Starting a cleaning business can be an affordable, practical, and rewarding path to entrepreneurship.
This article provides a comprehensive guide on starting your venture successfully.
With detailed steps, including business planning, budgeting, marketing strategies, and legal compliance, we aim to transform your entrepreneurial dreams into a profitable reality.
Read on to get your cleaning business off the ground and set it up for long-term success.
How To Start a Cleaning Business Step-By-Step
Figure Out if You're a Good Fit for a Cleaning Business
The first step is determining whether you fit the industry well.
You could try to offer your services free of charge to a couple of family members or close friends.
Ask these people if you can provide them with all the services you intend to offer your customers.
Then, have these people provide brutally honest feedback about your work.
If they love what you did for them at their home, you know whether you might be a good fit for clients who are strangers to you.
If they're unhappy with your work, then maybe a cleaning business isn't right for you, or you'll have to improve it to succeed.
If so, don't worry! There are still many profitable industries
you can start a business in.
Know Your Market
It is crucial to understand your target customers and competition.
Conduct thorough research on other cleaning businesses in your area to identify the services they offer and the gaps in the market that you can fill.
Take note of their pricing strategies, target customers, and any unique offerings they provide.
To gain a competitive edge, consider offering extra services or incentives that can attract and retain customers
This could include:
- carpet cleaning
- window washing
- green cleaning options
By providing additional value, you can encourage repeat business and build a loyal customer base.
Reviewing reviews like Yelp and Google can provide valuable insights into customer needs, preferences, and market demand.
Pay attention to customer reviews regarding the services they receive. Then, use this information to shape your offerings and improve customer satisfaction.
Choose Your Specialty
After researching the market, it's time to determine your cleaning business's specialty.
Based on your market research, identify a niche that differentiates you from competitors.
This could be:
Differentiate between commercial and consumer cleaning services. Understand the requirements, challenges, and training needed for each type of service.
- commercial cleaning
- residential cleaning
- specialized cleaning services for industries like healthcare or hospitality
- a combination of various types
- Commercial cleaning service often involves larger contracts.
- Consumer cleaning focuses on individual households.
Consider the specific skills, equipment
, and certifications needed for your chosen specialty. Then, ensure you are adequately prepared to meet those requirements.
Decide the Business Structure
Before moving forward with the other steps to start a cleaning business, you need to answer these questions:
Also, you'll need to figure out the structure of your company—such as a sole proprietorship or LLC—and officially register your cleaning business.
- Do you plan to be the sole operator of your cleaning business and do all the cleaning yourself?
- Do you plan to be the owner/operator of the business and hire workers to do the cleaning for you?
- Are you starting the business from scratch or planning to purchase a franchise?
Establish Your Selling Point
Your potential customers will likely have many choices when choosing a cleaning company in your area.
You must decide what will separate you from your competition and then market that specialty to your potential customers.
- Are you more affordable than your competition?
- Do you provide better services, and if so, how can you prove it?
- Are the products you use more environmentally safe than what your competitors use?
- Do you include types of cleaning—such as windows, inside ovens, etc.—that your competitors don't?
Set Up Your Business
To establish a successful cleaning business, you must take several key steps:
Develop a comprehensive business plan
Your business plan
outlines your goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational procedures. It serves as a roadmap and can be useful when seeking financing or investors.
Price Your Services Correctly
Determine competitive yet profitable pricing for your cleaning services. To set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability, Consider factors such as:
- labor costs
- overhead expenses
- market demand
Secure Financing Or Invest Personal Funds
Evaluate the financial needs of your business and explore options for obtaining financing, such as:
Alternatively, you can invest your own funds if available.
Procure The Necessary Cleaning Supplies And Equipment
Identify the essential cleaning supplies, tools, and equipment your business needs. Purchase high-quality products that are:
- environmentally friendly
Hire And Train Staff Properly
If you plan to have employees, carefully select individuals who are:
- have a strong work ethic
Provide comprehensive training to ensure they are knowledgeable about:
- cleaning techniques
- safety protocols
- customer service
Consider Business Insurance And Bonds
Protect your cleaning business by obtaining appropriate insurance coverage, such as:
- general liability insurance
- workers' compensation insurance
These policies provide financial security in case of accidents, damages, or legal issues.
Figure Out What Licenses You'll Need
You must determine what permits and licenses you need to start a cleaning business
Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding required licenses.
What Licenses Do You Need To Start a Cleaning Business?
- Most states and local governments require a general business license or permit to operate any business.
- If you plan to hire employees for your cleaning business, you must obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Business owners use this number to identify their business entity for tax purposes.
- Some states have specific licensing requirements for cleaning businesses. For example, you may need a contractor's license or a specific cleaning service license in certain states.
- It's essential to have liability insurance to protect your business in case of accidents or damages. While it may not be a license per se, it is a crucial aspect of starting a cleaning business.
- If you plan to use certain cleaning products or dispose of waste materials, you may need environmental permits. This requirement aims to ensure compliance with regulations related to chemical usage and waste disposal.
- Specialized Certifications: While not always mandatory, obtaining certifications from industry organizations can enhance your credibility and help you stand out. For example, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers certifications for carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and other specialized cleaning services.
How To Get a Cleaning License
To get a cleaning license in the United States, you must first contact the professional organization that offers certification in your state.
The Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) is one such organization that offers certification to cleaners nationwide.
You must provide proof of your experience working in the cleaning industry and pass an exam administered by the ARCSI.
Once you have passed the exam, you will be officially certified and licensed to work as a professional cleaner in the United States.
It is important to note that each state has different regulations and requirements for getting a cleaning license.
Be sure to research the specific requirements for your state before beginning the process.
With a cleaning license, you can work legally as a professional cleaner in the United States.
This license will give you the credibility and experience you need to succeed in the cleaning industry, especially for professional cleaning services for businesses.
Come Up With a Plan for Acquiring Clients And Advertising Your Business
You'll need to develop detailed marketing and advertising plans on how you're going to acquire clients.
This doesn't necessarily mean you'll need to spend much money. Marketing can be low-budget.
Nowadays, you can make a huge impact and reach a large number of potential customers through social media without spending a lot of money—or even any money at all.
However, to attract new customers, you must be aggressive with your plans right from the start.
Consider the following advertising strategies:
Create a well-designed website showcasing your services, contact information, customer testimonials, and special offers.
Ensure it is mobile-friendly and optimized for search engines to improve online visibility.
Online Marketing and Social Media
To reach a broader audience, utilize online marketing channels such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing.
Engage with potential customers, share cleaning tips, and provide valuable content to establish credibility and trust.
Networking and local advertising: Attend local networking events, join professional associations, and collaborate with other businesses to build relationships and gain referrals.
Secure Financing for Your Cleaning Business
While a cleaning business typically doesn't require the same up-front capital as other industries, you'll still need some capital to ensure your business is adequately funded.
To do this, you'll either need to have cash on hand or a source of funds you can borrow from, like family, friends, or a financial institution.
Exactly how much you'll need to start your business will depend on:
- the scale, scope, and size of your business
- the structure you decide on
Some of the up-front costs that you'll incur—regardless of the structure of your cleaning business—will be:
- business formation costs
- hiring employees
There are several options for obtaining financing, each with advantages and drawbacks. Online lenders are an excellent option due to:
Apply for a business loan today
- quick processing
- less stringent requirements
Types of Business Cleaning Services To Start
If you're starting a small business
, choosing a niche in which you can excel is essential.
For example, starting a residential cleaning business might be the best option if you live in a small town.
However, if you're in a larger city with more competition, you may want to consider starting a commercial or office cleaning business.
The following are business ideas you can start. Some of these businesses may require certification or specific licenses.
This can include general office cleaning, window washing, carpet cleaning, and trash removal.
Provide janitorial services to schools, hospitals, factories, churches, and other commercial facilities.
Residential Cleaning Service
You can offer housekeeping services to homeowners in your area.
It can include dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, and laundry.
You can also specialize in green cleaning, which is becoming more popular as people become more aware of the environmental impact of traditional cleaning methods.
It specializes in cleaning carpets.
This can include cleaning both residential and commercial carpets.
You can start a business specializing in cleaning windows. This can include both residential and commercial window cleaning.
Pressure Washing Business
You can start a business specializing in pressure washing homes, driveways, sidewalks, and other surfaces.
You can start a business that cleans both residential and commercial pools.
This can include vacuuming, skimming leaves, and adding chemicals to the water.
Housekeeping Services for Rentals
You can offer housekeeping services to people who rent vacation homes or apartments.
This includes cleaning the kitchen, making beds, and doing laundry.
Provide maid services to homeowners and businesses.
This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms and kitchens.
You can start a business that picks up and delivers laundry for residential and commercial customers.
This can include washing, drying, and folding clothes.
Pet Waste Removal
You can start a business providing pet waste removal services for residential and commercial customers
, including picking up dog poop from yards and public parks.
Office Plant Maintenance
You can start a business that cleans and maintains office plants. It can include watering plants, trimming leaves, and fertilizing them.
How Much Does It Cost To Start a Cleaning Business: A Detailed Breakdown
Here's a breakdown of the approximate costs you could incur if you start your own cleaning business.
The Average Cost of Cleaning Equipment and Materials
The estimated total cost of operating expenses and equipment: is $1,000
But the average cost of cleaning supplies per month for a business can vary greatly depending on the size and type of business.
A small office may only need a few hundred dollars, while a large warehouse or manufacturing plant may need several thousand dollars.
The type of business will also affect the cost, as companies that require more specialized cleaning supplies
(such as those used in the food industry) will generally have higher costs than those that only need general-purpose cleaning supplies.
The best way to determine the average monthly cost for your specific business is to contact local suppliers and get quotes based on your unique needs.
Here are some of the supplies and equipment that you could require, even if you are doing house cleaning or other cleaning services:
- Trash bags
- Plastic buckets
- Rubber gloves
- Floor cleaning solution
- A vacuum cleaner
- Cleaning rags
- A cleaning supply cart
- Dust towels
- Carpet blower
As you can see, the list is long. Each item may not cost much. But if you add everything up, the total cost can be high.
You also need to realize that some items will be one-time purchases.
For example, you'll need to buy a vacuum cleaner or a carpet blower only once. But you will need to replenish the cleaning supplies regularly.
Licenses for a Cleaning Business
The estimated total cleaning business license cost is $500
Remember that the requirements could differ from state to state. However, some of the areas that need your attention are:
- A fire code permit
- A hazardous materials disclosure
- A wastewater discharge permit
- A State EPA identification number
Estimated Total Cost Of Insurance: $1,000
This business needs various types of insurance coverage.
Here are some types of insurance that cleaning businesses in the U.S. typically need:
- General Liability Insurance: This type of insurance is essential for most businesses. It covers lawsuits and damages if your business is responsible for things like injuring someone, damaging property, or advertising injury.
- Workers' Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, most states require this type of insurance. It can cover medical fees and lost wages for work-related injuries or illnesses.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: This is important if your business owns vehicles. It can cover the costs of accidents involving your business's cars or trucks.
- Property Insurance: If your business owns its office space or has significant personal property, such as cleaning equipment, this insurance can protect you in case of fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage, etc.
- Professional Liability Insurance/Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance: This insurance covers your business if a client sues over your work quality or advice. It might not be necessary for all cleaning businesses, but it can be beneficial in some cases, especially if you offer consulting or specialized services.
- Business Owner's Policy (BOP) combines general liability and property insurance into one policy. It's often cheaper than buying those policies separately, and they can fit your specific needs.
- Janitorial Bonds/Employee Dishonesty Bonds: These protect your customers if one of your employees steals from them. While not technically insurance, these bonds offer protection and can enhance your business's reputation.
- Umbrella Insurance: This provides coverage beyond your other policies' limits. It's not required, but it can be very beneficial in certain circumstances.
While on the subject of insurance, don't forget about janitorial bonds for your cleaning business.
A janitorial bond is essentially an insurance cover that reimburses your client if one of your employees commits theft.
Summary of Cleaning Business Expenses
|Operating expenses and cost of equipment
As you can see, starting a cleaning business with as little as $2,500 is possible.
Of course, costs can vary depending on the scale of operations and the number of employees you have.
However, it's a fact that the cleaning business is one of the lowest-cost ventures that you can start.
Apply for a business loan today
How Lucrative Is a Cleaning Business?
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on many factors, such as the size of the business, the location, the number of employees, etc.
However, we can give you some general information to help you understand how much business cleaning services make in a year.
The average salary for a business cleaning service worker is $30,000 per year.
This number can vary greatly depending on the company's size and location.
For example, a large company in a major city may pay its workers much more than a small company in a rural area.
The number of employees also affects how much business cleaning services make in a year.
A large company with many employees will have a higher payroll than a small company with only a few workers.
The type of business can also affect how much business cleaning services make in a year.
For example, an office building typically requires more cleaning than a retail store.
Therefore, business cleaning services specializing in office buildings may make more money than those focusing on retail stores.
The amount of money these businesses make depends on many factors, such as the company's size, location, the number of employees, and the type of business.
How Much Am I Making & How Much Am I Spending?
It's crucial to track the revenue and expenditure
of your cleaning business.
Remember that your profit is the difference between how much you earn and the sum you spend.
But how can you increase your profit?
There are two ways in which you can approach this issue.
- Try to increase the amount that you charge for your services. However, you could face a constraint here. If you charge too much, customers may not hire your business. This is especially true in a situation where competition is high.
- The other thing you can do is to track your costs carefully. If you can keep your expenses to a minimum, you can boost your profitability. Make it a habit to write down your expenses.
Consider using an expense tracker app, this will simplify the tracking process. Luckily, these online tracking apps don’t cost much. You can subscribe to them for a few dollars a month. Some are free.
Aspects To Consider for a Successful Cleaning Business Finance Management
When you are calculating how much you're making and how much you're spending, there are two critical points that you should keep in mind:
The amount of cash you have with you at any point doesn't necessarily tell you how much profit you're making.
Let's understand this in some more detail.
Say you've completed a contract and received your payment of $500.
The sum you spent on supplies was $100, and you paid a temporary worker another $150.
So, the cash you have generated from the job is $250.
Unfortunately, calculating profit is not as simple as that. You also need to consider your other costs—such as insurance payments you would make yearly.
You will need to set aside cash for expenses of this type. So, your profit would be lower.
You must also remember that for small business owners, CASH IS KING.
Practically, this means your business should always have some surplus cash.
It isn't enough to carry out high-margin jobs. You must also collect the payments that are due.
How To Get Clients for a Cleaning Business? Cleaning Service Apps
Commercial cleaning business owners are fortunate today.
That's because there are a lot of available apps that can help you start finding clients and get your business' name out there.
Some of the most popular apps, depending on your location, include:
- App Jasmine
If one or more of these apps are available in your area, it's a great idea to check them out to see if they can help you attract clients for your cleaning business.
In addition to these apps, you should check out social media apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Names Ideas For Cleaning Business
- A Clean Sweep
- Fresh and Clean
- The Cleaning Crew
- Spick and Span
- Maid to Order
- The Dust Busters
- Heaven's Helpers
- Tackles & mops cleaning services
- The Tidy Housekeepers
- All American Janitorial Services
- The Sweeping Beauties
- All Clear Janitorial Solutions
- Atlantic Coast Janitorial Services
- Spotless Janitorial Systems
- JAN-PRO of Greater Baltimore
- Anago of Baltimore
- ServiceMaster of Baltimore
How Can I Cut Down on My Cleaning Business Expenses?
Do you want your cleaning business to be more profitable?
The trick is to lower your expenses as much as you can. Of course, your cost-cutting efforts shouldn't lead to a drop in the quality of your work.
So, how can you boost your income while keeping costs low?
Here are seven steps you can take to lower costs when managing commercial cleaning services:
Look for the Best Deals When Buying Cleaning Supplies
Owning your own cleaning business means chasing the best deals.
Bulk purchases can result in significant savings. But you must have the space to store everything you buy.
Compare prices on Amazon and sites like CleanItSupply.
Even if the price difference at the cheaper website is only slightly lower, you could make significant savings over time.
Don't forget to add shipping costs when making a comparison.
Buy Tools That Work on Multiple Surfaces
When purchasing new equipment, look for machinery that works on more than one type of surface.
For example, see if you can find equipment that can clean hard surfaces as well as carpets.
Even if the cost is high, this strategy could save you money. That's because you'll be buying one machine instead of two.
Hire Temporary Workers
This can be a good idea, especially if your cleaning business is new.
Hire people when you need them. When you get your next job, you can rehire them.
When your cleaning business has enough regular customers, you can think about employing permanent staff.
Maintain Your Equipment Well
Look after the machinery that you buy. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
This will ensure that you get an optimum level of performance from your equipment. It will also extend its useful life.
If the machinery is being used by a worker you have employed, provide adequate training.
You don't want your equipment to break down or require expensive maintenance because it wasn't handled correctly.
Develop a Plan for Handling Situations Where a Worker Doesn't Show Up
What will you do if one of your employees doesn't come to work? Absenteeism could lead to a delay in the completion of the assignment. Which can incur many costs.
Make it a practice to maintain a list of workers you can call to help you on short notice. If you do this, it will help you to meet your commitments.
Make Sure That Your Workers Have the Necessary Skills and Experience
Don't hire untrained workers. If you do, spend time bringing them up to speed.
Remember that on-the-job training is as essential as a classroom session.
Try and Switch to Green Chemicals
Explore innovative options for cleaning supplies. Instead of using traditional solutions, opt for green products.
Doing this will help you to differentiate yourself from the competition. It could also allow you to save money.
Start Your Own Cleaning Business Today!
Starting a cleaning service business
is one of the best ways for new entrepreneurs to enter the market with low overhead and little up-front money.
The above seven steps are the best way to start a cleaning business.
Likewise, when running a cleaning business, the key to success involves closely monitoring your costs.
If you can do this, you will be able to boost your profits. This can give you the money you need to expand operations and take your enterprise to the next level.
And when you do have your business up and running, consider investing in it to make your cleaning business grow, which will translate into more profits.
Now that you understand how to start a cleaning business, you must know that at Camino Financial, we'll be happy to help you whenever you need funds.
Apply for a business loan today
What do you need to start a cleaning company?
To start a cleaning company, register your business with the state, obtain liability insurance, and find a reliable cleaning crew.
You may also want to consider registering with the IRS as self-employed.
In addition to these initial steps, you must create a marketing plan and establish service rates.
Is it worth starting a cleaning business?
Before starting, there are a few things to consider: is there a demand for your services in your area?
Two, what will your start-up costs be?
And three, how will you market your business?
If there is demand for your services and you can afford to start the business, then it's definitely worth it.
There are several ways to market a cleaning business, such as advertising in local newspapers or online, word-of-mouth marketing, or even door-to-door marketing.
Can you start a cleaning business by yourself?
Yes, you can start by yourself, but it will be more difficult and time-consuming than teaming up with someone.
You'll need to do all the marketing and sales outreach yourself and the day-to-day tasks of running the business.
However, if you team up with another person or company, you can split the work and make it.
How much to charge for commercial cleaning?
For commercial cleaning jobs, you could charge a flat fee for each job by the hour.
Some people also choose to charge by the square foot.
When calculating your rates, you'll need to consider the cost of materials, equipment, and transportation.
You'll also need to factor in your own time and labor costs.
It's important to be competitive with other local businesses, so research your competition and adjust your rates accordingly.
And always remember that it's crucial to maintain a good relationship with your clients, so be sure not to overcharge them.
How hard is it to start a cleaning business?
It's not hard to start a cleaning business, but making a lot of money at it is challenging.
The biggest challenge facing most new cleaning businesses is finding enough customers to keep the company afloat.
This can be especially tough in competitive markets or if you're targeting a niche market with limited potential customers.
Another challenge that new businesses face is pricing their services correctly.
You want to price your services so that you make a healthy profit, but you also don't want to price them too high so that people are unwilling to hire you.
Finding the right balance can be difficult, but it's important to get it right if you want your business to be successful.
How to get contracts for cleaning?
To obtain contracts for a cleaning business, you should define your target market and services, develop a business plan, obtain the necessary licenses and insurance, and set competitive pricing.
Additionally, actively market your services through various channels such as online platforms, social media, local advertisements, and networking events.
Building a strong reputation through excellent customer service and referrals will also help attract clients and secure contracts.