Q: How do I become a certified commercial cleaner?
A: If your aim as a cleaning-business professional is to provide chemical-spill clean-up, or cleaning for hospitals, medical centers, or restaurants, chances are you will need to get officially certified by the state in which you intend to provide the service.
Certification procedures and requirements vary around the globe. For your country's requirements, be sure to see the links at the end of this article.
Getting certified is a different procedure than getting licensed or insured. It is also distinct from declaring your business's legal structure, for example, as an S Corp, C Corp, or LLC.
Certification is not usually required for independent residential or office-cleaning operations. Getting certified will not hurt your small housecleaning business, but chances are good that it will not be an issue. However, having a certification would certainly show that your business has been ratified by an objective source. Therefore any type of cleaning business might benefit from it, especially in regard to clarifying business goals and assuring competency in service to the target market.
Independent cleaning businesses may discover that there are several benefits to being certified by a cleaning association, for example:
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Probably the most regulated cleaning niche for the entrepreneur is the carpet cleaning industry. For the most part, this is due to the high volume of work and the type of materials a carpet cleaner handles on a regular basis.
You do not need certification to provide window cleaning, but you need to be bonded and heavily insured if you are going to be doing any window washing higher than one floor off the ground. You also need to prove to bigger businesses and large corporations that you have successfully completed official training in proper work-and-safety procedures, since this can be a huge liability for the business.
In California, older buildings must be inspected to meet window cleaning specifications.
Restaurants require cleaning professionals with experience in food service establishments, since food safety and health regulations are an issue of concern and heavily regulated.
OSHA standards for housekeeping. The issues in medical-center, doctor's offices, or hospitals are exposure to blood or OPIM. The Hepatitis virus can survive for longer than one week in dried blood.
Please note: Hospital cleaning is specialized work and is not outsourced. If your intention is to clean hospitals, the information provided on this website will not suffice.
Chemical spills are beyond the scope and expertise of this website. This is a specialty niche, as is crime-scene cleanup. These are particularly specialized and demanding professional cleaning-businesses that may appeal to you. As with the hospital-cleaning niche, this website's information will not suffice to start these niche operations.
There are many options for getting educated, and thus, certified, as a cleaning professional. The areas that you will focus on with certification are*:
- ISSA Worldwide Cleaning Service Association
The IICRC creates standards to help develop a common lexicon and terminology for cleaning, inspection and restoration.
The benefits of being certified must be weighed against the cost and the necessity. If you operate a small cleaning service with fewer than five employees and are cleaning residential properties, investing time and expense into the certification process is probably overkill. If you have plans to clean large commercial facilities with many full-time employees, it may be worth investing your time and business capital. You would gain resources by joining one of the certification programs, and, in fact, membership in one these programs may be required. Always check with your local government agency to make certain of your state and federal legal requirements.