How to get a cleaning business license

Before registering your business, you can start with simple house cleaning jobs in the meantime.

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Every business requires time, effort, and certain licenses to become successful. These days, cleaning businesses have been popping up left and right, with cleaning becoming more essential than ever in light of the pandemic. 

Planning to offer cleaning services to potential customers? Below are some common cleaning business licenses and how to get them. 

Do I need a license to clean houses? 

You don’t need to be licensed and bonded to clean houses. However, you will need certain cleaning permits and licenses if you’re putting up your own cleaning business or you work with a local government or corporate entity. The necessary licenses and permits will vary, depending on the city, state, and county you’re located. 

Business licenses are not only legally required but can also help you become more reputable and attract customers. Essentially, people are more likely to hire a cleaning business with the necessary licenses, bonds, and insurance. 

What licenses do you need for a cleaning business?

1. Vendor’s license 

A vendor’s license allows you to legally own and operate a cleaning business. The main reason for this is that a vendor’s license is essential for sales tax purposes. You’ll need to get a vendor’s license whether you’re cleaning houses, tidying up Airbnbs, or doing commercial cleaning. 

According to Chron.com, you can apply for a vendor’s license by going to your local county administration office or city hall. There, you will have to fill out an application form and pay a registration fee. 

2. Doing Business As (DBA) name

Are you doing the cleaning business by yourself? You may need to register as a sole proprietor and register your Doing Business As (DBA) name. According to the US Small Business Association, a DBA “lets you conduct business under a different identity from your own personal name or your formal business entity name.”

It’s best to check with your local government office or their official website as DBA requirements will vary. 

3. Home occupation licenses and permits

A home occupation permit is usually for professionals conducting business from their primary residence. According to Nolo.com, here are some licensing issues you need to address first: 

  • Review local zoning laws to check if you can actually operate your business from your home. 
  • Check your Homeowners Association, deed, and lease restrictions. You may need to apply for permission to start your home-based cleaning business. 
  • If you’re planning to put up a commercial sign, make sure to seek the proper permits for it as well. 

4. Employer Identification Number (EIN) 

This is commonly used when you’re planning to hire employees for your cleaning business. What’s more, an EIN is applicable if you are operating a partnership or corporation. You may apply for an EIN online through the IRS.

5. Business bond 

A business bond is a product offered by insurance and bond companies. Janitorial bonds give potential customers peace of mind in the event of stolen cash or belongings. 

Some clients ask for proof of insurance before hiring a cleaning service. This way, they can rest assured they will be compensated in case of theft, property damage, and on-site injuries (e.g., from slipping on a wet floor). 

To apply for a business bond, you will need to provide your business entity information, contact information, and a financial statement. 

6. NAICS Code

A NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code allows Federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data (via the United States Census Bureau). Various states and cities may require a NAICS code when you apply for a business license. 

Some NAICS codes that apply to cleaning business are:  

  • 561720 - Building cleaning services, interior
  • 561720 - Cleaning homes
  • 561720 - Cleaning offices 
  • 561720 - Custodial services 
  • 561720 - Maid services (i.e., cleaning services)
  • 561720 - Office cleaning services
  • 561720 - Residential cleaning services
  • 561720 - Window cleaning services

For the full list of codes, visit the official NAICS website. And for more information on starting a business, you can visit the US Small Business Administration website


Contact your state’s department of revenue or city licensing board to know the appropriate agency and license for your cleaning business. 

Grow your cleaning business on Airtasker. 

You can find cleaning jobs on Airtasker, whether you’re a licensed cleaning professional or someone looking to do simple cleaning jobs. As your cleaning business and expertise grow, you’ll also be able to find commercial cleaning jobs on our platform. 

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