How to Start a Cleaning Business

There’s never been a better time to start a cleaning business. The cleaning industry is thriving, and is actually expected to record meaningful job growth until 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But before you start scrubbing your way to a bright and shiny future,  you should consider the pros and cons of starting a cleaning business, as well as the financing and other challenges of that industry:

Why a cleaning business could be a great idea:

Low overhead expenses: As a self-employed business owner, you can easily start your cleaning business in your own home to cut down on costs.

Low costs to start: Most cleaning businesses only need $100 to get set-up.

No experience necessary: You won’t need a college degree or previous experience with cleaning to run a successful business.

Why a cleaning business may not be for you

It’s a competitive industry: You’re likely to run into many competitors in the cleaning business. That could make it harder for your company to gain meaningful traction.

Tough physical labor: Needless to say the cleaning is a tough business to be in. You’ll be scrubbing, vacuuming, wiping, and dusting for long hours during the day. Make sure you have adequate health care in case you suffer an injury.

What to Consider

Get Proper Financing and Insurance

You won’t have to worry about significant overhead expenses in running a cleaning business, but you would need steady access to funds for payroll and supplies. Some expenses are tax deductible (like business insurance and advertising). However, for beginning cleaning businesses you will most likely use credit cards or borrow money from friends and family. Once you’ve established your business for at least three months, you can graduate to better loan products such as a line of credit or invoice factoring. After you’ve secured financing, consider investing in general liability and property damage insurance.

Residential or Commercial?

If you’re just starting your business, it’s more likely that you’ll work with residential clients first. Generally, residential accounts are smaller but are easier to get. As your business grows, you may want to take on commercial accounts. Commercial businesses will help scale your business much faster. But these accounts may be harder to acquire. Commercial businesses are mostly involved in janitorial work, which requires a wider range of services. You’ll also be more likely to work outside of traditional business hours. Depending on the square footage of the commercial space, you’ll need to allocate more funds for equipment purchases.  

Set pricing

On average, professional cleaning businesses charge between $50 to $90 an hour for single family homes. To determine your pricing, find out the square footage of the home, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, and what the customer wants taken care of. You’ll also need to consider the number of employees on payroll and the size of your business.

Consider Specialty Services

Consider offering other niche services, such as carpet, window, or ducts and vents cleaning. Offering more services will enable you to differentiate yourself from the competition. However, you’ll have to invest in more equipment. You may also need to hire employees with specialty experience. For example, to clean air vents, you’ll need to purchase specialty vacuums designed to fit in air vents. To deep clean carpets you may need an experienced cleaner who knows how to apply different treatments without damaging the underlying floor.  

Market Like Crazy

To stay ahead of the competition, use local SEO strategies to keep your cleaning business top of mind online. As you develop your SEO strategies, don’t forget to utilize your offline marketing efforts. Make sure your profiles are consistently updated on Yelp, Angie’s List, and Facebook to drive website traffic. For your offline marketing efforts, incentivize referrals by offering a discount for every tracked client you receive. You can also create flyers and send them around your local neighborhoods for more exposure.

More The BlueVine Business Blog

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This article was first published on May 29, 2018. It was updated on

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