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    mtezzy's Avatar
    mtezzy Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 18, 2006, 11:39 AM
    Starting a cleaning service
    Hello experts,

    Im located in Louisville Ky and I was interested in starting a cleaning service without tuns of money invested. Some of the things I would like to know is were do I start in terms of utilities and supplies, and what are the best markets or clients best suited for this carrer choice. Could you explain some of the good and bad choices to make in this field... If you could give me little insight on some of these questions that would be great...

    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Sep 18, 2006, 12:12 PM
    Two resources for starting a business:
    Gwen's Avatar
    Gwen Posts: 4, Reputation: 4
    New Member

    Sep 29, 2006, 09:39 AM
    What it Takes to Start a Cleaning Business

    You may believe that starting a house cleaning business is as simple as purchasing the supplies and handing out flyers. Or, you may think that buying a cleaning franchise will make the endeavor easy. Either way you choose to start your business, you should be prepared to be a small business owner.

    Before you start a house cleaning business, carefully consider the following:


    Is there a high demand for house cleaning services in your community and surrounding areas? If you live in a small city you may have to market your business to neighboring communities. You may need to lease space central to your service area to be certain that drive time will not consume an inordinate amount of employee compensation.

    Are there major franchise outlets in your area? If so, they have researched the demographics and determined that it is possible to succeed. It will be your responsibility manage your business efficiently and to hire wisely in order to compete with the franchises. Remember that they are facing the same challenges an independent business does in marketing, managing employees and maintaining a steady flow of income; however, they must pay a percentage of their gross profits to the franchisor.

    What is the average hourly fee for your competitor's services? You must remain within the local standards. You can undercut your competition slightly, but don't cut yourself short.

    Investment Capital

    Do you have $5k to $150k risk capital available? The amount of capital you will need is dependent upon whether you start independently or purchase a franchise, your demographics and how large your business is to start. Consider whether you will lease space or work from home, and how many employees you will hire. Not only will you be responsible for payroll and taxes, but the cost of insurance, equipment and supplies will increase for each employee you hire. If you purchase a franchise you will also have royalty payments and extra fees to consider. For detailed research on franchising, visit and read the article "Franchise Facts".

    Will you need financing and, if so, where will you obtain it? The Small Business Association is a government organization which provides general information on obtaining funds for start-up businesses, and specific information on government loans which you may be eligible for. They also provide an easy to complete, free template for the business plan you will need for any loan application. Visit their website at

    Do you have savings or additional income to live on for up to 12 months while growing your business? Plan for success, but be prepared to struggle.

    Have you calculated the costs of paying office associates and independent contractors to assist with the business? Research local wages and include the average compensation in your business plan.


    Do you require a specific level of annual income? You may have to live on less if the business is not as successful as you anticipate.

    How many hours are you willing to work? The hours you put in will be greater than expected – guaranteed. You will need to become familiar with all aspects of the business in order to be successful. This may require taking classes on business management or computer training.

    Will you operate the business yourself or hire a manager? Even if you hire a seasoned business manager, you must be familiar with the day-to-day operations and have a presence in the office. It is not prudent to grant anyone else complete control of your financial responsibilities.


    Will you need special training to succeed? According to Dun & Bradstreet, 90% of all small business failures can be traced to poor management resulting from lack of knowledge. You must be willing to attend seminars, take college level courses, and read books to improve your skills.

    Do you possess computer, bookkeeping, or accounting skills? It is necessary that you have an understanding of these aspects of your business. Taking a business management course at your local community college will provide you with general knowledge.

    Are your sales and people skills top notch? Your business will not thrive if you fall short in these areas. Even if you hire a business manager and a sales person, you will find that knowledge of sales and communication is necessary to manage these employees well. There are many books you can read, and online resources to assist you with learning these skills.

    Do you have successful managerial experience? Your management skills will need to be more than competent in order to bring your dreams to fruition.

    Are you able to delegate responsibilities and trust your assistant's abilities? Delegation is a requirement of any management position. Trust is earned. If you have performed reference checks and hired properly then you should be able trust your assistant's abilities. Remember to check their work periodically to assure that personal issues are not interfering with their ability to perform their job functions.

    Could you run the business solo if you had to? You may find that your office help is incompetent, or may take an unexpected leave of absence. Have a backup plan ready. If you are not prepared to run the business by yourself, you must have a temporary agency you trust on stand-by. Ask other local business owner's which agency they use, then contact a few agencies and have their information on hand for emergency use.

    Other Considerations

    Do you have access to large discount stores for cleaning supplies? If the demographics are right for establishing a cleaning service in your area, then you should have a discount store within a few miles.

    Is your credit rating favorable? You will need this to set up accounts with vendors for equipment and bulk supplies.

    Are you able and willing to work long hours to get your business off the ground? There is a period of learning and adjustment which will be different for each business owner and their employees. You should expect that the first year will require longer hours than you would like.

    Are your spouse and family willing to live with the budget and time restraints a new business venture will incur? Be certain that your family is aware of the time and budget issues a new business incurs. You may need to remind yourself and your family often that this will be temporary.

    Will you need to invest your life savings in this new venture? If so, then you should reconsider your options. Don't put your life savings at risk until you have thoroughly researched the market, polished your skills and gained your family's full support.

    Are you willing to face the consequences if you fail? You are 100% responsible for your business. If you do not take the necessary steps to assure success, you will fail. Do not start a business if you do not have the fortitude and determination required of an entrepreneur.

    Copyright © 2004 MaidDocs® ~ All rights reserved.

    Visit to read free articles about how to start a cleaning business and keep it growing. Also visit to post questions to other cleaning business owners.
    halpenhand's Avatar
    halpenhand Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 15, 2006, 05:35 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by mtezzy
    Hello experts,

    Im located in Louisville Ky and i was interested in starting a cleaning service without tuns of money invested. Some of the things i would like to know is were do i start in terms of utilities and supplies, and what are the best markets or clients best suited for this carrer choice. Could you explain some of the good and bad choices to make in this field...... If you could give me little insight on some of these questions that would be great....


    I think starting a home-based cleaning service is the way to go. Especially when one doesn't have a lot of money to start-up. As a matter of fact, I have hardly any at all. I know it's going to take a little longer, but with perserverance and a vision I know that I will be a success and yo will too. I HIGHLY recommend reading The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. This book was reommended to me by a few friends who own small businesses and I tell you that it changed my perceptions and ideas about small businesses. It actually gave me a sense to lead with my spirit and find the spirit of the company and REALLY REALLY good PLANNING and research!

    Good Luck!

    Greg Halpen
    Gwen's Avatar
    Gwen Posts: 4, Reputation: 4
    New Member

    Oct 19, 2006, 01:18 PM
    Although it is challenging to start a cleaning business with minimal investment which will flourish, it is possible. If you have customers already waiting for your services you can start cleaning in a few days, then word of mouth might increase your customer base soon enough to avoid excessive marketing expenses. Keep in mind that obtaining customers can be time consuming and costly. Your costs will also rise considerably if you purchase liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Realistically, you should expect to invest over $1,000 to keep your business growing once you have obtained the minimal basics. If your goal is to earn a living solely from your house cleaning business, then you must reinvest earnings into the business in order to increase customers and income.

    Read all of the articles at and visit to prepare for the adventure of starting a cleaning business. Then visit all of the websites listed at the end of this article to learn about government regulations, taxes and licensing.

    Research the local market to determine what your competitors charge. You must remain within the local standards, and you can undercut your competition slightly; however, if you charge significantly less you may end up with low profits and a heavy workload -- defeating your business goals. Set your fees so that as you add employees you will not need to raise prices and thereby lose customers. If you want to offer significantly lower cleaning fees than your competitors you should advertise time-sensitive discounts (i.e. $50 off a deep cleaning until the end of next month.)

    Your cleaning business should have a polished and professional image to compete in the marketplace. A professionally designed logo will help to brand your company in the public's mind.

    Before you start your own cleaning business be prepared with customized, professionally written business forms and letters. You should have: a sales script memorized to perfection whether you do in-home estimates or estimates by phone; cleaning fee estimate calculator; fee estimate letters; follow-up letters; new customer letters stating hourly fees for cleaning services and payment policies; a customer database and accounting system; information sheets listing details for each customer; cleaning service checklist form to leave with customers after each service; and customer survey forms for every new customer to complete and return. Visit to obtain all of this and more. You can purchase a cleaning business start up package for $175, or a complete cleaning business system for only $2500.

    To obtain your first customers you can advertise under "services" in the classified section of your local newspapers. Keep it short and ad your logo if you can afford to. Your ad might read “Quality housecleaning with integrity. Call ###-#### for a free estimate.” $25 - $100 should cover running your ad for 2 weeks depending upon your location and size of the ad.

    You should have a voice-mail system with a professional message which reflects your business image. Be certain to return calls within 2 to 3 business hours. Because most people have sufficient phone systems the cost of this will not be included in our general start-up estimate.

    You can develop your own brochure or postcard using Microsoft Publisher software, or you can purchase professional templates. The pieces can be printed in-house if you have a high quality printer, or at a local copy center. PIP, Staples and Office Depot all have high speed copiers that will produce professional quality marketing pieces at very reasonable prices. Insist on seeing a sample before you have the job completed. You MUST deliver high quality marketing pieces in order to make the best impression on your prospects. Flimsy paper with lopsided print, ink rubbing off and jagged edges is not the professional image that will make your prospects eager to call. $100 should cover your costs for 100 brochures, 200 postcards, or 250 door hangers.

    Magnetic car signs are a great advertising tool which can be made by a local sign maker for $25 to $50 a set, plus an initial set-up fee of approximately $60. Be certain that your signs fit on both compact and full size cars and that you use no more than three colors. When designing your signs keep in mind that bold lettering and brief wording works best.

    For around $100 you can purchase cleaning supplies at a discount center. Either store or brand name household cleaning products will work, however, compare the percentage of active cleaning ingredients. Avoid products containing bleach as it can cause damage to carpets and counters. Our preferred products are: Murphy’s Oil Soap; Pine-Sol; Soft Scrub (lemon or orange); Scrub-Free mildew remover; all purpose cleaner; furniture polish; toilet disinfectant/germicide; glass cleaner. Purchase mops with machine washable heads; both large and medium size sturdy buckets with handles; a large sturdy caddy; 40 white cotton washcloths for cleaning; medium and large scrub brushes (use old tooth brushes for detailing around sinks and in grout); toilet brush; teflon scrub pads; lambs wool dusters; extension wand; 13 gallon kitchen trash bags; and a 3-step ladder.

    Commercial grade vacuums start at around $250 and are well worth the investment. We have found that Royal brand commercial vacuums are the longest lasting and they out clean the competition. Visit for the best prices, reputable salespeople and 2 - 5 day nationwide shipping.

    When you’re ready to hire employees for your cleaning business be certain to have your employment application, employee policies handbook, cleaning procedures manual, warning certificates and all of the appropriate human resources paperwork. With strict policies and procedures to follow, your employees will know that they are working for a professionally run company, and therefore will be less likely to take advantage of you. Also, you will need to keep employee files containing tax paperwork and employment history including a record of verbal and written warnings. offers customizable employee manuals, warnings, performance reviews, job knowledge tests and employment application which have been developed specifically for a cleaning business. To obtain the appropriate tax documents for employees contact your accountant or local state employment office.

    Start-up Costs

    $100 - Bonding insurance

    50 - Business license

    175 - Business start-up package

    50 - Classified ad

    100 - Logo

    110 - Car signs

    250 - Commercial grade vacuum

    100 - Marketing pieces

    100 - Cleaning supplies

    $1035 - Minimum estimated costs*

    *Minimum estimated costs exclude liability insurance, phone expense and marketing piece distribution as these costs are undetermined. Also, costs may vary slightly depending upon location.

    Before You Start a Cleaning Business:

    Obtain your local & state business licenses; bonding insurance, and liability insurance if needed. Prospective customers will ask if you are licensed and bonded. Bonding insurance can be obtained for about $100 which will cover $1,000 - $3,000 of anti-theft coverage. You business license is an annual expense and will cost approximately $50 - $150 depending upon your location and annual revenue. (When you hire employees you may also need worker's compensation insurance.) The Small Business Administration is a great source of information and links to other informative websites.

    The Internal Revenue Service website offers a wealth of information. You'll find start-up guides, information on tax credits and business deductions, advice on record keeping, and more. The most up-to-date tax information is available through the site, as well as forms, publications and instructions for filing.

    State tax information can be found at which provides links to the Department of Revenue for every state.

    Other Websites You Should Visit:

    Cleaning Business Forms and More: - provides free information for cleaning service businesses, both start-up and established. With this system you can successfully start a cleaning business without a franchise, and keep it growing strong.

    Business Law: - Complying with business laws and regulations can be a burden. Topics covered on this site range from choosing a business structure to hiring an attorney. The site also provides links to federal, state and local agencies.

    Employment Law: - This guide describes the statutes and regulations administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) that affect businesses and workers.

    Compliance Laws: - Statutes and regulations administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) that affect businesses and workers.

    Copyright © 2004 MaidDocs® ~ All rights reserved.

    Gwynneth Sawyer-Berkeley and Walter L. Gibson are co-owners of and also run a successful cleaning business, Maid in North Carolina, Inc. With MaidDocs you can start a house cleaning business and grow it as large as you like without a franchise! Visit today.
    HBF's Avatar
    HBF Posts: 86, Reputation: 4
    Junior Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 06:43 PM
    A residential house cleaning business is the perfect business to start with minimal money. Once you start getting some customers and some cash flow, you can then invest more to make the business even better. Remember you have to spend money to make money. For more information on how to start your business go to Start Your Own Cleaning Business.
    completelyclean's Avatar
    completelyclean Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 25, 2007, 12:24 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by mtezzy
    Hello experts,

    Im located in Louisville Ky and i was interested in starting a cleaning service without tuns of money invested. Some of the things i would like to know is were do i start in terms of utilities and supplies, and what are the best markets or clients best suited for this carrer choice. Could you explain some of the good and bad choices to make in this field...... If you could give me little insight on some of these questions that would be great....

    If I didn't have a full time job I would take advantage of the side job I have started doing new construction cleaning. The bid costs vary from .18-.22 cents per sq ft so for most homes you receive between $200-$300 per home. I think it is the easiest way to make money with starting a company with the littlest amount of money. I would market new home construction builders in your area by researching the internet and finding new home builders or find a friend in real estate.

    Its fun and easy.

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