Restaurant owners may be legally required to regularly clean their kitchen exhaust hoods. In addition to commercial restaurants, you may service residential kitchens and kitchens on military bases, at hospitals and at government facilities. Restaurant owners or property managers not wanting to purchase supplies and equipment or devote manpower to the job will look to cleaning contractors do to the work for them. If you enjoy working for yourself and know the importance of building customer relationships, you could do well to start your own low-cost, home-based, hood cleaning business.

Things You Will Need
  • Liability insurance

  • Business license

  • Certification

  • Pressure washer

  • Buckets

  • Chemicals

  • Lubricants

  • Wands

Become a certified hood cleaner by enrolling in a course offered by the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA). Learn the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 96, which is the standard for ventilation control and fire protection of commercial cooking operations. In addition to cleaning and polishing the hood, you may need to clean the surrounding area, contain the grease, degrease filters, clean out air ducts and repair or install fans, motors, panels or filters.

Contact your city licensing department. As a contractor who cleans commercial kitchen exhaust systems, you may be required to hold a license. Obtain your business license and purchase liability insurance for your business.

Purchase equipment for your kitchen hood cleaning business: access panels, repair tools, covers to cover kitchen equipment, restaurant grease filters, pumps, hood stickers, cleaning buckets, chemicals, clamps, duct spinners, gauges, pressure washer, rubber gloves and boots, hoses, sprayers, guns, wands and lubricants. Purchase a commercial vehicle and detail it with your business information and the fact that you are certified, licensed and insured.

Hire a certified cleaner or send your employee through training. Purchase worker’s compensation and uniforms.

Learn how to bid on commercial or government contracts in your area. You’ll need to ensure that you have enough time, manpower and equipment to get the job done in the time allotted. Review old, successful bids to get an idea of how to design yours.

Set your hood cleaning rates based on what others are charging in your area. According to, you can expect to charge $30 to $50 per hour.


Create a system for tracking clients. Since much of your business will be repeat business, you’ll need to contact each client on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis for followup cleanings. Offer coupons to customers willing to commit to 1-year contracts.
Keep costs low by operating from your home. Reorganize a garage to house your equipment and set up an office that you and your employee can utilize to set up appointments or import customer data. Always be looking for low-rent locations. Once you have a full team, you'll need to rent space.