How to Start a Cleaning Business
(The Ultimate Step by Step Guide)
Follow these simple steps to launch your very own profitable cleaning business
in the next 30 days or less with out step by step guide…
In this day and age of innovation and technology, the cleaning business remains a lucrative startup option. If you’re interested in learning how to start a cleaning business, you’ve come to the best place.
Globally, the cleaning industry is going to exceed $74 billion by the year 2022, according to Allied Market Research. Commercial cleaning alone is accountable for $12 billion in Australia. So it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of room for growth, as demand increases across the country.
Many cleaning businesses that started with nothing are already making up to seven figures every year. This is one of the reasons why starting a cleaning business is easier as it requires comparatively small capital.
In this FREE guide, we’ll go through each step about how to start a cleaning business in Australia in detail. You’ll also find helpful tips along the way to avoid common pitfalls of this industry and beat the competition.
Below you’ll find 11 simple to follow steps that ‘walk’ you through the process of starting, growing and ‘systemising’ your cleaning business (with no experience or special skills required).
What Type of Business to Start?
The first thing to determine is the type of business you want to start. Yes, we’re talking about the cleaning business, but that’s a bit vague and a broad term.
For a startup cleaning business, it’s best to stick to a particular type of cleaning service. There are quite a lot of benefits to having a niche within the cleaning industry:
It’s easy to fall prey to the temptation of doing everything at once. However, this can be a mistake. Even though an all-rounder cleaning service seems good, but not at an early stage.
Cleaning services can roughly be divided into three types: residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, and bond cleaning.
Residential or domestic cleaning services focus on cleaning homes and apartments. This is usually where most people like to begin.
With full-time employment on the rise in Australia, more and more people are hiring cleaning services providers to pick up their mess. These may not be very high paying jobs but compensate with lower overhead costs.
Commercial cleaning remains the most dominant force in the cleaning industry. This subset of the industry caters to commercial businesses like offices, hotels, restaurants, schools, etc.
Specialized cleaning also comes under commercial cleaning. If you’re looking for a particular niche within the cleaning industry, you’ll need specific equipment and training for that.
For instance, professional carpet cleaners need a specialized carpet cleaning machine that could cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, commercial cleaning requires more capital and resources to start.
Bond cleaning, also called the end of lease cleaning, is a type of residential cleaning service for when you’re vacating your home when the lease is up. Many lease contracts include end of lease inspection to ensure the house is intact and the bond can be released.
This is a growing niche within the cleaning industry, as many people do not want to lose their bonds when vacating their homes.
How to Choose the Right Cleaning Business?
So how do you decide which branch of cleaning you want to go into? It’s easy, ask yourself some questions:
It’s recommended to go for a speciality because you can ask for a higher price than those offering general cleaning.
Start Your Own Business or Buy a Franchise?
Another big decision to make when starting a cleaning business is whether to create your own or buy a franchise. Both options are viable and have their unique pros and cons.
Starting Your Own Cleaning Business
Buying Cleaning Franchise
In the current shared and circular economy, it makes sense to start your own cleaning business rather than franchising and associating with another corporation.
Consumer behavior over the past decade has changed drastically. Nowadays, people value experience over everything. In the cleaning industry, that becomes all the more relevant as you’re providing a service and not a product.
Having your own business will give you the freedom to design that experience for your customers. You do not have any specific protocols to follow as you’re the boss.
As you can see by the comparison, building your own brand may be a challenge, but it’s more rewarding. That said, in certain circumstances, it might be better to buy a franchise.
If you have enough capital to buy a franchise, make sure to do thorough research. You should speak to owners of current franchises directly. Also, look into the finances of the company and its overall performance in the past years.
Many businesses franchising their brands fail to provide adequate support to their franchisees. That could make setting up the business and bringing customers very difficult. Make sure the company agrees to provide all the support you’ll need in setting up the cleaning business.
Even if you have the one-time franchise fee and initial setup costs, there could be potential hidden costs.
First of all, you have to account for any traveling costs you may bear while pursuing and finally buying the franchise. Secondly, certain franchises require specific products from specific vendors to be used. These could be far more expensive than the ones you could find locally.
The Business Essentials: Business Registration, Licenses, Training, Insurance, and Taxes
This is the most important part of starting a cleaning business, if not the most exciting. You want everything to be legit and official from the get-go, so think about business registration, licensing, insurance, taxes, etc.
Keep in mind that the simpler your business model is, the easier and cheaper it may be to register it. Australia ranks in the top 15 countries in ease of doing business ranking, so it’s fair to say there are not many administrative or legal hurdles when it comes to starting a cleaning business.
While this is just a helpful guide to understanding your options and liabilities, it’s in no way legal advice. You should hire a solicitor or tax expert to find relevant information regarding setting up a cleaning business in your particular state.
Business Structure and Registration
The first thing to do is to apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number). You can apply for one as a sole trader, partnership, or company.
The process and fee may differ based on your business structure. Again, a solicitor dealing with business registration can guide you best.
If you register as a sole trader, your business is not considered a legal entity. What this means is you can declare income from your cleaning business after deduction along with any other personal income.
This is the quickest and cheapest option out there. For those just starting out themselves, this could be a viable option. As your business grows, you can always incorporate it as a company at a later stage.
When two or more parties are going into business, it’s categorized as a partnership. It’s similar to a sole trader, except all partners share profits, loss, and tax liabilities.
If you register your cleaning business as a company, it’s treated as a legal entity. Company tax rates are different for those for individuals. Also, registration costs can be higher.
Getting Started - 4 Simple Step Process
The process of getting an ABN is fairly simple. Most cleaning companies usually start off as sole traders and later on register as companies.
Set up a business account (you can use your own account if you’re doing business under your name)
The GST step is optional, depending on your projected turnover for the first year. If it’s under $75,000, you do not need to register for GST straight away when starting the business. However, once it crosses that threshold, you should register within 21 days.
One benefit of registering for GST from the very start is that you’ll be able to claim the 10% GST on the products or services you use for your business. However, you would have to add that 10% on top of your service charges.
Once registered for GST, you’ll have to complete a quarterly or monthly Business Activity Statement (BAS).
Licensing: State and Local Councils
Fortunately, the cleaning industry is not regulated, which essentially means that you do not need a license or certification to operate a cleaning service. However, it could be different for your state or a local council that may have certain regulations to follow.
You can check online whether you need any kind of license for a specialised cleaning service.
Going into the cleaning industry does not require training or qualification per se. However, getting some training can help you polish your skills and improve your services. If you have no prior experience of professional cleaning, you might want to get trained or certified.
A recognized qualification will not only provide you with the right training but also make you and your business look a lot more professional. Remember, you’re going into people’s living spaces, so they will trust a qualified professional more. You can always use it to market yourself and the business.
A cleaning course can help you make the best of the products you have. It will also help you deal with emergencies when working in someone’s house.
Insurance should be on your mind from the very start. Businesses, especially small ones, need insurance to have financial protection.
As a cleaning business, you should buy public liability insurance. It should provide coverage of at least $5 million, however, for commercial clients, it could go up to $15 million. This is to cover any damage costs that may occur at the client’s property.
If you’re hiring employees, you want to buy worker’s compensation insurance. If you’re operating from an office, you should go for business premises insurance, as all your products and equipment are there.
Similarly, there are several other insurances, including commercial vehicle insurance, income protection insurance, and business interruption insurance.
Again, only an expert can help you confirm the specific insurance needs for your business.
On average small business owners pay around $63.50 per month for public liability insurance
Business Records and Taxes
Even if you’re starting very small, it might make sense to get an accountant. While you’re busy marketing, managing, and delivering cleaning services, the accountant can keep track of all the finances.
An accountant can also help you find out tax deductions for your business, ultimately saving you money in the long run.
You’re required to keep all records for at least five years, so make sure to keep all invoices and receipts safe.
Picking the Right Equipment and Cleaning Products
The equipment and products you’ll need directly depends on the type of cleaning business.
For instance, if you’re going for residential cleaning, you will need very basic supplies, such as:
The most expensive stuff would be electronic appliances. For residential cleaning, you may need a vacuum cleaner. However, you can get by with a cheap one, without a lot of extra features.
If you’re going for a specialized cleaning service, then you have to get equipment specific to that type of cleaning. For instance, if you’re cleaning floors, you’ll need one of those big floor machines.
Where to Find Cleaning Supplies and Equipment?
For the basic supplies, you could go to any big-box retailer and buy in bulk for great discounts. For more expensive equipment, you should look online to find the best price.
You can find almost everything on Amazon, including carpet/upholstery cleaner, pressure washer, and high-end vacuum cleaners.
If buying new equipment is out of your budget, you can try finding used or refurbished machines on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
Cheap vs Expensive Products/Equipment
As a novice business, one of your biggest dilemmas would be deciding whether to buy cheap equipment or go for high-quality, high-end products that break the bank.
There are obviously pros and cons to both, but you can make the best decision based on your own circumstances.
If you’re tight on budget, you can go for cheaper products. As your business grows, you can always upgrade and buy better products.
However, do not compromise on health by going for very cheap cleaning products with harmful chemicals. You do not want to endanger the health of yourself, your employees, and your clients.
In fact, we would recommend using natural cleaning supplies with no chemicals. Yes, these tend to be a little pricier, but customers would be happy to know that your brand is environmentally conscious.
The benefit of buying expensive equipment is that it will last longer. You will not have any disruptions because of equipment not working.
If your budget allows, go for medium to expensive range equipment, especially electronics. You can always bring the price down by using coupons or buying in bulk.
How to Stand Out from the Crowd: Outdo your Competitors
When you’re brainstorming cleaning business ideas, it’s good to look around and analyze the competition in your area. Whether you’re in a metropolis like Sydney or in the suburbs, chances are there are already many cleaning companies.
According to IBISWorld, Australia has over 30,463 commercial cleaning companies. Nevertheless, the demand continues to grow both for residential and commercial cleaning services.
All you really have to do is identify your market and stand out amongst your competitors.
Go Out of the Way for Customer Service
Picking up on what’s already been mentioned, the experience is vital when it comes to providing services. Many companies fail in this area because they are so much focused on the service or product that they forget about the customer.
If you want to beat the competition and get loyal clients, you have to provide exceptional customer service.
From something as simple as a polite hello on the phone to something value-adding like a little extra service or coupon could go a long way in making your customers happy.
Choose a Specialty Cleaning
Another way of standing out is to offer something unique in the cleaning industry. While everyone else is offering general cleaning services, you could narrow your market by choosing something specific.
For instance, you could focus on cleaning furniture like couches. You could also narrow down the market by focusing on a particular type of property to clean, for instance, hotels.
Pricing: Getting it Right from The Start!
Pricing your cleaning services is tricky, but at the same time not so difficult. You can add all the costs, including labour, add your profit margin, and you have the right price.
Alternatively, you could survey the prices of your competitors to get an idea. However, do not fall victim to the price wars.
When starting out a business, it may seem like a good idea to offer steep prices in order to attract customers. This strategy is not fruitful in the long run, as you need revenue to stay in business.
If you’re offering something quality, people would be willing to pay more for it. So work on adding value to the price you’re asking for.
That said, do not stick to fixed prices. You should offer discounts and packages to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
One way to go about it is to create a basic package and then add additional services individually for an additional price. This would be more manageable and profitable.
By now, you probably think all this is a bit complicated. To make things easier for you, we have come up with a Cleaning Pricing and Estimate Calculator.
You can use this simple calculator to estimate the price for your specific services in your area. There’s a lot of useful information you can check out on the calculator tool page.
Finding Your First Customers - Getting Clients
Your efforts to start a cleaning business are not quite over yet. In fact, the most daunting task is still ahead, and that is, finding customers.
Many businesses struggle to find their first customers after setting up their business. However, it’s not an impossible task.
If you get lucky, you’ll have people using your services from day one!
Here are some ways you can find your first customers:
You cannot ignore the internet as most people find services via Google. As a start, you can have a professional-looking website.
In the beginning, it can simply be a branding website. You can use Google Adwords to advertise on Google search result pages.
The goal is to be visible on the internet, so when someone searches for a cleaning business, your business comes out on top.
Even if you do not have a website or social media account yet, you can advertise your business online on classifieds and marketplaces.
Head to GumTree, which is one of the most popular marketplaces to find products and services. You can post about your new cleaning business, with your current location.
Word of Mouth/Referrals
Believe it or not, word of mouth remains the most powerful marketing tool, even in this age of technology. Ask your family and friends to spread the word about your cleaning business.
Once you get customers, ask them to refer your business to their family and friends. You could even offer referral discounts to bring in more customers.
Local Facebook Groups
Almost all towns have a Facebook Group dedicated to helping community members and local businesses. It’s a great place to introduce your cleaning business and get the word out there.
When posting on Facebook Groups, do it on the weekends, as most people are active on social media for longer on weekends.
Search for all nearby towns, as most of them would have some sort of Facebook group. Some of them may be private, so you might want to take permission first from the admin before posting.
Advertise in Local Papers
Advertising in your local newspapers or magazines is an affordable way to market your business and get new clients.
Whether it’s residential cleaning or commercial cleaning you offer, you can find many potential clients through local papers.
You do not even have to go all out and get a graphic designer to design the advertisement. A simple textual advert may do the job too.
Flyers/Brochures in Mail
Get some nicely designed leaflets or brochures printed for your new cleaning business. Simply drop them in the mailboxes around town.
It’s a cost-effective way of finding new clients. Even if someone does not need cleaning at the moment, the leaflet and brochure would be there when they do need it.
Make sure to detail your services as to what exactly you offer. You can mention the prices if you like, especially if you’re offering some kind of discount.
Real Estate Agents
If you know a real estate agent, you could ask them to give out your business card to people buying or leasing homes.
Even if you do not personally know an agent, you could drop by an agency and drop your cards. Many people need cleaning services before they move into a house.
You might even find work through the agency itself as they need the houses to be clean and in perfect conditions before they can list them.
STOP CLEANING! Employing Staff and Systemising Your Business
If you’re starting the business doing all the cleaning yourself, your number one goal is to expand and hire more people.
Successful business comes from powerful leadership, so sooner or later, you have to take that leadership role.
Also, if you’re the only employee in the business, you can only do so much. The hours you can clean are limited. Plus, you cannot take a sick day or vacation.
You need to work on the business rather than working in it. So your first step is to hire more cleaning staff. There are two ways to go about this: hire your own staff or use sub-contractors.
The latter offers more convenience in the early stages, as these contractors are skilled and experienced. You pay them according to the job.
However, they can be expensive over time and have no loyalty to your brand. As you grow your business, you have to hire permanent staff.
First of all, you need to hire more cleaning staff, so you can move on to more managerial tasks. Luckily, there’s quite a lot of people looking for such work.
Tips on Hiring
As a cleaning business, it’s crucial that you hire the best people. Your service is as good as the people offering it.
It would become the responsibility of the cleaning staff to maintain the image of the brand you’ve built for yourself. That would require a lot of effort on their part.
What to Look for When Hiring Cleaning Staff?
Finding valuable employees is a tedious task. Everyone tries to be their best in the interviews, so it can be difficult to find out who truly deserves the job. However, the following pointers should help make the distinction.
Questions to Ask
Chances are you’ve never interviewed someone for a job, which is completely fine. If you know the right questions to ask your potential cleaning staff, you’re good to go.
Here are some important questions to ask:
- 1What kind of cleaning supplies do you use?
- 2What cleaning equipment do you know how to use?
- 3Are you comfortable working with other cleaning staff at the same job?
- 4Are you available to work at night?
- 5How often should the cleaning tools be cleaned/disinfected?
- 6How will you clean if the customer is home?
- 7How will you respond if there’s an emergency while you’re cleaning?
- 8Do you have any ailments that may prevent you from heavy lifting?
Businesses that rely on technology see steady growth and seamless workflow. As your business grows and work gets stable, you can move on to automating the processes.
There are tools for everything nowadays. In the cleaning business, the most important tools would be invoice management and payroll management. You can buy software online for these tasks, making it easier and faster.
You will learn along the way as to what works and what does not. Standardize communication and responsibilities within your organization.
You can also invest in technology to improve your operations. As and when new tools and devices come out, take advantage of them.
Now that you know how to set up a cleaning business, you can focus on learning about marketing. Of course, it’s up to you whether you want to expand into other areas or stick to your local area with existing customers.
Marketing is a continuous process for any business. It’s a crucial premise for staying in business and reaching new goals.
For a cleaning business to shine, there are many marketing avenues. From a professional website to uniforms for your cleaners, everything is a marketing tool.
Here’s a complete marketing guide for your new cleaning startup:
How to Get Logos
One of the most important things for any business is its logo, as it’s one of the first things people notice.
There’s a whole science behind what makes a logo good, but the bottom line is, it should be unique and represent the essence of your brand.
You can check out this interesting infographic about the psychology behind logos.
You can hire a freelance graphic designer to make a logo for you. That’s usually the cheapest option, considering you’re a startup.
You can find logo designers on freelance platforms like Fiverr. Prices vary greatly, but usually, the range is between $20 to $200.
How Not to Get Ripped Off?
Don’t get fooled by freelancers or design agencies online. As a startup, you’re already tight with money, so you don’t want to spend lavishly on a fancy logo.
An expensive logo design does not necessarily mean a good logo design.
Always ask for a sample or portfolio to take a look at their previous work. It does not hurt to negotiate a bit.
Similarly, get all the right files for the logo, so you can use or change it whenever. This would include the Illustrator file (.ai), PDF, PNG, and JPEG.
How to Create a Simple Website
If you want to sell your services online, you ought to have a website.
In the beginning, you can simply use a business card and some of the strategies outlined above to get clients. However, you have to get a website, eventually.
Your website is your very online identity. Not only will it help get customers online, but also validate you for customers coming from other channels.
Luckily enough, making and running a website is very easy now. You do not need programming skills for creating a website.
You can hire a web developer or agency to design the website for you. For the cleaning service, there are no complicated features, so the website would be rather simple.
Alternatively, you could design the website yourself. It’s just dragging and dropping with many website building tools.
What to Include in Your Cleaning Company Website?
Here’s what you need to include on your website:
You can add more stuff later on, such as testimonials from existing customers. You could also start a blog alongside to provide useful information to your visitors.
Running a website will not cost you a lot, depending on what services you’re using. The initial costs would be higher as you would have to hire a designer, register a domain, and buy a hosting plan.
Website running costs vary greatly, depending on the website and its traffic. It’s safe to assume that your website would be a basic one with not too much traffic.
Your average website maintenance costs could range from $50 to $250 per year. Don’t spend too much buying extra resources for the website that you’re not even going to use.
Stick to the basics, and save yourself from unnecessary website running costs.
How to Market Your Cleaning Business on Social Media?
For effective marketing, you need social media. For a cleaning company, Facebook is perhaps the best outlet. However, you can use Twitter or Instagram, as well.
It would take you minutes to create these social media accounts. But the business you’ll get through it will help expand your company.
As mentioned before, you can post in Facebook groups in the areas you work in. Alternatively, you can run paid posts to attract new customers.
Tips on Social Media Marketing
Uniforms for your cleaning staff could be a great way to make your brand name more visible.
Benefits of Uniforms
Where to Get Uniforms?
When buying uniforms for your staff, you’ll come across a wide range of products, varying from pretty affordable to quite expensive. There are many retailers in Australia, as well as abroad, that supply uniforms for cleaning workers.
Custom-design uniforms are usually the most expensive. You can have a company design a uniform exclusively for your company, perhaps using the colours of your logo.
The main benefit of having exclusive uniforms is that you get instant recognition. Your uniforms stand out from your competitors.
On the other hand, it might make more sense from a financial point to go with utility uniforms that are readily available. If you want, you can have your logo printed or monogrammed on these.
This basically boils down to your budget, as both utilitarian, as well as more expensive custom-made uniforms, have their pros and cons.
Cleaning Business Forms
An efficient cleaning business would make sure it has all of its paperwork right. As your business grows and you get more clients per day, you have to stay on top with all the forms and receipts.
For commercial cleaning, you may have to draft proposals or contracts. Similarly, you will have to send quotes and estimates to potential clients.
For your cleaning staff, you’ll need checklists to go over with each cleaning job. This would ensure that they have completed all the cleaning tasks.
All this paperwork and forms can be a hassle to create and manage. Luckily, we have a solution for this.
We have a Cleaning Business Forms bundle that will cover all your paperwork for dealing with clients. This includes residential and commercial cleaning proposals, customer agreement, contractor agreement, client feedback form, cleaning supplies checklist, and much more.
You can buy this package here and improve your cleaning business and its transactions.
Yes, the global cleaning industry is a strong one with the ever-growing demand. Many businesses are making millions of dollars every year.
Even if you’re doing it on a very small scale, it can still give you a decent and steady income, along with the freedom to work for yourself.
The main benefit of starting a cleaning business is that it does not require a lot of money or assets. You can start with as little as you have and grow the business organically.
It depends on the size of your cleaning business as well as the clients you have. Other factors can also affect your revenue, such as prices and the type of service you offer.
For instance, some speciality services can make you larger profits. So there’s no definitive answer as to how much you can make.
If we were to think of a ballpark figure, it’s possible to make as much as $100,000 in a month, provided you have the workforce and regular clients.
Even if you’re working as a self-employed cleaner, you can make more than the average minimum wage, even doing just three to four jobs per week.
As a self-employed cleaner, you’re not required to have any kind of insurance, but it’s highly recommended. You should get public liability insurance to protect yourself from any costs of damage caused where you’re working.
Anything from some furniture breaking to your client getting sick from a product can cause you immense trouble. Your client could sue you for damages, which would essentially put you out of business.
As a precautionary measure, make sure to invest in public liability insurance. It will help you compensate in case there are any claims against you.
Yes, many cleaners start their cleaning business with full-time jobs. You can start gradually, taking a few jobs a week.
You should find people who can let you work on the weekends or after work on the weekdays. Similarly, you can provide commercial cleaning services in offices and schools, which usually happens in the evening.
It will be a side hustle for a while, but if you follow this guide closely, you can expand it to a full-fledged business and say goodbye to your full-time job.
If you’re working as a self-employed cleaner, you should look around what other businesses are charging per hour. Usually, it’s over $25 an hour, but could be much higher if you’re providing any speciality cleaning services.
If you’re a cleaning company working on your hourly cleaning rate, you can use this calculator to estimate your hourly rate and costs associated with starting a cleaning business.
You want to take into account the labour, the supplies, the travelling costs, etc. to have an adequate and reasonable rate. Even if your clients haggle, at least you would know what it would take to break even.
Conclusion (TAKE ACTION NOW!!)
Now that you have a complete and thorough guide about how to start a cleaning business in Australia, it’s time to take action.
Most people who read this (as much as 90%) will not do anything about it. However, you can be one of those 10% that do take action right away.
This guide can help you do almost everything for your cleaning business to stand on the ground - only if you use it!
Sure, there will be bumps on the way, but you can deal with all the hurdles with determination and some smart moves on your past. You have all the resources available at TrustedCleaner readily available.
Make a commitment, take the steps, and enjoy your journey to having a successful cleaning business!