Cleaning houses - if you don't mind the work there is money to be made out there in this business! I have had my own residential cleaning business for three and a half years and have always had a waiting list. It is great to be my own boss, set my own hours and rates - refuse the jobs I don't care to do and work hard at the ones that are worth the effort. The best part is that my clients love to see me coming and don't mind paying me for a valuable service.
I started out by word mouth, which goes much farther than paying for advertising. I did place one ad in the "services offered" section of the classifieds in our local paper and only got one client. I also spent some money on flyers. My husband is in the ad business so the design was free and he got a deal on the printing but it was still not money well spent - I got no response. The word of mouth method got me started with three clients right away. Within six months I had 14 regular clients.
I work four days a week for an average of five hours per day because I really want to be home with my kids after school. I am sure that I could be working full time if I needed the money. I charge about $20 per hour - the condition of the house is a major factor in how I arrive at a rate for each individual client.
Basically, I do whatever the client wants but have set a few limits. I do not do the outsides of windows and I do not clean garages. Every job is different. Some homeowners want the bed linens changed; others prefer to do it themselves. One client just wants the basics - vacuuming and light dusting. Every six weeks or so she does a more thorough job. Then at the other end of the spectrum, I have a client who wants me to do everything that looks like it needs done, in other words, I am the only one who ever does any cleaning in her home.
I use my own equipment and cleaning products. I am a registered sales tax collecting business. I provide a service that my clients appreciate and are willing to pay me well for. Because I am well educated, there was a time when I was not eager to answer the question "what do you do for a living?" - I felt that it was a low level job. I handle my business very professionally and work hard and happily. Now I am proud of what I do.
Good Luck to all those moms out there searching for a way to make good money and still have their children as their top priority.