If you want to start your own cleaning business, the first thing you’ll want to do is decide on which type of cleaning you want to provide. While there are many different areas you can focus on, the two main types are commercial and residential cleaning. In this article we will focus on the differences between the two services.

Residential Cleaning

Residential cleaning, as the name suggests, focuses on cleaning residential properties. This includes homes in neighborhoods, condominiums, apartments, and other rental properties. While this service focuses on domestic spaces, there are different types of residential cleaning.

Weekly Cleaning – This is a full home, quick, surface level cleaning. A weekly cleaning will usually take place while the family is home. Your cleaning crew will need to be mindful of this and perform their duties with as little disruption to the client as is possible. Tasks they may perform include Dusting or handwashing the following:

  • Ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Baseboards
  • Blinds and window sills
  • Lamps and lampshades
  • Picture frames and household decor
  • Dust and polish furniture
  • Wood moldings
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bathroom counters
  • Mirrors
  • Sinks
  • Kitchen countertops and backsplash
  • Wipe down outside of appliances
  • Scrub shower/bathtub and tile
  • Degrease stovetop
  • Make beds and change sheets
  • Microwave interior/exterior cleaned
  • Vacuum or dust stairs
  • Vacuum and/or mop all floors
  • Water inside plants
This type of cleaning is very detail oriented. It may take a few hours depending on the skill and size of your crew. Cleaning may take more or less time depending on the size of the property and the number of bed and bathrooms.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning is a full home, ceiling to baseboard service. The service usually takes place during the day while the client is home. But, some clients may prefer to be out of the home as a deep cleaning can be disruptive to their daily routine. A deep cleaning should include the weekly cleaning tasks in addition to the following:
  • Dust and wash air vents
  • Wipe down doors and door frames
  • Dust picture frames and household decor
  • Wipe down exterior kitchen/bathroom cabinets from top to bottom
  • Scrub baseboards
  • Windowsills
  • Stairs
  • Wood moldings
  • Vacuum and handwash blinds
  • Vacuum curtain tops
  • Wipe down ceiling fans and light fixtures
Ideally your team will perform a deep cleaning as the first service with a new client. This will get their home looking its best and help cut down on future cleaning times. A good rule of thumb to follow for a deep cleaning, is that it should take approximately 60 minutes to clean 1,000 sq ft of a home with a team of 4 cleaners. Trying to stick to that formula will help keep your business profitable on a deep cleaning. I recommend trying to schedule a deep cleaning on each property once every 6 months.

Move In/Move Out Cleaning

A move in/move out cleaning is a great way for your clients to prep a property they are about to move into or move out of. A move in/move out cleaning is the same as a deep cleaning but often takes significantly less time to complete. This is due to there not being any furniture or client belongings to move and clean in the process.

Things To Consider:

  • This is someone’s home. Taking a respectful, professional, and detail oriented approach goes a long way. Remember, its not just about providing a service. It is also about making sure the client is comfortable having you in their home.
  • Clients may have preferences on cleaning products. You may need to factor this into how you bill them for services.
  • Billing. One of the big differences between residential and commercial cleaning is that you bill on the day of service. Depending on how you receive payments, your income can vary.

Commercial Cleaning

Commercial cleaning focuses on cleaning large commercial and retail spaces. It can include but is not limited to cleaning:

  • Office buildings
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Schools
  • Daycares
  • Restaurants
  • Banks

A business may need cleaning on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Cleaning usually takes place at night after all employees and customers have left the property. The tasks performed by a commercial and residential cleaning are very similar. Cleaning tasks will vary from space to space but typically include the following:

  • Ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Baseboards
  • Blinds and window sills
  • Lamps and lampshades
  • Picture frames and office decor
  • Dust and polish furniture
  • Wood moldings
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Wipe down bathroom counters
  • Polish mirrors
  • Clean sinks
  • Wipe down countertops and backsplash if applicable
  • Degrease outside of appliances if applicable
  • Shower/bathtub and tile if applicable
  • Degrease stovetop if applicable
  • Microwave interior/exterior cleaned if applicable
  • Vacuum or dust stairs
  • Vacuum and/or mop all floors
  • Water inside plants
  • Wax or polish floors

You can keep cleaning times short by negotiating a more frequent cleaning schedule. The more often your cleaning crew is in the space the less work it will take to maintain a clean and professional environment for your client. Otherwise, it may be necessary to hire a larger crew to ensure a quick turn around.

Commercial spaces also need a deep cleaning from time to time. But, the schedule for such a thorough cleaning may vary depending on the needs of the company. Monthly deep cleanings may be necessary in spaces that have a particularly high volume of foot traffic.

Things to Consider:

  • Security. You will be cleaning professional spaces. These spaces often contain proprietary or otherwise sensitive or valuable information and materials. Ensuring the safety and security of your client’s office space is vital to providing excellent service. Your client may expect you to have a certain level of insurance or a bond to cover losses or damages in the event of a theft. They may also require you to agree to certain security measures, including a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  • Bidding for Contracts. While some commercial companies will buy your services outright, many will open up a bidding process. During this process you will need to submit a proposal. This should detail the services you provide and the expected monthly charges. This is a highly competitive process and may require some negotiations.
  • Cleaning Time. Another difference between a commercial and residential cleaning business is the cleaning time. You may be cleaning some very large spaces. Your client will not be in the building during the cleaning service. You will have some time to adjust to the cleaning time with each new space. As long as the cleaning is complete before the start of business, you’re golden!

Weighing your options between a commercial and residential cleaning business can an exciting time for you as an entrepreneur but it can also seem pretty intimidating. Debbie Sardone is the owner and founder of a million dollar maid service business. She has consulted for more than 350 residential cleaning business owners around the world. She also has experience training more than 1000 business owners, employees and trainers. If you are ready to start a commercial or residential cleaning business with advice from America’s Top Cleaning Business Development Expert, give Debbie a call today!

Considering the differences between commercial and residential cleaning business? Call Debbie at 972-827-7837 to discuss your options!