Cleaning Business

How to Run a Successful Cleaning Business: 11 Step by Step Guide

Now more than ever, the number of people willing to pay for cleaning services is rising. This is totally understandable as people get busier and busier. So to no surprise, there’s a growing demand so launching a cleaning business can be a rewarding experience. But just like everything else, it’s important that you do it right. 


  • There were 924,290 jobs in residential cleaning in May 2018, typically tagged as “maid” or “housekeeper.” Experts estimated that 236,500 new cleaning jobs will be needed by the year 2023.
  • As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cleaning industry was found to have a 7% growth. This is higher than the national average and the industry is still expected to continue growing to 10% from 2016 to 2026. 
  • Workers typically have an hourly rate of $20 to $50 with home cleaning visits usually lasting for two hours at the very least. 

On top of this, one of the first things you should determine is whether you want to launch a residential or a commercial cleaning service.

Is it worth it to start a cleaning business?

Cleaning Business

Here are some of the benefits of starting a cleaning business:

  • Flexible working time
  • You can set your desired hourly rate
  • Satisfaction from helping people’s improved lives
  • Formation of relationships with team and customers
  • Fulfillment from starting a business from down up

Residential cleaning 

As the term implies, this is a service offered to residential homes. Here are some of the things you can offer:

Home maintenance

A home maintenance cleaning service typically involves vacuuming, dusting, floor mopping, mirror polishing, interior window cleaning, and surface washing. Mostly, this looks a lot like basic maid services. But making this customizable is a good feature you can offer! For example, some customers might only need window cleaning or just some mirror polishing.

Move-in and move-out cleaning jobs

Moving into a new home is an exhausting task and having cleaners to clean and get the place ready for you is convenient in itself. In fact, this service is high in demand because this lifts a lot of weight from people who are moving. This requires deeper cleaning than basic maid services. In the industry, move-in and move-out rates are typically offered at a flat rate depending on the work required and the size of the home.

Deep cleaning tasks

Some people want a deep cleaning service once in a while. Some refer to this as spring cleaning. It involves intensive cleaning off the cupboards, pantries, and other nooks inside the client’s home. Basically, everything inside the house is to be cleaned to prevent cross-contamination. Some companies offer this service at an hourly rate, while some offer it at a flat rate. 

Event cleanup jobs

As the name implies, this is simply cleaning up after an event! A party is all fun and games until you have to clean up on your own. So this is a great addition to your list of services.

Green cleaning

With the rising numbers of people who are eco-friendly, you might want to offer eco-friendly cleaning options. To prove this, a recent survey revealed that 18% of the respondents were willing to shell out 10% more on eco-friendly cleaning products. This option provides harm- and toxin-free environment for customers so there really are people who are willing to pay the price.

Commercial cleaning

Commercial cleaning is for, of course, commercial establishments and businesses. Companies who offer this usually offer these: office building maintenance, hazardous waste disposal, window washing, and others. Since this is typically a bigger job, pricing usually is based upon the contract price, depending on what the establishment needs.

General office cleaning

A clean office attracts customers and positive energy. This service includes janitorial services such as vacuuming, mopping, carpet and window cleaning, floor waxing, dusting, trash disposal, and comfort room sanitization. 

Large niche cleaning services

This is a cleaning service that is way more than just cleaning the office. Commercial window cleaning is a good example and this service holds an average cost of about $5-14 hourly. On the other hand, carpet cleaning can go up to $30-70 per room.

Construction cleanup

Whether for a commercial or residential property, a clean-up after the construction is done is vita. This will remove and clean all the remaining construction materials. This service requires licenses and permits before you can offer it, but we say that it’s worth it. Your target clients will be contractors, property management firms, and construction companies.

Hazardous waste and disaster cleanup

To be able to offer this service, you need highly trained and specialized employees. This is typically available after natural disasters or even in crime scenes. Companies should work closely with EPA and OSHA to reduce risks.

To franchise or to start independently?

The easier route is to franchise, of course. This will spoon-feed you with everything you need to know and is typically a brand that’s already well-marketed and well-known. This is especially great for commercial cleaning businesses because companies will typically check the reputation of your brand. Thus, it’s easy to see why a well-known cleaning company will most likely be hired than an unheard one.

Now if you want more control, opt to start independently where you can decide up to the smallest detail of your business. Also, this will most likely have you invest less money than franchising.

Step-by-step guide

Cleaning tools

Starting a cleaning business isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s also not a battlefield. It requires relatively little startup costs so consider these steps if you’re interested:

1. Decide on the type 

This is where the battle between the residential and commercial cleaning business resides. We have discussed the difference between the two, so this time, all you have to do is decide (or do more research if you must!).  

2. Choose a brand name

If you’re starting independently, you’ll have to establish a brand and the first step is choosing the brand name. This is entirely up to you, but personally, the catchier it is, the better. People tend to search and go for easy-to-remember brands. You may also use this guide on how to name your company:

  • Accurately defines the company
  • Sounds good and is easy to read
  • Unique
  • Easy to remember and to spell

3. Come up with a business plan

A solid plan is the framework of every business. It should include:

  • What is your target market? Who are your target clients?
  • Competitor analysis: Who are your competitors? What can you learn from them?
  • How much capital can you invest in starting your business?
  • What cleaning services will you offer?
  • What is your price list? Are you gonna charge a flat rate per service or are you offering an hourly rate?
  • What is your operational strategy? 
  • Who do you need to hire? What criteria should they meet?
  • How are you going to market your brand?
  • What are your goals in terms of your revenue?

4. Identify your service area

You have to clearly pinpoint the geographical area your services will cover. Ideally, you wanna choose an area without many competitors. 

5. Acquire required licenses and permits

Each state may have different requirements, but wherever you are, you’ll surely need licenses and permits to operate. For licensing, the common options are limited liability corporation (LLC) or sole proprietorship. The sole proprietorship is cheaper but the business is under your control and liability. On the other hand, an LLC decreases your liability as an individual. 

You will need to file a DBA (Doing Business As) license for your brand name to ensure the legitimacy of your brand and its operations. You’ll also have to check your local law’s requirements in terms of insurances and other protections.

6. Buy cleaning insurance

Cleaning insurance will protect not only your business but also your employees. According to Grace, a cleaning business owner, “You really shouldn’t be cleaning anyone’s house without insurance. That was something that I did right away.” She adds, “You could burn someone’s house down. You could break something that’s really valuable or scratch up something, especially when you’re just getting started, getting the hang of your work, and getting to know the properties.”

7. Finalize your cleaning services and prices

Your prices and packages should cater well to your target market. You can use a guide on house cleaning charges to start. The average cost is around $25-90, but this can be different depending on locations and situations. You should also research for the prices and offers of a cleaning business in your area of coverage.

8. Purchase the correct tools and supplies

Having the right equipment will make the cleaning process easier and more effective. The basics are:

  • Paper towels
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Cleaning solutions

Then add more depending on the type of service you’re offering. Now that we’re still in a pandemic, you should also avail protective equipment against COVID-19 for your workers such as masks, sanitizers, and gloves.

For a more convenient client experience, you might also want to look into getting a mobile payment processor so your clients can pay using their credit cards. You can also invest in recurring billing and invoice software for a cleaning company, payroll and time tracking tools for easy management.

9 Hire people who can help you

Any growing business will need help along the way. You can stay as a one-person business but if you’re all for growth, your goal should be the ability to hire more people to help you on the managerial side as well.

10. Market well!

Any successful business should be well-known first. Get the word out and spread your brand. Here are effective means and places to market your services:

  • Social media apps such as NextDoor to connect you to possible clients
  • Digital advertising such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads
  • Content marketing 
  • Word of mouth through your family, friends, and clients

11. Focus on the quality of your service!

You can spend in marketing all you want, but without a top-quality service, your business will not thrive. To elevate customer experience, you should consider doing the following:

Good luck!

As we’ve stated, launching a cleaning business is a rewarding experience. With determination and the right tools, you can conquer the industry! You can use the tips we’ve broken down here to make your journey smoother. Best of luck!