Starting a cleaning business in Maryland provides an opportunity to make an attractive income. The state is home to over five and a half million people with nearly two and half million of them living in the Baltimore area. According to the 2010 U.S., Census, Maryland ranks first in the nation in median annual income at $69,272, which makes it easier for residents to afford a cleaning service. Whether you plan to concentrate on residential cleaning only or include commercial cleaning services, Maryland offers a wealth of opportunity.
Register your cleaning business with the Maryland Department of Licensing. Confirm the business name is available and claim the name by legally formulating your business. In Maryland, you can form a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), or business trust. Discuss with your tax adviser which type of business is best suited to your needs and submit your application. Once the business has been established and the name approved through the Maryland Clerk of Court, you can order your business license. The Maryland Business License Information System (BLIS) also allows business owners to file their quarterly income tax returns and pay any sales and use taxes that are owed.
Join the Maryland chapter a professional society. Residential cleaning business owners can join the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International which is a members-only organization devoted to helping business owners in the cleaning industry find ways to meet their customer's needs and stay profitable. The group works with suppliers to provide discounts for insurance, business related software, and even background checks for potential employees. The monthly chapter meetings typically include a guest speaker and are geared towards networking with area members and showcasing the latest technology. The United Professional Cleaning Alliance and the International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association offer similar benefits for commercial cleaning companies.
Order your supplies from a local wholesaler. This cuts down on the freight expense since your order does not have to ship from out-of-state or from overseas. Provide the supplier with a copy of your business license and establish a wholesale account. Most suppliers require a larger initial order so consolidate your requirements for cleaning chemicals, paper goods, and equipment to meet them minimum. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce website contains a directory of the local chamber of commerce offices in each county. Contact the office in your area for a list of local suppliers. Another option is to use MacRae's Blue Book which is a directory of industrial suppliers.
Hire a cleaning staff. A commercial cleaning service typically works after hours in the evenings while a residential cleaning service mainly works during the day while the customer is at work. When interviewing potential candidates, confirm whether the person has flexible hours. If not, you may need to hire several workers for both shifts to cover the number of hours required. Check the Maryland department of labor's local office for your area to find people with the job skills you require. You may also want to contact local colleges to participate in their job fairs. This is an efficient way to interview several candidates during one day.
Advertise your business through the local newspaper, radio, or neighborhood billboards. This is less costly than running television ads and will still reach a large audience. Realty offices are another great place to advertise a cleaning business. Work with the agents in the Maryland area to determine if they are willing to suggest your services to new home owners. The Realtor may even offer your services as part of an incentive or upgrade package which will increase your exposure and possibly increase future sales.
- Maryland.gov: Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
- Association of Residential Cleaning Services International: What Do You Get Out of Membership?
- Entrepreneur.com: How to Start a Cleaning Service
- MacRae's Blue Book: Local Companies in Maryland
- Business.gov: 10 Steps to Starting a Business
- United Professional Cleaning Alliance (UPCA): Membership Benefits
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.