The current rate of home foreclosures in the United States is 0.36% – a record low. But even still, that equates to around 270,000 home foreclosures each year.
And did you know you can make money cleaning foreclosed homes?
You can, but it isn’t your everyday housekeeping job.
Many homes, when foreclosed, get left in very poor condition either because the owner left all their things or they left very angry and did some serious damage to the home.
No matter the situation, these houses have to be cleaned before being put back on the market, and in this article we are going to show you how you can make money doing just that.
Let’s get started!
How To Start a Foreclosure Cleaning Business
To get started cleaning foreclosed homes, all you need to do is follow three simple steps:
- Create a business
- Gather cleaning supplies
- Build a clientele base
Starting a business cleaning foreclosed homes is not very hard, but let’s dig a little deeper to see what each step really entails and what potential downsides there could be to this type of work.
1. Create a business
The process for creating a foreclosure cleaning business doesn’t take too much effort because all you really need is:
- Contact information for you or your business
- Business name
- Business cards
- Any business licenses you may need
- Any required or optional business insurance
Obviously, it’s important to note that you need to research all the requirements in your local area pertaining to this type of business, because you always want to be operating legally.
Then, you’re going to want to think about pricing your services.
As with most self-owned businesses, you have the ability to price your service as low or high as you want. Just make sure that you’re pricing competitively, or else you may not get many clients.
Your prices don’t have to be the lowest, but more often than not they shouldn’t be leagues more expensive than the highest.
Some things to take into consideration when pricing are:
- The common pricing for comparable services in your area
- How much competition you have
- How big the market is (how many homes are being foreclosed)
- The general condition these homes are left in
If there isn’t really anybody offering these services in your area yet, then you have a little more flexibility in how you price yourself.
One thing to consider about this job, before you really get into it, is you want to research really how much business you would have in the area.
If there’s only ever been one foreclosure in the past ten years, this may not be a very lucrative market. However, if there are hundreds per year, it may be more of a smart business venture.
And if there aren’t many foreclosures in your immediate vicinity, you can always commute to a different location. Just make sure your pricing will cover travel expenses.
Also, remember that some houses will take very little to get clean and in saleable condition, but other houses might be much more than you expected.
Some houses need minimal cleaning – a days’ work – while others may need dumpsters and contractors. This is something worth considering before you invest your time and money into this business.
2. Gather cleaning supplies
Of course, if you’re going to start any type of cleaning business, you will need some cleaning supplies to get you started!
But just what type of supplies would you need to clean foreclosed homes, and do they differ from your standard housekeeper’s list?
Well, that could really depend on the condition the home is left in.
For some houses, you may only need simple cleaning supplies similar to a general housekeeper.
These would be things like:
- Mop and bucket (or Swifter WetJet)
- Spot cleaner (portable)
- Vacuum with attachments
- Trash bags
- Paper Towels
- Various cleaning solutions
If you want a fuller list, check this one out. But you get the point: cleaning supplies you would use on your own home.
Now, for a house that is left in very poor condition, you may need to possibly fix a broken window or even remove large furniture from the home.
That being said, it would be safe to assume that you may need a little bit more than just some Lysol and Windex.
Just try to think through all the possible things you might have to do to get a home in sellable condition – even look up common things that are left for foreclosure cleaners to do when considering what you might need to buy for supplies.
It might also be helpful to have a few phone numbers for services like junk removal in your phone, as you’ll likely need to make use of these services.
3. Build a clientele base
In order to gain clients for your foreclosure cleaning business, really you just need to know the right people to approach.
One of the top ways to find your potential clients for cleaning foreclosed homes is by going to real estate agencies or banks.
Many real estate agencies will sell foreclosed homes, and there might even be just one agent in charge of that.
So, if you go approach a real estate agency and ask if they have a foreclosure agent, you could talk to them and give your contact information, what you do, and how much you charge.
Another way would be to approach the banks because a foreclosed home means that the mortgage wasn’t paid, and most mortgages are through banks.
So, go approach your local banks to talk about your services and give them some of your business cards.
This may take a little bit of time to build a clientele, however, because the bank or real estate agency could already have a cleaner they use.
But if you can price competitively and maybe even beat the price of other cleaners, that might be a fact that would make them take a chance on trying you out!
How Much Can You Make?
How much you can make cleaning foreclosed homes can really depend on the scope of the job.
A home that just needs a little bit of shampooing and scrubbing here and there will obviously be less than a home that needs a full deep cleaning.
On average, you could expect anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per home.
Now, considering the fact that if you work hard, a home that was left in very poor condition could take just a few days to complete.
That being said, this means if you could complete one very large-scale job for $2,500 in a week and do that consistently, you could make $135,000 cleaning foreclosed homes.
And if that week you worked 10 hours a day for five days a week, you would have made about $50 an hour cleaning that home.
Which is pretty good compared to most regular cleaning gigs and side hustles we’ve written about like cleaning yards, cleaning parking lots or picking up trash for example.
However, one thing you do have to take into consideration is the cost of supplies. A home that you could charge $2,500 for is going to cost a lot more in materials used than a house you could charge $500. So just remember to factor this supply cost into your rates, then you shouldn’t be too much different when all is said and done.
Overall, cleaning foreclosed homes is not too hard of a thing to try for making money at.
Once you get started building a clientele – which might take a little at first – you could be well on your way to earning a decent living.
All in all, just remember to follow all local regulations if you do choose to start a foreclosure cleaning business and then you should be good to go.
And of course, if you’re looking for a more home-based (and less dirty) way to earn some money, you could always try becoming a freelance transcriptionist or selling bath bombs.
Either way, hopefully this article was helpful for you!