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Everything You Need to Know about Starting a Cleaning Business

Table of Contents

window washer cleaning windows

Starting a cleaning business comes with some risks and rewards. Just like any other business, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself before jumping headfirst. Today, we’ll cover all the important questions to consider so you can be well-prepared to start your cleaning business. From the essential qualifications and skills required to what licenses are needed to start a cleaning business, we’ve got you covered.

The Demand for Cleaning Services

With an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% between 2023 and 2030, the demand for cleaning services has been on the rise due to several factors. First, with the increase in dual-income households, people have less time to dedicate to household chores like cleaning. Many people are choosing to hire professional cleaners to keep their homes neat and tidy. 

Additionally, the recent pandemic brought about a greater awareness of the importance of cleanliness and disinfection. This has led to more individuals seeking professional cleaning services to ensure their homes and workplaces are thoroughly sanitized. As a result, the demand for cleaning services is expected to keep growing in the coming years.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Cleaning Business?

In order to have a good grasp on what you can expect when starting a cleaning business, the first question we need to address is regarding the roles and responsibilities that you’ll face.

As a cleaning business, you’ll handle…

Administrative Tasks

  • Managing scheduling and appointments
  • Handling billing and invoicing

Operational Duties

  • Recruiting and training cleaning staff
  • Ensuring quality control and standards
  • Performing cleaning tasks

Customer Service

  • Responding to client inquiries and requests
  • Addressing customer feedback and concerns

Marketing and Sales

  • Developing marketing strategies to attract clients
  • Conducting sales pitches and negotiations

What are the Different Types of Cleaning Businesses?

When it comes to cleaning businesses, there are different types that serve specific needs and settings. Here’s a rundown of common types of cleaning businesses to help you explore potential specialties.

House Cleaning/Housekeeping

When it comes to cleaning businesses, there are different types that serve specific needs and settings. Here’s a rundown of common types of cleaning businesses to help you explore potential specialties.

Carpet Cleaning

Carpet cleaning services focus on thoroughly cleaning carpets to eliminate dirt, stains, and allergens. They may provide various methods such as steam cleaning, dry cleaning, or hot water extraction to ensure carpets are left clean and refreshed.

Window Cleaning

Window cleaning services specialize in cleaning and washing windows to eliminate dirt, streaks, and water spots. Professionals may employ different tools and techniques to reach high windows and achieve a streak-free finish.

Commercial Cleaning

Commercial cleaning services are designed for businesses, offices, and other commercial properties that need regular upkeep. These services cover various tasks like overall cleaning, restroom upkeep, floor care, and garbage disposal to maintain cleanliness and organization in commercial spaces.


Janitorial services involve a diverse array of cleaning duties, such as sweeping, mopping, dusting, and upkeep of common areas in public buildings, schools, hospitals, and similar facilities. Janitors may also handle tasks like restocking supplies, emptying trash bins, and maintaining overall cleanliness throughout the property.


Maid services provide thorough cleaning solutions for both residential and commercial spaces. They typically offer a range of services including regular house cleaning, deep cleaning, and organization assistance. Maids may also offer extra services such as laundry, ironing, and meal preparation to help clients maintain a tidy and orderly environment.

a man in a dress shirt and tie holding a stack of towels

Factors to Consider Before Starting a Cleaning Business

Now that you have a general idea about the cleaning industry, let’s discuss the essential factors to consider when starting a cleaning business. 

Essential Qualifications and Skills Needed

Before starting a cleaning business, you need to consider whether this career is a good fit for you and your background. So, let’s see what skills and qualifications are needed for you to succeed in this line of work.

What Soft Skills Are Important?

  • Communication 
  • Time management 
  • Attention to detail
  • Perseverance
  • Organizational skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Financial management 
  • Attention to safety
  • Empathy

What Education and Training Requirements Should You Meet?

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Optional certification programs

What Licenses Are Needed to Start a Cleaning Business?

Starting a cleaning business comes with knowing what licenses are needed to start a cleaning business. This depends on which state you’re in, so make sure you do some research to know your local requirements. However, no matter what state you are in, you will need a vendor’s license and a general business license to operate your cleaning business correctly. A vendor’s license allows you to legally own and operate a cleaning business. You can apply for a vendor’s license at your city clerk’s office. For more information, take a look at this article

You will also need to be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. OSHA ensures that you’re aware of the hazards and risks you face as a professional cleaner, how to avoid them as best as you can, and how to maintain a clean, safe environment.

Check out this blog for tips on how to register a cleaning business.

Estimated Startup Cost for a Cleaning Business

Next, we need to factor in the cost of starting a cleaning business. 

What is the Initial Investment for Equipment and Supplies?

  • Cleaning products and chemicals
  • Tools and equipment
  • Safety gear and protective equipment

Here’s a detailed list of cleaning supplies you’ll need for starting a cleaning business.

How Do You Budget for Administrative Expenses?

Managing administrative costs is crucial for the financial health of your cleaning business. This encompasses various expenses like office supplies, scheduling software, and permits. By accounting for these costs upfront, you can ensure smooth operations and avoid any surprises down the road.

What Are the Costs for Marketing and Advertising?

Promoting your cleaning business is vital to attracting clients and expanding your reach. Allocate funds for creating a website, running social media ads, designing business cards, and distributing flyers. By investing in marketing efforts, you can effectively connect with potential customers and differentiate yourself in a crowded industry.

Check out this blog for tips on making a cleaning business marketing plan.

Managing the Finances of a Cleaning Business

Managing the financial side of your cleaning business is crucial for its success. Here are some points to consider in keeping your finances in order. 

What's Involved in Creating a Business Budget?

Crafting a budget is a must for any business, including a cleaning business. It’s like a roadmap for your finances, guiding you on where to allocate funds for different needs like marketing, equipment, and staff wages. To start, jot down all fixed costs such as rent and utilities, along with variable expenses like cleaning supplies and travel. Then, estimate your income for the month or year. By matching your expenses with your earnings, you’ll know how much you can spend or save each period.

How Do You Keep Track of Expenses and Income?

Keeping tabs on your cleaning business’s finances is vital for its success. Use accounting software or spreadsheets to track all transactions, from purchases to payments. Categorize expenses like supplies and equipment to see where your money goes. Also, reconcile bank statements regularly to catch any mistakes. 

Reviewing financial statements like profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow helps spot areas for improvement. It’s like peeking under the hood to see what’s working and what needs tweaking.

How Do You Determine Pricing for Your Cleaning Services?

Set a fair cleaning service price for your customers while making sure that you can still make a profit. The price will be different for each area, so ask other cleaning businesses or professionals that you trust for a range of prices for the service(s) that you will be providing. You can also do this by looking at other cleaning businesses’ websites to see their list of services and prices.

What Are the Potential Risks of Starting a Cleaning Business?

Understanding the potential risks of starting a cleaning business can help you protect it.

a uniformed woman holding a vacuum stands in front of a cleaning truck

Market Saturation

A significant challenge when starting a cleaning business is market saturation. The industry is crowded, making it tough to grab attention among competitors. 

Seasonal Demand

Another challenge in starting a cleaning business is the fluctuating demand throughout the year, which can be affected by seasons. Residential cleaning may peak in spring and fall during deep cleanings, while commercial cleaning might slow down in summer due to business closures.

Liability Issues

As the owner of a cleaning business, ensuring the safety of your employees and clients is paramount. You could be liable for the following:

  • Damage to Property
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Employee Injuries
  • Contractual Disputes

Employee Turnover

Employee turnover is a common challenge in the cleaning industry due to the demanding nature of the work, leading to increased recruitment and training costs, as well as decreased productivity and customer satisfaction.

How Can I Effectively Mitigate Risks?

By staying proactive about risk management, you can keep your business safe from unexpected challenges.

Market Analysis and Differentiation

A smart move to minimize risks in the cleaning business is to thoroughly study the market and make your services stand out from the crowd. Get to know what your target customers want and customize your offerings to match their needs. Also, consider offering special services or packages that make you different from your competitors, ensuring you keep your customers happy and loyal.

Diversification of Services

Expanding your service offerings is a smart move to mitigate risks in the cleaning business. Instead of focusing only on one type of service, consider offering a variety, like residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, and specialized cleaning services like green cleaning. This spreads out the risk and ensures a stable income, even if one part of your business slows down.

Cleaning Business Insurance

Starting a cleaning business is appealing to many because it is very easy to get started. Because of this, some may overlook the importance of purchasing insurance. Some may think, “What could go wrong while I’m cleaning carpets?” 

As a professional cleaner, you face risks every day. If any of your chemicals damages your client’s property, you could also be held responsible to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to purchase cleaning business insurance for your company.

To learn more, check out our complete guide to cleaning business insurance and bonding.

Safety Protocols and Training Programs

Ensuring safety should be a top priority for any cleaning business. With the nature of the job posing risks like slips, chemical exposure, and ergonomic injuries, it’s crucial to have safety protocols and training in place. By properly training your team on safety procedures, providing suitable equipment, and following safety guidelines, you can lower the chances of workplace accidents. Regular safety checks and audits also help in identifying and fixing potential hazards before they cause harm.

FAQs About Starting a Cleaning Business

How Do I Decide on the Right Pricing Structure for My Cleaning Services?

Finding the right price for your cleaning services can be a bit tricky. It depends on where you are, what services you offer, and how many other cleaning companies are around. One way to figure it out is by checking out what other cleaners in your area are charging and then setting your prices to match. You might also think about giving discounts to new customers or putting together special deals for people who use your services regularly.

Is Cleaning Business Insurance Mandatory When Starting a Cleaning Business?

Although not always legally mandatory, having insurance for your cleaning business is strongly advised. It safeguards you in case of accidents, property damage, or other liabilities that might occur during your services. Consider getting general and professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and bonding to ensure comprehensive coverage.

What Should I Do if I Encounter Legal or Compliance Issues When Starting My Cleaning Business?

When starting a cleaning business, it’s important to follow all the rules and regulations in your area. This might involve getting the necessary licenses, securing insurance, and sticking to health and safety guidelines. If you run into any legal or compliance snags, it’s wise to get advice from a legal expert or business mentor to sort things out quickly and avoid more issues.

Clean Start? Insure Smart with Insurance Canopy!

Now that you have a good idea of what you need to ask yourself before starting a cleaning business, you can know if this is the venture for you. But before diving in, ensure that you protect your business with reliable cleaning business insurance from Insurance Canopy. Don’t wait to secure your business—take the first step and buy your policy today! 

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