Despite personal opinions, many individuals find cleaning their homes to be a stressful and even burdensome task.
Initiating a cleaning business, whether a business cleaning service or a house cleaning company, means tapping into a vast market for house cleaning jobs with ample clientele.
The demand for home cleaning services is perennial, providing a steady flow of business and ensuring every client’s home remains spotless. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to start a cleaning business from the ground up.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to start a cleaning business from scratch.
How to start a cleaning business?
Individual house cleaners and specialized commercial cleaning services are part of the cleaning industry.
It is critical to identify the emphasis of your service early on when determining how to start a cleaning business since the first investment you make depends on the size of your crew, the cost of equipment, and competitive rates in your local market.
Home-cleaning enterprises with more than a few employees will require more structure than a service you do on the side or in addition to another career.
Once you’ve determined your target market, you can begin fleshing out the details of your business strategy and making plans for transportation and supplies.
You’ll want to get the word out about your service when you’re ready to start accepting clients. Depending on your network, you may begin with friends or acquaintances and gradually extend to a bigger market through an online presence and marketing.
Step 1: Funding a cleaning business
How to start a cleaning business can pose a significant challenge, particularly in terms of financing the new venture. Entrepreneurs often resort to borrowing from friends or family, taking out business loans, or relying on credit to navigate this obstacle.
The startup costs for a cleaning service can be relatively low, depending on the business scale. This allows for keeping debt to a minimum during the initial planning phase, facilitating the expansion of operations and increased spending as revenue is generated.
How to start a cleaning business involves various costs, such as those related to cleaning supplies and products, advertising, cleaning business insurance, as well as obtaining business licenses and permits. Shopping for supplies at big-box retailers can often result in cost savings.
The specific items needed will vary based on your business’s specialty, but commonly used products include mops, window cleaners, latex gloves, paper towels, brushes, and similar items.
Once your business is established, there may be opportunities to purchase supplies directly from manufacturers, further streamlining how to start a cleaning business.
Step 2: Choosing your market
When figuring out how to start a cleaning business, the clientele you target and the services you offer should align with local demands, your personal abilities, and your access to transportation.
If, for instance, you prefer walking to cleaning jobs, establish a comfortable commuting radius and focus your market research on that specific area. Those with access to a car or public transportation can explore online resources to identify existing businesses offering similar services.
In the process of learning how to start a cleaning business, conducting competitor research is essential. Take time to study cleaning businesses in your local area, looking for potential gaps in services that could be addressed.
As a beginner, entering the residential cleaning sector may be more accessible than commercial cleaning.
Large janitorial companies often dominate the commercial-cleaning business, leveraging substantial resources. Within residential cleaning, you can further narrow your focus, such as targeting apartments or single-family homes.
Additionally, when choosing your market, consider that you may handle initial jobs independently. It’s crucial to be selective about your clients, avoiding tasks that might be too time-consuming for a solo operation, like cleaning a large mansion.
Doing jobs independently helps minimize costs and allows for flexibility in scheduling work around your timetable when learning how to start a cleaning business.
Step 3: Finding your specialty
Achieving success as a cleaner hinges on the quality of your service, whether it involves specialized expertise, such as cleaning carpets or porcelain, or simply providing efficient and friendly service.
It’s crucial to consider offering specialized equipment and services only if you possess prior experience or have access to the necessary resources.
Otherwise, the costs associated with training, equipment, and other factors might surpass the revenue generated from your cleaning services.
As you progress and specialization becomes a viable option, potential areas to consider include commercial kitchen cleaning, eco-friendly cleaning, and tile and grout cleaning.
Careful consideration of your skills, resources, and market demand will guide you in determining the most suitable specialization when contemplating how to start a cleaning business.
Step 4: Business budgeting
Supplies and transportation play crucial roles in the foundational expenses of basic cleaning services. Depending on your services, your cleaning costs may range from very low for an individual cleaner to considerably more for a business with a multiperson team and company vehicle.
Once you establish a transportation and backup plan, you can start to estimate the other costs of how to start a cleaning business.
How to start a cleaning business involves recognizing that transportation is essential for any mobile business like a cleaning service. Before starting a job, the primary prerequisite is getting to the location.
Most cleaning services are responsible for getting to and from cleaning jobs, so remember that transportation arrangements and responsibilities will likely fall on you.
The cost and amount of supplies needed to operate depend entirely on the services you offer and the number of clients you have.
Wholesale vendors will likely require proof of your business’s legitimacy, but if you’re operating a bigger service, finding discounted prices from suppliers shouldn’t be a problem once you register the business.
How to start a cleaning business involves recognizing that transportation and cleaning supplies are the main expenses for basic cleaning services, but equipment and other rentals will also add up.
Unless you already own or have free access to equipment, special machines and cleaning agents for carpets, flooring, and exteriors can be costly rentals.
If you already know how to use a certain type of equipment, it’s worth investigating the costs of renting — you can always hold off on extra expenses until you’re more established.
Step 5: Registering your business
Navigating the legal landscape for domestic services like house cleaning and babysitting can be unclear, especially when a single individual receives cash payments. The level of registration and income reporting required hinges on the extent of your business, specifically your revenue.
When the scope of your services is limited to activities like cleaning your aunt’s kitchen weekly for $20, it may not truly constitute a business. If your services are exclusively for immediate family, it’s likely safe to delay business registration.
However, if your monthly earnings surpass a few hundred dollars, adhering to formal channels for reporting income to the IRS becomes necessary.
When contemplating how to start a cleaning business, you have options such as operating as a sole proprietor, forming a partnership, or establishing a limited liability corporation for separating business and personal finances.
Another consideration is becoming a large cleaning services chain franchisee, offering built-in brand recognition, policies, and procedures, although with less control over your business.
For those interested in working as a cleaner outside of homes, understanding that it’s easier for individuals to pay other individuals than for a business to pay a non-employee is crucial. Proper business registration and tax documentation become particularly significant for cleaning services catering to corporate clients.
Distinguishing between “consumer” cleaning services in private homes and “commercial” cleaners with contracts from state or corporate entities is essential.
If your services extend beyond occasional tasks, local businesses might contract your services regularly, requiring the issuance of a 1099 contract by the business for services exceeding $600 annually.
When registering your cleaning business, selecting an appropriate business name is crucial. The chosen name should thoughtfully reflect the services offered, the company’s values, or a combination of both, as it plays a vital role in marketing and branding efforts.
Step 6: Finding and maintaining clients
Online forums and service platforms increasingly connect individuals with local cleaning businesses, yet word-of-mouth remains pivotal.
When considering how to start a cleaning business, encourage satisfied clients to share your Facebook page or pass along your business card to interested friends, leveraging the power of personal recommendations.
Demonstrating your best work to prospective clients can be challenging, making it beneficial to provide contact information for past customers willing to serve as references.
Solicit written referrals from pleased customers to showcase on your website, adding credibility to your cleaning services as part of your strategy on how to start a cleaning business.
In the realm of how to start a cleaning business, home cleaners often discover new business opportunities through existing clients. While relying solely on clients for new jobs isn’t advisable, building a strong rapport can instill confidence, leading them to inform you about potential opportunities.
To find and maintain clients, having established rates is crucial. HomeAdvisor says the average price for cleaning a single-family home ranges from $120 to $150.
Factors like location, competition level, services offered, and other considerations can impact these prices. Cleaning services typically quote prices by the hour, square footage, or a simple flat rate, depending on the chosen pricing model when contemplating how to start a cleaning business.
Regardless of your pricing approach, conducting market research is advisable to ensure competitiveness, especially when just starting out.
Additionally, investing in a payment processor like Square can facilitate credit card payments from clients, although it’s essential to be aware of associated fees for accepting credit card payments as you navigate how to start a cleaning business.
Step 7: Investing in advertising
Even if you primarily rely on clients to bring in new customers, investing in an online presence for your cleaning service proves beneficial in the long run.
Ensuring current and potential customers can find you online, even if you don’t have a full website, is essential. Establish a business Facebook page and consistently update your contact information for increased accessibility.
These platforms facilitate client discovery, and having customer reviews and a registered business will enhance your online profile. Additionally, for offline networking, printing business cards can be a valuable tool in expanding your reach when exploring how to start a cleaning business.
Starting a cleaning business may appear straightforward, but it involves hard work. Whether you’re considering cleaning as a side job or a full-time career, it’s advisable to dedicate a few days to experience the work firsthand and determine if you are well-suited for the job.
With a cleaning service, you can gradually take on more work and new customers as you acclimate to the job’s demands. As you navigate the intricacies of scheduling and build a base of regular customers, you can optimize your time and spending.
Ensuring you take the right steps in advance is crucial to consistently delivering excellent service.