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18 Smart Cleaning Business Ideas for Reliable Income

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

18 Smart Cleaning Business Ideas for Reliable Income

Demand for cleaning services in both homes and offices surged in the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to remain high as Americans adopt as norm the cleaning practices that were developed over the last two years. 

Now would be a good time to start your own cleaning business. We’ve prepared a list of cleaning business ideas for you to consider. Among the possibilities are window washing, dry cleaning, and pool cleaning businesses. Take a look and see if anything seems viable to you.

1. Cleaning Service

How to start a cleaning business

Do you do weekend housecleaning? Are you good at arranging and polishing? Perhaps you should start a cleaning business. Cleaning is one of the easiest businesses to start, and the $76 billion market has grown steadily, so the opportunity is there.

With basic cleaning products, you can start advertising your services on TaskRabbit until you have your own website. Provide maid, end-of-lease, carpet, and upholstery services, or all of them. Before committing, you can work part-time to test the waters.

Cleaning can be messy and laborious, so it’s not for everyone. If you like making things look good, this may be your entrepreneurial specialization.

2. Pressure Washing

How to start a pressure washing business

Pressure washing, often called power washing, uses high-pressure water to remove loose paint, mold, grime, mud, and other contaminants from buildings, vehicles, and other hard surfaces.

Pressure washing is becoming more popular due to its speed and efficiency. Companies can markup heavily due to great demand. Best of all, starting is easy. Just the appropriate tools and a solid website will get you started without licenses or certificates!

After that, choose residential or corporate customers and market to them well.

3. Car Wash

How to start a car wash business

Some people love their cars and must maintain their beauty inside and out. Because of that, the US has approximately 60,000 car wash locations and a $17.3 billion industry. You might start a car wash business with a fair investment and make many car owners proud while making a solid living.

Location will be important, as few people drive far for a good vehicle wash. So choose a site with plenty of room, steady traffic, and simple access. Shopping malls and highway rest spots are good choices. After that, you’ll need high-end car washing machines and automobile detailing skills.

4. Hand Car Wash

Hand Car Wash

Hand car wash business is easy to start and requires minimal investment. Americans wash or have their cars washed at least every two weeks, and many car owners still prefer the traditional method of washing by hand instead of automated car washing. 

Hand car washes are more thorough as there are areas in the car that machines can’t reach, can prevent premature rusting with the use of steam, and are more eco-friendly since there won’t be any toxic runoffs. 

A hand car wash business can be operated as a standalone business or as a part of a larger service business, such as an auto detailing shop. It is important to identify a target market and craft a marketing strategy to attract customers. It’s also a good idea to get on social media, start offering your services to your family and friends, and establish a referral network.

5. Junk Removal

How to start a junk removal business

The construction of new office buildings and residential properties creates massive amounts of waste and used materials. As a result, the US waste removal industry is seeing steady growth.

It’s probably easier than you think. You’ll need a truck, as well as the right tools and equipment — both of which you could find with a bit of online digging. Most likely, you’ll also need a commercial driver’s license, as some of the loads you haul are likely to exceed the weight limit allowed under a normal license. Finally, you’ll want to reach out to contractors, construction firms, developers and property managers to offer your services. 

A smart approach is to offer a discount to attract your initial clients. Then, once you’ve delivered fantastic service, the referrals, and the cash, should start rolling in.

6. Snow Removal

How to start a snow plowing business

Snow removal business may be seasonal, but it’s very lucrative. It is also essential for everyone’s safety. Clearly, the ideal locations for establishing a snow removal business are areas that experience significant snowfall and colder temperatures for extended periods throughout the year.

When starting a snow removal business, it is important to comply with all legal and insurance requirements first. It’s also a good idea to identify your target market and study the competition to find out what they’re offering and how much they’re charging.

Having access to the latest technology and equipment is crucial in optimizing efficiency, so you should monitor market trends. Snow removal requires heavy machinery such as front-end loaders to remove snow, especially those that have accumulated from plowing.

7. Window Washing

How to start a window washing business

Did you ever notice what happens to windows that don’t get cleaned? They stop being windows because you can barely see through them! Window washing is always in demand, which is why it’s a billion-dollar industry in the US, and a serious business opportunity. 

Starting a window washing business is incredibly easy. All you need is the proper gear and reliable safety equipment and you can start offering your services on an online platform like Angi or TaskRabbit. You could also check out the going rates to ensure your prices are competitive and watch a few YouTube videos to make sure you’re up on the latest techniques, but otherwise it really is that easy. Just always be sure to check all your gear and stay safe up there!

8. Laundry Business

How to start a laundry business

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it! That’s why laundry is a billion-dollar industry in the US, because there will always be clothes that need cleaning and people who don’t want to deal with it. You can get in on the action by starting your own laundry business. Best of all, with the latest technologies, you can keep tabs on your machines via mobile app and keep your hands clean as you watch the money roll in.  

Significant investment will be required, to buy at least a dozen machines and rent out a good-sized space in a high-traffic location. The next step will be to determine your services, whether you want to be a self-service-only laundry or offer drop-off services as well. You could also make an even larger investment and offer high-end dry cleaning.

9. Laundromat

How to start a laundromat business

A laundromat can be a profitable enterprise that provides much needed convenience to the local community. But there are two key hurdles. The first is finding a good location, one with no nearby competition, lots of foot traffic, and enough space for a couple dozen machines. The next hurdle is, you guessed it, coming up with the money for all those machines! Starting a laundromat tends to cost about $100,000 at the low end, and some startups spend much more than that. 

But recent advancements in washing machines mean that they accept all kinds of payment and you can keep track of your business via mobile app. These days, a laundromat is largely hands off, so once it’s up and running there will be little for you to do besides count all that money rolling in.

10. Janitorial Business

How to start a janitorial business

Every large building in the country needs custodial services, which is why commercial cleaning in the US is worth $82 billion and growing fast. With a small investment, you could start your own janitorial business, help keep your town clean and grab a slice of that huge market. You don’t even need any experience or expertise, because cleaning isn’t terribly complicated. You do, however, need to be willing to do a bit of dirty work. 

To get started, you’ll need to buy some reliable cleaning equipment and supplies, from buckets and mops to brooms, washcloths and cleaning solutions. Next, you’ll probably want to get some insurance to minimize the risk of any incidents or accidents. Finally, just register your business and begin offering your services to local schools, businesses, hospitals and government office buildings. You might want to use online platforms like Angi and TaskRabbit, which help expand your reach.

11. Pool Cleaning

How to start a pool cleaning business

Pool maintenance involves a lot more than cleaning. The trouble could be anything from a leaky skimmer or malfunctioning pump to an algae bloom or clogged pipes. There’s tons of pool-related servicing to be done.

It helps to live in an area with a lot of pools, and somewhere that’s warm year-round, like Florida or Arizona. You’ll need to get all the appropriate equipment, from filters to cleaning chemicals, brushes, hoses, buckets, nets and more. Finally, enroll yourself in a two-day course to be trained and certified as a pool cleaning technician.

12. Foreclosure Cleanout

How to start a cleaning foreclosed homes

A foreclosure cleanout business involves the removal of all furniture, appliances and junk when a property has foreclosed. It can also cater to properties that have been abandoned.

To start a foreclosure cleanout business, it’s important to connect with prospective clients. You can do this by developing a website and establishing social media accounts to promote your services. You don’t have to limit your target market. Your business can cater to single-family homes, apartments, and commercial properties. To keep up with the competition, you might want to offer cleaning and repair services after removing the junk.

13. Dry Cleaning

How to start a dry cleaning business

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dry cleaning your clothes. Some have their formal suits or gowns dry cleaned after the third wear while others do it after five or six wears.

Before you get started, it is important to identify your target market and decide what services you’re going to offer. Besides individual consumers and corporate clients, other potential customers include hotels, restaurants and hospitals. You could provide full-service laundering and dry cleaning services as well as special services for certain types of garments such as fur, leather and suede. Once you’ve complied with all legal and regulatory requirements, you should embark on a marketing campaign to promote your business.

14. Commercial Cleaning Service

How to start a commercial cleaning business

The cleaning services industry in the US is projected to grow 10% in annual earnings over the next five years. The industry currently employs nearly two million people. More jobs are expected to be created because of the increase in demand, particularly among the single-person households. 

When starting a commercial cleaning business, it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can do this by offering eco-friendly services with the use of green cleaning products, tools, and techniques. Instead of chemicals, you can use baking soda, vinegar, lemons, and more. Green techniques include reusing old toothbrushes and plastic bottles, and upcycling magazines. You will also need to make sure your business is legally compliant before you can start accepting clients.

15. Wash and Fold

wash and fold business idea

The broader US laundry facilities industry is expected to grow further and reach a market value of more than $14 billion by 2028. 

To be viable, you will need to make a business plan, make sure you have a steady supply of electricity and water, and find reliable suppliers of detergent, fabric softener and other laundry supplies. You will need to study the competition and adopt the latest technology to be able to get a share of the market. Most laundry shops charge wash-dry-fold services per kilo. Some offer 24-hour drop-off and pick-up services through locker systems or automated kiosks. Others use smartphone applications. You can try to provide delivery and value-added services like button or zipper replacement to differentiate your business and gain more customers.

Keep in mind that your location is important. Demand is usually high in areas near universities, dormitories, apartments and offices.

16. Crime Scene Cleanup

How to start a crime scene cleanup business

Crime scene cleanup is a serious and often underrated business. It can be messy and dangerous, but somebody has to do it.

In this type of business, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Crime scene cleanup refers to the removal of blood, bodily fluids and other potentially infectious materials after a death, accident, or communicable disease outbreak. The objective is to make a home, office, or vehicle safe again. The requirements for this job may vary from state to state, so you should consult your local law enforcement agencies before you get started. Once you establish yourself as an expert in the industry, it would be easy to find clients.

17. Gutter Cleaning

How to start a gutter cleaning business

There are many ways to start a gutter cleaning business. You’ll need some money upfront for buying cleaning supplies and tools. Before you launch your business, though, research the market and see what other gutter cleaning services providers are offering and what their rates are. You can differentiate your business by offering services using environment-friendly cleaning products and automated solutions. 

Once you’ve decided on your niche market, start selling your services on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, or seek referrals. Offer discounts to attract clients and provide additional services like painting over graffiti, or snow shoveling in the winter.

18. Carpet Cleaning

How to start a carpet cleaning business

It’s inevitable that carpets get dirty, which helps explain why carpet cleaning is a $7 billion industry in the US. It’s also seeing sharp growth these days, thanks in part to greater concerns about cleanliness and sanitizing as a result of the pandemic.

Getting started is not as difficult as you might think. You’ll need cleaning equipment and a vehicle in which to transport it from job to job. You’ll also need to acquire the relevant licenses and permits. Once all that’s done you can offer your services at online platforms and start marketing your new business. If you use the latest cleaning solutions, which are safe and environmentally-friendly, and promote this aspect of your business, you’ll likely be cleaning up — literally and figuratively — in no time.


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18 Smart Cleaning Business Ideas for Reliable Income