DIY house cleaning business

Cleaning someone’s home is something that many people just have a flair for.  They do not mind that this is just doing the same thing, somewhere else, that they do at their house all of the time.  Or is it?  When you clean your own home, you perform tasks that make the statement you want to make for your family and visitors.  In the house cleaning business, you are helping your clients make the statement they want to make to theirs.

There are a number of things that must be thought out and prepared in order to run a house cleaning business in a correct and productive way.  This is not a time to do things in an unorganized way.  The advice items that will be explored and used to make this all happen in a professional way can be listed as:

1. Decide what services you are willing to provide.  Without a basic plan detailing, exactly, what you are willing to do in exchange for their business, you will cause an ever expanding list of things that will drain you of time and resources.  This will also make for injured feelings, on their part, when something can not be added on at the end of a fairly long shift for you.

When you go to an auto repair shop, they have a list of their services; many of them will not do anything that is not on their list.  You want to be in a position of stating what you will do and, firmly, remind them of things you will not be doing.

2. Decide on the prices you will be charging for each service.  This is a fundamental part of everything you do as a professional.  When you go into a coffer shop, the prices are listed on a menu board. They had decided what their product is worth before they opened their business.  You need to do the same.  Do not undervalue your service to them.  You are providing something they do not have the time, energy and/or inclination to do.  If you do not value your time, they will not.

These prices can be based on actual time spent, that is; time that it takes you to complete this in your home.  This can be based on a particular hourly rate.  This can also be based on a factor of the prices that are charged by some of the other house cleaning companies in your area.

3. Standardize your equipment and supplies.  This is not necessarily significant if you are the only worker, however, when you begin to have additional associates working for you, it will be beneficial.  The reason behind this is the savings this will represent when repairs need to be made.

A standard vacuum cleaner, for example, will allow you to purchase the same bags and belts. That standard vacuum should be a bagged unit.  This bag represents an additional filter.  The worst thing that can be done is to vacuum your client’s house and have the vacuum spit the dust back out into the area.  There are many bag-less versions, available, and they should be looked at, however, the best unit for house cleaning is still the one that has a bag in it.

One of the reasons for this is a matter of physics.  You will be transporting this vacuum in your vehicle.  This may be a trunk or the back of a van.  The moving around can damage the machine and the fine seals that are present in many of the bag-less machines can get out of line.  The bag stands to help prevent this from becoming an issue.

Using the same chemicals will bring predictability to all of your cleaning activities.  You will have less dangerous side effects than if you change them all of the time.  This will also allow for the bulk purchasing of these important elements for cost savings.

4. Customer Service is the largest issue in which you will be dealing.  What you do and the way you do it will be of the utmost importance.  Homeowners have invited you into their homes to perform certain tasks.  They have not given you the run of the house to do things that make them uncomfortable.  A brief conversation with them about how things can be done will give them license to explain things about which they want you to be careful.  This is something you will make sure to confirm with them.

5. Establish the way you will move around in each and every room.  In order to make the most efficient use of your time, you will need to deal  with everything you are supposed to, only one time. The appropriate way to clean most areas is to start at the top and work down.

Dusting is usually the first thing accomplished.  This is to eliminate the resettling of this troublesome material on the cleaned surfaces beneath them after they are cleaned.  As you work your way down, the dirtier areas present themselves.

6. Design your cleaning tasks based on the basic cleaning principles that have governed cleaning for the last hundred plus years.  These principles have never failed those who follow them. These principles are:

Application of chemical.  Whether the chemical is a packaged product or just ordinary water,  it must be applied to the entire, dirty, surface.  This is to help move the soils, mechanically, off of the surface and suspend them in a solution that can be removed.

Dwell time.  Many people forget about this important part of the process.  Many soils need this extra few seconds for the cleaning agent to work on lifting them off the surface.  Working smarter, not harder, will help you see the importance of this.

Agitation as needed.  Some stuck on material may need agitation in order to break them free of the surface.  This can be done with any cleanable cloth.

Removal of soils.  This is the actual removing of the solution that contains the soils, or material being cleaned, off of the surface.  This can be accomplished with a clean cloth.

7.The act of sanitizing, such as what would be done in kitchen areas and bathrooms are conducted after they have been thoroughly cleaned.  There are a lot of products that will claim they will clean and sanitize all in one step.  Be wary of them.  In order for a sanitizer to work, it must come into contact with the surface.  If the solution of cleaning agent/sanitizer/dirt is  on the surface, at the same time, there is no real sanitizing being done.

A basic list of equipment and supplies:  (All should be in clean and serviceable condition)

Vacuum cleaner.  Again, it is recommended that it be a bagged model.  It should have a hose for reaching behind and under things.  It should be easy to use and sturdy enough to transport without a lot of damage.

Mop.  This should be a model that will allow the removal of the head and laundered.  One of the flat-mops that have been popular for some years, in the commercial cleaning field, can be used as a sign of your professionalism.

Mop bucket.  This should be as small as practical and still be able to cover the mop head with solution.

Several cleaning cloths.  Micro fibers are neat to have, and the price has been coming down for quite some time on these professional items.

Toilet Bowl brush.  This should be contained in a caddy so that it does not touch other things in your kit.  A piece of Scotch bright can be used, as well.

A strong toilet bowl and hard surface cleaner in a spray bottle.  A soft abrasive, such as Comet, for some of the harder to remove material, would be appropriate.  A scotch bright can be used for various things as well, yet, not the same one used in the bathroom.

This short list can be supplemented with other small hand tools as you find the need.  Some of those additional items will run the gambit from putty knives of various sizes, through paint brushes for detailed dusting and into vapor steam cleaning equipment.  The tools needed, as are the tasks themselves, can be limitless.


Creating a house cleaning business can be hugely rewarding.  You are helping people keep their spaces clean and making money while doing so.  This is growth industry, even in this economy, as there are more and more people being away from their homes for longer periods of time.  The satisfaction and fulfillment you can find performing this basic service will help pay the bills with a little more left over at the end of the month.


by Steve