How to Start a Cleaning Business in New Jersey

How to Start a Cleaning Business in New Jersey

Start a cleaning business in New Jersey. Asking yourself how do I start a cleaning business near me?

No matter where you decide to start a cleaning business, if there are houses in the area, someone will want to hire a cleaning company.

The majority of cleaning companies are made up of small businesses. There can be little start up cost involved and as you grow your cleaning business, you can add on the fancy tools.

Start Your Company for $0 Plus State Filing Fees with Incfile.com!

 

 

How to start a Cleaning Business in NJ

This guide includes resources for starting a cleaning business in New Jersey. Visit the states Business Portal to learn more about running a business in New Jersey.

Start a Cleaning Business in New Jersey

Decide what type of cleaning service you will offer

There are many different types of cleaning business you can start.

  • Recurring House Cleaning
  • Foreclosure cleaning
  • Office cleaning
  • Move out cleaning service
  • Restaurant Cleaning

Choose a name for your cleaning business

When choosing a name, you will want to consider SEO (search engine optimization, how new clients will find you on the internet) and the name should represent what your business does. This way when someone hears your business’s name, they know your are in the business of cleaning houses.

To brainstorm a name for your cleaning business, start with the words Maid, Cleaning and Service. Put these words at the top of a sheet of paper. Then start writing as many adjectives and adverbs that match your company. This will help you to create a list of possible business names for you to choose from.

Verify your name is available in New Jersey by searching the Businesses on the DORES of NJ. If your business name is not already registered in New Jersey then you are ready to register your business.

 

Choose a Business Structure for your Cleaning Business

Before registering your new cleaning business, you will need to know the legal structure for your business. This structure will determine how your cleaning business will file its tax returns and how you as the owner will be taxed on your earnings as well.

It’s extremely important that you become familiar with and understand the different structures and how taxes are paid and filed with each. When choosing your business structure, consult with your tax professional. They can also help you file all the necessary paperwork.

The different structures include

  • Sole-proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Limited Liability Corporation

You can learn more about each business structure here.

File your business with the state of New Jersey

The state of New Jersey requires that all businesses register with the Division of Revenue within 15 days of starting your cleaning business to allow time for paperwork to be completed.

You can file your business with New Jersey 1 of 2 ways:

Online directly with the Division of Revenue Business Registration in New Jersey. Depending on which legal structure you choose, you will have to file the appropriate paperwork to register your business. You can find the forms to register your new cleaning business in New Jersey online here at .

Through a 3rd party who takes care of the filling for you. IncFile.com offers free filing service for LLC’s. You’ll just have to pay the state filing fees. There is a small fee for filing Corporations.

Using a filing service will ensure your filing is done correctly the first time which will help ensure no delays.

Business licensing needs in New Jersey

At the time this article was written, there is no business licensing needed for general house cleaning businesses. I recommend checking with the states licensing need when registering a new business. Click here to check to see if your business needs a business license in the state of New Jersey.

Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

Getting an EIN for your cleaning business is a must if you will be hiring employees.

If you will be operating as a sole-proprietor and not hiring employees, you may be able to use your personal social security number when filing taxes and such for your business. But it is always best to talk to your tax professional to see which you will need.

To apply for an EIN you will file a SS-4 with the IRS. It is free and you can do so on the IRS website. If you file online you will get your number right away. If you don’t feel comfortable filing the form yourself, you can use a company like IncFile.com who can file for your EIN.

You can also apply by snail mail, but it will take much longer to get your number. Read more about your filing options on the IRS website.

Get Business Insurance

Insurance protects you and your business’s assets, or money in the event of a accident or other unplanned event.

Types of insurance your cleaning business may need include liability insurance, bonding insurance and commercial car insurance.

The easiest way to shop for business insurance is to start with an insurance broker and they will do the shopping around for you to find the best deal.

This article goes more in depth on what types of insurance are best for cleaning businesses along with some FAQ’s.

 

Additional Resources for starting a cleaning business in New Jersey

The Small Business Development Center has lots of resources for small businesses in New Jersey. They offer online training, new and existing business counseling, as well as business training and events.

The state offers Small Business Workshops to help you in the process of how to register your business in New Jersey. How to report business income in the state. If you have employees, they also provide workshops on employer responsibilities in New Jersey.

 

Next Steps to start your cleaning business.

Now that you have taken care of the boring (but oh so necessary) legal steps to getting your cleaning business official, you can now start with the Cleaning!

Below are resources on how to operate a cleaning business successfully.

 

Purchase cleaning supplies and equipment

You’ll need to get all the needed supplies to start cleaning your first client homes. I have that taken care of for you.

Visit my page to get a complete list of cleaning supplies and equipment needed to run a Professional Cleaning Business.

If you need help purchasing a vacuum visit my page on purchasing a vacuum for your cleaning business

Marketing your cleaning service

You can’t start cleaning houses if you don’t tell people you have a cleaning business.

Your first step to marketing will be to tell all your friends, family and contacts in your phone and email that you have started a house cleaning business and you are currently taken new clients.

Next get your business online. Most homeowners now search for services online before hiring a business. Make sure your business is visible online when a homeowner searches for cleaning services in your area.

Claim your My Business google profile. By claiming your My Business google profile your business will show up in searches when someone searches Cleaning Businesses in Town Name.

Start a website. You can start a website using this link for just $2.97/ month. Use your business name as your domain name. Once you are registered, apply a free Word Press template. You are now ready to enter in your business information.

Make sure to add your contact information, a list of your services, and a an about me page where you introduce your self. Include high quality before and after images of your cleaning.

Activate a Facebook Business Profile.

Price your cleaning services

Decide whether you are going to price your cleaning services by the hour or by a flat fee. Most cleaning businesses make between $25 – $75 an hour.

Charging by the hour for house cleaning services:

It is best to charge by the hour when you are offering services that will take longer to complete and when the tasks can vary each time you clean a house. When your cleaning times vary it becomes much more difficult to charge a flat fee per clean.

It is best to charge by the hour if you plan to offer the following tasks similar to the following:

  • laundry
  • dishes
  • picking up clutter/toys
  • organizing spaces
  • personalizing cleaning service to each client
Charging a Flat Fee

Charging a flat fee is the best way to streamline your business and start building more profits. But a HUGE disclaimer: Only charge a flat fee if you are completing the same cleaning service for each client.

This means you define the checklist and tasks that you will complete at the home. If you do not follow the same cleaning checklist for each client and each time you clean, DO NOT charge a flat fee to clean.

Check out the following articles for more information on Pricing Cleaning service:

 

Hire employees

If you plan to hire employees you will need to make sure you have filed for an EIN (Review step #4) and have proper insurance (Review step #7).

You will also want to have a training plan in place. In my experience it is best to have a 3 step training plan in place.

  1. Have your new employee read through or watch a video that you have put together on how to clean your way.
  2. Next, have the new employee follow you while you clean. Talk through all the steps they should be taking for each task and room in a home.
  3. Now, you shadow the new employee for a few houses. It is important to correct a any movements that do not fit into your cleaning strategy. For this step you are helping your new employee to develop the same habits to clean a home your way.

 

Well Kept Clutter helps aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own cleaning business and start making money right away.

Sign up below to get access to our FREE resource library or hop on over to our shop to purchase client forms, get help with marketing, or purchase our signature EBOOK: A Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally.

 

Get additional resources for your cleaning business from the Well Kept Clutter

 

How to start a Cleaning Business in New Jersey

10 things to know before you start a house cleaning business

Starting your own house cleaning business can be a great way to make some extra money, after all the residential cleaning industry is a 1.2 billion dollar industry. But before you take the plunge, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. In this blog post, we will go over 10 things you should know before starting a house cleaning business. This includes information on what services to offer, how to price your services, and what kind of marketing strategies you can use to get more customers.

You may have to deal with difficult clients

There may be some difficult conversations to be had with clients. No matter what business you’re in, you’re bound to have a few difficult clients. This is especially true in the house cleaning industry where people can be very picky about their homes.

The best way to deal with difficult clients is to be upfront with them from the beginning. Explain your policies and procedures clearly and let them know that you offer a 100% guarantee on your work. And if the issue arises, make sure you fix any mistakes quickly.

Clients may not always agree with the way you clean, or they may want you to clean in a specific way that you know may not be the best. But it’s important to remember that you are the professional and they are hiring you for your expertise. If a client is unhappy with the service, be sure to listen to their concerns and see if there is anything you can do to improve the situation.

 

Start small and grow from there.

When starting your house cleaning business, it’s best to start small. This means you should only take on a few clients at first so that you can get a feel for the business and what it takes to run it. This will also give you an insight into knowing if this business is right for you. As you take on more clients, you can then invest in your business so that you can continue to grow.

As you grow you will have the opportunity to build on your processes and fine-tune your service. You can even branch out and offer additional services, like office cleaning, carpet cleaning, or window cleaning.

 

Get the right cleaning supplies for your cleaning business

It may be tempting at first to just use whatever cleaning supplies you have under your sink. But the best approach is to invest in quality cleaning products.

This is because you want your clients to be happy with the results and you don’t want to damage any of their belongings. Do your research and find quality products that work well, and that you can buy in bulk.

There are a few different ways you can get cleaning supplies. You can either buy them in bulk from a wholesaler or retailer, or you can sign up for a subscription service that will send you the supplies monthly.

Here are some of my favorite cleaning supplies that I used in my house cleaning business. My favorite was the All-Purpose cleaner. I could use it in the kitchen and in the bathrooms. This eliminated the number of cleaning products that I had to bring to clients’ homes.

 

Create a cleaning system that will sell itself.

When you’re starting your house cleaning business, you want to create a system that will sell itself. This means creating a cleaning service from start to finish that is so good, that your clients will be happy to refer you to their friends and family.

There are 2 approaches to a cleaning system.

  1. You can customize each cleaning service to each client. This means you let the client tell you what you will clean. This is not a scalable approach that will help you grow. Also, with a customized cleaning service, you will want to charge by the hour rather than a flat rate.
  2. Create a consistent cleaning routine that you use at each home. Create a checklist to provide to clients when quoting for services. This is the best approach to scale your business for growth. It is also easier to train employees, and all the larger franchises are using this approach as well because it is easy to replicate, and your clients always know what to expect. Using this approach it is more beneficial to charge a flat fee.

To be effective, your cleaning service needs to be consistent each time you clean a home. Your clients will notice more when you start missing areas of the house faster than they notice a job well done.

Be professional, show up on time and follow a high standard of behavior when interacting with clients and cleaning their homes. Wear a uniform, don’t bring food into the house, and NEVER bring children.

Include a 100% money-back guarantee, it’s a sure way to show your potential customers that you are confident in your product. Offering a 100% money-back guarantee is not enough, you need to make sure that you can deliver on your promise before making this type of offer. Otherwise, you may end up losing customers fast.

Related topics:

 

You will need to invest in insurance

Insurance protects you from the unexpected. When you’re self-employed, you are responsible for your own health insurance and liability insurance.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects you if someone is injured while you are working in their home. This could be something as simple as slipping on a wet floor that you just mopped, or breaking a vase while dusting.

Health Insurance

When you’re self-employed, you are responsible for your health insurance and liability insurance. This is something you should factor into your business expenses.

Car Insurance

If you use your vehicle for business purposes, you will need to have commercial car insurance. This is different from personal car insurance and it covers you in the event of an accident while you are working.

Many new House Cleaning Business owners don’t realize that if you are in an accident while driving to and from a client’s home and you get into a car accident, your Personal Car insurance more than likely will not cover it.

There are a few different options for commercial car insurance, so be sure to do your research and find the best policy for your needs.

Click here for additional reading on this topic

 

You’ll need a mentor

There are a lot of things to think about before starting a house cleaning business. These are just a few of the things that you should keep in mind. If you have any questions, be sure to ask an experienced house cleaner or business owner for advice.

No one knows it all, and there’s a lot to learn from those who have been through it before. Mentors can help you avoid some of the mistakes they made when they were starting, and they can offer guidance and advice on how to run your business.

If you don’t know any experienced house cleaners or business owners, there are plenty of online resources and forums where you can ask questions and get advice. Join Facebook groups, your local chamber of commerce, or visit your local SBA.

 

Out source tasks that you are not good at or passionate about

The thing about being an entrepreneur you can fall into the trap of always learning and not doing. Learning new skills is great, but the task of learning will not get you new clients or generate revenue. This is why it is important to outsource what you can. This will allow you to focus on the task of running and growing your business.

Take for instance your taxes. More than likely you are not a tax expert or CPA. The US tax system is super complex, and they have whole degrees on this stuff. So it is best to just hire a qualified CPA to take care of filing your taxes each year.

Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant for your cleaning business

When you first start your business, more than likely you will not have the cash flow to hire an assistant. But there is another option, it’s called a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant can do a lot of administrative tasks for your business. This can free up your time to focus on cleaning and growing your business.

Some of the things a virtual assistant can do for you are:

  • Answering phone calls so that you don’t miss out on booking a new client because you can’t answer calls while you are cleaning.
  • Giving quotes over the phone or online and Scheduling appointments
  • Handle social media accounts, email marketing, and keep your website up to date.
  • Sending out invoices and doing basic bookkeeping tasks

Remember, you won’t be able to do everything for your business, you are only 1 person. Virtual Assistants are not employees and can charge by the hour or a flat fee and are very reasonable.

When I was starting my house cleaning business these were not a thing, but I did hire my sister who just had a baby to answer calls that came in.

 

Don’t go into debt starting your cleaning business

One of the worst things you can do is to go into debt starting your business. The key to being successful in business is to be profitable and not have a lot of overhead costs. This means that you need to start small and grow as your business grows.

You don’t need a fancy office or the latest and greatest equipment. You can start adding those things later when you have the income to support the expenses.

For now, keep your costs low and don’t go into debt. You can always upgrade later when you are making more money.

 

If you take a vacation or have to call in sick, you won’t get paid.

One of the downsides of being a self-employed house cleaner is that you don’t get paid when you take a vacation or are sick. If you worked for an employer, you would have Paid Time Off, so there is no loss of income on those days when you are sick.

This is why it’s important to have some savings set aside for those days when you can’t work. Plan to set aside a certain amount each week and call it your vacation fund. House cleaning and being self-employed is hard work, you will thank yourself when you’re able to take off for a week for some much-needed R + R (that’s rest and relaxation).

Another option is to hire someone to cover your shifts when you’re gone. This way you can still get paid, and your clients won’t have to go without service.

 

Have a good business plan before starting your house cleaning business.

You need to have a good business plan in place before you start your house cleaning business. This will help you map out what you need to do to be successful.

Your business plan should include:

  • What type of business structure will you start
  • Your target market
  • How you are going to reach your target market
  • What services you are going to offer (remember plan to start small and as you grow add more services.
  • What location will you service
  • How much will you charge for your services
  • What are your estimated marketing and advertising expenses
  • What are your estimated business operating expenses
  • Who is your competition and how are you going to differentiate yourself from them.

Creating a business plan may seem like a lot of work, but it is worth it in the long run. It will keep you focused so that you can offer stellar service to your clients and you continue to work towards your goals. Remember starting without a plan is planning to fail!

 

Now that you know these these 10 things about starting a house cleaning business, are you still interested?

Your next steps will be to Start your Cleaning Business. I have created a Beginners Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business. It will get you off to a great start to making money cleaning houses.

Cleaning Business Taxes

Cleaning Business Taxes

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.

 

Hiring Accountant:

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 

What that means is, you are recording all of your expenses and your earnings in a nice organized way that is easy for your accountant to determine the total amount of all of your expenses and all of your earnings.

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

There are many different options…

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. 

Home Office

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.              

Expense all 

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.        

Road Tolls

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.

Cell phone

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. 

Charitable contributions

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.

Professional Services

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.  

Client Gifts

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.

Taxes

Did you know the taxes you pay are also a business deduction. So make sure you don’t forget about those. 

Business Training resources and fees

Did you attend any paid training webinars, take any certifications or purchase any training materials (like my Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally). If so, save those receipts for your cleaning business taxes.

Training expenses are business expense and can be used as a tax deduction for your cleaning business.

 

House Cleaning business taxes checklist

 

Track Expenses

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)

 

Track Revenue

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

Pro Tips for Running a Successful Residential Cleaning Business

Pro Tips for Running a Successful Residential Cleaning Business

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.

Pro tips on running a successful residential cleaning business

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:

Pro Tips for Running a Successful Residential Cleaning Business

Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

#1 Keep a professional image. 

Inviting a business into your home is personal. Homeowners want to know they can trust you.  Presenting yourself in a professional manner 100% of the time will help build that trust. 

#2 Wear a uniform. 

If you are just starting out and can not afford shirts with your company name, you can buy a solid color polo shirts or T-shirts.  I did this in the beginning of my business.

#3 Don’t let acquaintances take advantage of you

Don’t let friends and acquaintances guilt you into cleaning their homes for less than you would charge other clients. Real friends will know your value and pay you what you are worth.

#4 Keep your supply list consistent. 

Choose quality over cheaper options. This will keep your cleaners effective and your clients surfaces safe. To see what products I used in my Business, and where to get them, check out my Recommendations Page.

#5 Have a consistent cleaning process. 

You want to provide a quality service in the least amount of time.  You will achieve this by cleaning with the same cleaning process for every home you go into.

#6 NEVER BID FOR A JOB. 

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
  • Make contacts everywhere you go and always leave your cards. – Krissy from Junnie & Krissy’s Cleaning http://www.junniekrissycleaning.c1.biz/
  • Get personal with your clients they share things that they enjoy with their friends – Jamie from Santa Cruz Cleaning Solutions LLC

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it was helpful and that you have many take always to start running a successful residential cleaning business.


If you have your own Pro Tips that worked for you please share! To submit your top Tip, click on the button below and fill out the form. I will add it to the post.

Cleaning Business Taxes

Maid Service Bookkeeping: A Beginners Guide.

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.

Haven’t started your Maid Service yet? Read my Complete Guide on Starting and Running a Maid Service.

Do I need to do Bookkeeping for my Maid Service?

YES!!!! Let me ask you a few questions…

  • How much money do you make per cleaning service?
  • What are you spending on cleaning supplies?
  • What is your income after the cost of goods sold?
  • How much does it cost to clean 1 house?
  • 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.

Bookkeeping checklist for maid services

 

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

  1. Payoff the balance each month, interest can be as high as 20% these can add up quickly.
  2. Look for credit cards that have cash-back offers and take advantage of them.
  3. Only use your business account for business-related expenses.

Basic bookkeeping tasks for your Maid Service

The essential tools needed for Maid Service Bookkeeping

  1. Excel (or another spreadsheet program like Google Sheets).
  2. Copies of your bank and credit card statements
  3. Copies of your deposit slips
  4. Cleaning Logs
  5. Mileage Logs

Fancy Tools you can get as your Maid Service Grows

  • Quickbooks Online. plans start at $7.00/month
  • 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
  1. Date
  2. Clients name
  3. The start time and end time
  4. 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.

Create a Revenue Tracking Form

Record all payments you have received from clients each week. If you are using an Excel Spreadsheet it should include the following:

  • Rows for each day of the month
  • Columns for each client serviced
  • Totals by Client
  • Totals by Month

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:
  1. Charge more for cleaning services
  2. Buy fewer supplies
  3. Reduce payroll

Reconcile your transactions

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.

  1. When claiming actual expenses is where you track all expenses related to your vehicle. This includes gas, repairs, maintenance, lease payments, or depreciation.
  2. 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.
  • Tools and Parking costs

For more information on mileage expenses and what the IRS requires visit: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc510.

Record your mileage on paper

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.

Recording Mileage for house cleaning business

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!

 

Bookkeeping for Maid Services

 

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.

 

What is the Best Vacuum for a Cleaning Business

What is the Best Vacuum for a Cleaning Business

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 nowadays and many more brands to purchase, that this can be a very overwhelming decision. I have seen some sites just listing vacuums without 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 profit, 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 lose its suction power.   
Haven't started a Cleaning Business? Read my post where I guide you through the steps to Start a Cleaning Business.

Please note, this article may include affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

When looking for a vacuum cleaner for your cleaning business there are several things to keep in mind:

The Best Vacuum for a Cleaning Business

The best Vacuum for a Cleaning Business

There are 3 classes of Vacuums I recommend for Cleaning Businesses. Those are the Stick Vacuum, Upright vacuum, or a backpack vacuum. Here are the top vacuums for each of the 3 classes.

Stick Vacuum

Shark Apex DuoClean with Zero-M No Hair Wrap (ZS362) Stick Vacuum

Click here to see the Most Current Prices on Amazon

Stick vacuums have become very popular in recent years. They are lightweight and can vacuum under most furniture. 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.

Pro’s:
  • Lightweight
  • 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.
Con’s
  • Small canisters
  • Attachments are not as accessible when vacuuming.
  • Price is a little higher, you are paying for the compactness of the vacuum.

Upright 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.

Pro’s
  • Great suction
  • 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.
Con’s
  • 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

Back-Pack Vacuum

 

ProTeam Backpack Vacuums, Super CoachVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Media Filtration and Telescoping Wand Tool Kit, 10 Quart, Corded

Click Here for the Most up to Date Price on Amazon

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 that 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.

Pro’s:
  • Easy to maneuver around and under furniture
  • Check to see if it will transition from carpet to Hard floor.
  • Large capacity canister
  • The filtration system is excellent. Four Level Advanced Filtration and HEPA media filter.
Con’s:
  • Awkward to carry on your back, will take some getting used to.
  • Canister-used bags are not easy to change between homes.
  • The price is higher, running at about $400.00
Looking for more advice on Cleaning Equipment and Supplies??? Visit My Recommendations page for a list of cleaning supplies and equipment for Residential Cleaning Businesses

What to look for in a vacuum for a Cleaning Business

What to look for when purchasing a vacuum for your Cleaning Business.

When cleaning homes for a 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 you’re cleaning, you don’t 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 carpets.

3. Easy to dump the canister

I recommend a vacuum with a bagless canister. It is important to dump your vacuum canister after each cleaning service. This is where bagless canisters are easier and 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

Similarly 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 them air dry overnight. Having multiple filters is helpful as well so that you can have 1 filter washing and use another because more than likely your filter will not be 100% dry by the next morning.

Keeping your vacuum filters clean helps to keep your vacuum clean and limits 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 filter that can be cleaned. You will also want to purchase at least 2 – 3 backup 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.

Additional Resources for Your Cleaning Business:

 

 

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