Starting a cleaning business in Missouri requires registration of your unique business name with the secretary of state's offiice and filing your federal tax identification number with state and local revenue offices. Promote your services by joining associations where you can learn to improve your services while networking with your peers. Locate your business in an area after considering local demographics; according to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, there are approximately six million people living in Missouri with the greater St. Louis area home to half of them.
Consult your attorney to decide whether your business will be incorporated, a limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship. Check to be sure someone is not already operating in Missouri under that business name; if not, file your application with the Missouri Business portal, a state-operated website that allows new business owners to register their enterprise, order a business license and pay any applicable fees. A business registration checklist is also available with information regarding local and county licensing requirements.
Obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office and register the number with the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri Department of Labor through their on-line business-tax registration websites.
Join the Missouri chapter of appropriate cleaning business organizations, such as the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) if you are serving private homes. Commercial cleaners can join the United Professional Cleaning Alliance or the International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association. These organizations help business owners find employees through their on-line job posting forums and educate owners on available discounts for payroll software, pre-employment background checks and insurance. The local meetings provide networking opportunities for area business owners, and the national annual conferences offer seminars for running a successful cleaning business.
Establish wholesale accounts with local janitorial supply companies. You must show your business license and may be required initially to purchase a minimum order. Consult MacRae's Blue Book, which is a national directory for industrial supplies and equipment. Some of the supplies needed to start a cleaning business include mops, buckets, brooms, dust pans, vacuums, rolling trash cans and cleaning chemicals.
Hire a janitorial staff to support your client base. Initially you may opt to hire part-time employees until your business is fully established and requires full-time workers. Part-time cleaning jobs are often a good fit for college students since they have flexible hours. Contact the student affairs office at local colleges and look for students with a clean appearance, ability to work day and evening hours, and who have reliable transportation. Join the Missouri Chamber of Commerce to get access to its job posting program. Your local Chamber of Commerce can also help businesses find employees. Insist on a pre-employment background screening to insure your employees are honest and reliable.
Advertise your cleaning services through the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which maintains a database of businesses and also conducts several events in each region of the state throughout the year. These events give business owners the chance to showcase their services to the public and other business owners. New construction subdivisions are also a good place to advertise. Visit the model home and ask to have your cleaning business services included in the "new home owner" sales package.
- Missouri Business Portal: Register Your Business
- 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: Cleaning Equipment
- Business.gov: 10 Steps to Starting a Business
- International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association: 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.