How to Start a Cleaning Business

Man standing by janitorial truckUsually, you can start your own residential or commercial cleaning company right out of your home. However, before you decide to do so, check with your city about zoning ordinances and possible land use restrictions in your neighborhood.

Check licensing requirements with your local city and county. You can find this information online by searching for your city + business license. You can also call or visit your local city office. Depending on the cleaning work you want to do, you may want to check into janitorial surety bonds and insurance (see resources below).

Running your own business is a wonderful thing, but it does come with challenges.

You’ll notice that successful entrepreneurs generally have formed networks with other business owners in their industry from whom they can learn and partner with. This makes it much easier to overcome those challenges (ie. Where can you save money on supplies? How do you handle customer problems? What’s the secret to finding great workers?).

But how do you find people to help you – especially when you’re just starting out?

The Janitorial Toolkit

The Janitorial Toolkit is made up of a community of cleaning business owners who help each other grow and excel in the cleaning field. A number of experts also share their time-tested business strategies that they have used to turn their businesses into profitable ventures. They offer lots of good free information, plus you can also become a member of their community.

In addition to making it much easier for you to get help from others, the Toolkit also has lots of time-saving and money-saving tools for its members:

  • Janitorial Toolkit: Bidding and Estimating for Cleaning CompaniesLots of tools you can use right away: 100’s of janitorial and bidding forms, templates for flyers and postcards, plus professional clipart you can use
  • Get the answers you need in one place: Audio interviews with cleaning business experts,information-rich ebooks and more.
  • Become an expert in the convenience of your own home: Teleclasses and webinars on things like “Bidding and Estimating Basics“, “How to Hire Star Employees” and “Simple Strategies for Getting Powerful Results with Postcards, Mailers and Newsletters“.
  • Discover how to avoid/solve problematic situations: Video training series answering questions like, “How to Handle Customer Complaints” and “Ways to Build Trust” and more.
  • Time-saving tools and resources: Bidding calculators, product reviews and service directory.
  • Save money: Discounts on staff training programs and lots more.

Office Cleaning Training Video

office cleaning videoWould you like to start your own office cleaning business but don’t have the experience you need on how to clean offices efficiently?

The Office Cleaning Training Video will show you exactly what you need to know to clean offices quickly and professionally. (Great for training employees too!)

More Training Videos you can find on their site:

  • Hard Floor Cleaning
  • Window Washing
  • Carpet Spotting
  • Employee Safety

Surviving in the Cleaning Industry

There will always be a need for residential and commercial cleaning services. Not only that, but you’ve got a long list of specialty services like carpet cleaning, window cleaning, pressure washing, pool cleaning, running a laundromat, foreclosure home cleanup, etc.. That said, there are many companies competing for customers.

The companies that survive are the ones who get the word out about their services and who make their customers happy.

When you arm your business with professional tools, expert knowledge and a network of industry contacts, you instantly have a leg up on your competition. This makes finding clients and landing jobs much easier – so your time is spent completing work and making money – not struggling to win customers.

Click here for more tips from the Janitorial Store


Cleaning Supplies & Equipment

Stock up on the janitorial supplies and equipment that you need for your jobs. Shopping online through commercial suppliers can save you money, and you don’t always have to buy in bulk quantities. Need green cleaners? You can also find eco-friendly non-toxic commercial cleaners that can handle tough jobs.

Below is a list of the supplies generally used by cleaning services. You may need some or all of these items, depending on your specific business.

  • Vacuum
  • Mop, Broom
  • Floor Buffing Machine
  • Floor Cleaners, Wax, Strippers and Finishers
  • Steam Cleaners
  • Concrete Floor Care
  • Carpet Shampoo, Spot Remover
  • Duster
  • Window Cleaner
  • Multi-Surface Cleaners
  • Cleaning Chemicals
  • Stone Cleaner
  • Sponges, Rags
  • Scrub Brushes
  • Squeegee
  • Pressure Washer
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Air Freshener, Odor Neutralizers
  • Disinfectant
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Paper Products
  • Carts, Dollies
  • Sprayers, Pumps
  • Trash Bags

Where to Get Janitorial Supplies

The Betty Mills Company carries over 100,000 different items. They offer up to 50% below retail prices with a low price guarantee, and they also have “Double Markdown” specials on certain items (on top of their already discounted prices). They are open to the public, so you don’t need to be a business to buy from them.

Clean It Supply offers a wide variety of cleaning products and equipment. They also provide discounted contractor pricing to cleaning businesses and accept purchase orders. There is no minimum purchase requirement.

Cleaning Stuff sells lots of cleaning and janitorial supplies. They carry industrial grade products and have over 25 warehouse locations across the US. They have lots of promotional specials with free shipping, so there are several ways you can save even more money. sells green, non-toxic environmentally friendly cleaners. If you want to differentiate yourself form the market or stand out from your competition, offering “green” services exclusively or as an option is a great way attract an entirely new group of customers.

Window Cleaning Resource can save you money on squeegees, extension poles and t-bars, holsters, belts, brushes, water-fed poles and pure water systems and start-up window cleaning kits. They also carry pressure washing chemicals, sealants and glass cleaners.


janitorial staffThe Janitorial Store is a membership website for those in the professional cleaning business. As a business owner, you can get janitorial forms, tips on bidding and estimating, watch video tutorials, get advice from industry experts, see reviews of janitorial supplies and equipment – and pretty much everything you need to run your business.

They have training videos you can show your employees, they offer partner discounts and you can connect with other cleaning business owners through the forum as well.

On top of that, you will also get their guide, “Getting Started in Your Cleaning Business: Step-By-Step” for free as a member.

I was surprised – membership is less than 50 cents/day. When you look at all of the free stuff they deliver, you’ll see how much money you’ll be throwing away by not using it.

Cleaning Business Resources

Cleaning Business Associations

Association of Residential Cleaning Services International
ARCSI was established to assist residential cleaning service owners and professionals in starting, promoting, building and expanding their businesses.

Building Service Contractors Association International
BSCAI provides four key tools for cleaning business owners: increasing top line sales, increasing bottom line profits, decreasing risks of doing business and making cleaning business owners look good.

International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association
IJCSA provides an online membership program for cleaning professionals. They are primarily an internet advertising platform so that customers can find serious and dedicated cleaning service providers. Members are small family run businesses, while others are large corporations with several locations.