How to Start a House Cleaning Business

Learning how to start a house cleaning business takes bit of research and careful planning. You'll want to check off a few basic requirements before deciding that it would be the  right startup for you:

  • You must be prepared for physical labor by being in healthy condition.
  • You must be able to handle customers well with your communication skills.
  • You must be adept at accounting and secretarial work (word processing, filing, organization, etc.).
  • You need a clean criminal record and a tidy legal background.

It is best to have about half a year of your salary in savings before giving up any full-time work to dive into starting your own business. If this isn't possible, it's better to start working only part-time and keep your full-time income to stay afloat.

Begin honing your cleaning skills by trying out different techniques at your home or in the homes of friends and family. Have a good handle on these basic skills:

  • Pet-stain and spot removal
  • Metal polishing (chrome, copper, silver, etc.)
  • Oven and appliance cleaning
  • Upholstery treatments
  • Carpet and wood floor cleaning and polishing

Be aware of and prepared for everything that comes with starting your own business from legal and insurance matters to branding and pricing. You'll need to know to handle business taxes, employee management, and, of course, exactly how to professionally clean a space.

Create a full business plan by looking into all the upfront and continual costs and deciding how you'll take care of them. Be prepared for travel costs as you'll be driving to different homes, and set a range for how far you want to go for clients. 

Accounting is an integral part of any successful startup. You'll need:

  • A well-organized system for accounting
  • Up-to-date software
  • A separate filing system to keep business and personal finances apart

Networking is also vital to starting a business, so look into local entrepreneurial clubs like the Chamber of Commerce to make sure you don't miss out on any leads or potential clients.

Equipment and Products Needed for a Professional Cleaning Business

Every business owner needs to start with the proper equipment for their particular industry. You need at least the following to start a house cleaning business:

  • Mops and brooms (mops with changeable pads are easiest)
  • Vacuum cleaners in good condition
  • Toilet cleaners (brushes and plungers)
  • An organized carrier for your supplies, like a caddy
  • Clothes, rags, towels, gloves, and paper towels
  • A reliable car to get to and from client homes

Most people prefer natural products provided by the hired cleaner (although some may request you use a specific cleaner they have on hand) to be used in their homes. This helps prevent hazards for animals and small children, giving you and your clients peace of mind. Protect yourself from germs as you spend time in new, unknown spaces by using hand sanitizer regularly, washing your hands, and wearing cleaning gloves (especially in bathrooms).

Finding Your First Clients

Once you've booked your first clients, you'll have conquered one of the toughest hurdles of starting your own house cleaning business. This can be accomplished by providing assurance that you know what your doing through:

  • Testimonials and references from previous customers (you may need to offer free cleaning services to friends or family to get these)
  • Listed years of experience (maybe start out working for a cleaning company or in hospitality)
  • A business website that shows a thorough knowledge of what it takes to provide a perfectly clean home.

Successfully cleaning your first few homes will be vital to building a solid customer base and a good reputation. Be sure to take your time and provide a detailed, efficient service to every client. Always check your work before leaving any home to ensure every area was covered. Quality is much more important that speed when it comes to house cleaning. Happy customers tell their friends, providing you with the most effective advertising. 

Marketing and Advertising

Word-of-mouth is a solid form of marketing your business, but it isn't going to be enough to get all the business you need. You'll want to prepare a strategy for getting your name out early on in your startup. Decide on a few things as you build a marketing plan:

  • A business logo to be featured on flyers, cards, etc.
  • An eye-catching, easy-to-use website
  • Ads for local media outlets and other businesses

When you're starting a cleaning business, your image means a lot. Keep it clean and consistent to reflect the type of work customers can expect.

If you need help with starting a house cleaning business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.