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Old 05.06.2007, 15:16
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Small Business question - cleaning business

sorry mods, wasn't sure where to slap this...I thought here?
I have a few questions, and I'm sure I am way off base or in over my head here. Some of you know my story from last yr...moved here to marry a swiss, thought my work exp. would easily transfer into *some* kind of work here...NO. Without uni/college AND no german, I was miserable....decided to take some cleaning jobs under the table....which leads me to my questions....

how can I turn this into a viable, legal thing? The thought of me doing this longterm is just not appealing, and def. NOT what I envisioned my future here to be doing....is there any where I can take small bus. courses and try (down the road of course, not yet) to turn this into MY business?
I feel like my options in this country are extremely limited. My copies of my hs transcripts and diploma were lost in the mail....is this going to be a total situation for me taking courses? I just don't know what else to do with myself and I know now, there IS a market here....I'm turning people down constantly b/c I now need to get my sorry beeehind back into german school with the $$$ I am making from the existing clients.

help! I don't want to do this forever. I had a nice job that entailed using my brain and as much as like having something to do everyday, this isn't what I want longterm. I'm 30 yrs. old and am not happy that I gave up a career and now feel like nobody will even give me half a chance.
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Old 05.06.2007, 15:24
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

I don't know if this helps you but...

The last time my girlfriend's brother moved he was too lazy to take care of the cleaning of the apartment himself so he payed for a professional cleaning service. The total fee was 1000 chf.

However the cleaning company did offer a money back guarantee if the apartment did not pass inspection on handover of the keys.

So it can be done, but has to be done 100% professionally.
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Old 05.06.2007, 15:31
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

yeah, this would be more about general cleaning for people on a weekly/biweekly/monthly basis.
I know all about the "cleaning" companies that handle the moving out scenerio.
I don't think I'd want to do that....not right away anyways. I know it has to be perfection in that case, we've had this problem from the last apt.
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Old 05.06.2007, 15:44
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

Right you are then.

I have read quite a few threads in the entrepreneur section on establishing businesses. The answers you need are probably in there.

Sorry to hear about your qualifications being lost. If it makes you feel any better, I have my certificates with me and they have not helped a bit. I have been working in cleaning jobs since my arrival 2 years ago. The only joy I got out of them was when my first boss awarded me the position she said that it would be a tough job, but she was sure I would learn fast since I had a lot of education. That for a dishwashing job!
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Old 05.06.2007, 17:24
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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<snip>
how can I turn this into a viable, legal thing? <snip>
If this is your question you'll find an answer here:

branching out professionally

Otherwise I'm not sure what you are asking...
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Old 05.06.2007, 19:41
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

I would brainstorm other business ideas that could work. Switzerland is so protectionist, and in my opinion 10 years behind in times of consumerism and retailing, you should be able to identify some niches...

dave

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sorry mods, wasn't sure where to slap this...I thought here?
I have a few questions, and I'm sure I am way off base or in over my head here. Some of you know my story from last yr...moved here to marry a swiss, thought my work exp. would easily transfer into *some* kind of work here...NO. Without uni/college AND no german, I was miserable....decided to take some cleaning jobs under the table....which leads me to my questions....

how can I turn this into a viable, legal thing? The thought of me doing this longterm is just not appealing, and def. NOT what I envisioned my future here to be doing....is there any where I can take small bus. courses and try (down the road of course, not yet) to turn this into MY business?
I feel like my options in this country are extremely limited. My copies of my hs transcripts and diploma were lost in the mail....is this going to be a total situation for me taking courses? I just don't know what else to do with myself and I know now, there IS a market here....I'm turning people down constantly b/c I now need to get my sorry beeehind back into german school with the $$$ I am making from the existing clients.

help! I don't want to do this forever. I had a nice job that entailed using my brain and as much as like having something to do everyday, this isn't what I want longterm. I'm 30 yrs. old and am not happy that I gave up a career and now feel like nobody will even give me half a chance.
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Old 05.06.2007, 23:46
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

Personally I think it's a great idea. What you need to learn though is everything about HR, personel issues, payroll issues, AVS, insurances, employment law, etc. That's really what you will be doing: employing people to clean for you right?

I've actually thought about this as a business as well, because I desperately need a cleaning person and know others that have a hard time finding cleaning people. It's more reassuring to work with a company that backs up it's employees than some random person that you find listed in the classifieds.

Anyway, there is a business like this in Geneva. I'm sure they cater mostly to expats. All their communications pieces are in English (or very bad French!).

The problem I see is that lots of cleaning people are illegals & certainly can't work for an agency and you most definitely can't hire them.

Anyway, it's not a bad idea. Keep researching.
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Old 17.06.2007, 21:59
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

There are two companies that I have seen which offer cleaning services in the way that you suggest;

1. Bonne Menagere ... have heard from personal sources that they are excellent. They find you a cleaner, and charge you the first month's fee. In order for them to make it viable they make the minimum hours 20% ie one day a week (big cleaning job ...). They can also find you a chauffure, nanny, cook ..... you get the picture. Website is not in English:

http://www.bonnemenagere.ch/

2. The second one I saw on a tram and it looks interesting www.putzfrau.ch

In both cases, it will take you a lot to set up (website etc), you will need to pay for advertising to get business going, and if you don't know how to do it yourself, you will pay a fortune for someone to run the administration of the salaries (AHV; BVG ... work permits etc).

If you really want a job why don't you try doing volunteer work for a club or association for a while? If you are good they will notice and help you to find something which pays. I have friends who used this channel very successfully.

Good luck!

Lisa
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Old 18.06.2007, 09:59
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

Hi from another Canadian,
what part are you from?
To help you with your question about opening your own business, a lot of us do and are successful. One most important thing is your civil status here. Are you married to a Swiss national, have you any permit to work or live, do you have an open AVS? Do you have health and accident insurance in place?
For any new business, you need to be able to communicate on a professional level in the local language so you can fill out the forms, talk to the governement, etc etc. Or have someone who can really help you with this all the time. If you wish to stay in the cleaning area, you don't need any papers to prove you can clean, if you were doing something like surgery, then you need documents of license of course.
You need help to pay your taxes, pay your AVS (retirement fund), book keeping, plus other legal items which are impossible to cope with if you cannot read or write in German or have someone who can help you at a moments notice.
So you can do it, but it will be tough without German.
Call your local federal registry and ask for documents to read about new business ventures.
Good luck!
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Old 20.09.2007, 13:58
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

Hi! Jenniffer I was just readdying your Small Business ?
Let me tell you I totally empathize with you. I fell axactly like you. Well now is not so bad because I have two kids, but before I had them I even got depressed because since I didn't speack German it was very dificult to get around and my husband used to work 12 hours a day. I was basically alone all the time. I was attending to a German school and we were two students. Mary from Canada and I we became like sisters but unfortunatelly she had to go back since their contract with UBS was for three years only.
Anyways I just wanted to tell you that I really know how you feel
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Old 08.03.2008, 21:12
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

I just gone through your words.Im a MBA student in wettingen , loking for a part time jobs.If u dont mind, can u give details about the clubs and associations.
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Old 08.03.2008, 21:57
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

I know just how you feel. I arrived here and my French waas rubbish - and it takes a long time to understand even the gist of things and until then its like being deaf and dumb.
On your employment front it seems like you have the business you just need to get legal. I started my own business when I got here and had to be very legal due to a vindictive ex wife. The first option is to get your husband to own the business and employ you. Secondly, to start up your own business it is possible but slow and you need to present a business plan. Basically they want to know that you have enough funds to start up and won't be taking money from the state so it may be necessary to get your husband to say he will support you in an emergency. I think it took the best part of a year from presenting my proposal/requesting my permit until I got it and then it was on a 6 month or year trial and as my turnover wasn't great that was when my boyfriend had to say he would support me if necessary. Regarding employing others - for extra staff it is easier to get the client to employ them directly, and I suppose for you therefore the client pays you a fee - or the cleaner pays you a percentage? and in that way you are not personally having to employ anyone which makes life much easier!!
Good luck
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Old 09.03.2008, 09:09
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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I know just how you feel. I arrived here and my French waas rubbish - and it takes a long time to understand even the gist of things and until then its like being deaf and dumb.
On your employment front it seems like you have the business you just need to get legal. I started my own business when I got here and had to be very legal due to a vindictive ex wife. The first option is to get your husband to own the business and employ you. Secondly, to start up your own business it is possible but slow and you need to present a business plan. Basically they want to know that you have enough funds to start up and won't be taking money from the state so it may be necessary to get your husband to say he will support you in an emergency. I think it took the best part of a year from presenting my proposal/requesting my permit until I got it and then it was on a 6 month or year trial and as my turnover wasn't great that was when my boyfriend had to say he would support me if necessary. Regarding employing others - for extra staff it is easier to get the client to employ them directly, and I suppose for you therefore the client pays you a fee - or the cleaner pays you a percentage? and in that way you are not personally having to employ anyone which makes life much easier!!
Good luck
Wow. There are so many things wrong here it's hard to know where to start.

Starting at the bottom, if the clients employ the cleaners and the OP is compensated as suggested then this is nothing more than an employment agency for which a whole additional set of rules and regulations come into play. It is not a viable business model imo as I can't see why a company would pay a finders fee or commission for a cleaner. Further, many of the clients would be those moving apartments - you can't be seriously suggesting that these individuals employ a cleaner just for a week or so.

As for financial support. The OP is already here, being supported by her husband so none of those concerns apply.

Next, there is an implication that the husband could start a company without the business plan and financial due dilligence that would apply iof the OP went down that road herself. While possible, how is this a good idea?

Then, why would the OP starting a business be any slower than her husband doing it? There is no difference and on the most basic level, as a self employed person (einzelfirme) it is very fast indeed.

Finally, since 01.01.2008 the OP has the right to start her own business.
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Old 10.03.2008, 11:43
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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Wow. There are so many things wrong here it's hard to know where to start.

Starting at the bottom, if the clients employ the cleaners and the OP is compensated as suggested then this is nothing more than an employment agency for which a whole additional set of rules and regulations come into play. It is not a viable business model imo as I can't see why a company would pay a finders fee or commission for a cleaner. Further, many of the clients would be those moving apartments - you can't be seriously suggesting that these individuals employ a cleaner just for a week or so.

As for financial support. The OP is already here, being supported by her husband so none of those concerns apply.

Next, there is an implication that the husband could start a company without the business plan and financial due dilligence that would apply iof the OP went down that road herself. While possible, how is this a good idea?

Then, why would the OP starting a business be any slower than her husband doing it? There is no difference and on the most basic level, as a self employed person (einzelfirme) it is very fast indeed.

Finally, since 01.01.2008 the OP has the right to start her own business.
Yes quite right - mostly wrong! However companies acting as agents for promoting business and not as go betweens do not require any additional permits. ie if I recommend you to him and you pay me 10% as a thank you then that is fine. If I employ you and then rent you out to him then I can be liable to the agency structures that cost a plenty.

The former model aka finders fees happens an awful lot in Switzerland...
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Old 10.03.2008, 11:51
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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[...]
Finally, since 01.01.2008 the OP has the right to start her own business.
So there is no longer a requirement of having to have a C permit to start your own business?
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Old 10.03.2008, 12:01
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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So there is no longer a requirement of having to have a C permit to start your own business?
It's covered here. Your German is way better than mine but I translate it as self employed allowed.
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Old 10.03.2008, 12:06
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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It's covered here. Your German is way better than mine but I translate it as self employed allowed.
Time to go down to the Community and register as self-employed. That'll look way better on my vita as well.
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Old 10.03.2008, 15:13
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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It's covered here. Your German is way better than mine but I translate it as self employed allowed.
And as far as I am aware never changed in the last few months/years... As spouse of a Swiss it was always possible...
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Old 22.03.2008, 18:40
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

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Time to go down to the Community and register as self-employed. That'll look way better on my vita as well.
Greg, were you able to register to be self-employed at your Community? I tried to do that last week, and the person at our Gemeinde directed me to a Zurich organization (AWA).

I have looked at that AWA website but it doesn't seem to be about self-employment registration, so now I think she might have misunderstood me (which is likely given the little German I know!).
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Old 25.03.2008, 11:06
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Re: Small Business question - cleaning business

As a follow-up to my previous post on this -- I called AWA today to find out how to register to be self-employed. At first they said that since I am a non-EU citizen (and not being married to a Swiss like you, Greg) it is "not possible, sorry".

Then she put me on hold, and when she came back she said I can register after all. I'm not sure if this was one of the recent changes and she didn't know or what caused her different answer, but whatever it was I was relieved!

She said I have to get the (yellow) form from my Gemeinde and then send it in to the Kantonale office. So I will go back to the Gemeinde and try again...
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