How to Start a Cleaning Business in 10 Simple Steps

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How to Start a Cleaning Business

Are you looking for a business idea that’s simple to start and has low overhead? A cleaning business may be just what you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of starting a cleaning business and provide tips on how to grow your business.

Why Look Into How to Start a Cleaning Business

There are a few specific reasons why a cleaning business may be a very attractive option.

  • Flexibility. You could run your cleaning business part-time around your existing schedule and commitments, or grow it into a full-time income.
  • Low startup costs. There’s very little that you need to get started. The basic cleaning equipment will probably only cost a few hundred dollars, and you may even have a lot of those items already.
  • No special experience is needed. Regardless of your background and work experience, starting a cleaning business is an option.

Of course, no business opportunity is perfect. The biggest downside to a cleaning business is that cleaning services generally aren’t extremely high-paying compared to many other types of services. Still, it’s very possible to earn a decent income as a house cleaner by working independently, or by hiring staff members and growing your business.

Here are the specific steps to follow when you’re ready to get started

Step 1: Specialized or General?

The first decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to specialize in a certain type of cleaning or offer a general home cleaning service.

If you specialize, you may find it helpful to create an advertising campaign that focuses on one particular service. However, keep in mind that you will likely be limited to a certain geographical area due to the specialized nature of your services.

On the other hand, if you offer a general cleaning service, you’ll need to cast a wider net and market your business more broadly. This can be more challenging but gives you the potential to reach a larger customer base.

Here are a few types of specialized cleaning services you could offer instead of just general house cleaning.

Commercial Cleaning

If you’re looking to expand your cleaning business, commercial cleaning services may be the way to go. Whether it’s offices, restaurants, stores, or an industrial facility, there will likely be a strong need for commercial cleaning services in your area.

Move-In or Move-Out Cleaning

People often need help getting their new or old homes clean and ready for occupancy. This is where your cleaning business can come in handy by offering move-in or move-out cleaning services.

People may want to hire you to ensure that a house they’re buying is clean so they can just move right in. Or they may want to hire you as they’re moving out. The moving process is a busy time, and people can save time by hiring you to help.

House Showing Cleaning

Every home seller and real estate agent wants their home to look its best when a potential buyer will be coming through. You could offer to clean homes before listing or showing so they’ll be spotless and make a strong impression.

Foreclosure Cleaning

Investors who buy foreclosures will often prefer to hire someone to do the cleaning rather than dedicating their own time to it. And some foreclosures are in pretty bad shape, so this is a specialized service that has plenty of potentials.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Of course, here at Savvy Natural Cleaning, we’re always looking for effective ways to clean without chemicals that are harmful to our families or the environment. You could specialize in eco-friendly natural cleaning to appeal to a specific audience.

Pet-Friendly Cleaning

The majority of pet owners consider their furry friends part of the family. But pets can leave behind more than just fur. If your clients have a hard time keeping up with all the responsibilities that go along with caring for a pet, you could offer to help by offering pet-friendly cleaning services.

Step 2: Determine What Geographic Area You’ll Cover

Before you can start your business, you need to determine the geographic area that you will cover. This may be a specific city, town, or suburb, or it could be a larger area like a county.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to overextend yourself by trying to service too many customers in too wide an area. This can lead to scheduling and logistical nightmares and may end up hurting your business rather than helping it grow.

It’s also important to remember the costs associated with traveling to and from jobs. Of course, you’ll need transportation for yourself and your team (if you hire others to work with you). That means you’ll have expenses related to a car/truck/van, plus mileage, gas, etc.

Aside from that, you’ll also spend time traveling from job to job, and that’s time that you’re not actively working and generating income. Most cleaning businesses service only a few towns in a relatively small local area because the relatively low rates for the service don’t support extensive traveling.

Step 3: Determine Your Startup Costs

The next step is to determine your startup costs. This includes the basic equipment that you’ll need to get started, as well as marketing and advertising expenses.

The good news is that a cleaning business doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. In most cases, you can get started with just a few basic items (more on that in the next step). You may also want to invest in some specialized cleaning products or tools if you’re going to specialize in a certain type of cleaning.

As for marketing and advertising, you can spend money here if that’s an option for you, but it’s also possible to keep these costs very low as well. We’ll talk about marketing plans later in the article, but you’ll have some flexibility here too.

Ideally, you’ll have the money set aside to cover the startup costs. But if not, you could borrow the necessary funds to get off the ground. Many people opt for a cleaning business instead of another type of business because the startup costs are so reasonable.

Step 4: Get the Necessary Supplies

You’ll need some basic tools and supplies to do your work as a cleaner. The exact list of things you’ll need will depend on the specific services you’re offering and what you already have. Here’s a list of some essentials that may serve as a good starting point.

When you’re first getting started, try to keep costs to a minimum. If you already have a vacuum cleaner you can use instead of buying a new one, skip that expense for now. The less you spend to get started, the faster you’ll be able to turn a profit.

Related: Clean a Messy House Checklist and Ways to Save Money on Cleaning Products

Step 5: Name Your Business

Once you know your geographic area and have figured out your costs, it’s time to choose a name for the business.

Make sure that your chosen name is something easily identifiable as a cleaning service, otherwise, customers won’t know what type of work you offer.

Choosing a business name is something that many people struggle with, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Keep it simple. And if you’re really struggling, there are online business name generators that may be helpful.

You can also look at other business names for inspiration. Of course, you won’t want your name to be too similar to another cleaning service in your town, but you could always browse the names of cleaning businesses in a city from another part of the country.

Step 6: Take Care of the Legal Details

Now that you have a business name, it’s time to take care of some of the legal details. This includes registering your business with the state and obtaining a business license. You’ll also need to set up a bank account in the name of your company.

The requirements for starting a cleaning business vary from state to state, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. You can find more information on the website of your state’s secretary of state or by contacting your local chamber of commerce.

As far as business structure is concerned, you could form an LLC if you prefer, or you could start simply as a sole proprietorship. Forming an LLC is preferable, but it will require a little bit of time and some money. We recommend consulting with a CPA or attorney about your specific situation so you can get personalized advice.

You’ll also need to think about insurance, including general business insurance, liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Step 7: Price Your Services

One of the most important factors when starting a business is pricing. The right price point will mean you’re profitable from day one and that you’ll be competitive in your area.

Be sure to factor in your costs and make sure that you’re charging enough to cover your expenses and turn a profit.

Your costs include everything from cleaning supplies to insurance, rent, utilities, and advertising. Of course, there are more than just expenses to consider when setting a price point. You also want to think about how much money you need for making a profit. You may also want to take into account how much similar service providers charge in your geographic area.

There are a few different ways you could price your services. One option is to simply charge a flat hourly rate. This is fairly easy and straightforward, but clients won’t know how long it will take you to do the cleaning, so they may not know what to expect in terms of how much they’ll owe you.

Another option is to charge project-based pricing. This may work well with some types of services, but not as well for others.

The last option is to charge a set fee per room. For example, you could charge $30 to clean a bedroom, which would include vacuuming, dusting, etc.

How you decide to price your services is a matter of preference, but it’s important to remember that some trial and error will be involved at first. You may need to adjust your pricing once you get more experience.

Step 8: Develop Your Marketing Plan

Marketing is an important part of starting most types of businesses, and cleaning services are no exception.

You’ll definitely need to invest in marketing if you want your business to be profitable from day one, so think about how you can promote your company through various channels.

The type of cleaning service you offer will determine where and how often you advertise your business. For example, if you’re a home cleaner offering light housekeeping, then perhaps advertising on Facebook or Craigslist would be the best way for you to go. But if you’re running a commercial operation that requires industrial equipment like floor scrubbers and carpet extractors, then it’s probably best to stick with word-of-mouth as well as industry magazines and conferences.

Here are some specific marketing methods you may want to consider.

  • Leverage your personal network. Talk to your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. See if any of them are in need of your services, and ask if they know of anyone else who may be interested. You can probably find your first through clients and start building word-of-mouth advertising through your existing network.
  • Social media. Use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms to connect with potential clients.
  • Classifieds. Craigslist is an excellent resource. You can post classifieds in your local area, and remember to keep coming back so you can renew the listings.
  • Local bulletin boards. Many local businesses have bulletin boards where you can advertise, and this is typically free.
  • Pay-Per-Click ads. Advertise to people in your local area who are searching for cleaning service providers. Google Ads is the biggest platform, but others exist as well.
  • Your own website. Your own website can also be an excellent way to communicate with potential customers. This may lead to some business quickly, but it’s more of a long-term approach that will require some time and patience. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a custom website. Use a platform like Wix to get a very affordable website.

Step 9: Prioritize Client Retention

Getting a new client is much more difficult than getting repeat business from the customers you already have. Once you land a new customer, you should focus on converting that customer into repeat business. Many of your customers will need cleaning services every week or a few times per month, so this type of business lends itself to repeat customers.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your clients are happy and keep coming back.

  • Be professional. This should go without saying, but always be professional in your interactions with clients. Dress appropriately, be on time, and be respectful.
  • Treat their home as if it were your own. You should take great care when cleaning someone’s home. Make sure you’re careful with their belongings and take the time to do the job right.
  • Follow up after every job. This is an excellent way to ensure that clients are happy with your work and to get feedback so you can improve your services.
  • Offer add-on services. If you offer a wide range of services, consider adding on extras so you can serve the customer in several different ways.

Step 10: Expand Your Team

It’s possible to run a cleaning business on your own, or you could opt to hire others to work with you or for you. If you want to grow and scale the business, expand your team by hiring. One of the perks of running a cleaning business is that the cost of labor is relatively low, so you won’t have to spend a ton of money to get some help.

When hiring, be sure to screen candidates thoroughly. Ask for references and contact them. Check the candidate’s criminal history, and make sure they have a valid driver’s license and insurance. Have them complete an application and interview them in person.

The background check is especially important in this industry because you’ll be going into your customers’ homes and offices. You need to know that you’re hiring someone you and your customers can trust.

Training new employees can take some time, but it’s worth it in order to grow your business. Make sure you have a clear process for how they should do their job, and have detailed instructions written down. Be available to answer questions and help out when needed.

Final Thoughts on How to Start a Cleaning Business

Cleaning businesses can be a great way to make some extra money on the side or even earn a full-time income. If you enjoy cleaning and like the idea of helping others, this may be an excellent opportunity for you.

Follow the steps on How to Start a Cleaning Business covered in this article and you’ll be well on your way to success with your new cleaning business.