How To Start A Cleaning Business With No Money?

Pritam Nagrale

Updated on:

start cleaning business

A cleaning business is evergreen. This means, it never really goes out of season or faces a shortage of customers.

That’s because homeowners, office owners, businesspersons, warehousing companies, factories, car and vehicle owners and practically everyone needs professional cleaning services.

Starting a cleaning business also makes sense. It helps you earn a lot of money within a relatively shorter span of time, compared to other businesses. And the situation isn’t going to change anytime in the foreseeable future.

If you’re wondering how to start a cleaning business, especially a professional cleaning service with no money, read this article fully. I will be guiding you in simple steps on how to start a cleaning business with no money.

how to start a cleaning business

How To Start A Cleaning Business With No Money?

Actually yes. You needn’t invest anything for starting a professional cleaning business. All you need to do is use vacuum cleaners, brushes, shovels, and mops that you already have at home.

I’m not talking about your used mops and brushes. Instead, I refer to those you already have in stock. And if you have none of them in stock, I’ll show you how to get them as well.

And a cleaning company requires workers too. Surely you don’t have that manpower right now. But there’re excellent and legit ways to get workers for your cleaning services company and pay them on time as well.

It’s easier to start a cleaning business with no money for one simple reason. Professional cleaning services require more manpower and depend less on the material.

Of course, you’ll need a lot of brushes, brooms, wipes, mops, swabs, cleaning liquids, disinfectants, and other paraphernalia. But that can easily be arranged too, as I will show you now.

How To Start A Cleaning Business With No Money?

Follow these simple steps on how to start a cleaning business with no money. This is a home-based business and hence, you don’t require an office too.

1. List Your Services

The first step to take towards starting a cleaning business is to list the services you can offer. Cleaning services is a very large field. It covers everything from cleaning houses and gardens to cleaning complex factories and sensitive installations.

Obviously, you won’t have all skills necessary for highly complicated cleaning work. Therefore, I suggest you start with simple cleaning services for offices and homes.

List all the services you can offer. If you simply recall all the cleaning you do at your own home, it’s easy to make the list. List every area of the home, including closets and drawers. And every area of an office as well.

Once you have this list, it’s easier to know the kind of services you can provide and your skills. It will also help you get the right kind of manpower for your cleaning business.

2. Get the Right Manpower

Or call it womanpower if you like. You can’t run a cleaning company all alone. Therefore, you’ll need some people to work alongside you when you get a contract or task.

The best way to get manpower is by enlisting teenagers that need money, stay-at-home moms who wish to have a small income, and single moms looking for a side gig.

If you’re hiring teenagers for a temporary cleaning job, make sure they’re over 16 years of age. Or ensure they’re legally eligible to take cleaning jobs for pay.

Labor laws explicitly prevent younger teenagers from taking paid work if it’s hazardous and doesn’t comply with various standards and specifications.

3. Buy Stuff On a Credit Card

Wait before you rush to buy stuff. You’ll know the stuff that would be necessary for cleaning premises only after you get a confirmed order or assignment. Once you have a confirmation, buy the stuff on your credit card.

This means you don’t need to pay immediately for brushes, mops, paper, cleansers, and disinfectants among other things. You can settle the dues after getting payment.

In case you don’t have a credit card, it’s also possible to ask a customer to buy the things you need. In such cases though, you can lose out on service charges for carrying the necessary materials.

Instead, you’ll have to charge a client only for the labor charges, as applicable under labor laws, and a little more.

4. Setting Rates

Typically a person cleaning as an employee gets paid an hourly rate. However, if you are a cleaning company, you probably shouldn’t charge this way, but you can use an hourly rate to help you determine what to charge.

Many professional cleaning companies charge based on the size of the cleaning requirement. When you give your cleaning service to an office, you can charge by the square foot, and when providing service to houses, you can charge by the size of the house.

To help you get started with your cleaning rates, time yourself cleaning your whole house from start to finish. Decide how much you would charge for an hourly rate, typically $50 to $100 an hour. The amount will depend on the region of the country, your experience and expertise, and how filthy the house is.

Let’s say it took you 2 hours to clean your whole house. If you were to charge $50 an hour, it would cost $100 to clean. If you have an average 3-bedroom home with 1,200 square feet, you can use this as judgment for other homes. A good rule of thumb is to give a square footage price.

For example, this would equal about $0.10 to $0.15 per square foot. When you give clients your rates, give them a range for different size spaces. $50 for 500 to 799 SQ. FT., $100 to $150 to 1200 SQ. FT., $200 for 1,200 to 1,500 SQ. FT. etc.

Another idea is to do an approximate price range for the square foot range and then do a survey of the home based on rooms and job description to settle on a price. Some cleaning people choose to include laundry for an extra fee.

Ask other house-cleaning individuals in your area what they charge. This will help you determine your own rates fairly for both you and your clients.

5. Spread the Word Around

Word of the mouth is the best publicity. However, you can also advertise the professional cleaning services business on free resources such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace among others.

Since you’re setting up this cleaning business with zero capital, you don’t need to spend on expensive advertising in newspapers, radio, and other places.

Also, create a superb LinkedIn profile for your company. This will attract the attention of top executives and decision-makers in your area. They might translate as customers.

However, a LinkedIn profile is an excellent way to ensure your business attracts attention from a large audience and helps the cleaning business grow.

6. Get Testimonials

Testimonials for cleaning a house or office may sound ridiculous. But they aren’t. Instead, testimonials will provide the much-needed boost for your cleaning business.

Since yours is a small business that’s just appearing on the scene, testimonials can prove to be a game changer. They will help to assure prospective customers about the superior quality of your professional cleaning services and above all, the prices.

Coming back to LinkedIn, it’s also essential to post testimonials or letters of appreciation from your customers on your profile.

A few good references and testimonials can work miracles for your cleaning business. They attract attention and help people take decisions quickly.

7. Form Your Team

You can also form an informal team of workers who will help you complete cleaning assignments for your business. In fact, there’re quite a few apps where it’s possible to advertise your professional cleaning services company and find work.

The advantage of forming a team is that you can respond to orders at short notice. There’s no need to wait long while you hunt for workers.

Also, working as a team is useful because you will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of everyone. This helps in assigning the right tasks to the right people and getting the job done to your customer’s satisfaction.

If you’re bidding for a cleaning assignment through an app or website, the customer won’t pay you directly. Instead, the customer will pay through the app and the app owners will forward your money to a bank account or debit card.

Essentials of Cleaning to Remember

There’re some things that you’ll always have to bear in mind. One of them is that certain people are allergic to certain chemicals and cleaners, various kinds of hair, and other stuff.

Hence it’s better to check with your workers and customer if they’re allergic to anything. And avoid those things because causing an allergy can lead to a lawsuit against your newly formed cleaning services business.

The other is that certain chemicals require special skills to handle. This is particularly true of cleaners containing chlorine, bleach, and other strong chemicals.

Unless you’re skilled in handling them, don’t dabble with these products. They can harm your health.

Also, never allow teenage workers if any on your team to handle strong cleaners and disinfectants. Instead, ask only someone with experience to use them.

And always keep their containers under your supervision to prevent accidental spills and leaks that can annoy a customer.

Often, cleaning liquids left behind by cleaners are known to cause irritation of the skin and eyes, among other problems. Make sure the stuff you’ll use is free from such side effects.

Closing Thoughts

Before starting your cleaning business with no money, it’s also good to take into account festival seasons. These are times when people require cleaning services.

If you launch during the season, there’re excellent chances you’ll get a few customers instantly for your company. And the profits can be used as investments for growing the business.


Is cleaning a good business to start?

Cleaning can be a good business to start because it is a service that is always in demand and has relatively low startup costs. However, it is important to conduct market research and understand your competition before starting a cleaning business. Overall, starting a cleaning business can be a good opportunity for those who are looking for a service business with low startup costs and steady demand, but it is important to conduct thorough research and understand the market before diving in.

What is the most profitable cleaning business?

Starting a cleaning business can be profitable with low startup costs and steady demand. Different types of cleaning services such as Residential cleaning, Commercial cleaning, Carpet cleaning, Window cleaning, Pressure washing, Pool cleaning, Chimney cleaning, Trash bin cleaning can be considered as potentially profitable cleaning businesses. However, it's important to conduct research on your target market and the competition before starting a cleaning business and choose the one that best suits your skills, resources, and target market.

How can I start a cleaning business with little money?

Starting a cleaning business with little money is possible by creating a business plan, keeping startup costs low, marketing for free, starting small, getting insurance, offering a great service, and being flexible on types of cleaning jobs. It may be challenging but with a solid plan, hard work, and determination, it can be done.

What certificates do I need to start a cleaning business?

To start a cleaning business, you may need a business license, sales tax permit, insurance, OSHA compliance, bonding, and professional certifications depending on your location, type of cleaning services, and size of your business. It's important to check with local government and industry associations for specific requirements and stay updated with laws and regulations.

How do I get a cleaning contract?

To secure a cleaning contract, you need to develop a strong marketing strategy, and network, create a professional proposal, demonstrate your value, negotiate and close the deal and follow up with your clients. Marketing your services to your ideal clients, highlighting the benefits of working with your business, providing references and testimonials, and addressing any concerns they may have can increase your chances of success.

How do I get customers for my cleaning business?

To get customers for your cleaning business, you need to develop a strong marketing strategy, network, offer a great service, offer special deals and promotions, use online review sites, and referral programs, use direct mail, and partner with other businesses. Focusing on building trust, and credibility and reaching out to potential customers through multiple channels can increase your chances of success.

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