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How to Start a Cleaning Business

Joanne Owens
Content writer @Casual
Get a pre-made project plan based on this how-to guide.


There are a lot of opportunities for everyone in today’s world. Have you ever considered starting your own business? 

Maybe, you’re interested in a particular field and have specific qualification and training. Or you want to do something on your own and wonder which industry would be right for you. Many people from different walks of life decide to start a cleaning company and there are many good reasons for that. First of all, cleaning services are in high demand today. Second, starting cleaning business doesn’t require large initial funds. Moreover, it will quickly become profitable. Another advantage is that you can embark on this business without quitting your full-time job. 

The cleaning industry is diverse, so you can choose the services personally you want to provide. Before we start explaining how to start a cleaning business, we want to help you understand whether you’re ready for this venture.

Check If You Are Suitable for This Business?

The first thing you need to do is to assess your skills. Are you used to physical work or are you more of an administrator or accountant? The cleaning industry is quite flexible and it allows you to use both your manual and intellectual talents. If you plan not only to build up your company but also be a cleaner yourself, make sure you have good health for that.

You shouldn’t be afraid of a dirty job. You’ll clean different houses and offices, so you should be ready for any challenge.
Since you’re about to enter the realm of service business, you need to have a basic set of qualities that make you suitable for this kind of business. Primarily, you must believe that your venture will be successful. Then, you must have an inner desire to provide top-quality services and fully live up to customer’s expectations.

Honesty should be your second nature. People will let you into their homes and offices, so they want to be confident in you. Your manner of communication, your behavior should evoke a lot of trust in your clients. Needless to say, you must gain a perfect reputation.

Depending on what kind of cleaning services you’ll choose to provide, you need to have at least basic skills in cleaning. Some specific cleaning operations such as carpet cleaning, janitorial services that involve the usage of special equipment require more training, so be ready to acquire new skills.

Since at the outset of your business you’ll be your own boss and employer, you need to have a basic understanding of how to run a company. If you can manage your time wisely, it will only help you succeed. You should also be a good communicator since you’ll deal with different people – both your customers and employees. 

If the qualities mentioned above are all about you, then you should take the idea of starting a cleaning business seriously.

Choose Your Niche

Even if your ultimate goal is a big cleaning company, everything will begin with starting a small cleaning business. You already know that the cleaning industry is diverse and you need to find your niche.

Actually, there are two main areas or target groups in the industry – residential and commercial. The first one comprises the services provided to individual customers. Those are residential maid services, different cleaning services (carpet, window cleaning). Janitorial services are provided in the area of commercial cleaning where offices are involved. It’s recommended to choose your target market and focus on it. However, as your business grows, you can provide your services to individual clients and businesses.
If don’t plan to grow into a large company that provides a wide range of services, the best solution for you will be to focus on your existing clients, resources, and services and do your best in your particular niche. By keeping your regular customers satisfied with your work, you’ll ensure a steady profit.

Starting From Scratch vs. Buying into a Franchise

There are some established and trustworthy cleaning companies on the market and you can become a part of one of them instead of starting my own cleaning business. To buy into a franchise or do business on your own – that is the question. Each of the options has its advantages and drawbacks.

If opening a cleaning business seems pretty complicated to you and you would like to simplify this process, then buying into a franchise is right for you. One of the advantages of acquiring a franchise is that you don’t have to devise a new system – you just become a part of the existing and working system. You work under their name, follow their guidelines, use their standards, and receive their constant support. It’s a great option for those who are new to running their own business. You can start your business shortly after acquiring a franchise and avoid a lot of mistakes most newbies make. Since you work under a well-known and trustworthy name, you’ll immediately get clients. Being a part of franchise, you and your employees will get access to training. You’ll enjoy the benefits of franchise until your cleaning company becomes an independent organism that can function on its own.
The main benefit of being an independent business owner is that you create your own concept, business model, name, and policy. However, this is also a disadvantage because you don’t have a pattern to follow. Yet, you’ll pay less because franchise and the support, training, and name it gives you have a pretty high price.

Get Funded

If you just want to try your hand at cleaning business and do it part-time, you don’t need to invest much in it. But if you aim for a more serious venture that requires a team of qualified employees and specialized equipment, you will probably need a startup capital or injection. A bank loan is what you need in this case. In order to get that bank loan, you’ll need to provide a business plan in which you explain how your company will start and develop.

In the case of buying into a franchise, you need to have enough money to purchase it. Apart from this, you should provide your franchisor with a document that proves your perfect credit history. Previous management experience is necessary. Deciding in favor of franchise, you should keep in mind that a franchisor is always superior.

If you need money to get started, here are some suggestions on where you can find financing.
Your current job. If you’re employed but you want to open your own cleaning company, don’t give up your current job. Start planning your future business on weekends and make initial steps. Use your salary to buy equipment and cover other costs. Once you feel that your new business is stable and profitable, you can quit your full-time position.

Not apparent assets. It may turn out that you have some resources you didn’t consider as such. Sit and think about your covert assets. It could be your savings account, vehicles you own, real estate, collections, and other items you once invested your money into. This is when you can finally take advantage of your assets. You can either sell some of them to get cash or use them as collateral when taking out a bank loan. Also, consider your credit card as an asset.

Relatives and friends. After you analyzed your own potential resources, think who else could help you implement your business idea. Start with your friends and family. Although these are the people that are very close to you, approach them as your potential creditors or investors, not buddies. For this, send them your offer to invest in your business. Turn only to those friends and relatives whose financial capabilities you don’t doubt.

Potential partners. Ask around to find out whether anybody of your college friends, colleagues, or relatives would like to start up a company together with you. If you find a person who has resources and is interested in a joint venture, why don’t you team up with them? That person shouldn’t be necessarily interested in working with you – some may want simply invest their money in a potentially successful business. In order to prevent any possible misunderstandings and disputes, sign an official agreement that specifies your rights and obligations.

Alternative funding sources. For those who want to start their small businesses, there are various government and local programs designed to support the novice entrepreneurs. Firstly, you should turn to the SBA (Small Business Administration) – they will consult you on all business-related questions and advise on the type of loan if you need one. Then, use other sources to search for other opportunities. If you belong to a particular social group (women, minors, veterans), you can find a program designed to help these groups make their start in the business sphere. Check out periodicals and advertisements.

A Basic Set of Equipment You’ll Need to Get Started

If you start your business from scratch, make sure that you have at least the most necessary items for cleaning. With the following set on hand, you can start advertising your services and set off to clean your first house.
• Vacuum cleaner with attachments 
• Mop and bucket 
• Steam cleaner 
• Rags 
• Paper towels 
• Toilet brush 
• Toilet bowl cleaner 
• Broom 
• Dustpan and brush 
• Dry mop 
• Window cleaner 
• Disinfectant cleaner 
• Furniture polish 
• Soft scrub for sinks 
• Feather duster 
• Rubber or latex gloves

Start Hiring Personnel

When you realize that you need a team of employees, take into account a range of services you provide when hiring your staff.
Maid service business. Depending on your initial capital, your plans for the future, and expected workload, you’ll decide whether you need additional employees or you handle everything on your own. Usually, maid services can do with an owner and several maids.

Janitorial business. At the beginning, your business may need only you and several part-timers. As your business progresses, you may need to hire additional staff including cleaning personnel, an administrator, a salesperson, and crew supervisors.

Carpet cleaning business. To get started in this niche, you need to hire at least two cleaning operators and one person who’ll do clerical work. Although one person is enough to provide a carpet cleaning service, having a crew of two people – a senior technician and an assistant – will be efficient in terms of time, money, and customer satisfaction.

Define Your Target Market

For example, you’ve decided to provide your cleaning services to individual customers. However, in order to make your business successful, you should narrow down your customers to a particular type. It will be, let’s say, big apartments or a particular neighborhood. When you have a specific target group, you can conduct a successful advertising campaign that will appeal directly to the customers that are interested in your services.

Start Promoting Your Cleaning Services

If your company already exists, people should know about it. The success of your business largely depends on marketing. There are several ways to conduct a promotional campaign.
Leaflets. You can start introducing your company to your potential audience by leafleting a particular neighborhood. A good idea is to place your advertisement in a local newspaper. Also, consider a radio commercial.

Website. Go online as all successful businesses do. Create a simple website and fill it with the essential information about your services as well as contact information. To get the most out of your website, make sure it looks professionally.

Coupons. People like to get discounts so distribute the printed coupons that offer a free additional cleaning service. You can also place that coupon on your website and make it printable.

Online advertising services. Place your advertisement on Craigslist, the website where people sell and buy things, advertise their services, etc. Establish your online presence and start advertising on Yelp and in Adwords – fast and effective channels when you start a new business. They will show your company in the search results for the local consumers looking for the services like yours. The services are paid, so consider how much of your budget you’ll invest into promoting your company online. To increase your trustworthiness, create profiles on review services.

To sum up

Starting a business in the cleaning industry doesn’t take you special training and skills. You can create your company and start making profits fast because cleaning services have always been in demand. Since the opportunities the industry offers are numerous, you can do what you are really good at. If you have administrative skills, you can organize the workflow in the best way and make your business successful. Even if you’re a novice entrepreneur, opening a cleaning service is not a very complicated task.
First of all, you need to make sure that you’re suitable for this business. After that, choose the services you think you’ll provide in the best way and decide on your target market. Once you determine basic goals, decide how you’ll get started. You can either buy into a franchise or create the company entirely on your own. 

Anyway, if you put enough effort into developing your business, provide top-quality services, satisfy your customers, you’ll quickly be in the black.
Story by
Joanne Owens
Content writer @Casual