The world can be a dirty place! But in every mess, there’s an opportunity to clean up — both literally and figuratively.
That’s why cleaning businesses are in-demand — and why smart entrepreneurs are cashing in on that trend.
In this post, I’ll share my top cleaning business ideas that you can use a starting point for your new venture.
I chose these based on:
- Interviews with real cleaning business entrepreneurs
- Industry growth and profit potential
- Startup costs and risks involved
Ready? Let’s do it!
1. Parking Lot Cleaning
Brian Winch began picking up litter in parking lots back in the early 1980s before heading off to work.
Within a few months, he’d turned it into a full-time business. Today, it’s a $600k+ per year operation!
And it makes a great side hustle since the work needs to be done in the early morning hours or after businesses close at night.
2. Commercial Cleaning
Commercial cleaning businesses have minimal startup costs and charge anywhere from $25-100 an hour, depending on location and complexity of the work.
Customers and employees have an expectation of cleanliness so this is considered an essential service in most retail and commercial settings.
On The Side Hustle Show, Haley Gallagher reported earning over $170k in revenue in her first year in business!
3. Gutter Cleaning
Jimmy Moncrief from Chattanooga Gutter Cleaning started his gutter-cleaning business when he heard people complaining about how they couldn’t get anyone to come to fix the gutters on their house.
Since Jimmy already owned the necessary tools to get the job done, he said he could do it and has created a business around gutters.
He has been making $1,000 – $2,000 a month and has been able to grow his business with referrals and Google Reviews. He has also started setting up some of his customers on a recurring plan for his services.
This is a great low-cost cleaning business idea if you already have the tools and know-how to hang and clean gutters.
4. Window Cleaning
Window-washing is another great low-cost business opportunity. Window cleaning can be done on your own timeline and like some of the other business ideas mentioned can be done on both residential and commercial properties.
There are a couple of different ways you can charge: by pane, by the window, or by the hour. When I spoke with Johnny Robinson, co-founder of Orange Window Cleaning, he described flat-rate pricing of $15.75 per window.
For most providers, the hourly rate works out to be in the $40-$75 dollar range.
5. Headlight Cleaning
With a few dollars in materials and a little elbow grease, you can make some money cleaning headlights on cars.
To start, target office buildings with lots of cars in the parking lot. See if you can advertise the service with a flyer at the front desk or run a special for employees who work there.
6. BBQ Cleaning
When he was just 16, Jacob Shaidle had the idea to start cleaning BBQs around his neighborhood. He began by knocking on doors, and as you might expect, faced a ton of rejection.
Still, he persevered and sold $12,000 worth of work his first year, and $16,000 in 2022.
Not bad for a teenage business with super low overhead!
7. Power Washing
Pressure washing is a simple, low overhead side hustle that’s just plain satisfying to do!
Scott Anderson reported earning $3,000+ per month washing houses part time, and was able to recoup a good chunk of his equipment costs on the very first job.
To get customers, you can advertise online or put up flyers around your neighborhood.
8. Home Cleaning
Some reports show the residential cleaning industry is growing by 20% a year!
And you may not even need to do the cleaning yourself. Anthony and Jhanilka Hartzog have an interesting business model in which they contract with local professional cleaners to help them fill up their schedules.
They’re essentially playing matchmaker — marketing for customers and connecting them with qualified cleaners — and earning 40% of every job. When we spoke, they were doing $20-25k a month in bookings, and have grown significantly since then.
9. Car Washing
A mobile detailing business can be a great cleaning business idea, especially if you’re a “car guy.” Not only can you choose your own hours and work around other commitments, but the job itself is simple yet rewarding.
With the right set-up and some basic knowledge of car care, anyone can get started in this side hustle.
Typical rates are $200-400 per car, and you can stack 2-3 jobs up on a Saturday and make pretty good money. For example, Josh Belk reported earning up to $6,000 a month with the detailing business he started with his brother.
10. Short Term Rentals
With Airbnb and VRBO powering the short-term rental market, there’s been a huge spike in demand for quick-turn cleaning services.
Guests expect a spotless hotel-like experience, and sometimes you only have a few hours between check-out and check-in.
Because of the narrow timing window and “it’s gotta happen now!” race against the clock, short-term rental cleaning services can command premium rates. This cleaning business idea can work in just about any market, but may be easier to start in popular tourist destinations.
11. Pool Cleaning
Many homeowners have pools that need regular cleaning and maintenance during the summer months. This can be a a great side hustle because:
- Each pool doesn’t take a ton of time
- It needs to happen regularly, which means recurring revenue
The average pool maintenance cost is $180 per month. Build a roster of clients around town and knock out the jobs on a weekday evening.
12. Carpet Cleaning
Carpet cleaning is a great in-demand service you can start. Starting a carpet cleaning business will require you to have access to a carpet cleaning machine, whether you own or rent, and cleaning solutions as well.
There are a number of different ways to clean a carpet so you can pick the option or options that work best for you and are in demand in your area.
A carpet cleaning business has the potential to earn between $75,000 – $100,000 a year.
13. Dryer Duct Cleaning
With a dryer duct cleaning service, you’re preventing fires and promoting peace of mind.
Nationwide, the service costs an average of $139 and you can sign customers up on an annual or bi-annual plan.
14. Tile Grout Cleaning
Did you know that people will pay to have their grout and tile cleaned in their homes and businesses?
If you like to clean already, this can be a great business idea.
You can easily find the best ways to clean and protect the grout from YouTube and other home improvement sites, gather the supplies needed, and start marketing your new business.
According to HomeAdvisor, pros charge between $30-$50 an hour. Even if it does take you a little time to learn how to do it correctly, that is a nice upside.
15. Pet Cleaning and Grooming
I’ve seen several mobile pet grooming vans around our neighborhood. This could be a good cleaning business idea if you love animals — and can make them love you during a chore they probably don’t enjoy.
Typical rates range from $50-110, depending on the scope of services included.
16. Pet Waste Removal
In Michigan, Erica Krupin turned the poop-scooping chore into a thriving pet waste removal business. She relied on some savvy social media and local marketing to build a roster of 80+ customers.
When we spoke, she estimated earning around $50 an hour for the work!
Obviously, it’s not the most glamorous gig in the world, but it is one that’s well-suited for recurring revenue. Set customers up on a weekly payment plan and keep people’s yards clean.
17. Junk Clear Outs
Alternatively, you could join LoadUp, the nation’s largest network of independent junk removal contractors.
Loaders for LoadUp earn an average payout of between $55 and $200 per trip and up to $2,000 per week.
18. Home Organization
Marie Kondo fan? Love The Home Edit?
You could turn your love of decluttering and organizing into a home organization business.
For example, Leah Rowan of Philadelphia created a profile on Thumbtack and began responding to customer inquiries for organizing work. Two years later, she reported earning $65 an hour and up to $4,000 a month!
19. Estate Sale Service
I connected with a Side Hustle Show listener who specializes in estate sales. He reaches out to local realtors getting ready to list a property.
Realtors have a vested interest in getting inventory and items cleared out of houses so they can get them staged and sold to collect their own paycheck!
The estate sale organizer will take 25% of everything that sells, and they typically enlist the help of some online auction networks to reach a wider audience of buyers. He even mentioned tacking on a 15% fee to the buyer.
So, if there’s a $100 item, the estate sale organizer will earn $25 from the seller and the buyer will end up paying $115 for it after the buyer fee. The organizer would earn $40 in total.
Now, this side hustle does take a lot of work in terms of organizing the inventory and prepping it for sale, but you can see how it can pay off pretty nicely if a house has $10,000-20,000 worth of stuff in it.
20. Laundry Service
Laurie Fulford, a South Carolina mom of 2 young kids, is making around $30,000 a year simply by washing laundry.
She’s a personal launderer on Poplin, a nationwide on-demand laundry delivery service.
The company is relatively new, so there might be an opportunity to jump in as it grows.
21. Yard Service
As a side hustle in high school, a friend and I got paid to help clean up a neighbor’s overgrown yard.
We hacked back weeds, cut the grass, and trimmed the jungle-like plants back to something a little more manageable. It was hard work, but rewarding.
Today, services like GreenPal help connect yard cleaning business owners with customers who need their help. According to the site, the average rate is around $55 an hour.
22. Trash Bin Cleaning
Dustin Riechmann’s 15- and 9-year old ended up making almost $850 combined — or roughly $25 an hour! — cleaning out garbage and recycling bins around their neighborhood.
The business started with some strategically placed flyers and a post in the local Facebook group. With limited startup costs, the duo charged $15 for one can, or $25 for two, and ended up with a couple dozen customers.
One interesting thing they found was that several customers also gave them tips and other odd jobs along the way. Dustin created this short video sharing how it all worked:
23. RV and Boat Cleaning
The worst part of any RV or boat trip? Cleaning up afterward!
Take this pain away for RV and owners by offering to clean both interiors and exteriors of these vehicles. Because it’s such a niche service, you likely won’t have much competition in Google either.
Plus, larger vehicles mean larger average job values.
24. Solar Panel Cleaning
Solar panels are supposed to be cleaned every 6-12 months to maintain peak performance. No wonder Mark Whatney spent so much time doing just that in The Martian!
Residential solar panel cleaning typically costs $150-330, depending on the size and accessibility of the roof. But the bigger money is probably in commercial solar panel cleaning for big chains, which can command $10,000 an up per location!
Cleaning Business Ideas: Your Turn
What cleaning business idea makes the most sense for you?
The answer will depend on:
- Your interests and goals
- The time you have to dedicate to it
- Competition in your local area
Starting a cleaning business can be a relatively quick and lucrative way to make extra money. Plus, you can bring on additional help to serve more customers and scale the business as you grow.
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