Starting a cleaning business in Washington State may be the perfect solution for increasing your wealth and job satisfaction. There are approximately six and a half million people living in Washington, with more than 60 percent of them living in the Seattle metro area. Washington ranks 10th in the country in median income, which is great news for service businesses. With a bit of advertising creativity and hard work, your cleaning business should be a profitable venture.
Purchase a business license from the Washington State Department of Licensing. The state operates a Web-based business portal where business owners can register a new business, purchase licenses, file their quarterly income tax returns, and pay applicable sales and use taxes. Some counties and cities also require a local license, so check the special license section of the website (see Reference section) to determine if you need one.
Join the Washington chapter of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI). This professional organization is open to residential cleaning workers and business owners and provides help in finding discounts on cleaning supplies, equipment and computer software to run your business. There are monthly chapter meetings where members network and listen to guest speakers on a range of business-related topics. The annual conference includes training seminars and presentations on the newest products in the cleaning field.
Obtain wholesale business accounts with cleaning equipment and chemical suppliers in the state. You may have to purchase a minimum dollar amount ranging from $500 to $1,000 on your initial purchase, so consolidate your orders to meet the requirement. Arodal of Washington in Kent, Coast Wide Supply in Seattle and Leco in Chehalis all offer wholesale accounts when you provide a copy of your business license. Purchase enough supplies to meet the minimum order requirements or to last approximately six weeks. This will give you a good start without having to incur significant expenses before you bring in any revenue.
Hire janitorial workers to staff your business. When you first start, you may need to hire part-time workers until your business grows enough to support full-time employees. College students work well for these types of jobs since their hours are flexible and they may not need full-time work. Contact the student affairs offices at schools such as the University of Washington, City University of Seattle and Washington State University to request permission to advertise job openings in their student centers. At the end of each semester, colleges typically hold job fairs where businesses are allowed to meet and interview the students for available openings with their companies. Though these are usually for graduating students interested in full-time work, there may be an opportunity to pick up part-time workers who are still in school or have not been able to find the right job in their field.
Advertise your cleaning business with real estate agents covering new subdivisions or listings. Since the median annual income Washington as of the 2010 U.S. Census was nearly $60,000, there is definitely enough disposable income in the state to support hiring a cleaning service. By working with real estate agents selling to new homeowners, you have the opportunity to get in before the homeowner hires another company. Other advertising options include running classifieds in popular local newspapers such as the Bellevue Reporter, Everett Herald, Seattle Post Globe and Seattle Times. These newspapers reach over one million readers daily.
- Washington State Department of Licensing: Start a Business
- Association of Residential Cleaning Services International: What Do You Get Out of Membership?
- Entrepreneur.com: How to Start a Cleaning Service
- Small Business Administration: Are You Ready to Start a Business Assessment Tool
- Business.gov: 10 Steps to Starting a Business
Jeri Sullivan is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience based in South Carolina. She works for Flextronics International as a materials marketing manager and specializes in writing about business start-ups. Sullivan has a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.