Running a professional house cleaning service is a good way to make money doing what you love - cleaning. However, some requirements must be met if you are going to successfully and legally run this kind of business. For starters, you might think about getting a house cleaning license.

Do You Need a House Cleaning License?

Do you need a house cleaning license to clean houses around your neighborhood?

Yes, and no!

The answer to this question is a little complicated simply because it depends on what kind of cleaning you want to do.

If you are simply going to be making a little money on the side cleaning houses for friends and family, then no, you don't necessarily need a cleaning license for that at all.

Regardless of how many homes you clean per week, the parameters remain simple: you are helping out friends and family.

However, if you intend to do this professionally: hire a few helping hands, market to local businesses and maybe even take on specific cleaning courses such as Cleaning Certificate for Vacation Rental Housekeepers to improve your profile and set you apart as an expert, then yes, you will need to get a house cleaning license.

This is because what you will be doing will be technically considered a business, and that comes with a lot of requirements in different states. You will no longer be dealing with your aunt or best friend from school but other people's homes and businesses.

What Kind of House Cleaning License Do I Need?

This entirely depends on where you live. Some states only require a general business license. In contrast, others will demand a specific cleaning license issued by a specific branch of either the state's local government or by your County government. In some cases, you might only need a service contractor's license.

One of the best ways to know what you need in terms of licenses is to talk to someone at your local Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration office, or your country/town clerk.

Why Can't I Just Clean for Cash?

You might be thinking to yourself that your customers will mostly be friends and family and friends of the family, which essentially makes them people you might know. As such, if you can head down the road and clean your mom's house for cash without needing a license, then why would you need one to expand the scope of your cleaning escapades?

The idea is simple enough: the bigger your house cleaning clientele list grows, the higher the risk you are exposed to as an individual and an entity. Say, for example, you have about 10 clients who are all friends and family.

Through this list of clients, you make at least $1,000 a week. The more satisfied these clients are, the more they will refer you to their friends who will then probably join the fold. Before you know it, you have 20 customers, all relying on you to clean their homes at least once a week.

This is too big of a stretch. The logical thing to do is to hire a helping hand. Someone who will take on some of those cleaning duties to help you out. All of a sudden, you have a business that has more than one employee, makes about $2,000 a week, and has a clientele list that is growing both in size and demands.

What this then means is that you:

  • Will have to start declaring your income to the IRS. Failing to do so will lead to penalties and even possible jail term.
  • Get a health and safety certification as well as licensing since some of your clients might require you to use toxic or hazardous materials to meet their needs.
  • Are now liable for the livelihood of at least one other person, and that calls for business insurance to protect yourself, the employee, and the client's property from any potential harm or lawsuits.

As you can see, you are quite essentially running a business now, and that will call for some kind of licensing. That is unless you only intend to be cleaning one house for the entirety of your cleaning career.

Do I Really Need Housecleaning Insurance and Bonding?

As soon as we wade into the cleaning business territorial waters, there are a lot of other requirements that come with that venture. Some of the most important requirements would be insurance and bonding. Here are a few things you need to know:

General liability insurance

This could come in handy and is often a requirement for most small businesses. It goes towards protecting you from lawsuits stemming from property loss or damage of any kind during the course of your cleaning their house.

Workers' compensation insurance

If you have at least one employee other than yourself, then you might consider getting a workers' compensation insurance. In fact, it's required in most states. This helps your business cater to your worker's medical bills as well as provide reimbursement for lost wages should they get injured on the job.

License and permit bonds

Your local government will most likely require these. It's a means through which they protect themselves from potential lawsuits brought on by your customers if they find your cleaning services either unsatisfactory or even harmful to their health.

Should you decide to expand your business into janitorial services, then you will probably need surety or janitorial bonds that reimburse your clients should your janitorial business fail to deliver the services as promised or one of your employees get accused of theft.

The trick here is to first have a chat with your local small business administration office to find out whether or not you need a house cleaning license in your location.

In the process, you should also look to find out what other kinds of insurance covers and bonds you need to ensure that you are fully protected and in keeping with the law before you start cleaning any houses commercially.