How to Start a Cleaning Business

How to Start a Cleaning Business

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If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, starting a cleaning business might be the way to go for you. Research tells us there were just over 3 million people working in the cleaning industry in 2016 in America. The average wage was 27,030 U.S. dollars.

How to Start a Cleaning Business

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Here’s an outline for starting your very own cleaning business. 

Determine the Need

One of the first things you’ll need to look at is whether you want to go all in or not with your new cleaning business and that means looking at the need. Plan to start out small. If you’re in a small town, it’s more likely you’ll find some early work through word-of-mouth residential cleaning for neighbors and friends.

It’s best to start out walking before you learn to run according to the experts. In other words consider part-time work to check out your new company’s viability at first. There might be small banquet halls or independent convenience stores where you are that could use your services.

Pick a Niche

If you live in a bigger town, you can start deciding where you want to clean based on what’s there.  If you’re willing to take on a few helpers there’s commercial cleaning which can include banks and even schools.   You can even get into specialty cleaning for things like sporting goods if you get the right kind of washing machine and other equipment.

Having an established cleaning market to choose from gives you another option.

“If you want to keep your day job, think about purchasing a cleaning franchise first to learn the business before branching out on your own,” says Dave Bonnemort, Regional Director and Master Franchise Owner of a Utah-based commercial cleaning company Anago of Utah

Pick a Good Name

Cleaning Business

It doesn’t really matter whether you want to go big or small, you need to have a good name that people remember. You should include the niche you’ve chosen in the company name so people know what you do right away.

For example: Home Cleaning Services tells the whole story.

Get The Proper Licenses

Find out what you need to get started from your local municipality. Once you’ve got the local and state regulations set, you can check here to see if there are any federal guidelines. 

Advertise On the Cheap

It’s likely you won’t have a lot of money to start out with, so advertising on budget can mean mixing and matching old and new media. Creating a website and taking advantage of social media is a good idea. Flyers and ads in local newspapers for a small start-up can point to your online presence. 

“Brand your vehicle and pass out your business card to friends, family and acquaintances but keep in mind to stay on budget and try to find the balance between money spent on advertising and income. Invest smart and it will pay out,” says Arthur Harris from Carpet Cleaning Experts Melbourne. 

Cleaning Business

Stock Up On Supplies

If you’re starting out small you’ll need to buy a good vacuum cleaner with the right attachments. White cloth rags and paper towels are other staples and you can’t forget toilet bowl cleaner and a good brush. A broom, dust pan and a dry mop will get you started.

When possible, buy supplies in bulk so you’ll never run out on the job. 

Remember “green” businesses are popular and you’ll want to stock up on supplies that aren’t toxic and good for the environment.

Starting a Cleaning Business: A Lucrative Venture for the Industrious

Cleaning Business

If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, starting a cleaning business might be the way to go for you. The cleaning industry in the U.S. employed just over 3 million people in 2016, with an average wage of $27,030. If you’re considering venturing into the cleaning business, here’s an outline to help you get started and pave your way to success.

  • Determine the Need: Before diving into the cleaning business, assess the need for cleaning services in your local area. Starting out small and offering residential cleaning services through word-of-mouth referrals can be an excellent way to test your business’s viability. Consider part-time work initially to gauge the demand and build a solid foundation for your cleaning business. Look for potential clients in small banquet halls, independent convenience stores, or even among your neighbors and friends.
  • Pick a Niche: If you live in a larger town or city, you can explore various niches within the cleaning industry. Commercial cleaning is an option if you’re willing to hire helpers and take on bigger projects like cleaning banks and schools. Specializing in certain types of cleaning, such as sporting goods or specialized equipment, can also set you apart from competitors. Investigate the cleaning market in your area to find your niche and stand out in the industry.
  • Pick a Good Name: Choosing a memorable and descriptive name for your cleaning business is crucial. Incorporate the chosen niche into your company’s name so potential clients immediately understand your services. A name like “Home Cleaning Services” clearly conveys your specialty and makes your business easy to remember and find.
  • Get The Proper Licenses: Ensure you comply with all local and state regulations and obtain the necessary licenses to operate your cleaning business legally. Check with your local municipality to determine the specific requirements for your area. Additionally, be aware of any federal guidelines that may apply to your business.
  • Advertise On the Cheap: Starting with a limited budget, opt for cost-effective advertising strategies to promote your cleaning business. Building a website and leveraging social media platforms can help establish an online presence. Combine these digital efforts with traditional methods like distributing flyers and placing ads in local newspapers. Branding your vehicle and sharing business cards with friends, family, and acquaintances can also create word-of-mouth referrals and expand your client base.
  • Stock Up On Supplies: For a small startup, invest in essential cleaning supplies, such as a high-quality vacuum cleaner with appropriate attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner, and brushes. Basic cleaning tools like brooms, dust pans, and dry mops are also necessary for getting started. Purchase supplies in bulk whenever possible to ensure you never run out during a job. Additionally, consider catering to eco-conscious customers by stocking up on “green” and environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

By following these steps and maintaining a customer-oriented approach, you can lay the foundation for a successful cleaning business. With determination, proper planning, and exceptional service, your cleaning business can thrive and become a profitable venture in the ever-growing cleaning industry.

Steps to Start a Cleaning BusinessDescription
Determine the NeedAssess the demand for cleaning services in your local area. Start with residential cleaning through word-of-mouth referrals to gauge viability. Consider part-time work initially. Explore potential clients in banquet halls, convenience stores, and among friends.
Pick a NicheIn larger towns or cities, explore different cleaning niches. Offer commercial cleaning services for banks and schools by hiring helpers. Specialize in specific types of cleaning like sporting goods or specialized equipment to stand out from competitors.
Pick a Good NameChoose a memorable and descriptive business name, incorporating the chosen niche. A name like "Home Cleaning Services" clearly conveys your specialty and improves brand recall.
Get The Proper LicensesEnsure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Obtain necessary licenses to operate your cleaning business legally. Consult with the local municipality for specific requirements.
Advertise On the CheapEmploy cost-effective advertising strategies with a limited budget. Build a website, use social media, distribute flyers, and place ads in local newspapers. Utilize word-of-mouth referrals through vehicle branding and business cards.
Stock Up On SuppliesInvest in essential cleaning supplies like a high-quality vacuum cleaner, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner, and brushes. Purchase in bulk to avoid running out during jobs. Offer "green" and eco-friendly cleaning products.


Embarking on a cleaning business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture for those with a strong work ethic and determination. With over 3 million people employed in the cleaning industry in the U.S. and an average wage of $27,030, there is ample opportunity for success. The outlined steps provide a comprehensive guide to starting a cleaning business, from determining the need and picking a niche to obtaining the necessary licenses and advertising on a budget.

Starting small with residential cleaning through word-of-mouth referrals allows you to test the viability of your business while building a reliable client base. For those in larger towns, exploring commercial cleaning or specialized niches can set you apart and create additional revenue streams. Choosing a descriptive and memorable name helps potential clients easily identify your services, and obtaining the proper licenses ensures legal compliance.

Effective and budget-friendly advertising, such as creating a website, leveraging social media, and distributing flyers, can help establish your online presence and attract new clients. Additionally, word-of-mouth referrals and branding your vehicle can be valuable marketing strategies.

Stocking up on essential cleaning supplies and offering eco-friendly options cater to customer preferences and enhance your business’s reputation. By maintaining a customer-oriented approach and delivering exceptional service, your cleaning business can thrive and become a profitable venture in the ever-growing cleaning industry.

Remember, success in the cleaning business requires dedication, efficient operations, and a commitment to meeting customers’ needs. With the outlined plan and the determination to provide top-notch cleaning services, you can make your mark in this dynamic and rewarding industry. Embrace the opportunity to build a thriving cleaning business and turn your industrious spirit into a successful entrepreneurial journey.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

3 Reactions
  1. Jennifer Williams

    I’m trying to get started in the cleaning business…. Any tips on finding customers???

  2. I agree with you that people who plan to start a cleaning business must select their target market so they’d be able to brand their specialty. You’re also right about the importance of including their niche when it comes to choosing a company name. Anyways, if I were to run this type of business, I’d make sure to work with a legit cleaning equipment supplier.

  3. I also agree with the information you have here. Anyway, I would like to share these steps in order for you to be successful once you venture into the cleaning business:

    1. Offer Personalized Service and Fair Prices. Spend some time giving free estimates.
    2. Manage Your Time Carefully. To be a success, you need to fill up your schedule.
    3. Find Your Niche.
    4. Use Quality Products.
    5. Treat Your Employees Well.
    6. Spend Time on Marketing.
    7. Focus on the Business Aspect.

    Hope this can help you caused it helps me a lot. Thanks!

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