How to Start a Cleaning Business

Published on January 22, 2019

Even though exploring how to start a cleaning business might seem overwhelming at first, the right resources and steps can help simplify the process.

In this article, we’ll simplify this step-by-step process so you know exactly how to start a cleaning business that's successful by doing things like:

  • Taking the right legal steps
  • Properly pricing your services for profit
  • Choosing the right insurance for the business
  • Hiring the best cleaners to help you conquer goals
  • Harnessing the power of effective marketing strategies
  • Consistently meeting with a financial advisor to stay on target
  • Develop a detailed business plan to evaluate your whole strategy
  • Choose the right cleaning service software to streamline everyday operations

These strategies and more will help to instill consistent business growth in the long-term.

Now, let's explore how to start a cleaning business using these effortless steps to ease your worries.

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1. Choose Which Cleaning Services to Offer

Prior to evaluating the bigger picture, it's important to outline a target market and choose which cleaning services to offer.

However, before starting a cleaning business, it's important to have several years of experience. In turn, you can use this industry experience provide a clearer picture of your business model.

Choose your ideal services to start out with by answering questions like:

  • Will you serve residential, commercial, or both accounts?
  • What services do clients need the most in your area?
  • What services are your specialty?

Typically, most cleaning businesses select a few basic services for a specific market (e.g. residential cleaning), and then grow into additional services later on.

By starting with a few basic services and with a specific target market, you won't have to purchase as much equipment and materials at one time.

Due to the different equipment and materials often required for commercial accounts, many cleaning businesses start with residential cleaning before expanding into the commercial space.

2. Check Your State's Requirements for Local Licensing and Other Requirements

Depending on your state, you may or may not have local licensing or other legal equipments necessary for starting your cleaning business.

As always, verify with your local laws that you and your team have the proper credentials before completing jobs.

Once you know your legal requirements, you may choose a cleaning training program to better help you and your team with everyday business operations.

Plus, if your business expands into additional service categories, there's advanced training for those areas, including:

These trainings and others will help set your services apart from the competition and take your business to the next level.

While these trainings are not legally required, it can help both you and your cleaners to maximize job performance.

3. Choose the Right Name for Your Cleaning Business

It's important to choose the right name for your cleaning businesss before being able to register it.

Although, this is a key decision, try not to overcomplicate the process in choosing a name. Use these guidelines to help you decide:

  • Keep it simple
  • See if localized domains are available
    • E.g. dallascleaningservices.com
  • Pick 2-3 words related to your services

Remember, there's no need to include:

  • Excessive details
  • A cute or clever pun
    • Save it for your slogan
  • "[Your Name's] Cleaning Services"

4. Meet With a Trusted CPA

In order to secure a successful, financially responsible business, it's important to meet with a trusted CPA (i.e. Certified Public Accountant).

Before beginning with the usual business ventures, it's important to establish basic factors like:

Since they're able to evaluate all of your available assets at hand, weigh costs, decide if a loan is necessary, determine when to go full-time, as well as countless other factors, CPAs are absolutely crucial.

Plus, a CPA can even flag financial obligations or factors you haven't even considered.

With the right CPA, you can have a clear path to success with mitigated potential risks. Before registering your cleaning business, you MUST meet with a CPA.

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5. Register the Cleaning Business

Once you've met with a trusted CPA, you're ready to register the cleaning business.

On the bright side, it's relatively inexpensive and easy to register your business with the state. In fact, some states only require light paperwork for the registration process.

Remember, registering your business is simple, mitigates legal risks, and secures personal assets. For these reasons, there's no excuse to skip this essential step!

Plus, an S Corp (i.e. S Corporation) or LLC (i.e. Limited Liability Company) protects personal assets from disputes and lawsuits and aids in filing taxes.

DO NOT WAIT to register your cleaning business. Before starting a cleaning business, you MUST get registered.

S Corp vs. LLC

For tax reasons, the IRS classifies businesses as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, or S corporations.

An LLC doesn't have a classification type, so it gets taxed as another business type.

In other words, registering your business as a sole proprietorship LLC forces you to pay self-employment taxes (e.g. social security and Medicaid) - taxing the entire business' profit for that year.

For this reason, many businesses register as an S Corp.

When you register as an S Corp or LLC, the business owner can get a salary. Which means, the business owner's salary will get the self-employment tax - as opposed to your total profits.

AS ALWAYS, meet with a CPA before choosing how to register your business.

6. Develop a Business Plan

Once you've met with a CPA and registered your business, you're ready to create a business plan with the financial information you've already gathered.

Remember, both new AND established cleaning businesses should have an official business plan.

Keep in mind, virtually anyone providing financing for the business (e.g. loans, grants, investors, etc.) will ask to see your plan.

Although, even if you don't apply for any financial assistance, a great business plan helps to keep everyone on the right track for pursuing your desired vision and goals.

Plus, it helps prepare for the unexpected and keep the business organized.

Here's a basic outline of how your business plan should look:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Business Overview
  4. Cleaning Services
  5. Market Analysis Summary
  6. Business Strategy
  7. Implementation Summary
  8. Management Summary
  9. Financial Plan

A robust business plan is one of the key elements in starting a cleaning business that's successful.

The best business plans set the business up for growth, provide insightful details, and reduce stress. However, creating a great one takes time.

However, it's not a one-and-done document. You must consistently update it with new contact information, financial updates, and more.

Generally, financial revisions are performed monthly, and complete revisions are performed annually.

As always, ask your CPA to review your business plan before finalizing it.

7. Set Up a Business Bank Account

Despite the financial risks, many new business owners make the common mistake of using their personal bank account for their business.

In turn, using your personal bank account for your business has the potential to offer problems when filing taxes or being audited.

Simplify things with your CPA, reduce confusion, and prevent costly errors by keeping your personal and business financials separated.

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your business and your personal assets is by setting up a business bank account from the start.

Your CPA and bank are valuable resources in helping you properly set up your business bank account.

8. Get Bonded and Insured Before Doing Jobs

Event though appropriate insurance coverage provides upfront costs, a great bonding and insurance policy protects the business from the inevitable mistakes that happen.

Plus, depending on your state and whether you're servicing residential and/or commercial accounts, it may even be required to have bonding and insurance.

Also, business insurance offers an extra financial cushion to help prevent the business from going bankrupt in a lawsuit.

Choose the best insurance policy possible which reasonably aligns within your budget.

However, every business' insurance needs vary. Choose the right insurance policy that meets the needs of your business.

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9. Win Clients With Effective Marketing Strategies

By far, marketing is one of the best ways to win clients fast, establish your branding, build credibility, and increase public awareness of the business.

Take a sneak peak inside the top 10 marketing strategies any cleaning business can start taking advantage of:

  1. Revamp or create a business website
  2. Harness the power of email marketing
  3. Start PPC (i.e. Pay Per Click) marketing
  4. Leverage all reviews
  5. Explore content marketing
  6. Create a video marketing strategy
  7. Actively use social media
  8. Place physical ads
  9. Expand brand visibility with vehicle wraps
  10. Get amazing referrals with leave-behinds

When you institute a marketing strategy early on into your business practices, you'll have the ability to quickly win more clients and establish brand awareness.

Never forget, it's important to build a website, and then slowly shift focus onto SEO (i.e. search engine optimization) as the business grows.

Also, prioritize local industry keywords and improve Google search engine ranking (e.g. Dallas house cleaning) by creating relevant content for clients and leads.

Plus, higher Google rankings make your website more discoverable for leads.

While there's no established rule that you need a website to start a cleaning business, it'll aid you in increasing conversion rates, establishing an online presence, and creating credibility.

Hire a freelance web developer when you have the budget for it. Alternatively, you can use an easy website builder, like Wix or Squarespace, with simple tutorials for newcomers.

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10. Start the Hiring Process

Once you've finalized your business plan with your CPA, you'll probably have an idea of whether or not you'll need to hire any cleaners before starting.

Here's a quick look inside the cleaning hiring process:

Perform a Complete Background Check

It's crucial to perform a complete background check on ALL employees before hiring them. This includes trusted referrals!

Once an ideal candidate has passed their initial phone screening and in-person interview, it's time to perform a complete background check.

Look out for any potential liabilities or red flags they can cause the business.

For instance, if a cleaner has been caught stealing, they're probably not an ideal candidate.

After all, your cleaners will be working inside clients' homes or offices, and both you and your clients need to be able to trust them.

Plus, be sure to follow up with the candidate's references before offering them a position. Remember, they should have at least two recent professional and two personal references.

Use these referrals to verify the provided information and offer additional insight into the candidate's background.

Next, if everything goes well, verify if the candidate is legally ready to work - including any certifications or visas.

Also, depending on the job being filled, verify that the candidate is willing to dedicate adequate time and effort into training or obtaining necessary credentials to fulfill their position's requirements.

Acquire an EIN

Get an EIN (i.e. employer identification number) in the US and a SIN (i.e. social insurance number) in Canada to legally begin hiring.

If you're in the US, the process is as simple as filing an online application at IRS.gov. Also, if you're in Canada, there's a similar process at Canada.ca.

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11. Use the Best Cleaning Service Software to Spark Long-Term Growth

Service Autopilot is the best cleaning service software for sparking long-term growth. Even better, it'll further benefit your business if you're using it from the beginning of your business.

The #1 cleaning service software has the power to:

  • Get you paid faster
  • Create instant estimates from anywhere
  • Bulk invoice clients with a few simple clicks
  • Generate instant scheduling optimization for cleaners
  • Access job history, notes, and client information from anywhere

Service Autopilot has helped THOUSANDS of businesses just like yours to become amazing successes.

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How to Start a Cleaning Business That's Successful

In this article, we've talked about how to start a cleaning business that's successful by taking necessary steps like:

  • Meeting with a CPA to talk about finances and liabilities
  • Seeking outside specialist help as-needed
  • Developing a strategic business plan

When exploring how to start a cleaning business, these easy steps will help to simplify the process and provide the stepping stones to becoming successful.

Also, the best cleaning service software has the power help you become quickly profitable and optimize time.

Pick a few action items and tackle them this week. Don’t wait around. Seize the opportunity today, and become the cleaning business owner you’ve always known you can be!


Related: How to Start a Cleaning Business With No Money


Originally published Jan 22, 2019 7:00 AM, updated Dec 14, 2021 6:12 PM

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Cody Owen

Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.
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