How to Start a Cleaning Services Business

Updated on 2 September 2022

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cleaning services

Starting a cleaning services business is a great way for budding entrepreneurs to get their business idea off the ground. It doesn’t take a lot of capital or specialist knowledge to get started. Instead, you just need a great business plan and to put in the hard work.

There is always a demand for cleaning services in South Africa, so this is an area of business that offers many opportunities. Ready to turn your business idea into a reality? Follow this guide to help you get started.

What Supplies Do I Need to Start a Cleaning Business?

One of the main steps involved in starting a cleaning services business is setting your business up with the right supplies. Luckily, this is also not as much of an investment as starting many other kinds of businesses.

Start by equipping your business with essential cleaning supplies. This includes:

  • A mop and a bucket
  • A broom, dustpan, and brush
  • Sponges and scourers
  • Cloths (including microfibre cloths and glass polishing cloths)
  • Cleaning brushes
  • A duster
  • Rubber gloves
  • A caddy to carry everything in

This is a basic list of supplies for a domestic cleaning services business. If you want to offer more advanced commercial cleaning services, or if you plan to specialize in a specific area of cleaning, then you will likely need more equipment. This could include things like pressure washers, vacuums, floor polishers, carpet cleaning equipment, specialist window cleaning tools, a van, and more.

Of course, you will also need your cleaning products. For domestic cleaning services, the

essential products include:

  • Multipurpose cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Furniture polish
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Floor cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Disinfectant

As with the equipment list above, this is only the starting point. You can always carry more cleaning products depending on the services you offer.


How Much Money Do I Need to Start a Cleaning Business?

The great thing about starting a cleaning services business is that it doesn’t have to cost much

at all to get started. If you offer basic domestic cleaning, you could get started with as little as R500 to purchase a few cleaning basics. Starting with capital of around R30 000 however will allow you to set your cleaning business up with a more complete range of products, equipment, and staff.

If you plan to open a commercial cleaning business or specialize in a certain area of cleaning (like starting a laundry business, or upholstery and carpet cleaning), then the startup capital required can be significantly more.

How to Get Clients for a Cleaning Business?

The first thing you need to do is establish what niche your cleaning business will cover. Will you offer domestic cleaning services or commercial cleaning services? Try to establish a unique selling point for your business, as there are many cleaning services out there.

You could specialize in cleaning B&Bs, offices, apartment blocks, holiday homes, or more. Once you establish this, you will know who your target audience is. Then you will need a solid marketing strategy to build awareness of your business and attract new customers. This should include a good website, active social media pages, business directory listings, and possibly an email marketing strategy.

Other effective ways to get clients for your cleaning business are to promote positive referrals and reviews from other clients, run a giveaway or discount promotion, create a referral program, or even just distribute flyers in the right places.

What Licenses are Needed to Start a Cleaning Business?

There are no special licenses or permits required for starting a cleaning business. However, as with any business, you need to ensure your business is properly set up and meets all legal requirements to trade.

If you want to apply for cleaning contracts or put in tender applications, you will need to make sure your cleaning services business:

  • Is registered with the CIPC
  • Has a B-BBEE affidavit/certificate (necessary for government tenders)
  • Has a tax clearance certificate
  • Is registered for COID
  • Is registered with the National Contract Cleaning Association of South Africa (NCCA)
  • Is added to the Central Supplier Database (CSD) (for government tenders)

Starting a cleaning services business is a great way for anyone to become their own boss. With a well-planned idea, you can get your business off the ground relatively easily. Offer a good service, and there is endless room to grow and scale up your cleaning services. In South Africa, there is always a lot of demand for this.

Looking for more low-cost business ideas? Consider starting a candle-making business.

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