Your checklist for starting a cleaning business should begin with a business plan. Outline who the key competitors are in your market, the services they offer and their prices. Plan whether you want to do the cleaning yourself or hire employees to administer the cleaning. Determine whether you want to franchise an existing business, or start your cleaning business from scratch. Additionally, estimate how much capital you will need and how you will finance your cleaning business.

Supplies and Equipment

You will need certain supplies and equipment for your cleaning business, including mops, brooms, a vacuum cleaner, trash bags, floor and glass cleaners, squeegees, spray bottles and cleaning cloths. Consider whether or not you want to also clean carpets or polish floors with a floor polishing machine. You can rent carpet-cleaning or floor-polishing machines when you need them. Renting various machines will keep your initial expenses down.

Licenses and Insurance

Apply for a vendor's license at your local city hall or county administration office. You will need to collect and pay sales taxes on all revenue. Additionally, register your business as a DBA (doing business as) through the same local government office. A DBA is usually required if you make up a name for your business. Your state may also require other licenses and permits. Go to and click on the "State and Local" link and search for other licenses your state requires. Get some liability insurance for your cleaning business, according to Liability insurance will protect you from potential lawsuits. People may fall on wet floors or develop respiratory problems from chemicals you use. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has a list of requirements for cleaning businesses at

Target Market

Decide whether you want to target consumers or businesses. Consumer clients will include owners and renters of homes, apartments and condominiums. Target small office complexes, hospitals, schools, libraries and corporations in your area if you want to focus on business clients. Contact companies like Molly Maid if you want to buy a residential cleaning franchise. Consider franchisers like Jani-King and Coverall if you want to target business clients. (See Resources 1, 2 and 3.)


Plan the types of advertising you will use to promote your cleaning business. Distribute fliers to residential customers. Leave a business card and brochure with business clients, as you will need to be more professional with business owners. Some business clients may also require you to submit a bid for jobs. Advertise your cleaning business in the print and online yellow pages. Run ads in various coupon magazines that are distributed to residences.