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The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Commercial Cleaning Business

Oct 20
how to start a commercial cleaning business
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If you want a profitable and rewarding business opportunity, consider starting a commercial cleaning business. With the demand for hygiene and sanitation experiencing a growth spurt in the wake of the pandemic, the commercial cleaning market is now worth USD 69.8 billion and projected to increase annually by 6.4% between 2024 and 2032. This indicates a growing market where more hands are needed on deck.

Not only is the demand for commercial cleaning services high, but starting one is relatively easy. Commercial cleaning services are flexible and scalable, as you can start with a small team and expand as you grow your client base. 

This guide will show you how to start a commercial cleaning business, from planning and marketing to hiring and training your staff. We hope you enjoy reading.

How to start a commercial cleaning business

Launching a successful commercial cleaning service depends on how prepared you are. While business start is only sometimes smooth, having a guide you can refer back to helps you adapt quickly to the market. 

You must check some essential things before you start a commercial cleaning business.

Understand the Market

The first step is to know how the market operates alongside its stakeholders. Researching commercial cleaning competitors helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses, helping you carve your unique value proposition in the market. Understanding the market is usually a continuous process because of constant changes in consumer behavior. 

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis also works if you have an established commercial cleaning service and want to increase your market share.

Here are some quick steps to achieving effective market research.

  1. Make a list of the main competitors in your area and their websites.
  2. Visit their websites for information about their services, prices, and guarantees.
  3. Read customer reviews and testimonials on their websites or third-party platforms like Google or Yelp.
  4. Compare their offerings with yours and identify the gaps and opportunities for improvement.
  5. Develop or highlight your unique selling points to explore their weaknesses.
  6. Use this information to build or update your marketing strategy.

Planning Your Commercial Cleaning Business

A business plan is a crucial tool when planning to start a commercial cleaning business. It helps you define your goals, identify your target market, analyze your competitors, and outline your services and pricing. 

Furthermore, a business plan helps you secure funding, attract customers, and manage your operations. Without a business plan, you may face challenges such as a lack of direction, cash flow problems, or missed opportunities. 

Creating a commercial cleaning business plan requires you to write an executive summary of your vision, mission, and objectives. Using your executive summary and the market research, you can now develop a description of your services and appropriate pricing.

Your commercial cleaning service plan also needs to include a marketing and sales strategy that explains how you will promote and sell your services. Finally, you must be able to create a financial plan that projects your income, expenses, and cash flow. 

Training and Skill Development

You won’t be surprised to learn that starting a commercial cleaning service needs some certifications and skills. The certifications are there to give credence to your expertise, while the skills (technical and soft) help you build your clientele. 

If you are just starting, some of the certifications you may need are:

  1. Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification demonstrates that you follow the best practices for quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction in the cleaning industry.
  2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training teaches you how to comply with the safety and health regulations for your workers and clients.
  3. Green Seal certification shows that you use environmentally friendly products and methods for your cleaning services.

Besides these certifications of your technical skills, you must also develop soft skills to become a successful commercial cleaner. Some of the skills you may need are:

  1. Communication skills help you interact with your clients and employees effectively and professionally.
  2. Organizational skills that help you plan, schedule, and manage your cleaning projects and resources efficiently.
  3. Problem-solving skills help you deal with any issues or challenges that may arise during your cleaning services.

Legal Considerations

Setting up your commercial cleaning business legally is crucial to ensure that you comply with the relevant regulations and avoid any legal troubles. Here are some of the things you need to do:

  1. Register your business name and structure: You can choose to operate as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so you should consult a professional before deciding.
  2. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits: Depending on your location and the specific services you offer, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits from the local, state, and federal authorities. These may include a general business license, a cleaning service license, a tax identification number, a health and safety permit, and an insurance certificate.

Branding and Naming Your Business

Branding and naming your commercial cleaning service is vital to attracting customers and standing out. You want to choose a name that reflects your values, services, and target market. Here are some tips to help you with this process:

  1. Brainstorm a list of words related to cleaning, hygiene, quality, and professionalism. You can use online tools like name generators or thesaurus to find more ideas.
  2. Combine two or three words that sound catchy, memorable, and easy to pronounce. Avoid using generic or common words that are already taken by other businesses.
  3. Check the availability of your chosen name on domain name registrars, social media platforms, and trademark databases. You don't want to infringe on someone else's rights or confuse your potential customers.
  4. Test your name with your friends, family, and target audience. Ask for feedback on how they perceive your name, what emotions it evokes, and what expectations it sets.
  5. Finalize your name and create a logo, slogan, and color scheme that match your brand identity. You can use online tools like logo makers or graphic design software to design your own or hire a professional if you have the budget.

Financial Aspects

Setting up a business account and pricing strategy for your commercial cleaning business is vital to establishing credibility and profitability. Here are some steps you can follow in setting up the financial aspect of your business.

  1. Choose a bank that offers low fees, online banking, and other services that suit your needs. Consider comparing different banks and their features before opening an account.
  2. Determine your pricing based on the type, size, and frequency of the cleaning jobs you offer. You can research the market rates in your area and adjust your prices accordingly to factors such as travel time, supplies, and overhead costs.
  3. Create a clear and detailed invoice template that includes your business name, contact information, services provided, date, and payment terms. You can use online tools or software to generate and send invoices to your clients.
  4. Track your income and expenses using a spreadsheet or accounting software. This will help you monitor your cash flow, manage your taxes, and identify areas for improvement.

Marketing Your Commercial Cleaning Business

Marketing is one of the most significant determinants of whether your commercial cleaning business will succeed. In addition, marketing is a continuous process as your company size continues to increase. Although you can employ different marketing strategies to boost your brand image, some are more important than others, such as owning a website or a social media channel.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the most suitable marketing strategies for a growing commercial cleaning service.

Business Website

One of the most effective marketing strategies for building an online presence for your commercial cleaning service is to create a professional website that showcases your services, contact information, and testimonials. Your website is the landing platform for every online lead remotely interested in your service, so it must be impeccable. 

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the visibility and relevance of a website or web page in the results of online search engines. SEO can help your commercial cleaning service attract potential customers looking for your services online. 

Key factors that affect SEO are keywords, content quality, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and backlinks. By optimizing these factors, you increase the chances of your commercial cleaning business ranking higher on search engines and generating more leads and sales.

Traditional marketing

Traditional marketing methods, such as flyers, brochures, business cards, banners, billboards, live seminars, and continuing education (CE) classes. All these are effective ways to promote your commercial cleaning service. These methods can help you reach potential clients who may not be online or who prefer a more personal approach. 

Here are some tips on how to use traditional marketing for your commercial cleaning business:

  • Identify your target market and tailor your message to their needs and pain points. For example, if you specialize in office cleaning, you can highlight how your services can improve productivity, health, and safety in the workplace.
  • Create eye-catching and professional-looking materials that showcase your brand, services, and benefits.
  • Distribute your materials strategically and consistently. You can hand out flyers and brochures in areas where your target market frequents, such as business parks, shopping centers, or community events.
  • Place your banners or billboards in commercial hubs and industrial zones where business owners and managers can see your brand and request a callback.
  • You can also network at community events with business owners and philanthropists. Make contact with other businesses or organizations that can refer you to their clients or members, such as realtors, property managers, or chamber of commerce.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool that lets you create and manage a business profile on Google. You can add your contact information, location, hours, photos, reviews, etc. Using Google My Business, you can increase your visibility on Google Search and Maps and connect with potential customers looking for commercial cleaning services in your area. 

You can also respond to customer queries, post updates, and track your performance. You need to create a Google account and verify your business to get started. Then, you can optimize your profile by adding relevant details and keywords that describe your commercial cleaning service. 

You can also ask your customers to leave reviews and ratings, boosting your reputation and ranking. Google My Business is a powerful way to market your commercial cleaning business online and reach more customers.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a powerful way to promote your commercial cleaning service and reach new customers. There are more options with social media, but each platform has its selling point, so marketing must be done to suit their peculiarity.

On each social media platform you decide to use, you must be able to identify your target audience and their pain points. Then, you have to connect with them through suitable media—for instance, TikTok videos and Twitter microblogs. Connecting with your audience on social media needs consistency. Finally, keep up with the trends.

Email marketing

Email marketing lets you communicate your value proposition, showcase your expertise, and build trust and loyalty. Email marketing can also help you generate leads, increase referrals, and boost sales. Effective email campaigns have these features in common.

  • Segmented audience lists based on behavior, preferences, and position on the sales funnel.
  • Catchy subjects to entice recipients.
  • Informative content that showcases service and contact information.
  • Compelling and personalized call-to-action buttons.


PPC stands for pay-per-click, a type of online advertising where you pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. PPC can be a powerful way to promote your commercial cleaning business and reach potential customers searching for your services. 

With PPC, you can target your ads based on keywords, location, time of day, and other factors. You can also track the performance of your campaigns and optimize them to improve your return on investment. PPC can help you increase brand awareness, generate leads, and grow revenue.

Referrals and reviews

Another way to grow your commercial cleaning service is to strategically request referrals and reviews from your existing clients. Referrals and reviews are potent forms of social proof that can attract new customers and increase your credibility. 

Ask for referrals and reviews at the right time. The best time to ask is when your clients are happy with your service, such as after a successful job, during a follow-up call, or regularly. Don’t forget to make it easy to review you by providing links for reviews. In addition, occasionally offer incentives for referrals.

Equipment and Supplies

Different cleaning situations require specific tools, but a vacuum cleaner is one of the most essential tools for commercial cleaning. Its adeptness at removing dust, dirt, debris, allergens, and other contaminants from carpets, floors, upholstery, and other surfaces makes it a must-have tool. 

Other tools worthy of mention include mops and buckets, detergents, towels, paper towels, trash bags, protective gloves, laundry bags, brushes, work aprons, supply carts, window washing kits, etc. 

Hiring and Team Expansion

If you are newly starting a commercial cleaning service, you may need to hire and train more cleaners as your business grows. Here are some tips on how to do that effectively:

  1. Define your cleaning standards and procedures clearly and document them in a manual or a checklist.
  2. Recruit cleaners with relevant experience, skills, and qualifications who share your vision and values.
  3. Provide adequate training, equipment, and supplies, and monitor their performance regularly.
  4. Give them feedback, recognition, and incentives for doing a good job, and promptly address any issues or concerns.
  5. Communicate with them frequently and openly, creating a teamwork and collaboration culture.


What are the benefits of starting a commercial cleaning business?

A commercial cleaning business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture, as there is a high demand for professional and reliable cleaning services in various sectors, such as offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and more. A commercial cleaning service can offer flexibility, low start-up costs, and scalability.

What are the challenges of running a commercial cleaning business?

Some challenges of running a commercial cleaning business include finding and retaining qualified staff, managing customer expectations and satisfaction, complying with health and safety regulations, securing contracts and insurance, and dealing with competition and price pressure.


Launching a successful commercial cleaning business takes work, but it can be rewarding and profitable if you follow the steps outlined in this guide. You need to do market research, create a business plan, register your business, obtain the necessary licenses and insurance, buy or lease the equipment and supplies, hire and train your staff, market your services, and manage your finances and operations. 

By following these steps, you can establish yourself as a reliable and professional cleaning service provider in your area and grow your customer base over time. Remember always to deliver high-quality work, maintain good communication with your clients, and seek feedback and referrals to improve your business. You can achieve your dream of running a successful commercial cleaning service with hard work, dedication, and passion.