A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Cleaning Business

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Here is everything you need to know about starting your cleaning business. We will set the foundation and walk you through 7 steps you need to take to launch your business from scratch.

You can start a cleaning business with less than $500 initial investment.

Staggering, right?

But starting a cleaning business is one thing, and running a sustainable business in a highly competitive market is different. The global cleaning service industry was estimated at around $55,715.0 million in 2020.

You must have a solid business foundation to achieve your desired business goals and ensure that you can stand out.

So, how to start a cleaning business that has a strong business foundation?

You need to follow a few basic fundamental steps that can help you strengthen your business core and ensure that you can unlock your desired business potential.

Our team has filtered result-oriented steps you can use to kick-start a successful cleaning business. So, without further ado, let’s get the learning started.

Types of Cleaning Businesses

There are 5 types of businesses you can set up based on their structure for your cleaning services.

1. Self-employed or sole proprietorship

Registering a business as a sole proprietor is the cheapest and fastest way to kick-start your business operations. 

This types of cleaning services business are ideal for you if you want to work by yourself under your brand name. 

Being an independent cleaning contractor, you have complete ownership of your business. Thus, you need to handle or outsource different business aspects to deliver quality service.

2. Partnership

You can opt for a partnership if there are two or more partners for your cleaning business. Apart from this, it is just like a sole proprietorship. 

However, keep in mind that in both of these options, your personal assets will be at stake if a legal issue arises. This is why many cleaning business owners opt for the next option.

3. Limited liability company

When two or more co-owners want to run a cleaning business, they can register under a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It can help you run a small-scale business and separate your assets from business liabilities.

The cleaning company is treated as a separate entity, and you can expand your business operations by hiring multiple employees with the initial business capital to handle the business expenses.

4. S-corp

It’s an independent corporation that enables you to pass profits and losses through the owner’s income. The business cash flow is linked with the owner’s income, and you’ll be taxed based on the overall business income.

5. C-corp

It’s an independent corporation that doesn’t combine the owner’s income with the business profits and losses, and the taxation process of the business is separate from the owner’s income.

Apart from the difference in business structure, there are multiple factors you must be aware of before starting a commercial cleaning or residential cleaning business.

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Everything You Must Know Before Starting a Cleaning Business

Many elements come into play when you think of starting a cleaning business. But we have filtered out the most essential ones for you. Let’s discuss each of them.

1. Cleaning services niche

You must choose a specific cleaning business niche that can help you increase your business effectiveness and showcase your expertise in the industry.

When starting a business, you should tailor your focus to increasing the quality of cleaning services. Once you gain experience, you can add more services to your portfolio to scale your business.

Look at the top cleaning service niche.

  • Residential cleaning

    Also known as household, domestic, and home cleaning services, residential cleaning has great demand in the industry. People opt for different residential cleaning services that can help them save time for their personal life and shift their focus from household chores.

    cleaning business ideas

    With residential cleaning services, you must cater to different areas like the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and other spaces in a residential building.

    With the increase in demand, the scope of the service types is amongst the top in the cleaning industry. The investment is affordable; you can hire a few cleaning professionals to kick-start small-scale cleaning jobs.

  • Commercial cleaning

    Commercial cleaning services are more important than residential services for independent contractors and cleaning businesses. The demand is rising because of the increase in commercial clients and buildings in the country.

    Commercial cleaning services are performed for shops, commercial buildings, schools, and working areas.

    Compared to residential cleaning services, commercial projects are more structured and long-term. You must have a solid team to handle a large-scale commercial cleaning project.

    It involves cleaning cubicles, desks, cabins, canteens, windows, restrooms, and receptions. The quality of the commercial project should be top-notch, and you should have the right tools and equipment to showcase your professionalism.

  • Green cleaning

    A new concept in the cleaning industry, green cleaning emphasizes eco-friendly cleaning for residential and commercial projects.

    Cleaning service providers perform different tasks using minimal chemicals, focusing only on environmentally friendly practices.

    With more awareness in society about global warming and an eco-friendly approach to living, green cleaning is slowly picking up the pace in the industry.

    You can choose green cleaning in your services to stand out from other cleaning service providers and increase your clientele.

  • Janitor cleaning

    Janitor cleaning is misunderstood as simple office cleaning services. But with it, you must cover offices, industrial places, or other working areas.

    Janitor cleaning

    You must maintain consistency in the janitor cleaning process and hire reliable and trustworthy employees who can deliver the required services in the long run.

    Janitor services are highly demanded in the commercial and industrial segments, increasing the chances of profits and revenue generation for your cleaning business.

  • Sanitization and disinfection
    With increasing health concerns, the demand for professional sanitization and disinfection services is increasing. Both residential and commercial clients require the services, increasing the opportunity in the niche.
    Sanitization services ensure that the place is disinfected and sterilized from various viruses, bacteria, and other microbes.
    You require experienced staff and certified medical and cleaning supplies to deliver quality cleaning results for your clients. 

These are the top five cleaning niches you can choose from. Apart from these, there are laundry and dry cleaning, ceiling and wall cleaning, carpet cleaning, pressure washing, chimney sweeping, and window cleaning, among other services that you can specialize in.

Before choosing one for your business, a basic understanding of these cleaning services is important.

Understanding your niche can be your USP to increase your clientele in the specific cleaning service industry.

2. Capital required to start cleaning business

Apart from the niche, you should also focus on the capital required for starting your cleaning business. Different cleaning companies and small business owners raise funds independently from financial institutions or angel investors.

how much money do i need to start a cleaning business

But you should first analyze the minimum amount it will take to start and operate your cleaning business

Based on the business structure, you can choose different ways to raise funds to ensure that you have the initial setup to start your business. Here are some of the costs you need to include:

  1. Business insurance
  2. Employee wages
  3. Cleaning equipment cost 
  4. Business license

You don’t require a high-end investment to start a cleaning business. But understand the required cost and minimize the hassle of starting your business.

3. License

Every business should follow the legalities set up by the governing body before officially inaugurating its services. There are a few financial and legal details you must iron out first.

Acquire a business license to help you build credibility and trust among your audience. You must provide different business documents to avail yourself of the service license, which you need to renew the cleaning license every year.

Connect with your state’s governing officials or visit its website to get the required information for acquiring your cleaning business license.

4. Fix cleaning charges

You also need to set the right pricing model to help you charge a competitive service price for your clients. Ensure that your house cleaning charges are not underpriced or overpriced, and help you attract decent profits and new clients.

You can use four different ways to estimate cleaning rates. Using these methods, you can effectively get an accurate calculation of price as per the service and the project requirements.

  • Rate per square feet

    This is an easy and effective method for commercial and residential cleaning businesses to set the cleaning price. You can decide per square foot rate and then multiply the number by the overall square footage area to get the desired service pricing.

    The pricing method is time-saving and lets the clients get a transparent view of the amount they will need to pay.

  • Hourly basis

    The per-hour method is a flexible and safe option for pricing your cleaning services. Especially if you are starting your business operations, you should choose an hourly rate based on per-hour wages for the number of employees delivering the service.

    It’s a great strategy for cleaning service businesses unsure about the scope of the work and the ideal pricing strategy.

    The beginner-friendly approach of using an hourly-based pricing model can fail when you scale your business operations and want to stand out.

  • Fixed-rate

    Charging a flat cleaning service fee is common and used by different businesses to deliver a quality cleaning experience. Flat pricing is ideal for your business if you understand the project requirements well and know the project’s scope well.

    Once you know that your team can complete the task within a specific time, you can charge a fixed price to help you earn decent profits.

  • Rate per room

    The per-room costing is equally effective and easy compared to the square footage method. You can decide the standard rate per room for cleaning based on the scale of the project.

    Also, you should set pricing for different types of rooms in a residential or commercial building.

    For example, the kitchen can take more time and effort to clean, so keep the rate for the kitchen cleaning a tad higher than other rooms. Similarly, perform the same for the bathroom, living room, and bedroom.

The pricing result calculated per room becomes straightforward for the clients and helps you maintain transparency.

Now that you know the basic details before starting a cleaning business, it’s time to address the core topic of our learning. 

Start Your Cleaning Business in 7 Simple Steps

We have created a roadmap with seven simple steps for you to follow. Let’s take one step at a time.

1. Create a business plan

As a professional business owner, you must set the foundation for your business operations and ensure that you achieve the desired business results with finesse. A solid business plan can help you stand out from other cleaning business owners and help you attract prospective clients.

Highlight different areas of business operations like finance, marketing, operations, management, etc. Etch out a clear growth plan to run and grow a profitable business. A lack of clarity and goals can result in poor cleaning results.

A business plan can help you conquer and visualize your goal unfailingly and boost your on-ground cleaning service performance. It serves you the power to:

  1. Stay organized
  2. Be ready to handle the unexpected
  3. Focus clearly on accomplishing your business goals

A solid business foundation can help you optimize your operations when things don’t go according to plan. You can also tweak your business plan based on the changes in the industry or any unplanned scenarios.

    Be specific and clear with your business planning and align your business resources to execute your plan.

2. Acquire the equipment and supplies

While starting a cleaning business, you must stay ahead of time and ensure that you have the required cleaning equipment and supplies to deliver desired services to your customers. 

Acquire the Equipment and Supplies

Contact different wholesalers or manufacturers who can help you acquire the required material at a fairly great price that can minimize business expenses and boost your profits.

Here’s the standard cleaning supplies checklist for your business operations.

  • Trash bags
  • Face mask
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Sponges
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning towels or rags
  • Duster
  • Scrubbing brushes
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Mop and bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Extendable pole
  • Spray bottle
  • Glass cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Soap scum removal cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Bleach or disinfectant

The right tools and cleaning products empower your on-ground employees to deliver the best results. This also ensures that you don’t increase the chances of customer churn because of poor service.It can assist in bringing out the best in the cleaning employees and boost your business productivity. Irrespective of the scale and size of the clean-up service task, you can handle the complexities of the project and simplify the process using the right tools.

    Pro tip: It may require a specific capital upfront, so you can focus on the basic equipment

The type of cleaning tools can vary from the niche of your business. The commercial cleaning business requires different tools than the residential cleaning businesses. Take advice from industry experts or your employees and make the right investments.

3. Filter the target audience

Your target audience is the one likely to hire you for cleaning services. You must ensure that you clearly understand your potential customers and what they want from your cleaning business services.

Dig deep with your marketing and competitor research that can help provide you with valuable insights about your target audience. You can create a buyer persona to assist you in the marketing process. It can highlight:

  1. Desires
  2. Pain points
  3. Problems
  4. Vital emotions

Although cleaning services tend to operate at a low investment, you must utilize your business resources for the right audience and avoid focusing on a wider audience from the start.

Choose a vertical approach to tailor your ideal prospect rather than using a horizontal approach to target a different ideal customer base. Being a new cleaning company, try focusing on the hot leads that can convert quicker and achieve decent profits.

Once you have experience, you can target a wider audience to increase your clientele by expanding into other territories.

4. Choose a business name

A business name is important for its identity. So you must plan a specific company name that increases its word-of-mouth, visibility, and popularity. The brand name should be: 

  1. Short
  2. Crisp
  3. Easy to remember
  4. Unique 

A business name is mandatory during business registration and legal certification. Also, when you are hiring employees, they should be aware of what brand they are associating with.

5. Create a bank account and insurance

Another vital element during the setting up of your cleaning business is creating a professional business account and separating your personal account from it.

You can accept credit cards, debit cards, or other forms of online payment from your customers, maintain transaction records, and check the capital inflow and outflow for easy tax filings.

You should also focus on taking a standard cleaning business insurance that can protect your business, employees, and other business segments from undesirable circumstances.

Here are a few types of insurance for cleaning business owners.

  • General liability insurance

    The GLI covers your business from a financial loss like damaging items in a customer’s home or losing your tools or materials. You can also cover different disputes with your clients.

    For example, if your client slips on the wet floor that your cleaning team mopped and got serious injuries, it can help you cover the general issues of your cleaning business operations.

  • Surety bond

    Using a surety bond, you can compensate your clients if anything gets stolen while delivering residential cleaning services. People hesitate to work with businesses that are not bonded and avoid associating with those.

    You should consult a professional insurance provider who can assist you with the surety bonds.

  • Compensation insurances

    The compensation insurance covers your employees’ medical expenses, lost wages, and other undesirable scenarios. Compensation insurance is highly demanded by professional cleaning service providers as it attracts the brightest talent in the industry.

    Your employees can feel safe and secure working for your cleaning brand. This can boost the quality of your service and ensure that you stand out from other businesses.

6. Market your business

Once you have calculated the startup costs, finalized your business licenses, simplified your hiring process, and acquired the company vehicle and cleaning equipment, you should start with advertise cleaning business.

You must market your brand to get clients for cleaning business and scale your new business. Integrate different marketing strategies and tactics to promote your brand and connect with your ideal prospect.

Perform quality market research that can provide you with tailored cleaning business marketing ideas and set a solid foundation for your marketing efforts. 

You can blend online and offline marketing efforts to get the best results. Here are some of the powerful marketing strategies we highly recommend:

  • Search engine optimization

    Create a professional website to implement a solid SEO strategy and increase your business reach and visibility on search engine results. SEO increases your domain authority, website rankings, and credibility on the web.

    You can use on-page or off-page SEO strategies that enhance your marketing result and rank your website higher than competitors for different keywords.

    You can direct targeted organic traffic using SEO toward your website. Then use lead generation tactics like contact forms to convert the visitor into your prospective client.

  • Paid advertisement

    SEO efforts can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort to get the desired results. If you want to skip months and years of hard work to generate clients for your business, you can use paid advertising methods to connect with your potential prospects on the web.

    You can set a paid advertising budget and filter different platforms that can help you set the basics of a powerful paid advertising campaign. 

    Platforms like Google, Meta, and LinkedIn offer a quality ecosystem that can skyrocket your marketing results based on your marketing budget.

    You can use the most popular advertising type, i.e., PPC marketing, which demands you to pay only when the users click through the advertisement.

  • Online business listing

    You can list your cleaning business online, which connects you with potential clients searching for quality service providers. Use Google My Business, Thumbtack, or other listing websites that offer free or paid lead conversion solutions based on the target market.

    You can also use social media to boost your business reach and visibility. With the increase in mobile users, having a presence on social media can be truly rewarding.

  • Offline marketing

    Apart from the online marketing strategies, you can blend your overall marketing efforts with offline marketing to cater to the target audience you didn’t connect with on the internet. This includes:

    1. Business cards
    2. Flyers
    3. Walk-in discounts
    4. And exclusive offers

These marketing efforts can help you attract quality clients that you must convert into long-term customers by using effective business software.

7. Use the right software

Integrate professional business software that streamlines your business workflow and helps you deliver an excellent customer experience.

You can use field service management, employee management, financial management software, etc. These tools give you an extra edge over others, automate your business process, and reduce the complexities of cleaning business operations.

However, one of the common areas where many business owners need help is invoicing and accounting. Proper accounting can keep your numbers correct whereas branded invoicing ensures you come up as a professional determined to deliver quality. But the good news is that we have made this easy for you.

Professional Invoices Created Simply

InvoiceOwl is your go-to invoicing software that also empowers you to integrate with QuickBooks for managing your finances.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do I start a cleaning business as a beginner?

    You can start a cleaning business by setting up the fundamentals like equipment, a business license, aligning with local regulations, pricing structure, business registration, etc. Once you are done with the basics, start promoting and connecting with your potential clients to scale your business.
  2. Can you become rich from a cleaning business?

    You can become rich by delivering quality cleaning services in the industry. Focus on increasing your clientele and minimizing customer churn. Outshine your competitors using professional software and business resources to strengthen your business presence and attract the desired profits.
  3. Is it worth starting a cleaning business?

    With the rising commercial and residential properties, the demand for a quality cleaning business is rising. You can leverage tremendous opportunities in the industry and earn decent profits. Starting a cleaning business will be worth every penny if you can deliver an excellent customer experience in the industry.
  4. What is the fastest way to start a cleaning business?

    The quickest and easiest way to start a cleaning business is to take a business loan and register a sole proprietorship cleaning business. The scale of business operations might be small, but it doesn’t involve higher complexities than a large-scale business operation.


Even though you are all set, there is one more piece of advice that can make a lot of difference as you start taking the steps we mentioned above:

Focus on being the best in every aspect of your business from the beginning.

How you interact with your prospects and serve them – they all add up to growing your brand name in the industry. And one of the ways you interact with your clients is through the estimates and invoices you send them.
Make sure they are professional and branded. And InvoiceOwl can help you with it. Start your FREE trial to experience its magic

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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