Many people are looking for ways to generate income, and a commercial cleaning business can be an easy business to get off the ground. Many businesses prefer to outsource commercial cleaning services rather than hiring an in-house cleaning crew.

With some hustle to find potential customers, you can build up a roster of clients and start earning money cleaning in no time, making a commercial cleaning business an ideal side gig or full-time work opportunity if you want to be your own boss.

If that sounds attractive, read on for tips and advice about the vital steps to starting a commercial cleaning business that thrives.

Prepare your commercial cleaning business for success

To start a commercial cleaning business, you need to lay the proper groundwork by planning ahead. The first thing to do is to determine the types of cleaning services you want to provide. Will you focus on office cleaning, residential cleaning, post-construction cleanup, or a combination?

The types of services you offer will determine the cleaning supplies and equipment you need. It will also affect your hourly rate, since more intensive cleaning like post-construction cleanup typically commands a higher rate than general office cleaning.

Next you need to write a business plan. Outline your mission and vision, your target market, marketing plan, operational details, and financial projections. This will help you determine if the business can be viable and help you get funding. Focus on local businesses in a defined area to determine potential square footage and what commercial cleaning services are needed.

Register and insure your cleaning business

To start a commercial cleaning business, you’ll need to get the proper licenses and insurance to operate legally and protect yourself. Here are the steps you need to take to officially open a commercial cleaning business.

  • Get Licensed

In most states, you’ll need a business license or permit to operate a commercial cleaning business. You’ll typically need to register your business with your city clerk or county clerk’s office. Decide which type of business structure to use — a sole proprietorship, or a single-member LLC.

  • A sole proprietorship is the simplest structure. You are the sole owner, but your personal assets are at risk.
  • A single member LLC provides liability protection for your personal assets while allowing you to remain the sole owner of the business.

You may also need additional licenses or permits, depending on your location and the specific types of cleaning services you offer. Check with your local government for details.

  • Get Insured

Every commercial cleaning business needs basic business insurance. You should get liability insurance that protects you in case of any damage to a client’s property or injury. General liability insurance covers expenses like legal costs if a client sues you for negligence. You’ll also want to consider bonding, which protects your clients in case of theft or damage by your employees, and workers’ comp for when you hire employees.

Calculate your costs and set your hourly rate

Like every service business, you’ll need to decide how much to charge your customers. It’s simplest to set an hourly rate. Here are our tips for determining your pricing.

1. Calculate your expenses.

Estimate your costs. Include one-off costs, like buying cleaning equipment; regular costs, like buying trash bags and gas for your van; and intermittent costs, like replacing your mop head. Remember to include the cost of a good vacuum cleaner, mop, broom, duster, cleaning chemicals, trash bags, and paper towels.

Don’t forget the cost of insurance and licenses. You’ll need to pay annual or monthly premiums for general liability insurance and other vital insurance policies, and you might need to renew your business license and any permits on a yearly basis.

2. Check out the competition

Find out how much existing commercial cleaning businesses in your area charge for different services. Think about whether you want to undercut them to provide a lower-cost alternative, or offer extra services and add-ons at a higher cost, to make your cleaning business a higher quality option for customers looking for premium cleaning services.

3. Determine your Hourly Rate

Now you can decide how much to charge. Average rates for commercial cleaning services range from $20 to $690/hour per cleaner, and can go as high as $1,000 per hour. It all depends on the type of space you’re cleaning, the size of the area, and how heavy the cleaning job is. For example, office cleaning rates are far lower than those for restaurants, and cleaning up after construction merits even higher fees. Make sure to set a rate that allows you to profit after covering costs.

Market your commercial cleaning services to local businesses

With your costs set and rates established, you’re ready to start booking commercial cleaning jobs. Now you need to make sure everyone knows about your services and build your customer base. Here are the main marketing strategies to use to attract new customers.

  • Utilize digital marketing

Start by building a professional website to establish your online presence. On your site, clearly explain the commercial cleaning services you offer, like office cleaning, floor cleaning, and window washing, and provide details on your competitive rates and the benefits of hiring your company.

Once you have a website, you can use:

  • Pay-per-click advertising on search engines like Google Ads to drive traffic to your website.
  • Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to raise brand awareness. Post updates, share before and after photos of your work, and engage with your followers.
  • SEO blog posts that establish you as an expert. Cover topics like “How to Clean an Office in 30 Minutes” or “Top 10 Commercial Cleaning Supplies Every Business Should Have.”
  • Network in your local area

Pitch your services to local businesses by emphasizing your experience, availability, and competitive rates. If you do quality work for a fair price, word-of-mouth will spread and your commercial cleaning business will grow in no time.

You can also:

  • Meet with business owners in your area to tell them about your services. Explain the benefits of outsourcing their cleaning needs to a professional like yourself.
  • Partner with complementary businesses like office supply stores, gyms, and restaurants. Ask if you can leave your business cards and flyers or if they’ll mention your cleaning service to their clients.
  • Join your local chamber of commerce to make valuable connections and gain more exposure for your commercial cleaning business.
  • Get referrals from existing customers

Once you have a few happy customers, you can leverage word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews. Positive testimonials from real customers build credibility and trust in your business, and are powerful marketing tools that drive new customers to your business.

You can:

  • Offer happy customers an incentive, like $50 off their next cleaning, for any referral that signs an 8-hour weekly contract.
  • Ask satisfied clients to review your services on your website, social media, or sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
  • Provide the best service possible to keep your current clients satisfied.

Grow your commercial cleaning business by providing quality service

To grow your commercial cleaning business, focus on providing high quality service. A good reputation and happy clients are the keys to success. Here are 4 tips for building a business that keeps generating and retaining satisfied customers.

  • Use only quality supplies and equipment

It’s worth investing in commercial-grade cleaning supplies, equipment, and tools that are designed for the types of cleaning services you offer. Quality tools allow your staff to work efficiently and effectively. Stock up on things like microfiber cloths, disinfectants, floor cleaners, vacuums, mops, and whatever else you need for the jobs you perform.

  • Train your staff well

Well-trained staff will do high quality work, helping to build your reputation, so conduct thorough training to ensure your employees understand proper cleaning techniques and safety procedures. Go over your quality standards and expectations, and offer ongoing training as new products, equipment, and methods become available.

  • Focus on quality and detail

Do high quality work and pay attention to details. Clean floors, carpets, bathrooms, and any surfaces thoroughly. Disinfect and sanitize, empty trash bins and recycling, and do a final check of the work area to make sure nothing was missed. Ask clients for feedback on your quality of service, so you can make improvements as needed to meet and exceed their expectations.

  • Provide additional services

Think about offering other in-demand commercial cleaning services like window washing, upholstery cleaning, pressure washing, or construction clean-up. Additional services are a chance to generate more business from your existing clients. They also allow you to charge a higher hourly rate or square footage fee.

Your commercial cleaning business is on its way

While it may seem like a lot of work to get up and running, if you have the motivation and determination, you can build a successful commercial cleaning company. Starting off on the right foot is key to enabling you to build your experience, grow your client base, and enjoy steady income. Running your own commercial cleaning business is challenging, but the rewards of being your own boss and watching your company grow can make it all worthwhile.