How to start a cleaning business from scratch

When I started my cleaning business, I did not own a car. I packed my cleaning supplies in my backpack and rode my bike to my first jobs. Living in a college town worked in my favor. Many of my customers assumed I was a student, and they wanted to help me get ahead, forge my own path. I wasn't a student at the time, but my character and clean-cut appearance got me hired. Those jobs gave me experience. I also got a great workout on my bike!

Sounds like fun, right? It was enjoyable, if tough at times. But I don't want to sugarcoat it. I worked hard. Going it alone was especially difficult in the wintertime. In the end, I succeeded. But would I change something if I could do it all over again?

Yep, I certainly would. In a heartbeat.

At the time, I did the best I could with the resources I had. But all these years later, twenty-twenty hindsight tells me I could have achieved success in a matter of months, not years.

Starting up a business is like catching a bus in an unfamiliar city. Confusing. A challenge to figure out. You need a GPS, or at least, a map. Even better, you need to find someone who has started a cleaning business of their own. Someone successful, with credentials. Someone who knows the challenges you're facing.


If I were starting out today, I'd get a mentor. Here's why:

8 out of 10 of new businesses fail within 18 months of launching, according to Forbes. Not because they didn't do a bang-up job. Not because they weren't motivated or invested enough in their business. They went under because they didn't have an appropriate map. In most cases, they spent money that didn't give them a good enough return. They didn't see changes coming, and were unprepared.

Having the right map makes it possible to survive inevitable changes. Businesses that fail aren't able to predict that things are going to change. Entrepreneurs are an optimistic breed. Many of us blithely overlook the fact that change will occur.

No one can predict precise changes. But a business with a map – a GPS – can see where the change is occurring. It will happen in areas that a mentor can point out. A mentor can help you avoid catastrophe. They will teach you how to locate the best paths to business success. Your mentor has the GPS.


Starting a cleaning business from scratch can be a satisfying experience. With ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination, you can develop your business into a dependable income stream.

But if you want to start earning money now, and not in tommorowland, consider finding a mentor. Most small business owners state that engaging a mentor was the key to their successful start-up.

Starting from scratch doesn't mean you must reinvent the wheel. A good mentor will point you to resources you don't even know exist. A mentor will save you time and money. It's like having a GPS or a roadmap for your business. Knowing how to predict change and how to negotiate changes when – not if – they occur, is the best way to guarantee the success of your new cleaning business.


Read our cleaning business start-up blog


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