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

Updated: April 11, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The roof cleaning market, specifically with vacuum services is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% from 2023-2030. For those looking to get in with room to grow, now is the time to get started.


Starting a roof cleaning business offers a unique opportunity to be your boss, and make a meaningful impact in your community. With the right tools, techniques, and a little elbow grease, you can launch your successful venture in no time.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to start a roof cleaning business. Topics include marketing, competitive analysis, registering an EIN, shopping for business insurance, sourcing materials, customer focus, and more.

1. Conduct Roof Cleaning Market Research

Conducting thorough market research is crucial when starting a roof cleaning business. By understanding the industry landscape, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed decisions and develop a thorough roof cleaning business plan for exterior house cleaning washing.


Some details you’ll learn through market research for your own roof cleaning business include:

  • Growth in this industry is attributed to increasing urbanization, rising disposable incomes, and growing awareness about well-maintained properties.
  • Your target market may include residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities. Be mindful of the fact that certain properties may require solar panel cleaning as well, especially if these panels are installed on the roof.
  • To excel, newcomers must look for ways to differentiate their business, such as offering additional services like chimney sweeping or using eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • There’s a growing trend in vacuuming over pressure washing roof tiles.
  • Low-pressure like soft washing and specialized cleaning solutions are also trending.
  • Many roof cleaning businesses offer additional services for off-seasons, including snow removal.

Stay informed about industry trends, regulations, and best practices. Attend trade shows, join professional organizations, and subscribe to industry publications to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in roof cleaning technology, safety standards, and marketing strategies.

2. Analyze the Competition

Analyzing the competition is a critical step when starting a roof-cleaning business. By understanding your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and strategies, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your business and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Begin by identifying the other roof cleaning businesses in your area, including both brick-and-mortar and online competitors. For brick-and-mortar competitors, visit their physical locations to observe their operations, equipment, and customer interactions.

Take note of their pricing, service offerings, and any unique selling points they emphasize. You can also gather insights from their marketing materials, such as brochures, flyers, or signage, to understand how they position themselves in the market.

Assess your competitors’ social media presence, including their activity on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Analyze the content they share, the engagement they receive, and how they interact with their followers.

You can also gather competitive intelligence by leveraging online tools like SEMrush or SpyFu. These tools allow you to analyze your competitors’ search engine rankings, keyword strategies, and advertising campaigns.

By conducting a thorough analysis of your brick-and-mortar and online competitors, you’ll be better equipped to create a unique value proposition, target the right customers, and develop effective marketing strategies to grow your roof cleaning business.

3. Costs to Start a Roof Cleaning Business

Starting a roof cleaning business requires careful planning and budgeting to ensure you have the necessary funds to cover both start-up and ongoing costs. Here, we’ll break down the types of costs you’ll encounter as you begin professional roof cleaning services.

Start-up Costs

  • Depending on your location, you may need to register your business with state and local authorities. This typically costs between $100 and $500.
  • Investing in liability insurance is crucial to protect your business from potential lawsuits and damages. Expect to pay around $500 to $1,500 per year for a basic policy.
  • Pressure washer (approximately $1,000 to $3,000)
  • Soft washing system ($1,500 to $3,000)
  • Ladders ($300 to $600)
  • Safety gear ($200 to $500)
  • Cleaning solutions ($200 to $500)
  • A reliable vehicle to transport your equipment is also necessary, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on whether you buy used or new.
  • Creating a website ($500 to $2,000)
  • Designing logos and business cards ($200 to $500)
  • Running online and offline ad campaigns ($500 to $2,000 per month)
  • Investing in professional training and certifications can help you stay up-to-date with industry best practices and differentiate your business from competitors. Expect to spend between $500 and $2,000 on courses and certifications.

Estimated start-up costs: $10,000 to $45,000

Ongoing Costs

  • The average hourly wage for a roof cleaner is around $15 to $25, depending on experience and location. For a full-time employee, this translates to approximately $2,400 to $4,000 per month.
  • With regular trips to job sites, fuel, and vehicle maintenance costs can add up quickly. Budget around $500 to $1,000 per month for these expenses.
  • To keep your equipment in top condition, regular maintenance is necessary. Set aside $200 to $500 per month for maintenance and replacement costs.
  • You’ll need a steady supply of cleaning solutions and other consumables. Allocate approximately $200 to $500 per month for these supplies.
  • If you require a physical location for your business, such as an office or storage space, factor in monthly rent or mortgage payments. This can range from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on the size and location of the space.
  • Don’t forget to account for monthly utility costs, such as electricity, water, and internet, which can run between $200 and $500 per month.
  • In addition to your annual liability insurance premium, you may need to pay for workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees. This can cost around $1,000 to $3,000 per year.
  • Ongoing marketing and advertising efforts are crucial to maintaining a steady flow of customers. Budget around $500 to $2,000 per month for these activities.
  • You may need to hire professional services, such as accounting, legal, or IT support, to keep your business running smoothly. Allocate $200 to $1,000 per month for these services.

Annual ongoing costs: $56,400 to $186,000

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting a roof cleaning business, one of the most critical 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 business structure. It’s easy to set up and involves minimal paperwork. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your roof cleaning business and can make decisions quickly. The main drawback is that you’re personally liable for all debts.


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

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a hybrid business structure that combines the benefits of a corporation and a partnership. It provides personal liability protection for its owners, known as members while allowing for flexibility in management and taxation. For a roof cleaning business, an LLC is an excellent choice because it shields your assets.


A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, providing the highest level of personal liability protection. Corporations can raise capital by issuing stock and can have an unlimited number of shareholders. However, corporations are subject to more complex regulations and require extensive record-keeping.

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate legal structure for your roof 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 business with your state’s tax department.

An EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to business entities operating in the United States. It serves as your business’s identification number for tax purposes, similar to an individual’s Social Security number.

Applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website. The application is free, and you can complete it in just a few steps:

  • Determine your eligibility: Most businesses, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, can apply for an EIN online.
  • Gather the required information: You’ll need to provide your business’s legal name, address, and the name and Social Security number of the responsible party (usually the owner or principal officer).
  • Complete the online application: Visit the IRS website and click on the “Apply Online Now” button. Follow the prompts to enter your business information and answer a series of questions about your business structure and activities.
  • Receive your EIN: Once you’ve completed the application, you’ll receive your EIN immediately. You can download, save, and print your EIN confirmation notice for your records.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, you’ll need to register your roof cleaning business with your state’s tax department. Visit your state’s tax department website or consult with a tax professional to ensure you comply with all state tax requirements.

6. Setup Your Accounting

As a roof cleaning business owner, setting up and maintaining accurate accounting practices is essential for the financial health and longevity of your company. Proper accounting not only helps you stay organized and compliant with tax laws but also provides valuable insights into your business’s performance.

Accounting Software

One of the first steps in setting up your accounting system is to choose reliable accounting software. QuickBooks is a popular choice among small businesses, offering a user-friendly interface and a wide range of features tailored to your needs. With QuickBooks, you can automate much of the accounting process.

Hire an Accountant

In addition to using accounting software, hiring an accountant can provide invaluable support and expertise for your roof-cleaning business. An accountant can offer a range of services, including bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, tax planning, and compliance.

Open a Business Bank Account

One crucial aspect of maintaining accurate accounting is separating your personal and business finances. Commingling funds can lead to confusion, making it difficult to track business expenses and income accurately. It can also raise red flags with the IRS and complicate matters if you face an audit.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

Consider applying for a business credit card. A business credit card can help you keep your business expenses separate from your finances and provide a convenient way to track and categorize your spending. Business credit card limits are often determined by factors such as your business’s revenue, and credit history.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Before launching your roof cleaning business, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Find federal license information through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers a local search tool for state and city requirements.

Most cities and counties require businesses to obtain a general business license before operating. This license ensures that your business complies with local zoning laws and other regulations. To obtain a business license, contact your local city or county government office or visit their website.

Some states require roof cleaning professionals to hold a specific license to operate. For example, in Florida, roof cleaning businesses must obtain a Registered Contractor’s License from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This license demonstrates that you have the necessary skills.

If your roof cleaning services involve the use of pesticides or herbicides to remove algae, moss, or other organic growth, you may need to obtain a pesticide applicator license. This license ensures that you are trained in the proper handling, application, and disposal of pesticides.

Some cities or counties require a specific permit for pressure washing activities to ensure that wastewater is properly collected and disposed of to protect the environment. Check with your local government to determine if a pressure washing permit is required in your area.

Although not a license or permit, it’s essential to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to ensure the safety of your employees and avoid potential fines. This includes providing proper safety equipment, training, and fall protection for your workers.

To determine the specific licenses and permits required for your roof cleaning business, start by contacting your local city or county government office. They can provide information on the local requirements and guide you through the application process.

8. Get Business Insurance

As a roof cleaning business owner, protecting your company from potential risks and liabilities is essential for long-term success and peace of mind. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your business is by obtaining the appropriate business insurance.

Imagine a scenario where one of your employees accidentally damages a client’s property while cleaning a roof. Without proper insurance coverage, you could be held liable for the cost of repairs, which could potentially bankrupt your business.

Similarly, if a worker is injured on the job and you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be responsible for covering their medical expenses and lost wages, which can quickly add up to a significant financial burden.

Another scenario where business insurance is crucial is if a client sues your company for alleged negligence or poor workmanship. Even if the claim is unfounded, the cost of defending yourself in court can be substantial. Liability insurance can help cover legal fees and any potential settlements or judgments.

To get started with obtaining business insurance for your roof cleaning company:

  • Assess your business’s risks.
  • Identify the specific risks associated with your roof cleaning operations, such as property damage, worker injuries, and potential lawsuits.
  • Determine the types of insurance you need. (Common types of business insurance for roof cleaning companies include general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial auto insurance, and equipment insurance).
  • Shop around for insurance providers.
  • Research and compare insurance providers that specialize in covering businesses in the cleaning industry.
  • Look for providers with experience, competitive rates, and good customer reviews.

When applying for insurance, gather the necessary information about your business, such as its legal structure, location, number of employees, revenue, and claims history. Request quotes from multiple insurance providers and compare the coverage, deductibles, and premiums of each policy.

Once you’ve selected the best insurance policy for your business, complete the application process and pay the required premiums. Keep your insurance documents in a safe place and review your coverage regularly to ensure it still meets your business’s needs.

9. Create an Office Space

Having a dedicated office space is crucial for any roof cleaning business, as it provides a central hub for managing operations, storing equipment, and handling administrative tasks. An office space can help you project a professional image to clients, improve productivity, and keep your business organized.

Home Office

For many small roof cleaning businesses, a home office can be a practical and cost-effective solution. If you have a spare room or a dedicated area in your home, you can set up a functional office space with minimal overhead costs. A home office is ideal if you have a small team or primarily work independently.

Coworking Office

Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular among small businesses and entrepreneurs. They offer a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional office spaces. By renting a desk or a private office in a coworking space like WeWork, you can access a professional work environment without a long-term commitment.

Retail Office

If your roof cleaning business involves frequent client interactions or requires a showroom for displaying products or services, retail office space may be a good fit. A retail office can be a standalone storefront or a space within a larger commercial building. This type of office space can help you establish a strong local presence and attract walk-in customers.

10. Source Your Equipment

Sourcing the right equipment and materials is essential for starting and running a successful roof-cleaning business. The equipment you need will depend on the specific services you offer and the size of your operation.

Buying New

Purchasing new equipment is a good option if you want the latest technology, a warranty, and the assurance that the equipment is in excellent condition. You can buy new equipment from local suppliers or online retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Pressure Washers Direct.

Buying Used

Buying used equipment can be a cost-effective way to get started, especially if you have a limited budget. You can find used roof cleaning equipment on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, and Letgo.


Renting equipment can be a smart choice if you’re just starting or have a limited number of jobs. Renting allows you to access high-quality equipment without a significant upfront investment. You can rent roof cleaning equipment from local rental companies or national chains like United Rentals or Sunbelt Rentals.


Leasing equipment is another option to consider, particularly if you want to spread out the cost of equipment over time. Leasing allows you to make monthly payments for the use of the equipment, often with the option to purchase it at the end of the lease term.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Establishing a strong brand is crucial for any roof cleaning business looking to stand out in a competitive market. A well-defined brand identity helps customers recognize and remember your business, builds trust and credibility, and ultimately drives customer loyalty.

Getting a Business Phone Number

Having a dedicated business phone number is essential for projecting a professional image and ensuring that customers can easily reach you. A service like Ring Central offers virtual phone systems that allow you to manage calls, voicemails, and text messages from any device, making it easy to stay connected.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets

A logo is the visual cornerstone of your brand identity. It should be memorable, distinctive, and reflective of your business’s values and personality. A well-designed logo can be used across various brand assets. Looka is an AI-powered logo design platform that can help you create a professional logo quickly and affordably.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are a tangible representation of your brand and a powerful networking tool. They provide a convenient way to share your contact information with potential customers and partners. Vistaprint offers a wide range of customizable business card templates and signage options that can be tailored to your brand identity.

Purchasing a Domain Name

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business. The first step in establishing your online identity is securing a 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

Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. It should be informative, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. Using a website builder like Wix or hiring a professional website designer from a platform like Fiverr can result in a truly unique and tailored website.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining associations and groups is a powerful way to network, learn from experienced professionals, and grow your roof cleaning business. By connecting with others in the industry, you can gain valuable insights, stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, and even find potential partners or clients.

Local Associations

Local business associations are excellent resources for connecting with other business owners and professionals in your area. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has local affiliates across the United States and the Roof Cleaning Institute of America (RCIA) offers membership benefits.

Local Meetups

Attending local meetups and tradeshows is a great way to connect with other professionals in the roof cleaning industry, learn about new products and techniques, and showcase your services to potential clients. Meetup is a platform that makes it easy to find and join local groups based on your interests and location.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a valuable resource for connecting with other roof cleaning professionals, sharing experiences, and seeking advice. Check out groups like Roof Cleaning and Soft Washing and The Roofer’s Helper Roofing Network.

13. How to Market a Roof Cleaning Business

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and a roof cleaning company is no exception. To attract customers, build brand awareness, and ultimately grow your business, you must implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that combines various tactics tailored to your target audience.


Personal Networking

When starting your roof cleaning business, your network is one of your most valuable assets. Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances to let them know about your services and ask for their support in spreading the word. As you complete jobs and satisfy customers, encourage them to refer your business to others.

Digital Marketing

  • Launch a targeted Google Ads campaign focusing on keywords related to roof cleaning services in your area. This can help your business appear at the top of search results when potential customers are actively looking for roof cleaning services.
  • Create a Facebook business page and run targeted ads to reach homeowners in your service area. Use eye-catching visuals and compelling ad copy to highlight the benefits of your services and offer special promotions to encourage bookings.
  • Start a YouTube channel featuring educational content about roof cleaning, such as tips for maintaining a clean roof, common problems to look out for, and demonstrations of your cleaning process. This can help establish your expertise and build trust with potential customers.
  • Develop a blog on your website that covers topics related to roof cleaning, home maintenance, and the benefits of regular cleaning. Share your blog posts on social media and include calls to action to encourage readers to book your services.
  • Partner with local home improvement bloggers or influencers to promote your services to their audiences. You could offer them a free cleaning in exchange for a review or social media post showcasing your work.

Traditional Marketing

  • Send targeted direct mail postcards to homeowners in your service area, featuring a special introductory offer or seasonal promotion. While response rates for direct mail can be lower than digital marketing, it can still be an effective way to reach certain demographics.
  • Distribute flyers or door hangers in neighborhoods where you notice a high concentration of homes with dirty or stained roofs. Include a strong call-to-action and a limited-time offer to encourage homeowners to book your services.
  • Sponsor a local sports team or community event to get your business name in front of potential customers. This can help build brand awareness and goodwill in your local community, even if it doesn’t generate immediate leads.
  • Consider advertising on local radio stations or in community newspapers, especially if your target audience includes older homeowners who may be more likely to engage with these traditional media channels. Keep in mind that these tactics can be more expensive and harder to track.

While traditional marketing can still play a role in your overall strategy, it’s important to focus your efforts and budget on the tactics that are most likely to reach your target audience and generate a strong return on investment.

14. Focus on the Customer

In the roof cleaning business, customer service is paramount to success. Your customers are entrusting you with the care and maintenance of one of their most valuable assets, their home. By providing exceptional customer service, you not only ensure customer satisfaction.


Word-of-mouth referrals are incredibly powerful for small businesses. By consistently delivering excellent customer service, you can turn your satisfied customers into brand advocates who actively promote your business to their networks.

Exceptional customer service can help you stand out in a competitive market. When faced with a choice between two roof cleaning companies, a potential customer is more likely to choose the one with a reputation for going above and beyond to satisfy their clients.

Customer service is the key to unlocking the growth potential of your roof cleaning business. By treating each customer with care, attention, and respect, you can create a loyal client base that actively promotes your services, helping you expand your reach and build a thriving business in your local community.

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