How to Start a Commercial Cleaning Business [Comprehensive Guide]

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If you are reading this blog, then you must have decided to set up your own commercial cleaning company. Right? 

Looking at the data and stats from, we can say that the commercial cleaning business has seen significant growth and will continue to rise in the future. It is also projected the growth of the global commercial cleaning industry will reach 74.3 million by the end of 2023. 

Moreover, the operating cost of a cleaning business is almost zero, the overhead is low, and demand is predictable, which makes it a desirable investment.

Since most businesses and offices require cleaning services, the chances of you making steady profits are much more likely when you start a commercial cleaning company offering a list of cleaning services offered. So, refer to this guide on how to start a commercial cleaning business.

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

Listed below are 9 steps you can take to start a commercial cleaning service business with minimum hassle. Let’s start. 

1. Create a business plan

A well-thought-out business plan is essential to starting a cleaning business different than a regular cleaning business that can grow. In the beginning, you do not have to spend days and hours on your business plan, especially since you are just starting your company. Here are a few components that should be included in it:

1.1 Target market:

Your business plan must include information about your target market. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which region would you like to focus on in the beginning?
  • Do you want to target small, mid-sized, or large commercial buildings?
  • Are you interested in specializing in any specific industry?

The key to making your marketing efforts more cost-effective is to perform market research and decide who your target market is as early as possible.

1.2 Establish a budget:

A budget for business expenses must be included in your business plan.

  • How much starting and operating your business will cost you?
  • What will be the cost of a business license, insurance, and cleaning equipment?
  • Are you planning to invest in advertising? And if so, what type of advertising will you use? 

Your business plan should include a detailed breakdown of your expected expenses and an estimate of how much they will cost. 

Your total expense also depends on your target audience. Large commercial buildings require more manpower as compared to smaller ones.

When calculating your budget, a higher estimate is better than one that is lower. It will ensure that you stay prepared for unexpected expenses that will inevitably occur.

1.3 Market analysis and strategy:

Since this is already a huge industry, there will be many competitors in your target market. 

Thus, getting an overview of the overall market and businesses you will be competing with can help you figure out what precisely to do (and not to do) ahead.

So observe the current scenario of commercial cleaning services and how your competitors are serving. Find the untapped problems which nobody is looking to solve.

Exploit these insights into your strategy to make space for your cleaning business.

These were just the 3 sections. But there are many others to it as well. Refer to this guide on components of a business plan to learn more about it.

2. Choose a legal entity

Next, you must decide what legal entity will represent your business. It is essential to know that three main options are available to you when it comes to classifying your business structure. Here are they:

commercial cleaning business plan

  • Sole proprietorship or partnership:

    This type of business structure will give you a greater level of independence and will save you from having to register with your state government or report to it regularly. 

    But the more freedom that comes with being more independent also brings with it more risk. If your business incurs any debts, you (and your partner) are personally liable for them. Thus, your personal assets will be at risk.

  • LLCs:

    Limited liability companies are hybrid companies that fall between sole proprietorships and corporations. 

    While it may offer you some protection from personal liability, although not to the same extent as a corporation would, the only negative is that self-employment taxes are also required to be paid by members. 

    You can expect to pay a fee of $40 to $500 for filing for a limited liability company.

  1. Corporation:

    If you choose this option, your business will become fully autonomous. As a result of this business structure, your assets will be protected. But on the other hand, you and your business will be taxed.

    There are also more regulations to follow when you choose this option, and you must devote more attention to the careful maintenance of records. It is usually strongly believed by small business owners that this isn’t a good option for them.

3. Choosing a name and logo 

Choosing a cleaning business name and logo requires careful consideration. Ideally, you want your cleaning business to be around for many years to come, so you want the name and logo to be something unique.

However, that doesn’t mean that you name your business “different cleaning services.” It should be easy to speak and recall, which empowers your word-of-mouth marketing.

You can create a business logo on your own with many DIY options. However, if your budget allows, you can also hire a professional graphic designer. No matter which approach you choose.

    Pro tip: Remember that the mark of a good logo is that it uniquely represents your brand.

4. Open a bank account for your business

To keep your personal and professional assets separate, you will need to open a bank account for your new business, irrespective of the legal entity you choose for your new firm. 

For that, consider getting a business credit card. It will also assist in building your business’s credit history, which will aid in easily getting loans or raising money in the future.

When opening a business bank account, be sure you know what is required to open a business account. If your business is an LLC, sole proprietorship, or partnership, you will not have to worry about meeting the strictest requirements for corporate bank accounts. 

The state registration paperwork for an LLC must be presented to the bank. If your business entity is a sole proprietorship or partnership, you will need to share the letter that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent you about obtaining an Employer Identification Number.

5. Obtain a license and insurance

Registering your new business through your local government is necessary to run a commercial cleaning company legally. Depending on your location, the registration requirements for your business can vary greatly. 

what licenses are needed to start a cleaning business

The more research you do, the more understanding you will have of the state fees, state taxes, and other costs involved. You with also know whether you have to show proof of insurance to submit your application.

But whether needed or not, commercial cleaning businesses cannot neglect the idea of investing in insurance when running their business.

A building insurance policy will cover you if any damage happens to the building during the cleaning process. Without liability insurance, you can be held liable for any accidents or damages during your project. 

All businesses should get general liability insurance for the purpose of basic liability protection. In the case of property loss and physical injury, it safeguards you, your cleaning team, and other employees.

In the early days of your business, you can invest in a low-cost insurance plan. As your business grows, you can easily increase your insurance coverage.

6. Invest in quality cleaning supplies

You must purchase the necessary cleaning materials before you can perform any cleaning job. Depending on whether you are cleaning a commercial establishment or doing house cleaning, your cleaning solutions and supplies will vary.

You can expand your cleaning supplies as your business grows. But if you are starting your own cleaning business, just get the essential items you need to get your business going. 

Commercial cleaning requires the use of basic cleaning supplies, such as 

  • Vacuums
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Dustpans
  • Multipurpose cleaners
  • Glass cleaners
  • Air freshener
  • Sponges
  • Buckets
  • Protective gloves

As your company grows, you may also require

  • Toilet cleaners
  • Carpet cleaning equipment
  • Cleaning brushes
  • Floor cleaners
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Window cleaner tools

For those starting with a tight budget, you can scour the local discount store for the cleaning equipment you need.

7. Create a list of potential clients

If you have trouble landing clients and cleaning contracts, we recommend making a list of the companies that are likely to enroll in your services. 

To easily recognize them, get a clear hold of your target market. Then, once you have compiled your list of top companies to contact, call these companies on your list and ask them if they currently have a cleaning staff or not.

Regardless, explain to them how you can offer better services and aim to persuade them to see a demo.

At first, you may find making the first call to potential clients challenging. It will become much easier for you once you make a few calls and get used to them.

Another benefit is that this method can be very cost-effective compared to other advertising and marketing options. Other options for finding clients are:

  • Recommendations:

    Presenting your best work to prospective clients can be challenging, but you can provide the contact information of previous clients who were happy with your work.

    Also, get your business cards printed and ask your clients to pass them over to other people who need your commercial cleaning services.

  • Referrals:

    Referral marketing can work wonders and attract towards you many clients. The key is to provide excellent customer service and establish good relationships, which might lead to a potential job opportunity down the road.

  • Join networking groups:

    You can find valuable information and support by interacting with like-minded people, adding to your customer pool.

Combine all of the above appropriately to get the best results. And keeping up with the latest business trends will allow you to try new things.

8. Create a website

Whether residential or commercial cleaning business, you need to build a website to market and grow it.

commercial cleaning business plan

Usually, many business owners or office managers look for a commercial cleaning company on the web to provide them with cleaning services for their office buildings. 

Often, they will start searching Google and browse through various websites that come up. It is essential to understand that having a website will make it easier for potential clients to find you and make you look more credible in their eyes. 

If you are having any trouble getting ideas for it, have a look at the best cleaning business websites in 2024.

9. Marketing is the key to success

Even if you rely on existing clients for referrals, you need an online presence to grow your cleaning business. You can no longer be trapped in the dark ages by not having an online presence today. 

Marketing is the key to success

The digital age has brought almost everyone to the internet. So, it’s time for you to develop a marketing plan and boost your online presence to reach out to potential clients.

Make sure that you have a digital footprint with a website. If you choose to use social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make sure your contact information is current.

An excellent online presence will result in brand name recognition. If you wish, you can also create a professional email address to communicate with your clients.

Convert Your Commercial Cleaning Bids into Jobs

InvoiceOwl helps you create professional estimates to bid accurately and promptly to win the job.

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What is the Initial Cost of Starting a Commercial Cleaning Company?

Starting a commercial cleaning business might cost as little as $1,600. It includes the costs relating to:

Various costs Amount
Business registration and licenses $75-400/year
Business insurance $100-$300/month depending on which insurances you buy
Equipment and supplies for cleaning A few hundred bucks
Website development and marketing It varies a lot. But with free DIY options like Blogger, you can start with just the cost of your domain name – $10-$20/year
Accounting and invoicing software $28.99/month with InvoiceOwl

How Much Should You Charge for Professional Cleaning Services?

Commercial cleaning operations can be priced in a few different ways:

  • Square footage rate
    It is a common method for price calculation used by cleaning professionals. In the United States, the average price per square foot ranges from $0.07 to $0.12.
  • Per hour rate
    The hourly rate charging method covers overhead costs as well as the labor cost per hour. To cover expenses and make a profit, $20 to $100 per worker for each hour can be charged. 
    If you are unsure about the length of the job, the hourly rate charging method is preferable.
  • Flat rate
    A fixed cleaning rate for the whole work is provided in flat-rate charging. When you comprehend precisely how long it will take to accomplish the task, the flat rate charging method works well because you get paid more for working quickly.
  • Per room rate
    As the name suggests, the cost is calculated based on the number of rooms. This method of charging is suitable for office buildings where there are several rooms.

What Do You Need to Pick Your Cleaning Business From Ground Up?

Building a sizable clientele initially is the hardest part. So let’s make it easier with these 3 tips you use to build your cleaning business from scratch:

  • Avoid overcommitting
    You can avoid overcommitting by knowing what your business can and cannot provide. Overcommit manages your burden and saves you from conflicting work schedules. So commit knowingly and fulfill them with excellent client service.
  • Know your USP
    There are too many me-too businesses everywhere. If your cleaning business is also one of them, you will have a hard time standing out. 

    Seth Godin, one of the most successful marketers, said in his book Purple Cow that you need to bring remarkability to your business in some way. So focus on developing uniqueness. And use that to make space for you.

  • Focus on marketing
    Given that you have some kind of USP, it will be much easier to market your cleaning business. However, it isn’t necessary. Try to focus on a specific target audience, know their pain points, and market your business as per those.

    Also, keep track of your efforts. Find which marketing campaigns are most appealing to your audience and which aren’t. And with time, you will make them more effective.

Market Your Business as a Professional One

Create branded estimates and invoices with InvoiceOwl to build a strong reputation. Start FREE to explore its magic.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What do you need to do to start a commercial cleaning business from scratch?

    Here are the tips to get started:

    • Create a business plan
    • Become licensed and insured
    • Invest in cleaning supplies
    • Create a list of potential clients
    • Create a website
    • Plan your marketing and advertising.

  2. How profitable is a commercial cleaning business?

    The average earnings of small commercial cleaning businesses range from $30,000 to $50,000 annually. When your client base and business grow, you can expect to make more than $100,000 a year. Ultimately, your earnings will depend on whether you have a steady stream of customers and manage your resources efficiently.

    However, the startup cost of a cleaning business is quite low compared to other businesses. This makes it easier to turn this business profitable.
  3. Do you think it’s worth starting a cleaning business?

    If you have the right business plan and are capable of providing value, it’s worth starting a cleaning business. Cleaning services are also highly in demand. So if get the basics right, you’ll always have money coming into your business.
  4. How can you commence a commercial cleaning business with no money?

    Here are some ways to commence your commercial cleaning business if you don’t have enough funds yet:

    • Use a credit card
    • Borrow funds from friends and family
    • Seek a business partner interested in investing in your business idea

  5. What should I do: start a cleaning business or buy a franchise?

    Starting your own business and joining a franchise for commercial cleaning both have advantages and disadvantages.

    • Commercial cleaning business

      Running your own business is less expensive and you have complete control over all aspects. But since you’re beginning from scratch, you’ll have to figure out how to manage a cleaning company on your own.
    • Commercial cleaning franchise

      Franchises profit from a business model that has already been tried, tested, and proved successful. Plus, you also get an established brand and marketing assistance.

      However, there are other costs involved, including franchise fees and adherence to the parent company’s operating rules.


Starting any business can be quite intimidating. But as you are looking to start a cleaning business, we have already set up a roadmap for you. With this, you have a clear sense of direction to move forward.

So start with your cleaning business journey today to reap the benefits of this growing industry.

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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