A reader asks: "I am starting a new cleaning company and not sure what to do first. Any suggestions would be appreciated."

Congratulations on beginning your endeavor. Following are a few basic suggestions that I hope will help you:

1. Have an estimating process to determine bid price. For example, have a spreadsheet product or maybe you already know the price to quote.

2. Obtain the appropriate licenses and permits to start the contract.

3. Determine a structure for staffing, training, equipment, chemical line, etc.

4. Have a good working relationship with a vendor for chemicals and equipment. They should be willing to provide support, guidance and training specific to their products.

5. Although product brand names are important, it is more important for a startup company be able to network with a local distributor committed to your success.

6. Research the U.S. Green Building Council or CIMS GB certification to learn about green cleaning recommendations.

7. Be committed to this endeavor. There will be hard days and challenges that will test your resolve. It is important that you have goals that are not only achievable and realistic but also suitable for your current position in life.

8. Know what you CAN do and what you CANNOT do based on your knowledge and experience. This includes knowing where to find support and guidance for third party experts in your area.

Starting a new venture is exciting and challenging at the same time. Hurry slowly and do your homework.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.