Although you might disagree, most people find cleaning their homes to be stressful and even painful. By starting a house cleaning business, you are tapping into an enormous house cleaning industry with plenty of clientele.

There will always be a demand for home cleaning services, that keep you in business and keep every client’s home spotless. Below is a complete guide on how to start a cleaning company from scratch.

Do the Initial House Cleaning Service Yourself

woman cleaning the window sill with rag

When you consider how to start a house cleaning business or how to offer house cleaning services, you might feel tempted to begin with staffing, but one of the best ways to start is actually by doing most of the work yourself. After all, you need to learn the business before you can successfully run it from afar. One way to land your first few clients is by asking friends and family either for references or to clean their houses.

Committing to sourcing and working for your first few clients on your own will ensure you keep your startup costs low as well. Instead of investing money in hiring workers, you can pay yourself a reasonable wage while you work out any kinks in your business model and determine best practices for your company.

By taking care of clients yourself, you also earn a positive reputation and maintain control of your house cleaning services business image. Once the business begins to pick up, you can start contracting help with bigger house cleaning jobs. You might decide to outsource employees to service regular clients while you work on other aspects of the business or you may hire and train employees in-house.

Set a Reasonable Cleaning Company Budget

Some questions that many potential residential cleaning business owners ask are – Can I start a cleaning company with no money? Will I need a business loan? How can I keep my costs down? What is the proper business structure for this industry? Is starting this type of business expensive? The answer is it will take some money, but it can be a lot less expensive than you might think!

Performing most of your house cleaning jobs solo will help keep more money in your pocket, but budgeting is about more than how many hours you work and what your hourly rate or flat rate is. After all, you will need to invest in some supplies for your business to succeed, as well as track and cover vehicle maintenance and fuel costs. Determine a reasonable budget for your business, including the replacement of products and equipment as necessary.

Factor hiring and payroll costs into the equation if you outsource labor, but also keep in mind you need to set aside money for taxes and insurance as a business owner. Aim to pay yourself an hourly rate, set aside money for equipment, and calculate estimated taxes so you can prepare for successful business ownership. If you neglect to set money aside for taxes, your business budget will quickly disappear.

Types Of Cleaning Services You Can Offer

When starting a cleaning business, it’s important to consider the different types of cleaning services you can offer to potential clients. By diversifying your services, you can attract a wider range of customers and increase your revenue. Here are some common types of cleaning services you can offer:

House Cleaning

This is the most common type of cleaning service and involves general cleaning of a client’s home. This can include vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and tidying up.

Office Cleaning

Many businesses are in need of regular cleaning services to maintain a clean and professional work environment. This can include emptying trash cans, cleaning restrooms, and wiping down surfaces.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning services involve more thorough cleaning tasks that aren’t typically done on a regular basis, such as cleaning baseboards, scrubbing grout, and cleaning inside appliances.

Move-In/Move-Out Cleaning

This type of cleaning service is popular for clients who are moving in or out of a home or apartment. It involves a thorough cleaning to prepare the space for new occupants.

Decide What Equipment to Purchase

As part of the startup costs of starting a cleaning business, you will need to invest in some cleaning equipment to help you efficiently and effectively clean your clients’ homes or offices. Below is a list of some cleaning products and equipment to get you started:

Common Cleaning Business Supplies & Equipment

bucket of cleaning supplies

When starting a cleaning business, it’s essential to have the right supplies on hand to provide high-quality service to your clients. Here is a list of common cleaning supplies you will need:

Cleaning solutions: This includes all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and disinfectants.

Vacuum cleaner: A good quality vacuum cleaner is a must-have for any cleaning business. Look for one with strong suction power and various attachments for cleaning different surfaces.

Spray bottles: Use spray bottles to mix and apply your cleaning solutions .

Sponges and scrubbers: These are essential tools for scrubbing and removing tough stains.

Protective gloves: Keep your hands safe while cleaning with durable gloves.

Disposable or reusable towels: Have a mix of disposable and reusable towels for different cleaning tasks.

Mops and brooms: These tools are necessary for sweeping and mopping floors effectively.

Vacuum cleaner: Invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner to efficiently clean carpets and floors.

Microfiber cloths: These are great for dusting and cleaning surfaces without leaving lint behind.

Trash bags: Stock up on various sizes of trash bags for disposing of waste during cleaning.

Bucket and mop wringer: Make mopping easier with a bucket and wringer combo.

Cleaning caddies: Use cleaning caddies to keep your supplies organized and easily accessible while working.

Dusting tools: Have a variety of dusting tools such as dusters, microfiber cloths, and feather dusters for different surfaces.

Floor cleaning supplies: This includes floor cleaners, floor polish, and floor wax for different types of flooring.

Ladders and step stools: If you’ll be cleaning hard-to-reach areas, having ladders or step stools on hand is essential.

Will you use bleach and other traditional cleaners in clients’ homes, or are you planning to use environmentally friendly or other “green” products? Determine how you will prevent cross-contamination between client homes—whether through using disposable materials or adopting stringent sanitation practices—and plan accordingly when it comes to purchasing equipment.

Choose a Brand Name for Your New Cleaning Company

Any startup cleaning business needs to establish a brand. Choosing a brand name might just be the most enjoyable part of owning a cleaning business. You can use a play on words, part or all of your name, a quirky or fun nickname, or something based on your geographical location or the specific type of cleaning services you offer, whether it’s residential cleaning service or commercial cleaning.

You should aim to choose a title for your business which:

  • Accurately describes the company
  • Is easy to spell and remember
  • Is not already in use
  • Sounds good and reads well
  • Can grow with the business

While deciding on a name for your business cleaning services, you should search online for the names you like. If another company already has the same name as you, you should find out sooner rather than later. Using another business’ name, even unintentionally, can lead to costly legal issues.

Setup Proper Licensing for Your Cleaning Business Start-up

When selecting a business name, it is important to register it to protect it from unauthorized use. Requirements for registration may differ depending on the state and local regulations, so it is advisable to verify that you comply with the relevant laws and ordinances.

Do you need a license to start a house cleaning business? It depends. You may need a license and possibly permits for your business, especially if you opt for a name other than your own to operate under. Depending on your state law and other local requirements, you may need to apply for a business license and pay a fee.

Two popular options for a business license are limited liability corporations (LLCs) and sole proprietorships. An LLC reduces the amount of liability you have as an individual and instead puts the company assets on the line. A sole proprietorship is typically cheaper to establish, and you have total control over your business. However, a sole proprietorship can put your assets at risk if the business is not profitable.

If you are choosing a brand name for your cleaning company, you will also need to file a DBA—Doing Business As—license. The license establishes your fictitious business name and ensures your company operates legitimately.

You will also need to determine whether local law requires you to have business insurance, liability insurance, or other protections. Working in clients’ homes is not always free of risks, so business insurance and liability insurance can help protect both you and your clients in case something goes wrong.

Start Marketing Your New Cleaning Company

Marketing is the next step in learning how to start your own house cleaning business. After you decide on a name for your cleaning business, file the proper permits and licensing documents, and purchase all your cleaning supplies, it’s time to find potential clients. Marketing for a cleaning company can be as simple as word of mouth or as complex as running advertisements in your local paper or online.

You might print fliers to advertise your services, start a website or email campaign to get the word out, invest in digital marketing, or post signage on your property or other locations (with permission) to bring in potential customers. If you have one or two clients already, you can ask for referrals from satisfied customers. You can even offer referral coupons or discounts to encourage existing clients to direct more work your way.

Make Customer Service a Top Priority

Cleaning is a straightforward occupation: you remove dirt and make surfaces shine. But in customer service roles, you need to put client needs first, and that means being available to potential customers and existing customers, responding promptly to service and quote requests, and following up with clients to ensure repeat business.

To effectively manage the technical side of your house cleaning business, you need a means of communication with your clients. Tools such as voice mail and phone service, an email account, a website, social media pages, or all of those combined can help enhance your company’s outreach and customer satisfaction, especially at the beginning stages of starting your business.

Saving Time with Cleaning Business Software

Doing the house cleaning work, filing permits and paperwork, and replenishing cleaning supplies can take up much of your time as a cleaning company owner. But in addition to catering to clients’ needs and stocking up on supplies, you need to track your budget, oversee employee scheduling, process client invoices record pertinent account information, and plan for taxes and other business fees.

Benefits of TEAM Lite’s Cleaning Software

One highly effective tool that can help you streamline and manage your cleaning business is TEAM Lite. This software is specifically designed for small businesses, making it an ideal choice for a new cleaning company looking to efficiently handle various aspects of their operations.

Time-saving features: TEAM Lite offers features such as employee scheduling, client invoicing, and budget tracking all in one convenient platform. This saves you time and allows you to focus on providing excellent service to your clients.

Improved organization: With TEAM Lite, you can easily keep track of important business information, such as client details, employee schedules, and financial records. This helps you stay organized and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

Start Using Cleaning Business Software!

TEAM Lite’s cleaning business software helps you run your business more efficiently with features such as scheduling, dispatching, reporting, and more.

When learning how to start a residential cleaning service business or offer a commercial cleaning service, cleaning software can help you organize and oversee your business with less stress than a pen-and-paper method. Imagine even trying to keep your employee or contractor schedules, customer lists, account notes, and payment info in a spreadsheet. It gets cumbersome and confusing really fast, even with systematized sheets. An all-in-one software removes all of that confusion.

Professional cleaning business management software also helps enhance your image when it comes to marketing your cleaning business with features for requesting reviews, marketing automation, customer surveys, & more. Keeping your branding streamlined—from the software you use to the uniform you and your employees wear—can do wonders for your new company’s image.

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Alex is a Product Marketing Manager that enjoys using his background in the trades to help small businesses succeed. When he's not finding new customers for WorkWave, Alex is out finding adventure in the mountains of Colorado with his wife and dogs.