There's no shortage of opportunities for you to test your interest in cleaning. Many different organizations in your community need volunteers for such work. The social services departments that assist the elderly and the disabled in many towns rely on volunteers and part-time workers to go into homes and clean for those who can't do it themselves. Those jobs will generally involve only light cleaning and vacuuming. Because most of your work will involve solutions and equipment, rent a carpet cleaning machine and try it out. Clean all the carpets in your house, and you'll get a sense of the daily duties of a cleaning service owner (though professional cleaning tools are often larger and more complex than the ones you rent from a store). Large cleaning services that clean office buildings and stores often hire high school students for evening hours and weekends. Working even part time, you'll learn a lot about the cleaning equipment and requirements of the work.
Cleaning service owners must possess both business skills and the knowledge of cleaning everything from flooring, bathrooms, windows, and refrigerators. Cleaning service owners often begin their business with cleaning homes themselves and then hire others to assist with cleaning. The owners of larger businesses generally maintain the day-to-day operations of a business such as payroll, hiring, marketing, and supervising employees while the staff performs the cleaning.
Carpet cleaning is a specialty within home cleaning services. For hot water extraction, a hot-water cleaning solution is first sprayed on the carpet. The soil dissolves in the solution, and the solution is then lifted from the carpet with a wet vacuum. Although it's commonly known as "steam" cleaning, no steam is actually generated by the heated solution. Shampooing is another method: It involves applying the cleaning solution to the carpet with a circular brush. The brush spins, rubbing the carpet and frothing the solution into a foam. The soil is then suspended and removed by wet/dry vacuuming. Other methods of carpet cleaning are foam cleaning and dry cleaning.
Cleaning service owners also take down drapes, clean them, then rehang them. They restore and refinish hardwood floors. With special high-powered vacuums and brushes, they clean air ducts. In addition to working in homes, they also clean offices and other large public buildings.
Some cleaning services specialize in disaster restoration. After a house or building has been damaged by fire, smoke, or flooding, restorers are brought in to clean. With special skills, they work to restore the property to its original state, cleaning and repairing from top to bottom. Walls, ceilings, carpets, and furniture are cleaned. Carpets may be extracted and deodorized. Damaged furniture is reupholstered. Some companies even repair damaged books, documents, and electronics. Cleaning services that offer restoration often maintain a 24-hour phone number for emergencies.
A cleaning service may contract with a company to clean offices and apartments on a regular basis. They perform the usual cleaning of carpets and drapes and also fire-retard drapes to meet local fire ordinances. They clean fabric walls and fabric partitions. Cleaning services usually only enter office buildings after business hours, so commercial work often involves late evenings and weekends.
Today's cleaning service owners must keep up to date on the most appropriate products to use. Some clients are sensitive to harsh chemicals or have concerns about the environmental impacts of these products, therefore a successful cleaning service owner must cater to these requests.