How to Start a Housecleaning Business?

Housecleaning is one of the simplest businesses that could start from home. Apart from the simple materials needed, it only requires minimal startup funds. Some people are so organized that it's already innate for them to maintain their home as spotless as possible. If you are one of them who considers cleaning other people's homes enjoyable and just a simple task, then setting-up a housecleaning business is probably a thing that attracts your interest.

An Introduction to Starting a Housecleaning Business

Cleaning your home and doing it professionally are two different aspects. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of effort because you have a client that needs to be satisfied. Since other people are willing to pay for such services, they want their homes clean, dust-free, and nice-smelling when they get home.

Websites like make housekeeping sounds so simple. Cleaners just simply sign up on the platform and start finding clients who could pay them for housekeeping jobs. They usually start from this point and slowly build a network of clients. But cleaners should stop thinking about being just housekeepers if they want to make this job a great source of living. They should think about starting a housecleaning business to generate more income.

For you to be a successful housecleaning business owner, you must be fit, willing to deal with dirt stuff, and have the initiative to market your business. You can start from taking cleaning jobs from your friends and their families where you could slowly build your client base. Building a client group is not that simple, but if you have the right-attitude and good reputation, word-of-mouth will be the easiest marketing strategy that could help you to earn more clients.

Assessing a Person's Suitability for Cleaning as a Business

But before you make a bigger step in opening your housecleaning business, make sure that this job is what you really want to pursue. Cleaning is not an easy job and sometimes a strenuous work to do. The job requires a good physical condition that would allow you to bend over, reach up, kneel, and do recursive actions for a prolonged time.

Same with cleaning, housecleaning business is also demanding that it requires basic office skills and some knowledge of accounting. On the other hand, it's one of the easiest businesses to start because it's low-existent and doesn't rely on technical skills, just living up to the promises of having the client's house clean and tidy.

Some skills and requirements that a person who's planning to open a housecleaning business should have are:

  • Well-organized. The person should know how to build a system that could run effectively on the entire process. Clients don’t want missed appointments or skipping some areas of the house.
  • Good customer relation. The business owner should be a good communicator and has the willingness to engage with people. If you think you don’t have it, you can learn this thing by simply being honest, open, and friendly for you to interact with your customers more confidently.
  • Clean legal or criminal history. Customers do background checks on people or agencies they hire. For sure they don’t want someone with criminal records entering their home. If you have one or has serious disputes with another person, better to settle it legally before looking for clients on your housecleaning business.
  • Has backup savings. If you plan to leave your day job to focus on your startup housecleaning business, it's suggested to have at least six-month of savings to sustain all your expenses while putting up your business. If you're flexible and can do both your work and the business, you can start on the latter on a part-time basis and then transition to full-time business owner as the need arises.

Business Planning Basics

In order to establish your housecleaning business, there are several items you need to do and start. To further develop the idea of starting up a housecleaning business, you should start doing the following:

  • Create a business plan. To monitor the development of your business concept, you need to formulate your business plan. Decide on what kind of cleaning business to offer that might also include the consideration of the materials to be used. Another part of this plan to identify the locale or area where you'll run the business as transportation will be a major factor in your pricing.
  • Develop an accounting system. To keep track with all accounting related stuff like invoices, expenses, and sales tax among others, one needs to seek an accountant or a bookkeeper. If you can do it yourself, it's better to avail accounting software that could store all business documentation for it not to get mixed with your personal expenses. Short courses are available online if you think you're not confident to manage your expenses. On the side note, you can seek help from government organizations that extend assistance to people starting small businesses.
  • Think of a business name. An interesting and catchy business name will draw attention to potential customers and might also help you when it comes to marketing. Consider factors like what will be your target market and point out the focus of your cleaning business. If you have already come up with a name, spend time doing online research to see if the idea is already floating somewhere. If it exists already, the best thing you could do is to think about ways on how to stand out from the crowd.
  • Create a competitive price list. The prices you will offer to your clients should be reasonable. When they see you charge a little low, they might think that services may be of lower quality. On the other hand, charging too high won't help you grow your business because you need people who can afford your services. Finding the right price by analyzing the current market should be a great route to take. Other housecleaning services charge per hour, per room, and per square foot.
  • Get insurance and bonding. When clients know that you have your own insurance and bonding, it will be an assurance for them for hiring you for such services. Liability insurance rates rely on your insurance carrier and their location. It can be quarterly or annually that you can buy through a local insurance company. Always remember that a  bond needs to be renewed every year.
  • Hire people. This will be a step for a  later time and depend on how the business will flourish. But once you decide to hire people, they need to be treated as employees and not sub-contractors. If you make them under a payroll, you need to increase your liability insurance because you can't always vouch for them especially if you are away when they do the housecleaning services.
  • Training and research. You may consider yourself a pro when it comes to housecleaning, but additional and updated facilities need skills. It goes the same with people you'll be hiring to work under your business. Learning shouldn't end, and you can do it by regular experiments on best methods to use as well as supplies and products to use. This is a way to decrease expenses and increase your profit.

First Clients of a Housecleaning Business

First challenge that a person who just started a housecleaning business need to survive is to find the first customer. Clients are particular when it comes to how long the business is already under operation. With this, the business owner should be honest to let potential customers know that they are new in the business. Along with this is a commitment to show to them that you have the capacity to deliver similar, if not higher, standards with the current market.

Profit is not the first goal when building a name for your housecleaning business. You can start by giving discounts for the services where you could show the excellent services you can deliver. While building a great relationship with clients, it’s also nice, to be honest to them and letting them know that the business is still in the expanding stage and that you need help in getting more clients.

Growing a Cleaning Business

As mentioned, hiring more people to add to your team is not necessary. But if the time comes that your business gets more clients, it will be better to hire more members. By having new people, you can focus on running the business and work on appointments and direct interactions with the clients. You can start by hiring one or few people and slowly training them for you to transition from the heavy cleaning works to managing the business.

To ensure services delivered by your employees, you should carry out a monitoring system in maintaining the standard and quality of the services you want to offer. One way is to ask feedback from the homeowners. It's also a great way to build a solid relationship with your clients for them to call you back for future housecleaning needs.

Marketing, Advertising, and Getting Clients

Like any other businesses, marketing and promotion help the business grow and become successful. A marketing strategy should be employed. But before launching advertisements, you need to decide first on how the brand will be promoted. One thing is for sure, you need to be consistent in all marketing platforms for easier branding.

Nowadays, the internet is the most cost-efficient and easiest places for marketing and advertising. You can use social media like Facebook and Instagram or better build a nice and pleasing website. In building one, you can hire someone who could support the website and will make it more professional. You can also use the tool to display testimonials from your clients.

You could also start by paying ad sections in local newspapers or distribute business cards and flyers. But if you seek for more serious marketing, an advertising agency who can do the work for you is a better option. But remember that you also need to shell out a higher budget if you think of getting one.

Another strategy to consider is a referral program where your current clients can help you with gaining more customers. With that, of course, needs a tough job because the clients should be satisfied with your services for you to be recommended to their friends.

Steps to Starting a House-Cleaning Business

To summarize everything briefly and concisely, here are steps you could use in building a successful housecleaning business.

  1. Decide for your game plan. Are you going to consider housecleaning as a part-time or full-time job? If you go for the first, then getting one or two regular clients you could attend to every week is fine and providing basic housekeeping like dusting, vacuuming, and mopping. But if you consider this job as full-time, the services should be more extensive.
  2. Check your competition. Do your research. You can start it by simply calling housecleaning businesses to ask for rates, services being offered, and turnaround time in delivering such services. Office buildings near you could also be a great source to know companies where they avail housecleaning services.
  3. Set your boundaries. Transportation and movement from one client to another make it to the formula. You should consider how wide your range would be for you to accommodate more clients. You don’t want to spend more time in your travel just to get to your next appointment. In addition is to list down some conditions. It's great to earn more income, but your willingness to work correlates with the outcome of services you're willing to deliver.
  4. Decide the marketing strategy. If possible, it's best to have your own specialization. This will help you big time when it comes to building a marketing strategy. At the end of the day, your goal is to gain more clients to earn extra income not just simply doing what you really love.
  5. Obtain a license. Being accredited and legal will be your ticket for earning trust from your customers. If they know you have the license to operate that kind of business, it will be easier for them to hire you. You can check with your state's Department of Commerce for the application process and requirements.
  6. Pay your taxes. One more thing about being legal is to pay the proper taxes. Regular consultations with an accountant for tax advice and reporting will make it easier for you to settle your withholds and remittances.
  7. Join professional associations. Registration to organizations doesn’t only make your business visible on the market but also allow you to expand your network. These associations can help you with business leads to having more clients.

If you need help with starting up your housecleaning service, you can post your legal need (or post your job) 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.