Best Marketing Tips for your House Cleaning Business Edition
Tax Tips for House Cleaners, Maids & Janitors
Best Tax Tips for House Cleaners & Maids – Your Answers
- Keep all your W2’s and 1099 forms in one place. As they trickle in over the month of January have one set spot for them. It makes bookkeeping for your cleaning service a breeze.
- Keep your house cleaning purchases and receipts separate from your personal household purchases and receipts.
- Report your cash earnings and tips. Don’t screw around with the IRS. It’s not worth the jail time if you’re caught.
- Hire an accountant to oversee your cleaning business
#WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Ask a House Cleaner – Best Tax Tips for House Cleaners & Maids
It’s tax time. Yay!
In our house cleaner training as Savvy Cleaner, we encourage all housekeepers and maids to think of taxes as a puzzle. The big picture comes together when you have all the pieces in place. The pieces arrive during January and come in the form of 1099 and W2’s. Because house cleaners have many clients – you may receive many tax forms.
Tax Tips for House Cleaners (Employees)
As a cleaning employee if you earn more than $2,000 per year from a single source (a family, or the cleaning company that hired you) you will receive a W2. That source is legally required to pay employer taxes for you. This means they’ve contributed to social security and Medicare benefits you may later need. Receiving a W2 also creates a verifiable work history that comes in handy when you apply for a car or house loan.
If you earn less than $2,000 from a single source in a year, they may send you a 1099 which pays you as an independent contractor. They didn’t take any taxes out or contribute to any benefits for you. One time house cleanings pay you as a “once and done”. You won’t receive any tax forms from them at all. You claim your 1099’s, bonuses, tips, and random cleanings as “other income.”
Tax Tips for House Cleaners (Cleaning Service Owners)
You own the business. You pay for advertising. Lots of clients cycle through your business. You provide the cleaning supplies. And you decide the cleaning hours. You are responsible for all the taxes. You are the one who sends out the W2’s and 1099s to your housekeepers, maids, and independent contractors. The law states that you send these out by January 31.
As the owner of the company, you pay self-employment taxes. You pay these taxes in equal installments four times a year to both the state and the federal government. If you don’t pay quarterly taxes and you owe more than $1,000 in taxes when you file your annual return, there will be penalties.
One of the Secrets to Putting a Puzzle Together Is to Look for Straight Edges.
This helps you form the outline of the puzzle. Tax codes are the straight edges that tie your tax puzzle together. Next, group like colors and common objects together. These are your cleaning business receipts that you’ve collected all year. You use these to confirm cleaning related deductions.
But the biggest secret of putting a puzzle together is to look at the big picture. This gives you an idea of what the completed puzzle will look like and keeps you on track. An accountant who understands tax law for residential cleaning holds the big picture.
Meet with your accountant through the year to ensure you get the most deductions your cleaning company deserves.
Be sure to keep good records of your business income and expenses. You wouldn’t think of putting a puzzle together knowing it’s missing pieces. Keep all your pieces together.
Social Media & Tax Tips for House Cleaners
Join a Tax for small business Facebook Group. There is lots of free advice out there and lots of people who can offer great solutions to your common problems.
Time-Saving Hack of the Week = Accounting Software to Streamline Bookkeeping
I’ve used Quicken for years for my house cleaning company. I have it connected online to my credit cards and bank accounts. Once a week I open the online software and it updates all the bank vault entries automatically. My weekly accounting takes me ten minutes. Fifteen tops.
Cleaning Business Deposits
For small deposits, I use mobile banking. Using the bank app, I photograph checks I receive and like magic, the bank deposits the money to my account. For larger or recurring accounts I have direct deposit set up through the client.
For cash accounts, I save up until I have $600 or more and then I drive through a bank teller window and make a cash deposit.
Every week I verify all deposits automatically added to my Quicken ledger are accurate.
Purchases for my Cleaning Business
Then I verify all purchases I made to operate my cleaning service. I match the receipts I’ve saved. And I note right in the software which ones are house cleaning related and which ones are personal. Then I file my paper receipts in a filing system that I keep for ten years in the event of an audit. Keeping good records is among the best tax tips for house cleaners.
Pay Bills on A Schedule
The weekly accounting routine is a good time to pay bills and taxes on a schedule. I see the bills due now, and the ones due next week and next month. This way I can budget money if necessary. It also prevents me from late payments, overdraft fees or tax penalties.
You don’t have to be super smart to run the financial end of your cleaning business. But it is a smart idea to use software that does the bulk of the work for you and keeps you on task.
What’s going on with Angela?
Well, it is the end of the year at Savvy Cleaner and probably the end of the year in your cleaning business as well. We’re really big in our office on new years resolutions. We have a contest that continues all year with awards and prizes for every posted new years resolution that we meet. In 2016 we had 43 posted resolutions and we met 36 of them. How do I know there were 36? Because we celebrate at my favorite restaurant which is a Hibachi Grill that also serves sushi (I pick up the tab for the team). At the end of the celebration the waiter brings us all fortune cookies. I keep my fortunes in a small tray on my desk. I just counted and there are 36 of them. No surprise most of my fortunes have come true as well. Woohoo!
So we are setting new years resolution for the coming year and I hope you are too. Tax tips for house cleaners – celebrate your wins. It’s great comradery and keeps everybody focused and on task. And since it’s a business celebration it’s tax deductible. And yes, you should keep the receipts. 🙂
Delegate Tasks to Streamline your House Cleaning Business
Best Task or Job You’ve Delegated? – Your Answers
- Landscaping so I could spend more time with my family.
- House painting. I’ve always done the painting at our house, but with the new cleaning business, I was too busy. Paid someone else this time.
- Car washing. I took your advice to buy a monthly unlimited car wash package. Now I save time driving through the machine rather than trying to find time to clean it myself. My car gets washed more for less time and effort plus they have free vacuums.
- After my husband left I delegated being a stay at home mom to a nanny so I could work and provide for my family. And the time I spent with my kids was quality time rather than us all getting on each other’s nerves and me stressing out because we had no money to pay bills.
#WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Ask a House Cleaner – Do It Yourself First – Delegate Second.
Imagine you go to a baker. You say: “I’m thinking of something you make with flour, it’s baked, then you use it to make a sandwich.”
The baker says: “You’ve come to the right place.”
You leave and come back later to pick up a hot loaf of bread. Instead, the baker gives you a bag of pitas.
Whaat? Technically the baker gave you what you asked for. But the finished product doesn’t match your expectations.
If you delegate a task and you don’t describe exactly what you expect – you might end up with disappointing results.
House cleaners by nature are DIY people. And I don’t mean they are control freaks. I mean they are creative, efficient workers who know that if they want something done right, they can do it themselves. I recommend this approach as you start your business.
By doing a task yourself, you learn how long it is going to take. You figure out what resources you need to complete that task. As a creative, you find the cheapest, most efficient way to do the task. This is powerful information.
Once you know the elements of a task you can template it. Document the process, the cost, the time, and any methods used for efficiency.
It’s easy to go to the baker wanting a loaf of bread. When you get the pitas you get angry and wish you had shopped somewhere else. But it’s not the baker’s fault. He did his best to match your explanation. When you do it yourself, you expand your knowledge and your ability to describe what you need in terms the baker can visualize.
These rules apply to the tasks you will delegate in your cleaning business. Do it yourself first. Delegate second.
Social Media = Delegate to Filters, Apps & Plugins
Thanks to technology we can connect with prospects and clients in a bigger, faster way. The challenge is to figure out how to make social media and websites work for us, not against us.
The good news is that with the new technology there are lots of new apps, plugins, filters and code snippets. Every day they (the code writing geniuses that create all this stuff) release new bits to the market.
Some of it is free and some of it is premium (meaning you have to pay a small token fee to access it.)
So ask yourself this question; How much time would it take me to create this plugin myself? Or pay someone to reinvent the wheel and create it for me? Or should I pay $14.95 one time and activate someone else’s plugin and have it working in seconds?
Buy the plugins. They are tax deductible. And they will save you enormous amounts of DIY time. This is another way to delegate technology tasks and buy your time back. Now you can focus on the day-to-day operations of running a business.
Time Saving Hack of the Week = Delegate With The End In Mind
When you think of time-saving hacks you think of shortcuts and automation. This is a long-term time-saving hack that requires an upfront investment of time and patience. But will save you in the long run. It is best to plan these delegation tasks while your business is young. Don’t wait until you are so swamped with work that you don’t have time to teach someone new.
When you delegate chores for the first time to a new employee or contractor there is a period of awkwardness.
You give up control to someone else.
And in order for them to thrive in their new position, you need to give them space to make mistakes.
Be clear about your expectations.
Let them know you will be checking in on them at a certain point. But don’t micromanage.
Be available for questions or suggestions they might have.
Butt out of the way while they figure out the new job.
Look for things they did right.
Celebrate and reward the wins in the new relationship.
As your employee gains confidence in their new task, step back and let them have more control.
This frees you up to do what you do best. Time saved.
What’s going on with Angela?
In the middle of a grueling work week, Pat dragged me out for a little fun. We caught it on camera. Enjoy!
Organizational Tools to Streamline your House Cleaning Business
Organizational Tools – Which Are Your Favorites? Your Answers
- Organizational tools I like best are my cleaning caddy – which is a soft shell industrial tool bag. The handle is made of lightweight aluminum and the sides of the bag are high enough that my cleaning supplies don’t fall out. I also love the many pockets.
- We pre-wet a lot of the supplies on our rags to do away with spray bottle cleaning focusing on efficiency and productivity.
- Buying supplies online. Most vendors offer free shipping when you buy a certain dollar amount.
- Dollar Tree bins. They come in all sizes and shapes and are awesome for drawers, cupboards, and desks. I keep a stash of them in my car and include them in the price of the job.
- Lazy susans. I buy them online and resell them to my clients for their kitchen cupboards. It saves them from having to buy them elsewhere and it allows me to do my job. #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Leave a comment at the end. I’d love to know your answers.
Ask a House Cleaner – Organizational Tools for the Job (Launch 27)
Launch 27 is an online booking and scheduling software that streamlines your workflow.
Launch27 comes highly recommended by several house cleaners in our network this week.
With Launch 27 your prospects find you on the web and visit your website. Instead of not catching you, and leaving you a message, and then you playing phone tag, they can get an instant price quote for house cleaning and special projects. And they can pay for the service right online via credit card. That payment links via direct deposit to your bank account.
You can charge by the number of rooms, number of bathrooms, special projects (windows, baseboards etc.) Hourly rate, square feet/meters etc. And the program spits out a price. Of course, once you get to the home to do a walkthrough you have the right to make adjustments if you want.
The beauty of this program is that it takes all the guesswork out of bidding a job. Before you waste time and travel expense going over there, you and the client both know how much it’s going to cost, and you both know what the job will include.
Once the job is complete
Launch27 sends a rating and review email to your client to give you a bad, good or great rating. If you get a great rating, the ratings are forwarded to you to post on social media or your website. The bad reviews are forwarded to you so you can correct the problems and turn unhappy customers into glowing referrals.
You can pay for Launch27 by licensing the software on a monthly basis. (Payment plans range from $59 to $299 per month.)
Or, you can buy a WordPress theme that does the same thing that you can customize. (The theme is a one time fee of $450)
Either option requires you to have a website.
- You need to register a domain name. (Approx $10 year.)
- You’ll need to host the domain name (Approx $5-10/mo.)
- Buy the Launch 27 theme (Approx $450. This is a one time fee for the theme)
- Or license the software (Payment Plans range from $59 to $299/mo.)
Think how much time this saves bidding jobs, meeting customers expectations and collecting your money.
Like I said, the house cleaners using it LOVE it.
Social Media = Organizational Tools (Feedly + Buffer)
Your clients will search for you online. But what will they find?
If you run a cleaning service, you should have some organic traffic that links you back to cleaning.
How do you do it if you don’t have a blog? You “share” other people’s cleaning and organization information. You can retweet it, repin it, and repost it.
Feedly gathers information from across the web via RSS feed. You simply type in your search terms “house cleaning” “home organization” or whatever. Feedly will search the internet and bring back to you all the articles on the topics you choose.
Open a blog and at the top save it to Buffer.
Buffer opens and you can choose which account you want to use to share the blog. (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest etc.) Type in a comment about the blog and save. Share in multiple places at different times. You get to schedule the times the posts are made. You can also shuffle the queue so that the post will land on different days so if your clients are following you in various places they don’t see the same post on three different sites the same day.
Buffer then serves your social media accounts these “shares” while you are at work. It’s like having a social media assistant working for you while you are running your business.
- Feedly is a free and paid service.
- Buffer has free and paid services depending on how many social media accounts you want to connect.
Time Saving Hack of the Week – Organizational Tools for Employees
but after experimenting with it for a week my vote is cast. I LOVE Focus@Will. Costs $9.95 per month (and you’ll make it back in productivity your first hour of use.)
Focus@Will is an app you can download on your phone, or use from your computer. It’s 50 channels of music and sounds that scientifically help you focus better by reprogramming your brain waves.
More than 20,000 surveyed subscribers say they increased their attention span from 20 minutes up to 2 hours or more using this.
There is a slider that allows you to choose your level of productivity. I chose 100% duh!
Forget caffeine. When you use Focus@Will you’ll notice that your heart rate starts beating in tune with the rhythm. (I just chose an alpha drum beat and turned the volume down low.) I consciously tuned out the sound after a minute or two. And I set the timer for 100 minutes.
Bam! 100 minutes flew by and the app asked me to rate my productivity. It’s amazing how focused and productive I was while listening.
So Focus@Will is among my new favorite organizational tools since it helps you organize your brain waves. Use it while cleaning, bookkeeping, social media updates etc.
And they have a 15-day free trial.
What’s going on with Angela? Organizational Tools at Savvy Cleaner (YEXT)
Back in the olden days (and yes, I’ve been around since then), we had yellow page phone books. That’s how our clients found us. Then came email, web pages, and later social media.
The online stuff is good but it’s useless unless prospects can find you when they are looking for you.
They find you now by search engines fed by online business directories.
Anyway, your listing in a business directory is called a “citation”. A citation includes your business name, address, phone, email, website, and photos of your business. You can include a short and long description of the services you offer. You can also include a coupon or special event information.
There’s only one problem.
There are over 400 business directories that I’ve found online. Each one takes 20-40 minutes to enter and verify. You can add or update as many as you like a day, and slowly work your way through the list. This is free to do. Let’s say you run a special promotion – and you post it 10 of those sites — and then you manually remove the information once the promotion ends. That can take up gobs of time.
Yext is a premium listing service that will do all this work for you at $999 per year. (Talk to a rep on the phone and they will give you an annual price of $499. I couldn’t talk them any lower, but they’ll give just about anybody the $499 price.)
Savvy Cleaner just joined Yext. Within 24 hours our citations were live on 71 search engines. Then we changed our website from HTTP to https and I updated the one listing in Yext and Bam! Within minutes all listings updated across the web.
If your cleaning company services several zip codes or cities, this might be a good tool for you.
The free DIY option we reserved for search engines that Yext doesn’t cover. But this annual fee replaces us from hiring someone at $15 per hour to do the manual submissions and manage special promotions or coupons.