Cleaning Business Licenses and Permits

Discover the essential licenses and permits required to launch your cleaning business hassle-free.

Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes

Excellent 4.8 out of 5 stars 14,459 reviews

Start Your Cleaning Business!

Starting a cleaning business can be an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the licenses and permits you need to operate legally. Navigating through the paperwork and requirements might seem daunting, but fear not! In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know about starting your cleaning business on the right foot.

What licenses are needed to start a cleaning business?

No matter what business you form, there’s a good chance you’ll need at least one license or permit. As a cleaning business, though, here are a few of the most common required ones. 

Business License

Some states, counties, and cities require a general business license for all businesses, including cleaning businesses. It grants you the legal right to operate within your city, county, or state. The process of obtaining a business license is straightforward and usually involves filling out an application and paying a fee. The specific requirements for obtaining a business license may vary depending on your location, so it’s essential to check with your state, local government, and/or municipality.

DBA Registration

While not precisely a license, a doing business as (DBA) registration is usually required if you plan to operate your cleaning business under a name different from your legal name. It helps avoid confusion and allows you to establish a unique brand identity for your cleaning services. For example, if your legal name is John Smith, but you want to run your cleaning business as “Sparkling Cleaners,” you’ll need to register “Sparkling Cleaners” as your DBA.

DBA registration requirements may vary by state or county, but the process is generally straightforward. You’ll need to check the availability of your chosen business name to ensure it’s not already in use. Once your DBA registration is approved, you can use your chosen business name on contracts, marketing materials, and more.

Sales Tax Permit

If you plan on selling taxable goods or services, such as cleaning supplies or equipment, a sales tax permit is a must. This permit allows you to collect sales tax from your customers and remit it to the appropriate state agency. Sales tax rates and regulations vary by location, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the requirements in your area.

To obtain a sales tax permit, you’ll typically need to apply with your state’s revenue department. Some states may require periodic reporting and remittance of sales tax collected, so keeping accurate records of your sales is essential to stay compliant.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number for your cleaning business. You’ll likely need it for tax purposes, opening a business bank account, and hiring employees if your cleaning business expands. Obtaining an EIN is a simple process, and you can apply for it online with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Having an EIN also helps separate your personal and business finances, which is especially important if you operate as a sole proprietor or have partners. Additionally, if you plan to hire employees, the EIN is required for payroll and tax purposes.

Janitorial Surety Bond

A janitorial surety bond is a form of insurance that provides financial protection to your clients in case of any damages or theft that might occur while you’re working on their premises. It adds credibility to your business and reassures your clients that you take their security seriously.

The amount of the janitorial surety bond can vary depending on state regulations and client requirements. Some states may not have specific requirements for this bond, while others may mandate a minimum bond amount based on your business size and scope. It’s essential to check with your local authorities to determine if a janitorial surety bond is required for your cleaning business.

Special Business Permits

Depending on your location and the type of cleaning services you offer, you may need special business permits. These permits might include health permits, environmental permits, or permits for hazardous waste disposal, especially if you deal with commercial or industrial cleaning.

Health permits are typically necessary if you offer services in settings such as hospitals, clinics, or food establishments. Environmental permits may apply if your cleaning processes involve the use of chemicals or potentially harmful substances. Hazardous waste disposal permits are essential if you handle and dispose of hazardous materials generated during your cleaning operations.

Occupational License

In some areas, a specific occupational license might be necessary for cleaning businesses. This license ensures that you have the required skills and knowledge to provide cleaning services safely and effectively. The requirements for an occupational license can vary, but they may involve completing training or passing an exam related to the cleaning industry.

Obtaining an occupational license demonstrates your commitment to maintaining high-quality standards in your cleaning services. It can also give your business a competitive edge, as clients may prefer to hire licensed cleaning professionals.


While not a license, having proper insurance coverage is vital for your cleaning business. General liability insurance protects you from potential lawsuits related to property damage or injuries that may occur during your cleaning operations.

Additionally, worker’s compensation insurance is essential if you plan to hire employees. It provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured while working for your cleaning business.

Proper insurance coverage gives your clients peace of mind, knowing that they’re protected in the event of any mishaps. It also safeguards your business from financial liabilities that could arise from unforeseen circumstances.

We can help!

Navigating the world of licenses and permits for your cleaning business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At ZenBusiness, we offer a business license report that makes it easy for you to identify the licenses and permits you need. Our LLC formation service can also help you get started for $0, providing all the support you need to hit the ground running. From obtaining the right licenses to setting up your business structure, we handle the paperwork so you can focus on growing your cleaning business. Don’t let legal hurdles hold you back; let ZenBusiness be your partner in success.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Cleaning Business License FAQs

  • In most cases, you don’t need a specific license to clean houses as an individual providing cleaning services to homeowners. However, if you plan to operate your cleaning services as a formal business entity, you will likely need at least one business license to legally run your cleaning business. This could be as general as a state general business license or as specific as a license for advertising with signs. Keep in mind that local regulations vary, so it’s essential to check with your local government or licensing authorities to ensure compliance with any specific requirements.

  • That depends on your location and circumstances. Some state and local governments require a general business license for all businesses. Additionally, depending on your location and the type of cleaning services you offer, you may need other permits or licenses, such as a sales tax permit or occupational license.

  • Starting a cleaning business involves several key steps. First, decide on the type of cleaning services you want to offer, whether residential, commercial, or specialized cleaning. Next, choose a business name and check if it’s available for use. Obtain any necessary licenses and permits required by your state and local governments to operate legally. Consider getting liability insurance to protect your business and clients. Additionally, if you plan to hire employees, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and may require worker’s compensation insurance. Finally, invest in the necessary cleaning equipment and marketing efforts to launch your cleaning business successfully.

Start a Business in Your State

Popular States for Starting a Small Business