How to Start a Cleaning Business

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.

Step 1.

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...

Step 2.

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

credit card.

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,, 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!