How to Get a Cleaning Business License: 50 State Guide

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
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Cleaning-business license 50 state guide

Running a cleaning business without a license can lead to a hefty fine. I knew a business owner in Las Vegas that had to do 100 hours of community service per month for illegally operating a business. That’s 23 hours a week. That’ll really slow you down.

Christopher Mondragon had a similar experience and told us:

I was fined $12,000 dollars for misclassifying my cleaners as subcontractors.

He learned his lesson and moved forward; Queen Bee Cleaning Services makes over $1.5 million per year now, you can read his incredible story here. We’re going to share how you can avoid the same mistakes.

We’ll explain the cleaning business licensing framework in the United States, along with some of the commonly asked questions about cleaning business licenses. Then, we’ll provide resources for cleaning businesses to get a license in each state and Washington, D.C.

Do I need a license to clean houses?

If you are cleaning houses consistently, you will likely need to get one or more business licenses for your cleaning services. Occasionally, cleaning a house wouldn’t constitute running your own cleaning business. Still, there are enough activities that could trigger unwanted government attention, including:

  • Many people own home-based businesses and may deduct their payments to cleaning businesses from their business income.
  • The Internal Revenue Service requires that companies report on payments to subcontractors that they pay more than $600 per year.
  • Government officials can see social media pages, paid ads, and car magnets.
  • Your cleaning service has employees.

If you plan to perform any of the previously mentioned activities in a new cleaning business, you’ll need to get a license for your cleaning service company.

What are the legal requirements for startup a cleaning business?

There are a variety of legal requirements for cleaning services. They will vary by state, but we’ll cover the most common requirements. At this point, it makes sense to disclose that neither Chris nor I are attorneys, and this should not be considered legal advice.

Now that I’ve gotten the necessary disclaimer out of the way, you’ll want to get the following licenses for small businesses:

  • All locations will need a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, or “Doing Business As (DBA)” for each state your business entity will be operating. These require filing with the Secretary of State (SOS) for each state.
  • Eleven states specifically require a state business license. We’ll discuss each in their respective sections.
  • At least 31 states have counties requiring cleaning services licenses to operate a small business in the cleaning industry. These will commonly be filed with the county clerk.
  • At least seven states have cities requiring a business license to offer services within the city limits. Check with your city business licensing department for information.
  • An Employer Identification Number is required when companies hire employees. Make sure to get one from the IRS and keep it somewhere safe. This is required to pay payroll taxes.
  • Surety bonds: Some states, counties, or cities require a surety bond to protect customers against losses due to the behavior of cleaning businesses. They will normally specify where to get the surety bond.
  • State Tax Documents: States may collect income tax, business taxes, and sales taxes. Consult with a tax attorney about this information.
  • Insurance: There are a variety of insurance requirements, including workers’ compensation, unemployment, and others. For instance, a small business that is cleaning large commercial buildings may need $1M to $2M general liability to perform work on the customer’s property.

How do I get a license for a cleaning business?

When starting up a cleaning company, you’ll need to go to each state’s SOS and form your business before applying for other business licenses. We’ll provide the information for each state in the section for the specific state.

Once you have the business formed, you’ll need to get your EIN, any surety bonds required, and any insurance required in the state. Some locations may require education, work history, or testing if your cleaning business requires a contractor’s license.

Then you’ll go to the appropriate office or website for each cleaning business license required in the state and apply for those. You’ll fill out some paperwork, provide proof of documents, and pay a fee. We’ll provide more details about each requirement in each state’s section.

It is common for locations to use the North American Industry Classification System to identify what business license you need.

Screenshot of UnitedStatesCensusBureau website

2022 NAICS Cleaning Codes

There are 119 cleaning classifications in the 2022 classification, but locations may choose to use the 2017 or 2012 classifications as well. We have included the full list of 2022 classifications below.

The most common cleaning classifications you will use are: 

  1. 561720: Standard janitorial, housekeeping, and commercial cleaning
  2. 561740: Carpet, furniture, upholstery cleaning
  3. 561790: Specialty cleaning like power washing, ducts, plumbing, gutters, parking lots, gutters
  4. Other less common specialty cleaners for crops, rice, poultry, oil, coal, and gas

There are a ton of less common ones, which you can find on NAICS.com.

Choose Your State

We’ve compiled the links for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Use the table below to jump directly to your state:

How to Get a Cleaning License in Alabama

Alabama does not require a state license for a cleaning company, but you will need to file with the county probate office in each county in which you will operate. 

These are the links you’ll need to start taking cleaning jobs in Alabama legally:

  • Alabama SOS: Register an LLC or Corporation or register the name of a sole proprietorship or partnership. To register a business name, you’ll need to file a notarized document with the County Probate offices as well.
  • Alabama Taxes: Pay income and business taxes. There’s no fee to get the taxpayer ID number.
  • County Probate Offices: You’ll get your business license and name filed and notarized here. The costs of the business license range from about $9 to $24 based on population size.

If you’re doing business in Alabama, make sure you trademark your name and logo with USPTO.gov. Registering a name does not prevent other companies from using it in Alabama. There may also be other requirements if you live in a city like Birmingham.

How Cleaning Businesses Get a License in Alaska

Alaska requires a state license for all cleaning companies. In addition, you may have other county and municipal licensing requirements. 

You’ll need these links to start taking cleaning jobs in Alaska legally:

Screenshot of The Great State of Alaska

  • Alaska SOS: Register your cleaning company and get a state business license. Business licenses are approximately $25 for the name, $50 per year for sole proprietors, and $100 for other companies.
  • Alaska Taxes: This is not applicable unless you have to file because you file a federal partnership.
  • Cities in Alaska: Fairbanks, Nome, and Barrow have other licensing requirements.
    • Fairbanks: Requires a $40 initial fee and a renewal fee that varies based on the Consumer Price Index and the gross receipts.
    • Nome: Requires a business license (unspecified amount), reseller’s permit, and 5% sales tax collection with an extra 2% during May through August.
    • UTQIAĠVIK (Barrow): Licensing runs around $150 if filed before December 31 and $250 if late.

If you’re doing business in Alaska, you can file name registration to get an exclusive five-year use right, but you’ll still want to consider filing for a trademark with the USPTO.gov as the state expects you to be responsible for defending your intellectual property.

How to Get a Cleaning Business License in Arizona

Arizona requires a state license for all cleaning companies. In addition, you may have other county and municipal licensing requirements. 

These are the links you’ll need to start taking cleaning jobs in Arizona legally:

Screenshot of AZGOV website

  • Arizona SOS: If you need a DBA, LLC, or Corporation, you need to apply with the SOS.
  • Arizona Taxes: Sole proprietors and partnerships need to file estimated income tax. They don’t need to pay sales taxes.
  • Cities in Arizona: There are at least 17 jurisdictions that have other requirements.

Choose the one you are interested in below:

Arizona does not allow duplicate businesses to have the same name, but if you want extra protection you can file for a trademark.

Cleaning Business License in Arkansas

Small businesses owned by a sole proprietor or general partnership do not need to apply for a business license through the state of Arkansas. It is still smart to check with your local county clerk or city to verify any municipal or county licensing requirements.

These are the links you’ll need to do business legally in Arkansas:

Screenshot-of-The-Great-State of Arcanses counties

  • Arkansas Taxpayer Access Point (ATAP): House cleaning services are taxable in Arkansas, so you’ll need to register your business through the ATAP and collect sales taxes on your services. Sole proprietors also must pay estimated self-employment income taxes on form AR1002ES.
  • List of County Clerks: “Doing business as” (DBA) names must be registered with the county clerk’s office before you do business. Failing to register them may result in daily fines
  • Cities in Arkansas: Many cities in Arkansas have additional licensing requirements for businesses operating within their limits. The application fee varies from $50 to $1,000 or more, depending on the type of business. If you don’t see your city on the list below, contact your county clerk to learn if you need a license in your municipality. You can also use their Local Tax Lookup Tool to determine your local tax rates.

Filing a DBA name in Arkansas does not guarantee sole rights to that name, so you may want to file for a trademark if you want extra protection. 

How to Get a Cleaning License in California

The state of California does not require a business license for sole proprietors and general partners. However, you may need to register a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) or” Doing Business As” (DBA) with your county and city if the business name is different from your personal name. 

These are the links you’ll need to start a business in California legally:

Screenshot of calgold.ca.gov website

  • CalGold: This is the license and permit portal for the state of California. Typing in your information will lead you to the county and city licensing requirements for your area, as well as any federal or state permits that you’ll need. You can also apply for an LLC here.
  • California Franchise Tax Board (FTB): All businesses in California must register with the state tax department. However, house cleaning services are not taxable, so you do not need to pay sales tax. 
  • Cities in California: At least 22 cities in California require a business license. You can access permit and license information through CalGold, or use the links below to go straight to the page for your city:

General partners and sole proprietors must pay self-employment taxes (on form 540-ES). Tax on business income is paid through personal state tax returns. 

Janitorial Cleaning Business License: California

A janitorial business has special requirements in California. Review the Department of Industrial Relations website for more information on the Janitorial License. California requires a $500 application fee for janitorial cleaning licenses and a $500 renewal fee after the first year.

They have stiff penalties of $100 per day for the first 100 days if you begin working without licensing.

Cleaning Business License in Colorado

Colorado does not require sole proprietors or general partners to apply for a state business license, but they do need to apply for a license with their city or county clerk’s office. Additionally, you must register Trade Names or Doing Business As (DBA) names with the state and obtain a trade name affidavit from the Secretary of State to hold property like land or real estate. 

These are the links you’ll need to do business legally in Colorado:

Screenshot of MyBizColorado website

  • MyBizColorado: Register your business name and register with the Colorado Department of Revenue for taxes through this portal. Cleaning services are not taxed in Colorado, so you will not need to collect and pay sales tax. 
  • County Clerk Websites: County clerks and recorders are listed here. You will need to apply for a business license in each county where you operate. The cost varies from county to county, with an average application cost of $15 to $30.
  • Cities in Colorado: In addition to county licenses, many Colorado cities have additional licensing or tax registration requirements. If you don’t see your city on the list below, check with your county clerk to find out if there are additional licensing requirements for your municipality:

General partners and sole proprietors pay business income tax through their individual returns. They are also responsible for paying self-employment income taxes on form 104-EP.

Cleaning Business License in Connecticut

Connecticut does not require sole proprietors or general partners to apply for a state business license, but they may need to apply for a license with their county or city clerk’s office. LLCs and Corporations will need to file with the Secretary of state.

Additionally, you must register Trade Names or Doing Business As (DBA) names with the city clerk, but it does not protect you from others conducting business under the same name. You are expected to defend your intellectual property in court.

These are the links you’ll need to do business legally in Connecticut:

Screenshot of CtGov website

  • Secretary of State: Register as an LLC or Corporation, or get a license for companies that need one through this portal. Cleaners do not need a state business license.
  • Department of Revenue Service: Register on MyConnect for a Connecticut number that is used for income and sales tax. 
  • List of Town Clerks: Apply for your DBA and business license (if necessary) in each county where you operate. 

License for Cleaning Business in Delaware

Screenshot of onestopdelaware website

Delaware is amazing! It has a one-stop-shop for starting up a cleaning business (or any other business). States that do this make life easy for business owners. Just open an account and go through the process of LLC, license for cleaning business, permits, and pay the cleaning business license cost. 

 You’ll likely be looking at:

  • $75 for a business license
  • $50 for a seller permit
  • $90 for an LLC

See the full list of optional and required fee structures. Their business-friendly policies are why more than two-thirds of the Fortune 500 are registered in Delaware.

Florida Cleaning Business License Requirements

Obtaining licensing in Florida is about as easy as it comes. Just go to Sunbiz to get your business registered with the state. Some counties will need a cleaning business license. 

Florida counties that require a business license or permits for tax purposes include:

Licenses and permits are inexpensive in Florida. Check out their whole list of fees for licenses and permits.

Cleaning Services License in Georgia

Screenshot of sos.ga website

Some counties or cities may require business licenses. Here is a list of the ones we were able to confirm:

Cleaning Business License in Hawaii

Screenshot of hawaii.gov website

Most businesses in Hawaii don’t register their trade names, but you can if you want to on Hawaii Business Express. All businesses do have to have a business license which you can apply for on the Hawaii Business Express site. There are no city or county licensing requirements in Hawaii. 

Cleaning Business License in Idaho

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Idaho:

Screenshot of sos.idaho.gov website

Cleaning Business License in Illinois

In Illinois, you’ll need to do the following to register your business:

Screenshot of ilsos.gov website

The following cities or counties require legal documents to get a cleaning business license from the local government:

Cleaning Business License in Indiana

Screenshot of InGov website

You’ll want to begin your business license application for Indiana on InBiz.gov where you can get an LLC or a corporation. You’ll also need to sign up with the Department of Revenue to pay payroll and corporate taxes.

You’ll need to search the County Recorder’s office to see if your business name is in use. Then file a notarized Certificate Of Assumed Business Name with the recorder.

Gary and Hammond Indiana both have city business license requirements.

Cleaning Business License in Iowa

Screenshot of sos.iowa.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Iowa:

  • Secretary of State: Conduct a business name search and form an LLC or Corporation on the SOS site. Sole proprietors and general partnerships don’t need to do this.
  • Iowa Dept. of Revenue: It looks like you’ll need a withholding number if you have employees. You’ll also need to file estimated taxes.
  • County Recorders: Each county requires cleaners to get a business license and DBA. Look up your Iowa Dept. of Revenue recorder.

Cleaning Business License in Kansas

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Kansas:

  • Secretary of State: If you want a trademark, LLC, or Corporation, use the SOS site. You can also search for the business name on it.
  • Kansas Department Of Revenue: If you have employees, you need to register for payroll tax withholding.
  • Cities or County Governments: There may be requirements at the county level, but the closest thing I was able to find to a county clerk’s office was the election office.

The following is a list of cities that require business licenses:

Cleaning Business License in Kentucky

Screenshot of OneStopBusinessPortal website

Kentucky is another one-stop start a business state. These are the best. You don’t need any special licenses or permits unless you are a methamphetamine cleanup business. They’ll link to the cities you need when you go through the state process. 

Cleaning Business License in Louisiana

Screenshot of geauxbiz.com website

Louisiana cleaning businesses are lucky. Go to the Geauxbiz website to apply for everything you need in one spot. The Department of Revenue, Secretary of State, and Louisiana Workforce are all available from one interface. Get started cleaning today.

Cleaning Business License in Maine

Screenshot of MaineGov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Maine:

  • Secretary of State: Business licenses run about $25. You’ll also need to get a DBA, LLC, or Corporation on the SOS site. 
  • Maine Taxes: You’ll deal with local offices for tax requirements. You’ll find them in the link below. You can also use the Department of Revenue to file online.
  • Cities or County Governments: You’ll register a DBA by going to the clerk’s office and filing a notarized form. Find local government offices in Maine.

The following are links to different municipalities:

Cleaning Business License in Maryland

Screenshot of businessexpress.maryland.gov website

Maryland uses Business Express to help start a business. You can get your state business license, DBA or limited liability company, and tax permits there. You may also need permitting in local jurisdictions. Here are some of the most common:

Cleaning Business License in Massachusetts

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Massachusetts. We recommend following the state guide:

  • Secretary of State: You’ll need to get an LLC or Corporation on the SOS site if you chose to become one. If not, you don’t need to apply at the SOS office.
  • Massachusetts Tax Connect: You’ll need to register with them to pay payroll taxes or corporate taxes. Sole proprietorships and general partners may need to file estimated taxes as well.
  • Cities or County Governments: Get a DBA and any local licenses or permits for your town. Look up your location’s county clerk. It’s important to note that a married couple does not count as a sole proprietorship. This is to protect both owners in the case of divorce.

Local government websites in Massachusetts:

Cleaning Business License in Michigan

Screenshot of Michigan.gov website

Michigan has different requirements for different cleaners. Check their State License Search to see which ones you need to follow:

Here are some of the city websites you may need to use:

Honestly, Michigan’s system is not super user-friendly. Each government site I went to suggested going to the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get help, so save your time and work from there. 

Cleaning Business License in Minnesota

You’ll need to use the following sites to start cleaning businesses in Minnesota:

Cleaning Business License in Mississippi

Screenshot of MississippiBoss website

If you’re in Mississippi, start by going to MS BOSS, their one-stop-shop, and answer five questions for a guided process. You can also check out these resources:

  • Secretary of State: This is where you’ll get a DBA, LLC, or Corporation. You can also get a trademark on the SOS site. 
  • Mississippi Department of Revenue: You’ll need to pay sales tax and withholding taxes in some scenarios. Refer to their FAQ to see what pieces apply to you.
  • Cities or County Governments: Each city or county may need additional documents.

Here are some of the cities:

Cleaning Business License in Missouri

Screenshot of bsd.sos.mo.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Missouri:

  • Secretary of State: LLCs and fictitious names are filed online, others you have to do via mail or by going to an office. (Fortunately, they are working on implementing a better tool.)
  • Missouri Department of Revenue: Depending on how your business is structured, you may need to pay business taxes.
  • Cities or County Governments: Each city or county may need additional documents. MoSourceLink (private or public partnership for increasing entrepreneurship) provides a list of county clerks.

There are some cities that require licenses. Here’s the list we’ve identified:

Cleaning Business License in Montana

Screenshot of biz.sosmt.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Montana:

Cleaning Business License in Nebraska

Screenshot of Nebraska.gov website

Just go to Nebraska’s one-stop-shop for all your business needs. They’ll walk you through the steps to register your business, get a business license, and the tax laws you need to follow. 

Cleaning is a taxable event, but restoration is not. Remember to consult with a lawyer to confirm what cleaning services should and should not be taxed.

Cleaning Business License in Nevada

Screenshot of SilverFlume website

Nevada is one of the places where cleaning services do their entire process online using NV SilverFlume. I love their service! It’s great. 

Sole proprietors can claim home-based exemptions for their cleaning businesses and save several hundred dollars. You’ll need to file sales taxes if you sell products. Services are non-taxable. They also help file with the local and county governments directly through the site.

Also, be aware that Clark County has a lot of cleaning business license and bonding requirements. If you wish to service the whole area, you will need to get a license for Unincorporated Clark County, Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas. The good news is they can all be done through SilverFlume.

 I’ve provided links to the major cities in case you want to view the city pages:

Feel free to email me if you have questions about it. I’ve used it enough that I am comfortable helping you, but I cannot provide legal advice.

Cleaning Business License in New Hampshire

Screenshot of quickstart.sos.nh.gov website

New Hampshire Quick Start is where you’ll need to go to register your business. You’ll go through business formation and tax filings there. You may need to do additional filings if you live in Manchester.

Cleaning Business License in New Jersey

Screenshot of njportal.com website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in New Jersey:

Here are select cities that expect a business license to accept customers:

Cleaning Business License in New Mexico

Screenshot of portal.sos.state.nm.us website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in New Mexico:

Behold the main cities in New Mexico:

Cleaning Business License in New York

Screenshot of NewYorkState website

Use the State of New York’s Business Wizard to form your business, get your tax documents, and find out what you’ll need at the local levels. Sole proprietors may need to go to the city or county government for an assumed name and business license.

Look up your location’s county clerk. You can choose where you’ll start a cleaning service below to go to city websites:

How to Get a Cleaning License in North Carolina

Screenshot of sosnc.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in North Carolina:

  • Secretary of State: Check trade names and form an LLC or Corporation on the SOS site. 
  • NC Department of Revenue: You only need to register with the DOR if you have employees, sell products, or are incorporated.
  • Cities or County Governments: You’ll need to get your Assumed Name at the Register of Deeds Office. Find your local Register. Don’t forget to ask them if they require a business license for cleaning businesses.

Find the city agency you’ll need to apply with to get a cleaning service license in NC:

Cleaning Business License in North Dakota

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in North Dakota:

Cleaning Business License in Ohio

Screenshot of bsportal.ohiosos.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Ohio:

  • Secretary of State: You’ll need to get either a Trade Name or a Fictitious Name. Alternatively, you can get an LLC or Corporation on the SOS site. 
  • Department of Taxation: Sales and Use tax is required, plus a Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) after you reach $150K annual revenue. Learn more about the CAT.
  • County Auditors: You’ll need to get a Vendor’s License from the county auditor of each county in which you operate. This is how the state taxes go to the right county. Make sure to ask if you need anything else while you talk to them.

Some cities will also want a business license. Here’s a list of Ohio cities and where to get their vendor’s licenses and business licenses:

Cleaning Business License in Oklahoma

Screenshot of sos.ok.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Oklahoma:

Don’t forget to apply for a local cleaning license if you operate a cleaning service in the following cities:

Cleaning Business License in Oregon

Screenshot of oregon.gov website

You’ll need to use the following sites for cleaning businesses in Oregon. Oregon Business Xpress has everything you need to know about starting a business in Oregon. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Secretary of State: You’ll need to get an Assumed Business Name (ABN) and Business License (if you get ABN). Alternatively, you can also get an LLC or Corporation on the SOS site. 
  • Oregon Business Registry: Apply for a Business Identification Number before hiring employees. You can also use this to file the SOS applications.
  • Cities or County Governments: Each city or county may have additional requirements for cleaners. Look up your county clerk.

These cities in Oregon have other requirements, but laws are subject to change so contact your local clerk or SBA office for guidance:

Cleaning Business License in Pennsylvania

You’ll need to use the following sites for a cleaning business license in Pennsylvania. Start at Pennsylvania’s One-Stop-Shop. This will allow you access to most government agencies in Pennsylvania:

  • Department of State: You can apply online or use paper forms for fictitious names, LLC, or Corporation applications on the DOS site. 
  • PA 100 Online Tax Registration: All cleaning companies have to charge and pay sales tax. Some will need to file for:
    • Sales, Use, and Hotel Occupancy Tax
    • Public Transportation Assistance Fund Taxes and Fees
    • Vehicle Rental Tax
  • Cities or County Governments: Each city or county may need additional documents. These are the cities where other licensing requirements are needed:

Cleaning Business License in Rhode Island

Screenshot of sos.ri.gov website

Cleaning businesses are not required to apply for a state business license in Rhode Island. However, you still need to check with the city clerk for the municipalities where you operate regarding local licensing requirements and to register your Doing Business As (DBA) name, if applicable. 

Links you’ll need to run a cleaning business legally in Rhode Island:

  • Rhode Island Business Assistant: The state offers this one-stop portal for information, forms, and links you’ll need to set up your business legally. 

Cleaning businesses in Rhode Island are not required to collect and send sales tax. General partners and sole proprietors pay tax on business income through their individual state tax returns. They are also responsible for paying self-employment income tax on form RI-1040ES.

Cleaning Business License in South Carolina

Screenshot of mydorway.dor.sc.gov website

General partners and sole proprietors do not need to apply for a license at the state level, but most cities and counties in South Carolina have licensing requirements. You should also check with your city or county clerk’s office to find out if you’re required to register a Doing Business As (DBA) name. 

These are the links you’ll need to get a business license in South Carolina:

  • Department of Revenue Portal (MyDORWAY): Businesses in South Carolina do not need to pay sales tax, but they may need to pay Business Personal Property Tax (BPP) which you can register for and learn more about on MyDORWAY. 
  • South Carolina County Offices: Here are resources to find the county clerk with whom you should register your business name. This process is free for most counties, though nine of them issue paid licenses. The links and approximate costs for those counties:

Cleaning Business License in South Dakota

Screenshot of sdcounties.org website

Cleaning business owners in South Dakota can register their Doing Business As (DBA) name with the Register of Deeds office for their county, but they do not need to apply for a state business license. Check out these resources:

  • List of Counties: Find the contact information for your Register of Deeds to register your business name.
  • South Dakota Department of Revenue: House cleaning services are taxable in South Dakota, so you’ll need to register for a sales tax license with the state. On the plus side, the state has no personal income or self-employment income tax. 

Cleaning Business License in Tennessee

Screenshot of tntap.tn.gov website

Businesses operating in Tennessee must obtain a business license from every county in which they operate. Many cities require a separate licensing process, as well. While house cleaning services are not taxed in Tennessee, you will need to pay a gross receipts tax on your total sales. 

Here are the sites where you can register your business and find more information:

  • Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point (TNTAP): This is a portal to register for Tennessee’s gross receipts tax. 
  • List of County Clerks: Here you will find contact information for every county clerk in Tennessee. There is a $15 fee to register for each new business. There are two types of business licenses for general partners and sole proprietors:
  • Minimal Business Activity License: For businesses with gross annual receipts between $3,000 and $10,000.
  • Standard Business License: For businesses with gross annual receipts of more than $10,000 that are not exempt from the state business tax. 

Cities in Tennessee: Many municipalities in Tennessee require businesses to obtain an additional license. If you don’t see your city on the list below, ask your county clerk if an additional license is required in your municipality:

Cleaning Business License in Texas

Screenshot of comptroller.texas.gov website

Businesses owned by a sole proprietor or general partner do not need a license from the state of Texas. However, you must obtain a license from your city and county clerk’s office. The cost of a license varies widely, from as low as $15 to several hundred per year, depending on your municipality. You will also need to register your business with the Texas Comptroller for state taxes. 

More information about registering a cleaning business in Texas:

  • WebFile eSystems Portal: This is a Sales Tax Permit registration portal for the state of Texas. House cleaning services are taxed in Texas.
  • County Clerk Listing: Here you will find a full listing of the contact information for each county clerk in Texas. 

Cities in Texas: You will need to register your business with your city. Here are links to get a business license in the state’s largest metro areas:

If your city is not listed above, check the 2022 Texas Business Licenses & Permits Guide or contact the state’s Business Permit Office for more information on how to register. 

Cleaning Business License in Utah

Screenshot of secure.utah.gov website

The state of Utah requires all businesses to obtain a license and complete tax registration before operating. Individual cities and counties may also require businesses to obtain a license. 

Here are the links you’ll need to register your business in Utah:

  • OneStop Business Registration System: In Utah, the same portal is used to register for a license and with the state’s tax department. The cost of the license ranges between $25 and $55 and must be renewed every year. 

Cities in Utah: At least eight cities in Utah have additional licensing requirements for businesses. Find your city below to learn more:

House cleaning services are not taxed in Utah, and there is no requirement to file estimated self-employment income taxes with the state. General partners and sole proprietors pay tax on their business income when they file individually. 

Cleaning Business License in VermontScreenshot of myvtax.vermont.gov website

The state of Vermont does not require sole proprietors or general partners to apply for a business license. You will still need to register to pay your business’ taxes, however. Here are the links you’ll need to do so:

  • myVTax: This is a portal to register with the Vermont Department of Taxes. Residential house cleaning is not taxable in Vermont, so you will not need to collect sales tax. Sole proprietors pay tax on business income through their individual tax return.
  • Cities in Vermont: House cleaning businesses do not require a license in any of Vermont’s major cities, including Burlington and Montpelier. That said, it is still a smart idea to find your town or county clerk and contact them to verify exactly what steps you should follow to conduct your business legally.

Business owners are also responsible for estimated self-employment income taxes, filed on form IN-114. Additionally, unincorporated general partnerships filing a Form 1065 are required to pay a Business Entity Tax, based on a percentage of your income with a minimum payment of $250 a year. You can call the Vermont Department of Taxes to get more information. They can be reached toll-free at (866) 828-2865.

Cleaning Business License in Virginia

Screenshot of bos.sbsd.virginia.gov website

Residential house cleaning businesses (owned by a sole proprietor or general partner) do not need to register for a business license in Virginia. However, there may be licensing requirements through your county or city government.

Here are the links you’ll need to start a cleaning business in Virginia:

  • Business One Stop (BOS): This is an online portal with all the resources you’ll need to create and run a business in Virginia. There is a one-time registration fee of around $20 to use the service.
  • Virginia Department of Taxation: Residential house cleaning services are not taxable in Virginia, so you won’t need to collect and send sales taxes. However, you will need to pay taxes on business income and should register for a tax account using the link above before starting your business. You will also need to pay self-employment income taxes using form 760ES. You can find more information through the link above or by calling (804) 367-8031.

Cities in Virginia: At least eight cities in Virginia have additional licensing requirements. Follow the link for your city below to find out more:

Cleaning Business License in Washington

Screenshot of dor.wa.gov website

Washington requires all businesses operating in the state to obtain a license and register with the Department of Revenue. You can register a trade name and business license using the same form by following the link above. 

Here are the additional links you’ll need to start a cleaning business in Washington:

  • Business Licensing Service: This portal provides a list of the federal, state, and city licenses your business will need, along with contact information for each and the forms required to apply for your Washington State Business License. You’ll have around a $90 fee the first time you open a business, with a $10 fee to renew each year. 
  • My DOR Secure Access Washington (SAW): Register your business here to obtain a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) and receive instructions on how to file taxes. House cleaning services are taxable in the state of Washington, so you must collect and send sales tax to the Department of Revenue. However, there is no personal income tax in Washington, and you do not need to file self-employment income taxes with the state.
  • Business and Occupation (B&O) Tax: The B&O tax is applied to the gross sales or income of businesses that run in Washington. Returns may be filed monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your total income and type of business. You can get more information by calling (360) 705-6705.

Cities in Washington: At least eight cities in Washington have additional licensing requirements. Click the link for your city below to find out more:

Cleaning Business License in West Virginia

Screenshot of business4.wv.gov website

West Virginia requires all sole proprietors and general partners to register with the State Tax Department. There may also be additional registration requirements for your city or county.

Here are the links you’ll need to register a business in West Virginia:

  • WV One Stop Business Portal: You can register your business using this online portal. In addition, the New Business Startup Wizard on the site provides contact information for the state, city, and county agencies you’ll need to contact before you start doing business. A business registration certificate costs about $30, and the cost of other permits and licenses varies. 
  • Sales Tax in West Virginia: Residential house cleaning services are taxable, and house cleaning businesses must collect and send sales taxes to the West Virginia State Tax Department. You can register to do so through the WV One Stop Business Portal.
  • Cities in West Virginia: At least five cities in West Virginia have additional licensing requirements. Click the link for your city below to find out more:

Cleaning Business License in Wisconsin

Screenshot of rvoigt9.wixsite.com website

General partners and sole proprietors do not need a business license to operate in Wisconsin. However, it is smart to check with your county Register of Deeds to learn of any local licensing requirements. A business license is not required for house cleaning services in any of the state’s major cities, including Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha. 

Remember to check out these tax resources:

  • Taxes in Wisconsin: Residential house cleaning services are not taxable in Wisconsin, so cleaning businesses don’t need to collect and send sales tax. However, you will need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
  • Self-Employment Income Taxes: Both sole proprietors and general partners must pay estimated self-employment income tax on form 1-ES. Find out more information through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue on their website or by calling (608) 266-2486.

Cleaning Business License in Wyoming

General partners and sole proprietors in the state of Wyoming do not need to apply for a state business license. It is still a good idea to register a Trade Name, which must be signed in the presence of a notary public and costs about $100 to file. Here are a few related resources:

  • Taxes in Wyoming: Residential cleaning services are not taxable in Wyoming, so cleaning businesses do not have to collect or send sales taxes to the Department of Revenue. Wyoming also has no personal income tax or self-employment income tax.
  • State Partnership Tax: General partnerships that file a Federal form 1065 may need to file a state return. You can find out more information about Wyoming’s tax requirements by calling (307) 777-5200.

None of the major cities in Wyoming (Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, or Laramie) require a business license for house cleaners. 

Cleaning Business License in Washington, D.C.

The requirements for sole proprietor and general partner start-ups are always changing, so be sure you call or visit a city government official before you take any steps to find out what local requirements are for a cleaning business.

That being said, here are the links you’ll need to take cleaning jobs legally in Washington, D.C.:

  • Basic Business License (BBL): Issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Business Licensing Division, this license is required before you start any activities with your business. They start around $95 for a Basic Business License ($200 for a General Business License) and last for two years.
  • Washington, D.C. Taxes: Cleaning services are taxable in D.C., and you must collect and send sales tax to the Office of Tax and Revenue. The exception is if the business has a gross income of $12,000 or lower, or if more than 80% of the gross income comes from personal services performed by the owner.

Sole proprietors and general partners are also responsible for paying self-employment taxes on form D-40ES. This process is similar to how you’ll pay employment taxes to the federal government. You can call the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue at (202) 727-4829 for more information.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve got all your cleaning licenses and permits, it’s time to do other things, like obtain general liability insurance and advertise to find potential customers. 

We hope you found this blog useful. In addition to the work Brandon put into it, we also  had some of our other writers and VAs assist to bring you a complete list of the agencies you need to work with as you decide what you want to do next.

If you find this beneficial, please share it. We’d like to provide this type of resource for every industry, but we need to know if it was actually helpful to do more of this length.

Which state interests you the most when you think about starting a business?

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