November 28, 2023

If you’re thinking about starting a cleaning business, there are a number of things to consider about this business model. While being your own boss, choosing your clients, and setting your hours are all enticing aspects of running your own cleaning business, there are other aspects you should research prior to launching your venture, including competing businesses and the types of services they offer. 

The fact that many people hate cleaning is great news for anyone exploring the potential of launching a cleaning service, as this type of service is essential to people’s lives, both at home and work. Commercial and residential cleaning companies offer the same benefits, but their needs differ regarding supplies, customers, and marketing. In this article, we will explain the business model of cleaning services. We will also look at some of the pros and cons that come with the trade, to better prepare you to sweep in and save the day for your customers.

Types of cleaning services

Commercial cleaning services

Commercial cleaning services are essential to certain businesses. Businesses such as hospitals, schools, factories, and retail shops need to keep spaces tidy and clean. Commercial cleaning companies also require specialized cleaning equipment and large quantities of cleaning supplies. Additionally, commercial cleaners often work late night and early morning hours to avoid interfering with the business’s regular operations.

Residential cleaning services

On the other hand, residential cleaning services involve working in people’s homes. This requires a more personalized touch as cleaners will be working in their client’s personal spaces. Residential cleaners typically follow a set schedule. This means they clean the same clients’ houses on set days of the week. One of the critical things to consider with residential cleaning is the need to respect the client’s home and privacy.

Pros of Starting a Cleaning Business

1. Low Startup Cost

 One of the biggest perks of starting a cleaning service is that it requires minimal capital to begin. While starting a residential cleaning company is cheaper to start, both require little overhead and start-up funding.

Depending on the focus of your cleaning company, you can start with limited supplies and only the essential products and tools of the trade. While a large warehouse or industrial plant will require several thousands of dollars of equipment and supplies, a small office or home-based cleaning business only needs a few hundred dollars and key pieces of equipment.

The following tools and supplies are a great place to start when launching your cleaning business, regardless of the type of cleaning service (commercial or residential) you opt to offer. 

  • A quality vacuum
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rags
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Assorted cleaners for various surfaces
  • Toilet bowl cleaner and brush

2. Flexible Hours

 When you work for yourself, you set your own hours. That means you decide how many days a week you work, what times of day you work, and how you work around your clients’ schedules. Your work schedule is primarily dictated by your goals and what you want to achieve. For example, if you ant to start a “side hustle,” you can create a small, residential cleaning business that cleans houses only in a specific neighborhood.

Conversely, if you want to grow a large cleaning business, you can establish yourself as a reputable commercial cleaning company and secure contracts with larger businesses. The flexibility of having your own cleaning business allows you to put in as much or as little time as you would like, and to create a business that supports your goals and compliments your life. 

3. Quick Profitability

The startup costs and expenses allow this business model to achieve profitability fairly quickly. With most of the costs associated with a cleaning service being supplies, a cleaning business can expect to become profitable after servicing just a few clients per month.

Depending on several variables—such as size, location, and hours—a cleaning business can be extremely lucrative in a short period of time. If you can self-fund the cleaning company, the time to profitability will be drastically shortened, and you will be on your way to turning profits quickly.

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Cons of Starting a Cleaning Business

1. Can Be Stressful

While running your own business offers great flexibility, being the boss can be stressful. As a business owner, you need to manage everything from your clients, your time, other workers, accounting, advertising, and other crucial elements to running a successful business.

Maintaining accurate records and establishing good rapport with your clients will significantly reduce your stress while increasing your company’s success. You will also be under strict time constrains. Whether cleaning commercial buildings or residential homes, you will be expected to complete the job in a timely manner.

You will also need to be sure to complete jobs quickly and correctly for the sake of your revenue. Like many service businesses, a cleaning service business means that you are exchanging your time for money. This can be stressful as in order to increase revenue you may need to take on more clients.

2. Can Be Labor Intensive

 Yes, your work schedule can be flexible, but running a cleaning service requires a lot of hard work—most of it physical labor. Manual labor can become tiresome, mentally and physically, and require a lot of endurance and adaptability. For example, operating machinery such as carpet cleaners and floor buffers requires a certain level of physicality, while cleaning outdoor windows can lead to long, hot workdays in the sun.

3. Large Time Commitment

 Starting a cleaning company means all the decisions fall on your shoulders. Making so many decisions requires a significant time commitment, especially when first starting your company. Cleaning requires a great deal of attention to detail, such as keeping track of how rooms are arranged and where objects are stored, which makes cleaning a time-consuming endeavor. If you don’t prioritize work-life balance, your cleaning business can place a strain on other areas of your life. 


A cleaning business might seem complicated initially; however, starting a cleaning business can be extremely rewarding and lucrative. From business stability to the flexibility of being your boss, creating your cleaning services is an excellent business opportunity to consider. As you look to launch your cleaning venture, take a peek at our article about some of the various business models available to help you set yourself up for success. 

Sarah Ruddle

Team Writer: For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world. Sarah has led an impressive career as a founder of nonprofits The Torch and Torch 180. She has been featured in well-known publications, including Woman’s Day Magazine.
Sarah has been honored with the President’s Award for her doctoral thesis on how cryptocurrency could revolutionize homelessness and the Entrepreneurship award for her MBA thesis. She holds a doctorate from Berkeley and is a professor instructing Business and Entrepreneurship classes at Iowa, Eastern Michigan, and Cal Southern universities.
On a mission to assist young entrepreneurs, she is focused on improving education, developing critical soft skills, increasing self-awareness and confidence, and creating collaborative learning spaces as a business consultant. Sarah has been an inspirational speaker at schools across America, speaking on leadership, selfless service, and commitment to the community. Before her time in the business world, Sarah served as a youth pastor, an ordained chaplain, and an intelligence analyst in the United States Army.

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