Professional cleaning service team working with cleaning equipment in room. Cleaning Service. Concept: cleaning business
By: rkapur
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Ultimate Guide On How To Start A Cleaning Business

You might be interested in learning how to start a cleaning business if you want to be an entrepreneur without too much capital.

One of the best parts about owning this business is that it gives you the freedom to work independently or with a small team of employees and relatively low overhead and operating costs.

Indeed, all it takes to start is some hard work, initiative, and know-how for marketing and licensing.

As with any business, though, there are specific steps you should take to ensure that business starts off right and ends up being a profitable venture for you long-term.

Here’s a complete guide on how to do it.

Table of Contents
1. How to start a cleaning business step-by-step
2. How much does it cost to start a cleaning business
3. How lucrative is a cleaning business?
4. How can I cut down on my cleaning business expenses
5. How to get clients? Cleaning service apps
6. Types of commercial cleaning businesses to start
7. Names for cleaning business
8. FAQs

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How to Start a Cleaning Business Step-By-Step

Here are some easy steps to start a cleaning business:

Figure out if you’re a good fit for a cleaning business

The first step in learning how to start a cleaning business is determining whether you are a good fit for the industry. 

So, how do you know whether you’d be a good fit for a cleaning business?

One way is 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 you with brutally honest feedback about your work.

If they love what you did for them at their home, then you know whether you might be a good fit for clients who are strangers to you.

If they’re not happy with your work, then maybe a cleaning business isn’t right for you, or you’ll have to improve it to be successful.

If so, don’t worry! There are still many profitable industries you can start a business in.

Decide the business structure

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 are you planning to purchase a franchise?

These are all questions that you need to answer before moving forward with the other steps on how to start a cleaning business.

The answer to each of those questions will greatly determine how you proceed with the following steps.

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.

Establish your selling point

Your potential customers are likely to have many choices when choosing a cleaning company in your area.

As a result, 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?

Decide how much you’ll charge

Establishing a unique selling point is crucial in any business, especially when you own cleaning business.

You’ll also want to research how much you should charge for your services in your area.

An excellent way to do this is to figure out what your competitors charge and then undercut them slightly.

Since you will be a new business in the market, it’s good to offer more affordable prices than your competitors but still provide top-notch services.

This will prove to potential customers that you are their best option.

Figure out what licenses you’ll need

When you start any business, there are specific licenses you’ll need to operate. You must figure out what particular permits you’ll need to start a cleaning business, and this will depend on where you are located.

Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to required licenses. You might need either a cleaning business license or a regular business license and a surety bond.

Come up with a plan for acquiring clients

In addition to figuring out your pricing and unique selling proposition, you’ll need to develop a detailed plan on how you’re going to acquire clients.

The way to do this will be through extensive marketing and advertising plans.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to spend a lot of money. 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, if you decide to attract new customers, you must establish a solid marketing/advertising plan and be aggressive with it right from the start.

Make sure you have the money

While a cleaning business typically doesn’t require the same up-front capital as other industries, you’ll still need to have some finances in place to make sure your business is adequately funded.

To do this, you’ll either need to have cash on hand or have a source of funds that 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, as well as 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 licenses, bonds, business formation costs, transportation, supplies, equipment, and marketing.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Cleaning Business: a Detailed Breakdown

In the cleaning business, competition is fierce. That’s because starting is relatively easy. Plus, you don’t need much capital.

Here’s a breakdown of the approximate costs you could incur if you start your own cleaning business.

Operating expenses and cost of equipment

There’s a long list of things that you’ll need for your cleaning business. Here are some of the supplies and equipment that could be required, even if you are doing house cleaning or other cleaning services:

  • Trash bags
  • Plastic buckets
  • Rubber gloves
  • Floor cleaning solution
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Brooms
  • Cleaning rags
  • Dustpans
  • A cleaning supply cart
  • Wipes
  • Mops
  • Dust towels
  • Carpet blower

The average cost of cleaning equipment and materials

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 worth of supplies, while a large warehouse or manufacturing plant may need several thousand dollars worth of supplies.

The type of business will also affect the cost, as businesses 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 cost per month for your specific business is to contact local suppliers and get quotes based on your unique needs.

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 of the items will be one-time purchases. For example, you’ll need to buy a vacuum cleaner or a carpet blower only once. But the cleaning supplies will need to be replenished regularly.

The estimated total cost of operating expenses and equipment: is $1,000

What is a Cleaning Business License? Why do you need one to operate

Which are the business licenses and permits that you will need? This is a vital issue that you need to address before you start your cleaning business.

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

The estimated total cost of licenses: is $500

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 across the country.

You will need to provide proof of your experience working in the cleaning industry, as well as 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 when it comes to getting a cleaning license.

Be sure to research the specific requirements for your state before beginning the process.

With a cleaning license, you will be able to 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.

Insurance costs

This is another major cost that you need to take into consideration. This business needs various types of insurance cover.

It could be essential to buy general liability insurance. This will protect your company if you or an employee causes injury to a client. It also protects you if there is some damage to the client’s property.

While on the subject of insurance, don’t forget about janitorial bonds for your cleaning business.

What’s a janitorial bond? It’s essentially an insurance cover that reimburses your client if one of your employees commits theft.

Estimated Total Cost Of Insurance: $1,000

Summary of cleaning business expenses

Operating expenses and cost of equipment$1,000

As you can see, it’s possible to start a cleaning business with as little as $2,500. Of course, costs can vary depending on the scale of operations and the number of employees that you have.

Cleaning Business Start-up Cost Checklist:

  • Insurance
  • Equipment and materials
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Training
  • Licenses and permits
  • Vehicle
  • Office space or storage unit
  • Accounting software
  • Supplies

However, it’s a fact that the cleaning business is one of the lowest-cost ventures that you can start.

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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 that will 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 size of the company and the 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 plays a role in how much business cleaning services make in a year. A large company with many employees will obviously 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 will typically require more cleaning than a retail store. Therefore, business cleaning services that specialize in office buildings may make more money than those that focus on retail stores.

In conclusion, there is no simple answer to the question of how much business cleaning services make in a year.

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, and 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:

1. The amount of cash that you have with you at any point in time 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 that you have generated from the job is $250.

Unfortunately, calculating profit is not as simple as that. You also need to take your other costs into account. For example, insurance payments would be made every year. You will need to set aside cash for expenses of this type. Consequently, your profit would be lower.

2. The other thing that you need to remember is that for small business owners, CASH IS KING.

In practical terms, 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.

Now, let’s come to another critical issue: How can you control your costs?

How hard is it to start a cleaning business?

It’s not hard to start a cleaning business, but it is challenging to make a lot of money at it.

The biggest challenge facing most new cleaning businesses is finding enough customers to keep the business 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 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 ensure that 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 you are 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 a large enough number of 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 that you have employed, provide an adequate level of 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.

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 in 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.

How to get clients? Cleaning service apps

Commercial cleaning business owners are fortunate today. That’s because there are a lot of apps that are available 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:

  • MyClean
  • TaskRabbit
  • Handy
  • Dectar
  • Hux
  • App Jasmine
  • ZenMaid
  • Mulberrys
  • Whizz

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 also, of course, check out social media apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Types of Commercial Cleaning Businesses to Start

There are different types of cleaning businesses you can start.

The most common are residential, commercial, and office cleaning businesses.

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.

If you’re starting a small business, it’s important to choose a niche in which you can excel.

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.

Unique cleaning business ideas

The following are cleaning business ideas you can start. Some of these businesses may require certification or specific licenses.

Office Cleaning Business

You can provide cleaning services to businesses in your area. This can include general office cleaning, window washing, carpet cleaning, and trash removal.

Janitorial Services

Provide janitorial services to schools, hospitals, factories, churches, and other commercial facilities.

Residential Cleaning Services

You can offer housekeeping services to homeowners in your area.

It can include dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, and laundry.

Carpet Cleaning Business

It specializes in cleaning carpets. This can include cleaning both residential and commercial carpets.

Window Cleaning Business

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.

Pool Cleaning Business

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.

Maid Service

Provide maid services to homeowners and businesses. This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms and kitchens.

Laundry Service

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.

Names 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

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 not much 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 keeping a close watch on 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 it grow more and more, 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 for your business.

Get Financing For Your Cleaning Business


What do you need to start a cleaning company?

To start a cleaning company, you will need to 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 a self-employed individual.

In addition to these initial steps, you will also need to create a marketing plan and establish rates for your services.

Is it worth starting a cleaning business?

There are a few things to consider before starting a cleaning business. One, 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 a number of 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 a cleaning business by yourself, but it will be more difficult and time-consuming than if you team up with someone.

If you decide to go it alone, be prepared for a lot of hard work. You’ll need to do all the marketing and sales outreach yourself, as well as 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.

How to Charge for Commercial Cleaning Charging?

For commercial cleaning jobs, you could charge by the hour or charge a flat fee for each job. 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 important to maintain a good relationship with your clients, so be sure not to overcharge them.

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