floor care machine. concept: cleaning business
Derek Tallent
By: dtallent
Read in 10 minutes

Home Cleaning Business vs. Commercial Cleaning Business

During these times, many businesses don’t have the demand that they would during normal circumstances. But there are still many that could thrive. The cleaning industry is growing strong and could be the right option for you if you’re looking to start a business today.

You may be struggling to decide what type of cleaning you should do. After all, it’s not the same to clean homes and commercial buildings, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. 

We’re here to give you a rundown of how each type of cleaning business is different to provide you with a better idea of which one might be right for you.

Professional cleaning service team working with cleaning equipment in room. Cleaning Service. Concept: cleaning business

Home Cleaning Businesses

Home cleaning businesses are the ones most commonly known by the general population (and are sometimes called “maid services”).

Services Offered

Maid services do a lot for people’s homes. They dust, vacuum, sweep, and mop every room. They clean the toilets, mirrors, showers, and baths in each bathroom. They wipe down counters and kitchen appliances. Some maid services offer additional services like taking out the trash or washing dishes. 

Most maid services do not pick up clutter because that runs the risk of something getting damaged or the homeowner not being able to find their items.

Market

Your market is going to be anyone with a home, apartment, townhouse, etc. Needless to say, the demand for home cleaning services is quite large.

Number of Employees

You could technically do all of the cleaning yourself, but that would be very hard and inefficient. Typically maid services will have 3-5 maids clean each house to make sure that the cleaning is high quality and quick enough to get out of the homeowner’s hair. 

Equipment and Supplies

For a regular home cleaning you would probably need the following equipment:

  • Vacuum cleaners with different attachments for wood, carpet, and tile floors
  • Plastic rolling bucket to contain other supplies
  • Mop and bucket for soapy water
  • Long and short dusters 
  • Broom and a dustpan
  • Microfiber cloths (use separate ones for bathroom and kitchen)
  • Toilet brushes
  • Glass cleaner and a glass cleaning cloth
  • Protective rubber gloves and shoe covers (to reduce markings left on floors)

Money

In terms of costs associated with starting a cleaning business, this will depend on your state’s business licensing fees. 

Once you pay to get required bonds and licenses, you will need to buy all of the equipment you see above (keep in mind that many of the items like the microfiber cloths and toilet brushes need to be replaced every clean). You also will need to have a method of transportation, whether that be a personal car or even a bus route. 

In terms of the money you will make, typically it ranges anywhere from $35,000 to $70,000 a year, depending on how many homes you are cleaning per week. 

How To Get Clients

Getting clients is a bit more straightforward in home cleaning, as word of mouth is crucial. Offer a discount for family and friends for a full house clean and get feedback on how you did. 

Once you are confident that your cleaning skills are up to par, you can seek out even more clients. Building email lists, asking for referrals, paid advertising online, or on television, are all great ways to get your brand out there. It will be difficult and might take a bit of time, but once you get a few recurring clients, you will be in good shape.

Low Section Of A Person Cleaning The Carpet With Vacuum Cleaner In Living Room. concept: cleaning business

Commercial Business Cleaning 

Before we get into commercial cleaning, we need to clear up a misconception about commercial cleaning. 

Many believe commercial cleaning to be the same as janitorial services, but this is NOT the case. Janitorial services mainly offer the same as home cleaning but for businesses. Janitorial businesses can be very useful, but commercial cleaning exists for more specific purposes. 

We are going to specifically focus on commercial cleaning since janitorial services are more similar to home cleaning.

Services Offered

Commercial cleaning is what businesses use on a non-regular basis for specialized cleaning jobs. 

For example, if your office suffers fire or flooding damage, commercial cleanings are often necessary due to having equipment that can deal with these factors. If your business has a hazardous materials spill or needs heavy machinery and equipment cleaned, that may be time for a commercial cleaning as well. 

Market

The market for commercial cleaning is smaller and more specialized. There are simply more homes than there are businesses, especially taking into account that every business will not need commercial cleaning every week. 

Number of employees

There is no set number of employees that you will need for a commercial cleaning business. Depending on your task and the size of the business you are cleaning, you may need anywhere from 5 to 20 employees at each site. It depends on what you specialize in. 

Equipment

You will need similar equipment to a home cleaning business, with the added caveat that the equipment will likely need to be a higher grade or for industrial use. 

For example, a home model vacuum is not equipped to deal with fire and water damage. If you deal with cleaning construction or heavy machinery, you might need to use high-pressure water cannons to really make sure your client site gets cleaned. You also may want to invest in more automated cleaning devices like a floor buffer, drive scrubber, sludge drying systems, etc.

Money

As you can probably tell from the equipment list, a commercial cleaning business does require a more significant investment due to the much more expensive tools needed to do the job. However, there is also a much higher ceiling for the amount you will make. 

Since you offer specialized services, you can offer higher prices. Beginning commercial cleaning businesses usually make around $70,000 a year, but as you secure more clients, you could easily start making more than $100,000 a year. 

How To Get Clients

The easiest way to get clients is to think about what you specialize in and what you bring to the table. 

If you are specializing in construction cleanup, look for construction companies and projects near you that may need a helping hand. You can also advertise to businesses in the area that may handle hazardous materials or need machinery cleaned. 

Get referrals, keep looking for new clients, and make sure you have a great brand and website. If you do an excellent job in your area of expertise, you should have a growing client list in no time.

Working Photos. Daily Cleaning Equipment. concept: cleaning business

Home vs. Commercial Cleaning: The Differences at a Glance

Here’s a helpful chart that you can refer to that emphasizes the differences between a home and commercial cleaning business:

Home Cleaning Commercial Cleaning
What is it? Generalized, detail-oriented cleaning of homes and apartments. Specialized cleaning of specific things like heavy machinery or flood-damaged floors. Less detail-oriented and more focused on particular tasks.
Costs Costs less money to start up, but earnings are often much lower than commercial cleaning. More costly to start up due to more licenses and commercial grade equipment acquired, but more earnings are expected to start and can grow much higher.
Demand There is always a demand for home cleaning services, and your clients will likely give you recurring work every week or two if you do a good job. The demand is based more on what you specialize in. Cleanings are done when needed instead of weekly. The market is smaller, as there are fewer businesses than homes.

Portrait Of Happy Diverse Janitors In The Office With Cleaning Equipments. concept: cleaning business

So Which Is Right For You?

Like we said before, there is no right answer when deciding between these two business paths. Home cleaning may be best for you if you want less of an investment up front and a more stable and broader market. 

Commercial cleaning, on the other hand, could be a great option, especially if you have the knowledge to make yourself a valuable resource for certain companies. There is more room for growth in the commercial cleaning business, with the caveat of it being more niche and expensive to start up.

Hopefully, this article has given you a lot to think about in terms of where you want to take your cleaning business. If you want more insight into the cleaning industry, we invite you to keep reading:

person cleaning bathroom, cleaning service, cleaning businessHow Much Does It Cost To Run A Cleaning Business?—Breaking Down the Expenses

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