Cleaning businesses are relatively easy to start, and they can be a fun and profitable business to own. Cleaning companies range in size from a sole proprietorship to a fleet of professional cleaning employees. Opportunities to specialize in certain cleaning services are out there. With the right tools and know-how, you can find success as a small business owner. We've designed this step-by-step guide to help you understand how to start your own cleaning business today.

Why Start a Cleaning Business?

One of the best things about a cleaning business startup is that it doesn't require much capital, equipment, or supplies to begin. You also don't need to go into business with anyone else. Cleaning business owners can enjoy the benefits and flexibility that come with being their own boss. You can choose to work as little or as much as you like in the beginning stages of opening your small business. Additionally, you can decide if your startup is going to be a side gig or a full-time operation.

Another benefit to owning a cleaning company is that the demand for cleaning services is typically constant. Your customers' regular needs will help you set a schedule and ensure fairly steady earnings. The types of cleaning jobs you'll do and the cleaning supplies you'll need will vary whether you decide to provide residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, or a specialized service. Below are several steps you can take to start a successful cleaning business the right way.

Steps to Starting Your Cleaning Business

From choosing a new business name to picking the best liability insurance, a cleaning service provider has a lot of decisions to make before the first day on the job. You may have questions like: How do I estimate my startup costs? Should I use social media to launch my business and find new clients? What should I charge as my hourly rate or pricing per job? The following steps can help guide you through the process of creating a cleaning business.

Create a Business Plan

Whether your cleaning business will be a side gig or a full-time operation, all new businesses should start with a solid business plan. It can be as simple or as detailed as you need it to be, depending on the scope and size of your future cleaning business. Steps to creating your written business plan may include but aren't limited to the following:

  • Creating an executive summary. This document details the who, what, why, where, and how of your new business. It doesn't have to be a long manifesto; one to two pages is best for others to easily understand your intended contribution to the cleaning industry.
  • Establishing your business strategy. This part of your plan provides a more detailed explanation of your services, business goals, and strategies for success. What do you hope to achieve and how are you planning to reach your goals?
  • Doing an industry and market analysis. It's important to identify your target market, the customers you wish to serve, and your competition. Who are the people you're planning to reach? Are there services that you can provide that others can't?
  • Determining a pricing structure for your services. Research local prices to determine a fair and competitive charge for your cleaning services. Review competitors' websites, social media accounts, or work-for-hire postings to see what the going rates are in your area. For example, single-family home cleaning charges typically fall between $100 and $200 but can vary greatly depending on location, frequency, home size, and add-on services.
  • Detailing your business operations process. This section allows you to record how your cleaning business is going to operate. It's especially important to establish a set process when you won't be working alone so that everyone is on the same page. Include employee and management responsibilities to set expectations.
  • Calculating financial projections. The final part of your business plan deals with the cash flow of your business. If you have potential investors, they'll want to see financial projections about profit and loss. They'll want to know when you'll expect to break even and begin to turn a profit. An income statement, expense budget, and sales forecast may also be included.

The structure and content of your business plan depend on the type of cleaning service business you decide to operate. A business model for a commercial cleaning business will look a lot different from a house cleaning operation. You'll also need to decide whether you want to own a sole proprietorship or a partnership. Joining an already established cleaning franchise is another option to consider.

Form a Legal Cleaning Business

After you've developed a clear business plan, it's time to legally form your business. How you do so depends on the business structure you chose. If it's a new cleaning company, you'll first need to decide on a business name. Your company name should reflect who you are, plus the type and quality of services you offer. Consider existing business names and any competition in the area, too.

If you decide to form a legal business structure, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you'll need to register your company's name with the Secretary of State's office in the states where you plan to do business. These business structures offer financial protection by keeping your personal assets separate from those of the company. Each state has its own business registration and naming laws and requirements, so be sure your business name is legal, available, and registered with the proper authorities before you have your logo designed or business cards printed.

Another step to take when legally forming your business is to open a business bank account. It not only offers protection but also provides a sense of professionalism and helps you better manage your income and expenses. Common types of business bank accounts to choose from, depending on your needs, include checking, savings, and credit card accounts. You may also consider a merchant services account, which allows you to accept credit and debit card transactions from your cleaning customers.

If you plan to have employees, you'll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for banking and tax purposes. To understand all of your tax responsibilities, book an appointment to talk to an accounting professional. In addition, the federal government doesn't require business licenses or permits for cleaning companies; however, your area government may. Check with local and state business authorities to ensure you have everything you need to legally operate, including any required insurance.

Purchase Cleaning Equipment for Your Business

The next step to starting your business is purchasing cleaning equipment and supplies so that you're ready to begin work. Look to your business plan for estimates on the number of potential clients you want to have and the amount of your starting expense budget. If you plan to offer house cleaning for a few friends or family members at first, only buy the cleaning products you can afford in bulk from a store.

If you plan on running a large residential cleaning service from the start with multiple employees, a more expensive upfront investment will be required. The same is true if you plan to offer a more specialized cleaning operation. For example, a carpet cleaning or window cleaning business will need special tools and equipment compared to a one-person home cleaning operation. You'll also likely need to finance a vehicle or vehicles to travel to customers with your cleaning equipment.

Skynova's accounting software makes it easy to track your business expenses with receipt uploads. It's tailored to the needs of small businesses so business owners can spend less time on paperwork and more time on their customers and growing their companies.

Find New Customers

To begin, one of the best ways to find customers is to network with people you know. Once you've successfully completed some jobs, consider offering an incentive to existing customers in exchange for referrals. Word of mouth about your high-quality work is also a great way to get more cleaning customers. Sharing positive customer referrals on your company's social media account or website may also be helpful.

Provide Excellent Service

One key to a new business succeeding is that it provides excellent services. You'll want to operate your business at its full potential, including keeping customers and employees satisfied with the work being done. Skynova's invoice template helps keep things simple and efficient after a cleaning job. Our business templates offer customization options so that you can personalize your company's invoices and more. You can also email an invoice directly to a customer, accept payments, and track all invoicing in one place online.

Monitor Your Business Finances

Properly managing your business finances is another major key to success. Skynova's accounting software enables small businesses to stay organized and get paid faster, all while looking professional. Gone are the days of handling multiple software programs and never-ending paperwork pile-ups on your desk.

Use our accounting software to keep a digital ledger of all of your income and expenses, whether it's to collect a customer payment or to pay a cleaning supply vendor or an employee's wage. Create and email cleaning job estimates in minutes to find more work at a faster rate. Best of all, no accounting knowledge is required to use our software, although you can give your accountant remote access if necessary.

Grow Your Cleaning Business

Once your cleaning business is established, continue to focus on additional tasks to grow your business. How you market your company will likely change as you and your company evolve. Creating a positive online presence in an increasingly digital world is always a solid marketing strategy. You may find that learning social media marketing basics, plus building a website and keeping it updated, lead to further growth. You may also want to consider promoting your services on different websites where people go to find a cleaning pro.

Always look for ways to improve what you do. It may be worth it to expand the cleaning services you offer or trim things down to specialize in what you do best. Reinvesting profits into new equipment, transportation, or employees may also help you meet your goals.

Manage Your Cleaning Business Finances With Skynova

Starting a new business is an adventure that may feel overwhelming at times. In addition to reading this guide, it's important to create a business plan and seek further guidance from other business owners, professionals, and local governing authorities. While special training or education typically isn't required for cleaning services, you may want to work for a cleaning company before starting your own to learn more about the industry and to see if it's the right fit for you.

Whether you plan to offer maid services, janitorial services, or own a residential cleaning business, you'll need help managing your cleaning business finances. Skynova strives to make financial tasks as easy as possible for small business owners. Our software products and business templates help local businesses stay organized, find new customers, and reach their goals every day.