So you want to start a cleaning business. But have you found a unique niche that can help you clean up the competition?
When it comes to cleaning and janitorial services, you may assume there are only two markets—residential properties and commercial properties. However, focusing on a more specialized cleaning service can help you differentiate your business in both.
In this short guide, we’ll review eight different kinds of specialty cleaning services to provide some inspiration for your small business.
1. Green cleaning
These days, many people embrace organic foods, natural skincare products, and chemical-free, green cleaning products in their homes. Their motivations include:
- Sensitivity to chemicals
- Allergies to common cleaning products
- Concern about chemical runoff and its impact on the environment
The good news for cleaners specializing in this niche? Many people are willing to pay more for cleaning services that use organic, natural cleaning products and low-waste practices. Everything from carpet cleaning to window cleaning and home office cleaning can use natural, organic cleaning supplies. Green cleaning is growing as a popular cleaning solution for both homes and businesses.
How to Get Started as a Green Cleaner
To get started as a green cleaner, you’ll have to do some research on new cleaning methods.
Some green cleaners use advanced technology like activated water and dry steam to achieve their impressive results. You can also opt to use pre-bottled, organic products along with recycled paper towels, bamboo sponges, and microfiber cloths.
Once you invest in products and equipment for green cleaning, you can market your services to environmentally conscious local businesses and eco-friendly homeowners alike. Most of the green cleaning equipment required isn’t expensive and jumping into this business simply requires the proper supplies.
2. Steam cleaning
From delicate rugs to expensive mattresses, many homeowners have several possessions that can’t simply be bleached or shampooed.
If you invest in a steam cleaner, it may actually enable you to provide several cleaning services:
Rug and carpet – Make money traveling to separate sites for quick, high-paying steam cleaning jobs.
Upholstery – The wand on a steam cleaner can usually clean sofas and accent chairs too.
Allergy relief – Household carpeting, linens, and mattresses are common storage places for indoor allergens. Advertise your steam-cleaning services to provide allergy relief.
Then all you need to do your job is a steam cleaner, some buckets, and an electrical socket! Make sure that you market your professional cleaning service by illustrating the various deep clean services available with steam.
3. Air duct and vent cleaning
With increasing concern about allergens and toxins, some individuals and companies seek to improve their air quality and reduce their energy costs by having their ducts and vents cleaned.
Be aware that many air duct cleaners are also trained HVAC technicians trained in installing and maintaining air ducts.2 If you are not trained in installation and maintenance, make that clear on your marketing materials. Tell customers about the thorough cleaning you can offer and list the numerous benefits involved with vent cleaning (including fewer maintenance needs)!
4. Window and blind cleaning
Residential housekeepers may give windows a quick spritz of Windex, but we all know that windows can become hazy on both sides. When you add the challenge of difficult-to-dissemble blinds, it’s clear that thorough window cleaning requires a specialist.
A few things to be aware of before you start on this path:
- You may need specialty training to learn the ins-and-outs of cleaning vertical and Venetian blinds.
- Likewise, you probably don’t want to pressure wash an entire building’s exterior windows until you have some experience!
However, taking the time to learn the specialized trade of window and blind cleaning can help you rise above the competition. With this specialty, we recommend focusing on the glass cleaner that you use as well as how you would tackle industrial cleaning service needs (windows on multiple floors).
5. Chimney sweeping
The very term “chimney sweep” may conjure turn-of-the-century images of children covered in soot. But, today chimney cleaning is a lot more than just cleaning out the soot and a lot safer with a skilled or certified chimney sweep. Residential homeowners still need their chimneys regularly serviced—and there’s so much more a modern chimney sweep can do:3
- Inspect fireplaces for safety
- Sweep and clean the chimney, firebox, smoke chamber, and flue
- Make recommendations for repair
Given the relatively low cost (a few hundred dollars compared to cost of fire damage), most homeowners will choose to pay for the annual service. Furthermore, we’re willing to bet not many have it on their list of DIY chores. Differentiate yourself by becoming a Chimney Safety Institute of America certified chimney sweep.
6. Ceiling cleaning
Sure, anyone can clean a floor. But how many residential or commercial cleaners have the knowledge and tools to clean a ceiling without getting gobs of cleaning solution and dirt all over the room?
While property owners may not need ceiling cleaning as frequently as other services, this rarified skill can be priced at a premium.
7. Cleaning foreclosed properties
When a building is foreclosed on, the owners have little motivation to leave it in perfect shape. In some cases, a foreclosed building may be home to squatters or go months without proper heating and cooling.
With so many investors looking to buy and flip foreclosed homes, banks have an incentive to get them back into ship-shape before any sales or auctions.
A foreclosure cleaner may need additional skills:
- Trash removal – Ever seen Hoarders? Prepare to partner with waste removal specialists to haul away the trash.
- Heavy-duty cleaning – You’ll need more than a bottle of bleach if you find graffiti, organic stains, or other serious issues.
If you have the stomach and skill set for a messy job, this can be a lucrative market. Before committing to this specialized cleaning service, try offering your services to one customer to make sure that you can handle the combination of rotting material, fecal material, and the other gross messes left behind.
8. Disaster and crime scene cleaning
Similar to the above, some specialists clean homes and buildings after they’ve undergone a catastrophic event.
Disaster cleaners have specialized skills to deal with the aftermath of smoke, fire, flooding, and other natural disasters. Some may also have expertise in mold remediation and demolition.
Crime scene cleaners specialize in removing blood and medical waste from crime scenes.
Both of these jobs require specialized knowledge and training to avoid personal exposure to potential toxins. They may also require strong socioemotional skills for communicating with distressed clients.
Choosing a niche is just the start!
Now that you have a few ideas for specifying your cleaning services, you’re probably wondering what else you need to do to succeed.
Most cleaning companies take the following steps:
- Develop a business plan to lay the foundation for the future. Include your upfront costs, your business’ future pricing structure, and a plan for breaking even.
- Form a legal business entity (like a Limited Liability Corporation) and open a business bank account.
- Protect your business with insurance. General liability insurance provides legal defense and damages for third-party claims of property damage, non-employee bodily injury, and personal and advertising injury. Cleaning Business Insurance arranged by Thimble can be purchased on-demand for a day, a week, a month or a year – it’s general liability insurance on your schedule.
Speaking of insurance, many clients are going to want to ensure you have insurance prior to hiring you. If you can give them a Certificate of Insurance (COI) whenever they need it, it’ll make you a more appealing bidder. For that, we can help. Just click “Get a Quote” or download the Thimble mobile app, breeze through a few questions, and we’ll generate an instant quote.
From there, you can purchase with one final click and your policy and COI will be sent immediately to your email inbox. Just as your cleaning services are unique, our insurance can be custom-tailored to whenever you need. Do you have a day job coming up? An entire month at an estate? Or a couple of hours booked for a window cleaning? We can tailor an insurance plan to the duration of the job; nothing less, nothing more.
As a final recap, consider:
- Green cleaning
- Steam cleaning
- Air duct and vent cleaning
- Window and blind cleaning
- Chimney sweeping
- Ceiling cleaning
- Cleaning foreclosed properties
- Disaster and crime scene cleaning
Now, all that’s left is for you to go out there, get marketing, and get cleaning!