How to Start a Cleaning Business

Learning how to start a cleaning business is a great way to earn a little extra money these days.  Find out if this is a good fit for you, and learn the steps you need to follow to get started.

Owning your own cleaning business gives you the freedom of working for schools, stores, hospitals, offices and many other types of businesses.

You should also be aware that most businesses don’t want you to clean during their normal business hours. This means your work hours will probably start before or after the normal work day.

This type of job can be physically demanding, but if you do it right, it can be quite profitable.

1Work From Home

The best way to get started is to begin by working out of your own home.

This allows you to keep your expenses low until you have an established and successful business.

Your start up costs can be as low as $5,000. This includes purchasing the necessary equipment, marketing expenses and a vehicle you can use for transportation.

Clearly, these expenses will be much less if you already have adequate transportation.

You can begin taking jobs that fit into your existing schedule. However, as your business grows, you can devote more time to your business.

Renting a Space

If operating a business out of your home isn’t possible, you may need to look for suitable office space. When you look for a space to rent, remember that it must service as both an office to meet potential clients, but also a storage room for your equipment and supplies.

Remember that since you are just starting a business, keeping the costs low is essential to your early success.

Things to Keep in Mind When Starting

When starting a cleaning business there are a few items you must keep in mind:

  • Keep things as small and as uncomplicated as possible
  • Clearly identify the type of cleaning services you will offer
  • Don’t expand your operation until you are absolutely certain you have the business and income to handle it
  • Having an adequate amount of working capital is an absolute must before starting your own cleaning business, or any kind of business

Requirements to Start a Full-time Cleaning Business

The start up costs of starting a full-time cleaning business with multiple commercial clients and a full time staff are much higher than starting a business from your home. Industry experts suggest that starting a full-time cleaning business requires approximately $50,000 in capital.

This amount will allow you to acquire all the required heavy-duty equipment, to hire personnel, and to launch a marketing campaign.

A good amount of working capital is necessary because you will need to pay your workers weekly.


Finding and maintaining a cleaning staff can be a significant challenge, and this is why so many businesses are turning to third parties to handle their cleaning needs.

Potential commercial clients like hospitals, etc hired their own cleaning staffs in the past, but employee challenges and retaining staff led them to outsource the job.

You must have a plan on how to retain staff if you plan to build this type of operation. This can include paying a higher wage, finding opportunities for advancement.

Another idea is to focus on part-time employees who can work flexible hours for you.

Setting Prices For Your Cleaning Business

There are a number of factors to consider before you set prices for your business. You should begin by checking the prices being charged by your competition and decide if you want to go below those prices (to make it easier for businesses to pick you) or above that (to set a standard for superior service).

Before quoting a specific price for a specific job, you should thoroughly inspect the facility and discuss the detailed needs of your potential client.

Other items to consider:

  • Staff size – labor is the biggest expense you will have so the number of employees is critical
  • Businesses – the number of workers required to clean a school is different than a health facility, etc
  • Size of the area
  • Difficulty of cleaning this area, e.g., carpeted or tiled floors, etc
  • Level of cleanliness required by the client
  • Frequency

7Cleaning Supplies

Most of the supplies you need include general all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants and glass cleaners, brushes, brooms, ladders, etc. Depending on your requirements you may find it feasible to buy in bulk from assorted wholesale suppliers as well as hardware stores.

Marketing Your Cleaning Services

Before you start marketing your cleaning business, you must have a clear idea of the types of clients you want and what services you will offer them.

You must decide if you will provide services to specialized clientele, i.e. healthcare facilities only, or if you will be diversified.

The details that make you stand out from the competition are essential to understand before you begin marketing as well.

You success at marketing your cleaning business is mostly determined by how well you present your proposal to potential clients.

New clients, including owners and landlords of newly built facilities, are normally found via cold calling followed by in-person visits so that more detailed discussions are made possible.

Additionally, you should also use tried and tested methods like word-of-mouth, posting ads in the dailies and Yellow Pages, networking, and the use of fliers, business cards and brochures.

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