How to Start a Commercial Cleaning Business

The commercial cleaning industry reached nearly $100 billion in market value in the United States in 2022. Commercial cleaning businesses offer janitorial services for homes, offices, businesses, and more. Do you want to know how to start a commercial cleaning business?  Here’s a guide that will talk about the steps, the cleaning business insurance policies for boosting income, and more. 

How Much Do Commercial Cleaning Companies Make?

Are you wondering how much do commercial cleaning companies make? If you are starting out, you can make between $20,500 and $50,200 per year. As your business expands, you can start increasing your profits above that level. The annual salary for a cleaning service is $28,942. This translates to an average of $14 hourly wages for services you provide. The top-paying cities for commercial companies in the US are compared below.

City Average Annual Salary Average Hourly Wage
Green River, Wyoming $35,998 $17.30
Richmond, California $34,759 $16.71
Stamford, Connecticut $34,338 $16.51
Bellevue, Washington $33,936 $16.32
Belgrade, Montana $33,827 $16.26
Santa Clara, California $33,315 $16.02
San Francisco, California $32,624 $15.68
Bolinas, California $32,572 $15.66
Elk Grove, California $32,566 $15.66
Hartford, Connecticut $32,525 $15.64


How to Start a Commercial Cleaning Business With No Money 

Are you curious about how to start a commercial cleaning business from scratch? Even if you don’t have money to invest, you can find investors, figure out your business name, and start finding clients.

Think of a Business Name

It is critical to put thought into your business name because it can be time-consuming to change once it becomes official. Below are a few tips for choosing a good name.

  • Check to see what your options are: You cannot choose a business name that is already taken. By going to your state’s secretary of state’s website, you can quickly search for what names are available.

  • Make it sum up your business: Your business name should illustrate how your business appeals to customer needs. Choose a name that emphasizes the quality of your services or the speed.

  • Get feedback on your name before deciding: Reach out to friends, family, and potential customers to get feedback on your name. You might think you have selected a good name, but someone else might bring a perspective to the name you didn’t think of.

Decide Who Your Target Customer Is

Another critical consideration when learning how to start a commercial cleaning company is identifying your target customer. You will want to focus your brand and services around appealing to their needs. Some typical customers who might need your commercial cleaning services:

  • Dual income households: Some households have multiple working people, leaving no time to clean their homes.

  • Retailers: Retail businesses must regularly clean and deep-clean their stores to keep them presentable for customers.

  • Local clients: Focusing your business on local clients can help you network and establish helpful business relationships. Local clients will appreciate someone who operates in their area and shares their challenges.

Register Your Business

Before offering services under your business name, you must register your business as a legal entity. Options for registering your business include:

  • Sole proprietorship: If you choose to form a sole proprietorship, you will retain ownership of your company. Sole proprietorships are inexpensive and allow you to avoid the extra taxation corporations must pay on their profits. The downside of a sole proprietorship is you are on the hook for your business’s debts.

  • Corporation: By forming a corporation, you are protected from the consequences of business liabilities and debts. You can also raise additional funds by issuing stocks. A corporation is owned by shareholders who receive profits in the form of dividends, which are subject to taxes.

  • Limited liability company: With a limited liability company, you get the liability protection of a corporation combined with the pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship. LLCs are more expensive to form and maintain than a sole proprietorship.

Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Applying for your EIN is another step to discover when learning how to start a small commercial cleaning business. With an EIN, you can open a business bank account and are allowed to hire employees. The steps to apply for an EIN include:

  1. Choose whether to apply online through the IRS website, by fax, or by mail. You can only apply for one EIN per day

  2. If applying online, you must finish the application without 15 minutes of inactivity.

  3. Submit the application by answering questions about your business operations and providing information like your businesses address.

Find Potential Investors

Do you want to know how to start up a commercial cleaning business? If you have no money, you will need to find investors. Some common types of investors to look for include:

  • Venture capitalists: If you have a profitable idea, venture capitalists might provide you with the seed money to get started for a share of your company’s equity. Venture capitalists are interested in quickly generating a profit and often aren’t in it for the long term.

  • Family members: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your personal network with a business idea. Friends and family will want to support a good idea and see you succeed.

  • Angel investors: Angel investors like to help struggling businesses or new businesses with great ideas. They are willing to wait longer than venture capitalists for profits. You can contact angel investors through the Angel Captial Association and similar groups.

Open a Separate Business Bank Account

Since you have your own business, you should take advantage of a business bank account. They allow you to apply for business loans and process customer transactions. Some typical types of business bank accounts include:

  • Business checking account: Allows you to pay for business expenses and receive payments while keeping them separate from your personal account.

  • Business savings account: With a business savings account, you can earn interest on your profits. A business savings account is a safe investment since the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has insured the money up to $250,000.

  • Merchant services account: A merchant services account is required if you want to process credit and debit transactions for customers. With a merchant services account, you must pay fees for every transaction.

Hire Employees

As you start to generate ledes and make a profit, you will want to invest that profit into hiring employees for your business. You could hire additional cleaners that can take on more jobs and increase your income and annual salary. Bookkeepers help manage business expenses, payroll and prepare financial reports so you can make accurate business choices. A business assistant is valuable because they can manage the daily tasks of the business, like answering phones, making schedules, and ordering cleaning supplies.


A professional cleaning dusting a light fixture.

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How to Run a Commercial Cleaning Business

Now that you know how to start a commercial cleaning business, let’s look at some steps you can take to help you run your business and succeed.


Create a Website

Creating a website is something to consider when discovering how to start an office cleaning business. A website creates legitimacy with clients working in offices you want for potential clients. On your website, you can advertise services like floor buffing and window cleaning, which office buildings often need. You must buy a domain name and find a web host to create a website. Once you register your website, you can start designing it and adding content. Consider hiring a professional web designer to make your website look appealing and trustworthy.


Invest in Advertising

When learning how to start a commercial janitorial business, you should consider which advertising method is right for your business. You can run ads on local TV or radio stations. Customers seeing your business on TV or hearing it on the radio makes you seem like a reliable choice. Hopefully, your name will stick in their minds when they search for a cleaning service provider.

You can also invest in search engine optimization or SEO. By creating content your target customer will search for online, you can generate high-quality traffic to your website. People you draw to your website through search engine optimization are more likely to be converted into customers.


Conduct Market Research

Performing market research on your customers can be advantageous if you can afford it. You will want to identify your target customer’s needs and what you can do to address them. You can send customers surveys to get their opinion on cleaning services and what they would pay. Focus groups give you personalized feedback about potential clients’ thoughts about your brand and services. The National Business Research Institute says that market research feels worth it to managers when you can get at least a  30 percent return on investment for your market research.

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Insurance Requirements for Boosting Income

Your commercial cleaning business must purchase insurance to protect your income from being drained by lawsuits and unexpected events like fires and theft. The following policies are recommended to set your business up for success.


General Liability Insurance for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

General liability insurance protects your commercial cleaning business against third-party lawsuits. Typically it will cover claims like property damage and bodily injury. Thimble is an excellent choice for a general liability policy. They boast you can get a quote and purchase a policy within 60 seconds. Their policy process is simplified, making it easier to get covered. You can access your Thimble policies from the convenience of a mobile app. The company has an A+ score from the Better Business Bureau.


Professional Liability Insurance for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

Professional liability insurance is necessary to protect your business from lawsuits that result from errors or oversights. If you make a mistake in your professional services, a customer might sue you for failing to meet expectations. For professional liability coverage, you should choose Hiscox. Hiscox has over 100 years of experience and serves 500,000 customers. They offer international coverage for professional liability insurance. Hiscox has an A rating from AM Best.


Commercial Property Insurance for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

Commercial property insurance protects your business equipment located on your building premises. It typically covers fire damage, theft, vandalism, water damage, and lighting events.

CoverWallet is our top choice for commercial property insurance. You can get quotes for policies without needing to purchase a policy. You can access and track your policies from their mobile app. The mobile app has a convenient dashboard for tracking claims and making payments. The Better Business Bureau gave CoverWallet an A+ rating.


Commercial Auto Insurance for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

When using a vehicle for business purposes, you need commercial auto insurance. This policy protects against vehicle accident liabilities. It can also help you pay for vehicle damage due to accidents, theft, or vandalism. Tivly is an excellent pick for commercial auto insurance. You can shop policies from over 200 providers after a quick phone call. Tivly uses flexible targeting, which keeps your needs in mind when matching you with insurance providers. The company has over 20 years of experience and an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

Workers’ compensation insurance is required in most states once you start hiring. It protects your employees from the costs associated with illnesses and injuries. The policy pays for medical treatments and helps them recover lost wages. For workers’ compensation, you should choose The Hartford. Their policy has benefits like needle stick reimbursement and access to over 65,000 pharmacies across the US. The Hartford has over 200 years of underwriting experience. Their veteran agents are knowledgeable and will make intelligent recommendations for policy options. This means you don’t need to be an insurance expert to purchase a good policy. The Hartford has an A- rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.


Business Owner’s Policy for Commercial Cleaning Businesses

A business owner’s policy combines commercial property and general liability insurance into one policy. Because of this, it is considered one of the most comprehensive insurance options.

NEXT is an excellent provider of a business owner’s policy. They offer some of the most affordable insurance prices with excellent coverage. Their BOP has the same coverage as their general liability insurance.  NEXT has a 4.7/5 rating from customer reviews. You can get quotes for your business within minutes and save money when bundling multiple policies. NEXT uses transparent pricing, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra with hidden fees. The company boasts an A- score with AM Best and a B+ from the Better Business Bureau.

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