Organizational skills are a rare talent, and there’s a huge market for decluttering professionals who can help the rest of us improve our habits and our living spaces. Still, taking the plunge and starting your own decluttering business can feel like an overwhelming prospect.
Luckily, startup costs for decluttering businesses are relatively low and the legal requirements aren’t especially demanding, so it’s much easier to turn your talents into profit than you might think.
Everything from your services and business plan to your website and payment system can be taken care of in just 8 simple steps, and I'm here to tell you how to do it step by step based on my own experience.
8 Steps to Start a Decluttering Business
Here are the essential steps you need to follow to set up your own decluttering business.
1. Join a Professional Association
Having access to professional resources for training, networking, specialist advice, and promotion can be a game changer when starting a new business. For professional declutterers, organizations like the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) in the U.S. and the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) in the UK provide exactly this.
The resources you gain access to as a member can help you even during the very first stages of your new business venture, so I recommend finding your local association and researching the membership requirements as early as you can.
Membership benefits can vary across different organizations, but for reference, NAPO offers its members privileges such as:
- Networking tools like community forums
- Professional development and education
- Specialist certification exams
- Industry discounts
- Access to events and conferences
- Volunteer opportunities
- Podcasts and other members-only content
Even after your business is set up, you can continue to get value out of your membership as you grow and expand your business.
If there aren't any such associations in your area, you can always join Facebook groups, forums, and Reddit communities to stay in touch with other decluttering professionals.
2. Develop Services and Packages
Professional organizers can offer a range of services for clients, from small, one-off jobs like organizing a home office area or a wardrobe, to long-term projects that involve working on an entire house. In the decluttering industry, you’re likely to take on a lot of one-time clients so it’s important to develop package deals that cover small and specific organizing projects.
This can include one-room services, or specific tasks like decluttering clothes, bookshelves, kitchen utensils, or children’s toys. You can also offer services that focus on helping clients develop organized storage systems for their homes, or improve on the systems they already have.
You should also keep in mind that decluttering professionals often deal with clients with hoarding issues, and it’s part of the job to provide emotional support and encouragement. Creating services that cater specifically to this kind of client can help encourage them to enlist your services. An example of this could be offering a package deal that includes five sessions with the client so that you can slowly ease them into letting some of their possessions go.
3. Create a Business Plan
Business plans are essential for any new venture because they help you envision and develop the services, processes, prices, and logistics of your business. For professional organizers, subcontracting and outsourcing can be an important part of your business.
This is because decluttering projects can require handy work, and organizational projects will require you to source storage products for your client to buy and use. Setting budgets, researching potential stockists, and checking out local artisans to subcontract can all be a part of your business planning process.
You can also start small and take care of everything yourself, but even then, a business plan will help guide your way through this venture.
Don’t forget you can use your association membership to get access to all sorts of resources and community advice on this subject. You may even be able to network with other professional organizers in your specific area that have knowledge of local suppliers.
4. Register Your Business
If you do decide to join an association, registering your business and taking care of the legalities might be one of the first things on your to-do list. To make sure their members run legitimate businesses, associations like NAPO require their members to have all the right licenses, permits, and insurance before they sign up.
You’ll be able to find detailed guidance on registering your business and setting up insurance at your local city hall or state website, but here’s the basic gist. The first thing you need to consider is your business structure. There are a lot of options but for small individually run enterprises like a professional organization business, the two most common business structures are:
- Sole proprietorship: This essentially doing business as an individual, mostly under your own name, and paying income tax on your profits. It’s the easiest way to set up a new small business because there’s no government involvement.
- LLC (Limited Liability Company): This type of structure separates the business from the owner, so you can’t be held responsible for the company’s debts or liabilities. Some small companies will use this structure, but mostly only if you have multiple employees.
5. Make a Website
As a professional organizer, your personality is integral to your business because potential clients who require emotional support will rely on your friendly disposition and encouragement to help them achieve their decluttering goals.
Your sense of style is also important because your clients will choose you based on the spaces you help create and the storage solutions you design. A website provides the perfect space to showcase these elements of your business, where you can display projects and post various kinds of content about you and your services.
If you want to make sure your site is populated with some project examples before you’ve actually had any clients, you can find non-paid projects to document by reaching out to your family and friends or taking part in some volunteer work.
To make the website itself, you can use any of the popular website builders on the market to create a professional-looking site at an affordable cost. Make sure it’s a well-organized and aesthetically pleasing site that faithfully presents your business.
6. Sign Up for a Google Business Profile
If you’re making a website, you should also set up a Google Business Profile to help drive traffic to you. This is especially relevant for a professional decluttering business because you need your clients to be fairly local, and that’s exactly the kind of people Google Business helps you to target.
Google will display your business profile when people in your local area search for decluttering services. You can fill it with photos and information about your business, as well as linking to your website and other contact methods. It’s both a great way for potential clients to find you, and to see a snapshot of your offerings before making the decision to click.
7. Set Up a Payment System
Choosing a smooth, easy-to-use, and reliable payment system is a vital step in setting up your business. Consumers now have access to a variety of effortless payment methods, which drastically lowers their trust and patience for less efficient systems.
For a professional organizer, a large majority of your work will be carried out on-site, but this doesn’t mean you need to request payment in person. Offering your clients the opportunity to pay by credit card and pay at their leisure can help raise your customer satisfaction and keep your working relationship going smoothly.
Pay.com makes this process simple for both you and your clients. Setting up an account and accepting your first credit card payments is quick and straightforward, even if you’ve never used a merchant service provider before.
The feature I use the most is Pay Links. You can send your clients a direct payment link as an email or part of an invoice, and it will take them straight to a secure checkout page to make their payment. You can set up this checkout page with the payment methods you want to offer with just a few clicks, choosing from widely-used services like Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and PayPal. This is useful for custom payments that you decide on with your clients.
You’ll also be able to accommodate clients who prefer to pay over the phone by using Pay.com’s Virtual Terminal feature. This lets you take your client’s card details and enter them into your Pay Dashboard to take payment.
Don’t wait till the last minute! Click here to sign up with Pay.com now.
8. Find Your First Clients
Once you’ve dealt with the legalities, prepared some project examples to show potential customers, and set up a way to get paid, you have everything you need to welcome your first customers.
At this stage, the most productive thing you can do is build up your portfolio, so taking easy-to-find jobs from associates, acquaintances, your local hairdresser, or anyone else in your social or professional network is a great place to start.
Building these local connections can also lead to new clients in the future, especially when you work with other client-based professionals like hairdressers, beauty professionals, instructors, and shop owners who interact with a large number of people they can recommend you to.
Your website and Google Business profile will also help turn more verbal recommendations into paying clients because you’ll be easy to find and contact even if they were only given your name.
The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Decluttering Business
As with any new business, they are both benefits and drawbacks to becoming a self-employed professional declutterer.
- You can make money by following your passion.
- You’ll be able to help other people to improve their lives through decluttering.
- You can choose when you work and how much you work.
- You’ll have the opportunity to work with lots of different people on a variety of projects.
- You need to be flexible and accommodate clients’ schedules.
- Jobs involving hoarding disorders could be stressful.
- You’ll need to build a network for subcontracting and supplying products.
The Bottom Line: Is Starting a Decluttering Business Right For You?
If you have a passion for organization and a desire to help others improve their living spaces, starting a decluttering business could be perfect for you. However, cluttered living spaces can be the cause of a lot of stress, so working with clients isn’t always easy and the process isn’t always smooth.
You’ll need both organizational and social prowess to pull it off, and staying positive and encouraging is an absolute must. Setting up a small business though can be quite straightforward, with the main steps including the following:
- Developing your services
- Creating a business plan
- Registering your business
- Making a website
There will be plenty of room for expansion and improvement as you find your footing, but these are the basic steps you need to follow before taking clients. You’ll also need a reliable and convenient way for your clients to pay you, so remember to check out Pay.com.
With Pay.com's easy-to-navigate service and wide variety of payment methods, you’ll be able to meet customer needs effortlessly, and spend more of your time helping clients.