Learn How to Start a House Cleaning Service Business in California
Lilian | February 19, 2021
WHY SHOULD YOU START A RESIDENTIAL HOUSE CLEANING BUSINESS IN CALIFORNIA, USA?
The cleaning industry is a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow year after year and doesn’t show signs of stopping.
Joining the cleaning industry is relatively easy. It’s low risk and doesn’t require a boatload of money to get started. You can start a residential cleaning business in California with little to no money. The start-up cost for a house cleaning business is incredibly low and can be started by anyone with $200 to spare.
The most exciting part of this cleaning business is landing regular clients and generating recurring income. When you land a residential cleaning customer, they usually want their California home cleaned regularly, either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This means stable and predictable income for you every month, and your income will continue to increase each month as you land more recurring customers.
Some of The Best Cities in California, USA to Start a Cleaning Business
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- Long Beach
Other Towns & Cities in California You Can Start a House Cleaning Business
- Chula Vista
- Elk Grove
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- Moreno Valley
- San Bernardino
- Santa Ana
- Santa Clarita
- Santa Rosa
Opportunities Starting a Residential Cleaning Business in California
Everyone is pressed for time these days. With the rise of dual-income households and the aging baby-boomer population, more people seek out professional house cleaning companies than ever before. Especially in California, where busy business professionals don’t have the time to clean their homes, let alone the homes of their aging parents. Seniors who are physically unable to clean their homes are looking for house cleaning professionals to fulfill their residential cleaning needs.
Required Steps for Starting a House Cleaning Business in California
Cleaning houses can be a profitable and rewarding business if you take the right approach. Whether you’re starting your own residential cleaning business to replace your full-time job or as a side hustle for extra spending money, the steps to starting a house cleaning business in California are the same.
Step 1.) The Creation of a House Cleaning Business Blueprint
Creating a formal business plan is not needed unless you’re seeking funding from an investor, which isn’t necessary when starting a residential cleaning business in California. Instead of a business plan, you should create a business blueprint, a vision for where you want your business to go, and how you can make it happen. Your business blueprint may change over time, and that’s okay. Blueprints aren’t set in stone. You can and should revise your business blueprint as your business grows.
When creating your cleaning business blueprint, try to focus on your local competition and how you can differentiate your brand.
Evaluate your competition and ask yourself the following:
- Which competitors in California match your business the closest?
- What are the strengths of your competitors? What is their service range, price, years in business, established customer base, and customer service skills?
- What are the main weaknesses of your competitors?
- Are they in a remote location? Do they have a website?
- How do they advertise? Are they on social media platforms? Do they pay for Ads?
- Is there anything unique about your competitors? How do they conduct business? Is there anything they offer that you can’t?
- Read testimonials and customer reviews to find out what their customers like most
Make a list of all this information and compare it with your own business. Give your business an honest evaluation.
After you’ve taken some time to evaluate, ask yourself the following:
- What unique qualities do you see in your business that your competition lacks?
- Will you offer discounts and special promotions?
- What services will you offer? Carpet cleaning? Window cleaning?
- Will you make your website more modern and appealing?
- Will you sponsor a community organization, charity, or sports team?
- What can you promise and deliver to your customers that your competition cannot? Satisfaction guarantees? Online bookings? Easy online quotes?
- Can you create new add-on services to enhance your current services?
- Will you partner with a related business and offer promotions for each other to increase brand exposure?
These suggestions will help get your creative juices flowing so you can form an action plan and create a brand that stands out among your cleaning competitors in California.
Step 2.) Naming Your California Residential Cleaning Company
The name of your business doesn’t need to be elaborate or complex. Keep it simple. Choose a name that’s easy to pronounce and even easier to remember. A business name that’s short and direct is often the best.
Make sure your business’s name isn’t similar to other residential cleaning businesses in California, especially a franchise. Make it unique. Choose a name that will allow customers to identify your business and the services you offer.
Once you have a few potential names for your business, share them with friends and family. Ask them about their initial impression and any suggestions they may have.
Finding a name isn’t always easy, but the time and effort you invest now will pay off in the long run. You’ll have a great name that adds considerable value to your residential cleaning business and helps support brand awareness.
Step 3.) Choose a Cleaning Business Structure
A business structure or entity is an organization that conducts business. The type of business structure you choose determines your business liability and how it will be taxed in California. Different laws apply to different entities. Let’s look at some of your options as a small cleaning business start-up:
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP. The business owner operates under their own name. It’s a simple and perfectly legal way to establish your business. As a sole proprietor, all business profits or losses are filed on your personal tax return, so you will miss out on some small-business tax incentives.
DOING BUSINESS AS (DBA). The business owner operates their business under a different name instead of their own. DBA is also referred to as a fictitious business name and can be filed online or by mail for a small fee. This registration will allow you to open bank accounts and other service accounts under the name of your business.
PARTNERSHIP. You can form a partnership by going into business with someone else. A General Partnership has no additional filing requirements. This type of partnership is identical to a sole proprietorship in terms of liability and tax purposes. The downfall would be that one partner may find themselves personally on the hook for the other partner’s actions or abuse.
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC). The biggest benefit of an LLC is the protection it provides for your personal assets if someone tries to sue your business. Unlike sole proprietorships and general partnerships, which offer no asset protection, an LLC offers the right blend of simplicity and asset protection, making it an excellent option for new business owners.
Step 4.) Register Your California House Cleaning Business Start-up
Registering your new residential house cleaning business in California can seem daunting at first, but the process is really straightforward and simple. Even if your business is already operating, it’s never too late to register.
By registering your new house cleaning business, you will gain access to tax advantages, loan programs, and supplier discounts only available for registered companies.
Step 5.) Residential Cleaning Rates and Pricing in California
I recommend calling all the residential cleaning companies in California for price quotes and see what your competitors are charging. That’s what I did. I started by calling cleaning franchises first and then small independently owned cleaning businesses. I even called individuals on Kijiji and Craig’s List who offered cleaning services and didn’t have a registered business.
After receiving 10 to 15 different cleaning quotes, I knew the average house cleaning rate in my area and had a better idea of what to charge customers. I priced myself slightly lower than the franchises and somewhat higher than the individuals offering cleaning services. This pricing strategy worked great for me, and I’m confident it will work perfectly for you too.
Side note: Most professional house cleaning companies in California charge between $30 and $45 an hour.
Step 6.) Choose Your House Cleaning Service Area
Time is money, so don’t waste it driving to client homes when you can be cleaning them and making money instead. When your clients live close to each other, you can spend less time driving and more time making money, which makes catering to a smaller California service area vital.
Concentrating on a smaller service area makes your advertising dollars go further, especially if you have a limited budget to work with. You can dominate a smaller service area through repeated advertising and start to establish brand awareness. The more people see your brand, the more recognizable and memorable your business will become. By doing this, your business will become the go-to residential cleaning company for your chosen service area in California.
Step 7.) Open a Small Business Bank Account for Your New Cleaning Company
You’ll want to keep your personal account separate from your business account, so take a trip to your nearest California bank and have them open a new bank account for your small residential cleaning business.
Step 8.) California Residential Cleaning Business Insurance
Protect your house cleaning business by making sure you’re properly insured. The cost of insurance might seem like an unnecessary or optional expense, but that expense will quickly turn into a worthwhile investment if you need to make a claim. Liability insurance protects you against compensation claims made by cleaning customers and employees.
- Commercial General Liability: Protects against claims made by customers for bodily injury and third-party property damage.
- Employer’s liability insurance: If you employ anyone, whether it’s occasional, part-time, or full-time, you’re legally required to have employer’s liability insurance. This insurance protects you against compensation claims made by employees for work-related injuries.
- Bonding Insurance: Protects both you and your clients from employee theft.
- Commercial vehicle coverage: Do your employees drive their own vehicles while on the job? If employees drive from one client’s home to the next, especially if they’re carrying your cleaning equipment and supplies with them, you could be held responsible if they cause an accident. Your personal insurance may not cover it, so it’s best to purchase commercial vehicle coverage.
Protect your residential cleaning business by making sure you’re properly insured. Talk to a local California insurance broker and compare prices. Find an insurance broker who takes the time to explain everything to you and goes over all your options. Choose someone you feel has your best interest in mind.
Step 9.) Obtain the Necessary Residential Cleaning Business Forms
You will need to get a few business forms before officially starting your residential cleaning business. Here are some examples of the necessary forms to obtain:
- Cleaning service checklist
- Customer referral form
- Cleaning service agreement
- Quote estimate form
- Cleaning invoice forms
- Satisfaction survey
- Breakage report
- Contractor/employee non-compete agreement
Each form should have the name of your house cleaning business, logo, and contact information on it. Keep your documents’ design and style the same, including any advertising materials to ensure everything stays in-line with your business branding and has the same visual feel.
P.S. – All these forms and more are included in my new course, “House Cleaning University” Click here for more information
Step 10.) Purchase House Cleaning Supplies, Equipment, and Tools
You’re almost ready to start marketing your business and landing your first cleaning clients in California, but you need the right cleaning supplies, equipment, and tools first. Now is the perfect time to make a list and purchase the necessary things to succeed. The following checklist will help you get started.
House Cleaning Business Supplies, Equipment, and Tools Checklist
Home Office Supplies
- Computer or Laptop
- Printer Paper
- Printer Ink
- Filing cabinet
- File folders
Residential Cleaning Equipment, Supplies, and Tools
- Two Vacuums (for hard flooring and carpet)
- Two Scraper tools (one plastic and one metal)
- Step ladder
- Bucket and mop
- High duster
- Microfiber cloths (different colors)
- Broom and dustpan
- Scrubbing brush
- Grout brush
- Knee pads
- Cloth Bags (to hold all your microfiber cloths and extra things)
- Garbage bags
- Indoor shoes
- Disposable plastic gloves
- Money pouch (to hold cash and checks)
- Steam cleaner (optional)
- House cleaning caddy (to carry cleaning products and small tools)
- A lockable box for storing house keys
Residential House Cleaning Products
- Floor cleaner (that can be used on all floor types)
- All-purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Oven cleaner
- Tub & tile cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Wood Polish
- Bar keeper’s friend spray
- White vinegar
- Baking Soda
Step 11.) Get Your New House Cleaning Logo Designed
When designing your residential cleaning logo, choose a simple color and design. Don’t overcomplicate it. Elaborate designs and fun colors or fonts can make for a pretty piece of art but always result in a mediocre logo and negatively impact your business’s success. Your logo should convey your business’s purpose quickly and leave a lasting impression on your target audience.
Think about some popular logos you see every day and pay close attention to them as you go about your usual routines. Write down the businesses with logos that really capture your attention and make a small list of your favorites. Notice the things they all share in common. You’ll probably notice they all have a simple yet attractive design, with a splash of color and a remarkable ability to stay in your memory.
Designing a logo doesn’t have to break the bank. You can have a professional residential cleaning logo created for your new California based house cleaning business for around $200 online.
Step 12.) Get Your House Cleaning Website Designed
A vast majority of your potential customers in California will come across your services through a quick Google search, expecting to find information about your company online. If you don’t have a website, you will lose potential cleaning customers to your competitors.
A good quality house cleaning website is well-organized, easy to navigate, and motivates visitors to do business with you. Essential information like hours of operation, service areas, available cleaning services, etc., should be extremely easy for visitors to find.
Step 13.) Get Your Residential House Cleaning Business Cards Designed and Printed
Business cards can create a great first impression of your business when meeting prospective customers in person throughout California. Many people don’t make proper use of their business cards and often overlook the importance of design. They only print their contact details on one side of the business card instead of making full use of the front and back by adding a slogan or a list of your services. You can also use your business card as a way for your existing customers to refer you to potential new clients, turning it into a marketing tool for your house cleaning business.
Step 14.) Marketing and Advertising Your New House Cleaning Business in California
Start marketing and advertising your house cleaning services by using the following free methods listed below. By the time you complete the list, your phone will be ringing, and your email will be bursting with new cleaning quote requests.
- Set-up a Google my business listing
- Post ads on local online classified sites
- Post your ad in local buy and sell groups on Facebook
- Submit your business to local online business directories
- Print and distribute flyers (you can start with a basic home-made flyer)
Step 15.) Organizing Your Residential Cleaning Business Schedule
As you get busy and start booking more cleanings, you’ll find it harder to manage your schedule and stay organized, especially if you’re using a physical planner book or calendar. I recommend setting up a Google Calendar right from the beginning. It’s free to use and makes scheduling and organizing much more manageable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Cleaning Business in California
What does a house cleaner do in California?
House cleaners are hired for general cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, and smaller cleaning tasks like making beds or washing dishes.
What is it like to clean houses in California?
Cleaning houses in California is a lot of fun! You get to meet all kinds of new people from all different walks of life and even make beneficial connections for other areas of your life and business. Cleaning also gives you a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification by taking something dirty and making it look brand new again. On top of all this, cleaning is a great workout and can help you stay in shape while you’re making money.
Is it worth starting a house cleaning business?
House cleaning is one of the best low-cost start-up businesses you can start today. The demand for cleaning in California continues to grow each year, and residential cleaning businesses provide a recurring income. This means your clients will pay you week after week, month after month, on a regular cleaning schedule, creating a stable and reliable income every month. Owning your own business is a rewarding feeling, and the best part of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours and choose who you want to work with.
Can I clean houses without a license?
Most states and provinces do not require you to have any special licensing to clean houses. However, you do need to register your business with your state or province.
What type of insurance do I need for a cleaning business in California?
House cleaning businesses in California will have any or all of the following types of insurance plans: general commercial liability, employer’s liability, bonding insurance, and commercial vehicle coverage.
How much does house cleaning business insurance cost?
The cost to insure a small house cleaning business in California is between $750 and $1500 a year or $75 to $140 monthly. Shop around locally and contact at least three different small business insurance brokers in California to find the best deal.
Is a California house cleaning business profitable?
Yes! You can make as much as $450 a day in sales if you are working with one helper. Small cleaning businesses with a handful of employees can earn well over six figures per year, and larger, well-established residential cleaning businesses can make over a million per year.
How much money do I need to start a house cleaning business in California?
You can start a residential cleaning business in California with as little as $200.
When will my cleaning business start to make money?
Your cleaning business can start making money from day one. Land one weekly client in California that pays $150 for their cleaning, and you will make $600 a month. Land four new weekly clients in the same month and you will make $2400 a month.
What should I charge for house cleaning in California?
Contact your local cleaning competitors to determine a price range and then price your services slightly higher than the average. Never lower your price to compete with lower-priced competitors.
What skills do you need for a house cleaning business?
Experience. You should have a little cleaning experience, even if it’s only from cleaning your own home.
You should also have the following skills and experience:
- A reasonable level of physical fitness
- Ability to effectively manage time
- Able to work alone or with a team
- Well organized
- Awareness of safety procedures
- Can follow customer instructions
- Good attention to detail
- Knowledge of the products you carry and their uses
What can I write off for house cleaning business tax deductions in California?
Any items you need to conduct business as a cleaning company can be written off.
- Uniform costs: shoes, aprons, shirts, pants
- Marketing expenses (business cards, flyers, internet ads, etc.)
- Gas for work-related travel
- Some of your home utilities (if running your business from home)
- All cleaning supplies, tools, and equipment
- Vehicle maintenance costs (Oil Changes, lease, financing)
- Other business-related expenses such as website development, hosting, phone bill, internet access, etc.
How do I get clients in California for my house cleaning business?
Advertising, promoting, and marketing your cleaning business is the only way to gain new cleaning customers. Here are some easy advertising methods to help attract new clients.
- Set up a Google “my business” listing
- Post online ads on California classified sites
- Post your ad in local buy and sell groups on Facebook
- Submit your business to California business directories
- Print and distribute flyers (you can design them yourself to start)
There has never been a better time for you to get into the house cleaning business than Right Now!
Map of California
Hi, my name is Lilian and I run a successful house cleaning business that makes over $2,000 every week! Learn step by step exactly how I did it by CLICKING HERE