How to Start a Headstone 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

The headstone and cemetery monument cleaning and cemetery services market has grown 6.5% throughout the previous five-year period. As the demand for respectful and professional gravestone maintenance services rises, starting your own headstone cleaning business can be a rewarding venture both financially and emotionally.


Imagine the satisfaction of helping families preserve the memory of their loved ones by restoring beautifully crafted headstones to their original condition. By providing a much-needed service with care and compassion, you can build a successful business that makes a difference in your community.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to start a headstone cleaning business. Topics include market research, competitive analysis, registering an EIN, investing in business insurance, and more.

1. Conduct Headstone Cleaning Market Research

Before diving into the headstone cleaning business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research to understand the industry’s potential and identify your target customers. Market research offers insight into your target market, trends in the cemetery services market, and more.


Within this broader cemetery services market, the headstone and monument cleaning segment is gaining traction. As local cemeteries grow and more residents look for grave cleaning to preserve grave markers for loved ones, cleaning services become more popular.

To better understand your target customers, it’s essential to consider the demographics of your local area. The aging population is more likely to require cemetery services, including headstone cleaning, as they plan for their final arrangements or seek to maintain the graves of their deceased family members.

Another factor to consider is the cultural and religious diversity of your potential customer base. Different religious and cultural groups may have specific preferences or requirements when it comes to headstone cleaning and maintenance.

In terms of competition, the headstone cleaning industry is relatively fragmented, with a mix of small, local businesses and larger, regional players. To stand out in the market, it’s essential to differentiate your services by offering high-quality work, exceptional customer service, and competitive pricing.

To capitalize on the growing demand for headstone cleaning services, consider targeting key customer segments such as baby boomers, who are increasingly responsible for making burial arrangements for their parents and planning for their own future needs.

2. Analyze the Competition

When starting a headstone cleaning business, analyzing your competition is essential to understand the market landscape and identify opportunities for differentiation. Begin by researching local cemetery service providers, monument companies, and specialized headstone-cleaning businesses in your area.

For brick-and-mortar competitors, visit their physical locations to assess the quality of their work, customer service, and overall business operations. Take note of their pricing, promotional offers, and any unique selling points they emphasize.

To analyze your competitors’ online presence, conduct a thorough search engine analysis. Use relevant keywords related to headstone cleaning services in your local area to see which businesses rank highest in search results. Evaluate their website content, user experience, and overall design.

Additionally, analyze your competitors’ social media presence to understand how they engage with their audience and promote their services. Look for patterns in their content strategy, posting frequency, and customer interactions.

Finally, consider joining local business associations or attending industry events to network with other professionals in the cemetery services and headstone cleaning industry. This can provide valuable insights into market trends, best practices, and potential partnerships or referral opportunities.

3. Costs to Start a Headstone Cleaning Business

Starting a headstone cleaning business requires careful planning and budgeting to ensure a successful launch and ongoing operation. Let’s break down the various startup and ongoing costs you can expect when venturing into this industry.

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 $1,000, depending on your state and local requirements.
  • Equipment: Investing in high-quality cleaning equipment is essential for providing professional headstone cleaning services. You’ll need a pressure washer (around $500-$2,000), a portable water tank ($200-$500), and various cleaning solutions and brushes (approximately $200-$500).
  • Protective gear: To ensure your safety and the safety of your employees, invest in protective gear such as gloves, eye protection, and work boots. Budget around $200-$500 for these items.
  • Insurance: Business insurance is crucial to protect your company from potential liabilities. General liability insurance for a small headstone cleaning business can cost approximately $500-$1,500 per year.
  • Marketing and advertising: To attract customers, you’ll need to invest in marketing and advertising efforts. This can include creating a website ($500-$2,000), designing business cards and flyers ($100-$300), and running targeted online advertisements ($500-$1,000 per month).

Total startup costs: Approximately $7,000-$38,000

Ongoing Costs

  • Cleaning supplies: Regularly replenishing your cleaning solutions, brushes, and other consumables is an ongoing expense. Budget around $100-$300 per month for these supplies.
  • Vehicle maintenance and fuel: Maintaining your vehicle and covering fuel costs are ongoing expenses to consider. Depending on the size of your service area and the frequency of jobs, these costs can range from $200 to $500 per month.
  • Employee salaries: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees to help with cleaning services. The average hourly rate for a cleaner in the United States is $12.66.
  • Rent and utilities: If you decide to lease a small office space or storage unit for your equipment, expect to pay around $500-$1,500 per month in rent, depending on your location. Utilities such as electricity and water can add another $100-$300 per month.
  • Business insurance: Maintaining your business insurance is an ongoing cost. As mentioned earlier, general liability insurance can cost approximately $500-$1,500 per year.
  • Marketing and advertising: Ongoing marketing efforts are necessary to maintain a steady flow of customers. Budget around $500-$1,000 per month for various marketing activities, such as social media advertising, search engine optimization, and community event sponsorships.

Total ongoing costs: Approximately $2,000-$5,000 per month

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting a headstone cleaning business, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right legal structure for your company. The four main types of business entities are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and Corporation.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common form of business structure. It’s easy to set up and requires minimal paperwork, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs just starting their headstone cleaning business. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your business decisions and can keep all the profits.


A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship but involves two or more owners. Partnerships can be either general partnerships, where all partners share equal responsibility and liability, or limited partnerships, where some partners have limited liability and limited control over the business. Partnerships allow for shared decision-making and can make it easier to raise capital.


A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, offering the highest level of personal liability protection. Corporations can raise capital by selling stock and can offer employee benefits and stock options to attract talent. However, corporations are more complex and expensive to set up and maintain, with stricter record-keeping and reporting requirements.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC combines the personal liability protection of a corporation with the simplicity and flexibility of a sole proprietorship or partnership. LLCs protect your assets from business debts and legal issues while allowing you to choose how you want to be taxed (as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation).

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

As you embark on your journey to start a headstone cleaning business, one crucial step is registering your business for taxes. This process involves obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

An EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a unique nine-digit number assigned to your business for tax purposes. An EIN is necessary for various business activities, such as opening a bank account, hiring employees, and filing tax returns.

Applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website. To get started, visit the IRS EIN application page and click on the “Apply Online Now” button. The application process consists of several steps, including providing your business information, such as your legal structure (e.g., LLC), responsible party details, and the reason for applying for an EIN.

It’s important to note that obtaining an EIN is free of charge when applying directly through the IRS website. Be cautious of third-party websites that may charge a fee for this service. The IRS emphasizes that there is no need to pay for an EIN, as the application process is simple and can be completed independently.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, it’s essential to register your headstone cleaning business with your state’s tax department for sales tax purposes. Sales tax requirements vary by state, so it’s crucial to understand your state’s specific regulations.

6. Setup Your Accounting

As a headstone cleaning business owner, setting up proper accounting practices is essential to ensure the financial health and longevity of your company. Accurate accounting helps you make informed business decisions, monitor cash flow, and comply with tax regulations.

Accounting Software

To streamline your accounting process and ensure accuracy, consider investing in accounting software like QuickBooks. QuickBooks automates many aspects of accounting, such as invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting.

Hire an Accountant

While accounting software can be a valuable tool, working with a professional accountant can provide even greater benefits for your headstone cleaning business. An accountant can offer a range of services, including bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, tax planning, and tax return filing.

Open a Business Bank Account

Another crucial aspect of managing your headstone cleaning business’s finances is separating personal and business expenses. Commingling funds can lead to confusion, make it difficult to track business expenses, and potentially raise red flags with the IRS.

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 keep business expenses separate, build your company’s credit history, and potentially qualify for higher credit limits than personal cards.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Before officially launching your headstone cleaning business, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary business licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines or legal issues. 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 headstone cleaning business may vary depending on your location and the scope of your services. There are some common licenses and permits that most businesses need to obtain.

In addition to a general business license, your headstone cleaning business may need to obtain a professional license specific to your industry. Some states require cleaning service providers to hold a specialty cleaning license, which demonstrates that they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience.

Another important permit to consider is a safety permit, which ensures that your business follows proper safety protocols and guidelines. This is especially important for a headstone cleaning business, as you’ll be working with potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals and equipment.

Depending on your business structure and location, you may also need to obtain a fictitious business name (FBN) or doing business as (DBA) permit. This permit allows you to operate your business under a name other than your legal name or the official name of your LLC or corporation.

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits for your headstone cleaning business may seem daunting, but it’s a critical step in establishing a legitimate and compliant company.

8. Get Business Insurance

As a headstone cleaning business owner, protecting your company from potential risks and liabilities is essential to ensure its long-term success and financial stability. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your business is by obtaining appropriate business insurance coverage.

Consider these three scenarios where not having business insurance could severely impact or even destroy your headstone cleaning business:

  • Property damage: While cleaning a headstone, your employee accidentally damages the surrounding landscaping or a nearby monument. Without proper insurance coverage, you would be liable for the repair costs, which could be substantial and put a significant strain on your business’s finances.
  • Injury or illness: An employee sustains a serious injury or develops a work-related illness due to exposure to cleaning chemicals. If you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you could be facing expensive medical bills and potential legal action from the employee, putting your business at risk.
  • Legal claims: A customer claims that your headstone cleaning services caused damage to their loved one’s headstone, and they decided to sue your business. Without general liability insurance, you would be responsible for paying legal fees and any potential settlements or judgments, which could financially devastate your company.

To protect your headstone cleaning business from these and other risks, it’s crucial to obtain appropriate business insurance coverage.

The process of getting business insurance typically involves the following steps:

  • Assess your business’s risks: Identify the specific risks your headstone cleaning business faces, such as property damage, employee injuries, and legal liabilities. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a helpful guide to assessing your business’s insurance needs.
  • Research insurance providers: Look for reputable insurance providers that offer coverage specifically tailored to businesses in the cleaning industry. Consider factors such as coverage options, premiums, and customer reviews.
  • Contact insurance agents or brokers: Reach out to insurance agents or brokers who specialize in business insurance. They can help you compare policies from different providers and find the best coverage for your headstone cleaning business.
  • Gather necessary information: Prepare information about your business, including its legal structure, revenue, number of employees, and any previous insurance claims. This information will be required when applying for insurance coverage.
  • Compare quotes and select a policy: Request quotes from multiple insurance providers and compare the coverage options, premiums, and deductibles. Select the policy that best meets your business’s needs and budget. The SBA provides tips on choosing the right business insurance policy.
  • Purchase and maintain coverage: Once you’ve selected a policy, complete the necessary paperwork and pay the required premiums to put your insurance coverage into effect. Review your policy regularly and update it as your business grows or your needs change.

By following these steps and obtaining appropriate business insurance coverage, you can protect your headstone cleaning business from potential risks and liabilities, ensuring its long-term financial stability and success. Remember, investing in business insurance is not just a smart business decision—it’s a necessary one to safeguard your company’s future.

9. Create an Office Space

While a headstone cleaning business primarily operates on-site at cemeteries and memorial parks, having a dedicated office space can provide numerous benefits for your company. An office space can serve as a central hub for administrative tasks, client meetings, equipment storage, and employee training.

Home Office

For many small headstone cleaning businesses, a home office can be a cost-effective and convenient option. If you have a spare room or dedicated space in your home, you can set up a functional office without incurring additional rent or lease expenses.

Coworking Office

Coworking spaces, such as WeWork, offer a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional office spaces. These shared workspaces provide amenities like high-speed internet, conference rooms, and networking opportunities with other professionals.

Retail Office

A headstone retail office could be an office space option if you plan to partner with the retail owner. A retail office in a high-traffic area can help attract walk-in clients and provide a space for displaying products or meeting with customers.

10. Source Your Equipment

When starting a headstone cleaning business, sourcing the right materials and equipment is crucial for providing high-quality services and ensuring the safety of your employees and clients. The essential equipment for a headstone cleaning business includes pressure washers for pressure washing that will remove grime buildup , water tanks, and cleaning solutions.

Buying New

Purchasing new equipment ensures that you have reliable, high-quality tools that are covered by manufacturer warranties. You can find new headstone cleaning equipment through online retailers like Amazon or Clean It Supply, as well as local hardware stores or specialty cleaning supply companies.

Buying Used

Acquiring used equipment can be a cost-effective option for businesses with limited startup capital. Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist are great resources.


Renting equipment can be a smart choice for businesses that are just starting or have limited storage space. Rental companies like United Rentals and Sunbelt Rentals offer a wide range of cleaning equipment, including pressure washers and water tanks, for daily, weekly, or monthly rental periods.


Leasing equipment is another option for businesses that want to access new, high-quality tools without the upfront cost of purchasing. Equipment leasing companies offer leasing programs for a wide range of cleaning equipment, including pressure washers, water tanks, and cleaning solutions.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Establishing a strong brand is crucial for any business, including a headstone cleaning company. A well-established brand can foster trust, loyalty, and recognition within the industry, ultimately leading to increased success and growth.


Getting a Business Phone Number

Having a dedicated business phone number is essential for establishing credibility and professionalism. It allows customers to easily contact the business and helps to separate personal and professional communication. Ring Central is a reliable provider of cloud-based phone systems that offer features.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets

A well-designed logo is the foundation of a strong brand identity. Looka is an AI-powered logo design platform that can help businesses create stunning logos and complementary brand assets, such as color palettes and typography, ensuring a cohesive and consistent brand identity across all materials.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are a tangible representation of a company’s brand and a powerful networking tool. Vistaprint is a one-stop shop for creating professional business cards and signage, offering a wide range of customizable templates and high-quality printing services.

Purchasing a Domain Name

Securing a domain name is crucial for establishing an online presence and making it easy for potential customers to find the business. When choosing a domain name, consider the following best practices:

  • Keep it short, memorable, and easy to spell
  • Use relevant keywords related to headstone cleaning services
  • Avoid using hyphens, numbers, or unusual extensions
  • Choose a .com extension whenever possible
  • Protect the brand by purchasing similar domain names and common misspellings

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

Building a Website

A professional website is essential for showcasing a business’s services, portfolio, and contact information. Website builders like Wix offer user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces and customizable templates. Platforms like Fiverr connect businesses with freelance web designers and developers who can create custom websites.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining associations and groups is a powerful way for headstone cleaning business owners to network with others in the industry, gain valuable insights, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Local Associations

Local business associations and chambers of commerce can be excellent resources for headstone cleaning business owners looking to connect with other professionals in their area. For example, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offer a variety of resources.

Local Meetups

Attending local meetups and trade shows is another effective way to connect with others in the headstone cleaning industry and stay informed about the latest trends and technologies. Meetup is an excellent platform for finding local events and groups related to the headstone cleaning industry.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be invaluable resources for headstone cleaning business owners seeking advice, support, and networking opportunities. Get started by connecting with Facebook Groups like Cleaning Tips, Tricks & Hacks and Cleaning Business Owners.

13. How to Market a Headstone Cleaning Business

Marketing is essential for the growth and success of any business, including a headstone cleaning company. Without effective marketing strategies, potential customers may not be aware of the services offered, leading to limited growth and missed opportunities.

Personal Networking

One of the most valuable assets for a new headstone cleaning business is the entrepreneur’s network and satisfied customers. Word-of-mouth referrals from happy clients can be a powerful driver of growth, as people are more likely to trust recommendations from friends, family, and acquaintances.

Digital Marketing

  • Google Ads: Create targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to reach potential customers actively searching for headstone cleaning services online.
  • Facebook Ads: Use Facebook’s advanced targeting options to display ads to specific demographics, interests, and locations, such as those who have recently lost a loved one or are interested in cemetery maintenance.
  • YouTube Channel: Develop informative and engaging videos that showcase the headstone cleaning process, provide tips for maintaining headstones, and highlight customer testimonials to build trust and credibility.
  • Blogging: Create a blog on the company website that provides valuable content related to headstone cleaning, cemetery maintenance, and grief support, helping to establish the business as a trusted authority in the industry.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list of potential and existing customers and send regular newsletters featuring promotions, tips, and industry news to keep the business top-of-mind and encourage repeat business.

Traditional Marketing

  • Direct Mail: Send targeted mailers to households in the local area, especially those located near cemeteries or funeral homes, to introduce the business and offer special promotions.
  • Flyers and Brochures: Distribute informational flyers and brochures at local funeral homes, cemeteries, and grief support centers to reach potential customers in need of headstone cleaning services.
  • Billboards: If the budget allows, consider placing a billboard advertisement near a local cemetery or high-traffic area to increase brand visibility and attract new customers.
  • Radio Advertising: Partner with local radio stations to run targeted ads during programs that appeal to the business’s target audience, such as those focused on senior living or community events.
  • Networking Events: Attend local business networking events, such as Chamber of Commerce meetings or industry-specific conferences, to build relationships with potential partners and clients.
  • Local Newspapers: Take out print ads for grave maintenance in the small business section to market your services in cleaning headstones.

While traditional marketing methods may not always provide the best return on investment, they can still be effective for certain businesses, particularly those targeting a local audience. The key is to carefully evaluate each tactic and choose those that align with the company’s budget and target audience.

14. Focus on the Customer

Customer service is the cornerstone of any successful business, and a headstone cleaning company is no exception. In an industry that deals with sensitive and emotionally charged situations, providing exceptional customer service is not only essential for building a positive reputation but also for fostering long-term relationships with clients.


One specific example of how excellent customer service can benefit a headstone cleaning business is by going above and beyond to accommodate client’s needs during a difficult time. Another way a headstone cleaning business can excel in customer service is by providing personalized attention and support to each client.

By demonstrating genuine empathy and concern for clients’ well-being, the business owner can establish a strong emotional connection that encourages loyalty and repeat business. Prioritizing customer service is crucial for the success and growth of a headstone cleaning business.

By consistently delivering compassionate, professional, and personalized service, the business owner can build a loyal customer base that actively promotes the company through referrals and positive reviews. In an industry that relies heavily on trust and emotional connections, focusing on customer service can be the key differentiator.

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