How to Start a Garage Cleaning Business in 14 Steps (In-Depth Guide)

Updated: April 9, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Starting a garage cleaning business could be the perfect solution! The U.S. garage and storage organizing market reached $23.30 billion in 2022 and continues to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% from 2023 to 2033.


Imagine the satisfaction of helping homeowners declutter and organize their garages, transforming them from chaotic messes into functional spaces. By providing a valuable service that improves people’s lives, you can build a thriving business while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of being your boss.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to start a garage cleaning business. From understanding your target market to acquiring the necessary equipment and marketing your services, we’ll cover everything you need to know to succeed in a commercial cleaning business.

1. Conduct Garage Cleaning Market Research

Conducting thorough market research is crucial when starting a garage cleaning business. By analyzing the market size, target audience, competition, and trends, you can gain valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and position your business for success.


According to IBISWorld, the janitorial services industry, which includes garage cleaning, is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.3% to reach $73.0 billion by 2027. This growth can be attributed to factors such as increasing disposable income, a growing emphasis on cleanliness and organization, and a rising number of households.

While there may be established cleaning companies offering garage cleaning as part of their services, there is often room for specialized businesses that focus solely on garage organization and cleaning. To differentiate your garage cleaning business from competitors, consider offering additional services such as shelving installation.

When analyzing market trends, it’s evident that the demand for garage cleaning and organization services is influenced by factors such as real estate trends, consumer spending habits, and the increasing popularity of home improvement projects.

By understanding these market dynamics and trends, you can tailor your garage cleaning business to meet the evolving needs of homeowners and capitalize on the growing demand for professional organization services. Focus on providing exceptional customer service, utilizing eco-friendly cleaning products.

2. Analyze the Competition

Analyzing the competition is a critical step when starting a garage cleaning business. To gain a competitive edge, you must understand your rivals’ strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. Begin by identifying your direct competitors, including both local cleaning companies and specialized garage cleaning services.


Visit their websites and social media profiles to gather information on their services, pricing, and marketing strategies. Take note of their unique selling propositions (USPs) and how they differentiate themselves in the market.

Analyze their online presence and customer engagement. Evaluate their search engine rankings for relevant keywords using tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs, and assess the quality and quantity of their customer reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook.

If applicable, visit your competitors’ physical locations to observe their operations, customer service, and overall presentation. Take note of their pricing, promotions, and any additional services they offer.

Analyze your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and identify gaps in the market that your garage cleaning business can fill. Consider offering unique services, such as eco-friendly cleaning or storage solution consultation, to differentiate yourself from the competition.

3. Costs to Start a Garage Cleaning Business

As you start a cleaning business, you’ll need to do some careful planning and budgeting to ensure its success. While the initial investment may seem daunting, understanding the startup and ongoing costs can help you make informed decisions and allocate your resources effectively.

Startup Costs

  • Business registration and licenses: Depending on your location, you may need to register your business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. These costs can range from $100 to $500, depending on your state and local requirements.
  • Equipment and supplies: Investing in high-quality cleaning equipment and supplies is crucial for delivering exceptional service. Essential items include pressure washers ($500-$2,000), vacuum cleaners ($200-$1,000), cleaning chemicals ($200-$500), and protective gear ($100-$300).
  • Vehicle and transportation: If you don’t already have a suitable vehicle for your garage cleaning business, consider purchasing a used van or truck ($10,000-$30,000). Alternatively, you can lease a vehicle for around $300 to $800 per month.
  • Insurance: Protecting your business with the right insurance policies is essential. General liability insurance can cost between $500 and $2,000 annually, while workers’ compensation insurance (if you have employees) can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per year.
  • Marketing and advertising: Allocate funds for creating a website ($500-$2,000), designing business cards and flyers ($100-$500), and running initial marketing campaigns (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads) to attract customers ($500-$2,000).

Total startup costs: Approximately $13,400 to $43,600

Ongoing Costs

  • Rent and utilities: If you decide to operate from a physical location, rent can vary greatly depending on your area and the size of the space. Budget around $1,000 to $3,000 per month for rent and utilities.
  • Employee salaries: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees. The average hourly wage for a cleaning professional ranges from $12 to $20 per hour. Factor in additional costs for employee benefits, payroll taxes, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Equipment maintenance and replacement: Set aside funds for regular maintenance and replacement of your cleaning equipment. Annual maintenance costs can range from $500 to $1,500, while replacement costs will depend on the lifespan of your equipment.
  • Vehicle expenses: Ongoing vehicle expenses include fuel ($200-$500 per month), maintenance ($100-$300 per month), and insurance ($100-$300 per month).
  • Supplies and cleaning solutions: Budget for replenishing cleaning supplies and solutions regularly. Monthly costs can range from $200 to $500, depending on your business volume.
  • Marketing and advertising: Maintain a consistent marketing budget to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Allocate around $500 to $2,000 per month for ongoing marketing efforts, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and email campaigns.
  • Business insurance: In addition to the annual costs mentioned in the startup section, budget for other necessary insurance policies, such as commercial auto insurance ($1,000-$2,000 annually) and professional liability insurance ($500-$1,000 annually).
  • Administrative expenses: Set aside funds for ongoing administrative costs, such as bookkeeping and accounting services ($200-$500 per month), office supplies ($50-$100 per month), and telephone and internet services ($100-$300 per month).

Total ongoing costs to maintain a cleaning company: Approximately $4,450 to $12,700 per month

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting a garage cleaning business, choosing the right legal entity is crucial for protecting your assets, minimizing liability, and setting the foundation for future growth. There are four main types of business entities to consider: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and Corporation.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common business structure for single-owner businesses. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your garage cleaning business, and all profits are yours. However, you are also personally responsible for all debts and liabilities incurred by the business.


A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship but involves two or more owners. In a garage cleaning business, partners share responsibilities, profits, and losses. Partnerships can be general (equal division of liabilities) or limited (some partners have limited liability). A partnership is easy and inexpensive to establish.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a popular choice for small businesses, including garage cleaning ventures. It offers personal liability protection, flexible management structures, and tax benefits. The pros of an LLC include personal liability protection for owners (members), and a flexible management structure (member-managed or manager-managed).


A corporation is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. While less common for small garage cleaning businesses, it offers the most robust personal liability protection and the ability to raise capital through the sale of stock. Corporations can be C-corporations (taxed separately) or S-corporations (pass-through taxation).

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate legal structure for your garage cleaning business, the next crucial step is to register your business for taxes. This process involves obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and setting up your state tax accounts.

An EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify your business for tax purposes. It functions similarly to a Social Security number for individuals.

Fortunately, applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website. To begin, visit the IRS EIN application page and click on the “Apply Online Now” button. The application process consists of several steps:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Ensure that you have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or existing EIN) and that your business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories.
  2. Provide your business information: Enter your legal business name, trade name (if applicable), and address. Select the appropriate legal structure (e.g., LLC) and confirm your state of formation.
  3. Answer additional questions: Provide information about your business activities, the reason for applying for an EIN, and the date you started or acquired your business.
  4. Receive your EIN: Upon completion of the application, you will receive your EIN immediately. Print or save the confirmation notice for your records.

The online EIN application process is free of charge and typically takes less than 15 minutes to complete. If you prefer, you can also apply for an EIN by fax or mail using Form SS-4, but this may take several weeks to process.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, you’ll need to register your garage cleaning business with your state’s tax department. Most states require businesses to collect and remit sales tax on taxable goods and services. To do so, you’ll need to apply for a state sales tax permit or seller’s permit.

Visit your state’s Department of Revenue website for information on registering for sales tax. The process typically involves completing an application, providing your business information and EIN, and paying a small registration fee (usually less than $100).

Failing to register for sales tax can result in penalties and interest, so it’s essential to comply with your state’s requirements. Once registered, you’ll be responsible for collecting sales tax from your customers and filing periodic sales tax returns with your state.

6. Setup Your Accounting

Setting up accurate and efficient accounting practices is crucial for the success of your garage cleaning business. Proper accounting not only helps you maintain financial control but also ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Accounting Software

To streamline your accounting processes, consider investing in accounting software like QuickBooks. QuickBooks automates many of the accounting tasks, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors. By integrating your bank accounts and credit cards with the software, you can automatically import transactions.

Hire an Accountant

While accounting software can handle many tasks, working with a professional accountant can provide additional benefits. An accountant can offer valuable guidance on financial matters, ensure your books are accurate, and help you navigate complex tax laws. They can provide services such as bookkeeping and account reconciliation.

Open a Business Bank Account

To maintain clear financial records and avoid potential issues with the IRS, it’s essential to separate your personal and business finances. Open a dedicated bank account for your garage cleaning business and use it exclusively for business transactions. This separation makes it easier to track your business income and expenses.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

In addition to a business bank account, consider applying for a business credit card. A business credit card can help you manage cash flow, earn rewards, and establish a credit history for your business. Unlike personal credit cards, business credit card limits are based on your company’s revenue and credit history.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Obtaining the proper licenses and permits is a critical step in establishing your garage cleaning business. Find federal license information through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers a local search tool for state and city requirements.

The specific licenses and permits required for your garage cleaning business may vary depending on your location and the scope of your services. However, there are several common types of licenses and permits that most businesses need to obtain before officially opening.

One of the most important licenses for a garage cleaning business is a general business license. This license is issued by your local city or county government and grants you the right to operate a business within their jurisdiction.

In addition to a general business license, you may need to obtain a professional license specific to your industry. Some states require cleaning businesses to hold a specialty cleaning license, which demonstrates that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide professional cleaning services.

Another important permit to consider is a zoning permit. Zoning regulations dictate how properties in specific areas can be used, and they may restrict certain types of businesses from operating in residential or commercial zones.

If you plan to use a vehicle for your garage cleaning business, you may need to obtain a commercial vehicle permit. This permit is required for vehicles that are used primarily for business purposes and may be subject to different registration, insurance, and inspection requirements than personal vehicles.

8. Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is a crucial component of protecting your garage cleaning business from potential risks and liabilities. As a business owner, you are responsible for any accidents, injuries, or damages that occur in the course of your business operations.

Investing in business insurance not only protects your financial assets but also demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to your customers and employees. Clients are more likely to trust and hire a business that is properly insured, as it shows that you take your responsibilities seriously.

Consider these three scenarios where not having business insurance could have severe consequences for your garage cleaning business:

  1. While cleaning a customer’s garage, one of your employees accidentally damages a valuable antique car. Without property damage coverage, you would be liable for the cost of repairs or replacement, which could easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars.
  2. A customer slips and falls on a wet floor while your team is cleaning their garage, resulting in serious injuries. If you don’t have liability insurance, you could be sued for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, potentially costing your business hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  3. Your pressure washer malfunctions, causing significant damage to a customer’s property. Without equipment breakdown coverage, you would be responsible for repairing or replacing the damaged property, as well as the cost of fixing or replacing your equipment.

To obtain business insurance for your garage cleaning business, you should start by assessing your risks. Identify the specific risks associated with your business, such as property damage, injury liability, and equipment breakdown. Consider factors such as the size of your business, the services you offer, and the value of your assets.

Based on your risk assessment, determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Common types of business insurance for a garage cleaning business include general liability, property damage, workers’ compensation, and commercial auto insurance.

Once you have a clear understanding of your coverage needs, research and compare insurance providers that offer policies tailored to your business needs. Look for providers with experience in insuring cleaning businesses and a strong reputation for customer service and claims handling.

Contact several insurance providers and request quotes based on your specific coverage needs. Provide detailed information about your business, including your revenue, number of employees, and types of services offered. Compare the quotes to find the best coverage at a competitive price.

9. Create an Office Space

Creating an office space for your garage cleaning business can provide numerous benefits, even if your primary work takes place at client locations. An office space serves as a central hub for managing administrative tasks, storing equipment and supplies, and meeting with potential clients or employees.

Home Office

For many garage cleaning businesses, a home office is a practical and cost-effective solution. If you have a dedicated room or area in your home that can be used as an office, you can save on rent and commuting costs. A home office is suitable for businesses with a small team or those just starting.

Coworking Office

If you prefer a separate workspace but don’t want to rent office space the traditional way, a coworking space might be a good fit. Coworking spaces like WeWork offer flexible lease terms, shared amenities, and opportunities to network with other professionals. This option is ideal if you need a professional environment.

Retail Office

For garage cleaning businesses that also offer retail products, such as cleaning supplies or storage solutions, retail office space may be appropriate. A retail office combines a storefront with a workspace, allowing you to showcase your products and services while managing your business operations.

10. Source Your Equipment

Sourcing the necessary materials and equipment is a crucial step in starting your garage cleaning business. The equipment you need will depend on the specific services you offer, but some common items include pressure washers, vacuums, cleaning solutions, brushes, and safety gear.

Buying New

Purchasing new equipment ensures that you have reliable, high-quality tools to start your business. You can find new equipment through various online retailers, such as Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. These retailers offer a wide selection of cleaning equipment and often provide free shipping or in-store pickup.

Buying Used

If you’re looking to save money on equipment, buying used can be a great option. Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, and Letgo are excellent resources for finding gently used cleaning equipment at a fraction of the cost of new items. You can also check local classified ads.


For equipment that you may not use frequently or items that are too expensive to purchase outright, renting can be a smart choice. Rental companies like United Rentals and Sunbelt Rentals offer a variety of cleaning equipment, including pressure washers, floor scrubbers, and carpet cleaners.


Leasing equipment is another option that can help you acquire the tools you need without a significant upfront investment. With leasing, you make monthly payments for the use of the equipment over a set term, typically 2-5 years.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Establishing a strong brand is crucial for a garage cleaning business to stand out in a competitive market. A well-defined brand helps create a unique identity, builds trust with potential customers, and makes your business more memorable.


Getting a Business Phone Number

Having a dedicated business phone number is essential for projecting a professional image and making it easy for customers to reach you. A service like Ring Central offers virtual phone systems that allow you to have a separate business number on your existing mobile device.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets: A logo is the visual cornerstone of your brand, and it should be memorable, versatile, and reflective of your business’s values. Looka is an AI-powered logo design tool that can help you create a professional logo and complementary brand assets, such as color palettes and typography.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are a tangible way to share your contact information and leave a lasting impression on potential customers. Vistaprint offers a wide range of customizable business card templates and signage options that can be tailored to your garage cleaning business’s unique brand identity.

Purchasing a Domain Name

Your domain name is your online address, and it should be easy to remember, pronounce, and type. When choosing a domain name, consider the following best practices:

  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. Use keywords related to your business or location
  3. Avoid hyphens, numbers, or unusual spellings
  4. Choose a .com extension when possible
  5. Protect your brand by purchasing similar variations of your domain name

Namecheap is a reliable and affordable domain registrar that offers a wide selection of domain extensions and easy-to-use management tools.

Building a Website

Having a professional website is crucial for attracting potential customers and showcasing your services. Website builders like Wix offer user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces, pre-designed templates, and customizable features. You can also hire from a freelancer platform like Fiverr.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining associations and groups is a powerful way to network with others in the garage cleaning industry, gain valuable insights, and grow your business. These connections can provide you with trade secrets, best practices, and support from experienced professionals.

Local Associations

Local business associations are an excellent resource for connecting with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals in your area. For example, the National Cleaners Association is an organization that offers resources and support for cleaning professionals.

Local Meetups

Attending local meetups and trade shows is another great way to connect with others in the garage cleaning industry. Meetup is a platform that makes it easy to find and join local groups based on your interests and location. You can search for groups related to garage cleaning, entrepreneurship, or small business ownership.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a valuable online resource for connecting with other garage cleaning professionals and entrepreneurs. These groups provide a platform to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from others in the industry. Some groups to try include Cleaning Tips, Tricks & Hacks and Garage Cleaning, Organizing, and Stuff.

13. How to Market a Garage Cleaning Business

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and it’s especially crucial for a new garage cleaning business looking to establish itself in the market. Without effective marketing strategies, potential customers may never know about your services, and your business may struggle to grow.

Personal Networking

When starting a garage cleaning business, your network is one of the most valuable assets you have. Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances to let them know about your new venture and ask for their support. Encourage them to spread the word and refer potential customers to your business.

Digital Marketing

To further expand your reach and attract new customers, consider the following digital marketing ideas:

  • Create a Google My Business listing to make your business visible on Google Maps and in local search results. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your listing to build trust and credibility.
  • Develop targeted Google Ads campaigns to reach potential customers actively searching for garage cleaning services in your area. Use relevant keywords and compelling ad copy to stand out from competitors.
  • Leverage Facebook Ads to target homeowners in your local area. Use eye-catching visuals and persuasive ad copy to showcase your services and special offers.
  • Start a YouTube channel featuring helpful tips, tutorials, and before-and-after videos of your garage cleaning projects. Optimize your video titles, descriptions, and tags to improve visibility in YouTube search results.
  • Create a blog on your website that shares valuable content related to garage organization, cleaning tips, and home maintenance. Consistently publishing high-quality blog posts can help attract organic traffic and establish your business as a trusted resource in the industry.

Traditional Marketing

While digital marketing can be highly effective, don’t overlook the power of traditional marketing methods:

  • Design eye-catching flyers and door hangers to distribute in targeted neighborhoods. Highlight your services, special promotions, and contact information to encourage homeowners to reach out.
  • Consider sending targeted direct mail campaigns to homeowners in your service area. Use compelling headlines, benefits-focused copy, and a strong call to action to motivate recipients to contact your business.
  • Depending on your budget and target audience, billboard advertising can be an effective way to build brand awareness and reach a wide audience. Choose high-traffic locations and use bold, easy-to-read designs to make a strong impact.
  • If your target market aligns with the demographics of radio listeners in your area, consider running radio ads on local stations. Use attention-grabbing scripts and clear calls to action to encourage listeners to contact your business.

14. Focus on the Customer

In the garage cleaning business, customer service is paramount to your success. As a service-based business, your reputation is built on the satisfaction of your customers. Providing exceptional customer service attracts new ones through positive word-of-mouth and referrals.

When you prioritize customer service, you show your clients that you value their business and are committed to meeting their needs. This means being responsive to their inquiries, arriving on time for appointments, and going above and beyond to ensure their garage is cleaned to their satisfaction.

By focusing on customer service and consistently delivering exceptional results, you can tap into this valuable source of growth for your garage cleaning business. To ensure you’re providing the best possible customer service, consider implementing the following practices:

  1. Communicate clearly and promptly with your customers, responding to their questions and concerns in a friendly and professional manner.
  2. Set clear expectations about your services, pricing, and timeline, and strive to meet or exceed those expectations on every job.
  3. Be open to feedback and use it to continuously improve your services and customer experience.
  4. Follow up with customers after each job to ensure their satisfaction and address any concerns they may have.

By prioritizing customer service, you’ll not only build a loyal customer base but also create a strong foundation for long-term growth and success in the garage cleaning industry.

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