A person wearing light blue latex gloves uses a spray bottle and a yellow cloth to clean the top of a desk. The person's head and shoulders are out of frame. A room with large windows and a wide-screen TV can be seen out-of-focus in the background.
In terms of cleaning companies, the most common service that comes to mind is home and office cleaning. However, there are plenty of areas in which to branch out or specialize. — Getty Images/Warchi

If you’re looking to start a business with few overhead costs and reliable income, a cleaning business could be a great option. Here are seven tips on how to start a cleaning company.

Do market research

It’s a good idea to spend some time doing market research and figuring out who your ideal customer base is. What kind of services are your ideal customers looking for, and what are their cleanliness standards?

You might consider asking friends or family members if you can clean their homes for free in exchange for a positive testimonial. This will help you get some experience and build credibility with future customers.

Figure out the startup costs

Figuring out the financing is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a new business. There are ways to keep your expenses low in the beginning, but you will need to invest in supplies and fuel costs.

Start by coming up with a reasonable budget for your business. Don’t forget to factor in paying yourself and setting aside some money for taxes.

Name your company

Branding is an essential aspect of building a business, and your company name has a lot to do with that. When you’re deciding on a name, aim to be clear instead of clever.

Choose a name that accurately describes your business and the service you offer. Try to come up with something that can grow with your company. And make sure the name is easy for customers to spell and pronounce.

After you’ve named your business, check to make sure that name isn’t already trademarked. This will help you avoid legal problems down the road.

What kind of services are your ideal customers looking for, and what are their cleanliness standards?

Register your business

Next, it’s time to make your business official by registering it with your Secretary of State. The exact requirements will depend on where you live, so make sure to determine what is needed in your state.

Although you can operate as a sole proprietor, you may want to set up your business as a limited liability corporation (LLC). As an LLC, you’ll have access to liability protections that aren’t available to sole proprietors.

[Read more: Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC: Which Should You Choose?]

Consider business insurance

Before you begin cleaning homes, you’ll want to make sure you have the right business insurance. Working in another person’s home or a company's office is not risk-free, and business insurance will protect you if there is an accident on the job.

For instance, let’s say you’re cleaning a customer’s home and you mop the floors before leaving. You forget to let your customer know, and they accidentally slip on the wet floor and break an ankle. If you have general liability insurance, you will be covered for any costs associated with the accident.

Set up accounting software

Once you start working with customers, you’ll need a way to send invoices and track your finances. This is where the right accounting software can help. Accounting software will help you monitor your business’s cash flow and help you stay prepared for tax season.

When you’re considering different types of accounting software, look for something that can grow with your business. For instance, you may not need payroll services now, but this may be a feature you need down the road.

[Read more: Choosing the Right Accounting Software for Your Business]

Focus on finding and keeping customers

One of the best ways to grow your cleaning company is by delivering excellent customer service. When you provide an excellent service to your current customers, they’ll not only want to continue using you but be more likely to send referrals your way.

Of course, you don’t want customer referrals to be your only source of new business. It’s also a good idea to look for ways to market your business online. You can set up a Facebook business page and utilize sites like TaskRabbit.

[Read more: How to Build an Effective Marketing Strategy on a Budget]

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