How To Start a Cleaning Business in California

When wondering how to start a cleaning business in California, it can seem like a labyrinth of forms and regulations. We know the feeling. We’ve been there too. You’ll need licenses such as a business license, fire code permits, and hazardous materials disclosure, among others, to operate legally. 

Don’t worry! This comprehensive guide will break down all the steps involved—from choosing your company structure to obtaining necessary permits and everything in between. Ready? Let’s get your cleaning business up and running!

Legal and Financial Considerations for Starting a Cleaning Business in California

When considering how to start a cleaning business in California, it is important to consider the legal and financial aspects of setting up your company.

how to start a cleaning business in california

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Selecting the appropriate business entity is crucial to your cleaning business’s success. This decision affects the amount of paperwork you will handle, tax obligations, and personal liability protection.

You can structure your business as a sole proprietorship as a simple option. Or a partnership would be more suitable if you’re forming the venture with others. For those seeking liability protection while enjoying simplicity, consider establishing an LLC (Limited Liability Company).

Lastly, if safeguarding personal assets is paramount, and you are okay with handling extensive paperwork, setting up as a corporation could be optimal for you. Consultation with professionals like attorneys or accountants is beneficial to understand these legal structures’ implications fully and settle on what best suits your situation.

Understanding Licensing Requirements

We’ll dive right into the complexities of understanding licensing requirements. First, knowing that California does not enforce a state-wide license for starting a cleaning business is vital.

However, many cities and counties within the state have set their specific regulations.

The next step is to obtain a State California Department of Public Health license. This rule applies across the board—whether you’re an individual proprietor or running a partnership firm.

Navigating this permitting process may seem daunting, but compliance with these government regulations is non-negotiable for lawful operation. The key here lies in thorough research about local laws and staying diligent about your legal obligations as a business owner.

Applying for an EIN

Securing an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a key legal and financial step in starting your cleaning business in California. This unique nine-digit code issued by the IRS identifies businesses for tax purposes.

It’s crucial to note that even sole proprietors operating a cleaning business need an EIN. The entire application is simple, as the IRS offers free online services where you can apply for this number.

Besides aiding in tax identification, having an EIN also enables your business to open bank accounts and hire employees legally—vital aspects of successfully running an enterprise, including a cleaning one!

Registering Your Business With the State

To legally operate a cleaning business in California, you must register your business with the state. While there is no state-wide licensing requirement for cleaners, some cities and counties may have their regulations.

Additionally, all cleaners, including sole proprietors, must obtain a license from the State of California Department of Public Health. Depending on the location and specific regulations, individuals may also need a permit to clean houses.

For commercial cleaning businesses, specific licenses and permits may be required. The decision to form an LLC for your cleaning business will depend on your circumstances.

Obtaining Business Insurance

Obtaining business insurance is crucial when starting a cleaning business in California. It provides essential coverage to protect your business from unexpected expenses and liability issues.

General liability insurance is commonly purchased by janitors and maids in California, as it helps cover costs related to accidents or damage that may occur during cleaning jobs. This type of insurance offers financial protection against property damage, bodily injury, and advertising injury claims.

By obtaining the right insurance coverage for your cleaning business, you can effectively manage risks and ensure that you have the necessary liability protection while operating within the regulations set by California.

Steps To Start a Cleaning Business in California

To start a cleaning business in California, you must follow several steps, including registering your business name, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, considering health and safety regulations, implementing effective advertising and marketing strategies, and hiring employees.

cleaning business

Business Name Registration

Business name registration is crucial when starting a cleaning business in California. You must file the necessary company formation paperwork to register your business name.

Choosing the right business entity for your cleaning business is important before registering the name. Remember that California cities and counties may have specific requirements for business name registration.

While there is no state-wide licensing requirement for this process, following local guidelines and completing the necessary paperwork for your business name registration is essential.

Business License Requirements

Understanding the business license requirements is important before starting a cleaning business in California. While there is no state-wide licensing requirement, some cities and counties may have their regulations.

In addition, all cleaners in California must obtain a license from the State California Department of Public Health. Getting any necessary licenses or permits is crucial in starting your cleaning business.

Remember that the cost of obtaining a cleaning business license can vary depending on your location within California.

Health and Safety Considerations

Ensuring employees’ and clients’ health and safety is crucial when starting a cleaning business in California. You must comply with occupational safety regulations, adhere to sanitation guidelines, and address workplace hazards.

Your team should receive thorough training on cleaning protocols to minimize risks. Additionally, obtaining liability insurance will protect you in case of accidents or damage.

It’s important to meet regulatory requirements, such as acquiring janitorial permits and licenses, while monitoring associated fees and costs. By prioritizing health and safety considerations from the start, we can establish a strong foundation for our cleaning business in California.

Advertising and Marketing Strategies

It is crucial to implement effective advertising and marketing strategies to ensure the success of your cleaning business in California. One important tactic is to rely on customer referrals, as word-of-mouth recommendations are often the most powerful way to gain new customers.

Additionally, using digital marketing platforms can greatly expand your reach and visibility. Conducting market research will help you understand your target audience’s needs and preferences, allowing you to tailor your advertising efforts accordingly.

Establishing operational efficiency and competitive pricing is essential to attract potential clients. Customer relationship management techniques will help build strong relationships with existing customers, encouraging repeat business and positive reviews.

Hiring Employees

We understand that hiring employees is important in starting a cleaning business. In California, many cleaning businesses have employees, and turnover can happen quite often.

It’s crucial for cleaning business owners to familiarize themselves with basic employment law to ensure they comply with regulations. Once all the necessary paperwork is in order, such as obtaining an EIN and registering the business with the state, cleaning business owners can start looking for suitable candidates.

Before hiring employees, it’s essential to conduct market research and get organized to know what skills and qualifications are needed. Recruitment strategies like posting job ads and conducting interviews can help find qualified individuals who fit well within your organization.

Employment contracts should be prepared to outline expectations clearly. Training programs can also aid in employee development to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills for the job.

Key Facts:

  1. Most cleaning businesses in California have employees, and turnover can be relatively frequent.
  2. Cleaning business owners in California need to familiarize themselves with basic employment law.

Additional Resources for Starting a Cleaning Business

Here are some other resources that can help you in starting your cleaning business:

  • The Office of Small Business in San Francisco provides valuable information on starting a cleaning business in the city.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers resources and guidance for entrepreneurs starting janitorial businesses.
  • SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free mentorship and workshops for small businesses, including those in the cleaning industry.
  • Cleaning Business Academy offers online courses and training programs specifically tailored for individuals interested in creating a successful cleaning service.
  • National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) provides resources and support for residential property management companies, often requiring professional cleaning services.

When starting your cleaning business, use these resources to gain important insights about legal requirements, financial considerations, marketing strategies, and more.


Starting a cleaning business in California requires careful planning and consideration of legal requirements, licensing, financing, and marketing strategies. 

You can successfully establish your cleaning business in California by selecting the right business structure, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, creating a range of services, and implementing effective advertising techniques.

Develop a strong contractual agreement with clients to protect your interests as you grow your business. Now you know everything about how to start a cleaning business in California.