A contractor has done an excellent job and finished the work on time, but there is one problem: they have left debris, dirt, dust, and garbage on the site. What next?
Most people don’t know this, but contractors are not usually in charge of cleaning, polishing, or dusting a site after their work is done. Typically, they only collect their tools and equipment, leaving the rest to the property owner or general contractor, who must then turn to a construction cleanup crew. But who exactly are these cleaners, and what does their work entail?
What Is a Construction Cleanup Business?
A Construction Cleanup Business is an organization that specializes in cleaning residential and commercial construction sites. The cleaners, collectively called a cleanup crew, are responsible for getting newly constructed or renovated sites ready for showing or occupancy. If the construction is a multistage project, the crew also prepares the site for the next phase. Because cleanup crews are in charge of making a building safe and sanitary, they have to be conversant with local safety codes.
When construction is complete, the main contractor or person in charge will usually hire a construction cleanup business to do the following:
- Clear small and large debris from the site
- Dust and clean floors and surfaces
- Shine and polish appliances
- Clean hardware and furnishings
- Dispose of garbage
The last responsibility requires that a cleanup crew understand and comply with local waste laws.
The Pros of Construction Cleanup Business
Construction cleanup is a very lucrative business with the following benefits:
- Low startup and running costs
- You can specialize in residential or commercial properties or deal with both.
- The work does not require special training or advanced degrees as it involves unskilled labor.
- Depending on your budget, you can have few or many cleaners and hire more on contract when you get bigger and more jobs.
- You don’t need to spend money on office space as you will often work on construction sites.
- You can venture into related areas like window cleaning and regular maintenance.
It is important to note that success in this business requires that you understand and comply with OSHA standards and requirements on health and safety.
The Cons of Construction Cleanup Business
Along with the advantages, you might face some drawbacks in the Construction Cleanup Business like:
- Job opportunities may lessen when the local real estate market goes down, making the work seasonal.
- You have to be in excellent physical health and shape because the work is very labor-intensive.
- You will often have to work in tight spaces, high heights, and even incomplete construction sites.
- The working hours are irregular, and you must be available on short notice and sometimes outside regular working hours.
- You might be required to have construction permits and licenses, especially when accessing incomplete construction sites.
- You will need to factor in insurance and bonding fees for you and your cleaners.
- When clearing large debris, you may need to lease trucks, bulldozers, and vans, which might require operators’ permits.
- You might be constantly exposed to dangerous conditions like fumes and dust.
How to Start a Construction Cleanup Business
Starting a construction cleanup business will take some research and attention to detail. The following simple guide should help you set up:
Step 1: Prepare a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is a crucial step in establishing any business. It gives you a reference point from which to map out the parameters of your operations. When drafting your plan, consider the following:
- Business name – When looking for a name for your business, research local and federal business and trademark records. You should also check on the availability of a web domain.
- Startup and running costs – Construction cleanup businesses require a relatively low startup budget, and you can begin with $2,000, with a $100 per job running cost. This will help you buy cleaning supplies and cover cleaner wages, worker time, and equipment wear and tear.
- Target market – You will mainly be offering your services to residential and property commercial owners, which means you will primarily work in homes, factories, warehouses, etc.
- Charges – Typically, the average pay for a residential cleaning job is $500 to $800, with commercial property owners paying between $0.10 to $0.50 per square foot.
Step 2: Determine Your Business Structure
Next, you need to determine the type of business structure your company will take. Your options include partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). When performing this step, consult with a professional attorney or check local laws.
Step 3: Apply for EIN
Visit the IRS website and apply for an EIN at no cost. The EIN will help you register for the state and federal taxes associated with your business, which you can learn of by studying local laws.
Step 4: Acquire a Business Credit Card
Apply for a credit card for your business and open a dedicated banking account. The first action will help you qualify for financing under your official business name and at better rates. In contrast, the second action will protect your personal assets from liability if your business is sued.
Step 5: Establish an Accounting System
If you have bookkeeping experience, it will come in handy when establishing and maintaining accurate financial records for your business. This action will help you keep track of your performance and file for annual taxes.
Step 6: Apply for Licenses and Permits
Consult your local clerk about the necessary licenses and permits for your business. Not having this documentation could lead to heavy fines or business closure.
Step 7: Create a Service Contract Draft
As you will be working with clients on a contractual basis, draft a working contract that outlines your service provision and payment terms and conditions.
Step 8: File for Insurance
If you are unsure of where to start, apply for General Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance if you plan to have employees.
Step 9: Establish Your brand
Your company’s brand is how people see your business. Once you set up, define your core values and approach to customer pain points. You can then share these details with contractors, homeowners, and local groups in your area.
Step 10: Set Up Your Website
Every authentic business has an online presence, and yours should be no exception. With all the tools available today, setting up a website should take you no more than a few hours.
Whether it is a new building or an old one being remodeled, all construction jobs make a mess. If you enjoy cleaning and clearing such messes to reveal shiny appliances, clean floors, and showcase-worthy buildings, the Construction Cleanup Business might be the industry for you. You don’t need a lot of startups or running money, and the rates are lucrative, not to mention the satisfaction of getting a property ready to be occupied, used, or sold.