If you have been thinking about how to start a cleaning business, once you read through this post you will have a better understanding on the steps needed to take to execute your plan. We will cover how to plan, choosing the right name, registering the business, selecting the best maid service software as well as various other facets.
Starting a home cleaning business can be very lucrative if you set it up properly and take the necessary steps to continue your growth with very little startup costs. Having a service business like this sets you up for success because of the numerous opportunities of upselling customers.
Before you just jump right into starting your cleaning service you should highly consider creating a business plan so that you have a guide to follow. This is going to help you know what you need and how to obtain it, once you take care of a task you can mark it down as completed and move on.
Business plans help you to stay organized and keep you on track with your overall vision. If you ever need to refer back to something you can go to your plan and see what it is that you need.
What Is Right for You?
There are several different options when it comes to starting a home cleaning business. We suggest that you do some research on the different types so that you know what suits you best.
Below is a list of different types of cleaning businesses:
- Mobile Laundry
- Decluttering Services
- Green Cleaning Services
- Airbnb Cleaner
- Vrbo Cleaning
- New Home Construction Cleaner
- Housing Associations
- New Construction Commercial Cleaning Business
- Move-In, Move Out Cleaning
- Home Cleaning
- Apartment Cleaning
- Office Cleaning
- Specialty Cleaning
- Duct Cleaning
- Carpet Cleaning business
- Window Cleaning Business
- I.T. Cleaning Business
- Property Cleaning Services
- Dry Cleaning Business
- Rug Cleaning
- Hazardous Waste Removal
- Mold Remediation
- Power Washer Business
- Laundromat, Clothes Cleaning Business
- Dry Cleaning
- Boat Cleaning
If you like a number of these options and don’t know which one you want to go with don’t worry you do not have to choose just one. You can set up your business to have different cleaning types so that you can offer more variety. This is going to be a big plus for you to choose a few because that gives you more of an opportunity to lock in more customers.
Another way to increase revenue is by offering a green cleaning service. This is specific to people who want to use natural products versus ones that have tons of chemicals that they may be allergic to.
There are two main ways to structure a home cleaning business. These two ways are using independent contractors or employees as your cleaners. There are pros and cons to both and there is no right or wrong route to go with, this is purely how you would like to handle your staff.
Independent contractors: They are self employed workers who are receiving jobs from you. They do not wear company uniforms, they drive their own vehicles and bring their own supplies. Going with this route saves you from purchasing supplies, uniforms, as well as other expenses that a normal employee would need. There are several other benefits to using contractors over employees.
Employees: These are workers who are employed directly by your company who will need to have supplies, uniforms, gas compensation, unemployment insurance as well as other factors. The benefit to having employees is that they can wear branded uniforms to give your company a more sophisticated look but the expenses of having employees is more than that or IC’s.
It is in your best interest to research deeper into the differences of structuring with contractors versus employees because it will be easier on you to choose the right one from the get-go instead of making the change later down the line.
Choosing the best cleaning company name can seem like a simple enough task but there are certain things to look at when doing so.
Things to avoid:
- Too long
- Weird spelling
- Focused on one aspect of the business
- Putting a location in the name
You will want to make sure that the name is short and to the point and not something that is overly wordy. Avoiding long names will make it easier for customers to remember and give less of a chance of it being spelled incorrectly.
A name like “Jacksons Perfect Home and Carpet Cleaning Service” is a name you would want to highly avoid, one is that is very long and two is that it has specific services that you do. If you happen to stop doing carpet cleaning in the future then you will either be stuck with the name or have to rename the company and that is just too much.
A name like “Your Perfect Home” is short and to the point. This allows the customer to be able to remember and spell it correctly and it allows you as the business owner to add and remove services as you grow without worrying about changing it.
Can Everyone Spell It?
Spelling may seem like it doesn’t matter but it definitely does! If your customer is having a hard time spelling your name and can’t find your website or social media pages they may try two or three times before they give up and go with a competitor.
You may think everyone will know how to spell a certain word or name but what happens if you spell it a different way? If you name your company “Jacksons Perfect Home” but actually spell it “Jaxons Perfect Home” this will cause confusion and lead to loss of customers.
If you plan on staying local forever and never expanding outside of you primary location then you can put the city or state name in. If you want to expand then we highly recommend keeping the location out of your name.
If you started in New York and now want to add a location in Chicago but your name is New Yorks Perfect Service this is going to confuse potential customers in Chicago and avoid using you because they’ll think you don’t actually service their area.
This is key to having a great flow within your business. Take for example, King of Maids, their logo is a crown with their name at the bottom. Along with the colors, this brand does an excellent job of showing that their motto is “Experience Royalty”.
Register a Domain
Before locking in a name, have a domain checker like Go Daddy to see if the domain name is available and exactly as the name you want. This is another important step to consider because if your name is Your Perfect Home but that domain name is taken you will run into issues.
You may be thinking that if you could just add a letter to another word to the domain then it’ll be fine, wrong. If your name is “Your Perfect Home” and you register the domain as “Your Perfect Homes” this may seem like a simple fix but again will cause confusion.
You want to have as much even flow throughout your business as possible. It can become tedious but once you have it all matching then you will be set.
Your Legal Structure
Running a business means that you have to have all necessary paperwork filled out and signed so that you avoid facing fees, penalties, and even lawsuits.
If you searched “How to start a home cleaning business” you would get tons of articles like this one telling you how and what to do. You can find out almost all if not all the required paperwork online, if you are still struggling then consult with an attorney or accountant.
Licenses, Permits, and Tax Forms
No matter how you legally set up your company make sure you have any necessary licenses, permits or tax forms set up. If you plan on using independent contractors then your business will more than likely not need some or any but your contractors will. When hiring, make sure to check that they have these licenses and that they are up to date.
This is going to be the most simple way to start your business. A sole proprietor does not need separate accounts for finances but this means you are the only employee working. If you plan on hiring others to do the work then this is not the route to go. If you do plan to go this route just know that setting up your business like this does not
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
This is the most common type for cleaning businesses because of the fact that it keeps your personal assets and the business assets separate. You always want to make sure you are protected at every angle so if you unfortunately do get sued they can only go after what the business has and not what you as an individual own.
Partnerships and Corporations
This is much less common for maid services because of the way that they are structured. If you would like to learn more on this a quick search will tell you why.
Employer Identification Number
Having an Employer Identification Number or EIN is a nine-digit number that is given to you by the IRS so that it can be used to identify the account for tax purposes. This number is used for various reasons like tax purposes as well as getting loans from banks if you ever needed one.
The one word that everyone despises but cannot be avoided. Make sure when setting up your business you verify with an accountant that you have filed all the proper tax forms on the state and federal levels. If there is one thing you don’t want to do is miss any sort of tax paperwork.
If you plan on having an office location then over time you will expect to hire customer service employees. When looking at customer service reps you will want to make sure they have great communication skills and are always willing to help remedy any situation that may occur. Being in the cleaning industry there are not many differences between you and your competitors, one way that you can stand out from them is by having outstanding customer service. Even if they had a bad experience with you but your customer service team was on top of fixing the issue this customer is gonna be more willing to use you again.
Paying Your Staff
Pay is going to be the biggest expense. So figuring out how to do this so that both you and your workers are happy is going to take some figuring out. If you plan to use employees then you will need to pay at least the minimum wage for your respected state and area. If you are using contractors then you can choose between a hourly wage, a flat rate or a percentage of the service.
For the most part, the maid service companies that use independent contractors use a percentage scale. You can start with a 50/50 split and go from there to adjust higher or lower. The higher the percentage the less of a chance for a higher turnover rate. If you see that the workers are taking advantage of the pay and not giving the quality cleaning you or your customers expect then those adjustments can be made accordingly.
If you plan to go the route of having employees as your cleaners, you will need to provide them with cleaning supplies. The supplies will depend on the types of services you offer so make sure to check the necessary supplies and get at least the minimum.
If you plan on just doing basic residential home cleanings then a vacuum, microfiber cloths and windex should suffice. Over time you will know what you should get and what you can avoid. If you plan on providing services that take more tools or equipment and you don’t have the funds to purchase them new you can always look to get something used. Buying used will save you tons of money but make sure that they are at least in good condition and won’t need repairs anytime soon.
When it comes to cleaning supplies there are so many options on the market that give you the ability to choose what is right. Keep in mind that there will be customers who have allergies to some things so choosing a solution that can avoid allergic reactions will be a major plus. They may be on the pricer side due to the fact of being more natural but use your best judgement and go from there.
This can oftentimes be overlooked as people tend to think things are common sense but in actuality they’re not. Letting your cleaners as well as your customers know up front on what is tolerated and what is not will save you so much time, headaches and money.
Common practices for safety are cleaners will not use a step stool with more than three steps, cleaning the outsides of windows (unless proper safety equipment is used) moving large or heavy appliances, etc.
If you plan on using cleaners and registering your business as an LLC you will need to get some sort of insurance. This is going to vary state to state but if you want to make sure you have the basics then having a general liability insurance is going to be the perfect starting point. From there, you can add more to the policy whether its terms or minimums on the amounts in terms of damages or bodily injury.
Learn more about cleaning business insurance and bonding costs.
The best businesses use various softwares and tools to help them run and automate their company. Why? Well, the biggest part is that it saves time and headaches. Yes, it is going to cost money but if you find the right one for you and your business you can start with a less expensive package and move up when you grow.
Tools like BookingKoala allow you to have integrations with payment processors like Stripe and PayPal as well as accounting tools like QuickBooks. Being able to have everything in one software saves you money as well as less headaches when it comes to logging in and doing different tasks on various portals.
Having a budget and sticking with it should always be your primary goal. Budgets are in place for a reason, they are a guide on what you are able to put in before you expect any revenue. Ten years ago it costed more because there was a less variety of tools and ways to run a service business.
Now, we have heard of business owners who started their cleaning service with just around $1,000. Doing it with a smaller budget just means you will need to do more legwork on your end but if you set it up right then you can succeed quickly. This will also let you start the business sooner, saving $1,000 vs $10,000 or putting that on a credit card will be easier.
If its harder for you to save the money yourself then you may want to look at other types of funding. The different types of funding are, personal loans, business grants, and crowdfunding.
The first thing customers are going to look at is your pricing. If you are charging significantly less versus your competition you may be signing up tons of clients right away but you are leaving money on the table. If you want to charge less you can but make sure you are not selling yourself and your business short. Sometimes charging more and providing a stellar experience will benefit you more than charging less and giving a standard cleaning experience.
Having A Pricing Structure
Having a structure for your pricing will help you know exactly how to price a job when a customer gives you some information over the phone or through email. You can set it as hourly, a flat rate or by square footage. You can also use a combination if you want. There are softwares that do allow you to set up your booking forms with multiple combinations.
Knowing how to price your service is not an exact science and will take adjustments. For initial cleanings however, these are always going to be priced higher regardless if its a one-time booking or for a recurring service. If your customer purchased a one time clean you can offer them a discount code to book again for a recurring service which will help lower their cost but you now have recurring revenue.
Once you have your pricing structure set it’ll be time to look for the ideal customer. Not everyone is going to be your customer and you don’t necessarily want to have them all. Why? It’s because there are customers who are always looking for deals and will be quick to point out something that may or may not have been done correctly so that they can get even more money off.
Knowing who to target and what they are looking for is going to help your business tremendously when you realize who you want as a customer from the beginning.
When choosing a location to start your business you are going to want to do some research into the best methods for marketing there specifically. There are several ways to market your business from Facebook or Google Ads to Yelp to flyers and posters. Know that just because Yelp ads work for a cleaning service in L.A. does not mean that they will work for a company in New York.
Facebook, Yelp, Google and more are all platforms that cleaning services are using to promote their business. They are all going to have different results as well as different costs. Start with a smaller budget and test various ads. If you use one ad and see horrible results you will probably think that it’s not working. Well, that may be the case for that specific ad but your next ad with different text and image may work 1,000 times better.
If you plan on trying Yelp ads, make sure you have at least 10 or so reviews before you start spending money with them. Trying to advertise a business with no reviews will blow threw that budget faster than you know. Again it more than likely will be due to the fact that there isn’t anything for perspective customers to read about.
Digital marketing is any type of online marketing like SEO, social media posts, and emails. The first is going to take the most time because ranking keywords on search engines like Goole and Yahoo take tons of time and effort, especially if you are doing it on your own. Social media and emails are going to be your most cost effective in the beginning because they don’t cost anything.
Having an email opt-in on various places on your site will give you better chances that someone will leave theirs in hopes of a discount code.
Print marketing are flyers, magnets, business cards, any basically anything that you print your business on and hand out. While these may seem like the cheapest option that is not always the case. Print marketing was big before the age of computers but now with everything being online this has pretty much fazed out.
If you are on a very low or limited budget using Facebook groups and just posting about your business without being pushy is a great free method. If you don’t get buyers right away at least you have started to imprint on them that there is a new service that they can look at in the future.
Solidify Your Brand
Cleaning will always be a profitable business that will never go away. There are so many people who hate doing it and refuse. This means that there are always going to be customers who are willing to pay for the service. With so many options in any given area you need to fight for the top. Again, you won’t have all the customers and that’s fine but you do want to be the company that customers always come to first. The only way to do that is by building your brand and reputation to a point where people can recognize your business just off of the logo. How do you do that? Build trust. Show your customers what it means to book with you and that you value each and every one of them more than any of your competitors ever will.
Master Repeatable Methods
When opening your home cleaning service focus on one region. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. Once you have gotten your business to a substantial recurring revenue then think about opening up in another city. Don’t take on too much when starting out, you will burnout yourself and your company before it even takes off.