Job Preparation| Are You Ready For Your First Cleaning Job?

Job Preparation
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Are you wondering what you need for job preparation? If you preparing for your fist cleaning job, it is not all about the products, it is all about you.  Here’s some advice from two cleaning professionals in the business for over 25 years.


As you read through, please note that I will refer to this post in the narrative as I alone started my cleaning business. It was about 7 years later that my husband, Elbert, joined as a partner. So, only I was present for the first cleaning job. You can read more about our back story here.


I have a very vivid memory of getting ready for my first cleaning job. Talk about excited. I can’t explain to you how thrilled I was that somebody, anybody, was giving me a chance to pursue my goals. That this person wanted me, no one else, to come and provide a service to them meant the world to me. This person was trusting me in their home.


That was big. That is still a huge factor in our industry.


Now, can I be very honest with you? I was a ball of nerves! I was excited, but nervous just the same.


After all, this was my very first residential cleaning job. It was not like the other few customers I had which were commercial offices. This was someone’s home!


Also, my commercial cleaning accounts knew me and I knew them prior to contracting with them. This residential customer contacted me through a mail ordering advertisement I sent out. We were perfect strangers. And, well, we can all agree that residential cleaning and commercial cleaning are two different types of service. Soooooo. I was nervous.

I was anxious about everything.


I started to doubt myself and my capabilities to clean the home. I kept thinking if I would measure up to this customer’s expectations. Would I be able to bring satisfaction to them in regards to their greatest concerns? I second guessed myself and questioned why did they reach out to me? I was not at all convinced that it was my 2-bit 1/3 of a sheet Val-Pak advertisement. Nope, that couldn’t have been it.


I wondered, what happened to the last cleaning company? I could only hope not to repeat the same mistakes. I simply didn’t want to disappoint the customer. That would be disappointing to me.


Just starting my office cleaning company at 20 years old was an accomplishment itself. No one else in my family, and certainly not my circle of young friends, had knowledge of owning or operating a professional cleaning service. I felt like a fish out of water most of the time. But, it was my dream to be a business owner. To be the business owner of a professional cleaning service especially because I had a passion for cleaning.


It was what I wanted more than anything at that time.


By the way, have you started your cleaning company?  If not, visit our online shop just for professional cleaners.  There are guide books, workbooks and printables useful for new cleaning pros and side hustlers.

So, I decided to do a mental check of my cleaning chemicals.


Like, did I have enough glass cleaner? Yep, 2 cans. Did I have enough scrub pads or towels? Yes, and yes, I do. What about the special chemical I needed to clean an area of concern for the customer? Yep, got that too. What if my vacuum breaks down, for whatever reason. What! Breakdown. That’s ok. I have a backup canister vacuum. It is definitely one of my best tools to get the job done right the first time. Light weight, portable, with all attachments included and I can vacuum hard surface floors and carpet. This is the one item that I wanted to make sure was prepped and ready with extra bags and a hepa filter.


I got myself so worked up that I only got about 3 hours of sleep the night before. Trust me, I remember the fatigue. After all, this was my business. This was the business that I wanted so desperately to work out. This was what I WANTED TO DO – the profession that I chose.

Then I prepared myself for the job.  Thinking from the beginning of the project to the end.

First – Plan to be early.

Since I planned to leave my apartment 20 minutes early, I brainstormed the fastest route I should take, the Dan Ryan Expressway or Lake Shore Drive. I didn’t have the convenience of a navigation system. Nope, people were still smarter than their phones and vehicles in the ‘90’s, lol.

Second – It is very important to be mentally ready.

I cannot express to you enough about being mentally ready for your first cleaning job. Although I had doubts about my abilities, I couldn’t show it. There was no way that I could confirm any lack of self-confidence. No way!


Ever heard of “Fake It Til You Make It”. Well, you can say that it was my mantra to get through this first residential cleaning job. I kept myself psyched up – I truly believed that I could perform every task outlined on their cleaning customer profile worksheet

In fact, would a Customer Profile Template help your cleaning business?  Grab yours for FREE.

Third – Cleaning can be hard on the body and requires a certain amount of stamina.

You don’t have to necessarily be “text book” fit, but it would be wise to have the ability to stand, bend, squat, and have upward mobility to perform most tasks if not all. Cleaning one average home alone can take 3-4 hours. Trust me, it is crucial to consider your physical health.


I would advise you to eat breakfast and make sure to have plenty of small snacks and water throughout the work day. (My husband and I still clean today and I continue this pattern of a light breakfast, light snacks or small meals throughout the work day. Oh, and I keep cases of spring water in my work van to stay hydrated).


Additionally, as I have gotten, ahem, more mature, I make sure to get in a good 10-15 minute stretch before every work day. It really, really helps.

Fourth – Have a cleaning strategy. 

Some of us like to clean by tasks (kitchen, then all baths, then all dusting/ polishing, then all vacuuming, then all washing floors).  Some professionals like to clean by the floor level.  From Top to bottom. 


Or, for single level homes, from the furthest of the house to the entry/exit.  There are some cleaners that have to work around the home owner and clean each room or area as directed.


However the circumstance, establish a cleaning strategy right away.  Since this is your first cleaning job, you can use this as a reference of how to create a good cleaning system. Don’t be alarmed that it may take you a little while to establish one.

The last advice I would give for job preparation on your first cleaning job is having the proper and enough cleaning supplies and/ or equipment.


So, so, so important. After all, cleaning is the reason you’re showing up, right?


When you get ready for your first cleaning job, you may not know what to use, how to use it, or if it is at all necessary to have. Even purchasing products can be a challenge depending on where you live.


Back “in the day”, I packed simple and basic products that I couldn’t go wrong with. Cleaning supplies that were harmless and got the job done. Products that I could use on a variety of surfaces like laminate, formica, stainless steel, tile, ceramic, and marble.


Nowadays, we have clients with copper sinks and bath tubs, cement counter tops, granite, glass, porcelain and stainless steel everything. Yet, I still use this product that is not only gentle but effective, safe, and requested by most or our customers.


In addition to this product.  A good glass cleaner, wood polish, stainless steel polish, multi-surface disinfectant, vinegar, only this type scour pads, gloves, towels, canister vacuum, magic eraser would be a good and simple start.

Keep in mind to use basic or “green” products when it comes to your first cleaning job.


Let me add to this about products.  Over time, you will begin to use a variety of cleaning products and equipment.  I used all sorts of professional lines and traditional household chemicals.  I will be brutally honest in saying that I have caused damage to surfaces over the past 27 years. 



Believe me, you will have ample time to try all kinds of products and equipment. Just don’t over burden yourself with more than you can handle in the beginning. Keep it simple. Especially when you start out.



Remember, don’t be late. Stay confident. Get rest and bring snacks or a small meal and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Stretch. And lastly, to get ready for your first cleaning job is to have the proper chemicals and equipment.


And let us know how your first cleaning job went.  Leave a comment.  Elbert and I would love to know how you did!  We’re excited for you!



“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Benjamin Franklin


Until next time,

Happy cleaning!



(Disclaimer: Please read the directions on the back of each product for proper use).


Creator of A Janitor’s Story®.  I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams!  Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams.  I’d like to help you do the same.


Click here to join my email list for constant inspiration, deals and special offers EXCLUSIVELY for new cleaning business solopreneurs and small cleaning teams.  I look forward to meeting you inside!

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  1. Jerry Woods says:

    I loved your tip of establishing a cleaning strategy right away when preparing for your job. My brother is looking for a new career and he was wondering how he could be a good janitor. I’ll be sure to let him know to make a cleaning strategy if he wants to become a janitor.

    1. says:

      Hi Jerry, Yes it’s very important to have a plan of action before jumping out there. Even if it’s just a little planning – it’ll help, A LOT. If he needs help please send him my way. We’ve got a lot of free content to consume just for the professional cleaner.

  2. Sabrina Addams says:

    It’s so important that you emphasized how you need to have all the right supplies you need to clean a site, such as a glass cleaner, wood polish, and supplies that can clean granite, copper, and other modern appliances. My neighbor’s oldest son is wanting to start a janitorial business and needs to get supplies. I’ll give him these tips to help him when buying janitorial supplies.

    1. says:

      That’s also for your neighbor’s son. I hope for much success with his janitorial service. And, thank you so very much for the referral.

  3. Good afternoon,
    I have started a new cleaning service and have my first prospective client this weekend. This article is very helpful and informative. I will keep you posted on what the outcome is! Be blessed.

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      Woohoo! I’m so excited for you! Congrats on getting starting and I too hope that all will go well for you. Thank you for the blessing and right back at you.

  4. I’m just starting back up as a domestic cleaner after leaving the job 18 years ago. Definitely nervous, and had forgotten more than I remembered. Thanks for this site, it’s really put my mind at ease.

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you found this article helpful. And congrats – wow 18 years later. It’s like riding a horse, it will all come back to you.

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