The Unexpected Benefits of Cleaning for a Living

Funny cleaning woman mopping floor jumping

It was only after I was up and running with regular customers and an established house cleaning schedule that I realized I had stumbled into a jackpot of valuable benefits rarely found in other livelihoods.  Following are some obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of being a self-employed house cleaner:

Set Your Own Schedule

Control Your Work Hours: To a large extent, you have control over which days and hours you schedule.  Most self-employed house cleaners develop a ‘permanent’ schedule with regular customers which allows for predictable work hours (and income) for months to come.

Work Fewer Hours: Cleaning homes in energetic purpose-driven mode for 8 hours a day/5 days a week is physically too much for most house cleaners. Cleaning for a living builds impressive stamina, but a work week with fewer hours than the traditional 40 is still considered a full schedule. Ideally rates reflect that work needs to be completed in fewer hours.

Work ‘off’ Hours: Though the focus of these posts is house cleaning, cleaning small offices or shops in the evening or on weekends is also an option if that suits your life needs better.  (Additional legal and insurance issues might apply)

Physical Health

Great Exercise: An office worker chained to a desk or a checkout cashier standing fixed at their register could only dream of the freedom of movement that house cleaning allows. Cleaning is great physical exercise for blood pumping, calorie burning, and muscle strengthening. (Always being mindful to move in ways that strengthen muscles while protecting joints)

Bonus Benefit:  During flu and virus season your exposure to the bad bug making the rounds is far less than with jobs in which you have a multitude of co-workers or regular contact with the general public.

Mental and Emotional Health

Calmer Work: Cleaning homes is hard work, but tends to be fairly low-stress provided the expectations of what will be accomplished in a given amount of time are reasonable.

 Freedom to Think: Most jobs boil down to repeating a series of motions to accomplish the same tasks, over and over again.  This is certainly true of house cleaning.  But for many jobs, those repeated physical motions (think carpel tunnel syndrome) are tied to tasks which also require concentrated mental focus (think data entry at the widget factory).  House cleaning is by no means mindless, but once mastered the mind gains freedom to think about ideas, to listen to music or downloaded books, or to ‘do what you are doing’ in a meditative way.

Choose your Bosses: Some work environments can be crazy-making due to the need to suffer fools who are in a position of authority.  It is one of the benefits of self-employed house cleaning to choose your customers (i.e. bosses).  If an arrangement with a customer is not working out, you can part ways with (and replace) just that one customer without jeopardizing your entire income.

Nice Atmosphere: We often take too much for granted, and it is worth mentioning that house cleaning usually provides a pleasant work environment: quiet, environmentally safe, comfortable temperature, natural light, decorated surroundings…

Optimal ‘Self-Employment’ Situation

Established Need: The first step in business is to establish the need for your product or service.  No need to do so for house cleaning~ soap scum speaks for itself!  Every house needs regular cleaning and there is a significant percentage of households that hire out; because of physical limitations, busy schedules, or personal preference.

Low-Cost Start up: Reliable transportation, basic equipment and supplies, decent work clothes, and advertising through networking or other low-cost/no cost strategies is the bare bones of what you’ll need to launch your business. The greater expense (and this is not meant to be a comprehensive list) usually lies in items all self-employed persons need to cover such as providing your own personal medical insurance, additional taxes, no paid time off, and various business insurance options that might be considered or required.

 Repeat Business: Unlike most businesses that require the owner to continually find new customers, house cleaning is needed by each customer on an ongoing basis… a satisfied customer will likely continue to schedule your service for years to come, and a successful house cleaner needs only a modest roster of customers to maintain a full schedule.  That is a huge advantage over many self-employment business models!

Grow with Employees if Desired: Self-employed house cleaner status is a perfect platform from which to launch an incorporated business with employees if that is your ambition.  There are many issues to be considered, but first mastering housecleaning skills as a sole proprietor (while keeping expenses to a minimum) and then moving on to establish an incorporated cleaning service with employees is always a possibility.

Ideal Part Time Position: It’s an ideal undertaking to earn money as you go through college, or to supplement your household income… a couple of days each week, or a few days each month for that matter. Kids in school? Retired and energetic? Need some extra income for a home project or special vacation?

One of the ‘Helping’ Professions

Giving something Valuable: Livelihoods run the gamut: some help, some are neutral, and some harm.  House cleaning is definitely among the helping professions. Providing a service so simple and valuable truly does improve the quality of people’s lives and is a wonderful gifting to weave throughout your work life.

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