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Figuring out how to run a successful cleaning business takes more work now than ever before. But the secrets to success aren’t hard to find.

When you think about how to run a successful cleaning business, there are a few things that probably come to mind first. You know you have to develop a client base, you have to provide quality work, and you need to keep up with your administrative tasks like billing. You also know the world has changed a lot since 2020 rolled through like a post-destruction-by-aliens scene in Independence Day

So how much have things changed? Does anyone know how to run a successful cleaning business now? There is some good news here. Most of the “secrets” for success in business aren’t too hidden. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. We all know challenges can arise seemingly out of nowhere. Customers’ businesses close, employees don’t show up, and there’s always competition. And let’s be real; running any business is hard work. Then, of course, the chaos around COVID-19, shutdowns, and new guidelines were not always very easy to keep up with. Though no one wants to think about it right now, we will undoubtedly see another pandemic at some point, though hopefully not as terrible as this one. If nothing else, we still have to contend with the seasonal flu.

The lessons we’ve learned and the steps so many janitorial businesses continue to take to keep up with the science, do great work, keep clients safe, and show up day after day are sure to follow us into the future. 

But what’s different now?


Keep your COVID-19 safety practices up to date and readily available with Janitorial Manager’s cleaning management software. Sign up for a free demo to learn more about how we can help keep your staff safe.


how to run a successful cleaning business

How to run a successful cleaning business when the rules keep changing

If you know the basics of how to run a successful cleaning business, you’re off to a good start. Though there have been some significant changes in how commercial cleaners approach their work, the basics are the same. Excellent customer service and high-quality work are essential. You need to be organized and efficient. And you need a good marketing plan

These are the things any business needs to succeed. That was true ten years ago, and it will be true for ten years in the future. Now, however, we’re living in a different world. That’s probably clear from your customers. 

Many of them expect you to be not just a cleaning company, but an expert on viruses. More than ever, they’re asking what products you use, how you perform your duties, what safeguards you have in place so nothing gets missed, and what precautions you take to protect your customers. 

So let’s look at how to run a successful cleaning business well into the future, whether we’re dealing with the common cold, a contagious virus, or understandably anxious clients. 

Transparency is key. Be as open and honest with your clients as possible. If you specialize in a particular area of cleaning, share your protocols with current and potential clients. Explain, in detail, what you do and why. If you use electrostatic sprayers, share why. List any cleaning products you use and share if they are EPA-certified as effective against viruses. Be clear about things like your bonding insurance. The takeaway here is that you want to give potential clients the information they need and want without them having to dig for it.

List your products. Of course, you may change what you use depending on availability, but in general, list the products you use in your business. More specifically, point out why you use them. You may find them to be particularly useful, or maybe you exclusively use Green Seal-certified cleaning products. Again, though, in our new world, your customers want to know that what you use is effective against contagions. 

Offer one-time cleanings. Not everyone wants to contract with a commercial cleaning company, but they may want an expert to come in for a one-time cleaning. This might not be feasible, depending on your workload and schedule, but if you have space, one-time cleanings could be an excellent way to bring in some extra revenue. And you can charge a premium for these services.

Offer deep cleanings. Since the early days of COVID-19, deep cleaning has been high on the list of customer requests. Like one-time cleanings, you can charge a premium here. Be sure, however, if you’re working in hazardous conditions or with contagious viruses, that you’re clear on the science. Remember, the safety of your team and your clients is far more important than a few extra dollars in your business bank account. 

Expand your services. If you have the capabilities, add-on services are a fantastic way to increase revenue with little extra effort on your part. This could be anything from changing HVAC filters to light landscape maintenance to even some plumbing or painting. It depends on what skills your team has, what you’re comfortable with, and, of course, local regulations. 

Get more organized than you already are. This one’s a bit of self-promotion, but even if you don’t use Janitorial Manager for your business, do look at janitorial software to make things like scheduling, proposals, and client communication more manageable and more efficient. Janitorial Manager is a secure, cloud-based tool that takes the guesswork out of figuring out how to run a successful cleaning business. From inventory management to time tracking to on-the-spot proposals to a custom janitorial inspection app, this is a software developed by janitors for janitors.

The fact is, all of these steps are good business practices that will help you succeed. And there are always a few things you can count on in operating a commercial cleaning business. Excellent customer service is essential. Good organization is critical. And we’re here to help you stay on top of it all. 


Save time and money with Janitorial Manager. Learn about inventory management, on-site inspections, real-time communications with employees and customers, and so much more by signing up for a free demo!