Everything You Need to Start Your Own Cleaning Business

Believe it or not, cleaning is big business. There’s a ton of money to be made if you’re a hard worker and a smart businessperson. But being a professional cleaner is not easy work and there’s plenty of competition out there.

Many people overlook the cleaning business because it doesn’t seem very glamour. Well, glamorous or not, starting up a cleaning business might just be your ticket to success. Let’s take look at the things you’ll need to know to get started.

Everything You Need to Start Your Own Cleaning Business

There will always be demand for cleaning up messes. Here’s what you need to know to get started with your own cleaning business today!

1. First Things First, Create a Budget

Every business takes moment to get up and going, and this is no different. Fortunately, starting a cleaning business requires minimal investment upfront, though it’s still important to create a budget so that costs don’t get out of hand.

Here are the basics you’ll need to be able to cover:

  • Licenses and permits
  • Insurance
  • Cleaning equipment and products
  • Advertising
  • Labor costs per employee you hire

Theoretically, you could get started for under $1000.

When you first get started, it’s wise to have a bit of savings from your previous employment as a financial cushion until you build up a clientele. So we would recommend having at least $2000 worth of startup funds before fully committing full-time.

2. Put Together a Business Structure

You’re going to need to sit down with pen and paper to figure out a few things. Keep in mind that before launching your business, you’ll need to have it registered. This isn’t overly complicated, but you need to consider the legal structure of your business as well as taxes.

Business Structure

Many small startups register their businesses as sole proprietorships. This doesn’t require much paperwork and the owner retains absolute control. One disadvantage to being the sole proprietor is you will be held liable if your business goes into debt.

Another option is to form an LLC which protects the owner from personal liability. The downside to an LLC company is that you are required to make self-employment tax contributions.


Taxes are different for each type of business structure. For a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to file a 1040 because your personal and business income are considered the same. Filing as an LLC is significantly more complicated, but there are pros and cons for the tax treatment of each.

Choosing a Name For Your Business

Picking the perfect name for your company can be tricky. You want it to sound catchy yet professional. The catchier it is, the more it will stand out. But you also want clients to take you seriously.

This can often seem as difficult as naming a child. The name needs to reflect your services while distinguishing you from the competition. Try to communicate your message in as few words as possible.

Before you settle on anything, survey your friends and family and test a list of names on them. Ask them for honest feedback.

3. License & Insure Your Business

When it comes to the licensing requirements for your business, not every state or city is the same. The process to get registered might feel complicated or intimidating, especially if you are new to the world of entrepreneurship, but it’s actually pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a day to complete.

Cleaning businesses need to be able to cover any damage to property, such as breaking a mirror or knocking over a TV. Because remember, accidents happen in this line of work all the time.

And if you’re going to cater to commercial clients, liability insurance is a must for any damage or losses caused by yourself or one of your employees.

Workers Comp

It’s important to remember that as your business grows and the number of employees increases, the state will likely require you to pay into Workers Comp.

This is insurance that protects employees in case of injuries or illnesses they sustain while on the job. It replaces wages and benefits lost when they’re injured on the job and can’t continue to work.

Be aware that operating your business without proper Workers Comp insurance is risky and inadvisable. In the long run, you’ll be glad to have it.

4. Purchase the Necessary Equipment

It’s unlikely that you already own everything that you’re going to need when you’re ready to start your business. So be prepared to invest in the tools of your trade.

The basics will include a vacuum cleaner, mop, and broom. But you’ll also need to purchase a range of cleaning products from sponges and disinfectants to window cleaner and Latex gloves. These might sound inexpensive but it all adds up.

Using organic products can be a great selling point to clients who have kids or pets. It’s also a smart idea to check with a janitorial supply company that might offer a discount when you buy in bulk.

Another cost-cutting idea is to rent-to-buy your equipment rather than buying outright. Especially when first starting out. This way you’re not paying as much out of pocket while establishing a client base.

Check out this website to see some of the best vacuums on the market.

5. Setting Your Rates

You can choose to charge by the hour or charge a flat rate for each job. For example, you might charge between $25 and $40 dollars per hour, or a simple flat rate of $120 to $150 for the job regardless of the time required to complete the work. A lot of this will depend on the size and condition of the home.

Hourly Rate

Charging by the hour is the most common method of billing for a cleaning service. Many people struggle with justifying their hourly rate, but the easiest way to establish your rate is to survey the competition to ask what they charge.

When considering what hourly rate to charge, keep in mind that you’ll need to charge enough to cover your expenses for the job. That includes labor, equipment, cleaning supplies, and gas costs. Because remember, if you’re not making a profit then there’s no reason to be doing the work.

Flat Rate

Many clients prefer paying a flat rate because they don’t have to worry about extra charges if the job ends up taking longer than expected. But as a business owner, you need to be careful when choosing to charge a flat rate because if the job runs long, you’ll end up losing money.

You’ll need to do some research in order to estimate the number of hours it will take you to clean the houses and establishments in your area. Commercial clients prefer when you can provide a fixed rate, but we suggest being very specific about time and costs so that everyone ends up happy.

Square Foot Rate

A third option to consider is to charge by the square foot. This is typically best suited when targeting large homes. These properties often have many rooms that are rarely used and will require more manpower in order to get them thoroughly clean.

6. Marketing Your Cleaning Business

Now that you’ve established your business, all the paperwork is complete, you’ve purchased equipment and supplies, hired some help, it’s time to spread the word about your company.

Because funds are limited in the beginning, your marketing budget will likely be rather slim. Thus your marketing efforts will need to be highly-targeted, focusing on materials that will reach the right types of people. Let’s look at a few ways to accomplish this.

Offline Marketing

Word of mouth remains the most effective form of marketing. People trust recommendations from family and friends far more than any advertisement they might see or hear. And best of all, word of mouth costs nothing.

Another form of effective offline marketing is to offer coupons and loyalty accounts. Perhaps offer 10 percent off the first 10 hours of cleaning service with a coupon. Or a free window cleaning could be an incentive for loyal customers.

Online Marketing

It shouldn’t surprise you that 75% of today’s consumers use the internet to search for local businesses. This shows how important it is for you to establish an online presence containing keywords that will help potential customers find you as they search.

Create a Website

Believe it or not, creating a website doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s actually possible to have an impressive website for as little as $15 per month for basic web provider services. This will get you a domain, a business email, and a WordPress website.

They are plenty of web design companies that can create a great website for you for at a surprisingly low cost.

The Bottom Line For Starting Your Cleaning Business

Owning a cleaning business is a lot of work, but can also be a very satisfying experience. This article shows you the basics for starting up a cleaning business so that you can start making money today.

For anyone who is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and has been seeking an idea for having your own business, starting a cleaning business could be your shot at financial independence!

Click here to read about creating your own website vs hiring a web designer for your business.