How to Start a Cleaning Business from Scratch – A Step-by-step Guide

Although you might disagree, most people find cleaning their home to be stressful and boring.  However, by tapping into the world of cleaning service business for various niches like residential, commercial, and janitorial,  you can start your own successful cleaning business and ease the burden of cleaning and maintenance for people.

The cleaning business market is so huge that you will never be out of your clients because customer’s always want cleaning services to keep their homes spotless.  Moreover, the other reason is your passion. 

So, if you have made up your mind of starting a cleaning business, but are unaware of the steps and process to begin, then this blog will lend a hand of help. It contains a complete guide on how to start a cleaning business from scratch.

Why Starting a Cleaning Business Worth it?

The cleaning business has the potential to be extremely successful. The amount of initial capital required is significantly less (when compared to other industries.) According to the cleaning business today, you just need less than $500 to start your own cleaning business.

Additionally, there will always be a need for cleaning services and expert cleaners – particularly if you specialize in retail and office cleaning. Why? Simple. Businesses require cleaning services regardless of whether they are having a “good month” or are experiencing difficulties.

So, after knowing the potential of this business, we will discuss a few steps on how to start a cleaning business from scratch.

Step 1: Choose the Cleaning Service You Want to Offer

Before starting your own cleaning service business, decide which cleaning services you want to offer. For that, research your competitors’ businesses and see what services they are offering, what their business models are, and how they execute their business plans.

This will give you a brief about current market scenarios, and you can select one unique category from it. So, this way, you can choose the type of cleaning service you want to offer to stand apart from other local businesses.

Here are the names of some cleaning services

  • Residential cleaning services
  • Commercial cleaning services
  • Janitorial cleaning services
  • Laundry and dry cleaning services
  • Sanitization and disinfection
  • Green cleaning services
  • Pressure washing services

Step 2: Prepare a Cleaning Service Business Plan

Cleaning service business plan

Going on a company growth journey without a map is like embarking on a road trip without a destination. A lack of a clear goal and understanding of how to get there might be a contributing factor to a poor cleaning strategy.

On the other hand, preparing a great cleaning service business plan helps you to visualize and achieve your goal unfailingly.  It will help you stay organized, prepare for the unexpected and keep you focused clearly on your goals.

With a business plan, you can set up your short-term and long-term goals to complete various stepping stones leading you towards establishing a successful cleaning service business. 

So, with a concrete business plan, you can give the most important foundation to your business.

Step 3: Get Cleaning Supplies and Equipment

While starting a business, you need to stay ahead of time and gather all the cleaning supplies and equipment needed for the business to run smoothly and efficiently. 

So, creating a checklist of all the supplies and equipment you will need is important. It will help you create a plan for your shopping needs and determine dealers and wholesalers for the same.

Here is the simple cleaning supplies checklist for your business

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

Remember, to start your business, you need not buy all the tools right away! Just decide on which tool you need most as per the budget. Once your business grows, then you can think of buying new supplies.

Step 4: Register Your Cleaning Business Legally

Register your cleaning business legally

Well, you have a planned budget, business checking accounts, and loans, but is it all possible if your company is not legal? It is not, till you are a legally registered cleaning company. You also require a business license to be considered an official company. Your business can be registered under:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited liability company.

Legal business entities, such as LLC will help you protect if your cleaning business is ever sued.

However, if you are working solo and earning in cash, you need to check your revenue and see if your company is required to be registered. If you earn more than a certain income ( for eg, 100$), you are formally required to send a report to the IRS of your income.
If you are hiring employees, you will require to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. You need to check with your local legal entity such as the local government office to check whether the license or zoning permit is adequate for your cleaning business.

Step 5: Create a Business Bank Account and Insurance

No matter how palatable the idea of having professional business accounts may seem to you, the inability to separate your personal and professional accounts may backfire on you sooner rather than later. Thus having a business bank account is a necessity. It allows you to accept credit card payments from customers, keep records of income and expenses and organize your taxes. And make your business run smoothly if the IRS ever audited you. 

The other necessity of opening your cleaning business is taking business insurance. There are a few types of insurance business owners should consider to protect themselves, their employees, and their cleaning services.

  • General Liability Insurance: GLI helps you protect your business from any kind of financial loss if a customer slips on a wet floor after you mop it or you damage any item in a customer’s home. 
  • Surety Bond: With the surety bond, you can compensate your customer if anything is stolen while residential cleaning services. Many people hesitate to work with people who are not bonded. 
  • Compensation Insurances: Cover medical expenses, and lost wages if an employee is hurt on the job. This kind of insurance is needed the most for cleaning businesses with employees.

Step 6: Setup Accounting and Bookkeeping

Setup accounting and bookkeeping

Owning a business will need a lot of cash flow, whether in the form of investments or payments received from clients.

So, you will need a separate accounts department to handle and maintain all your accounts and financial matters. Bookkeeping will help you with business loans and credit cards and keep your name clear from any legal trouble.

Keeping track of your income and expenditure will be helpful in various business decisions. Organizing cash flow will let you control over-expenditure in different segments.

Step 7: Research and Price Your Cleaning Services

What’s the first thing customers will ask of cleaning business? They will ask how much you charge and what facilities you provide. At such a moment, you as a cleaning business owner need to be ready with the answer.

Your cleaning service charges will be based on the job, cleaner’s charges, job locations, local clients, company’s profit ratio, and competition. The service prices are variable, so you have to keep updating it. Decide your prices in a way that is affordable for the customers and profitable for you.

Usually, cleaning companies charge between $25 to $35 per hour for cleaning the entire place. However, several cleaning services charge on the base per square foot. If we take as per square feet, residential house cleaning service charges vary between $100 to $300.

Step 8: Market Your Cleaning Business to Get Customers

Market your cleaning business

Whether you are searching for new clients or you have an existing client base, you are required to invest in marketing your cleaning business. Now, in this digital era, it has become essential to market your business online, because that’s where you will find your potential clients.

People would not count you as reliable if your business is not listed online. Google is the only place where you should list your cleaning business. Moreover, you can market your cleaning services on social media and on the company’s website where you can inform them about your service.

A website is a link to build trust between your business and potential clients. It will also help to determine your target market and make your space among cleaning companies.

Marketing business is not only but you can market it offline by registering your business into local business directories.

Step 9: Learn How to Manage Your Cleaning Business and Client Relationship

With expanding business, there comes the responsibility of managing many tasks simultaneously. It takes a lot of effort and managerial skills to manage a business. It includes financial management, job scheduling, client management, data analytics, and much more.

Key factor for managing your cleaning business is implementing time management and asking your employees for the same. Managing and utilizing time efficiently can lead to many benefits including increased efficiency, improving sales, better teamwork, etc.

Engage your employees with different activities monthly or quarterly so they do not lose interest in work or your company. You can even reward them for achieving various milestones. So, it will keep up the motivation for working hard every new day.

Handling clients is not an easy task as every client has different requirements and expectations. So make sure your services are efficient enough to satisfy your clients’ needs.

Step 10: Hire and Train Cleaners So You Can Grow

One of the crucial parts of handling a cleaning business is hiring efficient cleaners. They should have the proper skills and convincing behavior that customers seek. There’s a high chance that they might not have experience or haven’t got exposure to training. 

So, right after hiring, provide them necessary training. Training should include demonstrations of their work, use of chemicals and equipment, how to deal with customers, how to manage workload, and how to improvise their existing skills.

Training your cleaners will ultimately and positively affect your business also. Trained workers deliver better services than untrained workers. Better customer interaction will lead to customer satisfaction. Positive reviews from customers are a silent way of marketing and it always works.

Step 11: Use Cleaning Business Software to Schedule and Dispatch Cleaning Jobs

Now that you are aware of how to start a cleaning business from scratch, it’s time to schedule and dispatch a cleaning job. When it comes to scheduling and dispatching with ease, a cleaning service scheduling software can be of great help.

With the help of field service scheduling software, you can perform the following activities:

  • Schedule the tasks and activities for the workers
  • Perform marketing strategies to enhance revenue and productivity
  • Perform customer surveys to increase customer experience through social media
  • The most exciting part about this professional software is that you can smoothly perform a payment transaction using credit card payments.

Hope you are clear and have answers on how to start a cleaning business.

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Before starting a business, you should know its pros and cons. So, here are the pros and cons of starting a cleaning business.

The Pros and Cons of Starting a Cleaning Business

Pros:

  • Minimal startup costs: The cleaning business requires a few types of equipment, cleaning supplies, and materials to start on an initial level. You can even opt for renting a few types of equipment if high-cost equipment is included in your company to save your money and gain profit.
  • Excellent income potential: Nowadays, cleaning services are in great demand as there are multiple project management tools available for cleaners.
    However, your earning potential is strictly limited only by your restrictions on using interactive platforms for cleaning organizations and effectively running the company directly from any location.
  • No experience required: Wow! No education, no qualification is necessary for performing cleaning services. Just you need to have strong motivation, determination, and hard work to start booking your customers.
  • Work from home: The service provider just sits and relaxes to provide the best services to their clients or customers. Everything is managed with ease, and one can smoothly run the cleaning company directly from the home location.
  • Flexibility: You are self-employed and the boss of your cleaning company to work for yourself, schedule meetings, set your hours, and in a nutshell, have total control of your cleaning business.
  • A few additional expenses: You do not need to rent or buy premises, buy a company vehicle, cost of wages, or pay utility bills. Of course, these can all be standard tasks at a later point, but for starters, you can start with minimal monetary concerns.

Cons:

  • It requires challenging physical work: Cleaning is a physical job that requires a lot of time to make it suitable, do repetitive movements on your own, and carry heavy supplies. But, it’s only the case if you are not hiring an experienced cleaning crew from the start.
  • Less income at the initial level: During the initial stage, your cleaning company has a low income as per the expectation. However, if you can manage your company correctly and figure out how to find clients, you are all set up and ready to go.
  • It is competitive: In this competitive world, you will find several cleaning service industries globally. At an initial level, it is pretty complex to stand out from the competition. But, if you have unique skills to perform sales, you can top the market.
  • Stressful team management: Your cleaning crew should be your main focus when running a successful cleaning business. Sometimes, there may be ups and downs — and you may not be available to track them or see how they do their jobs. So, you must be ready with the best available marketing team.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Cleaning Business

The cost of opening your own cleaning business depends on numerous factors. Such as what kind of service you are providing to your customer. Whether it is a commercial cleaning service, residential cleaning, or janitorial cleaning business.

The initial investment for starting your own cleaning business can range from $2,000 – $6,000. These figures include legalities, insurance policies, equipment supplies, labor, and marketing.

However, remember, once you have started your own cleaning business, be prepared to wait for 3-6 months before your cleaning company becomes profitable. If possible, ensure that you keep your day job and be financially conservative, so that you can better sustain the business and withstand all the growth challenges.

Essential Equipment You Need to Start a Cleaning Business

Generally, a cleaning business owner needs a license, supplies, and a clientele to start a cleaning business. Apart from these, there are some essential cleaning supplies that you need are discussed below:

Residential Cleaning Equipment:

  • Safety purpose: Cleaning uniform or apron, disposable gloves, knee pads, shoe covers, comfortable sneakers.
  • Living room and bedroom: Short duster, long duster, dusting mitt, wood furniture cleaner, microfiber glass cloths, furniture vacuum attachments or a handheld vacuum, leather cleaner.
  • Kitchens and Bathrooms: All-purpose cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, scrub pads, toothbrushes, grout brush, soap scum remover, sponges or microfiber cloths, bathroom cleaning powder, toilet bowl brush.
  • Floors: Vacuum cleaner for carpets, vacuum cleaner for hard floors, mop and pads, floor cleaning solution, dustpan, brush, broom.
  • Windows: Microfiber glass cloths, window cleaning solution, paper towels.
  • Organization: Cleaning bucket, caddy with dividers for products, garbage bags (for small trash cans and large kitchen cans), spray bottles for solutions, and water

Commercial Cleaning Equipment:

  • Disinfectant sprays
  • A floor waxing machine
  • Floor washer
  • Commercial brooms
  • Commercial buckets
  • Cleaning cloths and mitts
  • Dusting tools
  • High-performance commercial vacuums
  • Large garbage bags for bathrooms and kitchen areas
  • Professional cleaning uniform branded with your logo

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FAQ

Yes, starting a cleaning business is a profitable endeavor. The average cleaning business income is around $70,000 to above $100,000 per year. The amount can vary depending on the various factor such as:-
  • Whether you start a residential cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business.
  • The amount you charge for your service or what’s your profit margin
  • If you are working on your own or employing an employee for your service
Starting your own cleaning service is quite profitable as the business is in high demand. Also, the business offers a wide variety of growth opportunities. There are numerous ways of cleaning you can complete. Lastly, what makes the cleaning profitable is that it requires a low amount of overhead cost.
The cleaning business is one of the best businesses and it has very low overhead costs. So the answer is yes, you can start a cleaning business by yourself and expand it by training more staff by yourself.
  • By using credit cards
  • With the help of friends and family. However, keep everything professional and put everything in writing
  • Doing partnership. Seek a partner who is willing to invest in your business
  • You can also apply for funding from small business administration and other government programs
  • Vision your goal with an open eye
  • Communicate clearly with your customers
  • Use email marketing to attract more customers
  • Build partnerships with other services
  • Ensure you advertise on a budget
  • Build a strong connection through networking

    Ready to Start Your Own Cleaning Business from Scratch?

    By following the steps, you will be ready with a business plan, a clear idea of cleaning services, and a business model with a budget, legal entity, and marketing. However, the cleaning business is a competitive industry, so you will require cleaning business software.

    FieldCamp will help you provide the best cleaning services to your customers. Create and manage job schedules for your cleaners, automate payment processing and invoice management. Streamline all the operations of your business. Build an exceptional commercial cleaning franchise with our software. Start your free trial, and experience the benefit of field service management software.

    Author Bio
    author

    Gaurang Bhatt

    Gaurang Bhatt is a techie in himself with an ability to solve problems technically and present solutions in the form of a product. He is one of the pioneers to curate FieldCamp with his 15+ years of knowledge and expertise in providing solutions to home service industries. Gaurang aims to overcome challenges faced by service business owners through software solutions and blogs.

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