Accidents happen, right? I know you don’t really want to admit it….But they do. That is why you carry car insurance, health insurance and house insurance. So why would you not carry insurance for your cleaning business?
You could get into a car accident on the way to a clients home. An employee could spill a harsh cleaner on a clients wood floor and ruin it. Or they could be stepping on a ladder dusting a high area and fall. You could be vacuuming and back up into a table holding a very expensive vase that cost more than your car!
If you don’t carry the right kind of insurance, you could be financially responsible for injury or property damage caused by your cleaning service. Here is a list of the different types of insurances you should carry and how they protect your client, your employees and yourself.
TYPES OF INSURANCE FOR YOUR CLEANING BUSINESS
If you are driving your own car, make sure you contact your current insurance provider. You will want to verify that you are covered traveling between cleaning jobs. Not all personal car insurance will cover accidents which happen during business operations.
If you are purchasing company cars and having employees driving, you will 100% need to obtain coverage for the vehicle and for your employee’s. Having a business specific car insurance coverage will help to cover the costs of any damage your business is found to be liable for during a car accident, up to your plans limits.
GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Business liability insurance is coverage that protects your companies assets and pays for liabilities incurred because of business operations. What that means for you as a Cleaning Business Owner is it will cover costs for damage you or your employees caused while cleaning your clients house, up to your plans limits. You will want it if something breaks or is damaged.
When cleaning multiple homes a day you and your employees will come across many different surfaces and valuables. Using the wrong cleaner or materials can damage your clients property. You will not want to be in a situation that your business is liable for damage and you can not afford to fix it. You will certainly loose that client. But on top of that they will tell all of their friends, co-workers and family members not to use your service.
Your clients will understand that accidents happen. But what will make you more credible and stand out from all the others is how you handle mistakes. And if you are not properly insured to pay the cost to correct damage to your clients property you will quickly develop a bad name for your business.
Carrying Bonding Insurance (or being Bonded) will help keep you credible and build trust with clients. It is This will help cover costs for any fraudulent activities like theft, up to the amount of the bond.
What it means for you is that if an employee commits theft inside a clients home, after a claim gets filed and proven liable, the bonding company will cover the amount of the loss. This type of insurance is very standard for the cleaning and janitorial industry as well as,
This will cover costs of injuries to your employees while they are working.
So now you know what types of insurance is out there for your cleaning business. Here are the reasons why you need liability insurance when you start a cleaning business.
WHY YOUR CLEANING BUSINESS NEEDS INSURANCE
1. Stand out above the other ‘so-called’ cleaning companies
It is so easy to start a cleaning service. Many people will start with the cleaning supplies they have at their home, obtain a client and start cleaning homes. I have come across more ‘companies’ like this. They are not a ‘REAL’ business… they don’t register a business with their state, they don’t pay taxes (another topic for another day), they take cash under the table, and they don’t carry insurance. You will prove yourself a credible business when you can say you carry Business Insurance. Which leads me to reason #2!
2. Use it as a selling point
I can’t tell you how many contracts we received over other companies because we carried liability insurance. Customers loved hearing that they were protected if we damaged their property or if our employees were dishonest. You can justify your price point (I hope your not under bidding your competition, you’ll never profit successfully!) if you have insurance and Susie House Cleaner does not, you will more likely land the job.
As you are growing your client base and meeting new clients (psst…here’s some awesome low cost ways to grow your client base!) , they will not know you a part from the next stranger on the street. So telling them that you are insured, can give them piece of mind, build trust and assure then that you are a responsible business owner and can protect their stuff….which leads to point #3
3. Protect yourself
I am sure you started your cleaning business to make money…am I right??? Carrying insurance will help you to protect your assets. If you don’t carry the proper insurance when your cleaning business is liable for damages, you can be held liable. You don’t want to work hard at growing your business just to loose it.
Where to Get Cleaning Business Insurance
Now that I have talked you into getting Insurance for your Cleaning Business you need to go out and get some! You will want to get 3 quotes (like you would for your car insurance). I recommend starting with your car insurance company. You already have a working relationship with them, and you may even get a discount for carrying both personal and business insurance with them.
Next I would visit a local Insurance broker. Brokers will reach out to several different insurance agencies to get the best price and coverage for you. They will create a package for your insurance needs. When you are carrying different types of insurances and using different agencies, it will be easier to funnel all through one broker.
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Most people don’t like to clean. We live crazy, busy lives now a days and in most families, both parents work. Cleaning generally gets thrown to the bottom of the to-do list!
That’s where you could step in. For a few hundred dollars a month, lots of middle class families are hiring maid services to meet their cleaning needs. They keep up on the clutter, and you come in weekly or every other week and clean the big stuff like bathrooms, dusting, mopping… you name it.
And the awesome thing is, it takes very little effort and very little money to start your very own cleaning business. That’s right, you could easily start a cleaning business in a day…that’s ONE DAY.
The cleaning industry is a very low entry, easy access market. With little financial start up costs and licensing requirements, virtually anyone can start a cleaning business. In fact when I started grad school I started a cleaning business as a fun project and hobby. But figured out how lucrative the cleaning industry could actually be!
I have created a step by step guide to help you in starting your own cleaning business.
How to Start a Cleaning Business
1. Business Plan
Your business plan is like your road map. You need to have a documented focus so you know where to go. Without you will become lost.
At the bare minimum, your business plan should answer the basic who, what, where, when and how of your business functions. This will allow you to clearly define and be consistent with your services.
When you continue to grow and evolve with the ever changing markets and needs of your customers you can reevaluate.
- Who will you serve. You need to designate who will be your target market. Will it be higher income families or middle income families?
- What services will you offer? Will you offer continual residential continual services or 1 time foreclosure cleans.
- Where will you service? Will you service your local neighborhoods? A local city or metropolitan area?
- When will your hours of operation be? Will you clean Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm? Will you include weekends?
- How will you run your business? Will you hire employee’s? Will you clean with 1, 2, or 3 person teams? What kind of equipment will you use (and subsequently need)? Will you use green cleaning or traditional cleaning supplies?
2. Pick a name
This part can be fun. You can get creative here. But keep in mine, your name should clearly define what your business does.
Start with the core key words of Maid, Cleaning & Service. Put that at the top of a sheet of paper and start writing as many adjectives and adverbs that will describe your company and describe what makes your company stand out.
3. Choose your business structure and file your name.
A business structure is the type of legal structure your company operates as. The type of structure you choose will determine what type of tax return forms you will need to file.
The different types of structures include sole-proprietor, partnerships, Corporation, S-Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation. Each have their own tax advantages based on your business type, liability and size. It is extremely important to educate yourself on the different structures and how taxes are paid and filed with each. You should ALWAYS consult with a tax professional who is familiar with your situation.
Start with whom ever prepares your taxes. They will be familiar with your personal tax situation and can lead you in the right direction for your needs.
For information on choosing a Business Structure check out the following sites.
Once you have chosen your business structure you will need to file your name with your state. To save money you can file one your own. Or your CPA can assist you in filing. Registration requirements vary by state. Be sure to check with yours to make sure you are compliant. Fund your state here. To see what your state requires for business set up
4. Apply for an EIN.
An EIN is an Employers Identification Number. It is a tax ID number to identify employers and certain businesses. This is an important number, if it is not required for your business entity, you will need it if and when you hire employees.
To apply for an EIN you will need to file a SS-4 with the IRS.
It is free and simple to apply, so I highly recommend doing it now.
You can apply online (I highly recommend this option!), by fax, snail mail, or phone. The IRS has information on the options of filing here.
To apply online you only need to be a business operating in the US. And as the owner you have to hold your own
5. Get a Business License
The good news is there are no Federal Licensing requirements to start a cleaning business, Yeah!. (Another reason the cleaning industry is so easy to jump into!) BUT, some states and/or local municipality may require a business or occupational license to conduct business in your area.
A business license (also called an occupational license) is basically a permit that allows you to conduct business in your local jurisdiction. When you apply and are approved, you will be authorized to conduct your business in the specified geographical area.
For instance the city municipality in my area requires what they call a ‘Business Tax’. It is their version of an occupational license. For a residential cleaning company the ‘ta’ is $50. Which really is not very much.
Not sure if your area requires a business license? The easiest way to know, is to call your local municipality and ask. That is what I did. It was a 5 minute call between wait time and conversation.
The SBA is a world of training and information. Visit this page —–> SBA.gov to find your state and search licensing requirements. Not all states and municipalities require this, and if they do the costs are minimal. But it is very important that you verify the information. You could be liable for fines in the future if you do not comply with your states and local municipalities requirements.
7. Get Business Insurance and/or Bonding
Accidents happen, we don’t like to admit it, but they do! In the cleaning industry we clean many different surfaces and around lots of possible break-a-bles that you’ll want to make sure you will not be liable to repair or replace any of that damage. That is why insurance is a very important piece of your cleaning business. When you first start a cleaning business, it may seems easy to cut costs and/or corners by not obtaining insurance, but it can really cost you in the end.
I remember thinking insurance was going to be this HUGE expense…..in fact I was really nervous about this step, that I put it off to the very end. But once I called around for quotes I realized it really wasn’t! Insurance is based on your business volume and payroll amount. So if you are starting out with just yourself, you will not be spending thousands or even hundreds of dollars of insurance. My first monthly premium cost to insure myself was about $30/month!
Insurance is so important for your small business, I dive into how it can help your company stand out and protect you from costly mistakes. Read all about it here —–> 5 Reasons to insure your cleaning business
To get insurance, always get multiple quotes. It is similar to shopping around for car insurance. In fact I recommend that you start with your car insurance company. You already have a relationship with them, and sometimes you can get a discount with bundling with your car insurance.
Other good sources to shop for liability insurance is through a local insurance broker. I ended up using a local broker when I started my company. I gave them the coverage I wanted and they shopped around for the best deal. And so, they ended up coming in lower than my car insurance provider did.
Well that is it! Now you can market your services and get your first client…which you can learn how to here —–> Growing your Cleaning Business …. and you will be on your way to success.
You are never alone and I am here to help. If you ever have any questions drop me an email and I will be glad to help guide you in the right direction. I have been there and I have lived through it! I know what you are going through 🙂