Learn how to start a cleaning business, including what equipment you need, how to market your business and more.
How to Start a Cleaning Business You might already be convinced that you want to start your own cleaning business, but you’re not quite sure how to get started. It’s actually pretty simple to get up and running with this lucrative side hustle. We’ve got 10 easy steps for you that will help you start your cleaning business in no time at all!
How to Start a Cleaning Business
Starting your own cleaning business means you don’t have to work for someone else—in fact, you don’t even have to hire employees. Being your own boss allows you flexible scheduling and a big chunk of free time. And if your company does well, you can expand and make more money! Your experience and knowledge are valuable, so think about how you can profit from what makes your business unique.
Step 1. Get the Licenses You Need
Every state has different rules for running your cleaning business. Your first step is checking with your local government to find out what licenses you need and how much they cost. Typically, you’ll be looking at getting something called a general business license or GBL. Each jurisdiction sets its own fees and there are special rates for small businesses and veterans, so call ahead or check online before going in person.
Just be sure not to cut corners on licensing—getting caught without proper papers can mean fines or even jail time. Most states require that your GBL has an expiration date that corresponds with when you plan to start operations. For example, if you want to start in January of 2018, then go get your license by December 31st of 2017.
Most cities will allow for multiple months between when you apply and when it becomes active but don’t push it. And if you do push it? It could come back to bite you later on if things go south with your business. Remember: Don’t just start operating until you have all of these items checked off!
Step 2. Choose your Target Market
This can either be done by you as a self-employed individual or by contracting your cleaning services out. In both cases, hiring employees or contractors, it is important that you do thorough background checks on anyone who will have access to your client’s homes. The last thing you want is for an employee or contractor to steal from one of your clients. Hiring independent contractors allow you more freedom in choosing people with whom you would like to work.
But it also means that they are not employees and may not provide as much flexibility in working together. On the other hand, if you hire employees, you must deal with issues such as health insurance and retirement planning. You must also pay into Social Security and Medicare (15% of each employee’s salary). As far as taxes go, independent contractors are responsible for paying their own income tax at year-end while employers withhold federal income tax from their employee’s paychecks throughout the year.
Step 3. Hire Employees or Contract Workers
Hiring cleaners, who may work as either employees or contractors, is easier than ever. Sites like TaskRabbit let you post jobs and hire freelancers for short-term assignments, while Thumbtack helps connect you with vetted pros for longer-term positions. Or consider Wivexchange (from 4HWW), which matches experienced housecleaners with homeowners. If you’re up for hiring employees, job sites like Elance and oDesk offer qualified applicants in various fields at all levels of experience (at least they were last time we checked).
When screening your candidates, pay attention to how long they’ve been in business and if they have any feedback from previous clients—both indicators of future performance. Step 4. Decide Whether You Need Insurance: While some cleaning businesses don’t require insurance, it’s still smart to check with your state’s Department of Labor website to make sure you’re meeting all applicable regulations.
In addition, check with your agent about workers’ compensation insurance (required by law in most states) and general liability coverage for property damage or bodily injury that might occur on-site. Your policy should also cover equipment breakdowns, such as vacuums that break down during a job. The cost will vary depending on what type of coverage you need and where you live but expect to spend between $500 and $1,000 per year based on our research into prices around the country.
Step 4. Make Sure you have the Right Tools
You don’t need an expensive vacuum to clean houses, but you should make sure it is in good working order. No one wants their house cleaned by someone who shows up with a broom and dustpan. Most customers will assume that means they won’t be very thorough when it comes time for cleaning their home. As far as specialty equipment goes, certain tasks will require certain tools that you may not have. This is especially true if you plan on doing any type of floor work such as cleaning carpet or hardwood floors.
If you are just getting started with your business make sure that any tools you need can easily be replaced in case something breaks or gets lost during a job. While investing in quality professional-grade equipment can save you money down the road, purchasing cheaper products that break quickly isn’t going to help your business. Be sure to research which brands of cleaning products will be best suited for use in homes where pets live so that allergies aren’t an issue while you are working.
In addition to general-purpose cleaners, there are specialized products designed specifically for pet messes including stains from urine and feces. These types of products might come in handy depending on what kind of services you offer, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them before starting out as a cleaner. To get started today check out our website at www.[companyname].com/services-pricing/!
Step 5. Set up an Email System
This is one of those duh moments. Everyone knows that having an email address is vital to business, but not everyone uses it in smart ways. If you have employees, they should all have email addresses of their own—if not, give them each one personally. And if you’re regularly communicating with suppliers and customers via email, use your business address, not your personal one. It may seem like no big deal at first (or second or third), but some customers are wary of businesses with personal addresses, so it’s important to make sure your company has a professional air from the get-go.
Not to mention that most people want their account statements and receipts delivered directly to their inboxes. So do yourself a favor, and set up your company’s email system before you start trading messages with clients. You’ll be glad you did!
A business plan isn’t just for startups; even established companies need plans for expansion, new products, mergers and acquisitions, and more. A well-written plan can help guide you through every aspect of planning for these events – and more – so that when opportunities arise, you’re ready to take advantage of them immediately instead of wasting time on mistakes others have made before you.
Step 6. Create a Website
Your website is your home base. It’s where people can come and learn more about your business. You should include an overview of your business, what you do, and how it works. Additionally, don’t forget to include your mission statement, other important company information (e.g., hours of operation), photos that capture your work in action—and anything else that adds personality or showcases how you operate as a company.
Nowadays more than ever, people want honesty and transparency when making decisions; they want to know they can trust you with their home(s). Lastly, make sure you have easy-to-follow contact information so customers can get in touch if they have questions or need service!
Step 7. Get Social Media Accounts
In addition to your own website, you’ll need social media accounts for your cleaning business. Facebook and Twitter are easy to set up, but you might want Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and others too. After you have all of your accounts made and verified, post pictures of some jobs that you have done. Show customers what your company is about and how it’s different from other companies in your area.
Engage with your customers on these networks frequently by replying quickly and posting relevant content frequently. Social media can be an excellent way to stay in touch with customers, who will often ask questions or request estimates via social media platforms before they decide whether or not they want to hire you as their cleaning company.
Step 8. Offer Referral Programs
Use these simple tips to jumpstart your business and reward customers who refer you. 1. Meet Customers: No matter what type of cleaning business you own, set aside time to introduce yourself as a person before you ask for any referrals. Connect with your customers on a personal level so they know you and can trust that you’ll treat their home—and belongings—with care.
Build Relationships: After meeting, send thank-you notes or follow up with phone calls to say hello again in-between visits. Building relationships with each customer will help them feel more comfortable referring to your services, knowing that you care about their opinion and want them happy with how things are going at home (wherever it may be). 3.
Step 9. Promote Yourself through Local Events, Magazines, and Direct Mailers
Keeping your business organized is crucial for success. From bills to cleaning supplies, staying on top of paperwork will keep you in check and eliminate unnecessary stress. If you’re not an organized person, hire someone that is—or hire an accountant or bookkeeper who can do most of it for you. Keep track of your money by using an Excel spreadsheet, good ol’ pen, and paper
Or even accounting software like QuickBooks (but set aside some time every week to make sure everything’s in order). You don’t want anything slipping through the cracks! Plus, organizing yourself at home makes it much easier for your clients if they come over during a weekend—you never know when they might need something.
Step 10. Stay Organized
From Day One, you’ll be pulling together a wide variety of information. Take notes on things you need to do that day, including research tasks and follow-up calls. Once your appointment book is complete, get out your calendar and fill in everything you need to accomplish during each week of your business launch plan. Add in birthdays and other important dates (baby showers, anniversaries) so that your life doesn’t get too chaotic. Finally, keep track of all receipts for office supplies and anything else you buy for your new venture.
The IRS requires that all business expenses be tracked if they are more than $75 per item or $200 per year—and if you don’t track them now, it will only make your life harder later when tax time rolls around. Keeping organized will also help prevent mistakes from happening down the road. For example, if two people are responsible for paying bills but only one person does it consistently, then there is a good chance bill won’t get paid at all! Stay organized by making sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do—and doing it!
Also Read: How to Start An Online Business
And so you have it, the ten steps to start your own cleaning business. This list is only meant as a guide, and not every item will apply to your specific business model.
But keep in mind that there are many ways to organize and run any kind of cleaning business — yours will be unique! Just follow your passion, connect with local clients and you’ll soon be off on an exciting new venture. Best of luck!