How I Started A $20K/Month Exterior Home Cleaning Service Company

Published: September 8th, 2020
Go Green Cleaning...
from Walnut Creek, California, USA
started January 2017
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, my name is Nicholas Ciano, I own an exterior home cleaning company called Go Green Cleaning & Maintenance in Walnut Creek, CA. We take pride in customer service and five-star performance.

I started this company 4 years ago on the idea that I wanted to work for myself and provide for my growing family. We specialize in gutter cleaning, solar panel cleaning, exterior window cleaning, deck restoration, cement, and paver sealing. We average about $20,000/month.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I graduated from Chico State University, studying Business Finance, and jumped around from job to job looking for my ideal career. I struggled to find something I was passionate about and found myself lacking drive and ambition.

Be patient and enjoy the process. NO company started perfectly and it does take trial and error to learn what works for your industry.

It was not until I got a kick in the butt by my now wife that I decided to take life into my own hands and start something for myself, for us. I had worked construction jobs and other trade work before I realized I did not like the way they ran their workers and their business.

After a couple of years of working for a guy in the exterior home cleaning industry, I just knew I could contribute a lot to this industry and was one I could make an impact in. Wanting to focus on environmentally responsible, and customer service based I took what I learned from my past employer and I incorporated all of the things that I liked about how he ran his business and I changed the things I didn’t like about how he ran his business.

I leaped faith with a small advertising budget and a truck. When the customers' accolades, appreciation, and confidence drove my dream I knew this was what I was destined to do. My philosophy is to treat people the way I want to be treated. This has consciously been enforced in all aspects of this business. We respond quickly, we are honest, and are competitively priced.

Although creating, building, and owning a business is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It is the most rewarding to know that your business idea and everyday practices and who you are as an owner is the reason you are successful.

Describe the process of launching the business.

With a background in computer science, management information systems, and finance I was able to build my website and do all my SEO. Between studying the newest 2020 practices via Neil Patel and Youtube channels I was able to get a wide range of information from free website resources.

Everything from start to finish I did by myself. I started this business from scratch with some knowledge and little experience. A guy I met while working for my previous employer came on board shortly after I started the company and helped take a load of the daily physical work. We scaled roofs while cleaning gutters, cleaning solar panels, removing moss off roofs. We climbed ladders to clean exterior windows and pressure washed homes and hardscapes.

This job is very demanding physically and I loved having my right-hand man to help me with the workload. With him, the sky was the limit. Although we have added some services and removed some services we have stuck to the main services that exterior home cleaning includes.

I took out a credit card to buy all my equipment, the truck, the truck wrap (free advertising) and the advertising monthly budgets have all been financed with this credit card.

The biggest advice I could give is to be patient and enjoy the process. NO company started perfectly and it does take trial and error to learn what works for your industry. It didn’t happen overnight and it was not easy but you are your best and worst enemy and it is important to make choices that best suit the long term goals of the company you are starting.


Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

To increase traffic we have offered specials and discounts for first-time customers, seniors, neighborhood specials, and when you book 2+ more services. This has been a crucial part of customer loyalty and referrals. People like people who work with them and offer solutions to their problems for competitive rates.

When we first started I had a very small advertising and marketing budget and put all of my eggs into the basket of one online marketing platform. It seemed to be a great fit for us and we focused on doing great work which in turn got us great reviews and continues to get us great leads and customers.

We also did offer discounts to get our name out there. To get experience and to accomplish jobs by this new company. To build a Rolodex of customers we did have to offer deals and do jobs for a lot less than we do them now that we are established.

We offer our customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with all of our services. We do the job right the first time and validate all of our services with before and after pictures. It is important to treat every job as if it were your parents or your family member’s home.

Website design and SEO have been crucial in getting us noticed and educating customers on what the services offer for long term problem solving is our top priority. I would say having a great website brings a lot of customers to our business. People want to see a legitimate company that they can depend on when they are looking for reliable businesses to come to their home. I would say that it's about 35% of our business. We offer contact pages and free estimates through the website and get back to our customers within 24 hours.

It is important to set goals, don’t procrastinate, and initiate all of your ideas onto paper to have a visual of what you need and want to do and to be able to check things off as you complete them and move forward.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We have been working hard to offer the best service and I believe the customers have seen the value we offer. We have become successful because of our love for the customers and the passion for the work.

Now that we have all of our tools and equipment the cost of goods and everyday costs are low. We have been in business long enough that our attention to detail, reputation, reviews, and word of mouth puts us at the top of the industry in our area.

Ideally, we would like to expand to a 2nd truck and potentially expand the city reach. We would like to hire and train people who can take over areas of work and continue to do great work for people.

In the best-case scenario, we would like to have a couple of trucks and cover all of the East Bay Area. Depending on the team we build the sky's our limit and it is only going up from here.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

It is important to set goals, don’t procrastinate, and initiate all of your ideas onto paper to have a visual of what you need and want to do and to be able to check things off as you complete them and move forward.

The best decisions I made were to start this on my own (no partners- no one to answer to but yourself) and to advertise. Also, take advantage of free online resources. Youtube has covered and educated so many things that I implement into my daily operations. Running the SEO, learning tips and tricks, how-tos, and not dos. Take the time to be the master of your craft, be flexible, and take the good and the bad. You will never learn if you do not try and it is important to make mistakes to set yourself up to win.

We are always looking for cleaning and repair technicians who have customer service skills, willingness to learn, and people who do not fear heights can lift 100lbs and can handle a very physically demanding job. The job opportunity is endless and to be successful with us is up to you. We want to expand, and we need help to do that. You could run your truck and pretty much be as successful as you want to be. We have done all the groundwork and now it's time to set other people up for success.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We are a general cleaning company. However, we do use QuickBooks for estimates, sales receipts, payroll, and customer contacts.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Our biggest influence was a fellow entrepreneur who supported my goal of starting a company and pushed me to follow my dreams. He also owns his own successful business and was always there to answer any questions and guide me in the right direction. YouTube was also an essential and major resource for learning, educating, and furthering our knowledge.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

Foundation and understanding insurance requirements, marketing, management, handbooks and IRS, paying quarterly, PandL, understanding your systems (QuickBooks, CRM, and run reports ) having that connection to your credit card so that it automatically itemizes your materials and daily expenditures.

Focus on the demographics of your area and your target audience. (marketing) Realistic goals for what you are looking to accomplish each year as you grow and develop.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking to hire repair technicians. Someone who has great customer service skills and a fast learner. This is a hands-on learning job where you need to be able to climb and lift 100lb ladders, someone who is not afraid of heights, someone who can handle working outdoors, and understands this is a very physically demanding job. We are looking for full and part-time paid work.

Where can we go to learn more?