How to Start Your Own Cleaning Service

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If you’re looking to launch a new business with low startup costs, a cleaning service is a solid choice. An estimated 10 percent of households pay for house cleaning services, so there’s a sizable market in most areas. Plus, it requires little more than some basic cleaners and equipment to get your business off of the ground. So, whether you’re looking to formalize a service you’ve been providing for years or jump into a new career, here’s a look at how to start your own cleaning service.

How to Start a Cleaning Service Business

In most cases, the process of launching a cleaning service is the same regardless of where you live and work in the United States. As a first step, you’ll want to do some market research to estimate local demand and explore typical rates. 

Additionally, it’s a chance to find out more about client expectations, such as whether cleaners need to be natural. You can also discover if various tasks are typically included in basic cleaning services or if charging extra is the norm.

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When it comes to funding your business, it’s typically best to bootstrap it if possible. The startup costs are classically low for this type of company, so it’s better to avoid debt initially. If you aren’t sure how much you’ll need, explore costs relating to getting your business license, insurance, and permits, as well as products, equipment, and advertising, to calculate an initial figure.

In most cases, it’s wise to begin as a one-person operation and handle the cleanings yourself. You’ll get valuable firsthand experience and can ensure your company is viable before bringing in employees. Additionally, you may want to specialize in a particular cleaning niche, allowing you to establish your expertise and potentially limit your startup costs.

Once you have your direction, you’ll need to handle some administrative tasks. Create a business plan and budget, secure any required licenses, and otherwise manage the legal aspect of launching a company. Then, purchase your supplies and equipment, ensuring you keep any receipts for tax purposes.

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At that point, it’s time to secure clients. Advertising online can be a simple way to start. You can use home services platforms or more general options, like Craigslist. Social media platforms are also an excellent lower-cost approach, along with alternatives like flyers and local newspaper ads.

As you secure clients, requesting referrals can be another low-cost way to expand. Word-of-mouth is critical for many service providers, so make sure to use it to your advantage.

How to Start an Apartment Cleaning Service

If you’re specifically interested in starting an apartment cleaning service, then you can use the same process as outlined above. Simply modify your advertising and pricing to focus on apartments, specifically.

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You could also contact local complexes and ask if you can advertise your services to residents directly. For example, requesting permission to put flyers up on community bulletin boards or hangers on doorknobs could be worthwhile.

How to Charge for Cleaning Services

In most cases, cleaning services use flat-rate pricing when working with clients. This makes the cost of the project predictable for the customer and simplifies billing on the part of the cleaner.


However, when you estimate the price, it’s normal to factor in the amount of time it’ll take to finish the given job. As a result, you may use an hourly figure when creating your estimates but present it as a flat rate to the client once you’ve formalized the quote.

When it comes to the national average, house cleaning services run about $45 to $50 per hour per cleaner. That can serve as a baseline for estimating what to charge for any particular job, though you may need to adjust the figure to ensure it aligns with local rates.

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As far as estimating the time requirement, it’s normal to factor in the overall square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Additionally, you may want to have different service levels, ranging from basic cleaning to deep cleaning, each with its own set of tasks that will impact the required time. That way, you can secure fair compensation for your time and effort.

Do I Have to Charge Sales Tax for Cleaning Services?

Whether you need to charge sales tax for cleaning services can vary. Typically, you’ll need to review state or municipal laws regarding taxation on residential or commercial cleaning services to see whether they are required.


Additionally, the rules may vary if you’re acting as a contractor instead of operating a small business. Again, it’s critical to review local laws, as those generally dictate whether charging sales tax is required.

What to Put on a Cleaning Service Flyer

If you want to create an eye-catching cleaning service flier, then you need to start with a striking but limited color palette. That will serve as a critical part of your branding, allowing people to recognize your ads at a glance.


Next, you want to make sure your company name and logo are clearly and prominently featured. While they don’t have to be the largest elements, ensuring they’re visible is a must.

Having a striking image that aligns with your color palette is typically wise. Cleaners, gloves, scrub brushes, buckets, and similar items all invoke a cleaning service, so choose imagery that features products like those. Couple that with a large headline or tagline that strongly hints at your business type, and you have the biggest eye-catching elements.

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After that, you want a quick overview of your service offerings. Finally, make sure your name (either yours or your company’s) and contact information – including website URLs, email addresses, and phone numbers – are clearly displayed, and you’re usually in good shape.

If you like, you can include some basic pricing information. For example, stating that your cleaning services are “$X and up” could be a wide addition, though you can also forgo pricing and simply ask people to contact you for a quote.

How to Get Bonded and Insured for a Cleaning Service

If you need to get bonded and insured, start by researching local requirements in your area, as they can vary from one state or city to the next. After that, you can begin exploring surety bonds from private insurance companies that serve your area that may meet your needs, likely a janitorial services or house cleaning surety bond.


Business insurance is separate, but the process is similar. You’ll need to explore options through private insurers that serve your area, choosing a solution that best fits your needs.