How to Start a Cleaning Business in 8 Simple Steps

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    Starting a cleaning business offers a pathway to entrepreneurship with minimal initial expenses and steady demand. Unlike many other ventures, cleaning services entail relatively low upfront costs and can be launched swiftly with limited funds, provided you’re ready to put in hard work for modest returns and gradual growth.

    Apart from specialized cleaning supplies and equipment, most tasks involve using common household products. While formal training or certifications aren’t mandatory for basic cleaning tasks, it’s important to recognize that the work requires effort. 

    The substantial demand for cleaning services underscores its potential profitability and satisfaction for industrious individuals with strong work ethics and customer-oriented attitudes. Discover all the essential steps for launching your own cleaning business.

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    What Is a Cleaning Service Business Anyway?

    A cleaning business offers cleaning services for different properties and settings. These services include routine tasks like dusting and vacuuming in homes, as well as specialized cleanings such as carpet and window cleaning. The main aim is to ensure cleanliness, hygiene, and a tidy environment in client spaces, enhancing their comfort and satisfaction.

    Pros & Cons of Starting a Cleaning Business


    • Low Entry Barrier: Launching a cleaning business typically demands less initial investment compared to many other endeavors. Primary upfront expenses include basic cleaning supplies and equipment, while services can often be promoted affordably through word-of-mouth or online platforms.
    • Flexibility: Cleaning businesses provide flexible scheduling options, enabling owners to arrange appointments based on their availability. Owners can choose to focus on either residential (typically daytime/work hours) or commercial (usually after-hours) markets, depending on preference.
    • High Demand: Both residential homeowners and commercial businesses consistently require cleaning services, spurred by the continual necessity for clean and hygienic environments.
    • Scalability: The business can begin on a small scale, with the owner performing much of the work, and then expand by hiring employees and broadening the client base and services offered as the business progresses.
    • Satisfaction from Visible Results: Cleaning yields immediate and noticeable outcomes, leading to high client satisfaction and the potential for repeat business and referrals.

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    • Physical Work: Cleaning demands physical effort and can strain the body, especially without proper techniques or with prolonged activity.
    • Competition: Entry is easy, leading to intense competition from both established firms and independent cleaners, making it hard to distinguish oneself and attract clients.
    • Irregular Hours: Commercial cleaning often occurs during non-traditional times, such as nights and weekends, which may not fit everyone’s schedule or family life.
    • Customer Reliance and Retention: Establishing a loyal clientele is tough since work is typically on-demand. Providing excellent service and ensuring customer satisfaction is vital for retaining clients and gaining referrals.
    • Regulatory and Insurance Requirements: Meeting business registration requirements, getting insurance, and adhering to local rules on waste disposal and chemical handling cause careful attention and can result in expenses.

    How to Start Your Cleaning Service Business in 8 Steps

    Step 1: Select your target market

    Step 2: Secure financing for your cleaning enterprise

    Step 3: Identify a specific cleaning niche and remain focused on it

    Step 4: Establish your pricing

    Step 5: Develop a budget for your business operations

    Step 6: Complete the registration process for your business

    Step 7: Acquire and retain customers

    Step 8: Allocate resources towards advertising and growth initiatives

    Step 1: Choose Your Market

    Local demand, personal skills, and transportation availability shape your target market and service offerings. For instance, if walking to clients is necessary, establish a comfortable commuting radius. Those with cars or access to public transit enjoy more flexibility and can explore existing similar businesses online.

    Researching competitors is crucial. When pondering how to launch a cleaning business, dedicate time to studying local cleaning companies. Look for gaps in services offered by competitors.

    Diversifying your cleaning services is key. Offering various services can appeal to a broader clientele and boost earnings. Consider common options like:

    • House Cleaning: It encompasses general cleaning tasks like vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and tidying up in a client’s home.
    • Office Cleaning: Businesses often require regular cleaning to maintain a professional workspace, including tasks like emptying trash cans, cleaning restrooms, and wiping surfaces.
    • Deep Cleaning: This service tackles more comprehensive tasks like cleaning baseboards, scrubbing grout, and cleaning inside appliances.
    • Move-In/Move-Out Cleaning: Popular for those moving homes, this service ensures thorough cleaning to prepare the space for new occupants.

    Step 2: Fund Your Cleaning Business

    Starting a cleaning business from scratch often involves challenges in securing financing. Entrepreneurs may need to borrow funds from acquaintances, apply for business loans, or utilize credit. Initial costs for a cleaning service are typically modest, enabling entrepreneurs to minimize debt initially and gradually increase expenses as revenue grows.

    Common startup expenses for a cleaning business include cleaning supplies, advertising, insurance, and licenses. These supplies are often available at discounted rates from large retailers. Necessary items may vary based on the business’s specialization, but commonly used products include mops, window cleaners, gloves, paper towels, and brushes. As the business matures, direct purchasing from manufacturers may become workable.

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    Step 3: Find a Specialty — And Stick To It

    Achieving success as a cleaner depends on how well you deliver your services. This could involve expertise in specific areas like carpet or porcelain cleaning, or simply offering efficient and friendly service. 

    If you’re considering specialized equipment and services, ensure you have the experience or resources needed. Otherwise, the costs of training, equipment, and other expenses might outweigh your cleaning earnings. Your chosen path will dictate the training required and the insurance coverage needed, so choose wisely.

    Commercial Cleaning Services

    A commercial cleaning company caters to various settings such as offices, hospitals, schools, and retail stores. It supplies janitors to maintain cleanliness and organization, ensuring smooth movement within these areas.

    Specialized equipment may be necessary for cleaning such spaces. Working overnight is often required to avoid disrupting daily business operations. Providing training or obtaining certifications, especially for locations with biohazards or sterile environments, is essential.

    Maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule is vital. A competent and well-trained team is indispensable for effective commercial cleaning services.

    Consumer Cleaning Services

    Cleaning homes for consumers involves performing tasks in individuals’ houses or residential areas. Clients usually provide specific instructions as it’s their personal space, and their preferences may vary weekly. Your cleaning staff must be flexible and considerate of the client’s residence.

    In residential cleaning, attention to detail is crucial, and cleaners must remember how rooms are organized. Due to these intricacies, cleaning sessions may take longer. Pricing needs to be higher to offset fewer jobs completed in a day.

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    Step 4: Set Your Rates

    You can establish pricing for a cleaning business in three ways: by the hour, with a flat fee, or based on square footage. Hourly and flat rates are suitable for both commercial and residential cleaning services. Starting with an hourly rate for homes and then transitioning to a flat fee based on average cleaning times could be a wise approach.

    Square footage-based rates are prevalent in commercial cleaning. Given the regularity and predictability of commercial cleaning tasks, it’s practical to determine pricing based on the size of the space and the required labor.

    Step 5: Plan the business budget

    Basic cleaning services typically have two main costs: supplies and transportation. These expenses vary depending on your services. For individual cleaners, costs are low, but for businesses with teams and vehicles, they’re higher. Once you plan transportation and backup, you can estimate other startup costs.


    For a mobile business like a cleaning service, having transportation is crucial. Before beginning any job, ensuring you can get to the location is vital. Typically, it’s up to the cleaning service to handle transportation arrangements and duties.


    The expenses and quantity of materials required for operation vary based on the services provided and the number of clients served. If you clean several private homes weekly, purchasing supplies in bulk from stores such as Sam’s Club or Costco is advisable.

    Certain clients may request the use of their own products. Wholesale suppliers may ask for evidence of your business’s validity. However, obtaining discounted rates from suppliers should be feasible once the business is registered. Here’s a rundown of essential cleaning supplies:

    • Cleaning products: This category comprises all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and disinfectants.
    • Vacuum cleaner: A high-quality vacuum cleaner is essential for any cleaning business, featuring strong suction power and various attachments for versatile surface cleaning.
    • Spray bottles: Utilize spray bottles for mixing and applying your cleaning solutions.
    • Sponges and scrubbers: These tools are vital for eliminating tough stains through scrubbing.
    • Protective gloves: Ensure hand safety during cleaning tasks with sturdy gloves.
    • Disposable or reusable towels: Maintain a supply of both disposable and reusable towels to accommodate different cleaning needs.
    • Mops and brooms: These are indispensable tools for thorough floor sweeping and mopping.
    • Vacuum cleaner: Opt for a top-tier vacuum cleaner to efficiently clean carpets and floors.
    • Microfiber cloths: Ideal for dusting and surface cleaning without leaving behind lint.
    • Trash bags: Stockpile various sizes of trash bags for effective waste disposal during cleaning sessions.
    • Bucket and mop wringer: Simplify mopping procedures with a bucket and wringer combination.
    • Cleaning caddies: Keep your cleaning supplies organized and within easy reach using cleaning caddies.
    • Dusting tools: Equip yourself with an assortment of dusting tools such as dusters, microfiber cloths, and feather dusters for diverse surface cleaning.
    • Floor cleaning supplies: These encompass floor cleaners, floor polish, and floor wax tailored to different flooring types.
    • Ladders and step stools: Essential for accessing hard-to-reach areas during cleaning tasks, ladders or step stools should be readily available.


    Basic cleaning services primarily spend on transportation and cleaning supplies, with additional costs for equipment and rentals. If you don’t own such equipment or have free access to it, renting special machines and cleaning agents for carpets, flooring, and exteriors can significantly increase expenses.

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    Step 6: Register the Business

    Before you start cleaning your first home, you’ll need to handle some legal and financial matters. This ensures that your cleaning business is reliable and attractive to potential clients.

    Begin by registering your company name and selecting a business structure. If you’re unsure about a name, here are some suggestions for naming your cleaning business.

    When you’re prepared, follow these steps to register your business, depending on your country.

    • United States: Ensure your chosen name isn’t taken, then trademark it and secure your domain.
    • Canada: If your business shares your name, no registration is needed; otherwise, register your trade name and trademark for brand protection.
    • United Kingdom: Establish as a sole trader or partnership, confirm name availability, apply for a trademark, and register your company name.
    • Australia: If your business name isn’t personal, register it through the Business Registration Service, ASIC, or a private provider.

    During registration, you must choose your business structure:

    • For full control, opt for a sole proprietorship in the U.S.
    • If starting a cleaning business with others, register as a partnership
    • For medium or higher-risk businesses, consider forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    When registering your business, you might require an employment identification number (EIN) if mandated by your city or state.

    As an LLC functions as a distinct entity, its owners benefit from limited liability. This shields members from personal asset usage to settle the LLC’s debts. The risk of loss for members is capped at their investment. To establish your business as an LLC, consider reputable registration services for assistance. Below are some options.

    Tailor Brands – Best LLC Service Overall

    Tailor brands

    Tailor Brands simplifies online business registration, providing entrepreneurs with an easy-to-use platform. It guides users through each step, helping them fulfill legal requirements and complete necessary paperwork to establish their business legally. Users can acquire a tax ID number, register for licenses and permits, and access additional resources for business success.

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    ZenBusiness – Best for New Business

    ZenBusiness stands out as a top choice for business registration due to its quick filing options and affordable incorporation fees. Their customer support team is available throughout the process to assist with inquiries, although they cannot offer legal advice.

    Launching a business may seem straightforward compared to running one, which is why ZenBusiness offers tools to simplify management tasks. They can assist with tax paperwork and also act as a registered agent, alleviating your workload.

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    Northwest Registered Agent – Best for Transparency


    Northwest Registered Agent stands out as a business formation service for its commitment to transparency and personalized customer care. They openly share pricing details and prioritize efficient and friendly assistance. They ensure the security of your confidential information.

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    Get a Business License

    Before you clean homes, ensure you have a valid business license. This legal document authorizes your business operations. Failure to obtain one can cause significant penalties. The initial fee and annual renewal fee vary by location. Be prepared to pay the same amount each year upon renewal.

    Step 7: Find and Maintain Clients

    Online forums and service platforms are connecting people with local cleaning businesses more often. However, word-of-mouth remains crucial in the domestic services sector. Encourage satisfied clients to share your Facebook page or give them your business card to pass on to interested friends.


    It’s wise to share contact details of satisfied past clients who will give references. Even better, encourage happy customers to write testimonials for your site.


    Home cleaning businesses often acquire new clients through existing ones. While it could be better to solely depend on clients for new work, establishing good relationships can boost confidence and lead to potential job referrals.

    Having predetermined rates is crucial for attracting and retaining clients. HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost for cleaning a single-family home ranges from $120 to $150.

    These rates can vary based on location, competition levels, services provided, and other factors. Typically, cleaning services will quote prices based on hourly rates, square footage, or a flat fee structure.

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    Step 8: Invest in Advertising and Expanding

    For your new business to succeed, marketing plays a crucial role. Many cleaning companies are vying for attention and customers. However, fret not, there are numerous cost-free methods to establish your presence and attract potential clients.

    • Engage with social media by joining local community groups on platforms like Facebook or Nextdoor. Advertising your business to neighbors can attract initial customers.
    • Establish your business identity through branding. Presenting a professional image is crucial for business credibility and growth.
    • Use your personal connections by informing friends and family about your cleaning enterprise, encouraging them to become initial clients and spread the word.
    • Utilize Jobber’s complimentary online tool for creating professional tear-away flyers, and distributing them on local bulletin boards and within your neighborhood.
    • Utilize inexpensive door hangers to target specific areas and promote your business effectively.
    • Implement referral programs to incentivize clients to recommend your services to others or to book multiple services, offering discounts or other rewards as appreciation.
    • Reach out to local businesses for potential partnerships and client referrals, such as pet stores, caterers, event planners, or realtors. Cold calling or in-person visits can be effective methods, rewarding persistence.
    • Utilize your company vehicle as a mobile advertisement by applying decals or a vehicle wrap and parking it in visible locations to increase business exposure.

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    How to Start a Cleaning Business – FAQs

    The Bottom Line

    Running a cleaning enterprise might seem simple, but it requires hard work. Before fully investing in cleaning as a side job or main career, gaining hands-on experience is wise.

    Begin with a few cleaning tasks and slowly grow your workload and customer base. As you improve your scheduling and build a loyal clientele, you’ll manage time and resources better and deliver consistent, excellent service if you prepare adequately in advance.

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