Looking to stat a cleaning business but wondering what types of cleaning services you can offer?
Well that all depends…It depends on the type of cleaning business you decide to start.
In this article:
Post Construction Cleaning
Recurring House Cleaning
Vacation Rental Cleaning
The Different Types of Cleaning Service’s to offer:
Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
When deciding on the types of cleaning services to offer, keep in mind that foreclosure cleanings will be one of the most labor-intensive cleaning services you can offer. Many foreclosed homes have been abandoned and left in ruins.
What to expect when cleaning foreclosure cleanings
Cleaning foreclosures will not be a glamorous job by any means. A foreclosure is where homeowners defaulted on their mortgage and are forced to move out. When a homeowner is past due with their mortgage banks take legal proceedings to take back the home.
To give some perspective, when I was in College my grandmother bought and sold foreclosures. She hired me to help with the cleaning. We cleaned houses where families left all their belongings. When I say all belongings, I mean furniture, closets full of clothes, and even albums filled with family photos. We had to rent large dumpsters and haul all the belongings out of the home.
Some homes we cleaned had been broken into and trashed. There would be graffitied walls and items left behind were scattered everywhere. We would find broken bottles and at one home we even found a pile of human feces….YUCK! So as I said, these types of cleanings will not be glamorous and will require heavy duty cleaning.
These reasons are why you can charge hundreds/thousands of dollars to clean foreclosures.
Equipment/Supplies needed to clean foreclosures.
As you can imagine from the picture I created above, foreclosure cleanings require heavy duty supplies and equipment to help clean up the mess. Equipment you will want to get will include a heavy-duty shop vac to vacuum up debris, a heavy-duty steam cleaner to disinfect and clean walls and surfaces to remove built up grim, a truck or trailer to help haul away furniture and garbage.
As far as cleaning supplies, foreclosure cleanings will require a heavy duty degreaser, mildew remover, lime and rust remover. When cleaning with these cleaners, make sure to have good ventilation and wear a mask to lessen the amount you will inhale.
How much you can make cleaning foreclosures
You can charge $100s or $1,000’s to clean a foreclosed home. the amount you charge will depend on how dirty a home is, how much you will need to haul away and the size of the home.
It can take a week or longer to clean a foreclosure. When first starting out, it is best to estimate the number of hours it will take to clean and charge an hourly rate. Then add a disclaimer, letting the owner know that your price is an estimate and can vary.
Before pricing a foreclosure clean, make sure to do a thorough walk-a-round to avoid many surprises. Take note of any equipment rentals you may need and add the cost of the equipment rental to the cleaning service price. For example, if you have to rent a large dumpster bin to haul junk add the cost of the dumpster to the cost of the cleaning service.
How to market foreclosure cleaning services
With foreclosure cleanings, you will not be marketing to homeowners. Instead, you will want to market to banks and realtors. Look for local realtors who specialize in foreclosures and begin building relationships with them. Contact banks and speak with their foreclosure departments, find the person in charge of cleaning contracts and start building a relationship.
It is also helpful to attend local networking events with your chamber of commerce. Realtors and banking professionals almost always attend these types of events to network with local businesses. Find your local professional realtor associations and attend their networking events. You can even develop a training presentation on property cleaning restoration.
Post Construction Cleaning Service
With Post Construction cleaning you will be cleaning homes just after they have been built or renovated. You will be cleaning up after construction crews have left.
If you specialize in construction cleaning, you can offer to clean both the inside and the outside of the home. Many contractors also will hire cleaners to come clean the home in 2 phases.
The first clean would be after all the carpentry is completed and just before finishes like the flooring go in. The second clean would be the final detail clean, just before the homeowner moves in.
What to expect when cleaning post construction homes
Cleaning post construction homes requires hard work and detailed work. If you choose this type of cleaning service to offer, you will be cleaning up construction debris. This may require hauling the debris off the site as well.
To give you an idea of the cleaning think about when you last hung a picture. When you put the hole in the wall, you probably noticed the dry wall dust just from drilling that one hole. Well, after a construction crew leaves, the home is covered in that drywall dust and it will be your job to clean it up.
Your job will be to remove the saw dust, paint or glue from all surfaces including walls, doors, baseboards, appliances, cabinetry, windows and windowsills, light fixtures and of course the flooring. Things like excess grout may need to be removed from tiles, paint splatters may need to be removed from cabinetry, glue may need to be removed from laying wood floors, and factory stickers may need to be removed from newly installed windows.
Equipment/Supplies needed to clean foreclosures
Post construction cleaning will require equipment to help you to haul debris away and clean up the construction residue. A good quality shop vac that can pick up the construction dust with a good filter will be needed. Make sure the shop vac has attachments so you can vacuum inside cabinet drawers, window sills and other hard to reach areas.
Bring cleaning supplies that can remove left over glue, grout, or other finishing residue without ruining the surfaces. Make sure you know what surfaces the cleaning supplies are safe to use on. When I first started, I had cleaned cabinets with a cleaner that scratched the cabinetry. Some of the doors had to be replaced, it was not a fun situation to be in.
Having a truck and trailer will be useful if you have to haul large debris from the construction site. Bring a tall ladder to reach light fixtures or tall windows.
How much you can make cleaning new home/post construction cleaning
As you can see, cleaning a post construction home can involve several man hours due to the tedious tasks of cleaning construction dust and chemicals left behind by construction crews. It can take more than 1 day to clean depending on the size of the home and would require more than 1 cleaner. Because of this, you will be able to charge more for these types of cleanings.
According to home advisor, the national average for these types of cleaning services is $445.00. Your price will of course vary on the size of the home and the scope of work that will be expected. You can also add additional tasks such as exterior cleaning of windows, yard waste, or pressure washing.
How to market new home/construction cleaning services
For new home/construction cleaning services you will want to market to construction firms, general contractors, handy man services and other construction related businesses. These businesses will contract you out to clean homes that they have built or renovated. The homeowners rarely hire the cleaning service for these types of cleans.
To market to construction related businesses make calls or stop by offices to meet either the contractor or whoever oversees hiring subcontractors. The idea is to build a solid relationship so that you can service all their projects that they finish.
It is also very beneficial to visit local chamber events to network and make connections with local contractors. It may be easier to start with smaller firms if you do not have the crew to service multiple projects a week. As your reputation builds you can land larger clients and hire more employees.
Move-In/Move-Out Cleaning Service
Move-In/Move-Out will be less manual labor than foreclosure cleanings and construction cleaning businesses. Homeowners generally leave the home voluntarily whether they are selling the home or if they are ending a lease/renting agreement.
In each case, there is incentive to leave the home in good condition. But these types of cleanings do take longer to clean than a regular cleaning service where you come in ever 2 weeks to clean.
The homes will be empty or should be when go in to clean a move-in/move-out clean. They will take longer to clean than a recurring house cleaning service would take. You’ll be expected to clean out cabinets/drawers, remove smudges off walls, doorways and trim, dust and clean high to reach areas such as vents, ceilings, and ceiling fans. Expect to clean windowsills and window tracks.
Equipment/Supplies needed to clean Move-In/Move-Out Cleanings
Move-In/Move-Out Cleanings require some heavier tools. For your cleaning supplies make sure you have a heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner, mildew remover and rust stain remover.
For tools and equipment, you’ll need razor blade (a professional tip: this is a great way to remove years of built-up soap scum). Shop vac with hose attachments. This will come in handy when needing to vacuum out cabinets and heavy-duty debris that you don’t want to ruin a residential vacuum with.
A quality high powered steam cleaner that can help clean surfaces and flooring quickly and efficiently. If you get one that has some pressure behind it, you can blast out grim in crevice’s like faucets, drains and toilet seats. A carpet cleaner is not necessary but would be a great upsell if you have a machine to clean carpets with.
How much you can make cleaning move-in/move-out cleaning services.
According to home advisor a move out clean can start at $110 for a small apartment up to $650 for a larger 3,500 square foot home. The larger the home, the longer the cleaning service will cost. You can also to upsells such as carpet cleaning, baseboard painting, small handy man works such as filling in holes in the wall, replacing doorknobs, fixing cabinet doors, etc.
How to market Move-In/Move-Out Cleaning
For Move-In/Move-Out Cleanings you will want to market to Realtors, property management firms and apartment complexes. These businesses will be the ones handling most move-in’s and out transactions. For apartment complex’s do research on their unit sizes. Start by sending in a letter introducing your business and quoting a price per unit.
Property management firms manage rentals of single-family homes, reach out to them to service their rental properties. Relators are either buying or selling homes. Visit local chamber events to network and make connections with local relators to service their home listings.
Recurring House Cleaning Service
Recurring house cleaning services will be the easiest homes to clean. For the most part there won’t be many surprise’s, or heavy-duty cleaning. You will clean the home either on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Therefore, the cleaning will be regular and will not require a lot of heavy-duty cleaning supplies and labor.
This type of house cleaning business is the easier to build a consistent income. When a customer signs up for weekly cleaning at $90/week, you can count on that income each week. That one client will make you $4,680/ year. With each new client that you bring on, your business will continue to grow.
Instead of building relationships with other businesses, you will build relationships with each of the homeowners. Provide a quality, trustworthy and friendly service and you will be able to exponentially grow your business with each new client.
Equipment/Supplies needed to clean recurring house cleaning services.
The great thing about only cleaning recurring house cleanings is you will not need to invest in expensive equipment since you will not be cleaning heavy duty jobs. Therefore, a residential vacuum and a steam mop is all you will need in the way of equipment. For cleaning supplies a good all-purpose cleaner and microfiber towels will go a long way for these types of cleans.
How much you can make cleaning recurring house cleaning services.
Each cleaning service will bring in anywhere from You will make less money with each cleaning service. $65 – $200 a cleaning service. The less frequent you clean, the more you will charge and the larger the home the more you will charge.
To scale this type of business, it is best to develop a cleaning checklist that you will perform at each visit. This will make it easier to set your cleaning prices. Any services outside of that checklist you would charge more for. This way too, you can charge a flat fee based on the size of the home and charge the same rate each cleaning service.
How to market for residential house cleaning services
To market your recurring house cleaning business, you will target homeowners. Networking events that are more focused on homeowners and working professionals will be your target. Local online marketing will be beneficial. Creating a website and linking to local review sites will be great exposure to market to homeowners looking for recurring house cleaning.
You can also target and network with large employers. Reaching out to HR departments to create a relationship and possibly offering free cleaning service to the employee of the year.
Vacation Rental Cleaning Service
Vacation rentals are more common in high tourism areas. Where I live on the coast of Florida, most of the homes lining the beaches are vacation rentals. So, cleaning businesses can focus solely on cleaning vacation rentals.
Vacation rentals generally have to be cleaned in a very tight timeframe. If you think of a hotel, they have check out at 10 am and by 3 pm the new renters are checking in. Therefore, with these types of cleaning services, you have to clean all areas of the home, plus change out linens and make beds. In addition to cleaning, you may be asked to stock supplies such as soap and paper products.
To save time, some cleaning services will bring clean linens with them and bring back the used linens and wash them after the cleaning. This way they are not doing laundry on top of cleaning.
For the most part these types of cleaning services are predictable and don’t require heavy duty cleaning. Most renters want to get their deposit back so, the home is generally left in a clean manner. There may be the occasional mess, we once cleaned after a 4th of July weekend. There were bottles left everywhere and smudges on walls and surfaces. We had to do a thorough deep clean, and there was so much trash we had to haul bags and bags away.
Equipment/Supplies needed to clean recurring house cleaning services
With vacation rental cleanings you will not normally have to use heavy duty cleaning materials. Most supplies used for recurring house cleaning will suffice for vacation rental cleanings. If you clean in an area where most floorings are tile, it would be a good idea to invest in a good steam cleaning mop. Not like the upright steam cleaners, but those that use steam vapor. These types of steamers cut your mopping time drastically.
A larger industrial broom is also helpful if you have to keep outside patios or garages swept.
How much you can make cleaning vacation rental cleaning services
Vacation rentals do take longer to clean than a recurring residential house cleaning does. Not because the cleaning is harder, but because of the time to replace the linens and restock supplies.
Because of this, the cleaning services will cost slightly more than what can be charged for recurring house cleaning service. Vacation rental cleaning fees can range from $75 – $200 per clean. This depends on the size of the home and the scope of the cleaning. If you are expected to stock paper products and soups, you will add the cost of the restock in your cleaning price. It is normal to charge a flat fee for this. For example, $10 to restock toilet paper, $5 to restock soap.
How to market for residential house cleaning services
To market your vacation rental cleaning business, you will target realtors who specialize in managing vacation rentals. Like move-in/move-out cleanings, you will be working more with realtors than with homeowners.
To find individual rental owners, such as those listed on AirBnB you can list your business on listing site such as TurnOverBnB.
To recap, here are the different types of cleaning services you can offer when starting a cleaning business
Post Construction Cleaning
Recurring House Cleaning
Vacation Rental Cleaning
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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.
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!
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.
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#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
When starting your cleaning business there are needed supplies. I highly recommend providing all the cleaning supplies and equipment. When pricing your cleaning jobs you should take into account the cost of these supplies.
Choose equipment and supplies that will work for you so that you spend less time scrubbing. With the right supplies you can clean faster, while still maintaining a high quality clean.
Cleaning Equipment and Supplies Checklist
Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
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 educated 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, but 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 help you scale your business so that you are always making a profit. When I ask maid services, How much income does your cleaning business earn? Most answer this question telling me the total they collect 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 to file quarterly taxes, or how to create financial reports. These tasks can be done by your Certified Accountant.
How to get your Maid Service started with Bookkeeping
Please note, 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 to open a business checking account. Most banks offer free business checking accounts. Start with your 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. One credit card I utilized was 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 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 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 other 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 starting at Free for a basic accounting package, charges for payroll and credit card processing.
ZOHO. Plans starting at $9.00/month for basic accounting package
Steps to getting 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 our your cleaners. Update the cleaning log after you have cleaned each clients homes. 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.
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All revenue should be tracked by client and by month. You can do this using an Excel spreadsheet or an 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 of 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 fee’s 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 in area’s 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 total cleaning time and cost of the cleaning. This is where having a consistent pricing formula and 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 include separate your expenses into categories 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 …), what was purchased (cleaning supplies, towels, advertising …). To tie it up, your Spreadsheet should add 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: 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 Cost of Goods Sold from all other business expenses. Cost of Goods Sold is the direct costs for you to clean a home. These expenses include cleaning supplies, driving expense from each client’s home, and labor cost (whether you or an employee is cleaning).
Cost of Goods Sold are 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 the information you need to know of how much money you will have left over to pay overhead costs and to pay yourself profits.
If your Cost of Goods Sold are 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 your accounting program.
Reconciling is: Comparing your bank records to your receipts. That’s it! I remember I use to be so scared of the word. But it is so simple to do if you have recorded your transactions through out the month in either an Excel Worksheet or accounting program.
To reconcile, you will take your back statement or credit card statement. Going down the list of transaction, 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 expense is where you track all expenses related to your vehicle. This includes gas, repairs, maintenance, any lease payments or depreciation.
When claiming standard mileage you track your mileage from when you drive to and from a customers home.
Either method you choose, if you are using your own vehicle, or are reimbursing your cleaners mileage, it is important to keep precise records of mileage used. Mileage and vehicle expense 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 vehicle and the business reimbursed them 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 which 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.
Now a days 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 at 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 for 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. Supper 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 cost of goods sold.
Record transaction 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. Accountants, or CPA (Certified Public Accountant’s) 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 your 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.
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What is the best vacuum to buy for your cleaning business? This is a very common question.
There are so many different styles of vacuum cleaners now a days and many more brands to purchase, that this can be a very overwhelming decision. I have seen some sites just listing vacuums with out the experience in cleaning homes.
Anyone who has owned a house cleaning business knows that a vacuum that is sufficient for a homeowner, is not sufficient for a cleaning business.
The difference is that cleaning businesses will use their vacuum up to 600% more times in a week than a homeowner. Also, when your cleaning for profits, you need a vacuum that does not interrupt your cleaning flow.
A cleaning business needs a vacuum that will be able to hold up to very frequent use, be able to clean up to 4 houses a day and not loose its suction power.
Stick vacuums have become very popular in recent years. They are light weight, and can vacuum under most furniture’s. Most stick vacuums are compact and have easy to dump canisters. These make the vacuum appealing for House Cleaning businesses.
Stick vacuums are great for home use, but they are not the best vacuum for cleaning businesses.
Vacuum easily under furniture
Easy to empty canister
Easy transition from carpet to hard floors
Cord Length 25 ft
Self Cleaning roll brush. Easy to clean between homes.
Attachments are not as accessible when vacuuming.
Price is a little higher, you are paying for the compactness of the vacuum.
Shark Rotator Professional Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with lift away Hand Vacuum and Anti-Allergy Seal (NV501).
This vacuum is my favorite and what we used in my cleaning business. I know other owners who used the same vacuum.
It has a great suction rating, and some bells and whistles for a lower price. The lift away functionality makes it easy to transition from vacuuming to using the want to reach in hard to reach corners and crevasses. I even used it to vacuum baseboards fairly quickly with my clients as I was vacuuming.
This vacuum also easily converts from carpet to hard floors. I know some would recommend bringing 2 vacuums to a home, one for carpet and one for hard floors. But this vacuum can very effectively clean both.
Easy to use attachments with lift away function, hose reaches up to 8 feet.
Cleans hard floors well
Great filtration system, with HEPA filter
Cord length is 25 feet.
This vacuum is not as light or compact as a stick vacuum. It can be a little cumbersome to carry with your other cleaning supplies. But there is a handle on the top of the canister where
Carpet vacuum does not reach under most furniture pieces
ProTeam Backpack Vacuums, Super CoachVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Media Filtration and Telescoping Wand Tool Kit, 10 Quart, Corded
This would be the best of the backpack vacuums. If you are cleaning larger homes, and larger offices this will be your best pick as it has a large canister and powerful motor to run for longer periods of time.
I have never used this vacuum, but I have known other cleaning companies swear by them. What I did not like about the backpack vacuums was the awkwardness of having it on my back. I was afraid I could run into furniture or walls if I had to back up or maneuver around tight spaces.
The cost was another reason for this vacuum to not be my #1 choice for residential cleaning To purchase a quality backpack vacuum you would be spending close to $400. But the backpack vacuums do allow for hands free movements and less carrying around an upright vacuum.
Easy to maneuver around and under furniture
Check to see if it will transition from carpet to Hard floor.
Large capacity canister
Filtration system is excellent. Four Level Advanced Filtration and HEPA media filter.
Awkward to carry on your back, will take some getting use to.
Canister used bags, not easy to change between homes.
What to look for in a vacuum for a Cleaning Business
When cleaning homes for business you will be cleaning multiple homes in a day. So, you will want something that will last, maintain suction and is easy to maneuver.
1. Suction power
Look for a vacuum with a higher Suction power. Read the reviews as well to get a clue as to how long the vacuum maintains the suction power. You will want to stay away from cordless vacuums.
They generally have lower suction power. In addition you will be traveling from house to house and not have the ability to charge it in between cleaning services.
2. Ability to change from carpet to hard floors seamlessly.
When your cleaning, you do not want to have to spend much time transitioning from carpet to hard floors. Your goal is to vacuum the entire house at 1 time.
If you are using more than one vacuum or have to take several steps to transition vacuums it will take up extra time. Your goal is to clean as quickly as possible, while maintaining high quality. So you do not want to take up extra time transitioning from vacuuming hard floors and carpet.
3. Easy to dump canister
I recommend a vacuum with a bag-less canister. It is important to dump your vacuum canister after each cleaning service. This is where a bag-less canisters are easier and more ideal for a cleaning service.
This keeps the vacuum cleaner between each home you clean. Therefore, you will want a canister that is easy to empty and not complex to where you have to take apart the vacuum.
When packing your vehicle between each clean you should empty the canister before putting the vacuum into the vehicle. I would keep a garbage bag in my vehicle and would throw it away each night.
4. Easy to clean filters
Similar to emptying the canister in the vacuum you will want to clean filters nightly. As part of our nightly routine we would wash all filters and let air dry overnight. Having multiple filters is helpful as well, so that you can have 1 filter washing and using another because more than likely your filter will not be 100% dry by the next morning.
Keeping your vacuum filters clean help to keep your vacuum clean and limit contamination from one house to another. You don’t want to bring an odor from one client to another.
So, when looking for the best vacuum for your house cleaning business, you will want to choose a vacuum that has an easy to remove and clean filter. You will also want to purchase at least 2 – 3 back up filters for use while others are being washed.
5. Attachments to vacuum furniture and high and low.
When choosing a vacuum look for one that has easy to access attachments that allow you to vacuum high and low. You will need to be able to vacuum valences or corners of walls and ceilings. You will also want to be able to vacuum baseboards when needed.
Having easy to access attachments will allow you to do this more quickly. You will not want to fumble around with attachments to connect, this will disrupt your cleaning process flow.
6. Longer Power cord length.
You will want a longer power cord so that you do not have to unplug and look for outlets several times throughout your cleaning service. In addition to the vacuum cord, we used 50 ft extension cords. This way we only had to plug in 1 – 3 times during a clean. These little steps add up to lots of time saved.
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