Starting your own cleaning business is a great way to make money while providing a valuable and rewarding service to your clients.

Cleaning businesses are a perfect option for entrepreneurial people looking to start a business with a low start up cost. Let’s take a look at the 6 steps you’ll need to start your own cleaning business.

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1. Decide on what type of services you want to offer

There’s lots of different types of cleaning services, from basic routine packages to deep cleans. One of the first things you should decide is whether you want to start a commercial cleaning business or a personal cleaning company such as a maid service.

A few options for cleaning services that are commonly offered include:

  • Basic home or apartment cleaning
  • Deep cleaning
  • Scheduled cleaning
  • Spring cleaning
  • Move out cleaning
  • New home cleaning
  • Office cleaning
  • Window cleaning

Spend some time looking at the websites of other cleaning companies in the area. This is a good way to see if there are any gaps in the local market that you can focus on filling.
For instance, maybe no one in your market is offering move out cleaning, you can work to make a great move out cleaning program and promote it to make your new company stand out above the competition.

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2. Register your business and get a business license

After checking to make sure the name of your new cleaning service isn’t already in use, register and trademark it to make it your own.

Make sure you follow all the local procedures while setting up and registering your business. Ensuring that you go through all the proper channels is essential to creating a legitimate and trustworthy business that your clients will want to work with.

Related: How to register a business in Canada

These can be different not just country to country but even region to region, so be sure to do your homework on exactly what the proper procedures are for your area.
After you’ve registered your business, make sure you get a business license before you start looking for your first cleaning jobs. Again, the rules surrounding business registration can vary quite a bit depending on where you are, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the local best practices.

3. Insure your cleaning business

Insurance is a very important part to starting up any business, and a cleaning business is no exception.

Making sure you have business insurance can save you down the road from having to pay out of pocket if you run into any claims from unhappy customers of negligence, even if you’re not at fault.

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A good insurance policy can end up being the difference between running a smooth, successful business and having to go into debt or having to claim bankruptcy to pay for damages from an unhappy client.

Typically, cleaning business insurance will include four types of insurance:

Commercial General Liability Insurance

This portion of your policy will protect you against general business risks such as damage to your client’s property or injuring someone as a result. For instance, if you accidentally knock over a vase while cleaning a house, you could be held liable for the cost of replacement.

Professional Liability Insurance

Also known as errors and omissions, Professional Liability Insurance helps protect you against any claims of failure to provide service or negligence. Should the quality of your work ever come under dispute, this policy can protect you from having to pay out of pocket.

Pollution Liability Insurance

Cleaning products can contain toxic elements, so it’s important to protect yourself in the event of something going wrong. This policy ensures you won’t be held responsible for any damage to property or health from toxic chemical solutions.

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Tool and Equipment Insurance

This coverage will pay for the replacement of any work related tools that may get damaged, lost or stolen. This includes most cleaning supplies and cleaning equipment, such as buckets, mops, vacuums and buffers.

These four types of insurance are the backbone of any good cleaning business insurance policy.

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Related: The importance of business insurance

4. Start purchasing your cleaning equipment

Starting a business venture can be an intimidatingly expensive task. But starting a cleaning company alleviates a lot of those worries with an inexpensive start up cost because of how little it takes.

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You really just need the basic cleaning supplies to get started. You can always build up your supplies with more equipment once your business grows, but there’s nothing wrong with starting small. However, it is good to note that anything priced over $1,500 is considered equipment, while anything below that is a tool.

A few common examples of cleaning equipment that you’ll need to purchase before you begin your jobs are:

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mop and bucket
  • Vacuum
  • Rags
  • Squeegees

These few basic and inexpensive items are all the tools you need to begin looking for jobs. Once you start getting some money to put back into your business, you can start purchasing some other tools and equipment that will allow you to offer more luxury services to your clientele, such as:

  • Steam cleaner
  • Floor waxer
  • Window cleaning kits
  • High-pressure washer

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5. Build up a unique marketing plan

So you’ve made your business stand out amongst the competition, registered, licensed and insured it. The last step you need to do before you start cleaning houses is to make sure you have a solid plan for getting your business out there. Here are a few tips to consider as you’re getting your business off the ground:

Ask your friends to be your first few customers

For those with limited funding, try asking your friends and family for your first few jobs. This is a great way to get some practice in while finding out what does and doesn’t work.
Like any business, there are plenty of kinks that you may not have thought of that will be easier to iron out when you aren’t worried about a bad Google review. Plus, a bad review on platforms like Google or Yelp in the initial stages of your business can be devastating to future business.

Have a strong social media presence

Making sure people know your name by promoting it on social media is an effective way to make sure that your target audience hears about your business.
Staying active on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn is an important way to not just engage with previous customers, but to attract potential new customers as well.

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6. Hire more employees to grow your staff

Many successful cleaning companies were started with a staff of just one. This allows you to figure out the ins and outs of the specific type of business as well as your local market while working from the ground up.

Once you have a good name and are beginning to build up your client base, you can start hiring new employees and focus more on taking the skills you’ve built and your entrepreneurial spirit and focusing it on making sure you’re managing your company in the best way that you can.

Remember to only hire people that will respect your brand. You’ve worked hard to create a unique and distinctive voice, and it only takes a few uncareful employees to tarnish your reputation.

Frequently asked questions about starting a cleaning business

Q: What are the disadvantages of being a cleaner?

A: Being a cleaner can be physically demanding. They’re required to unload and carry the cleaning supplies from your vehicle to the jobsite and back. If the job is in an apartment or a condo in a building with no elevator, that may require carrying heavy equipment up staircases.
One of the benefits of starting your own business is that if you’re successful, you’ll have a team under you to perform the work.

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Q: Is there money in cleaning?

A: While the income may be slow at first (which is why we recommend not hiring anyone initially), there is a lot of money to be found in cleaning services. It’s important to plan to put everything you make back into the company for the first few months, or in some cases years. However, once you build up a solid client base with a unique brand recognition and get some employees under you, there’s the potential to make a lot of money in the cleaning industry.

Q: What do cleaners charge hourly?

A: Cleaners generally charge by the square footage or property type that they’re hired to clean. However, there’s a vast difference in how much cleaners charge depending on what region you’re in — it can range from $30 to $150 per hour. Try to find out what your local competition charges to see what price range they’re in. Once you’ve found that out, you can either undercut their prices or offer more premium services for the same price.

Starting a cleaning business can be a great way for entrepreneurs to make a lot of money with little initial investment. All that’s needed are some cleaning supplies, some free time, a vehicle, and the drive to seek out the business.

Just make sure that you work hard to do everything by the book and not miss any important steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful business.

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