Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Guide to Starting Your Cleaning BusinessStarting a cleaning company is as easy as 1, 2, 3… Well, actually, the cleaning business launch process can be broken down into 6 steps. Though the specifics may vary depending on your business’s unique structure, you can use the points below as a guide:
- Create a business plan. In your business plan, you should set out how your cleaning business will operate and make profits. Ensuring all the details are ironed out beforehand will make the setup and launch process run more smoothly.
- Select a business name and register your company. A business must be registered officially under a unique, permissible name, but you can do this quickly online using a reputable LLC formation company such as ZenBusiness.
- Apply for tax IDs and obtain permits and licenses. In order to hire employees, you must apply for a tax ID in most states. Furthermore, cleaning companies may be obligated to apply for licenses and permits to operate legally in each state.
- Open a business bank account and get funding. Accounting for your company is a legal obligation, as you need to file tax returns and financial particulars. A separate bank account is a must to manage your finances, as is raising capital to launch your business.
- Acquire any required products and supplies. Professional cleaners need cleaning products, equipment, and ideally, specialized uniforms to get the job done. You’ll need to source these, as well as marketing materials.
- Launch and market your company. Marketing is the key to any business’s success, and there are plenty of ways to go about it. Having an online presence is important, too – especially a website, which you can create easily using a website builder such as Wix.
1. Research and Write a Cleaning Company Business Plan:
Is a Cleaning Business Really Profitable?
The majority of the US cleaning market is dominated by large-scale cleaning companies. However, there’s still room for your company if you focus on your local market or specialize in a niche. For example, there are only 33,000 carpet cleaning businesses in the US in 2022. You can also increase your cleaning profit margins by making, using, or selling in-house cleaning products.
You’re likely to be starting small, booking and cleaning client’s properties yourself. You can also launch a larger cleaning company if you have partners or money to invest. If you’re cleaning houses, you may also want to look into the commercial market, where retainer contracts and more frequent bookings may offer more stability.
Most importantly, you must adhere to legal requirements, including obtaining any mandatory licenses, permits, and insurance. ZenBusiness can generate a business license report for you, specifying exactly which licenses you need. Plus, its LLC formation packages include some pretty useful financial tools.
What Should You Include in Your Cleaning Business Plan?A detailed business plan is a must if you want your cleaning company launch to run smoothly. You can start it off by talking about what your business brings to the table. What range of services do you offer? Next, focus on who needs your cleaning services and who else is in the game. What unique touches, like eco-friendly products or after-hours bookings, make you stand out from the competition? And what’s your plan to attract customers? You also want to cover your business’s organizational structure, such as its members, shareholders, management, and employees, and their responsibilities. Lastly, dive into the financials. You should have a clear estimate of your expected income, expenses, and sources of revenue. If you need capital to launch, outline the amount needed, its purpose, and your repayment plan. If you already have capital, outlay how it will be spent.
2. Choose a Name and Register Your Cleaning Business
While you may start out as a sole proprietorship, there are many reasons to officially register your cleaning company as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Mainly, doing so protects you from personal legal liability, and separates your personal finances from those of your business. Official LLC registration also gives your business more credibility.
Registering your business under a chosen name secures it, too, disallowing other companies from trading under that name. Hence, it’s a good idea to come up with a few backup names, just in case your preferred option may already be taken. Just bear in mind some rules apply when naming a company, including limitations on using certain words like “Inc.” or “bank.”
Luckily, registering through a company formation service online streamlines the process. Not only do they check name availability and legality, but they also process your registration filing for you.
ZenBusiness has you covered in both the finance and business registration departments. Not only does it offer multiple tiers of LLC formation service, including its free LLC formation plan (minus state fees). It also packs some useful money management tools for free. ZenBusiness’ Money software tracks your expenses, income, and taxes, so you don’t have to. All you have to do is register your business via ZenBusiness and link your bank account in the dashboard. ZenBusiness Money Essential – the basic version – comes with all plans, as does a free 1-month trial of the advanced, paid version: ZenBusiness Money Pro.
- Worry-Free Compliance. This compliance feature is included with ZenBusiness’ Pro and Premium formation plans. With the Starter plan, it comes as a premium add-on you can use for free for the first year. Get notified of all mandatory filing events, as well as assistance with your annual filing and business amendments.
- License & permit report add-on. For a fee, you can add this service to your company registration service from ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness will generate a report specifying the exact licenses and permits you need to apply for.
- Business website & domain name. ZenBusiness’ Premium LLC formation includes a free website and domain name (1 year). You also get access to its proprietary no-code website builder and legal document library.
- Business permits & licenses. Not only can Tailor Brands assist you in finding out which licenses and permits you need. Its team will also fill out and send in the application for you.
- Fast filing speed. Both of Tailor Brands’ paid LLC formation plans (Essential and Elite) offer a 2-day application turnaround. Its 14-day free plan turnaround is also relatively quick compared to its competitors’ free filing packages.
- Business License and Compliance Package. For a flat fee, Swyft Filings will research and apply for any necessary business licenses and permits for you.
- ComplianceGuard add-on. With this optional add-on, Swyft Filings can handle your Annual Report, amendment, and meeting minutes so you stay compliant. This is automatically included as a free 14-day trial with all LLC formation plans.
3. Obtain Tax IDs, Cleaning Business Insurance, Permits, and Licenses
Not all businesses are required to obtain a tax ID or insurance, permits, and licenses. However, a cleaning business is one of those businesses that’s more likely to need one or all of the above. Unless you’re cleaning and running every aspect of your company yourself, you’ll need an EIN or tax ID to hire employees.
As cleaning companies generally send their employees to privately owned properties, business insurance may also be a necessity. Ideally, it should cover you for personal liability against damage and injury for both your employees and clients and their property. Furthermore, you may need permits and licenses to operate a cleaning business legally in each state.
ZenBusiness can help you find out exactly which permits and licenses you need to operate in your state(s) of operation. Its Business License Report service delivers a full report within 1–3 days of order or business registration.
4. Manage Your Cleaning Business’ Finances
The cost of launching a cleaning business can vary greatly depending on the size and reach of the company. For a small, family-run, or solopreneur-type cleaning business, you’ll likely only need a minimal outlay for cleaning supplies and a website. For a bigger cleaning company, you could spend upwards of a few thousand on hiring, advertising, and branding.
You can fund your cleaning business venture in a number of ways, including through:
- Personal or joint (family or partner) savings
- Loans from family, friends, or institutions
- Crowdfunding from family, friends, and potential customers
- Grants from organizations and institutions
- Venture capital from investors
5. Source Cleaning Supplies & Marketing Materials
You’ll need to purchase quite a few items to get started, including (but not necessarily limited to):
- Cleaning products, like soap, floor cleaner, bleach, degreaser, and dishwashing liquid.
- Cleaning supplies, such as mops, cleaning cloths, scourers, and brooms.
- Specialized cleaning equipment, like a vacuum cleaner, shop vac, or carpet cleaner.
- Uniforms or suitable clothing for you, your partners, and eventually your employees.
- Safety clothing & equipment, such as masks, ventilators, gloves, and protective boots.
- Transportation for your teams, such as a car or van.
- Marketing materials, including flyers, posters, car decals, and business cards.
How To Save on Supplies for a Cleaning Company
You can save on necessities by shopping bulk and wholesale, which may require a membership at a warehouse club. You can also purchase discounted or second-hand equipment and appliances. But be sure to compare pricing across retailers, and watch for discounts at your local supermarket.
Luckily, office or warehouse rental is optional, as you’ll be working at clients’ premises. You’ll likely want to have access to a shed or garage to store supplies.
Making Your Own Cleaning ProductsOne of the ways businesses reduce costs is by formulating and using their own cleaning products. There’s also a demand for the use of eco-friendly cleaning products and processes. Selling your own cleaning products white label, wholesale, or via a franchising scheme can also create a secondary income source. However, do note that there are stringent regulations in place regarding the manufacture, labeling, and sale of cleaning products. Both hygiene and safety are a priority, as well as correctly and clearly labeling the products per usage, ingredients, and safety precautions.
6. Launch and Promote Your Cleaning Company
Once your cleaning company is registered, and you’re ready to book clients, you can start promoting yourself. Your launch is the ideal time to do so, allowing you to attract first-time customers at a launch party or via promotional launch offers. But first, you’ll need a website to up your credibility and ensure your customers can find you.
Luckily, you don’t even need to know how to code or design. You can use a website builder to create a website easily and quickly. Featuring templates, drag-and-drop elements, plugins, and more, the process is super-simple. Some website builders, including Wix, even allow you to use their platform for free. But you’ll generally need to pay for a domain and hosting.
Wix is our go-to for website design, featuring a huge library of premade website templates (900+ at present). If you search for “cleaning website” on Wix’s website template page, you’ll get quite a few suggestions. Besides its website builder, which you can use for free, Wix can also auto-generate a custom website for you in minutes. Just answer a few questions, and you’re good to go. In both cases, you can tweak your site or a template to your liking. Wix is one of the few website builders that will actually host your site for free. However, you’ll need to pay to connect your custom domain name. Free Wix sites display a Wix domain, which isn’t quite as professional.
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Or Use an LLC Formation Service With a Website Builder IncludedSome LLC formation services also include a website, domain, and hosting in their plans – or offer them in a separate subscription or add-on. ZenBusiness, Tailor Brands, and Swyft Filings all do, but it’s advisable to compare each LLC formation service’s offering, as they do differ. This option will allow you to get your cleaning company’s registration and design needs sorted in one go. You can promote your cleaning business and services online and offline. For example, you can market your company on social media with ads and promoted posts. You can also create a Google Business Profile so you can have a free local business listing that gets seen on Google Maps or add a free listing on Yellow Pages online. Launching local ads on Google may also increase brand visibility, but this does cost money, and it can be risky as you have to bid on keywords. You can also target local customers by doing a drop-off – essentially, delivering flyers or coupons into mailboxes. If you’re in the commercial cleaning market, cold calling and emailing potential clients may also be an effective way to gain customers. Draw up a list of businesses that may need your services, such as retail premises, offices, and schools, and give them a call. Having a professional website is essential for promoting yourself credibly via all the online and offline channels above. It should serve as a marketing hub where potential customers can scope out your company, contact you, or book a cleaning.
Start (and Scale) Your Cleaning Business and Sweep Your Way to SuccessCleaning companies offer invaluable services to property owners, organizations, and industry. As such, establishing a business in the cleaning sector is viable and worthwhile. You don’t have to go it alone, though – enlist the help of a reputable LLC formation service provider to get started on the right foot. With professionals handling the paperwork for you, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on launching your cleaning business.
|Standout/niche feature||Business permits & license application||Does it offer a website builder?||Starting price|
|ZenBusiness||Money management software + free LLC formation||✘ (license & permit report only)||✔|
|Tailor Brands||Useful logo, website, business card, and merchandise design tools||✔ (report & application)||✔|
|Swyft Filings||Fast filing + license & permit application assistance||✔ (report & application)||✔ (with Squarespace)|