How to Start a Cleaning Business

Easy Steps on How to Start a Cleaning Business

United States cleaning industry is more than a $78 Billion per year industry according to a study made by Marketdata Enterprises Inc in 2012. This site is dedicated to teaching you how to start, run, and grow a profitable and successful cleaning business. How to start a cleaning business will be the key to your success and financial freedom. This is an industry we know you want to be in.

Check out our youtube episode here:

How to start a cleaning business in 10 easy steps:

Here are some easy steps to start your cleaning business today:

1. Understand the cleaning services industry

Be aware of your personal qualifications and interests. The necessary qualifications will depend on the type of cleaning service you want to start. Regardless of what you decide to embark on, you will need the determination to start and grow the business, a passion for customer service, and certain traits such as honesty and integrity. So reflect on yourself and see if you have the traits to be a successful cleaning business owner.

There are many types of cleaning businesses to start. Figure which of the following is appropriate:

Residential Cleaning Services

  • Residential cleaning services can be a lucrative business, but you need to determine if you really like cleaning. This consists primarily of residential maid services as well as carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and other varieties of cleaning services required less frequently
  • This type of cleaning service is a great side work for students, young adults, or people with a full time job, but want to make extra income on the side. Most residential cleaning services are done purely on a word-of-mouth or referral basis. Relationships are key to this and to build relationships you need to make sure you act appropriately and professionally, because you’ll be continually seeing these people week after week.
  • The next item you want to think about when considering a Residential cleaning job is how much money you’re aiming to make. You can work on a per hour or per square footage basis. Work on a per square footage basis after you’ve viewed the premises. There will be homes where it is as clean as it can be and you need to dust, but there will be other homes where it’s just a mess. Identify the difference and price accordingly.

Commercial Cleaning Services

  • Commercial Cleaning Services definitely has more rules and regulations, but is much more lucrative. This is a full fledged business geared towards commercial clients. It is dominated by janitorial services and other services that target business.
  • Commercial clients are great because you don’t have interact with them. As long as the job site is clean they pay you on a regular basis and you can get paid more per job because the sites have more square footage.
  • The biggest factor are start up costs as well as more documentation requirements. Business licenses, uniforms, insurance, all of these will add up, but if you have the cash, and you can get the contacts to clean the commercial properties, this is a great business to be in.

Foreclosure Cleaning Business

  • Foreclosure cleaning businesses are an interesting area. They are definitely high return on your investment because real estate agents don’t want to clean properties, banks don’t want to clean properties, and sometimes the properties are in such bad shape that NOBODY else wants to clean the properties and that’s where you can step in, do a great job, and charge a higher price. Higher prices, means more money for you and better margins.
  • Build those relationships with real estate agents, bank investors, and you’ll be set. This is a great niche cleaning area because you can specialize in making homes beautiful when nobody is around.

Agency Cleaning Business

  • Agency cleaning businesses are great because they combine the power of commercial cleaning business revenue, without the cost of the start up costs, the licenses, or having to employ people.  However, you still get to have the business deductions, it really is great. But you have to be a smooth talker and manage both the clients and the agency cleaners that go to your job sites.

We’ve already talked about how big the industry is.  The answer is YES! You want to get into it.  There are many types of places you can clean!  Residential homes and apartments are the most commons ones. Commercial businesses are more lucrative, and there are many niche cleaning services such as foreclosure cleaning services, window cleaning services, carpet cleaning services. And the next cleaning business will be yours!

2. Register your business

In order to start your business you need to register your business with the local government agency.  You’ll also need to choose an appropriate business name. Registration is required by law and allows you to be even more legitimate in the eyes of your customers. While you can run your cleaning business as a sole proprietorship, you can also consider other forms such as corporation or limited liability company (LLC) that better protects you from liability.

Registering your business means you have that much more evidence that you’re a real business, can take business deductions, open a bank account, and get small business loans. It also enables you to join trade associations that require you to have a registered business.

Other benefits include being eligible for cleaning supplies discounts since wholesale rates are given to business that has official paperwork from the state. If you are aiming to get government contracts, a business registration is also a necessity. Finally, a business registration gives you a state identification number which makes it easier for you to hire full-time employees, pay them in accordance to state laws, and route state taxes on the employee’s behalf.

However, business registration is not required and for the majority of people who want to make just enough money on the side, this is probably not for you.  However, if you want to grow an empire, then definitely small business registration is the way to go.

3. Financing your cleaning business

Figure out how you want to finance your business. You can start out of pocket, get loans from friends, family members, or your local government agency. You can also apply for a business loan or a business line of credit if you prefer not to dip into your savings or depend on family and friends. We provide a great amount of detail about financing in this section. After studying your options carefully, you will be better equipped to handle all the start up costs of your business.

Financing also depends on how large you want to scale your business. There is no need to gather financing when you don’t need it. Financing comes with a cost, so get is sparingly and use it wisely. When thinking of buying the best products and tools you have the opportunity to provide your clients with value by giving them the option of having you clean with green, organic products rather than chemical ridden store bought products. Some homemade green cleaning products can be cheaper for you to make and you can demand a higher price because of the organic nature of them.

4. Get business insurance

Insurance is required by law and will give your customers the peace of mind they need and put you ahead of your competition. Don’t be daunted by the amount of insurance there is. We explain all relevant insurance in our business insurance section here. Having insurance will be how you can get into the door.

To give you an idea, the major types of insurance you will need are:

  • Liability insurance – protects you financially if you or a member of your staff inadvertently damages your client’s property in the process of cleaning.
  • Bonded – protects your clients in the event that a member of your staff is accused and convicted of stealing from them
  • Vehicle insurance – protects you in the event of accidents involving your business vehicle
  • Workers comp – covers your staff’s work-related injuries and illnesses

Once again, business insurance might not be for everybody, but if you don’t know the client personally and if you’re sending some of your employees off to a site, then you will want insurance and your clients will also want insurance. Low cost insurance can be found in many places and it’s a matter of peace of mind on both parties. In some cases clients won’t talk to you unless you’re insured. Sometimes clients won’t talk to UNLESS you reassure them that you’re bonded and insured. Insurance is a small price to pay for 1) actually getting business and 2) making sure your business is not compromised by an errant mistake.

5. Best cleaning products and tools

Get the best cleaning products and the best cleaning tools so that you are ready once you signed your first client.  You’ll want durable and affordable equipment for all the work that you’re going to get. There are many types of tools that you will need.

In terms of cleaning products, you may not even have to go out to purchase them. Look around your house – in your kitchen or bathroom – and you may be able to find a few essential products such as vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant, and detergent. Other items you may need to purchase in your neighborhood’s grocery or convenience store such as all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner.

Beyond the products, you will need to equip yourself with tools to run your business. A few of these tools will cost a little more. However, you may already have these in your house so if your business is starting out, there is no need to purchase them. A few examples are vacuum cleaner, sponge mop, and dust mop. The other tools you need are smaller and you probably already have these as well. These are rubber gloves, paper towels, spray bottles, and a handy toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas.

We have many sections on this site where we talk about the best tools and products that you need for your successful cleaning business. We also have an extensive product review section and are dedicated to giving you the latest and most useful information:

>>Cleaning Product Reviews <<

6. Marketing and advertising your business

Getting that first customer will be the hardest and continuing the momentum after you get rejected will be even more difficult, but don’t give up!

Word of mouth and referrals will be your bread and butter. Be active in your neighborhood as well as your target locations. Get yourself onto where you will find people who are looking for cleaners. Be active on social media such as,, and These sites are great for engaging with your potential clients.

Create profiles on online directories such as and so that it is easy for people to find you. Get your name out there and then make sure everybody you talk to thinks the world of you. Once you have your first clients, professionalism will be key to making a great first impression

Get your name out there: After you’ve got your logo, it’s time to start your website.  We recommend using BlueHost for both your domain name and web hosting. We have a referral program with >>Blue Host where you get a discount here.<<

7. Hire staff to help you grow

If you decide to start a small residential cleaning business, you may opt to go solo first and do all the cleaning yourself. You can also partner with your spouse, relatives, or close friends. However, if you decide to start a commercial cleaning business or if you want to have a larger operation to start with, you may need to hire staff.

First off, you will decide whether to hire employees or independent contractors. Each option has its own pros and cons so make sure to consider all the implications. Once you have decided on what type of staff to hire, it’s time to execute!

Write a cleaning job description which you can share and distribute. Think of what traits, qualities, and requirements you want in your staff and include that in the description. Applicants are also evaluating you just as you are evaluating applicants so make sure your job description reflects positively on your business.

Post your job ad online and distribute hard copies. There are lots of options out there such as,, as well as your company website. Flyers and referrals should also not be forgotten as these have historically been very effective. Last step is to interview applicants. Interview effectively and ask the right questions and you are on your way to getting the best employees to help you grow your cleaning business.

A Final Word

All of this information is constantly being updated. We are here to help. We are dedicated to you as entrepreneurs, as people, and as friends. We want to make your dreams come true. Come back regularly, we want to start a community of like minded people to help, foster, and grow each other’s dreams. Now get out there and do your best!

And most importantly, GET EXCITED!  This is the key to your financial and personal freedom!  Starting  a business allows you to be in control of your own destiny! Live the dream! Explore this site to learn how to start a cleaning business today!

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