces are opening or being built, and the growth of other commercial cleaning operations. Look internally, too. Will you need to update or buy new equipment? Are you looking at a new office lease? These are all things that can impact your future plans.
2. Be conservative with forecasts: This will help you devise a recession-proof commercial cleaning business plan even in the best of times. Conservative growth estimates give us leeway in case we don’t reach our goals or if there are major unexpected changes.
3. Be generous with cost estimates: We can generally expect our overhead to go up over time for any number of reasons. This might already be built into your cleaning business plan, but if you underestimate, you could end up in a situation where you need to fill a big gap, and that’s no fun for anyone.
4. Be adaptive: The most successful companies, whether in the commercial cleaning field, software, food service, or retail, are adaptable and can shift in times of need to meet customer requirements. However, you don’t need to wait until there’s a recession to do this. The more adaptive you are at any point, the more room you have to thrive and grow. What might this look like in commercial cleaning? Perhaps you look at building services contracting or offer residential cleaning services. Train your team and take on disaster or biohazard cleanup. That’s not for everyone, of course, but there are plenty of other options, like expanding your menu of specialties.
5. Focus on your current customers: Yes, growing your business is great, but your current customers are always your greatest source of business success. That might be through referrals, hiring you for additional services, or simply being a steady job that helps pay the bills. Always treat your customers like gold, but in the midst of a recession, don’t panic and ignore them in hopes of getting more customers before the well dries up.
6. Work with your customers: Recessions don’t hit only one business. If your business is facing economic issues, there’s a good chance your clients are, too. And as they look for ways to cut expenses, commercial cleaning services might very well be on the chopping block. Some businesses may have few options. The best thing you can do in these cases is let them go without a hassle and try to maintain that relationship so that when things turn around, they will want to bring you back on board. Other businesses may have room to negotiate. Maybe you change your contract from daily cleaning to every other day, or you switch to less expensive products. The point is that you’ll likely retain more customers by being flexible than by sticking to the contract no matter what.
7. Try not to borrow or increase debt: It’s hard to start or grow a business without taking on some debt. You need supplies and equipment. You need to hire people. You need to market your business. If you can avoid it, though, it’s always ideal to stay as debt-free as possible. That’s especially true in times of economic recession. If you do have to borrow, pay that money back as quickly as you can. When the future is uncertain, you have a lot more room to maneuver if your business isn’t carrying a lot of debt.
8. Work efficiently: There’s a lot that could be said about this, but let’s stick to a few basics for now. An efficient and effective team, along with good inventory management, and smart planning, can increase your business revenue and decrease your costs. You can read more about that here or here. For now, though, just know that there a plenty of ways to cut costs without cutting quality.
9. Create an emergency fund: It may take time to build up an emergency fund, but there’s no downside to having one or to adding to it on a regular basis. The worst that happens is that you never need it, and when you sell your business somewhere down the line, you have a nice stack of cash.
Some of these may take time, of course. And in the midst of a recession or any economic difficulties, it’s hard not to stress and react rather than plan and act. But any steps you can take to ensure the success of your business will pay off, even if it does take a while.
Take advantage of the value Janitorial Manager can bring to your cleaning operation to streamline your processes like never before. Learn more today with a discovery call and find out how to make your cleaning operation more efficient and cost effective!