How to Start A Cleaning Business in Florida Made Easy in 10 Steps

May 7, 2024

The Nitty Gritty

  • Florida is a growth state for the cleaning sector
  • Cleaning businesses have a low barrier of entry and can be started by anyone
  • Check out our ten essential steps to start a cleaning business
Cleaning Business in Florida blog image

Some industries thrived thanks to the pandemic, and cleaning is one of them. Consumers have a higher appreciation for the necessity of clean spaces; professional and public spaces are now held to higher standards than ever before.

Florida, in particular, stands out from the rest of the country. The growing retirement population, seasonal vacationers, and tourists mean a thriving cleaning industry.

In this article, we explore different cleaning business types, how to start a cleaning business in Florida in 10 steps, and tips to run your business smoothly.

Exploring Cleaning Business Types in Florida

Cleaning businesses don’t require formal qualifications and requirements to get started in Florida, which means anyone with effort and determination (and a few paid fees) can start their own cleaning business. Before asking how to start a cleaning business in Florida, we’ll explore the different types of companies and some of the skills you will need for each one.

Residential Cleaning

A widespread type of cleaning business. Residential cleaning businesses clean clients' homes and are often in close communication with clients. This is a good choice for entry into the industry and can run out of your car. Businesses that solely service residential cleaning customers also don’t need to pay sales tax.

Window Cleaning

Window cleaning businesses are a solid pick. Window cleaners usually work with commercial businesses to keep storefronts and offices looking sharp. Attention to detail is essential; if you’re servicing larger buildings, you’ll need a stomach for heights!

Car Cleaning

Car cleaning, also known as detailing, is a good option for cleaning businesses. People love their cars, and there’s plenty of business from both locals and travelers. Car cleaning requires attention to detail and working in small/cramped spaces.

Carpet Cleaning

Carpet cleaning requires more specialized equipment; however, it’s an excellent option for business owners who want to specialize in a niche. It offers a lot of scalability and flexibility in the kinds of clients your business can take on.

10 Key Steps to Launch Your Cleaning Business in Florida

If you’re looking to start a cleaning business, Florida is an excellent choice. Growth industries result in better returns on investment, and the scalability and flexibility of a cleaning business means that new business owners have plenty of options to get started. We have covered steps for other businesses, but each process is unique to the industry.

So, how to start a cleaning business in Florida? Here are the ten key steps, with helpful tips and strategies.

1. Create a Business Plan

How to start a cleaning business in Florida and what do you want that business to look like?

Having a business plan is the first step before you get into anything else; if you don’t know what you’re building, it’ll be hard to know which steps to take and what materials are right for the job. Business plans are a blueprint for your vision!

It’s important to ask what kind of business you want. After exploring some types of cleaning businesses in Florida, you might have a better idea of the niche you want to fill.

Questions can include:

  • What size team do you want?
  • Will you be starting solo?
  • What area do you want your business to service?
  • What are your goals for your business?
  • What are similar businesses in the area like?
  • What services do those businesses offer?
  • How do they advertise?
  • How much do they charge for their services?
  • Do you have a name in mind?
  • What equipment will you need?
  • Will you use your vehicle?

Answering these questions is key to starting a cleaning business in Florida. Once you have a better idea of what you want, you’ll have an easier time with the other steps. Now, it doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it acts as an outline: the details can change.

2. Register Your Business

Once you’ve got your business plan, the next step in how to start a cleaning business in Florida is to register your business. In FL, cleaning is not a state-regulated industry. Therefore, you do not require a state-issued license to operate. Great, right?

What this means is that different counties have their own requirements that owners need to meet to operate.

However, when starting a business in Florida, there are initial fees and registrations required to operate: your business name and business structure.

3. Choose Your Business Structure

When asking how to start a cleaning business in Florida, you must ascertain what kind of business you want to set up legally. We’ve already covered the different types of cleaning businesses; now, we’re talking about ownership laws.

How your business is classified has legal, insurance, and tax implications, so it’s vital to take the time to assess your options and choose the best structure for you. Are you going it alone, or do you need to know how to start a cleaning business in Florida owned by multiple people?

Let’s review the business structures you can select and the benefits of each one.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship means that your cleaning business is owned entirely by you, which means that you are the business entity and that you have no separation. You are your business and vice versa; legally, this means that all income, profits, and losses are on your personal tax, which includes returns and deductions.

This also means you’re fully liable for anything your business does. The benefit of sole proprietorship is that it’s easy to set up and doesn’t cost you, so it takes much less time to run your cleaning business.


This is for owners who want to work as a partnership. This is typically a group of two or three who either wish to share responsibilities and liabilities or, in a limited partnership, have one owner with a majority share.

A partnership does require more paperwork to set up, but limited partners have more liability protection, and all partners will declare profits and taxes on their returns.


So, what do you do when you want to start a cleaning business in Florida with multiple owners but want more protection? Rather than a partnership, when there are more than two or three owners, you can register as a limited liability corporation, otherwise known as an LLC. This option is also suitable for sole owners who want additional liability protections.

Establishing an LLC is a great option for small business owners as it provides additional protections and tax benefits and is less complex than establishing a corporation. This does come with more paperwork and steps than the previous options, as well as different compliance requirements for each state.


A corporation is a separate legal entity with its own tax return and rules. Corporations have the most paperwork of all options and offer the most liability protection. When planning to incorporate a business, there are a lot of legal, tax and business requirements.


Lastly, no matter what business structure you choose, you’ll also need to file a fictitious business statement, also known as ‘doing business as’ or DBA.

A DBA is a name registration; whether you’re operating as a sole proprietor or a corporation, your business will operate under a fictitious name. This form is to be submitted to the Florida Department of State and costs $50.

4. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Despite Florida needing a state license for cleaning businesses within the state, several required licenses for companies need to be approved. These can vary from county to county, but the following permits and registrations are necessary.

Sales Tax Permit

All vendors are required to register for sales tax. It’s free to do online and $5 for mail registration. The only exceptions are cleaners that solely do residential cleans; all others need to have a sales tax permit.

Business Tax Receipt (BTR)

A Business Tax Receipt (BTR) is a requirement to be able to operate any business within a municipality. It’s proof that a business has registered tax, paid its fees, and is approved to operate. Fees differ for each city, as do the expiration and invoice dates.

The tax and legal standards differ from area to area, so it’s important to check your specific county for their requirements. Some differ based on where the business is located and where it transacts.

For example:


The city requires different information and permits depending on the business type and location. If your business is operating within city limits, you’ll need one BTR to work legally. You'll need a separate business registration if your business is located outside the city limits but operates within them. A home-based business also requires an additional affidavit.

Fort Lauderdale

Any business with a location within Fort Lauderdale, transacts within it or does interstate transactions, is required to have a BTR with the Business Tax Office. It is due and payable on the 30th of September, regardless of the registration date.

All payments are made digitally through a service called LauderBuild.


One BTR is required, and some businesses that operate out of residences/offices require a Certificate of Use. All BTRs expire on the 1st of September, and tax invoices are sent out in July.

Employee Identification Number

An employee identification number (EIN) must be applied for if you/your business meets ANY of the following requirements:

  • Multi-member LLC/partnership
  • Member of a corporation
  • Four or more employees

EINs are free; you only need to complete form SS-4 and submit it online or by fax/mail to the IRS.

5. Secure Adequate Insurance

Insurance is absolutely vital to protect yourself, your business, and your customers. Mistakes and accidents can happen, and you want to have a safety net. Different kinds of business structures will have different liabilities and insurance needs.

When deciding how to start a cleaning business in Florida, it’s vital to take your liabilities and responsibilities and cover them with the right insurance. A business with four or more employees must have worker’s compensation insurance.

6. Get Job Management Software

Whether you’re starting solo or have a team ready to go, effective job management software is there to help. Many work and business processes can take as much time as the job itself, and the amount of new data and management needs can be a shock to new business owners.

Some of these needs include:

  • Job scheduling
  • Time tracking/timesheets
  • Accounting
  • Invoices
  • Customer communication
  • Incident Reporting
  • Inventory/Supply management

After learning how to start a cleaning business in Florida, business owners will soon find there’s much more to get a handle on. The key takeaways are accuracy, efficiency, and timely work: mistakes can be costly, but manual mishaps can be avoided thanks to digital tech.

Simpro is an excellent example of a field service software that can help streamline your cleaning business in Florida. It’s built for service businesses of any size, solo to a considerable team. There are plenty of options, and using Simpro can introduce you to new business concepts, such as customer asset management.

7. Build a Robust Marketing Strategy

The next step in how to start a cleaning business in Florida is planning to tell people about it! If you’ve identified the kind of business you want and the niche you want to fill, it’s important to get the word out that your business is in the market for jobs.

This can be community notices, social media campaigns, flyers or local advertisements. There are plenty of online options for job generation and marketing as well. It’s up to your budget and how you want to reach others. Look at what similar businesses are doing for ideas, and remember that word of mouth is a time-tested way to get those jobs!

8. Manage Finances and Setting Rates

As mentioned in our job management step, accounting, invoices, and timesheets will be vital to running a profitable business. You’ll want all your finances to be accessible and trackable; the more transparent, the better. This will help your business in analyzing cashflows and budget drains.

Rates can be challenging to set at first. Your rates rely on location, complexity, niche, and time of day.

Different rates include:

Hourly Rates

These work for some jobs, such as residential or small offices, as you’ll be moving between houses and can fold travel into your fee. It also means that the time you work will be appropriately compensated; however, remaining competitive while making a profit can be challenging.

Flat Rate

A flat rate is a payment for the entire job. These can be packaged as a better deal for customers with larger areas to clean, and your job efficiency can make up the rest. This is a popular option as clients know what they’re getting (set and forget), and your business will have regular jobs and payments.

Square Foot Rate

A square foot rate might be an option with larger commercial cleans. It’s also an option for residential businesses but can get confusing for homeowners. If you’re running a carpet cleaning business, this option makes sense as clients see exactly what they’re getting. This is also good for large office spaces as size is key to cost.

9. Hire and Train Your Team

Now that the legal structure and paperwork are out of the way, it’s time to think about the rest of the team. You might be wondering how to start a cleaning business in Florida with additional employees on your team. You could be going on your own, to begin with, but in the interest of growth and sustainable business, you’ll eventually need help.

Hiring and training a team has a time investment, but building a solid roster means you can do more jobs more often.

10. Scale and Grow Your Cleaning Business

As you establish your business and follow our steps, instead of asking how to start a cleaning business in Florida, you’ll begin to wonder how to handle business growth! An appealing aspect of a cleaning business is the ability to scale, and while growth means more work, it also presents opportunities to hone your business practices.

Many businesses and contractors must invest heavily in scaling and expansion efforts, such as new offices, storefronts or specialized equipment. Cleaning businesses benefit from the portability of their equipment, and scaling an established business requires a lower investment than many other businesses.

As your business establishes a reputation and customer base, steady cash inflow and efficient practices offer the chance to invest and grow a team. Keep at it, review your work and processes, and your business will grow.

Commercial vs. Residential Cleaning Businesses: What are the Differences?

Residential cleaning is often undertaken during the day, usually within office hours. This means schedules follow day hours, but the schedules are more subject to change. Traveling between homes and creating schedules with customer needs can be challenging, but starting a residential cleaning business is easier and less costly. The entry bar is lower, which means competition can be higher, and more attention will be paid to details.

Commercial cleaning is usually done overnight while customers/employees aren’t present. The night shift is difficult, but the larger spaces often mean less detail-oriented cleaning.


How Profitable is Owning a Cleaning Business in Florida?

Florida is one of the best states in which to start a cleaning business. As mentioned in the intro, the prevalence of vacation homes, resorts, and retirement villages means plenty of work and the potential to scale your business.

The average salary of a cleaner in Florida is $32,230 (from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics); however, as a business owner, your earning potential depends on your niche and rates. With a growing business, you can earn more with a stable customer base and opportunities as your reputation is established.

How do you select the right niche for your business?

When looking at how to start a cleaning business in Florida, the first thing in your business plan will be what kind of cleaning you want. There are plenty of options, so it can be difficult to choose if you haven’t considered a niche. Different kinds of cleaning can mean changes in hours, schedules, pay rates, and necessary equipment.

If you have a particular interest or preference, that can help. Say you like working with cars, so you choose car cleaning. Or, you want to be left with your own devices to do your work without overdoing details so that commercial office cleaning could be for you.

What to Do If Your Cleaning Business Permits/BTR Expire?

It depends on the county/municipality your business operates in. Most permits will have set renewal dates, and BTRs are specific to the municipality/city.

The first thing to do is to cease any work. Operating without a BTR can result in fines and tax implications, and the last thing any business needs is tax troubles. It’s frustrating to have to stop work, but it’s in your best interests and your business to ensure you have a valid BTR.

Ready to Embark Your New Cleaning Business Entrepreneurship?

Now that you know how to start a cleaning business in Florida, it’s time to make those goals a reality. Cleaning is a thriving industry; you only need a plan, determination, and the right tools. Simpro is here for every field service business to get the most out of your jobs and cut down on budget drains. Try Simpro today to start your business on the right foot.