This guide is to give you an overview of house cleaning business taxes.
So, I don’t know any house cleaning business owner who started their business to do their own small business taxes. If I had to guess, you neither did you. In fact the words small business taxes probably scare you? Well don’t worry they scared me too.
That is why I created this guide to provide my experience and what I have learned as a business owner. Now, I am by no means a tax accountant so article does not take the place of hiring an accountant. These are guidelines from my experience as a House Cleaning business owner only.
Disclaimer: This article is meant to provide general overview of house cleaning business taxes, which should not be construed as professional, financial, tax or professional advice. These are my personal opinions only from my experience as a residential house cleaning business owner.
Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
So, now that we established I am not a tax accountant, but just providing my experience as a residential house cleaning business owner. The first step you need to do in completing your cleaning business taxes is to hire an accountant.
Actually, I thought I could do my own taxes because I previously worked in accounting and auditing before starting my business. I thought, how hard could it be?
Well I got busy and did not realize business taxes have different deadlines than personal taxes. So I filed late and managed to rack up a $1700 tax bill because of it. Yeah, so hire an accountant.
Accountants do not cost as much money as you may think. And if you keep your finances organized as I mentioned above, they will not require many hours to file your returns.
How to save money on your accounting fees
The best way to save money on your accounting fees is to keep up with your bookkeeping through out the year. By doing this you will be saving your accountant lots of time
So then, they just have to take that information and complete your tax returns. If you have a box of receipts and have not recorded them in an accounting software or spreadsheet then they will have to spend the time to do that for you.
Get access to my FREE Resource Library to download a copy of my BOOKKEEPING WORKSHEETS (a client deposit logs and an expense tracking form) to help keep track of your bookkeeping through out the year
Choose a business structure
Your business structure will determine how and what forms you file your business taxes on. So before you file your cleaning business taxes you need to choose your business structure.
House Cleaning businesses come in all different shapes and sizes. Make sure to always consult with an Accountant first before choosing your structure. They can help walk you through the best options for your business and personal situations.
Before you talk to your accountant you can do some research on the different business structures to get a feel for what you may be leaning towards
Corporation – there are different types of corporations as well. Most commonly there are S-corps and C-corps and each have different tax rules.
The Small Business Administration does a good job comparing each of the different types of structures. You can view that here.
Separate Personal Finances from Business Finances
Before you start making and spending money in your cleaning business you must separate your business money from your personal money. To do this, you will need to open a business checking account.
By having a separate checking account it will be easier to see how much money is coming in and how much is going out. When you mix funds, it will be easier to ‘loose’ tax deductions. Your business expenses will get lost in your personal transactions making your tax deductions smaller.
Tax Deductions for Maid Services
Tax deductions are business costs that may be used to reduce your taxable earnings, therefore reducing your tax bill. The rules and laws can change each year, so it is important that you keep up to date on them.
If you complete business functions inside your home you may be eligible for a home office deduction. These areas of the home you use solely for business purposes may be tax deductible. Talk to your accountant to see if this is an option for you. Some questions to consider are:
Do you store cleaning supplies in your home?
Do you wash towels in your home?
Do you complete office tasks.
Vehicle to travel to and from the business
There are 2 separate ways to handle your vehicle expense. Either have a vehicle designated just for business use or you can use your personal vehicle and claim a standard mileage deduction.
Larger cleaning businesses may purchase a vehicle for the use of business. If this is the case you can pay for all of the gas and vehicle expense straight from your business account.
Standard mileage deduction
But most of you may not be running a business large enough to purchase a business vehicle. Instead if I were to guess you are using your personal vehicle to drive to and from your clients homes.
If this is the case, then you would not be paying for your vehicle expense directly from your business accounts. Therefore could instead claim the standard mileage deduction.
Do you have drive on any roads that require toll fees? If so, don’t forget to include them in your cleaning business taxes.
In Florida we have an electronic toll system (called the Sun Pass) where we can go online and down load all tolls that we have paid. This makes it a little easier tracking toll expenses.
Do you use your cell phone to take client calls or to quote cleaning services? If so, a portion of your cell phone bill could be used as a tax deduction.
Did you donate a basket to your child’s school auction or a local event? Or did you donate a cleaning service to a cancer patient who is unable to clean their home at this time? If so the value of that basket or free cleaning is a marketing expense.
More than likely you do not have a lawyer or accountant on staff. If you hire an accountant to to file your taxes, or a lawyer to help develop your cleaning contract, as a cleaning business owner you can deduct those services. Make sure you save your receipts and record all fees for professional services.
Did you buy small gifts for each of your clients for the holiday season? If so the cost of those gifts are a business expense and can be deducted from your business taxes. As always, make sure you save your receipts and record each expense.
Business License and fees
Some counties or states require house cleaning businesses to apply and pay business license fees. If you run your business in an area that requires a business license, the fees that you pay are tax deductible. So make sure each time you pay you renew your license with your state and or county you save your receipt and record it.
Interest or Loans
Do you have a credit card or took out a small business loan and have to pay interest? If so, the interest you are paying is a business expense and could be eligible as a tax deduction for your cleaning business.
Did you know the taxes you pay are also a business deduction. So make sure you don’t forget about those.
Training expenses are business expense and can be used as a tax deduction for your cleaning business.
Always track every expense. This way you know how much money you are spending on your business. The obvious expenses include all cleaning supplies, any equipment you purchase.
Save all receipts. It can be easy to run to Wal-Mart on your way to a job to pick up a cleaner you ran out of or that you forgot to pack for the day. Make sure you save all of those receipts. To help with this keep a small receipt holder in your vehicle. This way when you get out of Wal-Mart you can stick the receipt right in with others.
Some expenses you may forget about:
App’s on your cellphone that you purchase for your business use
Printing expenses such as ink or paper used to print out client forms or letters
Your email service provider if you use one to send out newsletters
Web hosting, if you have a website and pay for hosting this expense is usually paid a year or 2 in advance (don’t forget to add it as an expense when this happens)
Always track your revenue. Without tracking your revenue you will never know how much money you are making from your house cleaning jobs.
A simple way I would track my revenue was by having a calendar of who I cleaned for with the dollar amount of the cleaning fee.
File and Pay your taxes on time
Make sure you ARE paying your taxes. It may be tempting to not claim all of your cleaning earnings, especially those paid in cash to avoid paying taxes. But this is never a good idea. Also, this is why its good to have a separate business account as I mentioned above. So you can actually see how much money you are earning cleaning houses.
If you do not pay or file your taxes on time, you can easily collect hefty fines. I once filed my business taxes late because I did not pay attention to filing date. I racked up $1700 in tax bills. I lost a lot of money. After that I hired an accountant who knew what he was doing and never filed taxes late again. I learned that filing taxes was not my thing!
Save a portion of your earnings for the unknown
A smart business owner will save a portion of their earnings in a ‘rainy day’ fund. This is used for un expected events that you do not plan for. Having this fund can be the difference between a business who can make it long term verses a business who has to shut down when things get rough.
So remember that time when the world got COVID-19 and the country shut down? You probably weren’t able to clean houses, am I right? Well that is the rainy day that you wish you stashed away a portion of your earnings.
Having a cushion, protects you and your business from unknowns that can cost you unexpected money or business loss.
Get access to my FREE Resource Library to download a copy of my cleaning business tax checklist (a client deposit logs and an expense tracking form) to help keep track of your bookkeeping through out the year
I have compiled all of my best tips for running a successful residential cleaning business into 1 area for you to read through. I hope you find it helpful!
There is a lot of information in this post, be sure to pin it so that you come back periodically. The more you implement each of these practices the more successful your residential cleaning business will be!
Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
So, What does a successful residential cleaning business look like?
A successful residential cleaning business is one that
Retains their clients. Basically clients aren’t jumping ship and leaving you.
Has continuous growth in the number of clients each month.
Makes a profit with each cleaning service, meaning there is enough money to pay for supplies, employees, marketing and office expenses, insurance and travel expenses, and still have money left over to pay you.
Generally your profits should be about 10% of your revenue.
Does this sound like your House Cleaning business??? If not continue reading to get it there.
Visit my other Posts for more information on ruining a successful Cleaning Business:
There is this saying in the cleaning industry, if you must bid for a cleaning job set your price 2.5 times more than your normal. The reason being is, you do not want that job!
#7 Have the right tools.
Make sure you have the tools to complete the job. If you do not have the proper tools, you will not be able to properly clean a home. Don’t show up to a house without a vacuum and mop! Trust me it happens 🙂
#8 Service your equipment every night.
Service your equipment nightly to make sure it is in tip top shape. This will serve 2 purposes. One, your equipment will last longer, saving you money. Two, this will ensure you are bringing clean equipment into your client’s homes.
#9 Put yourself out there.
Tell everyone you meet that you are a small business owner of a Fantastic Cleaning service! You never know when you’ll meet your next client. This includes your entire email list and phone contacts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to all of your family and friends and ask for a referal.
#10 Order cleaning supplies in bulk.
Don’t waste money on buying individual cleaning bottles. Find a quality cleaning product and purchase in gallon size. Buying in bulk will save you money increasing your profit margin.
#11 Don’t undercut yourself.
Make sure the prices you are charging will result in profit. NEVER work for less than what you are worth. In the beginning it takes time, but make sure you know how much you need to charge to make a profit. Otherwise you will never make money with your business.
Get my FREE Pricing Worksheet
Take the guess work out of House Cleaning Prices! Download my FREE House Cleaning Price Worksheet.
Thanks for signing up! Check your email to where you will need to confirm your signup (basically confirm you are not a robot). Your FREE Price Calculator will open once you confirm.
See you on the other side!
#12 Don’t overspend with fancy tools and marketing.
If you can’t afford it, don’t make the purchase. My first year I spent $225 a month on an ad in a community newspaper. I was promised huge exposure. I never got ONE call from that ad!!! It was a huge mistake and cost more money than I could afford and took away money I should have spent on other advertising, like google ad words.
Most of my clients came from free or low-cost marketing efforts. If you are first starting out, $225 a month on an ad is WAY out of your price range.
#13 Utilize several forms of marketing.
To be a successful residential cleaning business you need to bring in new clients. Unfortunately there is not just one solution out there that will bring in all your clients. You will need to use several marketing activities such as print, web, editorial, networking, and client referrals to help you bring in more clients.
#14 Use Facebook for FREE advertising.
Join local groups and create a Business account to help spread the word to your local community. You can also use it as a platform for customers to leave reviews.
#15 Have a positive attitude and be Happy!
No one likes to stick around unhappy or negative people. If you are having a bad day, keep it at home. Put on your smile and greet your customers positively.
#16 Never Stop Learning
Learn about the industry, learn the latest products, learn about running a business, learn marketing techniques … There are so many things to learn that you can apply instantly to your business.
#17 Treat Each Home as your Own
Always clean each home as if it were yours. Excellent customer service is what will keep clients coming back each month. Clean thoroughly, try not to break anything, and use quality supplies.
#18 Develop business systems
Developing office functions that can run without you will give you more time to grow your business. Develop systems for accounting, scheduling, communication with customers and others.
What Well Kept Clutter Readers are saying
I got involved more in my community like volunteering two consecutive monthly deep cleans to local cancer patient. it has been absolutely one of the most rewarding things I’ve have ever done but I have also acquired several new clients in a very short period because of it. The new clients have either been the patient’s family members or through the patients in some way. – Gwen Sweeny
Be on time! – Hebony Caldwell
Offer a discount for military personnel – Cristina Powers
I wanted to write this post because I have learned that many Maid Service owners lack the knowledge of bookkeeping for their small businesses. With a background in small business accounting, I felt inclined to educate small Cleaning Business owners on Bookkeeping! Bookkeeping is one of the most crucial tasks you can do for your Cleaning business.
I often hear “I clean by myself with no employees, I do not need to record my transactions“. Or I have heard, that my accountant does my taxes for me, I do not need to do my bookkeeping. Isn’t that what the accountant is for? No! You are in business to make money, but if you do not track your financials you will never know how much money your Cleaning Business is making.
Whether you clean by yourself and have no employees or you have several employees cleaning daily for you, having organized books and knowing where your money is going is crucial to your profitability. And it doesn’t take an accountant to record the transactions.
How much does it cost to get 1 new regularly occurring client?
The answer to these questions helps make business better business decisions that allow you to increase your profits. When I ask maid services, How much income does your cleaning business earn? Most answer the question by telling me the total Revenue they collect from cleaning houses. But did you know there is SO much more to Income than the Revenue you collect from your clients?
What is Bookkeeping?
What is bookkeeping anyway? Bookkeeping is the recording of the financial transactions in your business. When you buy cleaning supplies you record the expense. And when you collect money from a client, you record the revenue. See, NOT SCARY at ALL!
A business owner does not need to know how to prepare Income Tax reports, how file quarterly taxes, or how create financial reports. These tasks can be done by your Certified Accountant.
How to get your Maid Service started with Bookkeeping
Please note, that this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Separate Personal Finances from Business Finances
To keep your cleaning business financials organized, it is important to separate your business accounts from your personal accounts. It becomes VERY difficult to separate out expenses and track income when you are depositing payments into your personal account and buying supplies from your personal accounts.
Open a Business Checking Account
I recommend at the minimum opening a business checking account. Most banks offer free business checking accounts. Start with the bank you already use. Look online or make an appointment to see what they offer for business checking accounts. If they do not offer a free account look elsewhere. There are plenty of banks offering free business checking, therefore you should not be paying for a checking account.
Open a Business Credit Card
You can also open a business credit card as well. If you decide to open a business credit card you will want to ensure you are paying it off each month. Look for credit cards that offer money-back when you make purchases. One credit card I utilized was the Amazon Prime card. Because I ordered some of my supplies from Amazon, I was able to receive 5% back on my purchases. Other credit cards, similar to Amazon Prime, will also offer a money back on gas and other purchases.
Follow these rules when utilizing Credit Cards and avoid unnecessary expenses. You never want to be caught carrying debt and paying the high-interest expense
Payoff the balance each month, interest can be as high as 20% these can add up quickly.
Look for credit cards that have cash-back offers and take advantage of them.
Only use your business account for business-related expenses.
Basic bookkeeping tasks for your Maid Service
The essential tools needed for Maid Service Bookkeeping
Excel (or another spreadsheet program like Google Sheets).
Copies of your bank and credit card statements
Copies of your deposit slips
Fancy Tools you can get as your Maid Service Grows
Wave Apps. Plans start at Free for a basic accounting package, charges for payroll, and credit card processing.
ZOHO. Plans start at $9.00/month for the basic accounting package
Steps to get started with Bookkeeping for your Cleaning Business
Record your revenue
You should know how much money you are bringing in each day, week, month, and year. By knowing what your maid service’s revenue is, you will be able to set realistic goals to help you to grow your company.
Create a Cleaning Log
The first step in tracking your revenue for your maid service is to create a cleaning log. Keeping a detailed cleaning log serves two purposes. For one, you will know how much revenue you or your employees are bringing in each day. Second, it will tell you how long it takes you to clean a home.
Labor costs are your #1 expense as a Maid Service owner. Therefore it is SUPER important to know your cleaning times. And make sure they are not running over budget.
Your Cleaning log should include
The start time and end time
How much the cleaning fee was.
Keep a written log in the vehicle with you or your cleaners. Update the cleaning log after you have cleaned each client’s home. This will ensure the accuracy of your data. If you keep a client schedule for the year, then you should already have all of this information in one spot.
Note: It will be important to follow up promptly with your clients who did not pay on cleaning day. It is costly to perform cleaning services; therefore, don’t get caught carrying balances for your clients. A cleaning business should not wait for payments.
Want to find out how to bring in more Revenue? Read these helpful articles:
All revenue should be tracked by the client and by month. You can do this using an Excel spreadsheet or accounting software. This can be done weekly in batches. Use your cleaning log sheets to help you record your revenue for the week.
Revenue tracking sheets tell you how much revenue each client is bringing in. It is also a great goal-setting tool! By tracking how many cleanings you are doing a week, you can set goals each month for how many cleanings you have. If you know you cleaned 10 homes a week, set a goal to clean 15 the next. Each month you can watch the number of clients increase and your revenue! It is quite fun 🙂
Having trouble knowing what to charge for house cleaning fees read this blog post: What to Charge for House Cleaning Service. The article goes in-depth on setting your cleaning fee’s also includes a free pricing worksheet for you to use.
Review Cleaning Times
Because payroll costs will be your #1 expense, you will want to control how long it takes you to clean a home. When you first start your cleaning business, you should have established your pricing matrix. In establishing your pricing matrix, you should have defined your cleaning times.
Using your pricing sheet, compare the expected cleaning times of each home you cleaned to the actual time it took to clean. If you are going over the allotted cleaning time you need to figure out why. Make sure you are following a consistent cleaning regime and not wasting time.
When you first meet and provided a price to your client, you should have estimated the total cleaning time and cost of the cleaning. This is where having a consistent pricing formula and a consistent cleaning system is so important. There should not be a large deviation in cleaning times of homes of similar size.
Record your Expenses
Record bank account and/or credit card transactions
If you are using Excel, you can create an Expense worksheet to record your monthly expenses. Your worksheet should separate your expenses into categories that you can track easily.
For example, you should track how much you spend on:
Your worksheet should include the date of the transaction, the description of where you made the purchase (Amazon, Walmart …), and what was purchased (cleaning supplies, towels, advertising …). To tie it up, your Spreadsheet should add up each category and total out for each month and each year.
If you are using an online accounting program, it should have the capability to link with your bank account so that you can quickly download the transactions. Once transactions are downloaded into the program, you will then label each transaction based on what was purchased.
Example: If you purchased your all-purpose cleaner from Amazon, this transaction would be recorded as Cleaning Supplies.
Equipment like vacuums and steam mops should be recorded as Equipment and is considered Capital. This equipment can be depreciated over the expected life of the item. Depreciation is an expense and will decrease your tax liability. You do not have to worry about recording depreciation, your tax accountant should be doing this when completing your year-end tax and financial statements.
Tracking Cost of Goods Sold
If you are using an Excel Spreadsheet, you will want to separate out the Cost of Goods Sold from all other business expenses. Cost of Goods Sold is the direct cost for you to clean a home. These expenses include cleaning supplies, driving expenses from each client’s home, and labor costs (whether you or an employee is cleaning).
The Cost of Goods Sold is important because you want to know how much it costs to clean a home. This will be instrumental in setting your prices. It will provide you with the information you need to know about how much money you will have left over to pay overhead costs and to pay yourself profits.
If your Cost of Goods Sold is too high you have 3 choices:
At the end of the month, your bank and/or credit card company will send you a statement. At this time, you will want to reconcile all of the transactions into your accounting program.
Reconciling is: Comparing your bank records to your receipts. That’s it! I remember I used to be so scared of the word. But it is so simple to do if you have recorded your transactions throughout the month in either an Excel Worksheet or an accounting program.
To reconcile, you will take your bank statement or credit card statement. Going down the list of transactions, and comparing it to your expense and revenue worksheets, you will check off each transaction. Make note of any transactions that do not match or you did not make. You will want to call your bank to research it.
Track your mileage and transportation
There are 2 ways to record the expense of your vehicle and transportation. You can claim actual expense or you can claim standard mileage.
When claiming actual expenses is where you track all expenses related to your vehicle. This includes gas, repairs, maintenance, lease payments, or depreciation.
When claiming standard mileage you track your mileage from when you drive to and from a customer’s home.
Either method you choose, if you are using your own vehicle, or are reimbursing your cleaner’s mileage, it is important to keep precise records of the mileage used. Mileage and vehicle expenses can be one of your largest tax write off’s for your maid service, therefore you will want to keep records of all of your travel so that you can save on your taxes.
Standard Mileage Deduction
In my maid service, I did not invest in company vehicles, instead, my employees used their own vehicles and the business reimbursed them for the mileage. We reimbursed the employees using the IRS’s mileage rate.
Currently, the IRS allows 56 cents per mile. When you claim this deduction, it does not mean you get 56 cents back from the IRS. What it does is reduces your tax liability. Subsequently, if are not recording and writing off mileage you will be paying more income tax than you should.
Key rules when recording mileage
The IRS has strict guidelines if you will be claiming mileage. If you are claiming Mileage as an expense your mileage log should include the following:
Your beginning and ending mileage for the year.
Record travel daily.
Include the following on your mileage log the date, where you traveled, the number of miles, and the purpose of the travel.
If you are recording your mileage on paper, it is best to keep a log in your vehicle. This way you can record each destination you travel to. When you get back to the office you can look up on Google Maps to see how many miles you traveled.
You can then use the paper sheets and record the mileage on a worksheet by month. Then have a cover page that totals the year out for you. When you provide information to your tax accountant you can send them your mileage log for easy recording. This can be time-consuming. (trust me I did this!)
Record your mileage with a Mileage App
This is something I wish I knew about when I had my cleaning business! I use to record all of my mileage on sheets of paper. It was time-consuming and wasted paper and printer ink.
Nowadays there is a mileage tracking app out there called MileIQ that is GPS enabled and will track mileage for you and provide reports for you to record or provide to your accountant during income tax season.
MileIQ is a free app that you download on your Smart Phone. The app is GPS enabled and records your trips throughout the day. At the end of the day, you will be provided a list of your trips where you can swipe right if it was a business trip and left if it was personal.
The program allows you to print summaries at the end of a month or year. After you print your mileage summary can then give it to your accountant during tax season so that it can be used to process your tax write-off. Super simple!
Tips for Success in Bookkeeping for your Maid Service
Keep your personal finances separate from your business finances
Track your revenue by each client.
Keep track of your expenses, separating out the cost of goods sold.
Record transactions timely, this way you have the most accurate data.
Reconcile your bank statements monthly to look for inaccurate transactions
Don’t forget to track your mileage. (It’s a HUGE tax write-off at the end of the year)
Common Questions/FAQ About Bookkeeping
Doesn’t my Accountant do my Bookkeeping?
No. An accountant or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) will complete your end-of-year financial statements and tax reports which get submitted to the IRS. Your accountant uses your recorded transactions to complete these reports and statements. The more organized your books are, the less prep work your accountant will have to do, and the less money it will cost you.
I do not have any employees, do I need to do bookkeeping?
Whether you are a Solopreneur or have 20 employees you need to keep up with your bookkeeping. Bookkeeping helps organize your financials for year-end tax reporting. More importantly, it allows you to be more informed about how much revenue your cleaning business is bringing in and how much you’re spending on expenses.
Do I need an accounting degree to do my own bookkeeping?
No, you do not. Bookkeeping is organizing your transactions. Know what your expenses are and know what your revenue is.
Do I need to hire an Accountant to do my bookkeeping?
Not necessary, lots of small business owners complete their own bookkeeping tasks. This helps them keep abreast of how well their company is doing financially. As your business grows, you may want to outsource the clerical tasks of bookkeeping which will give you more time to focus on other tasks to grow your cleaning business.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Maid Service Bookkeeping
Be consistent and timely in recording your transactions. This will help you to make better business decisions. May you all be more informed and better business owners.
Did you find this article helpful? Please help me in sharing this information by liking and pinning the image at the top of the page! Thank you and best of luck to you and your business.
Do you want to start a cleaning business, but have no money? You long to b your own boss, your great at cleaning and people trust you, so how do you start a cleaning business when your broke?
So, is there a way for you to start a cleaning business without having to spend hundreds of dollars you don’t have?
There is! The good news is, there are FREE options and opportunities that can help generate cash to fund your new cleaning business. You don’t have to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to start a cleaning business. It is impossible to start a cleaning business when your broke!
Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Get FREE business forms and templates for your Cleaning Business by signing up for the Well Kept Clutter FREE Resource Library
Run a Groupon Campaign and Get Cash Up Front
Ever wonder how Cleaning Businesses sell their services on Groupon and how it works? Well, I can tell you from experience it is easy to get set up and you can can run a campaign even if your a newbee business. I did, and I made $1,600 doing it!
Within a few days a representative called me to set up, schedule and create my campaign.
My Campaign was scheduled for a 2 week window (I wanted to keep it short for my first run. I did not want to get more purchases than I could handle.
The Campaign ran and I sold just about 100 discounted coupons. (I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!!)
I started getting calls to book the cleaning services
2 weeks after my campaign closed I received a little over $1,600 in my bank account!!! It was enough to purchase my vacuum and some other equipment I was looking forward to buying and I had some left over.
I also gained 6 new repeat clients that signed up for bi-weekly or monthly cleaning service with me.
Free Marketing for Your Cleaning Business when your broke
Just because your broke, does not mean you can’t create an online presence for your new Cleaning Business. You will have to market your cleaning business if you want to get clients. But how do you do that when you have no money?
There are about 2.7 million Facebook users. This makes Facebook a great platform to market your business, and its FREE!
Now I am not saying that you should not have a website once you start making money. The Facebook Business Page is not a replacement for a well developed website. But it is perfect for when you start a cleaning business when your broke and you have no money to spend on webhosting.
The FaceBook Business page has all the necessary information needed for an online site. There is a tab where you can list services, reviews, photos of your work and more.
Customers are able to interact with you on your Facebook page. When you clean a house, always ask for a review and point them to your Facebook page. This will help to build your reviews and build trust with potential customers.
Make sure to post often on your Facebook page and be authentic. When marketing to services it is important to build trust and let your customers get to know you. Building trust will build long lasting relationships and your customers will keep coming back for more for years to come.
Google My Business is a free tool for you to use to manage your listing in Google Searches and Google Maps. It is a great way for local service companies to get their name listed in Google Searches.
When a homeowner searches for Cleaning Companies in your area, your business name and listing will show in the first page results!
I searched for Cleaning Businesses in Boulder Colorado, and this is what shows at the top. A map with listings of Cleaning Companies. When you sign up for Google My Business your Cleaning company Name will be listed here.
When some clicks on your business name your business and contact information will show. Here is an example of one I clicked on.
This is great Free advertising when you start a cleaning business when you are broke. A website is not needed to create a Google My Business profile. Customers are able to leave reviews here. They can also ask questions and interact with you as well.
Start Scheduling clients with a free online scheduling software. Keep all of your clients data in one system, send email reminders to clients before scheduled cleanings and keep a calendar of all of your scheduled cleaning services.
PickTime Scheduling Software is a free online scheduling platform. It allows you to schedule your clients. You can store your clients data, track your earnings based on your appointments. PickTime even has the ability to send email reminders to your clients prior to their appointment.
This online software is a big win in helping your company look professional even when your broke. There is no charge for this software. The company is new, and for the time being you can get their plan for free.
Free Email Marketing
Looking for a way to send all of your email clients newsletters each month? And have professional looking templates? Mail Chimp can help you do that. Their free plan is a basic plan that offers up to 2,000 subscribers and the following:
This is perfect for when you are first starting out. As you start networking and gathering emails of interested prospects you can add them to your email list.
A great way to build your email list is to participate in a local even where you provide a giveaway for your cleaning services. When participants sign up for the drawing, you collect their name and email.
Send out monthly newsletters letting your email list know what your business is doing that month. Provide any updates on services or promotions. The idea is to keep your email list engaged so that when they are in need of a cleaning service they think of you!
Buying Supplies when you start a cleaning business and your broke
Cleaning Supplies for Free
A Cleaning Business can’t cleaning houses with out cleaning supplies and equipment. You will need to get purchase some supplies and equipment before you clean your first house.
Sign up for Swagbucks and earn gift cards to purchase your cleaning supplies. Swagbucks is an online reward site where you earn points for online searches, taking surveys, playing games shopping and more. It is FREE to sign up and you can cash in your points for gift cards.
This is a great way to purchase your cleaning supplies without spending your own money!
How much can you make with Swagbucks?
You will not get rich for sure earning points with swagbucks, but you can certainly cover the cost of your cleaning supplies with it. Most users can earn between $20 – $200 a month with their online activity. This is enough to cover the cost of your cleaning supplies. Or even save up for a vacuum cleaner.
Here is a sample of surveys you can take and the points you receive.
Below is a sample of the coupons you have access too. If you make purchases using the Swagbucks coupons you can earn cash back on your purchase in addition to the savings.
Starting a cleaning business IS possible when you are Broke!
Are you struggling to keep up with your cleaning business and need to hire your first employee? Continue reading to learn what you need to hire employees for your cleaning business.
Hiring your first employee for your cleaning service can be scary and exciting. Usually when hiring your first employee it means your business is growing, you have created a service that clients trust and want.
You may have reached the point where you can no longer take on more clients simply because you don’t have enough hands to clean them all. This is when you know you are ready to hire your first employee for your maid service.
Before you start recruiting, there are some steps you have to take and implement before you can hire employees for your cleaning business.
Hiring employees for your cleaning business comes with risks and legal obligations for your business. This is because, your employees are cleaning and working in your clients homes. You want to make sure you are protecting your business, your clients home, and your employees.
If you take the necessary steps to ensure your cleaning business is ready to hire employees, you will set your business up for success. This blog post goes over those necessary steps to ensure you are ready for day one for your new cleaning employee.
Steps to take to hire employees for your cleaning business
1. File your business name with your State
If you have not yet filed your business name with your state, now the time to do so. This step can be done online by doing a google search on business filings by your states name.
There are several business structures you can file your business as, they include Sole proprietor, LLC, or regular Corporation.
I am not a lawyer and can not advise you on what is best for your circumstances. I can tell you that I filed as an LLC and also filed to be taxed as an S-Corp. This provided the personal financial liability and was the best savings on taxes for my situation.
Everyone’s goals and situations are different. I recommend you either make friends with an accountant or hire one that can help you make the best decision for you.
2. Purchase Proper Insurance
If you did not have insurance before, you are going to need to get it now. Once you bring in an employee you will be assuming a lot more risk than if you were cleaning homes by yourself. Your employee will be acting on your behalf, what they do in a client’s home becomes your responsibility. Insurance protects you and your business from accidentals and unexpected occurrences that can occur.
General Liability insurance will cover the costs if you or your employees damage your client’s property. It will also cover costs if someone were to get hurt. What General liability insurance does not cover is car related damage or injury. It also does not cover employee on the job injuries.
This will protect you and your business if your or your employee are in a care accident. If your new employee will be driving your vehicle, or your business name is on your vehicle, you will need commercial car insurance. If you or your employees are in an accident and your personal car insurance company believes you were conducting business in your vehicle, they will not cover the claim.
3. Decide How to Pay Your Employees
Will you pay your new cleaning employee based on commission for each job they clean, or will you pay them hourly?
Paying Employees based on Commission
The pro’s to paying on commission per job is that you know how much of your revenue will go to payroll. Paying by commission provides motivation to your cleaning employees to clean more jobs in a day.
The down side to paying by commission is your employee has incentive to clean as many homes in a day. This can lead to cutting corners and compromising the quality of your service. Additionally, you will have to make sure your employee is at least averaging minimum wage for each hour they are working.
If it takes them 5 hours to clean a home they are only getting paid $30 to clean, then their average hourly rate would be $6.00. This does not meet the minimum hourly rate for any state in the US.
Paying Employees Hourly
The Pro’s to paying your cleaning employees hourly is you can control the quality of the service. Employees will make the same amount of money if they clean 1 home in 5 hours verses cleaning 2 homes in 5 hours.
The Con’s to paying your cleaning employees by the hour is your payroll costs can sky rocket if you are not tracking your employees cleaning times.
If you are paying your cleaning employees hourly, you will have to track how long they are cleaning a home. If they are not cleaning efficiently your payroll costs will be higher than your earnings.
When being paid hourly employees are not as conscious of how long it takes them to clean a home since they will make the same amount of money cleaning 1 home in 4 hours or cleaning 2 homes in 4 hours.
How I paid my employees in my cleaning business
In my cleaning business, I choose to pay my employees by the hour. My cleaning service was based on quality, this is why clients hired me. By paying my employees hourly I was able to control quality.
In the beginning I struggled with getting my employees to clean within my desired cleaning window. I did not earn as much money as I should have because my employees were not cleaning as efficiently as they should have.
To I developed a cleaning process for them to follow, and I became more strict on the cleaning times. I knew if my employees followed my cleaning system they could clean the homes within the allocated time frames I set for them.
I developed my pricing schedule around these cleaning times. These cleaning times were based on how frequently a home was cleaned and what size the home was. My employees knew how long they should be in a home. If there were unforeseen circumstances, they would have to call me.
To motivate cleaners to follow my cleaning plan and to meet the required cleaning times, I changed my compensation plan. My employees started out with a base introductory hourly rate. Once they meet the standards I put forth, they earned a higher hourly rate.
4. Be Prepared to Process Your Own Payroll or Hire a Company
Before you hire an employee for your cleaning business, you will need to have the capability to pay them. You’ll have 2 choices, either process the payroll yourself, or hire an outside company to do it for you.
Required Payroll Activities
Calculate and pay wages appropriately
Deduct and pay Federal income taxes
Deduct and pay FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare)
File and pay Federal and State unemployment taxes
File quarterly 941 tax returns
Create W-2’s for employees and report wages to Social Security Administration
Processing Payroll on your own
There are a lot of software options out there that make it easy to process your own payroll for your maid service. If you are using an accounting software, you can start there.
If you have no experience processing payroll and paying payroll taxes yourself highly recommend you higher and outside company to do it for you. The benefits of outsourcing your payroll and the reason I recommend it is keeping in compliance with payroll taxes, laws and regulations.
Prior to hiring my first employee I researched and created an account with Benefit Mall, a payroll processing service provider. They processed payroll for me when I only had only 1 cleaner and as I continued to hire new employees.
I provided the employee hours each week and they would process the payroll and provide the check. They also took care of filing and paying all taxes for me. The cost was not as much as you would think and worth looking into. And if your employees opt for direct deposit, the charge was even less.
5. Create an Employee Handbook for your Cleaning Business
An employee handbook is a document that provides expectations for the employee. It is the guidebook on what is expected for your employee and what behaviors are and are not acceptable in your cleaning business. for a successful manager-employee relationship, it is very important that your expectations are clear to the employee,
It is not fair to discipline an employee if they were not aware of a policy. For example, if you do not want your employee to bring food into a clients home, you need to make sure they are aware that it is unacceptable to eat in a clients home and what the consequences are if they do. This way if it happens, you can support your reaction with the written policy.
Items you should include in the handbook include
Acceptable behavior in a client’s home
What is expected each day at the start of the day, end of the day, and while cleaning
Define required cleaning tasks.
What to do if the employee gets hurt
Policy on soliciting your clients for their own business
Payroll policy (how often will they get paid, how they will report their hours worked, overtime rules
6. Create a Training plan
If you are hiring your first employee, you should have your cleaning system and cleaning checklist down to a science. Write your cleaning system down or record yourself cleaning. This will be the start of your employee training. Make sure to cover etiquette and acceptable behavior inside a clients home.
You will have to communicate your cleaning system and checklist to your new employee. It will be important that your employees provide the same service and you do. Your clients have hired your cleaning business based on the service you provide, you do not want to ruin your reputation.
You will start losing clients fast without an effectively training your new employee. With a solid training program, you can teach your new employee how to clean as well as you.
Basic overview of a successful employee training program for your maid service
Next, have the employee shadow you while you clean. This way your new employee will see exactly how you clean, what your clean, and what equipment and supplies you use to clean with. While you are cleaning you can review any important equipment and supply notes.
Shadow your employee while they clean
After your new employee has shadowed you, then you should shadow them. It is important to correct your new employee when you see something they are not following your system. It is helpful to talk them through the movements of moving between tasks
Make sure your new employee is following your routine exactly how you would clean, in the same order as you would clean. When they deviate, kindly remind them what was incorrect and what should have been done.
Your new employee should catch on pretty quickly as you begin shadowing them. Once your new employee starts getting into the grove and flow of the cleaning routine, you can move to the next step.
Ideally you would only have to shadow your new employee for a job or two. I used my home as the shadow home when I first started my business. I only had 1 employee, and did not have the time to shadow at a client’s home. But as your business grows and you are no longer cleaning most of the jobs, you can shadow at a client’s home.
Most clients are ok with training in their homes, it provides trust and security knowing your cleaners are trained and do not clean on their own until they pass your training program.
Let the Employee Clean on their own, with a Team
Now that you have shadowed your new employee and they have picked up on your cleaning system, they are now ready to clean on their own as part of a team. You should still be part of the team, but let your new employee clean on their own.
Your new employee should clean as part of a team for the first few months, this way you can do a walk through of what they are cleaning to make sure the quality of the cleaning service is maintained. You can also keep an eye on how they are cleaning, make sure the right supplies and equipment is being used as well as following the steps in your cleaning system.
Now Your Ready to Hire Your First Employee!
Are you excited?!?! When I hired my first employee for my cleaning business I was so excited. I was exhausted from cleaning and running my business all by myself that I was relieved to get some help.
You should be so proud of yourself for getting your business to this point. Once you hire your first employee and get them trained you can start taking on even more clients. And when your ready you can move on to hiring a second employee. Only the sky is your limit!
Schedule House Cleaning Clients with these 4 easy steps! Scheduling your maid services is not difficult, you just need to keep a few things in mind when doing so.
Scheduling clients is an important factor in making money cleaning houses. With proper scheduling for your maid service, you can save time and clean more houses in a day.
The best part is, once you know the tricks in scheduling your house cleaning clients you can do it on auto pilot.
Mistakes to avoid when you schedule house cleaning clients
Let’s first talk about the mistakes in filling your Maid Service Appointments.
Avoid Gaps in between house cleaning jobs. Like, cleaning a client from 8am – 10am and then scheduling your next client at 11:00am. You will waste a whole hour where you can be brining in the dough cleaning more houses.
Limit driving long distances between appointments.
Avoid cleaning many small homes in one day. Small homes are best to be schedule in between larger homes.
These mistakes with your maid service scheduling will cost you un-paid down time. Time spent not cleaning, is time that you are not getting paid for. The goal of scheduling your house cleaning clients is to maximize the number of hours you are cleaning homes.
The best times to clean houses for you clients is between 8am – 4pm, you can change it as you go if you notice more clients can be serviced earlier or later. But these times give you a base of the time frames you want to schedule your services.
The goal is to fill this time mostly with cleaning and as little travel time as possible.
Another thing to consider when setting your hours of operations for your cleaning business is when do your clients usually want you to clean their house?
The majority of clients who hire a maid service are not home during the day. And therefore, will not be home for the house cleaning service and would prefer you clean their home during their working hours.
For most companies a start time of 8 am should be good, and you usually want to aim to be done by 4 pm, possibly 5 pm. This will vary by geographic location. You know your areas best
#2. Schedule in geographic clusters
Schedule in similar geographic areas. The more clients you have the easier this will be. If you are just starting out this will not be as easy.
As you begin marketing your cleaning business, target a smaller geographic area. As you grow, you can expand your service area. Try to stick to less than 20 minute travel times each day. Depending on where you live this can vary greatly if you live in a rural area versus a more densely populated city.
Schedule homes in the same or neighboring communities on the same day. The less travel time you have, the more time you will have to clean homes. Which means more Revenue…WooHoo!
#3. Only offer Weekly, Bi-Weekly and 4-Week services
Schedule clients on a weekly, every other week or every 4 week basis. This will keep clients on a consistent cleaning rotation through out the year.
You will also want to spread out your 4 week clients. For example, if you have 4 clients who signed up for cleanings every 4 weeks, you would not want to schedule them all on the same day and week. The optimal scheduling would be to put them on the same day and time each on a different week. This way you have a time slot that will be full, meaning ever Tuesday from 8 – 10 is full.
When a client asks for a monthly cleaning, put them on the 4 week cleaning plan. Do not schedule them the 1st of each month, or 2nd Tuesday. What will happen is they will inevitably fall on an off week and through off your entire schedule. It will become impossible to keep a schedule.
#4. Mix your days with both large and small homes
When scheduling house cleaning clients, schedule larger homes with smaller homes, if you can. You will be able to schedule in smaller homes in between larger homes to help fill up your day to maximize your revenue. This will also save you some energy by not having to clean several large homes in one day.
It takes a lot of effort to clean large homes, breaking up the cleaning with a small condo will help keep your energy levels up. I tried to limit our schedule to 1 large home a day and then mid to smaller homes for the remainder of the day. This worked really well for us.
#5. Get a scheduling software that works for your cleaning business
A few things to keep in mind when choosing a scheduling product is you want it to be easy to use, make your life more organized and fall within your budget.
There are some really fancy tools out there that not only offer scheduling, but they keep your clients info, offer communication reminders, and also online bookkeeping forms. But as a new maid service owner there are plenty of things to spend your hard earned cash on! There are some note worthy FREE variations that you can use to help organize your schedule.
Google Suit & Calendar
Google has come a long way. They have really developed many FREE tools for small business owners. updated lately to be more visually easy to manage.
The combination of using Contacts and the Calendar would suite any small Cleaning Business with one or two cleaners. You can build your client list in contacts and make recurring appointments The best part is, it’s FREE!!
The down side to Google Calendar is it does not have the bells and whistles that paid for programs offer. But as you continue to grow that is something that you can strive for!
Zenmaid was created for Maid Services, by Maid Services. It was built for residential maid services. This is actually what I used in my maid service.
What I loved about this software is the automated email reminders that go out to clients. This was a HUGE timesaver for me.
All I had to do do was type in my client email reminders and set them up on automatic delivery. My house cleaning clients would get an email reminder the day before the cleaning. This avoided clients forgetting we were coming and us being locked out!
Calendar with recurring scheduling ability. That means you enter in a client for bi-weekly cleaning service, then that client will be automatically added every 2 weeks for the same time.
Client contact management. Store all of your client information in the software. You’ll be able to easily communicate with clients this way.
Email communications. If you set it up, your clients will receive email messages before and after each cleaning service.
Employee Management. Assign house cleaning jobs to your employees. Track employee information.
Another great benefit to ZenMaid is their customer support. And remember these folks have or still do run maid services, so they know what you may be going through as a house cleaning company. The customer support starts when you first sign up for the program.
When you sign up for Zenmaid you will receive a call from one of their team members. During this call they will walk you through the software and how to use it.
Moving forward, if you ever have any questions about the maid service software you can contact their support via email.
PickTime is the most sophisticated free scheduling and booking tool out there right now. It is a newly developed web based software that is currently being offered for FREE. But this will not last for long. It is a newer program and they are enlisting users to try it out and spread the word! Those that sign up now will get the software FREE for life…not a bad gig!
I have been testing and using the product and I highly recommend signing up for this software while it is still FREE. I love the sleek look and ease of use with the program. It is very versatile and can work great for your cleaning business with a little set up.
Here is a Sneak Peak into the Program, and all of it is FREE for now.
Here is a list of what is included in the program
Allows you to build in your services and customize for time and cost
Color Coded calendar with Daily, Weekly, or Monthly views.
Home Page that shows projected revenue and total appointments. You can watch your revenue grow as your business does!
Online booking forms you can integrate with your Face Book page or your Website. Allows clients to book right on your website or Face Book.
Integrates with Google Calendar so that you can view on your phone
#6. Send appointment reminders to your clients the day before the appointment
Send your clients a reminder message the day before each appointment! This little trick will help you to avoid no shows or lock outs, get a heads up if your client will want an extra task, and improve customer service.
No show and lock out’s are when you arrive to your clients home, only to find you are not able to get into the home because your client forgot it was cleaning day. When that happens you don’t get paid!
Following up the day before every cleaning gives your client that friendly reminder that you will be there the next day. They are way less likely forget and leave you locked out with no house to clean.
Ever get to a home only to find out they wanted their oven cleaned, but you did not bring the proper cleaning supplies? In your email reminder, ask you client if there are any extras they would want you to do the next day. You will be prepared and is a nice shuttle way to up charge and make a little extra money.
In my Client Email packet I have created simple reminder emails for you to use. Just copy and paste them into your email client or scheduling software.
If you skipped down to the bottom. Here is what you need to be doing to maximize your maid service schedule and schedule house cleaning clients!
Set your defined hours of operation.
Schedule in geographic clusters
Only schedule weekly, bi-weekly, and every 4 week cleaning services.
Schedule both large and small homes in a day.
Get a scheduling software that works for your business.
Send appointment reminders to your clients the day before the appointment.
I made you a printable planner you can use to keep your schedule mobile. Print it out and put on your fridge, in your car, post it by the front door, or keep a copy on your desk! To download the planner, sign up for access to the FREE Resource Library.
I hope this blog post was super helpful for you! If you liked this post please share the pretty picture at the top of the form, I’d really appreciate it!
Take the guess work out of House Cleaning Prices! Download my FREE House Cleaning Price Worksheet.
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Roberta Reed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.