Steve Hanson Explains the 8 Mistakes To Avoid in Commercial Cleaning

February 29, 2020 in Systems & Automation

Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

In the area of the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and Certification Program, Steve has an ISSA Certification Expert(I.C.E.) certification.

In fact, he has so much experience, he was able to identify and explain the biggest mistakes that Maid Service owners make when starting or growing commercial cleaning offers.

So relax and take notes on the biggest mistakes made by owners when transitioning their home cleaning business into a commercial cleaning service.

2 Cleaning Businesses, 1 Mindset

Trying to run a commercial cleaning and residential cleaning business at once can be difficult, both are very different in all respects, from prices to marketing.

When you are switching your home cleaning business to commercial cleaning services, be sure to treat them as two different companies.

Owners of a successful residential cleaning company may be tempted to use the same marketing for their Maid Service, but this is not recommended.

Even though certain techniques may have proven to be very profitable before, the commercial cleaning service business is a whole other level.

Discounting commercial cleaning services (or home cleaning services)

Residential cleaning services often discount prices but you shouldn’t do this with commercial cleaning, it can cause you to underbid.

The entire structure of price points is represented differently in the Maid Service business as opposed to the commercial cleaning side of the industry.

With commercial cleaning services, you are covering a large area and your cleaner deserves to get paid for all of the work they put in, don’t cheapen your product.

“Giving discounts is something I don’t think is a good idea because you can never make up that lost profit” – Steve Hanson

Not having the right systems for your cleaning business

Be sure to have systems and controls in placein order to grow your Maid Service.

A lack of operational organization can cause confusion and burnout, so keep a record of your progress and record your systems in a folder.

Update files in this folder periodically to stay on top of the improvements that your home cleaning company is making.

You’ll find that simply the implementation of systems can change the way you feel about your Maid Service, plus you’ll see a rise in profit as well.

Bidding higher than you can jump

Watch out when setting bids for your commercial cleaning services.

If you are still thinking with your residential cleaning owner cap on, you might bid too high for what you are planning to cover in the cleaning.

Commercial cleaning has a different pricing structure with an environmental structure difference to match.

Keep in mind when you are making a bid on a space that the time and effort to clean an office will be unique to that of a home setting.

Forgetting about production rate changes

Production rates are also different in residential vs commercial cleaning.

In a biweekly, general clean you will cover about 700 to 1000 square feet per hour, but in commercial cleaning, your square footage runs at about 3,200 – 3,500 per hour.

If you are pricing based on the usual ground covered in a Maid Service, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed with all the rejections you receive on this bid.

There just isn’t often as much detail to cover in an office setting.

It is a larger space with a much less lived-in level of grime, so you can cover more of the area in the same allotted amount of time.

Not offering additional training to your cleaning employees

Don’t slip on the training!

Always train your cleaners and include additional training as your home cleaning company evolves, especially if it evolves into a commercial cleaning company.

Just because someone has cleaning experience does not mean that they have cleaned homes the way that your cleaning company does.

Likewise, if they have commercial cleaning experience, that’s not the same as residential and visa versa.

In order to adequately prepare your staff, cleaners should be properly trained for the relevant cleaning processes in both home and commercial properties.

Keeping your home cleaning hat on

Remove your “home cleaning hat” when approaching commercial cleaning services.

These are totally different businesses from one another, other than turning a dirty space into a clean space, so you need to be speaking the language of the culture.

If you are working on homes, they all have the same basic areas: kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathrooms for example.

However, if you are talking commercial cleaning services you’re looking at unique spaces like office buildings with cubicles and larger central bathrooms or hair salons with hard floors, mirrors, and chairs drilled in the center of the room.

Considering how the process differs in each setting is critical to understanding your rate and profit potential.

Not understanding proper cleaning systems

Finally, a huge mistake made is the misunderstanding of cleaning systems.

Train your cleaners as a team or create team cleaning systems so that they can help each other learn how to work as a team.

You may only send one cleaner per job to a home cleaning, but with work-setting type cleaning, your cleaners are likely working with a much bigger space and will need to send multiple cleaners.

Since everything is basically made easier with training, teach your team how to work like one in order to get the job finished as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This article was based on the information given in a talk by Steve Hanson that happened live at the 2019 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

About the presenter

Steve Hanson has been working around the cleaning industry for 32 years and is an expert in helping commercial and residential cleaning business owners start, grow and scale their cleaning companies.

As the President of and, two mainstream sites in the Maid Service world that provide information anyone in the cleaning field can use to improve their business.

Read more great articles on the ZenMaid Magazine:


Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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