How to Start a House Cleaning Business

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Quick Reference

Some people find cleaning their houses satisfying and take pride in the end results of a clean, presentable home. If you’re one of those people, then starting a house cleaning business can allow you to capitalize on your cleaning enjoyment and talents. House cleaning businesses offer many advantages. You can start them entirely on your own, and there are minimal startup costs. As your business grows, you can hire staff and continue to increase your profits. Cleaning houses is hard work, but when you’re building a profitable business, it can be a highly rewarding opportunity. 

Business Overview

House cleaning businesses provide customers with convenience and a much-needed service that can help to keep their homes safe and presentable. House cleaners typically perform basic cleaning services, like dusting, vacuuming, mopping, bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, and taking out the garbage. Businesses may also offer additional specialized tasks like laundry, dishes, window washing, and more. 

Often, customers hire house cleaners on a regular, recurring schedule. House cleaners may charge by the hour or may set a flat fee to clean the entire house. Most house cleaners will arrive with their own equipment, including cleaning products, though customers may choose to request eco-friendly cleaning products. 

Typically, house cleaners work with a variety of customers who are homeowners or renters. House cleaners may also offer their services to apartment owners or AirBnB properties that need to be cleaned in between tenants. 

Industry Summary

According to Allied Market Research, the cleaning services market continues to grow. The market, which includes a variety of both commercial and residential services, is expected to grow by 6.2% and to be a $74,299 million industry by 2022.

This growth is due to many factors, including the increase in disposable income that has occurred from 2015 to 2020. The recent years have also seen an increase in construction, making for more homes that need cleaning services. Additionally, with more women working out of the home, more families are hiring house cleaning businesses.

Industry Trends

The house cleaning industry is evolving, thanks to many current trends. According to Podium10, eco-friendly cleaning continues to become more popular, so it’s important for businesses to embrace green cleaning products and services. Many cleaning products can be harmful to the environment, and eco-friendly homeowners are increasingly seeking cleaners who use eco-friendly cleaning products.  

Technology is also playing a large role in the house cleaning industry. Improved technology allows house cleaners to automate many time-consuming tasks. With a well-designed website, clients can schedule their own bookings online, saving scheduling and phone call time. Accepting online payments for recurring services eliminates invoice creation and saves time and frustration in tracking down payments. Apps and programs can even send out automated appointment reminders, saving the business owner time on the phone. 

With all of this technology comes a greater responsibility to provide excellent customer service. House cleaners can use apps and programs to connect with clients more promptly and easily than before. Online social media and website chat systems allow customers to get information immediately. Online quote request systems can help to streamline the quote process, and adding booking buttons into social media and a website can help to encourage customers to sign up right away. 

Target Market

House cleaning businesses market to homeowners or renters who have large amounts of disposable income. Generally speaking, these people have a higher than average income. A business’ target market includes people who are busy and have limited time for cleaning, and who are looking for convenience in maintaining their homes. 

Skills, experience, and education useful in running a house cleaning business

Starting a house cleaning business doesn’t require a business degree, but certain skills and experiences are valuable in both starting and running this business.

Physical fitness and endurance. Cleaning houses is a physically demanding job, and a business owner will need to be strong and have good physical endurance. 

Attention to detail. A business owner will need to pay attention to all of the details that go into every cleaning job to ensure that they perform the quality work that customers expect. 

Customer service skills. Interacting with customers, both over the phone and in their homes, is a significant part of running a cleaning business. Previous customer service experience will be an advantage. 

Time management skills. A good house cleaner needs great time management skills to maximize their efficiency and ensure they arrive at each house on time. 

Management experience. When it’s time to hire additional house cleaners to expand the business, experience in hiring, training, and managing staff will be helpful. 

Costs to Start a House Cleaning Business

One significant advantage of starting a house cleaning business is that it requires minimal startup costs, making it a highly accessible business for many entrepreneurs with limited budgets. It’s possible to start a house cleaning business for as little as $2,000, assuming the business owner already has a vehicle that can be used for business purposes. 

Common startup costs for a house cleaning business:

  • Cleaning supplies 
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Vehicle or other mode of transportation
  • Uniforms

 

Steps to Starting a House Cleaning Business

Step 1. Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your business should be to write a clothing line business plan.  Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan, but multiple studies have shown that a business plan helps increase the odds of starting a successful business.

Related:
How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2. Form a Business Entity

A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from which include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and LLC.  Each type of entity has its own pros and cons such as liability exposure, costs and administrative requirements. 

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Step 3. Select your Location

Most house cleaning businesses can be run right out of the home. If a business expands to encompass multiple employees and vehicles, then it may be necessary to rent an office. Rental costs will vary depending on the property’s location, size, and amenities. 

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 4. Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

No special licensing in required to start a home cleaning business, however there are general business licenses, permits and registrations that vary depending on where the business is located. 

Related: Common business licenses, permits and registrations by state

Step 5. Find Financing

Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing, but getting the funding to start a house cleaning business is another.  Funding to start a house cleaning business business can be difficult.  In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs. 

Related: Finding the money to start a business  

Step 6. Get your Marketing Plan in Place

Marketing is important not only when starting up the business, but also in bringing in new customers. Common marketing techniques include setting up a website, using social media, print advertising, and direct mail advertising. Establishing a referral program can also encourage current customers to refer their friends and family, building up a customer base. Marketing costs vary depending on the type and volume of marketing performed. 

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 7. Get Insurance

A house cleaning business will need several types of insurance for full coverage: 

  • General liability insurance helps to protect the business if a customer’s property is damaged or if the customer is injured as a result of the business’ work or equipment. 
  • Commercial property insurance helps to protect the business if its property or equipment are damaged or destroyed in an event like a fire. 
  • Commercial auto insurance helps to cover the expenses that can result from an accident involving the business’ vehicle. 
  • Worker’s compensation insurance can cover expenses like lost wages and medical bills that may result if an employee is ever hurt while working. 

Insurance policy cost will vary depending on factors like the business’ location and the number of employees on staff. To get the most accurate idea of how much to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, don’t just consider the differences in premiums, but also look at how factors like coverage limits, exclusions, and deductibles compare, too.

Step 8. Hiring Employees

A business owner can run the house cleaning business entirely on their own during its early days, but as that business expands, it may be necessary to bring on additional staff. According to Glassdoor, house cleaners earn an average salary of $24,038 per year, though salaries can range from $18,000 to $38,000.

In addition to budgeting for employee salaries, a business will also need to budget for other expenses that come with hiring staff. The business may need to cover paid time off, health insurance contributions, and worker’s comp insurance.

Related: Hiring your first employee

 


 

Amazon has several good books for starting a house cleaning business such as:


 

How much can you potentially make owning a house cleaning business?

The profits of house cleaning businesses vary depending on the business’ location, years in business, number of employees, number of clients, and rates. Maid Services of America reports that businesses charge between $80 and $120 to clean an average American home. Assuming a business charges $100 per home and cleans five houses per day, that business would earn $2,500 per week and $125,000 per year. By hiring additional employees and carefully marketing the business, a house cleaning business could potentially clean more houses and earn higher profits. 

Things to consider before starting a house cleaning business

While a business owner can start a house cleaning business on their own, at some point it will be necessary to hire help. Finding quality help can be challenging and time-consuming, so consider the types of perks that your business can offer to attract quality help who will represent the business well. Raises, bonuses, and other financial incentives may help to encourage employee loyalty and dedication to the work and business. Develop a thorough interview and applicant evaluation process to help identify the best applicants for the job. Consider running a background check on all employees that you hire, which can build customers’ confidence in your business and your employees. 

It may be tempting to try to offer a wide variety of services, like carpet cleaning, window cleaning, pool cleaning, and more, especially when you’re just starting out. But, this can cause you to spread yourself too thin, and if you can’t do all of these services well, you’ll risk jeopardizing your reputation. Instead, focus on a handful of services that you can do well, and that are in-demand in your area. 

Be prepared to turn down potential jobs, too. With experience, you’ll learn to identify customers that can be extra demanding or difficult, and that can cost you time and profits. You’ll also develop your quoting skills so you can make sure that every job you take on increases your profits and is worth your time. 

Resources:
American Association of Cleaning Professionals
American House Cleaners Association
Association of Residential Cleaning Services International