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How To Start A Commercial Cleaning Business

How to start a commercial cleaning business

In this guide you will learn everything you need to start a commercial cleaning business.

Many people are dream of starting their own business. Like any choice you make their are many different types of business you can start. One of the best opportunities available is a commercial cleaning business.

This industry is in high demand, as there is a great need for this service.

There are a number of advantages to starting a commercial cleaning company – starting with the fact that it requires very little cash to get it started.

Also, the business requires no specialized training or background – and, it can be started on a part-time basis, so you can remain with your present job while your getting started and building up a nice list of happy customers.

Another nice benefit of a commercial cleaning business is that it can provide high profit margins. Typical cleaning contracts can range from between $1,000 and $5,000 per month. As you can see, if you are able to get just a few good solid commercial cleaning contracts, you can soon have a successful business.

In addition, this type of business is in many ways recession proof. As long as there are people using offices, retail shops, and medical buildings, there will be need to clean those places.

Steps to starting a commercial cleaning business:

Starting a janitorial business requires a number of important steps. Therefore, prior to getting started, you should have completed the following items:

1. Commercial Cleaning Business Plan

Just as with any other type of business, you will need to have completed a detailed business plan. This plan should contain an overview of your company and the services you plan to offer, the advertising strategies you plan to use in order to get new customers, financial information such as a cash flow and income statements, and an action plan for how your company plans to achieve its financial goals.

Your business plan should be considered your blueprint for success, and you should refer to it often in terms of taking action and getting things accomplished. You will also need to make your business plan available to banks or other lenders for review in the case that you apply for a business loan.

2. Commercial Cleaning Business Name

When starting your business, you will also want to choose a great name for it. When deciding on a name for your company, be sure to come up with something that lets customers know what type of services that you offer, such as “John's Commercial Cleaning Service.” That way, potential customers aren’t left guessing as to what it is that your company does. When you do decide on a name, make sure that it is a name that isn’t already being used by another business in your area. You can easily do this by filing a fictitious business name with you local counties office.

3. Target Market

Even though you are starting a commercial cleaning company, you will still want to decide on and narrow down your target customer.

For example, will you focus on working with large office complexes or smaller retail locations? By focusing on a particular niche, you will be better able to focus your marketing and advertising as well.

4. Commercial Cleaning Rates

Another big thing to consider when setting up of your new commercial cleaning business is how much your going to charge. There are several factors that go into determining the amount that you should charge. These include your expenses and your time.

Your expenses should include your equipment maintenance, cleaning supplies and fuel, as well as the partial cost of your licenses, insurance, and other overall costs of running your business.

Most commercial cleaning companies will charge their customers an hourly rate. When determining your fees, you may want to make calls to other commercial cleaning companies in your area to find out what they are charging.

When you do, you will likely find that they all charge similar rate. In this case, you may want to keep your rates in the same range so as not to overcharge your customers, or to undercut yourself. A big part of being successful will be to estimate how many hours it will take you to complete certain jobs.

For bigger jobs, you may charge by the month. Therefore, you will need to multiply the number of hours per visit it will take you to clean the location by the number of times per month that you go there. This will be your monthly rate for that particular customer. Each location will likely be different, as the price and time it takes to clean will vary based upon the type of floors that are in the building, how many people are needed to clean it how many rooms there are in total, how many bathrooms there are, any specialty work they'll require and even how many employees the building holds.

5. Setting Up Your Bank Account

You will also need to open a business bank account. Even if your business remains small, it is important that you keep your personal funds and your business funds separate. Therefore, you must set up a separate bank account for your company. There are many banks and credit unions that offer special types of checking accounts for small businesses. Usually these accounts provide you with a certain number of checks and a debit card. Some also include a company credit card as well.

6. Set Up Your Licenses & Permits

If you need to get any type of business licenses and/or permits, now is the time to take care of this, because you don’t want to find out later that you are operating your business illegally. Different jurisdictions have varying requirements, so be sure that you have a good understanding of what types of license you need in order to operate a business in your area.

7. Insurance

You may also need to buy insurance. With a commercial cleaning business, you – and your employees, if applicable – will be entering into offices and other types of commercial businesses. Therefore, you should have insurance coverage in the event that someone becomes injured or something breaks. The easiest way to get the right insurance is to discuss your business insurance needs with a local business insurance agent.

Otherwise, you could end up being liable for a costly accident or injury.

If you will be hiring any employees, you should also inquire about obtaining worker’s compensation insurance coverage. You will also need to become bonded. This is because many companies will be entrusting you with the keys to their establishments. Being bonded will also help to protect you against employee theft. Your local liability insurance agent can assist you in buying a bond.

8. Taxes

When you open a business and the company starts to earn money, you will need to file business taxes. Therefore, you may need to work with an accountant or a CPA in completing your business tax returns going forward. It is also a good idea to have a tax professional that you can contact with any questions or concerns you may have regarding business expenses, tax deductible write offs, and other similar items. Also, as your business grows, you may need help making other types of financial related decisions such as purchasing additional pieces of equipment, whether to purchase or lease office space, and/or whether to start a retirement plan.

These are all decisions that an accountant or CPA can help you with as well.

9. Legal Issues

Before starting your commercial cleaning business, you may also want to have an attorney on file that you can contact in the case that any legal issues come up.

10. Marketing & Advertising

One of the most important steps that you will need to take when starting your commercial cleaning business has to do with marketing and advertising. Regardless of the type of services you offer or the market that you serve, if nobody knows that your company exists, then you aren’t going to be very successful. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you come up with a good marketing plan for getting the word out about your company and your commercial cleaning services.

Here, you can go as high-tech or low-tech as you want. For example, many companies use online marketing such as paying for a yelp or google maps advertising spot. Likewise, you may also decide to go door to door and hang flyers on the doors of office buildings and retail shops in your surrounding area. Another great way to promote your company is to have a plastic wrap made for your car. That way, wherever you go, people will see your advertisement. Be sure to keep the ad short and easy to read, though, as people will only have a limited amount of time so see and read it.

​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 cleaning business owners streamline their processes and grow. 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 commercial 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 through's 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.

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. Click here to access our free cleaning bid calculator.

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

More Things To Consider About Your Potential Target Market

As we mentioned earlier when considering a commercial cleaning business, you will want to establish who your target market is. This is important, because if you don’t have a large enough market in your area, your company may not be profitable.

In operating a commercial cleaning company, the best target customers for your business will likely be the following:

  • Office buildings

  • Doctors / Medical buildings

  • Retail shops

  • Banks

  • Restaurants

  • Insurance agencies

  • Companies in strip malls

If you are starting out small, you will probably not want to target larger companies such as big corporations. This is because you would need several employees and lots of equipment in order to cover the entire location each night.

What Equipment Will You Need?

Before you get started, you will also need to obtain some necessary cleaning equipment. At the very minimum, you should have the following items:

  • Commercial grade vacuum cleaner with attachments

  • Floor buffer

  • Broom

  • Mop

  • Bucket

  • Squeegee

  • Wet floor signs

  • Garbage bags

  • Rags

  • Rubber gloves

  • Dust pan and brush

  • Toilet brush

  • Paper towels

  • Extension cord

  • Furniture polish

  • Cleaning products

In addition, you should also obtain a good cart or other type of similar vehicle to move all of your equipment and supplies around in. This will make it easier for you to get through the larger office buildings. Most, if not all, of these items can be purchased at a local janitorial supply store.

What to Expect When Getting Started

When you are first starting out, it is likely that the majority of your commercial cleaning jobs may be smaller. This will help you to ease into a routine. Then, as you grow into more jobs, you will also have more revenue coming in, which will allow you to purchase more equipment and supplies.

Eventually, as you begin to take on even more customers, you may find that you are not able to do all of the work yourself.

At that time, you may opt to bring on additional help.

When doing so, you will need to decide if you will hire your help as an independent contractor or as a part- or full-time company employee.

This is an area that your accountant or CPA can help you with.

In Conclusion

The commercial cleaning industry niche is constantly in high demand – and it can be an especially lucrative business for those who take the time and effort to market their services to potential clients. We wish you the best of luck with starting your commercial cleaning business. If you enjoyed reading the guide the you'll love our blog.


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