How to start a cleaning business in Australia: A simple guide

Rolling up your sleeves and diving into the world of cleaning business? Great! It's a solid way to make a living, and there's a proper demand for cleaning services in Australia. Let's break down what you need to do to get started.

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- 8 min read

Rolling up your sleeves and diving into the world of cleaning business? Great! It’s a solid way to make a living, and there’s a proper demand for cleaning services in Australia. Let’s break down what you need to do to get started.

Whether you’re drawn to the sparkle of residential homes or the gleam of commercial spaces, your pathway to success with a mop and bucket is clear. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to get your cleaning business off the ground, and how you can make sure that the legal essentials are covered.

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Calculating start-up costs for a cleaning business in Australia

Starting your own cleaning business down under involves getting to grips with the necessary cash you’ll need at the beginning. How much you’ll need can change a lot depending on what cleaning services you’re offering and how big you plan to be. Usually, you’ll need somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000 AUD to kick things off, but if you’re aiming bigger, you might need up to $10,000 AUD. Getting clear on these costs is key for planning your budget, finding money to start, and giving your business a strong start.

There are some specific things you’ll probably have to spend money on if you’re starting a cleaning business. For example, you might need to get a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner or certain cleaning products that are okay to use in Australia. And you’ll need a way to get around – having a reliable car or van is essential to get to the places you need to clean.

All up, knowing what you’ll need to spend to start your business helps you avoid money worries later on. Being smart about your start-up costs means you can start your Australian cleaning business with a bit more confidence.

You can download a start-up cost sheet here.

Starting your own cleaning service from scratch

Getting into the cleaning business can be surprisingly straightforward. Here’s a simple guide to help you sweep your way to success.

Step 1: Lay the foundation

First things first, outline your business plan. This isn’t just about how you’ll clean; it’s about who you’ll clean for, how you’ll find these people, and how you’ll convince them you’re the right choice. Think about whether you’ll focus on domestic cleans, commercial contracts, or a specialty cleaning area.
Read also: A step-by-step guide to crafting business proposals in 2024

Step 2: Register your business

Once you have your plan, sort out the official stuff. This means registering your business name, getting an Australian Business Number (ABN), and considering if you need to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). Don’t forget about insurance – public liability insurance is a cleaning business essential.

Step 3: Tool up

Purchase the right equipment for the job. To start with, keep it simple with the basics – a solid vacuum cleaner, mops, buckets, cloths, and a range of cleaning products. Efficiency is key, so opt for professional-grade products that will stand the test of time.

Step 4: Price it right

Decide on your pricing strategy. Will you charge by the hour, by the square metre, or a flat fee for each job? Research your competitors to ensure your rates are competitive, but don’t sell yourself short. Remember, quality service demands a fair price.

Step 5: Make it official

Draw up a service agreement to outline what your cleaning package includes, your rates, and what you expect from your clients. This professionalism from the get-go sets clear expectations and gives you something to refer back to if there’s ever any confusion.

Step 6: Brand your business

Your brand is important. Choose an appropriate and catchy business name, design a logo, and perhaps set up a business card or flyer. Ensure your brand reflects the quality and ethos of your service.

Step 7: Marketing matters

Spread the word. Use social media, create a basic website and consider word-of-mouth referrals with incentives.

Step 8: Keep it clean with software

Admin can be time-consuming. Consider investing in business management software to streamline scheduling, invoicing, and communication. Free options for invoices like Conta can help keep everything in order at no extra cost.

Read also: How to start a business in Australia

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What licenses are needed to start a cleaning business?

Embarking on the journey of establishing a cleaning business in Australia comes with many considerations, one of the most important being the understanding of licensing. A license is a formal permission, usually granted by a government agency, which allows individuals or companies to carry out certain types of work legally. It is a means to ensure that a business operates within set regulations and standards, maintaining public health and safety.

In the cleaning industry, different facets of the business may require distinct licences or permits. Each category of cleaning, from residential to specialised services, is governed by its own set of rules and regulations, and it is essential for business owners to be aware of and comply with these legal prerequisites. A license also serves as a confidence booster for clients, providing assurance that the service they are paying for is conducted by trained and approved professionals.

Let us delve into the various cleaning services offered within Australia and explore the licensing requirements associated with each. This will ensure you are well-informed and prepared before you start.

1. Household cleaning services

For those venturing into cleaning services within residential settings, such as private homes, it is important to note that specific licences or permits might be necessary. The requirements can vary greatly depending on the types of domestic cleaning services offered, although generally, these services do not typically demand a specialised cleaning licence.

2. Business premises cleaning

When it comes to maintaining corporate buildings, offices, or commercial spaces, a cleaning licence may not be mandatory. Nevertheless, cleaners who focus on industrial environments may benefit from obtaining additional training to better serve the unique demands of their workplace, be it a factory or an operational site.

3. Vehicle Cleaning

Delving into the professional car cleaning industry can prove to be a profitable venture for entrepreneurs. This sector often doesn’t require a licence; however, acquiring some auto-mechanical knowledge through training and certification could enhance service offerings and attract a broader client base.

4. Specialty cleaning for carpets, laundry, and pools

Carpet cleaning businesses operate without the need for a specific licence within Australia. Despite the lack of licensing, it’s essential that operators are adept with machinery and chemicals used in carpet cleaning. Similarly, starting a service focusing on laundry or pool maintenance does not necessitate any formal qualifications, provided you have the necessary skills and experience to execute these services safely and efficiently.

5. Cleaning after crime and trauma

Crime scene and trauma cleaning is a niche area that requires individuals who are not only prepared to handle the practical cleaning challenges but also the psychological impact of such environments. A National Police Check is typically required, along with specialised training relevant to this field.

Moreover, given the nature of this work, further education in mental health and coping strategies is often advised for those employed in this sensitive area. Note that the specialist equipment and substances used here may also call for additional licensing and thorough product training.

6. High-Rise and hazardous cleaning

For high-rise cleaning tasks that involve scaffolding or rigging, Australian laws mandate a high-risk work licence. Those considering a career in high-rise window cleaning or in the management of bio-hazardous and chemical waste should reach out to their state or territory’s government department to familiarise themselves with necessary regulations and ensure compliance before commencing operations.

In conclusion, navigating the licensing landscape is a critical step for any entrepreneur aiming to make a clean sweep in Australia’s cleaning industry. Whether your chosen path leads you to sprucing up homes or diving into commercial enterprises, understanding and obtaining the necessary licenses is imperative for your business’s legitimacy and growth. 

Free invoicing software for cleaning businesses

When embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of starting a cleaning business in Australia, managing your finances efficiently from the get-go is critical for success. That’s where Conta comes in – a leading free invoicing software tailored for Australian businesses, offering an indispensable tool for the cleaning industry.

Our software is not just about simplicity; it’s about integrating super smart automation that streamlines every aspect of invoicing. From generating invoices to sending out payment reminders, Conta handles the repetitive tasks so you can focus on what you do best – growing your business. Let our intelligent system take care of the mundane work with its built-in automation features.

You can also forget about chasing late payments. Conta’s automated payment reminders ensure that your customers are prompted to settle their invoices on time, streamlining your cash flow without the need for manual follow-ups.

Getting started with Conta is straightforward. Visit this site to sign up for free and join the businesses in Australia already benefiting from our powerful invoicing solution. With Conta, handling the financial side of your operation becomes tidier than ever.

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