Skip to content

How to Start a Cleaning Business

Starting a cleaning business can be an ideal way to begin your journey as an entrepreneur. Although they may seem simple, cleaning businesses have a lot going for them.

4.75 based on 60,000 + reviews on

On this page

Business Startup Guides

    What Type of Cleaning Business Do You Want to Run?

    One of the first things you’ll need to decide on is the type of cleaning business you want to run. You have a few different options:



    Cleaning people’s homes and private residences


    Commercial Office

    Cleaning offices and similar work spaces


    Commercial Retail

    Cleaning shops and other retail spaces


    Commercial Other

    Other commercial areas and businesses



    Cleaning factories, warehouses and other industrial areas



    Government, education and other publicly-funded facilities



    Cleaning that requires slightly more special attention, including medical and healthcare facilities

    You can go even more detailed than this and focus on narrower areas of cleaning. This might include:


    Real estate

    Cleaning premises that are being put up for sale or rent, or cleaning homes or apartments in preparation for move in/out.


    Upholstery and Carpets

    Removing stains and dirt from soft furnishings



    Cleaning home exteriors, driveways, and other surfaces using pressure washing and similar techniques


    Blinds and Curtains

    Cleaning all types of window treatments and finishes

    You can go even more detailed than this and focus on narrower areas of cleaning. This might include:

    Plan Your Cleaning Business

    Before you start your business, there are a few key areas you need to focus on. You will need to figure out whether there’s a demand for your cleaning business services, consider potential benefits and pitfalls, understand how your business finances might look and ensure everything is in order.

    Do Market Research and Validate Your Cleaning Products and Services

    Before you launch your cleaning business, you need to understand if there’s a demand for what you’re selling. That means carrying out market research and “validating” your services. Here’s how to go about it:


    Identify your business’s unique selling points (USPs)

    These are the areas that will set you apart from competitors and encourage customers to come to you. You might have better pricing, a higher-quality service, faster delivery or some other special feature. Green and eco-based cleaning are becoming increasingly popular, for example.


    Consider who your competitors are

    Having competitors is a good thing as it shows there’s a market for your cleaning services. Low barriers to entry mean there is typically lots of competition for cleaners.


    Get involved with business communities and discussion groups

    Ask questions about cleaning businesses. You may even be able to find some clients there!


    Look for market research reports for cleaning businesses

    Because cleaning businesses operate in a very localized market, you might want to look at your specific area. These reports don't have to just be about cleaning businesses; if you’re after commercial cleaning clients, check commercial activity in your region, for example.


    Talk to clients

    Speak with potential customers to understand what they want from your cleaning services. This is especially important if you’re going into a specialized area.

    Understand Your Cleaning Business Model and Financial Projections

    All businesses need a business model, which will lay out the way you will generate sales, provide services and make money. Think about your business model now, because it’s better to have that in place so you can start acquiring customers and generating revenue from day one.

    You will also need to look at financial projections for your cleaning business. What are your expected sales and revenues? What is your profitability? How much money will you keep in the business to grow it? How much will you pay yourself and others? If you can, try to plan your revenue out for the next month, three months, year and two years. Margins in the cleaning business are slim, so plan with that in mind.

    Write a Business Plan for Your Cleaning Business

    Finally, you should put your business plan together. Business plans do vary slightly, but they should cover the following areas:


    An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan


    Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your cleaning business


    A description of your business, background information and context


    A market analysis and likely demand


    An overview of how your business is structured


    Your business model


    How you will market and sell your offerings


    Financial projections, revenue and profitability



    We’ve got the perfect guide to writing your business plan.




    Setting up Your Cleaning Business

    Once you've legally created your cleaning business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

    Location of your workshop

    Where are you going to run your business from? Will you work from home, get an office, use a shared working space or something else? You will likely run your cleaning business from home, but spend most of your working time in other locations. Alternatively, you may have a small office or commercial space where you can keep materials, provide training and work with employees.


    What equipment do you need to manage your cleaning business? You will need a laptop, computer or smartphone to communicate with clients. You will also need transportation and cleaning supplies. Don’t forget equipment like vacuum cleaners, extendable dusters, steam cleaners and the like. Make sure you understand exactly what you need to spend so you can write it off against business expenses.


    You will probably need to build a website and have a brand and logo professionally designed. You should also look into local search advertising.


    Think about the business processes and software that you’re going to use to run your business efficiently and effectively.


    If you’re not doing all the cleaning yourself, you will need to hire employees to help you out. More on that below.

    The Complete "Start Your Business" Checklist

    A Clear and Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Business the Right Way

    Hire Employees

    If you’re just running your cleaning business solo, you don’t need to worry about employees. If you are hiring people to work for you, you will need to know what to do.


    Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    Contact the IRS and let them know you will need an EIN for your cleaning business. This is a number you will use to file and pay your taxes. We put together this guide to getting your EIN.


    Make Sure Your Employees Can Work in the U.S.

    Your employees must be legally able to work here. Carry out background checks and ensure they have all necessary legal documentation


    Report Employees as “New Hires”

    In most cases you will need to report the hiring of employees to your state.


    Withhold Income and Payroll Taxes

    You will need to calculate and keep back income tax so you can pay the appropriate bodies. You will also need to pay the employer portion of the payroll tax.


    Get worker's compensation insurance in place

    As listed above, you will need to make sure you have proper workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries, illness, medical costs and the like.


    Pay Employees on a Regular Basis

    You will need to run payroll and compensate your employees on a regular frequency. Your state may mandate how often employees need to be paid.


    Learn About Legal Requirements and Responsibilities to Employees

    You do have certain responsibilities and requirements for hiring employees. In addition to getting a proper employment contract in place with them, you have a duty to provide them with a safe working environment, proper training, regular pay and certain other criteria. OSHA covers your health and safety requirements, while the U.S. Department of Labor provides information on other responsibilities.

    Discussion Groups and Forums for Your Cleaning Business

    There are plenty of forums and online discussion groups for cleaning businesses. Start with these

    Useful Online Tools for Your Cleaning Business

    Here are some really great online tools for managing your cleaning business. They will reduce the time you spend on administration, help you to collaborate with others and free up your time to grow and manage your new venture.

    Project Management


    Marketing Automation

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

    Customer Support

    Human Resources

    Website Development

    Please note: This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.


    A cleaning business can be a very solid choice for a first-time entrepreneur. The combination of a low barrier to entry, focus on strong customer service and the need for excellent interpersonal skills makes it an ideal choice.

    Although there’s lot of competition and plenty of demanding clients, a cleaning business that's run well can generate excellent revenue. When you’re ready to start up your cleaning business.