Wondering how to start a cleaning business in Florida? It is important to register your new business with the state and take other steps toward legitimacy that protect your personal assets. Although you may feel comfortable cleaning your own home, professional cleaning services require the next level of care. Customers will expect their homes to be neat, spotless, and pleasant-smelling after your visit. But if you are willing to put in the elbow grease and effectively market your services, this can be quite a lucrative career.

Preparing to Start a Cleaning Business

A cleaning business is a good choice for many entrepreneurs because of its low overhead costs, but it is important to make sure you are physically capable of doing the type of strenuous, thorough cleaning your customers will expect. If you have trouble bending, kneeling, reaching, or performing repetitive actions or if you are not in good physical condition, this may not be the business for you.

In addition to cleaning skills, you will need to rely on basic office, accounting, and organizational skills. These will help you file your taxes correctly and keep up with customer appointments.

Good interpersonal skills are a must in this business since you will be entering people's homes. If you are friendly, open, and honest, potential customers will likely see you as trustworthy. However, if you have a criminal or legal history that will show up on a background check, clients are unlikely to hire you.

It is also important to be financially prepared to start a cleaning business. If you are leaving a full-time job to go out on your own, make sure you have at least six months' worth of expenses saved before doing so. Many instead decide to start out cleaning part-time while retaining their full-time positions.

Starting a Florida Business

First, you will have to decide what type of legal structure is best for your business. Options include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company. Except for a sole proprietorship, each of these business entities must register with the Florida Division of Corporations.

To register your business, you will need to have a unique name that is not already registered by another Florida business. It is best to choose a name that is distinctive yet professional so that clients will be able to remember it and see you as a legitimate business. If you are sticking to a specific service area, you may want to include the region in the name.

The next step is applying for a business license and setting up a bank account. Your local business office can let you know what types of permits are required for a cleaning business in your municipality. If you are a sole proprietor, you may need to register a DBA ("doing business as") name for your cleaning business. Your business license will allow you to apply for a business bank account.

Writing a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that guides the direction of your new enterprise. While developing your business plan, consider the following questions:

  • What type of cleaning business do you plan to create? Options include a general residential cleaning business, green cleaning, open house cleanings, after-party clean-ups, smoke damage removal, and other specialty areas.
  • Will you bring your own products, will your client supply products, or will you do whichever the client prefers?
  • Who are your competitors? Is the market for cleaning services already saturated in your area?
  • What form of transportation will you use? Will you need a separate vehicle for your business?
  • What will you charge for your services? What do competitors charge?
  • What type of accounting system and software will you use?

Pricing Your Services

Undercutting the competition is often not the best business model because clients will think the low prices reflect on the quality of your work. Instead, strive to attract clients who can afford your services without charging too much. Considerations include:

  • Will you charge by the room, the hour, or square footage? Alternatively, you can charge a flat rate per home depending on the size of the house. Most clients prefer set fees rather than hourly rates.
  • Make sure to consider the number of occupants in the home and whether there are pets or other extenuating circumstances when providing a quote.
  • How much can you charge to keep your services affordable but still make a profit?

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