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9 Popular Types of Cleaning Services You Can Offer

Types of Cleaning ServicesTypes of Cleaning Services
min read
August 21, 2023

When it comes to what type of cleaning business to start, you've got options—most of which have the potential to be hugely profitable. 

In fact, the cleaning industry has grown 6.6% every year since 2011

But what's the right type of cleaning service for you? Whether you're looking to launch a large-scale commercial cleaning operation or go after a more niche market, like carpet or window cleaning, let's take a look at everything you need to know about the different types of cleaning services.

The Different Types of Cleaning Services

As mentioned, there are a number of different types of cleaning services—all of which have the potential to drive serious revenue. Some cleaning services you can consider offering include:

1. Commercial Cleaning Services

Average income: $70,000 per year

Commercial cleaning is a broad term that covers services across a wide range of industries—think hotels, schools, restaurants, retail shops, or medical buildings. Depending on the property type, commercial cleaning can become quite specialized (for example, restaurant kitchen cleaning or medical cleanup)—and since these are typically larger jobs, you'll likely need a crew of people to help. 

Commercial cleaning can take place during or after a business's working hours. For example, if you're providing services for a hair salon, you probably won't be able to work until all of their clients have wrapped up for the day—while if you're cleaning a school or office, you can probably tackle the job during business hours.

If you plan on targeting a specific sector of the commercial cleaning industry, you may need specialized equipment (for example, an industrial vacuum or medical-grade disinfectant), which can get expensive. 

You'll also need a way to transport equipment, cleaning materials, and, in some cases, your staff, to each job site. And since you're being contracted by businesses, you may need to purchase business insurance and/or secure certain business licenses before you can start working. 

Bonus tip: If you're hiring a team to support your commercial cleaning business, you'll need to keep track of their hours and get them paid—and you'll also need to make sure their workers' compensation insurance is taken care of. Hourly combines time-tracking, payroll, and workers' compensation in one easy-to-use platform—so managing and paying your employees is a breeze.

As mentioned, with commercial cleaning, you can expect to earn around $70,000 per year once you've secured a few clients. This amount can quickly increase depending on the number of employees you have and the number of jobs you can take on.

Right For You If…

You have serious growth goals. Many commercial jobs happen on a larger scale than office or residential cleaning but require mostly the same skill set. If you're looking for contract work, commercial cleaning is a great option for that kind of stability. 

2. Office Cleaning Services

Average income: $70,000 per year

Like commercial businesses, office spaces come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You could be cleaning a 12-person office or one that seats 200 people. Depending on the size of the office, you'll likely need a crew to help you tackle all the cleaning tasks—like deep cleaning carpets, wiping down restrooms, or washing windows.

Most offices operate during daytime hours (for example, a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule), so if you're offering office cleaning services, you'll likely need to tackle jobs after employees head home for the day. 

Also, because you're working in a commercial-type setting, you'll likely need heavier-duty cleaning supplies (and more of them!) than you would for residential cleaning—which means you'll need more capital to get your business off the ground.

Also similar to commercial cleaning, when working in office buildings, you may need to purchase business insurance and/or get the right licensing before you can start working. But that paperwork will be worth it—as office buildings make up the largest segment of commercial contracts in the cleaning industry.

Right For You If…

You're looking for a 'moonlighting' job. Much office cleaning happens when employees go home, so if you're not able to work daytime hours or want to pick up some extra evening work, consider starting an office cleaning company.

3. Janitorial Cleaning Services

Average income: $30,000 per year

When it comes to actual services, janitorial cleaning is similar to commercial and office cleaning. It just happens more regularly—generally on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the building type.  

This type of service is less about deep cleaning and more about maintenance and surface-level cleaning of offices, schools, and other businesses—and includes tasks like taking out the trash, mopping and vacuuming, changing light bulbs, and refilling toilet paper dispensers. 

Generally, you don't need any specialized equipment or training to perform janitorial services—and, as such, there usually aren't any major costs involved in getting started. 

Janitorial cleaning isn't the most profitable type of cleaning service, but you can still earn a steady income when you have consistent clients—and as you hire a team of janitors and expand your business, that income potential can increase.

Like commercial and office cleaning, you'll need to get some paperwork out of the way. Research insurance options and contact your local city hall for a vendor's license and/or any other applicable license. 

Right For You If…

You want to keep things simple—or if you want to offer an additional service to your commercial cleaning company clients. 

4. Residential & House Cleaning Services

Average income: $50,000 to $70,000 per year

Residential cleaning is one of the most straightforward, popular types of cleaning services—you (and, in certain situations, your crew) will clean the customer's home from top to bottom, often during the day when the residents are at work. 

People hire residential cleaners for a number of reasons. Maybe they have extremely busy schedules and don't have the time or energy to clean their home regularly—so instead they hire a maid service or cleaner to come in on a regular basis, like weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. 

Smaller homes or homes that require less maintenance could be one-person cleaning jobs, but larger residences might require a team to get through all the cleaning tasks in a timely manner. Consider the square footage of the home, as well as the number of rooms and bathrooms, when deciding if you need help.

For residential cleaning, you don't need a big crew or much capital to get started—you can use most of your own supplies since you don't need heavy-duty commercial equipment. And since 80% of households are expected to use home cleaning services/house cleaners by 2024, it's a great time to break into the market.

As a one-person residential cleaning operation, your average earning potential is around $56,000 per year.

Right For You If…

You want to get into the cleaning industry without a ton of risk. Because there are low overhead costs, it's relatively risk-free to start a residential cleaning company, and there's enormous potential for growth.

5. Deep Cleaning Services

Average income: Additional $50 to $75 per hour 

A deep cleaning service is a popular option for residential house cleaning and typically includes those less frequently done tasks—like replacing air filters, cleaning blinds, wiping down light fixtures, and dusting ceiling fans—in addition to the full standard cleaning service. Commercial clients may also opt for periodic deep cleaning.

Deep cleaning is a more time-consuming, in-depth clean—and, as such, you can charge more than you would for a regular cleaning service. 

You can use almost all of the same supplies you would for a regular house cleaning, so start-up costs for opening a deep cleaning business are relatively low. And while you may be able to tackle smaller deep cleans on your own, if you're cleaning a larger space, you'll likely need one or more employees to help you get the job done.

Right For You If…

You're looking for an add-on to your existing commercial or residential cleaning business. 

6. Green Cleaning Services

Average income: Additional $5 to $10 per hour 

Green cleaning services are any service that utilizes environmentally friendly products and/or sustainable practices. In addition to being better for the planet, many customers are drawn to green cleaning companies—and willing to pay more for them—because they align with their values.

If you're going to market yourself as a green cleaning company, you'll need to invest in sustainable cleaning products and equipment, which means you'll need more capital to start—but since you can charge more for green services, that will help make up for the added start-up costs. You'll also want to get a Green Cleaning Masters Certification in order to market yourself as a green cleaning business.

Right For You If…

You're an environmentally conscious person and want that to reflect in your business—or if you live in an area where potential clients want to work with green companies.

7. Carpet Cleaning Services

Average income: $50,000 to $70,000 per year 

If you decide to specialize in carpet cleaning, a traditional vacuum cleaner just isn't going to cut it. You'll need to invest in professional equipment like a dry or steam carpet cleaner. This type of cleaning equipment can get expensive (for example, a commercial-grade carpet cleaning extractor can run upwards of $2,000), so be prepared to make an initial investment in your new business. 

In terms of income potential, carpet cleaning is a great sector of the industry to get into. In fact, it made up 32% of the global revenue share of contract cleaning services in 2022—and because the demand is so high, you can charge more for carpet and floor cleaning than for other niche services. 

Right For You If…

You want to hone your craft and specialize in a specific (and profitable!) type of cleaning and have money saved up to put towards starting a business.

8. Pressure Washing Services

Average income: $50,000 per year

Pressure washing involves using a super powerful stream of water from a power washer to clean carpets, buildings, fences, vehicles, driveways, and other (often exterior) surfaces. 

Pressure washing is another one of those specialized cleaning services that require an initial investment in high-cost equipment (like the pressure washer itself and a trailer to haul it)—but that investment can have a serious pay-off. 

For example, you can make as much as $700 for power washing just one house.

When starting your pressure washing business, you'll need to buy all the gear, as well as chemicals, permits, and insurance. Fortunately, pressure washing is typically a one-person job—so you can save on labor costs.

Right For You If…

You like to be outside and have the capital to buy a power washer—or you already have a cleaning business and want to offer additional services to your clients.

9. Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services

Average income: Approximately $83,000 per year but up to $250,000 for established businesses

Cleaning services extend beyond cleaning commercial and/or residential properties. For example, laundry and dry cleaning are part of the industry and are always in demand.

"Laundry" typically refers to washing clothes and linens with standard soaps and softeners, while "dry cleaning" is a more involved type of cleaning, often with stronger chemicals and a focus on stain removal. 

Both types of services require an initial investment to get started. Laundry services require equipment, like industrial washing and drying machines, as well as a location to perform the service (unless customers hire you to take care of laundry in their homes).

Meanwhile, dry cleaning requires both a storefront and specialty dry cleaning machines, as well as spot treatments, irons, steamers, and form finishers. 

Right For You If…

You're looking to work out of one location (instead of traveling from client to client).

Additional Types of Services

There are dozens of other services you might offer your clients, including a variety of niche/specialty opportunities—and oftentimes, the more niche a cleaning service, the more you can charge for it. 

Some additional cleaning types you may want to explore include:

  • Upholstery Cleaning 
  • Disinfection & Sanitization Services
  • Rental and Airbnb Cleaning 
  • Move-Out Cleaning/Move-In Cleaning
  • Window Cleaning 
  • Pest Control Cleaning 
  • Pool Cleaning 
  • Boat Cleaning 
  • Construction Site Cleaning
  • Car Cleaning 
  • Duct Cleaning 
  • Gutter Cleaning 
  • Commercial Kitchen Cleaning 
  • Spring Cleaning 
  • Junk Removal Cleaning 
  • Foreclosure Cleaning 

How to Determine Which Type of Cleaning Service is Best for You

Now that you have an idea of the different types of cleaning businesses and what they each entail, it's time to think more thoroughly about which type is best for you.

Assess your Financial Situation

Do you have money set aside to purchase equipment or lease a space? Or are you starting from scratch? 

Certain types of services, like residential cleaning, require standard cleaning supplies and equipment that you likely already own (or can even borrow from the house owner)—while other services, like specialty carpet cleaning and pressure washing, require costly equipment. 

Be realistic about how much money you have to put into the business—and then choose your service type accordingly.

Do Some Market Research

Before you decide what type of business to pursue, get to know your market and potential customers. Is there a surplus of residential home cleaners in your area? Or do new office buildings keep popping up—and, as such, have office cleaning needs? 

Pay attention to what's happening in your area by talking to your neighbors and browsing community boards like Nextdoor. This will give you an idea of what's missing and needed in the market—so you can fill that gap with your new cleaning business. 

Consider your Skills and Preferences

Maybe you have a knack for getting stains out of upholstery or enjoy the satisfaction of completing a deep clean. 

If there's a type of cleaning service you enjoy or excel at (or, ideally, both!), that's a great area to focus your business on. 


Which type of cleaning service is most profitable?

The most profitable types of cleaning services are residential and commercial cleaning; carpet cleaning; window cleaning; pressure washing; and pool cleaning. 

Is it profitable to run a cleaning service?

It can be! Generally, cleaning business owners make anywhere from $16,500 to $100,000+ a year—though the average is usually somewhere between $30,000 to $50,000

What are the 3 types of cleaning?

While there are a huge variety of cleaning services, each generally falls into one of three categories:

  1. Maintenance cleaning: Bi-weekly cleanings would fall into this category, along with any other cleaning tasks that are done regularly.
  2. Immediate cleaning: When we say "immediate," we mean the types of cleaning that need instant attention before things get worse. For example, a major carpet spill would warrant immediate cleaning from a floor cleaning company. 
  3. Remedial cleaning: The idea behind remedial cleaning is similar to deep cleaning—it's a more thorough clean than usual. You might encounter some remedial cleaning if you decide to offer move-out services, as the unit could have been neglected for a while.

What are the types of house cleaning?

When it comes to residential house cleaning, there are a few different types that you can offer clients, like a general clean, deep clean, or seasonal clean (like a spring clean), which targets the entire home—or something more specialized that focuses on one area and/or element of the property, like carpet/floor cleaning, window cleaning, or upholstery cleaning. 

You can also break down the types of house cleaning by frequency; for example, you might offer weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly types of house cleaning.

What is included in a general clean?

A general clean refers to a maintenance-type clean for either a residential or commercial property. If a client books you for a general clean, they're expecting you to complete a variety of cleaning tasks (and leave them with a clean house or office!), including:

  • Wipe down surfaces, including mirrors, countertops, appliances
  • Dust floors, knick-knacks, furniture, cobwebs
  • Scrub build-up and grime from sinks, tubs, showers, 
  • Disinfect toilets
  • Vacuum and mop floors
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Make beds
  • Generally tidy up

What tools and supplies do you need to start a cleaning business? 

To start a cleaning business, you'll need cleaning supplies (for example, mops, sponges, and cleaning solution) as well as any tools needed to complete the type of cleaning job you specialize in, like a pressure washer or industrial carpet cleaner). 

Get Ready to Start Cleaning

If you've been thinking of starting a cleaning business, understanding the different types of cleaning services you might offer—and how to determine which is the best for you—is a great place to start. 

And now that you understand the benefits of different types of cleaning services, you're armed with the information you need to determine what type of cleaning business you want to start—and make a solid profit as a result.  

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