Starting a Cleaning Business Checklists (2022)

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
  • 5 months ago
  • Blog
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Checklists for starting a cleaning business cover

Cleaning businesses are among the most commonly started businesses in the United States. In fact, Thimble estimates there are nearly 2 million cleaning companies in the U.S.  

Christobal and I have worked together to develop this cleaning service checklist. We’ve broken it into the following sections:

1. Create a Plan Checklist
2. Name Your Cleaning Business Checklist
3. Form the Cleaning Business Structure Checklist
4. Get the Financial Tools to Run Your Cleaning Business Checklist
5. Get the Insurance to Run Your Cleaning Business
6. Get Equipment to Operate Your Cleaning Business Checklist
7. Get the Software to Run Your Cleaning Business Checklist
8. Marketing Tools for a Cleaning Service Checklist
9. Cleaning Company Supplies Checklist for 15 Types of Cleaning Companies

If you want to learn about the process of starting a cleaning business, you can also check out our podcast or YouTube video where we interview Christobal Mondragon, Christobal started Queen Bee Cleaning Services for less than $5K and is making $120,000 per month!  

Keep reading if you need to start a cleaning business from scratch.

Every Great Cleaning Business Starts with a Plan 

Starting a cleaning business requires juggling a lot of different tasks. Something will surely fall through the cracks if you don’t have a plan. Our first checklist involves creating a plan for how you’ll start a cleaning business. You’ll need to document each of these at a minimum:

1. Cleaning business ideas
2. Goals for your cleaning business
3. Your budget
4. Your pricing strategy
5. Your marketing plan

Name Your Cleaning Business Checklist

Every cleaning company needs a name. You’ll want to consider the name of your cleaning company early in the process of becoming a professional cleaner. You’ll want to cover each of these tasks before starting your own cleaning business:

  •  Make the name easy to spell
  •  Purchase a domain
  •  Register and pay the DBA fee (if not included with the business structure)
  •  Trademark the business name and logo

Learn more about naming a cleaning business.

Form the Cleaning Business Structure Checklist

You’ll need to register your business with the state to become a cleaning business owner. Each state, county, and municipality has business license regulations.

You can also expect different insurance requirements depending on where you are located, your business structure, and whether you have employees. For any of the 50 U.S. states, you’ll need an EIN.

These are the most common requirements for forming a cleaning business:

  • Register your business with the state (choose one).
    • Sole Proprietorship
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Corporation
    • Partnership
  • Get a DBA if you will operate under a different name.
  • Apply for an EIN on the IRS website.
  • Get county and city licenses.
  • Apply for the required insurance.
  • Get a seller’s permit (state tax ID).

Get the Financial Tools to Run Your Cleaning  Business Checklist

Girl working on payroll

Every cleaning business will need to have some financial tools to operate successfully. Cleaning business owners should take some time for each of the following points:

  • Set up a business bank account.
  • Apply for a business credit card.
  • Consider getting business loans.
  • Find a payroll solutions provider.
  • Get a payment processor.
  • Choose and set up accounting software.
  • Decide whether you want to set up a 401K.

Cleaning Business Insurance Checklist

A startup cleaning business will probably need insurance. The requirements will be different based on what segment of the cleaning industry you are in, but most cleaning companies will need one or more of these:

1. General liability insurance
2. Worker compensation insurance (if you hire employees)
3. Bond insurance
4. Unemployment (if you hire employees)
5. Professional liability insurance
6. Cybersecurity insurance
7. Commercial vehicle insurance
8. Health insurance (if required by law or if you want to be an awesome boss)

Cleaning Business Equipment Checklist

Most cleaning businesses will need the following equipment to operate effectively:

  • Company vehicle
  • Laptop or PC
  • Smartphone
  • Business phone number 
  • Internet
  • Point-of-Sale machine or credit card reader

Get the Software to Run Your Cleaning Services Checklist

Unless you plan to run your business old-school (which may be less than ideal), you’ll need software to run a cleaning business. We’ve provided a list of the most common software you’re likely to need when starting a cleaning business. As you begin, consider which ones you need right away and which you can wait until you hire employees:

  • Payroll solutions
  • Payment processor
  • Accounting solutions
  • Scheduling software
  • Professional website (domain from GoDaddy and hosting)
  • Online booking software
  • Marketing tools (We have a complete list for them.)

Marketing for a Cleaning Service Checklist

Young man make a marketing plan

You’ll need marketing tools to help your cleaning business grow and find prospective clients. Small business owners will benefit from the following brand assets:

  • A logo
  • Business cards
  • Signs on location (if you run a dry cleaner or another cleaning shop)
  • Signs on vehicles (for a mobile business model)
  • Click Funnels

Chris specifically suggests using click funnels to make marketing your cleaning company easier.

In addition, you’ll need to create profiles on local business directories that potential customers use to find local businesses. Most cleaning services list their offerings in the following locations.

  • Google My Business
  • Google Local Ads
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Siri and Apple Maps
  • Angi.com
  • Yelp for Business
  • Thumbtack
  • Alexa
  • Blanket

Chris told us:

Google Local ads are my top performing paid marketing platform, but I also spend routinely on Facebook, Craigslist, and Yelp ads.

Fifty to 80% of his monthly ad budget is on Google Local Ads so if you aren’t using them, start now.

You’ll also want to make sure that major search engines index your new business:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Baidu
  • Yahoo
  • Yandex
  • Ask.com
  • DuckDuckGo

Cleaning Supplies Checklist

Depending on the type of cleaning services you offer, you’ll need different cleaning supplies and equipment. We’ve broken the cleaning supplies you’ll need into different categories based on the kind of cleaning business you plan to start.

Use the list below to skip to the section with supplies for starting a cleaning business in your sector:

Cleaning checklist

  1. Home Cleaning
  2. Mobile Laundry Cleaning Services, Laundromat, Clothes Cleaning Business, Dry cleaning
  3. Decluttering Services or Organizer
  4. Green Cleaning Services
  5. Airbnb, Vrbo 
  6. Home or Commercial Construction Cleaning
  7. Move-In, Move-Out Cleaning
  8. Office Cleaning
  9. Duct Cleaning
  10. Carpet Cleaning
  11. Window Washers
  12. I.T. Cleaning
  13. Property Cleaning,  Pressure Washing
  14. Hazardous Waste Removal
  15. Boat Cleaning

Home Cleaning Supplies Checklist

This is the checklist I would expect most cleaning services to want, so I put it first. You’ll need the following supplies to clean homes:

  • Glass cleaner (Windex or similar)
  • Aprons
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wet floor signs
  • Microfiber mop (optional if you are just starting)
  • Regular mop
  • Gloves
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Bags for dirty rags
  • Bags to carry clean rags
  • Neutral floor cleaner (Bona or similar)
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Mini grout brush

To download a “House Cleaning Business Checklist” for residential cleaning supplies, click here.

Mobile Laundry Cleaning Services, Laundromat, Clothes Cleaning Business, Dry cleaning

Laundry shop interior with counter and washing machines

  • Hangers
  • Rolling baskets
  • Laundry soap
  • Cleaning chemicals for dry cleaning
  • Dryer sheets
  • Clothing racks
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Garment covers
  • Spot cleaner
  • Information tags
  • Clothing conveyor
  • Presses

To download the “Starting a Cleaning Business Checklist” for laundry cleaning supplies, click here:

Decluttering Services or Organizer

  • Trash bags
  • Boxes
  • Cleaning materials
  • Tape
  • Sharpie
  • Storage bins of various sizes
  • 3D modeling software to model spaces
  • Carpentry tools for creating more storage space
  • Shelving units

To download the “Cleaning Checklist” with organizational supplies, click here.

Green Cleaning Services

  • Organic glass cleaner 
  • Aprons (from recycled materials)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wet floor signs
  • Microfiber mop
  • Regular mop
  • Eco-friendly gloves
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Reusable bags for dirty rags
  • Reusable bags to carry clean rags
  • Gas mileage-friendly, hybrid, or electric car
  • Natural floor cleaner
  • Natural disinfectant 
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Mini grout brush

To download the “Starting a Cleaning Business Checklist” with sustainable cleaning supplies, click here.

What do I need to start a cleaning business for Airbnb properties?

Group of cleaning items

If you want to serve Airbnb, Vrbo, and other short-term rentals, you’ll need the same cleaning supplies as you would for a home or apartment:

  • Glass cleaner (Windex or similar)
  • Aprons
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Microfiber mop (Optional)
  • Regular mop
  • Gloves
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Bags for dirty rags
  • Bags to carry clean rags
  • Booties for shoes
  • Neutral floor cleaner (Bona or similar)
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Mini grout brush

Christobal also suggests having a partnership with a laundromat or a way to offer turnover service. If you provide this service, you’ll need:

  • Spare sheets
  • A deal with a local laundromat
  • Dish soap
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Towels

If you want our “Start a Cleaning Business Checklist for Airbnbs,” download it on our Airbnb download page.

New Home Construction Cleaner or New Commercial Construction Cleaning

Some commercial cleaning businesses are focused on post-construction cleanup. They have unique needs because the debris in construction zones is horrible for indoor air quality. These cleaning jobs pay more, but they require special tools that you might not need with other cleaning companies.

You’ll want to have the following:

  • Glass cleaner (Windex or similar)
  • Aprons
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Indoor, outdoor vacuum
  • Booties for shoes
  • Microfiber mop (optional if you are just starting)
  • Regular mop
  • Gloves
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Bags for dirty rags
  • Bags to carry clean rags
  • Neutral floor cleaner
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Mini grout brush
  • Dust mask

To download the “Starting a Construction Cleaning Business Checklist” with residential cleaning supplies, click here.

Move-In and Move-Out Cleaning, Apartment Cleaning

  • Glass cleaner (Windex or similar)
  • Aprons
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Indoor, outdoor vacuum
  • Booties for shoes
  • Microfiber mop (optional if you are just starting)
  • Regular mop
  • Gloves
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Bags for dirty rags
  • Bags to carry clean rags
  • Neutral floor cleaner
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Mini grout brush
  • Degreaser
  • Putty to help fill holes
  • Putty application tool

To download the “Starting an Apartment Cleaning Business Checklist,” go to our apartment cleaning download page.

Office Cleaning

Woman cleaning computer monitor

Commercial cleaning services are also in high demand. You’ll want the following supplies when cleaning offices:

  • All-purpose stain and spot remover
  • Baking soda
  • Wet floor signs
  • Toilet paper
  • Bucket 
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Dish soap
  • Clorox disinfecting wipes 
  • Facial tissue
  • Feather duster 
  • Floor cleaning solution or vinegar
  • Cleaner for glass and mirrors
  • Gloves
  • Bulk supply of hand soap to refill dispenser
  • Sponges
  • Disinfecting spray
  • Micro-fiber cleaning cloths 
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge mop and/or dry mop
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Trash bags 
  • Vinegar 
  • Vacuum
  • Industrial mop bucket
  • Wood polish 
  • Floor polishing machine
  • Extension cords

To download the “Starting a Commercial Cleaning Business Checklist” with commercial-grade cleaning supplies, click here.

Specialty Cleaning

The following services are specialties that come with additional challenges. They may require special business licenses, services, or equipment. 

Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning removes indoor air pollutants from the ductwork of a home or business HVAC unit. If you are going to offer this service, start by going to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association website to learn how to do it right. 

Without the proper equipment and training, you might cause damage to residential cleaning customers’ HVAC units. Nobody wants to have to replace an HVAC system because a house cleaning business didn’t follow proper quality control standards. 

You will need these items:

  • Caution signs
  • Air compressor
  • HEPA vacuum
  • Duct restoration products
  • Parts for maintenance of equipment
  • HEPA filters and bags
  • Indoor air quality testing equipment
  • Tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Booties
  • Latex gloves
  • Electric shock prevention gloves
  • Masks to protect against dust in lungs (or chemicals in some industrial facilities)
  • Lockout, tagout system (a lock with a tag that specifies who locked the breaker)

To download the “Starting a Duct Cleaning Business Checklist” with NADCA authorized cleaning supplies, go to our duct cleaning business download page.

Carpet Cleaning Business, Rug Cleaning

Young man cleaning the carpet

  • Vacuum 
  • Spot cleaner
  • Caution signs
  • Carpet shampooer
  • Air scrubber
  • Carpet cleaning wand
  • Rubber gloves
  • Corner guards
  • Defoaming agent
  • Crevice tools
  • Carpet rake
  • furniture protectors 

To download the “Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business Checklist” with carpet cleaning supplies, click here.

Window Cleaning Business

  • Two 18” squeegees
  • Window cleaner with silicon (keeps dust from sticking to windows)
  • Rags to catch excess liquids
  • Booties
  • Scrapers 
  • Replacement s-channels (the rubber part of a squeegee)
  • Sleeves (goes over squeegee to wash the window)
  • Step stool
  • Ladder
  • Hard hat (primarily for use on scaffold)
  • Safety harness (use with scaffold)
  • Scaffold (for larger windows)

To download the “Starting a Window Cleaning Business Checklist” with window cleaning supplies, go to our window cleaning business download page.

IT Cleaning Business

Cleaning computers and other equipment that has circuit boards requires specific cleaning chemicals. In addition, make sure to carry proper insurance because the potential data loss from using the wrong chemicals could destroy a business.

The Association of Data Center Cleaning Professionals is the leader in standards for IT equipment. Review their standards before using this checklist. The following is from their standards on cleaning equipment:

  • Vacuums: Two Options
  • Preferred: ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filter with 99.999% efficiency at 0.12 microns
  • OK: HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter with 99.97% efficiency at 0.3 microns
  • Tools, Attachments, and Supplies: Requirements
  • Non-conductive 
  • Low-lint materials
  • Packaging specifies that it is designed to be used in cleanroom environments
  • Cleaning Chemicals
  • Floor surfaces
  • Non-ammoniated
  • Designated as safe for data center environments
  • Intended for HPL floor tiles
  • Equipment Surfaces
  • Anti-static cleaner 
  • Designed to be used in a data center environment

To download the “Starting an IT Cleaning Business Checklist” with cleaning supplies that are safe to use on circuit boards, click here.

Property Cleaning Services, Power Washer Business

Man using pressure washer on concrete floor

We grouped pressure washing businesses and property cleaning services together because they are similar and both outside. They are both outside and can be done as a team to improve the number of customers helped in a day. You will need:

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Trash picker
  • Trash bags
  • Blower
  • Rake
  • White and yellow paint (maintain the parking lot lines)
  • Graffiti removal kit
  • Pressure washer
  • Water tank
  • Towing hitch (if tank won’t fit in vehicle)
  • Nozzles 
  • Hoses

To download the “Starting a Property Cleaning Business Checklist” with a power washer, go to our property cleaning business download page.

Hazardous Waste Removal, Mold Remediation

We grouped hazardous waste removal and mold remediation businesses together because they have similar requirements, but each type of hazardous material will have its own requirements. For many of these you will need:

  • Portable air scrubbers
  • Filters
  • Negative air machines
  • Mobile containment tent
  • Meters to measure levels
  • Asbestos testing kit
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Zip walls
  • Disinfectants 
  • Sealants
  • Knee pads
  • Kneeling mats
  • Gloves 
  • Ventilators
  • Hazmat suits (for some materials)
  • Special licensing based on type of removal

To download the “Starting a Hazardous Waste Removal Business Checklist” with waste and mold remediation supplies, go to our waste removal cleaning business download page.

Boat Cleaning

You’ll likely need the same items as when cleaning a home, plus some outdoor items. Based on my time in Florida, I would recommend products that help protect against salinity (salt in the air). Don’t forget these:

  • Bucket 
  • Rust remover 
  • Deck brush
  • Degreaser
  • Metal polish
  • Wood varnish
  • Soap
  • Mop
  • Mop bucket
  • Fabric cleaner
  • Rubber cleaner

To download the “Starting a Boat Cleaning Business Checklist” with related supplies, click here.

Hopefully, You Found the Cleaning Company Checklist You Need

Use these lists to get your brain rolling as you prepare for the cleaning company course with Chris. If you want more help to simplify starting your cleaning business, sign up to be one of the first to take the Cleaning Business Master Course.

What kind of cleaning business are you thinking about starting?

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