How to Start a Cleaning Business: A Comprehensive Guide for Entrepreneurs

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By Jacob Maslow

Are you an entrepreneur looking to start a cleaning business? The industry is on the rise and undergoing significant changes. What does one need to do to launch a venture in this domain? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything from creating a business plan, licensing & insurance requirements, equipment & supplies needed for success, staffing considerations, and marketing tips – plus provide insights into SWOT analysis of a cleaning business and franchise opportunities. So if you’re ready to make your dream of starting a cleaning business come true, read on.

Table of Contents:

What does a cleaning business do?

A cleaning business provides a range of services to both residential and commercial customers. The most common services include general housecleaning, carpet cleaning, window washing, upholstery and furniture cleaning, and floor care (e.g., hardwood floors and tile floors). Some companies even offer specialized services such as eco-friendly cleaning products or deep cleaning for move-outs. No matter what type of service you decide to offer, the goal is always the same: providing high-quality cleaning while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Industry Outlook

The cleaning business industry is a rapidly growing sector, with the global market size estimated to reach USD 308.7 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% to reach nearly USD 101.28 billion by 2028. The U.S. professional cleaning services market by revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 6% from 2021 to 2026.

The acceptance of cleaning services has improved due to the economic upturn, increasing discretionary income, and the rise in dual-income households, supporting market expansion. Furthermore, expanding commercial and real estate investment is expected to fuel demand for various cleaning services. High competition, particularly in industrialized countries, is one of the critical reasons limiting market cleaning services market growth. Rapid urbanization has favorably impacted the cleaning services business, albeit detrimental to the environment due to infrastructure strain. Many governmental garbage management operations, such as mobile applications for smart cities, are influencing the cleaning services market.

The cleaning service industry’s growth is consistent, and services are always in demand. Residential cleaning industry trends show 20% growth yearly, with 80% of households expected to use house cleaning services by 2024. The commercial cleaning industry is expected to hit more than $468B in revenue by 2027. That’s a 51.67% increase over the market’s $308.7B value in 2020.

The three most significant trends in the cleaning industry are reducing plastic waste, green cleaning, and increased visibility and frequency of cleaning. These trends will influence the cleaning practices businesses use in 2022 and beyond.

The number of janitorial services businesses in the U.S. grew 5.7% annually from 2016 to 2021. The cost of home services rose 9.4% in 2021. The market size of the U.S. laundry facilities and dry cleaning services was estimated at USD 292.6 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 308.7 billion in 2020. The market size of carpet cleaning services in the U.S. was estimated at USD 11.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 13.3 billion in 2022. The market size of janitorial services in the U.S. was estimated at USD 68.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 76.1 billion in 2022.

Overall, the outlook for the cleaning business industry is positive, with the market continuing to grow and expand. With the right strategies and tactics, businesses can take advantage of the current trends and capitalize on the growing demand for cleaning services.

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Niches to Consider


When starting a cleaning business, deciding which niches you’d like to focus on is essential. Specializing in one particular area allows you to perfect your craft, and word-of-mouth marketing can be a powerful tool in helping you gain more clients. Some niches worth considering include:

Residential Cleaning – This involves cleaning services such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, and laundry.

Commercial Cleaning – This type of service often requires additional licensing and insurance requirements, but it can be lucrative. Typical tasks here include emptying trash cans, washing windows & walls, buffing & waxing floors, or pressure washing outdoor areas.

Move-Out Cleaning – This type of service is perfect if you want to specialize and become an expert in the niche. It involves deep cleaning all home or office areas before new occupants move in.

Carpet Cleaning – More specialized services; carpet cleaning requires specific equipment and knowledge regarding how to clean carpets and area rugs properly.

Upholstery & Furniture Cleaning – Another specialized service involves using specialized tools and techniques to safely remove dirt, debris, and stains from furniture upholstery without damaging the fabric.

As soon as possible, create uniformity in branding across all platforms like websites, emails and social media accounts so customers can quickly identify your business without needing to look through multiple channels for information about you, such as contact details. This also helps build confidence among prospective clients by demonstrating how seriously you take their patronage even before they become patrons themselves!

how to start a cleaning business

Choosing the Right Name

Finding Inspiration:

When choosing a name for your business, you’ll want to pick something that reflects your services and values. Brainstorming is critical here—think of words or phrases that capture what you do best. For example, if you specialize in eco-friendly cleaning products, consider “Green Cleaners” or “Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions.”

Check Availability:

Once you have some ideas on paper, make sure they are available as domain names and social media handles. You don’t want someone else already using the same name. Additionally, check with local authorities to ensure no other businesses in your area have registered a similar name.

Creating Your Logo:

A logo will be essential for branding purposes so people can easily recognize your company when they see it online or in print materials like brochures and flyers. Hire a graphic designer specializing in logos to create something unique that stands out from competitors while still being timeless enough not to look dated after several years of use. Make sure the colors reflect the service type provided—for instance, green may work well for an environmentally friendly cleaning business. Still, perhaps blue would be better suited for an industrial cleaner.

Building Brand Recognition:

As soon as possible, start using consistent branding across all platforms, including websites, emails, and social media accounts, so customers can quickly identify who they are dealing with at any given time without having to search through multiple channels looking for information about your company, such as contact details etcetera. This also helps build trust among potential clients by showing them how seriously you take their business even before they become customers themselves.

See our guides here 

Unlock the Perfect Cleaning Business Name: 700 Creative Ideas to Inspire You!

Creating the Perfect Cleaning Slogans for Your Business

Startup Costs

Bonding and Insurance:

When starting a cleaning business, insurance is one of the most important things you need. It’s like having an umbrella in case something goes wrong – it protects you from potential liability issues. Depending on the size of your business, janitorial insurance can range from $350 per year for small housekeeping businesses up to $8,000 or more for larger commercial companies. And if you want workers’ compensation coverage (which is highly recommended), plan to pay around another $2,000 per year.

Equipment and Supplies:

In addition to bonding and insurance costs, equipment and supplies are needed when starting a cleaning company. This includes mops, buckets, vacuums, brooms, sponges, and other necessary tools. You’ll also need cleaning products like detergents and disinfectants, which can cost anywhere from $50-$200, depending on what kind you get. Don’t forget about trash bags, either. These usually run around $10-15 for a box of 100 large bags.

Advertising Costs:

No matter how excellent your services are or how good your reputation is within the community, without advertising, no one will know who you are or be able to find out about your services. Advertising doesn’t have to break the bank, though; even just creating some flyers or posters with information about your company can go a long way toward getting people interested in what you do. You could also consider doing online ads through Google Ads or social media platforms like Facebook, which typically don’t cost too much money but reach many potential customers quickly.


Business Plan

how to start a cleaning business

Constructing a blueprint for success is indispensable when establishing and running an effective business. Developing objectives and plotting

The Janitorial Store: Everything You Need to Get Started

Starting a Cleaning Business

The Janitorial Store is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to start their own cleaning business. With its comprehensive suite of resources, entrepreneurs can get up and running in no time. It provides detailed information on setting up a business, including legal paperwork, insurance requirements, and tips on marketing and sales strategies to help reach new customers. Additionally, personalized advice tailored to specific needs is available from experienced professionals.

Growing Your Cleaning Business

When it comes time to scale up operations, The Janitorial Store has all the tools necessary for success. It offers extensive educational materials covering pricing strategies, customer service best practices, and financial management techniques. Moreover, industry-specific templates for creating contracts and invoices make keeping track of finances easy. To stay ahead of the curve, The Janitorial Store sends a monthly newsletter with news from around the world related to cleaning businesses – including market analysis reports and advice from successful entrepreneurs.

Growing Your Cleaning Business

Businesses must research potential customers, competitors, and industry trends to create a business plan tailored to their needs. Goals should be set, regularly reviewed, and monitored against the budget. A comprehensive business plan is also essential for success; all businesses must meet licensing & insurance requirements.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

Alternatives to The Janitorial Store include sites such as Cleaning Service Pro, Cleaning Business Academy, and CleanBiz Consulting, which provide similar resources for those looking to start or expand their cleaning business. These services include advice and templates on everything from marketing and sales to pricing, customer service, and financial management. They also provide industry-specific news, analysis reports, and helpful tips from experienced entrepreneurs.

Keeping Current on Industry Trends

Another great alternative is attending cleaning business conferences or webinars hosted by organizations such as IFMA (International Facility Management Association) or ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association). These events provide networking opportunities with professionals in the field, access to research studies and data related to industry trends, and educational materials for developing a successful business plan. Finally, plenty of online resources are available for those looking for more general information about starting their own janitorial business – such as how-to guides on setting up a small business or tips on marketing and sales strategies.


The bottom line is that plenty of options are available for those looking to start their own janitorial business – and The Janitorial Store provides the most comprehensive suite of resources and advice tailored specifically to the cleaning industry. With its wide range of tools and experienced professionals, entrepreneurs can get up and running quickly. It’s also important to research potential competitors and industry trends, set goals, review budgets regularly, create a comprehensive business plan, obtain necessary licensing & insurance requirements – as well as explore other alternatives such as attending conferences or webinars or researching online resources for more general information about starting a janitorial business. All of these steps will help ensure the success of any new janitorial business.

By following these steps and leveraging the tools The Janitorial Store provides, entrepreneurs can be sure to hit the ground running with their cleaning business.


Licensing & Insurance

Obtaining the necessary licenses and insurance for your cleaning business is essential. Without them, you risk facing fines or even shutting down operations. Varying by locale, there may be different mandates concerning licensing for companies in the cleaning sector. Generally speaking, most states require a general business license and specific permits related to running a cleaning service.

It’s essential to research what types of licenses are required in your area before starting up your business. This can help ensure you stay compliant with local laws and regulations while protecting yourself from legal issues. Additionally, it’s wise to invest in liability insurance coverage for your company as this will provide financial protection should any accidents occur while on the job or if customers file lawsuits against you due to dissatisfaction with services rendered.

When looking into liability insurance policies, make sure they cover property damage and bodily injury claims that could arise during work hours or when using equipment provided by your company (e.g., ladders). You may also want to consider investing in workers’ compensation insurance if applicable since this type of policy covers medical expenses associated with employee injuries sustained while working for you—and can also prevent costly legal battles later on down the road.

Once you’ve secured the authorization and coverage, it’s time to investigate what apparatus and materials are required for your cleaning venture.

Key Takeaway: Getting the proper licenses and insurance policies for a cleaning company is a legal requirement, and it’s important to know your local rules and regulations.

Equipment & Supplies

Starting a cleaning business requires more than an entrepreneurial spirit and a good work ethic. You’ll also need the right equipment and supplies to do the job efficiently and effectively. Here is a selection of must-haves for beginning your own cleaning business:


A quality vacuum cleaner is one of the essential pieces of equipment for any professional cleaner. Vacuums come in all shapes, sizes, and price points, so research before investing in one. When deciding, consider factors such as power, noise level, portability, attachments, filters, etc..

Mops & Buckets:

Mops are another must-have item for any successful cleaning business. Choose mop heads that can be easily replaced or washed after each use for maximum efficiency. Quality buckets with wringers are also necessary for mopping floors quickly and thoroughly without stopping every few minutes from emptying dirty water from the bucket.

Cleaning Solutions:

Investing in high-quality cleaners is essential to provide excellent service that satisfies customers with their clean home or office space. Look into eco-friendly solutions whenever possible, as they are better for people and the environment while still getting the job done right.

Sponges & Cloths:

Sponges are great tools for scrubbing surfaces like countertops or sinks, while cloths can be used on windows or other glass surfaces where paper towels may leave streaks behind once dry. Ensure you have plenty of these handy so that no surface goes uncleaned.

Brushes & Scrapers:

Brushes come in handy when it comes time to scrub hard-to-reach areas like grout lines between tiles or corners around baseboards where dirt accumulates over time due to a lack of regular maintenance by homeowners/business owners. Scrapers can also help remove stubborn stains from carpets, which would otherwise require special chemicals explicitly designed for this purpose – but even then, there’s no guarantee it’ll work 100% of the time.

Finally, don’t neglect to don defensive equipment such as gloves (in particular when dealing with caustic chemicals), goggles (for eye security), and masks (to guard against dust). These should always be worn when working with potentially hazardous materials like bleach or ammonia-based cleaners; safety first.

Equipping your cleaning business with the necessary tools and materials is critical, yet having a dependable group of employees who can help actualize your objectives is just as imperative. Now let’s look at how to find and hire the best staff for your cleaning business.

Key Takeaway: Starting a cleaning business requires more than just an entrepreneurial spirit and a good work ethic; it also needs the right equipment, supplies, cleaners, and protective gear to ensure a successful outcome.


how to start a cleaning business

Hiring staff for a cleaning business can be an intimidating process. It’s essential to consider each staffing option’s pros and cons before deciding.

Payment for staff may take the form of an hourly rate or salary, necessitating taxation and provision of benefits like medical cover. Employees may necessitate extra preparation, which can accumulate in duration and capital. On the other hand, employees tend to be more reliable than subcontractors because they have more invested in the job and are less likely to cancel at the last minute or not show up for work altogether.

Subcontractors offer greater flexibility since they don’t require any long-term commitments from you. Subcontractors are typically remunerated per assignment instead of at an hourly or salaried rate, so there’s no requirement to be concerned about paying taxes or offering advantages such as health insurance coverage. However, subcontractors often lack consistency regarding reliability—they may cancel jobs at short notice or fail to show up without warning—so you must have backup plans in place if this happens.

Once you’ve worked out how many staff are needed to operate your cleaning enterprise, the next step is advertising your services and obtaining customers.

Key Takeaway: No matter which route you select, it’s essential to thoughtfully consider the advantages and disadvantages before settling on a choice. Subcontractors offer flexibility but can be unreliable, while employees are more reliable but require additional costs.

Safety and Security

how to start a cleaning business

Creating an adequate safety and security plan is essential for any cleaning business. This will ensure the safety of staff and customers and protect the business’s assets. It’s essential to create a comprehensive plan that includes policies and procedures, training of workers, and safety equipment.

The first step in creating a safe environment is to develop written workplace policies and procedures covering everything from handling chemicals to using protective clothing or masks when necessary. Secondly, employees should be trained on these policies regularly to know how to safely perform their duties without risking themselves or others. Additionally, it’s essential to have proper fire prevention measures in place, such as smoke detectors, extinguishers, emergency exits, evacuation plans, etc., depending on the type of building and its layout.

Finally, it’s essential to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, goggles, etc., when handling potentially hazardous materials or chemicals. Having a safe working environment is important for the health and safety of employees – but it also helps protect your business from potential liability claims due to injury or damage caused by unsafe work practices.



Marketing is an essential part of running a successful cleaning business. Without proper advertising, the public may be oblivious to your services, and you won’t have a chance to expand your venture. There are many ways to market a cleaning business that can help you reach new clients and grow your customer base.

One approach to publicizing a cleaning business is establishing an online presence via websites or social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Potential customers can discover more about your services and contact you for additional information or quotes by creating an online presence through websites and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You should also consider advertising in local publications or online directories such as Yelp or Google My Business which can help boost the visibility of your business in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Networking events are another great way to promote a cleaning service since they allow face-to-face interaction with potential customers who may need your services. Consider attending local trade shows, chamber of commerce meetings, networking lunches/dinners, etc., where you can introduce yourself and discuss the benefits of using professional cleaners like yourself with those in attendance. Additionally, discounts on certain services could be beneficial strategically – this could attract new customers while still allowing you to profit from their patronage.

Finally, word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most potent forms of marketing available; satisfied customers will often recommend their friends and family members use the same service they did – so always strive for excellent customer service. Offer incentives such as discounts when existing clients refer someone else who then becomes a paying customer; this encourages people to spread the word about how great your company is.

To sum up, numerous marketing approaches without spending too much money require ingenuity and dedication. From setting up social media accounts and advertising in local publications/online directories to attending networking events and offering referral incentives, these strategies work together towards building brand awareness for any cleaning service provider looking for success.

Grasping the potency, imperfections, openings, and perils of marketing through a SWOT assessment can aid in formulating an efficient plan to accomplish objectives.

Key Takeaway: An effective cleaning business should build brand awareness through creative marketing strategies such as networking, advertising, and referral incentives.

SWOT Analysis of a Cleaning Business

how to start a cleaning business


A cleaning business has the potential to be profitable, with relatively low startup costs and minimal overhead. Cleaning businesses offer various services, from basic residential cleaning to specialized commercial or industrial cleaning. With the proper marketing and customer service skills, a successful cleaning business can quickly build a loyal client base.


The biggest challenge for any new cleaning business is gaining customers in a crowded market. Many people hesitate to hire someone they don’t know personally, so it can take time to establish trust and credibility in the industry. Moreover, because many cleaners are independent contractors instead of being employed directly by a company, legal matters may require attention when recruiting personnel for your business.


This industry has plenty of room for growth as demand continues to increase due to population growth and changing lifestyles that require more frequent cleanings (such as busy professionals who don’t have time). Moreover, numerous businesses have begun to delegate their janitorial services rather than hiring full-time employees, thus providing ample openings for business owners aiming to launch their ventures.


A cleaning business faces stiff competition from other local companies, as well as from national chains. Some customers may hesitate to hire a new company due to doubts about the quality of service or lack of industry experience. Additionally, large businesses may offer more attractive prices than smaller startups can manage.

Analyzing a cleaning business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is essential for any entrepreneur looking to start this type of venture. With this knowledge, entrepreneurs can explore franchise opportunities to help them launch their successful cleaning businesses.

Key Takeaway: Starting a cleaning business can be profitable and low-cost, but gaining customers in a crowded market is challenging. Yet, the requirement for such services continues to rise, partly due to a swelling populace and altered lifestyles that open up more possibilities for those who wish to embark on this venture.

Franchise opportunities

Franchising is a great way to start and run a cleaning business. It offers growth potential, with access to resources, training, and support from an established franchisor. Franchises are available in many cleaning businesses, such as residential or commercial services, janitorial services, carpet cleaners, window washers, and more.

Conducting thorough research on the company of interest is essential when considering a franchise opportunity. This includes examining their history and performance, assessing their products, determining the initial investment required, inquiring about any ongoing fees or royalties associated with the agreement, and ensuring that all terms are fully understood before signing.

Some popular franchises in this industry include Molly Maids (residential cleaning), Coverall (commercial/janitorial services), Stanley Steemer (carpet cleaners), and Window Genie (window washing). Each has its unique requirements for becoming a franchisee, including investment costs ranging from $30K-$50K+ depending on location size/type, etc., plus royalty fees, which range from 5-8% of gross sales depending on the brand chosen. All require the completion of specific training programs before opening a shop and ongoing marketing efforts post-launch.

Key Takeaway: A key takeaway from starting a cleaning business is to research the franchisor thoroughly, understand all terms and costs associated with the agreement, and complete necessary training programs before opening shop.


Do I need a license to clean houses in Illinois?

Yes, you do need a license to clean houses in Illinois. The Secretary of State’s office necessitates all firms that offer services such as cleaning to be registered and have an active business permit by Illinois’ regulations. Additionally, certain localities may require additional licensing or permits for this type of work. It is essential to consult your local government before commencing any venture associated with the business.

What is the most profitable cleaning business?

The most profitable cleaning business depends on various factors, such as the size and location of the company, the type of services offered, and how well-established it is. Generally, commercial janitorial services may prove more profitable than residential ones due to their higher demand and larger customer base. Additionally, businesses that offer specialized services such as carpet cleaning or window washing can bring in more money due to their unique offerings. Ultimately, it’s essential for any entrepreneur looking to start a cleaning business to research what works best for them to maximize profits.

How can I get cleaning clients fast?

There are a few critical steps to getting cleaning clients fast. Develop an effective promotional plan that concentrates on pinpointing the suitable demographic and utilizing social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Second, network with other local businesses to get referrals or even offer discounts for their customers. Third, contact potential customers directly by cold calling or emailing them about your services. Finally, consider offering special promotions or discounts to attract more clients quickly. With these measures in place, you ought to be able to begin constructing your customer base swiftly.

Is a cleaning business worth starting?

Yes, a cleaning business can be worth starting. It is a low-cost venture that requires minimal start-up capital and offers the potential for high returns. Beginning a cleaning business can be a great source of income and provide job satisfaction if the correct approach is taken. Moreover, the requirement for proficient cleaners only escalates as individuals look to outsource more daily responsibilities. Therefore, starting a cleaning business could be an excellent investment opportunity if you have the skillset and resources to make it happen.

What we like and don’t like about this business

What we like about this business is that it can be operated virtually anywhere with minimal overhead costs. Additionally, its demand is high, meaning that owners have the potential to make a steady stream of income. We also appreciate its low investment risk and the ability for entrepreneurs to scale their businesses as time goes on.

What we don’t like about this business is that it can require extensive training and preparation to maintain quality standards and keep clients happy. Furthermore, regulations or licensing requirements may need to be met depending on location before opening a shop. Finally, due to higher competition in the cleaning industry, it may take longer than expected to build up an initial customer base. Nevertheless, starting a cleaning business can still be lucrative if approached correctly.

Social Media Strategy and First Month Content Calendar

Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting cleaning businesses, allowing users to spread the word about their services quickly. For this reason, we recommend creating a bespoke social media strategy that is tailored to the specific needs of your business and audience.

To start, create accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach potential customers. Then, consider investing in targeted ads on each platform to increase brand awareness and attract customers. Additionally, post regularly (at least once per week) with content showcasing your services or providing helpful cleaning tips. This should help build up your customer base over time.

For the first month of operation, we recommend creating a content calendar that outlines what topics you will cover each day. Additionally, creating fun and engaging posts about holidays or seasons related to cleaning services might be beneficial. This could help increase your reach and attract more followers.

Finally, don’t forget to interact with your followers by responding to comments to build relationships and strengthen customer loyalty.

Content Calendar Example

Monday: Introduce yourself and your cleaning business

Tuesday: Feature customer testimonials

Wednesday: Share practical advice about different cleaning techniques

Thursday: Post helpful tips or hacks related to cleaners

Friday: Offer discounts or promotions

Saturday: Post pictures of before and after transformations with your services

Sunday: Host a live Q&A session with customers.

Hashtags to use


When promoting your cleaning business on social media, it’s important to use relevant hashtags so potential customers can find your posts. Here are some suggestions:


• #cleaningbusiness

• #professionalcleaners

• #residentialcleaning

• #commercialcleaning

• #interiorcleaning

• #exteriorcleaning

• #householdtips



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