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How to start a cleaning business: a 5 step guide

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For those who get a certain type of satisfaction out of organizing and cleaning spaces, starting a cleaning business is a great way to capitalize. 

Your own cleaning business can be a great way to make some cash, and all you need to get started is a vehicle, some cleaning supplies, and a go-getter disposition. 

To help get your new business off the ground, we’ve come up with a list of five steps you should consider when starting your own cleaning business. 

1. Figure out what types of services you want to offer

A quick Google search of the other cleaning companies in your area will help you figure out exactly how you want to differentiate yourself from your competition. 

There’s a big difference between how you’ll want to market yourself depending on what type of cleaning company you want to form – a few examples include:

  • Residential cleaning
  • Luxury cleaning
  • Office cleaning
  • Janitorial services
  • Window cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Move-in/move-out cleaning

Whether you decide to offer a few of these services, all of them, or just specialize in one or two, will have an effect on who your audience is. It will also determine what type of equipment you’ll need.

Take some time to think carefully about who you want to work for, and cater your services specifically towards that clientele.

2. Come up with a cleaning business plan

Starting any business is like steering a tanker – you’ve got to make sure you’re aimed where you want to go before you start. It can be hard to course correct once you pick up speed.

That’s where a business plan is essential. It can help you think clearly about the direction of your company while also helping you foresee any potential issues along the way.

Plus, if you think you may need some financing, a solid business plan can help sway banks or investors in your favour for a small business loan. It shows you have a well-thought-out project with the intent behind it.

Some important considerations when building your cleaning business plan include:


  • This will require things like a good company name that’s memorable, catchy, and aligns with the audience you’re trying to sell to. 
  • Everything about your branding, down to the colours you use for your logo, will tell a story about what you represent as a company – so be intentional.

Market analysis

  • This includes who your competitors are, what makes them strong, and what makes you different. A good market analysis shows exactly what pain points your potential customers have, and how you’ll address them.

Marketing plan

  • To show that you understand the current market you’re entering, a good marketing plan will show not just how your services will differ from the competition but also how you intend to fund your venture and how you expect it to grow in the future.

Core values

  • The backbone of any good company is the core values that employees live by. This is not just as a reminder of how to behave, but to inform any decisions in the future, no matter how big or small they seem.

The structure of your organization

  • Even if you’re the only current employee, it’s important to have an idea of how you’re going to structure your company.
  • Whether you choose to register your business as a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or LLC will all have different effects.

3. Get a cleaning business license

Now that you’ve planned your cleaning business out, it’s time to make it official with a business license. In most provinces, this can be done in person, online, or by mail. 

This is generally a painless process, oftentimes taking just five business days to process. It usually costs less than $100.

4. Start marketing your cleaning business

You can be implementing an incredible business idea, but it won’t matter too much if no one knows about it.

Make sure you save room in your budget for advertising your company. Here are a few popular ways to get your new cleaning company’s name out there:

Newspaper advertisements

  • Consider taking some ad space in your local paper – and don’t forget online publications as well.

Social media

  • Making sure your social media is well run is essential to having a successful business. It’s important to not just have a regular online presence but to post relevant content that your target audience will be interested in.
  • Depending on your budget, it could be worth using paid ads on platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook.

Real-world ad spaces

  • Getting the word out about your cleaning business using ad spaces like the sides of buses, benches, billboards, and transit stations are vital ways to reach an important demographic.

5. Get cleaning business insurance

Now that you’re ready to start taking jobs, remember to purchase some relevant insurance policies to protect your business from any mistakes or unhappy customers.

Making sure you have the correct insurance policy is an important part of protecting your business, whether you’re at fault or not. 

Not only is it often required by clients but without it, your business is susceptible to financial damages in the case of any accidents.

This is especially true for cleaning businesses, where you’ll be working with slippery floors, chemicals, and stepladders – your insurance premium may be worth the peace of mind alone.

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What insurance do you need for a cleaning business? 

Your coverage may differ depending on the specific needs of your operations. Generally speaking, however, cleaning business insurance can be made up of four different types of commercial insurance:

  • Commercial general liability insurance: This important portion of your policy will protect you against claims of property damage or bodily injury to a third party. Let’s say you or an employee uses a cleaner that’s a little too caustic on a client’s priceless heirloom, and they hold you responsible for the cost of replacement – this coverage can help pay out the compensatory damages and legal fees involved.

  • Professional liability insurance: If a customer ever disputes the quality of your work, this policy protects you from any claims of failure to provide service or negligence. Professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions) will often cover legal fees as well, even for groundless cases.

  • Pollution liability insurance: This policy is essential for cleaning businesses. Many cleaners contain toxic elements, so it’s important to stay covered in case something goes wrong. Spilled buckets, wrong dilution ratios, and other common mistakes can end up costing you dearly.

  • Tools and equipment insurance: Many cleaning jobs take place in public places with lots of uncontrollable factors. Stolen, lost, or damaged cleaning equipment and supplies are all covered by tools and equipment insurance.

While these types of business insurance are generally the backbone of most businesses, be sure to speak with an expert as coverage can differ between regions and specific businesses. 

APOLLO’s insurance advisers have the industry know-how and expertise to ensure you get the right policy at the right cost. Get a free cleaning business insurance quote with APOLLO in under five minutes and have your policy emailed to your inbox today.

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