How to Start a Cleaning Business On the Side?

Having a side hustle is the thing to do in today’s world. So many people are finding ways to make extra money outside of their normal jobs. You can do it, too, by starting a cleaning business on the side.

All you need to do is find out how to start a cleaning business on the side. And that is just what we’re going to discuss in this article. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Get organized with a business plan
  2. Practice cleaning
  3. Legalize your cleaning business
  4. Assess your equipment situation
  5. Promote your cleaning business
  6. Find clients

Things may not happen for you in that exact order but this gives you a good guideline to follow that will help you get started. Starting a cleaning business on the side can help you reach some of your financial goals much quicker. Keep reading to find out more about what you need to do.

Step 1: Get Organized with a Business Plan

The first thing you need to do before you start your cleaning business on the side is to get organized. What we mean here is that you need to have some kind of business plan in mind. Your clients will inevitably have questions so you need to be ready to answer them.

You’ll want to know what hours you’ll be able to work within. Since this is a side business, your hours will be limited to specific times. You need to be able to convey that to your customers clearly.

You’ll also need to decide what cleaning services you’ll be including in your packages. For instance, will you be doing carpet shampooing? Do you clean windows, inside and out? What about cleaning out refrigerators? Deciding what things you’ll be willing to do for your clients upfront will make it much easier for you to get a flow for your cleaning routine, let customers know what you offer, and set appropriate rates for your services.

Your rates definitely need to be clearly laid out in your business plan also. You should do a little research in your area to find out what other businesses charge for their cleaning services. You want to make sure you set your prices to a rate that allows you to be competitive.

Step 2: Practice Cleaning

Even if you have your own house that you keep clean on a daily basis, there are some things you might not do very often at home. People often hire someone else to clean the things in their homes that they don’t want to clean. That means you need to know what you’re doing and be able to do it in a timely manner.

It won’t hurt you and your side business for you to do some practice with some of the services you will be offering to your clients. You can work on finding the best ways to deep clean certain services by practicing in your own house. Maybe do a little research into what products work best on what materials.

The more you can do to get familiar with how to clean certain areas of homes, the faster you’ll be at providing your customers with a cleaning job that is done effectively and efficiently.

Check out this article to know the pros and cons of cleaning condos.

Step 3: Legalize Your Cleaning Business

Make sure you look into what you need to do to make your cleaning business on the side legal. Every state is different, in terms of what they require for you to have to be allowed to do business there.

There is a vendor’s license that you will most likely have to get to meet the regulations for running your cleaning business. The license helps with tracking your earnings so that you can be taxed appropriately.

If you have chosen a different name to do business under, you’ll also need to get a DBA (doing business as) license. This just connects your business name to you, the person, so that you are recognized as the owner and facilitator of the services you are providing.

There may be other permits you need, but these are the two licenses that you will most likely have to get. You can apply for them online through your county’s website. There is usually a fee associated with each one, as well.

Step 4: Assess Your Equipment Situation

This is certainly one of the more obvious steps when we’re looking at how to start a cleaning business on the side. You need to make sure you have the necessary equipment for providing the cleaning services you have chosen to offer.

When you’re first getting started with just a basic cleaning business that offers routine cleaning services, you won’t need much. You probably already have the equipment you’ll be using because you use it for cleaning your own home. The cleaning supplies you should have are:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dust rags
  • Floor duster
  • Mops
  • Paper towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Broom
  • Window cleaner
  • Cleaning solutions

If you’re going to be offering more complex services, like carpet shampooing or grout cleaning, you’ll need to consider either purchasing any additional equipment needed or possibly renting it on an as-needed basis.

The key here is to make sure you’re prepared to perform the cleaning services that you plan to offer. Don’t promote a service that you’re not equipped to handle.

Also, you could think about starting out only offering cleaning services that you already have the equipment to support. As you start making some income from your new side business, then you could buy other pieces of equipment that will allow you to offer more specialized services, if you would like.

Step 5: Promote Your Cleaning Business On the Side

You have to make sure you are promoting your cleaning business on the side so that it provides the supplemental income you are looking for. If no one knows about your cleaning business, you can’t build your customer base.

One thing you can do that works well for a lot of these types of businesses is to create fliers and deliver them straight to people’s doors in the neighborhoods you want to do business in. Include on the fliers what things you will clean, how much you charge, your contact information, and maybe some kind of coupon or another discount method.

You also need to set up some social media pages. This is an avenue for promotion that is free and can reach a ton of people with minimal effort on your part. It also gives people a place to comment on the work you’ve done for them that they are pleased with and the ability to share your page with others they know. It’s word of mouth marketing in digital form. According to, there are some good social media marketing strategies that can help you with building your online presence effectively.

You have to do a good job as part of promoting yourself too. Every job that you do to someone’s satisfaction, or beyond, will very likely translate into more customers. People like to spread the word about services or products that they are happy with. However, they also like to spread the word about what they’re not happy with. You need to think of clients you have acquired as promoters for your cleaning business on the side. They can either help make your cleaning business more lucrative or break your cleaning business completely by spreading damaging words about the job you did.

Step 6: Find Clients

At this point, you need to start cleaning. To do that, you need to find clients to clean for. So, how do you do that?

The fliers that you distributed will likely bring you some business. You can also post your services on websites like Craigslist or on your neighborhood’s webpages.

One of the easiest ways to find new customers is to simply just talk to people around you. If you’re attending a function at your kids’ school, talk to the other parents there. If you’re taking a walk to the neighborhood park, talk to people you encounter along the way. Many times you’ll find that people are looking for a cleaning service to help them out.

Ask your friends and family that live locally to help spread the word also. People tend to take the recommendations of their friends seriously because they’re coming from someone they trust. The more people that are talking about your cleaning business on the side, the more clients that can bring in for you.

Don’t get lazy about looking for clients. It should be something that is ongoing and that you continue to put effort into. The great thing about having a cleaning business on the side is that it’s the type of business that often has repeat customers. Many of your clients will probably want you to come to clean their homes on a specified ongoing schedule. That means that sometimes you might get to a place where you have the number of customers you want to make the amount of income you need.

You’ll still want to keep your cleaning business social media pages up-to-date and fresh and keep your promotion materials around for filling in any gaps in your cleaning schedules that open up. But, you can feel comfortable with the customers you have on a regular basis too.

Learn how you can start a cleaning business for almost free by checking this article here.

Start Your Cleaning Business On the Side

When we look at everything included in how to start a cleaning business on the side, it can look like it will be a daunting task. But the truth is, it’s not.

Start by being organized and making a plan. Practice the cleaning services you’ll be offering. Once you know what you want to do, look up the licensing regulations for your area and proceed with obtaining the required ones accordingly. Make sure you have all of the equipment you need for the services you’ll be providing. Do whatever you can to promote your cleaning business to as many people as possible. Then, start bringing in customers and clean to the best of your abilities.

Having a cleaning business on the side is a great way to make extra money. Many people need this kind of service so you’ve made a good choice for a side business that offers something there is always a need for.

Frequently Asked Question

Should I try to open a franchise cleaning business?

This is certainly an option. But it’s not necessarily a better option. When you open a cleaning business on the side, it likely won’t cost you much to get started if you’re just going to use the equipment that you already own.

As with opening any type of franchise, you’ll have to probably spend quite a bit of money to buy into the franchise. Then you’ll have required trainings that are often included in the deal. You also won’t have the control over the details of the cleaning business that you would have when opening your own side cleaning operation.

You will still have to promote your business as the franchise, but it will already be recognizable by your potential customers so it does help to win you clients in many cases.

Can I make good money with a cleaning business?

You absolutely can make good money with a cleaning business. You’ll be providing a service that takes care of the things in people’s houses that they don’t like to have to do. Customers get more than just a clean house, they get less burden, less stress, and more time because of the service that you provide for them.

One thing to remember is that the faster and more efficiently you learn to clean, the more money you’ll be making. You can fit in more cleaning jobs if you do them in less time. However, if you’re doing a poor job because you’re trying to get done quicker, that will end up making you less money in the long run because you’ll lose clients that are unsatisfied.

To learn more on how to start your own cleaning business, check out my startup documents here.

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.