How to Start a Successful Cleaning Business: 8-Step Guide - FreshBooks (2022)

13 Min. Read

May 19, 2022

How to Start a Successful Cleaning Business: 8-Step Guide - FreshBooks (1)

Why Start a Cleaning Business?

Can You Make Good Money Cleaning Houses?

8 Steps to Starting a Cleaning Business

Bonus Tips to Grow Your Cleaning Business

Bottom Line

Many people are taking their futures into their own hands and going into business for themselves. In fact, 2020 saw a 27% increase in people starting small businesses as an alternative to the typical nine-to-five grind.

While there are many types of businesses one could start, a cleaning business is one that requires little to no experience with low startup costs. This makes cleaning an affordable and potentially lucrative option for those looking to go into business for themselves.

Wondering how to start a cleaning business? Follow along with this guide on how to launch your own successful cleaning company and get started in a few simple steps.

Why Start a Cleaning Business?

There are many benefits to starting your own cleaning service. Beyond the money—house cleaners can make anywhere from $20 to $200 per hour—there are a range of perks to starting a small business in the cleaning field.

Some of the benefits of starting a cleaning business include:

  • Freedom to set your own hours
  • Ability to set and raise your hourly rate to make a generous income
  • Opportunity to choose your own work environment and location
  • Satisfaction of seeing your work improve peoples’ lives
  • Form lasting relationships with your team and customers
  • Feeling of success from starting your own small business from scratch

Exploring these benefits and knowing your reasons for wanting to start your own business will help you stay motivated, even if you experience obstacles along the way. This motivation will make it easier to overcome any setbacks and scale your cleaning business to success.

Can You Make Good Money Cleaning Houses?

Yes, you can certainly make good money running your own house cleaning business. However, this is greatly dependent on your ability to market yourself and manage your business finances.

Many business owners make a decent income but may also let their expenses get ahead of them. Others set their hourly rate too low and never reach their full potential. Your goal should be to charge what you’re worth per hour and stay on top of your finances in order to make sure you maximize your time and make a good living.

8 Steps to Starting a Cleaning Business

Believe it or not, you can start a cleaning business with little to no experience. At the same time, it requires very little (if any) startup costs. That means you can get your business up and running and making money relatively quickly.

Follow the steps below to start your cleaning business in no time.

1. Identify Your Target Market

One of the first steps in starting any small business is to identify your target market. This means figuring out what types of homeowners (residential cleaning) or businesses owners (commercial cleaning) you want to work with.

Identifying your target market is important because it allows you to set your cleaning services, hourly rate and marketing strategy based on the needs of your ideal customers. It also allows you to distinguish your business from other competitors.

For example, you might decide to target homeowners in affluent neighborhoods in need of cleaning services. With this in mind, you may also charge higher rates and launch marketing campaigns that describe your professionalism, high-quality products, etc.

Consider what types of clients you want to serve and what they are looking for in a cleaning service. Then, you can make sure to tailor your business to meet their unique needs.

2. Determine Your Service Area

While identifying your target market involves honing in on your preferred clientele, this step also involves determining which geographical locations you will serve. This is a necessity because you’ll want to tap into an area that’s in your vicinity and not oversaturated with existing cleaning businesses.

Which cities or zip codes are you able to service? Is there a lot of competition? Are you confident that more cleaning businesses will thrive in this area?

Some additional factors to consider are whether you want to focus on commercial cleaning (business) or residential cleaning (home). You might decide to work with individual homeowners or offer commercial cleaning services to large and small businesses.

Once you’ve determined your service area, it will be easier to reach potential customers with area-specific marketing campaigns.

3. Set Your Cleaning Services and Prices

Your target market will help determine how much you should charge for your new business’ cleaning services, whether commercial cleaning or residential cleaning.

For example, small businesses may have less money to spend on a cleaning service than larger, more established businesses. Similarly, your typical homeowner may expect to spend less on cleaning businesses than someone who lives in a multimillion dollar mansion.

Fortunately, we’ve written a complete guide on figuring out how much to charge for house cleaning. While the average cost is in the $25 to $90 per hour range, this varies widely based on the type of client (e.g., commercial cleans versus residential), service area and cleaning services offered.

Your best bet is to research what other cleaning companies are charging in your service area. Then, consider the value of what you offer while accommodating the cost of your expenses.

Whether you set an hourly rate or a per house/office rate for cleaning jobs, you’ll need to send a professional invoice in order to get paid. A customizable house cleaning invoice template makes it easy to bill your customers and get paid quickly for cleaning jobs.

4. Market Your Cleaning Business

Once you’ve identified what services you want to offer, who you’d like to work with and what area you want to target, it’s time to start attracting your first clients.

Assuming your target area has a sufficient number of potential customers, you can move ahead with an effective marketing plan. This is made easier if you know where your potential clients are searching for cleaning companies and what they are looking for when it comes to hiring one.

There are many ways to market your cleaning business. Here are a few methods you need to keep in mind when attracting clients:

  • Referrals: Reach out to friends and relatives asking if they know of anyone in need of cleaning services. You might offer a bonus for each referral or a discounted rate to your first batch of new customers.
  • Facebook: Start a Facebook page under your business name to attract new customers organically. Post valuable content to draw in followers and direct them to your inbox to learn more about your services.
  • Google: Launch a Google My Business page (for free!) to attract customers from Google search. You might also decide to launch your own website and attract clients using search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Paid Ads: You can run Google ads, Facebook ads or Instagram ads to draw in new customers. You’ll need to pay a specific cost per click for each lead you generate from your ad.
  • Networking: Get involved in your local community to form connections and also potentially gain some clients. A Google search for networking events in your area is likely to present a few opportunities. You’ll need to come prepared with business cards!

Setting Your Cleaning Business Apart

The key to attracting new clients is standing out from your competitors. You’ll need a way to show potential clients that your cleaning business is the best option for their needs.

This is called defining your unique selling proposition (USP). There are a few ways to communicate how your business is different and why potential customers should choose you.

  • Your team: Are you friendlier, more professional or more experienced than your competitors?
  • Your equipment: Perhaps your equipment is top-grade or your cleaning products are eco-friendly. Is your company better at keeping your equipment clean and in good repair?
  • Your marketing: Do you have clean, professional branding? Do your marketing materials put your business’s best foot forward?
  • Your vehicles: Is your vehicle clean and running properly? Can your clients be confident that you’ll show up on time and maintain a professional appearance?
  • Your attitude: Do you have integrity? Are you enjoyable to work with? Do you always deliver the best work possible?

Take some time to figure out what makes your company better than the rest. Then, you’ll need to work these selling points into your marketing.

5. Purchase Supplies

Some customers will have their own cleaning supplies available, but this won’t always be the case. You need to come prepared for every job with the right supplies and equipment.

Make a list of the essentials. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to start, as you can always get more supplies once revenue starts coming in.

Here are a few things you will also need to start your cleaning business:

  • Buckets
  • Cleaning rags
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner (if not provided)
  • Dust rag
  • Window cleaner
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels

You’ll always want to have a reliable mode of transportation to transport your supplies to the job site. If this is an issue for you at the beginning, consider working with clients who already have cleaning supplies available.

6. Hire Help as Needed

In the beginning, handling all of the cleaning yourself is the best way to reduce labor costs and keep your expenses low. But, as you grow, you might require some extra help.

It’s OK to stay small and be a one-person business, and it is also OK to grow into a larger company. It all depends on your goals.

If you are going to hire a team, make sure you can over these added costs. The best way to stay on top of your income and expenses is to use professional accounting and bookkeeping software. With your finances organized, you’ll know whether you can afford to hire help.

Since your team represents your company, take your time choosing the right people. They should be professional, friendly to your clients and also have a good work ethic.

7. Ask for Reviews

Positive client reviews can do wonders in terms of attracting more customers to your cleaning business. With amazing reviews across the board, you’ll be in a good place to win over more clients in your area.

Once you have completed a job, ask your client to review your business. They can leave a review on your Google My Business profile, your Facebook page, on review sites like Yelp or on LinkedIn. Reviews also help your business get noticed in Google, which can attract even more customers.

8. Do an Amazing Job

This may be a no-brainer, but the success of your business depends on you delivering amazing work. If your clients are happy, you will get amazing reviews and therefore attract more clients.

Not only that, but happy clients are more likely to send new business your way via referrals. If you have a sense of pride in your work, clients will appreciate your work ethic and will continue working with you for months to come.

Bonus Tips to Grow Your Cleaning Business

By now you have learned the basics of how to start a cleaning business. With this information, you’ll have enough to start attracting your first paying clients. That said, here are a few bonus tips to help you grow your business faster.

Brush up on Your Cleaning Skills

If you have zero cleaning experience, even though you know how to start a cleaning business, it may be a struggle at first. Your clients expect great work, so at the minimum you’ll need to know the basics of cleaning a home or office.

Research how to clean kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms and office spaces more efficiently. Over time, your work will get even better and you’ll be able to accomplish more jobs in less time.

Beyond that, you’ll have more revenue coming in so you can invest in better cleaning supplies. Then you can charge higher rates and market yourself to a more particular clientele.

Invest in Professional Branding

While it’s enough to start a cleaning business with just an idea and some cleaning supplies, it will be easier to attract new clients if you market yourself as a professional. Having a professional logo and print marketing materials will make you look experienced to potential clients.

You can hire a graphic designer to design a logo and other branding materials for your business. With a professional business name, mission statement, fonts and colors, you’ll stand out from your competitors and make your company the obvious choice for your potential clients.

Build Your Business Website

Having a website for your business will help you attract more clients online and make your business look even more professional. Here you can post your company logo, about page, blog posts, services and more.

Work with a trusted web designer to create your website. Website costs range from $500 to $5,000. It’s OK to keep it simple and scale up once you have more revenue coming in.

Stay on Top of Your Business Finances

Many business owners find themselves in hot water by not staying on top of their finances. Even if you have a lot of revenue coming in, you’ll need to plan for taxes and other expenses.

Business owners should add up their estimated taxes and subtract this from their overall revenue. Then, about 30% of the remaining funds should be allocated to covering taxes.

If you struggle to stay on top of your numbers, consider hiring an accountant alongside your trusted accounting software.

Try Your Hand at SEO

SEO is one of the most powerful marketing methods for local businesses. It works to help your website rank in Google search for the key terms your potential customers are using to find businesses like yours.

For example, you might want to rank for terms such as “cleaning company in Seattle” or “Seattle top cleaning company,” if that is your local market. With SEO, you can optimize your website for these terms and rise above the competition.

Research SEO best practices to improve your website and start attracting customers organically.

Bottom Line

Starting a cleaning business can be quite lucrative if you deliver amazing work and keep your clients happy. In this guide, you have the steps you need to get started, plus some bonus tips for scaling your business to success.

If you’re passionate about starting a cleaning business on your own, you’ll have the drive it takes to overcome any obstacles and run the business you’ve always wanted.


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