Cleaning Business Starter Kit

The Cleaning Business Starter Kit provides everything you need to help you register your business, properly dispose of waste, and open for business - including a printable version of the Cleaning Business Guide.

What’s inside

Guides (1)

Guide - Cleaning Business guide

The Cleaning Business Guide is an overview of what it takes to open a housecleaning or janitorial business in San Francisco. Every business is different, but we provide the basic steps – along with tips, tricks and common mistakes to avoid. Explore below or download the Guide for quick reference.

Related Documents (3)

Business Plan Template – US Small Business Administration (SBA)

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) created this Business Plan Template to help you research and write your business plan.

Business Entity Comparison Table – SF Office of Small Business

This table provides an at-a-glance reference to how the most common business entity types — sole proprietorship, general partnership, C corporation, S corporation, and LLC — compare in a number of key characteristics.

Hazardous Waste Disposal & Recycling For Small Businesses – SF Department of the Environment

Small Businesses can generate waste that is hazardous to the environment. This may include solvents, paints, fluorescent lamps, aerosol cans, batteries, motor oil, antifreeze, printing ink, and other toxic products. They must be disposed of properly to protect our health and worker safety. Besides, it’s the law.

Permits (3)

Business Registration Certificate

The basic city business registration required for all businesses who wish to operate in San Francisco.

Fictitious Business Name

Allows you to use a business name other than your given name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is also known as an Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number. It is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A business needs an EIN to pay employees and to file business tax returns. An EIN does not expire and is unique to your business – once an EIN has been given to an entity, it will never be issued again.

Cleaning Business Guide

The Cleaning Business Guide is an overview of what it takes to open a housecleaning or janitorial business in San Francisco. Every business is different, but we provide the basic steps – along with tips, tricks and common mistakes to avoid. Explore below or download the Guide for quick reference.

Set Up Your Business

Create a plan

Create a plan that determines what type or range of handyman services you will provide.

Choose a business structure

Choose a business structure. LLCs, Corporations, and Limited Partnerships must register their structure with CA Secretary of State before registering locally.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number from the IRS. This is used to identify your business and allows you to hire employees. If you are a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number instead.

Register your business

Register your business with the City through the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTX).

Note
You may choose to obtain a separate business address, or you may use your personal address for your registration. Whichever you choose, it must be a physical address, not a P.O. Box.

Choose and file a business name

File a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement at the Office of the County Clerk if you will be using a name other than your given name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation.

Hire employees

If you plan to hire employees, be sure to follow all wage and employment guidelines.

Cleaning Services

Adopt workplace safety measures

Adopt workplace safety measures that comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. These include providing a workplace free of hazards, training employees to do their jobs safely, notifying government administrators about serious workplace accidents, and keeping detailed safety records.

Dispose of hazardous materials properly

You can dispose of up to 220 pounds or 27 gallons of hazardous waste using the City’s drop-off program at SF Recycling and Disposal Inc. Call (415) 330–1425 for an appointment.

Insurance

Consider obtaining insurance to cover accidents. In a cleaning business, you will be performing various types of physical activity and operating in other people’s offices or homes. As a result, it is more likely for injuries and property damage to occur.

Note
The SF Department of the Environment offers a green cleaning pilot program that certifies local cleaning business as Green Businesses. To learn more, call (415) 355 3700.

After Opening

Solicit work

There are a number of ways to seek out work, including using the web, word-of-mouth, advertising, partnerships, etc.

Note!
Ask for references from existing customers. Word-of-mouth can be the most effective way to gain new customers.

Negotiate compensation

Negotiate compensation & payment plan prior to signing a contract. Consider taking a class or seeking other advice on contracts.

Pay your taxes

Prepare and pay your local, state, and federal taxes. Learn more from the SF Treasurer, SF Assessor, CA Franchise Tax Board, and the IRS.