Start Your Own Residential House Cleaning Business Today!

Are you ready to put on your running shoes and be the owner of your own amazing residential house cleaning business?

If so, you are at the right place. We will tell you ALL you need to know to start your own cleaning business!

Best of all...IT IS ALL FREE!!!! That is right. We want you to have all the available, up to date information to help start you on the right track.

We know how hard it is to find all the information you need. We understand the frustration and neck aches while you are browsing for this information all over the web. Now, you can find it ALL right here. We will be discussing all areas of owning your own house cleaning business from how to pick your business name to how to hire employees.

So, stayed tuned and check in regularly to see what we have to say. Even if you already have your own house cleaning business, we will still be providing you with very useful business advice. We will be discussing many aspects of advertising with a focus on free and low-cost advertising. So, this is even for you veterans out there.

Job Description

What a House Cleaner Does and Does Not Do:

House cleaners will clean their client's home from top to bottom, but that does not mean everything is included in the basic cleaning rate.

Basics include:
  • Dust all areas of the home
  • Clean/Sanitize all areas of the bathroom
  • Clean all floors
  • Wipe all fixtures & appliances
  • Wipe all mirrors & pictures
Not included:
  • Cleaning clutter
  • Cleaning bodily waste
  • Cleaning inside refrigerator/stove/cabinets/oven
  • Moving furniture to access areas
  • Reaching high areas (above foot stool reach)
  • Windows inside/outside
Many cleaners will charge and extra fee to clean the areas not included.

To be a house cleaner you should be in pretty good physical condition. You will be required to do a lot of bending over and walking around the house. If you have a bad back or bad knees, this business may not be for you.

Business Name

How Do You Choose Your House Cleaning Business Name?

Your business name will be the first thing your potential clients will see. They will determine a lot from just your name. You want your name to stand out and spell out exactly what you do. You also want your name to sound like a professional business. Think about what steps you take when you are looking through the phone book or the Internet to pick out a plumber or carpenter. What is the first thing you look at: Their Business Name.

So, what should your name entail? One thing you have to consider is will you be offering more than residential house cleaning at some point? If you may, do not add "house cleaning" to the end of your business name.  You can add cleaning service instead, that way you can add any kind of cleaning to your business you like.

Many people will just use their personal names such as "Stacy's House Cleaning" or "Stacy's Cleaning Service". That is a good, personal choice. Even better would be using where you live in your name. Make your name hit close to home. For example, if you live in Florida, you can name your business "Florida's Best House Cleaning Service". This name will stand out above the rest. If you are going to offer more services in addition to house cleaning, try naming your business "Florida's Best Cleaning Services". This will leave you open to adding on any kind of cleaning service and will not limit your business to just house cleaning.

After you have picked out your name, you want to be sure no one else is using it. Some businesses will federally trademark their name. This is to ensure no one else can legally use their name nationwide. To check the trademark database click here.  Now that you have checked the federal database, you need to check your state database. There is a separate database available for each state.

To find your state database, go to the Secretary of State site and click on your state. Find the area where you can do a business search. Then just type in the name you are thinking of using. If nothing comes up, that means no one is registered in your state with that name. You may also want to check the newspapers, Internet and the phone book, just in case someone is using it but is not registered with the state. You can not use a name which is in use in your state or nationally. You can't even use a variation of it. So, be sure to check all your resources before putting your business name on paper.

Another thing to keep in mind when you pick your business name is whether the domain name for your business name is available. Even if you do not want a website now (which I advise you get one), you may want one in the future. Domain registration is fairly cheap. Costing around $9 per year. Go to Go Daddy to register your domain name today.  So, if I was to use the name "Stacy's Cleaning Services", I would go to GoDaddy and type in  If that was available, i would use that name.  If not, i would try variations of the name such has  If a simple variation is not available, I would move onto a different business name.  You want your business name and your website to be either the same or very close.  Many time your clients will talk about your business to their friends and will only know your name so will search for your website from that.  Make it easy for them to tell their friends about you!

What to Charge

What Should I Set my Rate Structure at?

This is the most common question amongst house cleaners. I will tell you how to approach this question with your clients.

Let's look at an example: A client calls and wants to know what you would charge for a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom home. They want a quote over the phone. This is a big no-no. Never give a quote over the phone. You can tell them around what to expect but that you can not give an accurate quote without looking at the home.

There will be many variables that will go into your quote.

Let's look at those variables:
  • Size of home
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Condition of home (overly dirty, clutter, lots of pet hair, etc)
  • Pets
  • Whether they are going to provide cleaning supplies or you are
  • Frequency of cleaning
  • Number of people living in home
  • Addition of services not included in basic cleaning
Once you know exactly what your client wants done, you would then give them a per job rate...NOT per hour.

Generally, you will need to do an initial clean. This clean is done to get the home to YOUR standards to be ready for maintenance cleaning. Then the client will schedule their cleanings at weekly, bi-monthly or monthly intervals. You may also get some party clean clients and spring clean clients. The more you clean, the less you charge.

Initial cleans are generally a bit more expensive than your maintenance cleans ranging from $115-$200 depending on the size and condition of the home. Make sure you factor in how many hours the first clean will take and then how many hours your weekly or bimonthly cleans will take. One-time cleaning clients are also generally around the initial cleaning range depending on what they want done.

Make sure you charge enough to make the job worth it. Undercharging is what causes us to start cutting corners and giving sub par service. Remember, the motto is, "you get what you pay for".

Once you have quoted the initial clean, you let them know how much their regular cleaning rate would be. On average, cleanings will range from $20-$35 per hour depending on your area. I would recommend calling cleaning companies close to you (not competing with you) and see what they charge or looking up cleaning businesses in your area on the internet to see their rates. This way you can see if your rate will stand in your area. You don't want to be too high that people can't afford you. You also don't want to seem cheap. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Business License

Do I Need a Business License for my House Cleaning Business?

Most people are very confused about this. House Cleaning does not usually require a "trade business license", but most states/countries will require you to register your business with your local government office.

For the US: To find out what your state licensing agency requires, click here. Just enter your state, zip code or city and choose general licensing. This will take you right to the link to register your business. If you are still unsure, search for your state's business agency online and find a phone number to call. Someone there will be able to help you. You may also be required to collect sales tax. To find out if your state requires you to collect sales tax, click here.

In Canada: You will need to contact your local municipality to determine what sort of business license you need. Most municipalities will require you to register your business with the providence before you can apply for a business license. You will also be required to collect GST.

In the UK: Go to to register your business and pay your taxes. This site also has a lot of useful information on forming your business. You can set your business as a sole trader (self-employed), partnership, or limited company. You may be required to collect VAT if you provided taxable services of £67,000 or more in the past 12 months.

In Australia: If you choose to operate your business as a sole trader, a partnership or a trust, then you are required to register your business in the state or territory in which you will operate. But you don’t need to register a business if you plan to name your business under you or your partner’s first name and surname or initials and surname. You will be required to register for GST if you have a GST turnover of $75,000 or more.

In the US, when you register for your house cleaning business license, they will ask you what sort of business entity you will want to register under. There are a few options: Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Limited Liability Company and C or S Corporation.

In the next installment, we will talk about what each of these mean and which is the best for you.

Business Structure

The license is asking for your business structure, 
so what does that mean?

There are 5 different business structures in which you can set your house cleaning business as.

These are:
  • Sole Proprietor (most common)
  • Partnership
  • Corporation (Inc. or Ltd.)
  • S Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Let's talk about the Sole Proprietor first: The sole proprietorship is the most common structure to form amongst house cleaners. It is inexpensive to form. It is usually owned by a single person or a married couple. The owner is personally liable for all business debts and may file on their personal income tax.

Next is the Partnership: Partnerships are also inexpensive to form. They usually require an agreement between two or more individuals to jointly own and operate the business. The partners share all aspects of the business (good and bad) in accordance to the agreement. It could be a 50/50 partnership or anything else agreed to in writing. Partnerships do not pay taxes, but must file an informational return. Individual partners would then report their share of profits and losses on their personal return.

Next is a Limited Liability Corporation or LLC: This is the second most common set up amongst house cleaners. It is advantageous for small businesses because it reduces the risk of losing all your personal assets should you be faced with a law suit. It separates your business and personal assets. You can also elect to be taxed like a corporation which saves you at tax time.

Next is a C Corporation: This is a complex business structure with more start up costs than many other forms. This is not a very common structure amongst house cleaners since there are shares of stocks involved. Profits are taxed both at the corporate level and again when distributed to shareholders. Lawyers are usually involved at this level.

And Finally is a S Corporation: This is more common than the C Corporation since it avoids double taxation . It is taxed like a Partnership. A business must be approved to be classified as such, so it is not a very common entity amongst house cleaners.

There are also other structures which are specific to certain states. Some of these include Limited Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership. It is a good idea to get advice from your accountant as to which would be more advantageous to your business.

Next we will talk about what sort of paperwork you need for your house cleaning business.

House Cleaning Business Forms

Protect Your House Cleaning Business with a Signed Contract!

You have done all the basic necessities to start your house cleaning business, now it is time to get ready for clients. The first step is to get your paperwork in order. This is essential to your organization.

The essential house cleaning business forms you will need are:
These are what I would consider the bare necessities, but there are many more that will contribute to making your business much easier and much more organized.

Let's talk about what should be in your service contract first. Firstly, I don't like to call the contract a "contract". I like to call it a service agreement. It is essentially the same thing just with different terminology. Contracts have been given a bad name and therefore scare people off. A service agreement sounds nicer and less binding although it is just as binding.

The house cleaning contract should include the name and address of the home you will be working in as well as your name to show it is an agreement between yourself and the homeowner. This allows you to be in the home. It should then lay out what you will be doing there, how often and for how much.

You should have all your business policies spelt out and a place for your client to agree to them. Some of your business policies should include liability issues such as damage, alarms, cleaning procedures, etc. You should also list your cancellation policy, payment policy, etc. There is a lot of thought that should go into a service contract and it should not be taken lightly. The contract is there to protect your business and your pocket.

The next item is your house cleaning checklist. You would take this with you on each visit and document what you did while you were there. You would then leave it behind with an invoice or receipt if they paid.

Your invoice should state what you did on what date for how much money and tax with a total.

The last essential form is the satisfaction survey. It is recommended to leave this behind after the very first visit and then follow up every 6 months or so to get essential feedback on how you or your employees are doing.

There are many other forms which will aid you in simplifying your house cleaning business such as the release of liability form, which will release you from liability if your client wants you to use a certain cleaning agent in which you are not familiar with. There is also the telephone reservation form which will help in those phone inquiries as well as many more forms.

All of these house cleaning forms and many more are offered in the house cleaning package located on the Home Business Forms website. This package includes all the forms you will need for a low price of $49.99!

Once you have done all the above steps, it is time to start getting some clients. We will discuss marketing next.

House Cleaning Insurance

Should I Choose to Buy Insurance
for my house cleaning business or Risk it?

Personally, I believe it is not very professional to have a business and not want to cover not only yourself, but your client's property. Insurance is not very expensive and it may make a huge difference in your pocket.

These days, many people are weary of allowing people in their homes, especially when they are not there. If the the business owner does not have adequate coverage or does not run their business in a professional manner, they would more than likely not hire you. One of the most important things to have in your client's eye besides experience is insurance. They want to make sure that their property is covered should anything happen.

Let's give an example: You are dusting off the shelves and get sidetracked and accidentally knock off a Lladro. These things are expensive. A small one could run $1000. Of course your client will want to be reimbursed. Now, you either have to pay out of pocket or you can file an insurance claim. Another, more expensive example: You are cleaning the wood floors and the chemical you use has a bad reaction to the wood in turn ruining it beyond repair. The client now needs new floors. This could be $5000 or more. In this case, insurance will be quite handy.

It is a good idea to tell your customers to remove all valuables on the day of their cleaning.

There are a lot of companies out there that offer liability insurance for small business owners.

House Cleaning Bond

What is a bond and do I need it?

This is one question which confuses most business owners. Most of the general public is confused about what a bond is and when it is useful, so they think most business owners should have one.

A bond protects your house cleaning company against employee theft. If you have no employees, you do not need a bond.

Since many homeowners do not know this, you will have to explain this over and over. This is why many elect to purchase it as a marketing tool and a way to just make it easier to say "yes, I have a bond" rather than explain why you do not.

How a bond works:
Let's say your client calls and says they are missing their diamond engagement ring and they last saw it before your company arrived. Your employee "X" was on the schedule for that household that day. Your client would have to call the police and file a report. The police then do an investigation. If they find proof that X did indeed steal the ring, the bond would pay the client the cost to replace the ring (if it is not still in possession of the employee). Once the bond is paid out, you then repay the bond in payments. Kind of seems backwards doesn't it. So, in essence, a bond protects your customers, not you, the business owner.

You can purchase a bond through most insurance companies. It is relatively cheap so I would recommend it if you have employees.

Also, be sure to have in your contract to remove all sentimental and valuable items as company is not responsible for loss or breakage.

Marketing your House Cleaning Business

How do you Market your House Cleaning Business?

Now that you have your business set up, it is time to get clients. In this installment we will discuss your many options and what options have been proven most valuable.
Some of your marketing options include:
  • Flyers
  • Phone Book
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Online Advertising
  • Groupon
  • Newspaper
  • Magazine
  • Car Magnets
  • Business Card Distribution
  • Valupak
  • Word of Mouth

Flyers: Flyers are a great, cheap way of advertising your business. I don't recommend printing up mass quantities and distributing them door to door. This has been proven to be very ineffective and time-consuming. It is also illegal to put them in mailboxes, so you are going to have to walk door to door. People also do not like to have people walking on their property placing advertisements so that may be a turnoff for your potential clients.
You can print up a mass quantity and put them on cars in a parking lot, but you have to get a permit for that. Make sure you conduct your business legally to show you are a professional.

The best thing to do with those flyers is to print up a bunch of them and leave them in your car. Anytime you go to a store and notice a bulletin board, place your flyer there. Some of the best places are post offices, sandwhich shops, diners and coffee shops.  Get your flyer here.

Phone Books: Phone books are becoming a thing of the past and are being replaced with the internet. However, phone book advertising still remains very expensive. If you have the expendable income, I would recommend trying it out for a year and see what kind of response you get. If not, I would pass it up. There are so many other ways you can advertise for much cheaper.

Websites: A website will be your BEST advertising tool next to word of mouth. Most of your clients will search for what they need on the internet while they are at work. I definitely recommend a website above anything else. Your website does not have to be fancy, just professional looking and informative. You don't have to spend a fortune on it, you can even make one for free.

If you do not want to worry about designing your own website or your website is not bringing in clients, we can help out too.  We offer website design and overhauls.  Just click here.

Social Media: This is a great way to get local clients and testimonials.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  There are so many ways to get your name out there on these.  Get an account with all three and start posting fun tips that will get people to notice you and share your page.  There are also lots of business pages that you can post your business on within Facebook.  So, get browsing all over your local Facebook pages and start posting.

Online Advertising: Once you have your website ready, you can advertise it online for free at many places. Even if you don't have a website, there are many places online to advertise. Some of those places are Craigslist, MerchantCircle, Backpage, Superpages, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and more. I have created a tutorial on how and where to advertise your website. You can find it here.

Groupon:  Groupon offers a great way to get new clients and on-going clients.  You offer your first time clients a deep discount, usually 50% off.  This may seem like you are going to do a lot of work for very little, but you have to look at the long term benefits.  If they like you, they will have you back and tell their friends!  So, in the long run, it works out great!

Newspapers and Magazines: Newspapers are a good option to try out. Some areas do well with newspaper advertising and some do not. The only way you will know is to give it a try. You can advertising in your county paper or you can advertising in the community papers (pennysavers). Magazines are more expensive and do not focus on a certain area in which your service area lies. Magazines may not be a good option to advertise this sort of business.

Car Magnets: Car magnets are a great advertising option. They are a cheap, one time cost, so it doesn't hurt to try it out.  Make sure you let your insurance know b/c if you get into an accident in a "work" vehicle and you didn't tell them it's a work vehicle, they won't cover you.

Business Card Distribution: Handing out business cards to everyone you see is not very cost effective. I don't recommend this form of advertising. However, always have your cards available should you see an opportunity to hand one out or display it. 

Valupak: Valupak is, in my opinion, not a good option for this sort of business. For one thing, it is distributed to a large area most of which you may not be covering. Second, it is very expensive. However, if you have the money to try this form of advertising out, give it a try.

Word of Mouth: This will be your best form of advertising once your business gets going. If you have happy customers, they will tell all their friends and family about you. Always be sure to conduct your business and yourself professionally in order to get those referrals. Leave your clients will plenty of business cards so they can hand them out to their friends and family. It is also a great idea to offer a referral bonus such as one free clean for every paid referral or $30 off a cleaning. This is a nice incentive to get them to hand out those referrals.

These are the most common types of advertising methods people use for their house cleaning business. I recommend trying out what you can to see what works and what does not. In the beginning, you will spend a lot more money until you are busy enough to stop advertising . Once you hit a slow spot and think you need to advertise again, hopefully, by then you will know what worked and will only need to spend money on that form of advertising.

Get your flyers for your cleaning business

Hiring Employees

So, by now, you have your business set up, you are advertising and the calls are rolling in!  Yay!  Good job.  But now you are too busy and can't keep up with it all.

So, you can do two things. 
  1. Stop taking on new clients or...
  2. Hire Help
If you are ready to hire help, you are ready to grow and expand!

So, how do you find that one person that is just like you and will work hard?  That is a hard thing to find and you may go through a few people before you find that.

You can advertise on facebook, craigslist, the newspaper.  Be sure to interview and trust your gut!  

Make sure you pay them well if you want to keep them.  Just think about how you would want to be treated if you were working for you.

Just remember, the more people you hire, the more clients you can take on, the more money you can make.  

Happy employees = happy clients = happy boss :)

Purchase Employee Application