How to start a cleaning business from scratch

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The cleaning industry is on the rise, with nearly three million people doing cleaning work in the United States. There will always be households, offices, and businesses that need their spaces cleaned. And this means lots of opportunities to make money cleaning! Are you planning on starting a cleaning business? Here are tips to get started from scratch, even with little experience and capital. 

Disclaimer: This guide is for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Please get professional tax advice or speak with a business consultant before making any business decisions. 

How to start your own cleaning business 

You’ll need to invest your time if you’re starting your own cleaning business, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire staff at the start. Being a hands-on business owner is key, as you’ll be doing everything yourself, from creating your business plan to advertising your services. Once you’ve established your business and made some money, you can look into hiring more cleaners, getting business partners, or taking on bigger projects. 

Tips to start your cleaning business

Let’s say you already have a business name in mind and are ready to jump in. Here are some things you’ll need to consider when starting your cleaning company. 

Tip 1: Have a clear and defined market. 

Identifying your market is an essential first step when planning your business. Will you be cleaning for homeowners or businesses? Which locations should you provide your services to? Are your prices suitable for your target customers? 

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you plan the specifics of your business. Once you have a clearer idea, you can choose to specialize in a type of cleaning service, such as: 

Tip 2: Sharpen your cleaning skills and knowledge.

Make sure to have a basic understanding of cleaning equipment and methods. You can practice your cleaning skills by starting with your own home or cleaning for friends and family. For the latter, get feedback, so you can identify skills you still need to work on, which you can do through online courses and certifications. 

Tip 3: Estimate your cleaning equipment costs.

While it’s possible to start a cleaning business with little capital, expect to still spend some money on cleaning equipment and supplies. You may also need to factor in other overhead costs like transportation, insurance, and advertising. 

Tip 4: Promote your cleaning services online. 

Early on, figure out how to promote your cleaning business. You can do it the traditional way by putting up flyers in restaurants and community centers. Or, set up your business website or social media profile to establish your online presence and reach more customers. To easily find cleaning jobs in your area, sign up on Airtasker and browse tasks near you

Tip 5: Prepare your policies and contracts. 

Set your service terms and prepare contracts, especially if you’re starting a commercial cleaning business. This is a way to manage client expectations and ensure both sides are in agreement. In a contract, you can lay out your service rates, materials provided, working time, cleaning schedule, and other terms. It’s best to ask a lawyer to review your business contract and give you legal advice. 

Do I need a license to clean houses? 

In general, you can clean houses even without specialized training or certification. But you do have to check with your local city hall or the city’s official government website to confirm licensing requirements in your area. 

Requirements and fees will vary depending on your business activities, location, and government rules. For example, you may need a cleaning license or permit to clean with specialized or dangerous equipment. 

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, most businesses “need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies.” Getting the proper licenses is essential, as operating without them may lead to costly fines and denial of licenses in the future. 

Finding your first cleaning job  

Starting a cleaning business and finding your first few clients can be challenging. But Airtasker is here to help you easily find cleaning jobs and send quotes to potential customers. Sign up now to browse tasks near you. Whether you want to earn extra money or start a full-time cleaning business, you can do it all by becoming a Tasker!  

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FAQs on cleaning businesses

Cleaning services charge $25 to $90 per hour, but rates can vary depending on your location, the complexity of the work, and the type of service. While cleaning can be lucrative, it doesn’t guarantee income. Building trust with your clients and correctly pricing your services can help your cleaning business succeed. 

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