How To Start A Cleaning Business

How To Start A Cleaning Business

A rewarding opportunity awaits you in the cleaning industry. Whether you are a sole proprietor, partner, franchisee, or small business owner, it is a chance you do not want to miss.

All it takes to start is to put your hard-working and meticulous qualities to good use. You can profit from characteristics you already have by forming a cleaning company.

Cleaning Business Overview

Set about building a small cleaning company or offer cleaning services to start. A smaller business does not need a large financial investment. Over time, you can grow it into a much larger one.

A cleaning business can offer more than residential cleaning services or house cleaning. You can choose to form a consumer or commercial cleaning business. Offer services that ensure your client's buildings are clean and safe for operation.

Depending on the cleaning services you offer, the duties of the cleaners will vary. 

Commercial cleaners responsibilities may include:

  • Trash removal

  • Floor or window cleaning

  • Dusting or washing

  • Vacuuming

  • Sanitizing

  • Disinfecting

Cleaning business owners will need to invest in cleaning supplies, equipment, and technology. The amount to purchase these items varies.

Before selecting a service, choose the type of cleaning your business will offer.

3 Types of Cleaning

Here are the three common types of cleaning:

1. Regular cleaning

Regular cleaning often takes around two to three hours to complete.

2. Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning is more comprehensive than a "regular clean."

3. End-of-tenancy cleaning

End-of-tenancy cleaning involves clearing and cleaning a rental property after a tenant leaves.

Once you know the type of cleaning you want to offer, choose a specific cleaning service.

Specific Cleaning Services

The different types of cleaning services your business can offer include:

  • Carpet cleaning

  • Emergency response cleaning

  • Glass cleaning

  • Boat cleaning

  • Car detailing

  • Power Washing

  • Window Washing

  • Post-construction cleaning

  • Medical cleaning

  • Maid services

  • Sanitation services

  • Damage restoration

  • Transportation cleaning

You do not need a business degree to start a commercial cleaning business. Yet, commercial cleaning will need workers with specific skills. Any previous business experience is valuable when starting a cleaning business.

6 Things To Consider Before Operating a Cleaning Business

Before beginning business operations, take these necessary steps:

1. Physical fitness

Depending on the job and equipment available, consider the physical fitness of cleaners. Regular straining can cause physical injuries, resulting in workers needing time off.

Although cleaning is demanding, fitness is not all an employer must look at when hiring.

2. Commercial cleaning experience and education

When performing cleaning services, employers cannot rely on physical ability alone. Cleaning business owners must ensure their workers have the skill, education, and experience. 

Employees with first-hand knowledge better understand the expectations of the cleaning industry. These workers often perform their duties faster and are more productive. They are more likely to pay close attention to detail, which is another valuable skill.

Hiring managers with previous work experience is also helpful. Not only can they cut training costs, but use their expertise to help hire new employees.

Cleaning business owners must have customer service skills. Owners will use these skills to communicate with clients and troubleshoot issues. Excellent customer service ensures the delivery of quality work. 

Commercial cleaning business owners must know the proper handling of chemicals. Having this knowledge is not only helpful for storing supplies, but also for safety purposes. 

Although cleaning business owners do not need a degree, they will need training. Learn about the potential danger of mixing and interacting with various cleaning materials.

Commercial cleaning business owners need to take a safety course on handling chemicals. Many products, like soaps, bleach, and polishes, often include harmful chemicals. 

Working with these products can cause health problems, and some supplies are flammable. Thus, working with certain cleaning supplies can cause poisonous gases or potential burns. 

Owners must ensure employees also have this course certificate, and it is current.

3. Audience targeting 

To target the right niche of clients, become familiar with its market. Before advertising your cleaning company, get to know your customer's needs and wants. The research helps your business identify the best and most profitable cleaning services.

4. Hours of operation

The hours of operation for a cleaning business will vary. Yet, many operate in the evenings during non-business hours. Although, working hours often depend on the type of cleaning job and its scale. 

5. Charging for cleaning services

Cleaning businesses often use square footage and cleaning hours to determine prices. The cost of services may also depend on the business location and extras. If the company specializes in a specific area of cleaning, they can charge more. (i.e., restoration or sanitization).

6. Costs to start a cleaning business

Starting a commercial cleaning business is often affordable for many entrepreneurs. The company can rent equipment to help lower costs. It can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 or more to start. 

Most of the cost of starting a cleaning company revolves around cleaning supplies (i.e., mops, paper towels, buckets, brushes, rags, etc.). Other significant factors include the cost of equipment, vehicles, and total employees. Some owners choose to rent items rather than buy to lower expenditures.

11 Steps to Starting a Cleaning Business

Step 1: Write a business plan

Start organizing your business ideas by writing them down. Once you have all your thoughts in one place, use that information to develop a business plan. Most banks want you to have a business plan, and it is helpful to have one when forming a business entity.

Step 2: Form a business entity

The four business entities are:

1. Sole proprietorship

2. Corporation

3. General partnership

4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The entity you choose will define how you will legally organize and operate the business. Research each entity type to learn of its pros and cons.

Step 3: Choose a business name

Choosing a business name is not as straightforward as it seems. The business name needs to resonate with customers and be available for use. You will need to conduct research and make several attempts to find the perfect usable name. 

Step 4: Select your Location

Depending on the business size, some owners choose to run their company right out of their homes. Others invest in renting a garage or other property for their cleaning business.

You will also need to consider the location of cleaning chemicals. Find a business structure with space and the correct temperatures for cleaning supplies.

Step 5: Register for a business license and permits

To legally operate a commercial cleaning business, you need a business license. Owners must also get permits and have the certification to use cleaning chemicals. It is best to consult with an attorney, as permits and licenses differ from state.

You will also need to get local, state, and federal business registrations. (i.e., state sales tax permit, Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS, etc.). 

Step 6: Funding

Depending on your credit score and financial investments, you may need funding. You may want to ask family or friends to help with financing, or contact local banks for a loan.

Step 7: Open a business bank account

Keep your business and personal finances separate. A different bank account makes it easier to track business income and expenses. Opening a business bank account and credit cards is also helpful during tax time.

Step 8: Develop a marketing plan

Use traditional and non-traditional methods to develop a marketing plan. The goal is to reach the right audience. Use online ads, social media, local papers, and sites like Yelp to market the business. You may even want to consider sending out flyers in the mail to advertise your new business is opening soon.

Step 9: Get Business Insurance

Many factors influence the type of insurance policies your cleaning business will need. Research each insurance and select the ones that will best protect your business.

  • General liability insurance 

  • Commercial property insurance 

  • Commercial auto insurance

  • Workers' compensation insurance

  • Janitorial Bond

Step 10: Hire Employees

When hiring employees, consider several costs. (i.e., wages, health insurance contributions, workers' comp, etc.). These expenses should be in the business budget plan. 

Get an advantage over the competition. Research the average hourly rate for cleaners. Try to provide a bit more for your employees with higher wages, incentives, bonuses, etc.

Step 11: Set up an accounting system

Forming a successful business requires a lot of planning, budgeting, and organization. Setting up an accounting system is crucial to stay on top of taxes, watch for trends, and track cash flow.


Although starting a commercial cleaning business can be challenging, it is a great investment. Since a clean office or building is essential to every business, there will always be a demand for cleaning services.

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