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How To Start A Cleaning Business

How to start a cleaning business

In this short guide you will learn everything you need about how to start a cleaning business.

Starting a cleaning business can be a challenging task. Where do you start? What are you going to call your company? how are you going to do your accounting? What about advertising? We will explain all of the steps you will need to get you to your first profitable month and the best part is this is real advice from industry pros who have successfully ran a multi million dollar cleaning company in California.

How to start a cleaning business in 8 steps:

Step 1: Start Dreaming

The first step of course is to start dreaming. How big do you want your company to be? how about employees? Are you going to be doing the cleaning or are you going to have help. What about your company name? Are you going to be cleaning homes, business or even skyscrapers? Grab a pen and give your self sometime to sketch out some well defined goals.

Step 2: How much will I need to start a cleaning business?

This answer will depend on your goals. If you are going to be cleaning homes in your neighborhood it might only cost the price of some flyers, business cards and cleaning supplies. If however you have even bigger ambitions, like building a full service regional cleaning business the cost can run in the 10's to 100's of thousands of dollars. Our story follows a path that most of you will most likely find yourself in. We started with an itch to start a business. We finally decided on the cleaning industry because of the low cost to entry. Our initial start up cost included cleaning supplies, vacuums, mops and a direct mail marketing campaign costing about $1,000. As we began to grow we began to take on bigger and bigger clients, which required us to hire more and more employees, buy more equipment and supplies and eventually turned into a full service regional cleaning company. We had multiple vans for our floor cleaning crews, Top of the line pressure washers with trailers for our pressure washing crews, window washing equipment and vehicles for our window washing crews, office and warehouse space for are staff, equipment and janitorial supplies, cars for our managers, we even started a separate paper supply company to service our clients paper product needs. All this can seam very challenge but we recommend to start from were you are and start cleaning. Once the money starts pouring in you can think about growing or maybe you'll be happy with earning a few clients and growing at your own pace

Step 3: Marketing and Advertising

Once you have the first two questions answered, its time to consider how your going to get happy clients sending you checks every month. The first and easiest step is to start with your family and friends. Do they need their houses cleaned? Do they own or work for a company that needs to be cleaned? The great thing about starting this way is that your friends and family are much more likely to give you a second chance if you make any mistakes while cleaning or starting your cleaning business. There are many options and strategies when it comes to marketing and advertising. the great news for you is we have literally tried every one of them from cold calling, mailing campaigns, yelp strategies, google ad campaigns, Complex seo strategies just to name a few. Feel free to browse our extensive and free Learning Center of videos, articles and templates so you can find out how to implement each one of these strategies.​​​​​​​​​​​

Step 4: Legal Set-up

Once you decide on your company's name, it is time to get your business license and bank account. Go to and find your state. Contact a representative to see what sort of license is required for cleaners. Most times you will only have to file for a DBA (doing business as), but this will vary from state to state. Once you have a business license, you can then get a business checking account. There are many out there that will give you free checks and free transactions, so shop around.

Next, you'll want to think about getting liability insurance. Liability insurance is sometimes a requirement for cleaning. Big companies will want to see your insurance certificate and some businesses may even want you to carry a certain limit on your insurance policy. The most any business should need would be a $1Million policy, but usually $500k will be okay. You can find commercial liability insurance through your local agent. This can be costly depending on where you live, but the average is around $500/year. So, be sure to shop around to get the best coverage and quote.

If you are going to hire employees or you have a partner, it would be a good idea to get a bond. A bond will protect your business against employee theft. Bonds are not expensive and most of your clients will want you to have one as well. Your local agent should be able to help you get one. You can also shop around for a bond. Just do a search on the web for a janitorial bond. There are many companies.

Step 5: Bidding and Profit

An important step before you start your company is determining your rates. The best thing to do is determine what you need your hourly rate to be to make the kind of profit you want to make. Don't forget to factor in things like expenses (insurance, license, gas, maintenance, supplies, etc.). Once you determine your hourly rates, do you think your service area can pay that kind of money or is that even lower than the norm for your area? Don't know, just ask.

Once you figure out your hourly rate, you will have to figure out how many hours it will take for you to complete the cleaning job. Many factors will determine this. What kind of floor, how many rooms, how large is the building, how many employees, how many bathrooms.

This will be a learning curve for your to get your calculations correct, but don't worry. Even if it takes you longer to clean than you thought, you will get better and faster as you get used to the building.

Once you know how many hours, multiply by your hourly rate. Then multiply that by how many times you will clean in a month and put the monthly rate on your bid sheet. Most businesses will pay by the month, so you need to give them a monthly rate. Don't tell them your hourly rate because they will start to nit-pick at certain areas or question why you need this much time to clean. Just give them your bottom line price, unless they ask for a breakdown.

Next you have to do a free estimate. Most importantly, arrive on time and have a neat appearance. You do not need to dress up, but a nice polo top with nice pants would be great. Make sure you are clean shaven, hair is styled and your nails are clean.

When you will walk thru the building be sure to have a pen and paper or tablet in hand. Write down what you see room by room. Bring a measuring tape with you to determine each rooms size. They have those rolling measuring tapes that will work perfect for this. Write down the type of flooring, number of desks, number of stalls and urinals in the bathroom, etc. Go over what your client would like/not like you to do and ask what they would like you to do that they current or previous clean does or does not do. You want to make them feel that you are willing to make their lives easier. Most businesses do not like to go through cleaner after cleaner.

After you are done with the walk-thru, thank them for their time and inform them of when you can provide them with the bid. Don't take longer than a couple of days to compile a bid for them. If you are good enough, you could do it right then and there to put them on the spot. Make sure you bring your bid papers with you just in case. It is also a good idea to put your bid papers together in a folder. Your bid papers should include a cover letter, bid proposal, references, insurance certificate and business cards.

And if you want to take all of the guess work out of bidding jobs, we have created a free Bid Calculator that you can bid jobs from your phone while doing the first walk through with the client.

​Step 6: Cleaning Business Templates

Next you will need a bid proposal to submit to your clients. You will need to have one of these for your clients to sign. This will tell them what you are going to be doing and for how much. In addition to bid proposals, you will also need an invoice to submit to your clients monthly. We have every form you you will need to make your business a success. Contract templates, bid template, flyer templates... and the best part is that every form is free.


Step 7: Cleaning Supplies Need To Start A Cleaning Business

Make sure you are very cautious about your cleaning supplies. This is an ongoing expense, so make sure you purchase quality, but cheap products. There are janitorial stores locally where you can get your products, but the internet will be your best friend here.

Buying microfiber cloths that you can wash will save you a lot of money over paper towels. You can buy your equipment used. Just look on craigslist or your local paper.

You have to look at your health as well when you make your decisions. It has been found that backpack vacuums are the best for commercial buildings. You may also want to look at green cleaning so you are not inhaling fumes while cleaning.

Step 8: Cleaning Business Management Software

The last and most important step is having the right business management software to save you time and money so you can grow your business

We have developed a unique system that works for you. This system has been tested and proven over the past 10 years to ensure our quality and your complete satisfaction. JaniBid was developed to help business owners like you streamline their processes and grow. We have helped business owners new and old, implement systems that promote fast growth. These systems are tested daily from initial walk through, proposals, sales, contracts, hiring, scheduling, check in and check outs, invoicing and more. This software has saved business owners hundreds of hours and stress, allowing them to focus on what's most important, their Business.

Who We Are

How To Start A Cleaning Business

Janibid was born out of necessity. We began with a simple idea to provide cleaning services and over a couple of years, grew to provide those services to over 300 accounts. We ran a cleaning business and, like you, we faced hard times and stiff competition from low-balling maintenance management outfits and slick-talking national cleaning franchises that were springing up in our marketplace. We were working hard, but when we realized that the old way of doing things never seemed to allow our business to grow steadily or profitably, we took a step back to analyze what wasn't working.

Instead of slashing our prices to the point where we weren’t profitable, we took a hard look at ourselves and how we were running our cleaning business, and we didn’t like what we saw. So, we read everything we could get our hands on. Management books, marketing books, cleaning videos you name it we have read it. We poured over business training manuals about how to get and stay profitable.

Then, when we were finally ready, we put together a new plan – a better system. The result: we turned our struggling cleaning company into a force to be reckoned with, and within 3 years, we were doing over $2,000,000 a year in business. Just as importantly, we put together a great staff, the business ran like a machine, and it was fun again!

Now we’re sharing what we learned with you.

Why You Need JaniBid Janitorial Software To Start A Cleaning Business

Whether you’re starting a cleaning business or simply trying to keep your existing one growing, finding the right janitorial software can make a measurable difference in tackling today's toughest challenges. JaniBids service system has been tested and proven over the past 10 years. Our Software system is the key to your growth and success.

  • Time is Money - On average our users save over 20 hours a week.​

  • Staying Organized - JaniBid helps keep you and your staff organized from Alarm Codes, directions, schedules and more.​

  • Peace of Mind - The average Janibid business owner has received 50% less staff phone calls. By using janibid mobile staff can log in and get directions, alarm codes all in one easy place. NO MORE LATE NIGHT PHONE CALLS!​

  • Stress Free - JaniBid allows staff to check in, check out, complete work audits, account visits and complete work orders. No longer do you need to wonder if the work is complete. You can simply log in to JaniBid to see all activity from the night before.

The JaniBid Difference

The difference between a struggling cleaning company and a growing cleaning company are the SYSTEMS used. Take out the guess work and rely on our proven operating, scheduling and proposal systems.

With the JaniBid system you will be able to instantly email or print out and hand deliver impressive, customized cleaning proposals to your prospective clients. Easily schedule employees work, bid walk throughs and personal appointments, along with a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for a one-stop-shop to view linked notes by individual prospects and customers.

Janibid Mobile

JaniBid mobile is a great resource for your cleaners, managers and sales representatives.


Cleaners can access the accounts they clean to see addresses, get directions, cleaning days, task sheet for each account, alarm codes, manager names, and to check in and check out.


Managers can access the accounts they clean to see addresses, get directions, cleaning days, task sheet for each account, alarm codes, manager names, complete audits, customer visits and to check in and check out.

Sales Representatives

Sales Representatives can access a prospects information, prospect notes and quickly take notes and create a proposal during the walk through and send the clients proposal directly from their phone, tablet, or ipad. This proposal is also saved in the crm to reference back to at any time.

Free Cleaning Bid Calculator

This calculator can be accessed quickly for a quick quote. Simply input a square footage or a time to clean per visit. Then put in how many days a week, your employee cost and the quick calculator does the rest.

You’ll be able to add your own percentage or dollar requirement for profit to arrive at how much you want to charge your client. Getting and keeping your janitorial jobs profitable is the name of the game and this innovative feature is a bonus tool that can help in a practical and measurable way.

For more information on our JaniBid software please check out Our Software page. If you're ready to sign up click here.



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