How to Start a Cleaning Business
Today we’re going to talk about starting a business that requires barely any initial
investment, has minimal operating costs, and consistent demand.
Plus, it’s something almost everyone already has experience doing.
That’s right, we’re talking about starting a cleaning business.
Cleaning can be a lucrative and rewarding business for individuals with a great work
ethic and customer service demeanor.
This is also a growth industry: The household cleaning market is growing at a rate of 4.4%
year over year.
But operating a cleaning business isn’t as simple mopping floors and washing windows.
So in this video, we’re going to show you the ropes and help you get your cleaning business
off the ground.
Do Your Research
The key to starting any successful business is to do your research.
For one, this means understanding what kind of demand there is in your market for cleaning
A lot of us think of cleaners as folks who clean houses, but there are also office, industrial,
and specialized cleaning businesses, like carpet cleaning or pressure washing.
Household cleaning requires the least amount of overhead.
Some folks even operate as a one-person business, keeping a list of clients who they visit each
More advanced cleaning services may require additional employees, training, and equipment
It’s important to figure out your area of focus early on, because the upfront investment
you make depends on the size of your team, the cost of equipment, and competitive rates
in your local market.
Next you’re going to want to get first-hand commercial cleaning experience.
We recommend seeking out family and friends, and offering to clean their house for free.
This way, you can gain valuable feedback and also hone your skills.
Alternatively, if you know someone who operates a cleaning business, ask to accompany them
on a job.
Overall, you’re going to want to learn what paying customers expect from a cleaning service,
so that you can plan your business accordingly.
With your research done, you can move on to...
Selecting Your Market.
The clientele you pursue and services offered should be based on local demands, in addition
to your personal abilities and access to transportation.
The transportation part is more important than it seems.
After all, if you need to walk from job to job, or take public transportation with all
your cleaning supplies, that is going to affect how many clients you can serve on a given
You also need to take a look at your competitors.
If there are already multiple household cleaning services working in your area, you might want
to try a different tact.
Although you can narrow down your market by catering specifically to, say, apartments
or single-family homes.
Also keep in mind that in the beginning you’ll likely be doing jobs on your own.
Therefore, you should be selective in terms of the clients you choose to work with.
You might want to think twice about agreeing to clean a huge mansion by yourself, as this
could take more time than it’s worth.
Step 3: Fund Your Business
Startup costs for a cleaning business are relatively low.
This means you can keep debt to a minimum when first launching, then expand operations
and spending as you generate revenue.
Generally speaking, the costs associated with starting a cleaning business include the price
of cleaning supplies and products, advertising, insurance, and business licenses and permits.
Supplies can usually be purchased for cheap at big box retailers.
The items you need will depend on your business’s speciality, but products most cleaners utilize
include mops, window cleaner, latex gloves, paper towels, scrubbing brushes, and the like.
Once you establish your business, you may even be able to buy directly from manufacturers
at a discounted rate.
Another key expense is transportation.
You may be able to get by without a vehicle initially, but as your business grows, you’ll
likely need a van so you can store your cleaning supplies and drive from job to job.
If you want to offer specialized services, also keep in mind those costs.
For instance, if you clean carpets, you’ll need to buy or rent a carpet cleaner, which
can be quite expensive.
Some folks may be able to cover these startup costs from their own savings.
If not, you can also try raising money from friends and family, or taking out a business
Once you acquire funding, make sure you set a budget to ensure those funds will be used
Step 4: Register Your Business
Now that you have a defined market, and all the supplies you need to get started, it’s
time to make this thing real and register your business.
You can choose to operate a cleaning business on your own as a sole proprietor or as a partnership
with another individual, or you can set up a limited liability corporation if you want
to separate your business and personal finances.
To figure out which is best for you, check out our video on choosing a business entity.
Now there’s also the franchise route.
You could find a reputable cleaning franchise and become a franchisee.
The benefit here is that you already have built-in brand recognition, policies, and
However, you won’t have as much control over your business.
To learn more about franchises, watch our video on how to find a low-cost franchise.
Step 5: Find Clients
Now that everything is in place, let’s find some people to clean for.
There are two main channels for finding and retaining clients in the cleaning services
industry: Online platforms and good old word-of-mouth marketing.
To help with the former, consider creating a business profile on websites like Handy,
Care.com, Angie’s List, and ChoreRelief.
This can help you get some initial clients, but to really grow your business, you’re
going to need your customers to sing your praises.
That’s why it’s so important early on to do a really good job.
You can then ask your happy customers to maybe share your Facebook page with others, or pass
your business card along to their friends.
Also ask those customers if they’d be willing to be references, and allow prospective clients
to call them to get their opinion on your work.
One of the most important things you can do to boost word-of-mouth marketing is set up
a referral program.
This incentivizes your happy customers to pass your information along to others, rather
than just hoping they will do so out of the goodness of their own hearts.
When you get a new customer through a referral, you can reward the person who referred them
with a free cleaning, or something else of value.
One other important aspect of finding and retaining clients is having set rates that
you can provide to customers who inquire.
This helps you come across as reputable.
Typically, cleaning services quote prices by the hour, by the square footage of the
area being cleaned, or with a simple flat rate.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to clean a single-family home is between $120-$150.
These prices can be impacted by your location, level of competition, services you offer,
and other factors.
Cleaning is something most of us *hopefully* do on a weekly basis, but turning it into
a business can be hard work.
But if you do your research, find a market with a demand for your services, spend your
money wisely, and create happy customers, you’ll be well on your way.
The great news about a cleaning service is that you can incrementally take on more work
and new customers as you get accustomed to the job, allowing you to grow as you learn.
And that’s everything you need to know about how to start a cleaning business.
For more information on how to start and grow a variety of different types of businesses,
You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel.
And if you have any additional questions on how to start a cleaning business, feel free
to leave us a comment below.
Thanks for watching everyone!