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How To Scale A Cleaning Business

Table of Contents

close up of mop with cleaning crew

Congratulations on starting a cleaning business! Getting here took a lot of hard work, but don’t rest yet; the cleaning industry remains a competitive market, and small businesses that don’t continue growing tend to be left behind.

This guide will help you grow your cleaning business to a sustainable size and help you succeed with a commercial or residential cleaning business. So, if you’ve been Googling “how to scale a cleaning business?” or “how to expand your cleaning business?” Here’s your answer!

When Is the Right Time to Grow Your Cleaning Business?

While growth is essential, timing is everything. Scaling up too quickly can hamstring your business and leave you vulnerable to financial hardships—so before asking yourself how to scale a cleaning business, ask yourself first if it’s even possible. Remember, it’s crucial to ensure your cleaning business is ready to grow before you start scaling.
Your cleaning business needs to have three things before you consider large-scale growth.

  • First, your business needs customers—lots of them. A small trickle of walk-ins won’t sustain a large-scale enterprise. Don’t scale or grow your cleaning business until you have a stable of reliable, regular customers to support you through any rough patches.
  • Next, your business needs a track record of steady profit over one to two years. Don’t expand your cleaning business until you’ve shown a consistent pattern of exceeding your revenue goals. Growing your cleaning business will come with lots of expenses. Cover the expansion costs by investing the current profit back into the business.
  • Finally, you need to identify a market for expansion. Don’t grow your cleaning business without a target market and a good plan to position yourself in the marketplace. Attempting to grow where no need exists could result in paying all the upfront costs but never reaping any profit afterward.

Once your cleaning business has a large customer base, steady profit, and a target market to expand into, you’ll be ready to grow your cleaning business. Follow the steps below to create a solid expansion plan for your cleaning business while also getting tips on how to make a cleaning business successful.

group of women cleaning office space

9 Steps on How to Scale a Cleaning Business

The key to successfully growing your cleaning business is to have a method you can stick to and fall back on when times get tough. These nine steps can help you develop the framework on how to expand your cleaning business.

1. Identify your Growth Goals

How big are you scaling? How fast are you growing? Asking these types of questions can help you define your goals. Include five-year goals and shorter intermediate goals in your plan.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound (SMART) goals will help you stay on track toward completing your overall objective.
After you define your goals, you can start to lay them out in order of priority. The prioritization criteria may change as you learn more through the process of how to expand your cleaning business.

As you identify your goals, make sure your pricing model is still working for you. Will your existing pricing method apply to your new area of business or new type of clientele? Are your prices too low or too high for the new market into which you’re expanding? Review resources for how to price your cleaning services to look for new ways to price services, including rates per square foot, hourly rates, or flat rate pricing.

2. Do Your Research

If you believe you’re ready to grow your cleaning business, you’ve likely already done some research to get to this point. Now, you need to do a deep dive, researching the specifics that affect your goals.

Before you can position yourself and your business for advancement, you’ll need to understand the market you’ll be entering, how your services fit into it, and how you will differentiate yourself from the competition. The following research points can help with how to make a cleaning business successful.

Market Analysis

Understanding the market you’re about to enter is crucial. Investigate the demand for cleaning services in your target area. Are there specific niches or underserved segments within the market that you can capitalize on?

Analyzing market trends and demographics will guide you in making data-driven decisions to grow your cleaning business.

Define Your Service Niche

Figure out where your cleaning services fit into the market puzzle. What’s your unique selling point, and how does it meet the needs of potential customers? Take stock of your strengths, whether it’s eco-friendly cleaning, specialized services, or just delivering top-notch customer care.

Competitive Edge

Let’s face it, there are plenty of cleaning businesses out there. You need a clear strategy to rise above the competition. Check out your competition, from local players to the bigger cleaning companies. Learn their strong suits and where they might be dropping the ball. This will help you identify what sets your business apart.

Financial Viability

Expansion comes with costs. Whether it’s hiring more staff, buying equipment, or ramping up your marketing, it all adds up. Do a deep dive into your finances to ensure your business can handle the growth without stretching your resources thin.

clean image of woman with clip board

3. Learn & Develop New Skills

Another trick on how to scale a cleaning business will require many new business skills, including management as well as traditional and digital marketing. Invest time and resources into learning these new skills to give your business the best chance of success during this critical growth stage.


Learn and develop managerial skills that could come in handy as the leader of a growing business. You may want to weigh in on hiring staff, accounting, and performance and behavior guidelines. Understanding these fields of discipline will help you make better decisions and improve your ability to relay expectations in these fields to your staff.

Cleaning Business Marketing

Marketing for your cleaning business goes beyond traditional advertising. This is why you need to develop a strong cleaning business marketing plan. Two powerful ways to grow your cleaning business and your brand are marketing online and participating in the community. Brush up on basic marketing skills to ensure potential customers in your new service areas are aware of your brand, services, availability, and contact information.

Online Marketing

Today, businesses are found online. Build your cleaning business’ online presence through a website, Google My Business account, and social media accounts to help potential customers find you easily.

  • Create a website and learn the basics of SEO to rank for internet searches related to cleaning. A special tip on how to expand your cleaning business using online marketing, make sure to mention all the services you provide. For example, you could list janitorial services, housekeeping services, and cleaning services. If you clean commercial properties, mention that you offer commercial cleaning services. People may search for any of those cleaning-related terms.
  • Build a basic Google My Business account to display reviews, your contact information, and more when people in your area search for your services. Create social media accounts for your business, then run ads on your social media platforms and Google. Online ads can help you raise awareness about your brand and begin interactions with your new community of customers.
  • Ensure your website and all your ads contain a way to contact you. Email is okay, but phone numbers are better. If online marketing feels overwhelming, consider outsourcing marketing to a qualified third-party agency. This investment can be a smart one, as it will free you up to focus on scaling your cleaning business while still growing your essential online presence.
Community Marketing

Community marketing is a tried and true way on how to scale a cleaning business and get in front of potential customers. Examples of community marketing include the following:

  • Networking with friends and family
  • Networking with real estate agents
  • Generating positive word of mouth
  • Sponsoring community events
  • Handing out cleaning business cards
  • Direct mailers can also generate interest in the community (see more tips on how to market your cleaning business)

4. Review Regulations & Requirements

Expanding your service offering brings the challenge of meeting all local business regulations. You may need to alter your techniques, services, or procedures to match the rules of your new market and research the permits, licenses, or certifications required in your chosen market. Knowing your legal obligations is essential to prevent future complications.

As a new competitor in the market, rival businesses may try to prevent your growth to protect their market share. One simple way for them to do that is to disrupt your business by notifying authorities of any violations. Don’t give potential rivals any easy reasons to shut you down. Review all the rules and regulations with your new and current staff. Then, develop procedures to ensure your employees follow the rules.

5. Streamlining Operations for Efficiency

Efficiency is the backbone of how to make a cleaning business successful. Streamlining operations not only improves your financial bottom line but also enhances your ability to manage growth.

Implement Scheduling Software

Scheduling is a pivotal aspect of the cleaning business. Manual scheduling can be time-consuming and prone to errors. The solution is to implement scheduling software. This powerful tool helps you optimize your team’s time, allocate tasks more efficiently, and reduce administrative workload. Here are 4 software programs for your cleaning business that you can check out (one of them is a scheduling software!)

Effective Communication

Clear and efficient communication within your team is paramount for productivity. Establish communication channels that empower your staff to report issues, coordinate tasks, and stay in the loop with schedule changes.

Improved communication reduces misunderstandings and maximizes productivity—which are crucial aspects of scaling a cleaning business.

Risk Management with Insurance

Even with streamlined operations, unforeseen events can occur. Cleaning business insurance serves as a vital tool for risk management, shielding your business from unexpected setbacks.
Whether it’s liability insurance to safeguard against on-the-job accidents or business interruption insurance, having the right coverage ensures your business is resilient in the face of unforeseen challenges. Learn more about why you need cleaning business insurance here.

6. Focusing on Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the linchpin of business growth when working on how to scale a cleaning business. Happy customers not only become repeat clients but also act as advocates for your brand!

Emphasize the Role of Customer Satisfaction

Make customer satisfaction a core focus in all your business operations. Train your cleaning staff to provide top-tier service and create a positive experience for clients. Happy customers are more likely to continue using your services and recommend you to others, in turn helping you grow your cleaning business.

Feedback and Reviews

Encourage customers to share their feedback and leave reviews. Positive reviews can enhance your reputation and attract new clients. Promptly address any negative feedback to demonstrate your unwavering commitment to quality service.

Customer Retention and Referral Programs

Implement customer retention initiatives to reward loyal clients. Consider referral programs that offer incentives to customers who refer others to your business. These strategies not only bolster customer loyalty but also broaden your client base.

7. Refine Your Goals If Needed

Another thing to take note of when working on how to expand your cleaning business is keeping your cleaning business expansion on track by regularly checking your progress against your goals.

Information discovered during research, developing new skills, and reviewing regulations can all affect your goals. Review your goals often and update them as needed.

Incorporate any new information into the evaluation of your goals. Then, reprioritize them based on the new parameters. As your plans change and you overcome challenges, you may even need to eliminate goals or create new ones.

image of SMART goals

8. Develop an Actionable Timeline

Use SMART goals to lay out a timeline for how to scale a cleaning business. The timeframes you set for your SMART goals can act like mile markers on the road of growth. Mark them and celebrate them!

Include any important deadlines, especially due dates, for filing any paperwork needed to keep your business and its expansion in good standing with customers, competitors, the market, and the community.

9. Continue to Edit Your Plan as Needed

Plans always change. Prices and demand fluctuate. Supplies can be delayed. Even severe weather or a global pandemic can throw your project off course. Stay agile. Not only could it save you if things go wrong, but it could unlock new opportunities.

For example, say you create a plan on how to expand your cleaning business. Then, after the plan is in place, you learn about the building of a new apartment complex in your new market. You may want to adjust your advertising budget or strategy to target this high concentration of potential clients.

Don’t create a growth plan that has little to no room for adjustment.

woman cleaning computer with group cleaning office

Common Reasons for Cleaning Business Failures

While the cleaning industry offers significant potential for success, it’s not without its share of challenges. Identifying the common reasons behind the failure of cleaning businesses is crucial to knowing how to make a cleaning business successful.

Let’s explore some of the typical pitfalls that can lead to the downfall of cleaning businesses.

Poor Financial Management

Inadequate financial management is a major culprit behind the failure of cleaning businesses. Without a clear grasp of income, expenses, and profit margins, a business may struggle to stay financially stable. This can result in mounting debt and financial uncertainty.

To avoid this pitfall, it’s vital to keep meticulous financial records, create effective budgets, and seek professional financial guidance when needed.

Marketing Missteps

Effective marketing is an important aspect of any business’s success, and cleaning companies are no exception. Insufficient marketing often results in a lack of brand visibility and customer acquisition.

Cleaning businesses that don’t invest in a strong online presence, professional branding, and strong marketing strategies may find it hard to stand out in a competitive market.

Employee Turnover Troubles

High turnover rates are a common challenge in the cleaning industry. Continually recruiting and training new employees not only increases costs but can also impact the quality of service. High employee turnover can result from issues like inadequate wages, subpar working conditions, or insufficient training.

Cultivating a positive work environment, offering competitive compensation, and investing in employee development can help reduce turnover rates and grow your cleaning business.

Lack of Legal Protection and the Role of Insurance

Operating without adequate legal safeguards can expose a cleaning business to substantial risks, including potential legal and financial liabilities. Additionally, failing to establish a solid business structure, obtain required licenses and permits, or implement robust contracts can lead to legal troubles down the road.

Legal issues can be costly, time-consuming, and detrimental to a business’s reputation. A viable way to mitigate these risks is through proper insurance coverage. Cleaning business insurance acts as a safety net, shielding your business from potential legal liabilities. If you want to know more, here’s a complete guide to cleaning business insurance

cleaner looking tired

FAQs About How to Scale a Cleaning Business

Scaling a cleaning business means expanding its operations to increase revenue, profitability, and market reach. This growth can involve various strategies such as adding more clients, offering additional services, hiring and training more employees, and potentially extending your geographical reach to new markets or locations. The goal of scaling is to maximize the business’s potential and achieve long-term success.

When scaling a cleaning business, several key challenges may arise. These challenges can include managing increased workloads, effectively hiring and training new staff, and maintaining service quality as the business expands.

To overcome these challenges, consider implementing efficient operational systems to handle the increased workload, establish a thorough hiring and training process for new employees, and prioritize quality control measures to ensure service standards are maintained or improved during the growth phase.

Yes, insurance is essential when scaling a cleaning business. As your business expands, the potential for unforeseen liabilities and risks also increases. Having the right insurance coverage provides protection and peace of mind.

General liability insurance, which safeguards your business from claims related to property damage and bodily injuries, is particularly important.

Additionally, professional liability insurance can be crucial to protect your business from claims of negligence or errors in your services, especially as you scale and take on more clients. Having adequate insurance coverage is a fundamental aspect of responsible business growth.

We Make Cleaning Business Insurance Simple (So You Have One Less Thing to Worry About)

Before you scale your business, you want to ensure it’s properly insured. With Insurance Canopy, you can insure your cleaning business for less than a dollar per day. Freshly-cleaned, wet surfaces create a slipping hazard. Some cleaning chemicals can also create hazards, especially if mixed or handled incorrectly.

If these dangers lead to the harm of another person or property, you could be held liable. They could come after your business and, in some cases, your personal finances too.

Protect your business and yourself from injury and property damage liability lawsuits with affordable cleaning business insurance from Insurance Canopy. We offer flexible insurance policies for cleaning businesses of all kinds.

Policies start as low as $27 per month. Purchase your insurance policy conveniently online in under 10 minutes. Before you expand your operations, turn to Insurance Canopy to cover and protect what you’ve already built today. So, what are you waiting for? Complete your cleaning business insurance application now to get your quote!

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