New York offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurial success, especially when it comes to cleaning businesses. Whether you have created a niche and are only cleaning windows or offering full residential or commercial services, there are plenty of customers willing to pay for professional cleaning. Hotels, businesses, corporations and residents appreciate the importance of appearances, and they rely on trusted services to maintain those appearances. As a result, a job well done can mean positive word-of-mouth advertising for your business.

Things You Will Need
  • Internet access

  • Business permits

  • Insurance

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Office equipment

Step 1.

Determine the type of cleaning business that you'll operate. New York offers numerous avenues for entering the cleaning business. Research commercial and residential services as well as niche areas in the cleaning industry, such as window cleaning or foreclosure cleaning businesses. If possible, speak with current owners of cleaning services to get a clearer view of the industry and what it entails.

Step 2.

Learn your tax responsibilities. Go to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website for an overview of what taxes your business will need to pay. From the website, you can create an online account to file for taxes and make payments.

Step 3.

Determine your business structure. Before you can successfully apply for the appropriate business permits, you'll need to decide which structure will work best for your cleaning business. There are five legal structures to consider: corporations, S corporations, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or sole proprietorship. Consult your attorney or accountant to discuss which structure is best for the long-term vision of your company before registering at the New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations website.

Step 4.

Acquire your Employer Identification Number (EIN). The government uses the EIN to identify taxpayers who must file business tax returns. The Internal Revenue website can help you determine if your company requires that you apply for an EIN and allows you to apply online, for immediate results.

Step 5.

Obtain state and local permits. New York State's Online Permit Assistance and Licensing (OPAL) website will help you determine what licenses are required to start a cleaning business and, in some cases, will allow you to apply online. Conduct a search by clicking the “Choose Business Type” link and entering “cleaning” in the search box at the bottom of the page. After you answer a few specific questions, the system will produce a list of links directing you to the necessary permits for the type of cleaning business that you have selected.

Step 6.

Protect your business by obtaining the correct business insurance. Your insurance agent can help guide you on what is the best coverage for cleaning businesses in your area. Because of the nature of cleaning services, you will want to also discuss bonding your business for full coverage protection against potential allegations of employee theft or customer dissatisfaction.

Step 7.

Buy your cleaning supplies and office equipment. Locate dealers of professional cleaning products and supplies. The type of cleaning service that you offer will dictate what supplies that you will need. Purchase office equipment to manage the running of your cleaning business as well. You will need a computer, copier, fax machine, cell phone and a land line.


If you are in the process of registering as a corporation or LLC, you must have approval from the New York State Department of State before applying for business permits.


Failure to register, obtain the correct permits or pay taxes may result in fines or legal action.