How to Start a Small Cleaning Business

By Don Bowman

  • Overview

    When opening a cleaning business, demographics should always be considered. This will indicate the median income in a particular area as well as the amount of affluent residences and businesses that can be targeted. Check out how well embedded the competition is in the community and figure out how to compete. Make a list of all liquid cash, assets such as equity in property, term life insurance, stock, bonds, annuities, anything with capital gains, and possible business investors if applicable.
    • Step 1

      Decide how the cleaning business is to be licensed. Will it be an L.L.C., an S Corp., a sole proprietorship, or corporation? Call the IRS and they will send all the information to title the business. It is important to determine which entity is appropriate for the cleaning business. Each entity has different advantages and disadvantages. If you have online access, you can also access the information at irs.gov.
    • Step 2

      Call the IRS and request an employer tax ID number. At the same time, obtain paper work for state, county and city occupational licenses as well as employee tax and sales tax permits.


    • Step 3

      Obtain a D.B.A. fictitious name for the cleaning business. Choose a name that tells the public that you are a cleaning business. This can be obtained from the division of corporations. Check on the necessity to get registered with the Department of Agriculture. You may have to register as a cleaning business with hazardous chemicals.
    • Step 4

      Look for insurance. Make sure you advise them that you will be handling hazardous chemicals. This can be an expensive proposition so compare prices. Most companies want 50 percent down and will only give you six months to pay the difference.
    • Step 5

      Purchase several double entry journals. The first journal should contain the beginning balance charts indicating the money invested in the cleaning business. This will reflect the net profit from the business after all deductions. Also, include personal paychecks to officers and the bottom line each month. The second journal will contain all the business expenses including payroll as well as all other expenses incurred on a monthly basis (cleaning business overhead and office expenses). The third journal will keep track of all income from the business and all the taxes collected. If you are familiar with accounting programs, you can purchase an accounting program to keep records, instead of keeping them by hand in a journal.
    • Skill: Moderate

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