Business Insider reports that seven out of the ten fastest growing franchises in 2011 are cleaning companies. Despite the recession, the residential and commercial cleaning industry seems to be sweeping the market. Whether you’re a franchisee or a small business entrepreneur, if you’re looking to get in on the cleaning frenzy, be sure to consider these five characteristics that are must-haves for your business:

1. Flexibility

Unlike a residential maid service, a janitorial company must be willing to work all hours of the day or night in order to attract the largest possible customer base. This may mean that you need to have a relatively large number of employees to cover the different shifts. Although some businesses, schools, and hospitals may not mind if you clean during their normal business hours, others will prefer that the cleaning be done after everyone leaves for the day. You will open yourself up to more business-and more profit-if you have the resources and willingness to accommodate each customer’s schedule and preferences.

Time is not the only factor when considering the flexibility of your janitorial company. Different businesses and commercial industries may have different expectations of what should be cleaned and how you should clean it. Some facilities, such as hospitals, restaurants, and schools, for instance, have sanitary codes that must be strictly adhered to. Familiarizing yourself with the expectations of these different industries and then tailoring your cleaning practices to meet these individualized needs will broaden the scope of your business and clientele.

2. Superior Equipment

Janitorial companies are typically responsible for cleaning large areas and even entire facilities. In order to do this efficiently without the need for numerous employees working the same job, you’re going to need some effective and reliable equipment. Although this may require a substantial investment to begin with, if you consider the fact that you will be able to take on more jobs at any given time thanks to your heavy-duty equipment, you’ll realize very quickly that the investment is a worth-while one and will potentially pay for itself and more in a very short period of time.

3. Impeccable Service

Customer service is an important consideration no matter what industry you’re getting into, but this is especially true of the commercial cleaning industry. People have very different definitions of what clean is, and some of your customers will demand a white-glove inspection of your work. Be sure that your performance passes the test, no matter how stringent it may be. If your work impresses the right people, word will get around fast that you’re the cleanest cleaning company around, and you’ll find yourself pleasantly inundated with business.

4. Eco-friendly Solutions

The word is out about the risks that common household and commercial cleaners pose to not only the environment, but to human health as well. If you want to cater to the growing number of individuals and businesses who are committed to going green, then you need to ensure that your cleaning solutions pass the test. If you stir the pot right, you could do yourself and your brand a big favor by establishing yourself as an environmentally-friendly cleaning operation. To accomplish this feat, make sure that your cleaning products are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phosphates, heavy metals, and artificial fragrances. Then, be sure to heavily advertise your green approach; you may be able to get away with charging a bit more for your services since you are providing an extra eco-conscious service.

5. A recognizable and well-known brand.

As with any business endeavor, brand is key when it comes to your janitorial company. You can purchase the rights to an established brand if you decide to go the franchise route. If not, then it will be your responsibility to build your brand. Begin with a simple, distinct, and recognizable logo, get the word out (along with the logo), and then ensure that your business practices are aligned with the feelings and opinions you want your customer base to have when they see your logo or hear your company’s name. Once you’ve built a reputable brand, you’ve won half the battle.

Once you get your janitorial company up and running, remember to carefully monitor and evaluate your business model to ensure that these five traits remain in the forefront of your mind-as well as in the minds of your employees who will act as representatives of your company. It may be easy to get caught up in profit once you start seeing it, but remember the key practices that attracted that profit to begin with, and your company is sure to be a sweeping success for the long-haul.

Ezine by Camilo Kawas