What Is an Estate Cleanout Service?
An estate cleanout service is generally provided to someone who is struggling with emptying out a deceased loved one’s home, is in the process of moving to downsize, or is being evicted.
When a loved one passes away, family members or executioners of the estate will be tasked with cleaning out the vacant space. As an estate cleanout service, you clean the estate and place items in storage or auctions, helping to alleviate the physical and mental stress clients can face when completing the task themselves.
Similarly, estate cleanout services can be conducted in cases where someone is moving to downsize or has been evicted.
How to Start an Estate Cleanout Business
Ensure your estate cleanout service is dependable and expedient by putting a lot of forethought into your business plan. Follow the steps outlined below to learn how to plan for and start a successful estate cleaning business.
1. Become Licensed and Insured
The first thing your estate cleanout service should acquire is a license to operate. To do so, you will also need to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number. This is especially important if you have employees. To get the number, visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.
It is recommended to get insurance to help protect you and your employees. If you manage to accidentally destroy or damage belongings or property, you will want the safety net of insurance. You do not want to have to pay for things to be fixed from your own pocket.
2. Purchase Storage Space
Oftentimes your clients will want to store belongings. When getting the logistics of your estate cleanout service in order, look for storage spaces near you.
3. Acquire The Proper Equipment
As an estate cleanout service, you will need to rely on transportation the most. This is because you will be hauling cleaning supplies and resident belongings.
The typical cleaning van for commercial or residential cleaning services won’t cut it. Therefore, you will want to invest in a moving truck. Having a truck will ensure you have enough space for your cleaning supplies in addition to anything that may need to be placed in storage.
You may also want to consider providing storage bins for clients if they wish to place belongings in storage.
4. Competitively Price Your Service
Before pricing your service, check out your competitors. Look up estate cleanout services near you and see their price range. This will ensure you are able to compete in your local market.
If you are priced too high, clients might choose a cheaper option. Pricing your services too low can push you out of the competition, lead to lower rates on returns, and can lead clients to view your services as poor in quality.
Use an Estate Cleanout Checklist
Homeowners or family members of a deceased loved one may conduct an average household cleaning, but your job is to ensure the estate is move-in ready as an estate cleanout service.
When hired, make sure to first understand what your client’s expectations are. The best way to do so is to create a running checklist in a three-ring binder to act as a personalized organizer per job. An effective binder will constantly be updated as you complete your cleaning.
Also within the three-ring binder, provide a space for your clients to list any potential belongings they may want to be auctioned or placed in storage.
Use the information below to help create your checklist to ensure the estate cleaning process goes smoothly, lessen stress, and help kickstart the process of starting this service.
Tools of The Trade
Cleaning out an estate takes a bit more equipment than your average cleaning. The reason for this is that you are doing a deep clean of the entire estate and packing up furniture or belongings for your clients. Likewise, estate cleanout services can be both interior and exterior.
While you are not a moving company, your clients may request that certain belongings, such as furniture or antiques, be placed in storage. Some clients may do this themselves, but in case it is left up to you, always have trash bags and storage bins on hand.
Cleaning tools to consider having on-hand when conducting an estate cleanout are:
- Storage bins
- Trash bags
- Pressure washer
- Leaf blower
- Disposable gloves
- Cleaning agents
Depending on the specifics of your offered services, your tools may vary. Above are common cleaning tools that can often be overlooked, but are a necessity for an estate cleanout.
It is important to consistently have all the necessary tools on hand. Creating and using a checklist for yourself on what tools you need per job will ensure that your services are performed efficiently.
Tackling the cleaning process one room at a time will be beneficial. This method of cleaning will ensure that each room gets done thoroughly and in a timely manner.
Depending on the situation of your estate house cleaning, you may want to ask your clients right from the start whether or not they want to store or auction items. This will help you determine what type of checklist you need to make for your service.
Make sure to create a checklist for each room. Survey the estate before cleaning to ensure that you have a comprehensive checklist for you to use as you clean. It is also good to provide your clients with a copy of the checklist once you are done for liability reasons. This is especially important if you are storing, auctioning, or throwing out items.
Start with personal rooms because they hold personal items that family members may want to have right away. Typically, clothes, jewelry, and a few sentimental belongings will be taken with your clients. Furniture like vanities, dressers, bed frames, mattresses, and desks can be either placed in storage or auctioned.
Items to be placed in storage or auctioned will mainly come from these rooms. Often the furniture in these rooms can be bulky or cumbersome for clients to deal with. Make sure to be aware of what items your clients will want to keep, auction, or take with them right as they move out.
This space of the home will need to be deep cleaned. Appliances and items should be organized, boxed, and set aside first. This will leave you with enough room to clean each surface without obstacles.
Similar to the kitchen, the bathrooms will need to be deep cleaned. This is because a lot of bacteria can build up over time. You are not always familiar with your clients’ cleaning or hygiene habits, so it is better to clean everything thoroughly.
When to Place Belongings in Storage or Auction
Your clients will often determine whether or not they want their belongings to be placed in storage or auctioned. In the event that you are performing an estate cleanout for a deceased loved one that doesn’t have available family members, you may have to make this type of decision yourself.
Storage spaces are typically used for clients who plan on retrieving their belongings. Clients will use a storage room to store their items to make the moving process easier.
Belongings that typically go into storage are those that will be used again. These types of items include common furniture, personal belongings that hold sentimental value, and things that might be difficult to repurchase right away.
When placing items in a storage facility for your clients, make sure to create a checklist for them. Coordinate clearly labeled boxes or bins with items on your storage checklist. This will optimize the storage process for your clients.
Belongings that will be placed in an auction are those that your clients may not have the room for. Also, your clients may not know how to properly sell certain items and ask you to auction them instead.
Auctioning client belongings can be beneficial to your company. By alleviating your clients’ mental and physical stress of getting rid of personal belongings, you will be able to build a stronger bond with them. This could lead to them either using your services again down the line or recommending you to a friend or family member.
Estate Cleanout, Solved
Once you have your estate cleanout business planned, consider downloading the Taskbird app to manage and track your team and jobs.
Our organizational software helps you manage your team and employee workflows in one place from anywhere. You’ll be able to assign and schedule faster, track task completion, and improve team communication. Also, you will be able to upload checklists and images that can be shared with your team for reference.
Check out Taskbird to help your estate cleanout service run smoothly and efficiently.