It may seem obvious, but the things needed to start a cleaning business can be extensive (although important). In fact, the right cleaning supplies, equipment, and resources can change the trajectory of your cleaning business.
If you invest in cheap equipment, you can expect to waste hundreds of dollars each year on repairs and maintenance costs.
Skimping on important tools and resources can also cost you sales opportunities. For example, marketing tools like Facebook Ads for cleaning businesses target the right people in your service area so that you get a positive return on your ad dollars, while growing your business at the same time.
In this guide, you’ll learn the key items, equipment, tools, and resources every successful cleaning business should have. Whether you’re starting a residential cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business, you can turn to this list as a helpful guide when you feel a little lost.
What you’ll learn in this guide
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll learn in this guide:
Table of contents
Essential supplies for a residential cleaning service
Residential cleaners serve a wide range of customers, from owners of private homes to renters living in apartments and condos.
As a result, there are many different types of residential cleaning services, from general house cleaning to window cleaning to upholstery and carpet cleaning.
As such, we probably won’t be able to cover every single kind of product or material necessary for specific businesses, but we’ve tried our best to include most of the essentials. When it comes to cleaning floors, these are the things needed to start a cleaning business:
- Mop and bucket.
- Washable mop pads.
- Broom and dustpan.
- Cleaning brushes and scrub pads.
- Tile brush and grout brush.
- Rubber gloves.
- Shoe covers and knee pads to keep floors clean.
- Cleaning apron.
- Large bucket or caddy for carrying supplies.
If you expect dusting to be a frequent task at your business, make sure to pick up a duster as well as microfiber cloths for dusting.
Pro-tip: Make sure you have separate clothes for the bathroom, the kitchen, furniture, and glass).
Beyond this, the following items will also come in handy:
- Plastic scrapers.
- Disposable toilet brushes.
- Spray bottles for different cleaning products.
- Garbage bags.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list, check out this full house cleaning checklist.
Residential cleaning products you should always have on hand
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Whether you’re cleaning a single-family home or a high-rise condo, the things needed to start a cleaning business are the same. Here are some cleaning products to stock up on:
- All-purpose cleaners.
- Glass and window cleaner.
- Oven cleaner.
- Bathroom disinfectant and tile cleaner.
- Kitchen disinfectant cleaner.
- Mildew cleaner.
- Floor cleaner.
To be ready for surfaces of all kinds, wood cleaning solution and leather cleaner are additional nice-to-haves. Other things needed to start a cleaning business are a degreaser, carpet shampoo, a descaling agent, laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid or dishwasher cleaner.
Something that a lot of new cleaning business owners fail to consider is the market for eco-friendly cleaning services or green cleaning. Today, more people are conscious about the products they consume, and whether they’re harmful to the earth.
Even if you don’t brand yourself as a green cleaning company, it won’t hurt to invest in some cleaning solutions that are environmentally friendly. They may be more expensive than the usual products, but they can diversify your client base.
What type of equipment do you need for a residential cleaning business?
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If you’re focusing on residential cleaning, you won’t really need a heavy-duty equipment supply. At the very least, you need just a few appliances, such as:
- A vacuum cleaner — you can get one specially made for carpets and another for hard floors, or one that can handle all kinds of surfaces.
- A handheld vacuum — this is great for cleaning up pet hair from sofas and armchairs)
- Carpet cleaner and a floor waxing machine.
Must-have supplies and products for a commercial cleaning company
You can refer to the lists above when you’re cleaning homes or cleaning offices, but you will need extra supplies if you’re thinking of serving commercial clients. Some of these items will have to be replenished regularly, so be sure to keep plenty of stock for your commercial cleaning jobs.
Here are some things needed to start a cleaning business if your focus is on commercial properties:
- Toilet paper and paper towels.
- Hand soap and dishwashing liquid.
- Trash bags.
- Glass and window cleaner.
- Kitchen counter disinfectant sprays.
- Laundry detergent (for linen cleaning).
Multi-purpose disinfectant for office tables, shared workspaces, chairs, etc. also comes in handy for this type of cleaning. To ensure you’re prepared for commercial spaces, no matter the flooring, carpet cleaning solution and floor cleaning solution are additional must-haves.
Commercial cleaning equipment
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Commercial cleaners have to deal with much larger spaces that see constant activity.
Beyond the above things needed to start a cleaning business, you have to get larger equipment that can handle the rigors of weekly and daily cleaning. Here are some items that most commercial cleaning professionals need.
- Window washing equipment. Depending on whether you offer basic indoor window washing or more complex, outdoor window washing for multiple-story offices, this can mean anything from a few squeegees and scrapers to climbing equipment and window cleaners’ safety tools.
- Respirators. These are essential for crews working with heavy-duty chemical cleaners that may be toxic to breathe in.
Other key commercial cleaning equipment include:
- An industrial vacuum cleaner.
- A carpet cleaning machine.
- A handheld vacuum cleaner.
- An industrial floor waxer and buffer.
Other things needed to start a cleaning business
With your inventory stocked and your equipment ready to roll, you may feel ready to get your business going.
If you want to secure potential clients, impress them, and make them repeat customers, you have to do more than load up on some brooms and surface cleaners. Here are some of the best tools and resources to turn your fledgling start-up into a successful cleaning business.
You can’t get customers if you don’t market your business. Here are the most efficient ways to build brand awareness.
Create a website
One of the things needed to start a cleaning business is a website — since it is your home base online.
This is where your customers will go to learn about:
- What you have to offer.
- What your pricing is.
- Where to find you.
Bear in mind, 38.5% of potential customers judge a business based solely on the quality of its website. The same percentage of people will even stop using a site altogether if they think it is poorly designed.
“38.5% of potential customers judge a business on their website and poor design is enough for this group to leave your site.”
- Fitsmallbusiness, 2021.
Set up your Google My Business page
Have you ever looked for a service on Google and found a bunch of listings nearby? Wasn’t it convenient to get a company’s information all in one go?
These are Google My Business listings. They show up because the companies have learned how to optimize their pages for search engines like Google.
Do this and, the next time someone in your service area searches for terms like “cleaning business near me” or “home cleaning service in [location]”, your company should be among the first to appear.
Use social media to your advantage
There are about 4.55 billion active social media users worldwide. According to Hubspot, 54% of social browsers turn to social media to research products. This research shows that social media is one of the things needed to start a cleaning business and grow it!
Don’t miss out on this massive market — instead set up pages on places like Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram. You can use these sites to advertise your cleaning business on users’ feeds with Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads.
All small business owners should think about purchasing business insurance, as this will protect you from things like property damage and injury claims, as well as destruction by natural disasters. At the very least, you’ll want to look into the following insurance policies.
General liability insurance
This type of insurance protects you from clients’ and third-party claims of property damage or bodily injury from any employees, equipment, or supplies.
Commercial property insurance
This affords you a payout in case your business building or equipment is damaged by a fire or natural disasters. It also covers you in the case things are destroyed or taken in a burglary.
Workers’ compensation insurance
This allows you to protect employees who may get sick or injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is a requirement for business owners in most states.
Business interruption insurance
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Business interruption insurance can help business owners make up for any revenue lost if a temporary shutdown isn’t necessary. This works in situations of disaster, damage, and, in some cases, events such as pandemics.
Cleaning business software
While this isn’t one of the things needed to start a cleaning business off the bat, cleaning business software plays an essential role in growing your business.
Cleaning service software is a business solution that helps cleaning professionals better manage their businesses by:
- Eliminating manual processes and repetitive tasks.
- Providing a centralized hub for customers, employees, and financial data.
- Tracking time entries for payroll and scheduling jobs.
- Turning your leads into repeat customers.
For example, cleaning business software like Method:Field Services can help with the following areas:
- Customer relationship management.
- Invoicing and payment processing (both in-office and on-site.)
- Inventory management.
- Financial management.
- Custom branding on transaction documents.
So why invest in software solutions?
Administrative tasks can take hours of your precious time — time that can be spent doing other things, like boosting your sales and marketing efforts.
Aside from that, manually doing things like booking appointments, writing up quotes, and setting employee schedules leaves room for error. Automating these tasks reduces the risk of mistakes and lets you accomplish more.
By speeding up your processes and minimizing errors, it’s easier to deliver a higher quality of service to your customers. This is a win for your business as happier customers lead to better business all around!
Cleaning business equipment FAQs
More often than not, cleaning professionals provide their own cleaning products and equipment.
Start managing your cleaning equipment with Method:Field Services!
However, some customers may insist on the use of pre-approved products, especially if they are particular about using green products in their homes or if they have allergies to certain ingredients. In this case, it’s best to use what the customer provides.
There are pros and cons to both options. Purchasing a franchise is great if you don’t have a prior business background and want the structure and guidance that a franchisor can provide.
However, when you purchase a franchise, you won’t have the same kind of freedom that you would if you started your own company. You’ll have to adhere to your franchisor’s policies about:
- The supplies and equipment you use.
- How and where you can advertise.
- How much to charge.
There is no definitive answer to this, but the ballpark figure is in the range of $100 – $200, or $25 – $90 an hour per cleaning staff. The number will vary depending on a number of external factors, including the size of the area, the number of hours needed to clean the area, any specialized service required, the location, etc.
Closing thoughts on the things needed to start a cleaning business
Cleaners are in high demand these days, so if you’re thinking of starting your own cleaning business, now is a great time. We’ve outlined the essential supplies and equipment needed to get started, as well as some of the most important tools and resources for both residential and commercial cleaning businesses – including key software that can help you elevate your business and impress your customers.
Keep in mind that these lists are not exhaustive, as every business has different needs depending on the services it offers. That being said, this information should give you a good starting point as you begin planning your new venture. Good luck!
Kickstart your cleaning business today with a free trial of Method:Field Services!
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