How to Start a Cleaning Business: The Ultimate Guide

Cleaning houses can be a very lucrative business. Learn how to start a cleaning business from scratch with this ultimate guide.

Whether you are currently cleaning for another company. You are awesome at cleaning your own house. Or you are an entrepreneur looking to start a new venture. This is a business you can succeed in.

Is it Worth Starting a Cleaning Business?

Can a Cleaning Business Make You Rich?

Yes! It would only take around 8000 house cleanings a year to make $1,000,000. Which might not be doable as a solo venture, but there are plenty of cleaning companies out there pulling in 7 or even 8 figures each year.

Check out my guide on pricing to find out how I get these numbers.

How Much Does it Typically Make in a Year?

The owner of an average cleaning company with 5 employees would make around $170,000 a year in revenue before paying employees and expenses. Making the total income for an owner around $50,000/year.

Let’s take a look at how I got that number.

The BLS or Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median income for a maid or house cleaner around $24,000. So if the average business has over 4 employees, then a cleaning business with 5 employees, earning the median income would total $120,000.

Okay, so that’s what the cleaners make, but what about the owner? Well, let’s take that $120,000 and calculate in the standard 70/30 split for cleaner/owner.

That means that a cleaning company with 5 employees making a median income of $24,000, would bring in a revenue of around $171,000. Subtracting the $120k that the cleaners made, brings the total to the owner around $50,000 before taxes or expenses.

Of course this is just the average number, but if you were to be better than average, there is almost no limit to how much money you can make with this business.

Should I Use a Franchise or Start My Own?

According to Inc. Magazine, franchises could be trouble. And I agree with this statement. Franchises are almost always a higher cost to start up front. They don’t have any way of guaranteeing success. And you might not get the help you need from the franchise.

I would avoid using a franchise and instead opt to start my own cleaning business from scratch. Starting on your own will save you a big initial investment and give you the flexibility to make the business as you want it. Even if you aren’t the most entrepreneurial, this is a business almost anyone can start.

How to Start a Cleaning Business?

Starting can be as easy as calling a friend or relative and offering your services. But, before you grab the spray bottles and washcloths, keep reading to find out how to start a cleaning business from scratch.

  • Come up with an awesome name
  • Gather licenses, bonding, and insurance
  • Decide on a business structure
  • Get accounting/payroll software
  • Hire your cleaners
  • Market your business and get clients
  • Grow your business

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, just personal experience. Always check with a licensed attorney in legal matters you are unsure of.

Do I need a license?

The short of it, probably not. Each state is different however, so the best thing to do is give your local county clerk’s office a call and ask them if your business needs a license to operate in your city or state.

What about an LLC?

Forming an LLC, while always a good idea to limit your own individual liability, isn’t necessary, at least in the beginning.

Running your business by yourself makes it a sole proprietorship, which is just a one person business that doesn’t have to be registered with the state.

So if you are looking to move fast and get started, you can do so without registering your business.

Check out my article on starting a small business for more information on licenses and business structures.

Do I need insurance?

Insurance is a must, every company or person who is providing services on other people’s properties or in their homes, should be insured in the event that something happens (like something get damaged or broken)

Give your insurance provider a call and see if they offer small business insurance or some form of general liability insurance.

Besides insurance, you will also need bonding

There are two types of bonding that you will need to be covered on. Fidelity bonding covers loss of money, property or valuables due to theft by employees or contractors. Surety bonding ensures the company can hire another cleaner to finish the job in the event that that original cleaner was unable to.

All of your cleaners will not only need to be covered under your insurance, but each cleaner will also need to get bonded through a bonding company.

Self Cleaning vs. Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Self cleaning

Going out and cleaning houses yourself is the quickest and most cost effective option.

This option will give you the most money, but it will tie your effort to the amount that you make.

One of the biggest benefits to starting your own business is the option that it gives you to free up your time from the amount of money that you make, so whenever possible, I choose to automate and hire out.

Also take into account that when you take vacation you won’t be earning any money. And you will have to pay for supplies out of your own pocket as well.

So, while cleaning the houses yourself is the quickest and easiest option, it also firmly ties your time to the amount that you can make.

Independent Contractors

Hiring independent contractors is the second easiest option. Not only can you find reputable cleaners quickly by putting ads on craigslist, but you also don’t have to deal with either the hassle of cleaning houses yourself or hiring employees.

Independent contractors take care of their own taxes and insurance. They are paid per job and they don’t qualify for any benefits.

There are some specific caveats with hiring independent contractors though. You aren’t able to control the way they do their work or their schedule, among other issues.

This option is my recommendation, but make sure to check out the IRS’s definition for independent contractors to make sure that you are following all the laws and regulations around these hires.

You can always start with independent contractors when your business is just starting and move to employees whenever you have grown enough to sustain your employees.


Hiring employees is the best option for controlling quality, but also the most expensive and slowest option.

There are a lot of considerations to make before you hire your first employee, working hours, workload, part-time vs full-time, vacations, expenses, and benefits. But with all of that effort comes great control and being able to run your business the exact way you want.

Before going out and hiring your first employee be sure you follow the SBA’s guide on hiring and managing employees.

How to Get Clients Fast?

Starting out

So you’ve got your business all set up and you are ready to get going, but…..

You need CLIENTS.

Getting your first client is the hardest one, always. Once you get your first, it helps you get your second, and third, and so on.

Start out by just asking. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your neighbors. Ask everyone you know on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Get out there and just ask everyone.

Get referrals

But no one wants my services… I know, like I said, getting your first client is hard, but do this awesome technique for getting referrals.

“Okay, no problem, since you aren’t looking for my services right now, would you happen to know anyone that might be?”

This WILL get you a client! You will get referred to someone that definitely needs your services. Once you land your first client and you’ve done an amazing job, ask for a referral, get them to tell you about someone else that might want your awesome services. But also…

Up-sell recurring services

Sell all of your clients on recurring services. It’s much easier to keep clients then it is to get new ones. Offer a discount on weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleanings.

Try and do this whenever you schedule their cleaning but also check in to your one time cleans and try to get back in for another cleaning or recurring cleanings.

How to Make Your Cleaning Business Stand Out?

There are TONS of cleaning companies out there, but a lot of them miss the mark. Your cleaning business can stand out by following these three simple points:

  • Offer an amazing guarantee
  • Have excellent customer service
  • Build a website that outperforms the competition

Let’s take a look at what these points look like.

Offer an amazing guarantee

Back up your services with an awesome guarantee. This will give your customers the piece of mind to go with your services. Nothing says “don’t worry, you will be satisfied.” like an amazing guarantee.

So what does an awesome guarantee look like? “If you aren’t satisfied with the cleanliness of your home, we will make it right and clean it again. If you still aren’t satisfied, you get your money back, guaranteed.”

Have excellent customer service

It’s not just about the customer always being right anymore (hint: their not). It’s about being friendly, available, and ultra responsive.

Customers want to know they are being listened to. They want to know they are getting great service. They want to be treated well. And they want it all as quickly as possible. Great customer service is FAST customer service.

Build a website that outperforms the competition

Websites that outperform the competition are:

  • Mobile friendly
  • Super fast
  • Easy to navigate
  • Have online payments and booking
  • Doesn’t suck

Having an awesome website is SUPER important and can bring you so much business. I am considering making a course on building amazing WordPress websites for small businesses that KILL the competition. Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think.

As you can see, there are quite a few steps to getting started, but the outcome of owning your own cleaning business is well worth the effort.

I’m following this guide myself with my own house cleaning in Tulsa company.

Was this guide helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

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