How to Start a Cleaning Business for Under $1000

by Corinne Garcia; Updated September 26, 2017
Hotel maid cleaning floor in hotel room

In the hustle and bustle of today’s busy world, there always seems to be room for more cleaning companies. It’s a great way to be your own boss and create a flexible schedule that works around family commitments or other part time jobs. Starting a cleaning business is not only profitable, but because it requires little investment up front, getting right to work is easy and quick. And once you get going, your best form of advertising is the free kind: word of mouth. Here’s how to start a cleaning company for under $1,000.

Choose a business name that is practical and catchy, to stick in people’s heads. Although it’s not necessary right away, it’s a good idea to develop a logo based on the name. This can be a simple sketch or you can search online for clip art.

Develop an hourly rate that you feel comfortable with and that is competitive with other cleaners in the area. To find out competitive rates of pay, call other cleaning companies and inquire about their rates.

Call your city hall and/or state government offices and ask about business license requirements. Call insurance companies to ask about getting bonded. Although insurance is not necessary for a start-up, if it’s affordable, it may be worth it for extra protection.

Have business cards made listing your business name, logo and contact information. State if you are licensed and bonded. Don't be afraid to pass these out liberally to friends and acquaintances.

Purchase a variety of cleaning supplies and store them in a plastic bucket or a cleaning supply holder with a handle. Many clients will provide the cleaning supplies and all should have a vacuum that you can use. However, it’s a good idea to have supplies on hand in case the client prefers that you use your own.

Use your home phone or cell phone line initially, until your business can afford a separate phone line. Change your outgoing phone message to include your business information.

Start advertising right away, using the many forms of free advertising first. Create fliers with your business name, logo, prices, and contact information and hang them at busy locations around town such as the public library, supermarkets, and restaurants where this is permitted. In order to build a client base, start out by offering a deal, such as half off the first cleaning. Also, spread the word among friends that you are in business, as word of mouth can be the best form of advertising. Place a small line ad in the services section of your local newspaper, and one in the classifieds. These are inexpensive forms of advertising with high visibility. Once you get a separate phone line, list your business in the Yellow Pages. A bold listing will help you stand out and is relatively inexpensive.

When you get your first client, make sure to do a great job. Leave the client with cards to pass out to their friends. Offer a deal to clients who get you more work (for example, offer 20 percent off their next cleaning if they referred you to a friend who hired you).

Tips

  • Be on the lookout for potential employees to hire down the road. When you get busy enough, you can manage the business and hire others to help do the cleaning.

About the Author

Corinne Garcia has been a writer and editor since 1999. After owning and operating two Montana-based publications, she worked as an editor for the Lee Enterprises newspaper company. Garcia has written for "Country Living," "Parents," "Women's Health," "Fit Pregnancy," "Marie Claire" and "Northwest Travel," among other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Colorado State University.

Photo Credits

  • Andrea Chu/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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