How to Start a Cleaning Business With No Money

Published on September 14, 2018

The upfront cost of exploring how to start a cleaning business with no money is a major factor in deciding whether this new business opportunity is a possibility.

However, even if you have no money, you can still start a cleaning business.

In this article, we'll discuss the primary ways to mitigate the upfront costs of navigating how to start a cleaning business:

  • How to get the funds for your new business
  • The best places to allocate your budget
  • Top low-cost ways to quickly win clients

Plus, you'll discover some of the best available options in running your new business with little to no immediate hassle.

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How to Obtain the Necessary Funding

When you have no money to cover upfront costs, you'll need to obtain it from an outside source.

For example, this funding covers upfront costs on things like:

Take a look at a few of the main ways to obtain necessary funds for starting your cleaning business:

Secure a Small Business Loan

Shop around local banks and credit unions to find the institution that’ll give you the best rate and has a good reputation. Typically, it's best to start with a bank you already use.

Usually, most lenders require a business plan and expense sheet with financial projections for the next 5 years.

Also, be sure to explore SBA-guaranteed loans as well as SBA investment programs. Plus, you can take advantage of their local business counseling.

Find a Business Partner

If you’re going to partner up with someone who’s willing to work as hard as you are, make sure it’s someone you want to work with professionally.

Otherwise, when things inevitably become difficult, your personal relationship with that person could suffer.

Sign a legal agreement with your business partner beforehand. This way, a legal document outlines mutual expectations of your roles to protect both parties.

Find an Investor

Investors front the funds, and you run the business. In turn, they get a cut of the business in return.

Much like having a partner, make sure you outline the nature of this relationship in a legal agreement so there aren’t any problems down the line.

Avoid Incurring Credit Card Debt to Secure Funds

Some new cleaning business owners choose to use credit cards to pay for initial expenses.

However, unless you can afford to pay off the card before interest accrues, it's best to avoid this strategy. Instead, look for other more sustainable ways to acquire funding.

Alternatively, if you're able to obtain a zero interest credit card, this might be an option if you have the ability to pay it off before it incurs interest.

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Where to Allocate Your New Funds

After acquiring the necessary funds needs to start your cleaning business, it's important to properly allocate the funds into the right places.

The Basic Essentials

Take a look at a few must-have essentials to get started:

  • Business registration and licenses
    • Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out the necessary licenses and see what you need to do.
  • Business insurance
    • Start with your existing insurance company to see if they'll offer you a deal.
  • Set up a business bank account
    • Typically, it's easier to talk with your existing bank where you already have a good standing relationship.
  • Implement uniforms
    • E.g. start with basic black pants and a black t-shirt with the company logo and an apron.
  • Hire a freelance graphic designer to create your company logo
  • Hire a freelance web developer to create a professional website
    • Alternatively, if the budget doesn't allow for it, you can start by building your own on beginner user-friendly platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
  • Business cards
    • Don't forget to list your phone, email, website, social media, etc.
  • Flyers, door hangers, and leave-behinds
    • Be sure to include referral offers and contact information to attract client referrals.
  • Meet with a trusted CPA (i.e. Certified Public Accountant) and attorney
    • It's a good idea to meet with both a CPA and attorney to ensure you’re correctly structuring your business.
  • Cleaning service software
    • With Service Autopilot, you can automate everyday tasks to save endless hours and money in estimate creation, billing, routing, scheduling, managing client accounts, and more. For these reasons, it's especially important to use the right software from the start of your business.

Cleaning Equipment and Supplies

In addition, here's a brief list of supplies and equipment to consider purchasing:

  • Cleaners
    • E.g. disinfectant, glass, soap scum, toilet bowl, electronic-friendly, wood polish, etc.
    • Also, you can make your own green cleaners.
  • Rags and/or cloths
    • E.g. microfiber, dusting, glass, etc.
  • Brushes, scrubbers, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Caddy for all of your supplies
  • Commercial vacuum cleaner
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Mop and bucket
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Feather duster
  • Paper towels
  • Shoe covers
  • Bags

The Top Low-Cost Ways to Quickly Win Clients

Marketing serves as an excellent opportunity to quickly win clients at little to no cost.

Start taking advantage of these easy marketing strategies today:

Word of Mouth Referrals

When you're first starting out, word of mouth referrals from existing clients, friends, and family provide an excellent opportunity to develop your initial client base.

Get word of mouth referrals by including a client referral offer on marketing materials such as:

Get 5-Star Reviews

Another way to quickly win clients is by getting 5-star reviews on platforms like:

Plus, 5-star reviews not only help to attract new clients, but it also helps you to build a reputation for high-quality cleaning services.

Social Media Ads

By far, one of the quickest, most effective ways to gain new clients is by leveraging the power of social media ads.

Keep in mind, it takes an average of 6-8 touches to convert a lead into a client. Which means, social media ads provide an excellent, low-cost opportunity to touch leads multiple times to convert them.

Plus, social media ads are easy to optimize for specific target audiences as well as set a daily budget.

For example, in Facebook Ads, you can set a target audience based on specific neighborhoods you're going after. Then, you can create a budget for how much you want to spend.

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Google Ads

While Google Ads aren't quite as cost-effective as social media ads, they serve as a more hyper-targeted way to reach ideal clients.

After all, with social media ads, you're invading the audience's space with ads who aren't necessarily searching for your services.

Whereas, with Google Ads, you're going after an audience who is actively searching for a cleaning service solution based on the keywords you're targeting.

Plus, once you know the basics, Google Ads are relatively easy to implement and set an ad spending budget.

Automations is the  #1 way to follow up  with clients. If you’re not using it, your business might still be successful - but it won’t grow. 

Start Automations Tour

In Service Autopilot, our automations send emails and texts to:​

Every lead after an estimate is completed
Clients after their property has been serviced​
Remind leads and clients to send you customer feedback​
Update outdated or declined payment information​
Inform them when a service can’t be completed due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. weather)​
Remind them of maintenance tips (i.e. putting a cover on the outdoor faucet before the winter)​
Start Automations Tour

Use the Best Software to Start a Cleaning Business on the Right Foot

By far, the primary way to start a cleaning business on the right foot is by harnessing the power of the best cleaning service software.

With Service Autopilot, you'll have the ability to automate everyday tasks like:

  • Payments
  • Follow-ups
  • Bulk invoicing
  • Two-way texting
  • Optimized routes
  • Employee job tracking

Increase profits, save time, minimize stress, and put your everyday tasks on autopilot with Service Autopilot today!

Grow Your Cleaning Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)

Instant invoicing

Better scheduling

Manage your clients and employees all in one system

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Navigate How to Start a Cleaning Business Like a Pro

Now, you know some of the best ways to navigate how to start a cleaning business like a pro. In turn, you have the power to start a quickly successful business.

Use these strategies to help you:

  • Properly allocate your budget to the right resources
  • Start a cleaning business with a solid foundation
  • Obtain the necessary funding to get started
  • Quickly win the necessary client volume

Plus, when you take advantage of what the best cleaning service software has to offer, you can save endless amounts of time and money.

Estimate creation, auto-charging cards, automated follow-ups, and automically optimized routes are just the beginning of the countless possibilities with Service Autopilot.

Related: How to Start a Cleaning Business

Originally published Sept 14, 2018 10:26 AM, updated Jan 4, 2021 10:59 AM

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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