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How to Start a Cleaning Company in Pennsylvania

Thinking of starting a cleaning business in Pennsylvania? Follow these steps to get your cleaning business up and running.

How to Start a Cleaning Business in Pennsylvania

If you've been dreaming of owning a thriving cleaning business in 2023, now is the time to turn that dream into reality. Starting a cleaning company in Pennsylvania can be a rewarding venture, offering opportunities for growth and financial independence. However, success in this competitive industry requires careful planning and execution. In this comprehensive guide, we'll give you the best and most up-to-date advice on how to start your cleaning business off on the right foot. We'll walk you through every important step, from choosing a business structure and registering your business to advertising your cleaning business and hiring employees in Pennsylvania. Find out how to keep customers happy, run your business well, and stay ahead of the competition.

Create a Business Entity


Choosing a Business Entity for Your Cleaning Company

When starting a cleaning business in Pennsylvania, it's important to choose a legal structure that protects you from personal liability. While sole proprietorships or partnerships are options, using a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) offers better protection. Unlike some businesses, cleaning operations involve potential physical risks on clients' premises, with employees actively engaged. This makes it more likely that accidents or damage to property will happen, so it's important to keep personal liability and business liability separate.

When you incorporate as a corporation or an LLC, you create a separate legal entity. This protects your personal assets in case something bad happens. The business will be responsible for the costs, so your savings and belongings will be safe. Also, this legal status makes you look more professional and trustworthy, which builds trust with clients and business partners.

Even though forming a corporation or LLC requires paperwork and costs up front, the long-term benefits in terms of liability protection and reputation make it a smart investment for the future success and security of your cleaning business. By making this strategic choice, you give your business a solid foundation and can focus on providing great cleaning services without putting yourself at too much risk.

Useful Entity Formation Tips

Whether you decide to incorporate as a corporation, LLC, or partnership below you will find some useful online entity formation sources and sites we have vetted to help you get a step closer to opening your cleaning company:

Registering Your Cleaning Business


Registering Your Cleaning Business in Pennsylvania

The cost of registering a business in Pennsylvania depends on your chosen business structure and local government requirements. It's essential to budget for these registration costs when starting your cleaning business in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that fees may vary slightly depending on where your business is and what other permits or licenses it may need. If you know about these costs ahead of time, it will be easier to plan and start your cleaning business.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The official website for Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Advice, research, and resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Pennsylvania Department of State

File business documents and find other business services.

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

Find information on taxes, access online filing, and forms.

Applying for an EIN


Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your home cleaning business in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process that ensures proper tax identification. Here are the steps to obtain your EIN:

  1. Determine the need for an EIN: An EIN is essential if your cleaning business has employees or operates as a partnership or corporation. It serves as a unique nine-digit identifier for tax purposes.

  2. Gather necessary information: Prepare the required information before applying, including your legal business name, business address, and the name and Social Security number of a principal officer.

  3. Apply online: The quickest and most convenient method is to apply online through the IRS website. By filling out the online application form, you can receive your EIN instantly.

  4. Apply by mail or fax: If you prefer, you can apply by mail or fax. Complete Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS. Keep in mind that this method may take several weeks to process.

  5. Apply by phone: Another option is to apply by phone. Contact the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line at 1-800-829-4933 to apply for your EIN over the phone.

Remember to have all your documents ready before applying, and be sure to review Pennsylvania’s state laws for any additional requirements specific to your cleaning business. By obtaining an EIN, you establish your business's tax identity and pave the way for compliant operations and financial management.

Do You Need a Cleaning License?


Do You Need a Cleaning License in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not have a state-wide licensing mandate for launching a cleaning business. Nevertheless, specific cities and counties may impose local regulations and business license prerequisites that aspiring entrepreneurs must adhere to. Stay informed about the local requirements to ensure compliance and a smooth start for your cleaning venture in Pennsylvania.

Additional License & Permit Requirements


Pennsylvania License and Permit Requirements

Even if you are a sole proprietor, you should think about getting a federal tax ID number, formally known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The application process is straightforward and can be conveniently completed online through the IRS website (

There will be a need for a number of other licenses and permits, such as:

  • Business license

  • Hazardous materials disclosure

  • Wastewater discharge permit

  • Fire code permit

  • State registration form for employers, and

  • State EPA identification number

Being aware of these regulatory requirements will ensure your business operates legally and without complications.

Starting a Cleaning Business in Pennsylvania
Advertising & Marketing


Advertising Your Cleaning Business In Pennsylvania

In addition to word-of-mouth, you should consider advertising your new cleaning business to get more customers. When promoting your services, prioritize accuracy to build trust with potential clients. Be careful when using "free" offers, and make sure you understand any conditions that come with them. Additionally, make sure that the discounts that are advertised actually save money compared to regular prices. Highlight your unique selling points, such as eco-friendly practices or specialized cleaning techniques, to stand out from competitors. Both print and online ads for your business should be done professionally. Make sure your marketing is geared toward reaching your target audience. By following these guidelines, you can successfully advertise your cleaning business, bring in new customers, and establish a reputable brand image in the market.

Credit Card Processing


Accepting Payments for Your Cleaning Business

Ensuring efficient payment processing is vital for a successful cleaning business. Customers like having a variety of ways to pay, such as credit/debit cards, cash, checks, and online payment gateways. Adding online payment options to your website makes your business more accessible and easy to use.


Professional invoices and itemized receipts promote transparency in transactions. Utilizing POS systems for in-person payments ensures safe and quick transactions, while contactless options enhance security.


Subscription-based payment models for regular clients foster loyalty and predictability. Prioritizing data security with reputable payment processors safeguards customer information.


Clear payment terms, requests for deposits, and automatic reminders of due dates help people pay on time and improve cash flow. Keeping accurate records of transactions helps with accounting and keeping track of taxes.


Maintaining a courteous and professional approach in payment-related communication builds trust with clients. Having reliable customer support for questions about billing contributes to a positive payment experience.

Business Insurance


Obtaining Business Insurance

There are some risks that come with running a cleaning business, such as employees getting hurt on the job or accidental damage to customers' property. Additionally, generic business risks like fire or theft pose potential threats to your own business property. To reduce these risks, it is important to get comprehensive insurance coverage.


When looking for insurance, work with an agent who has worked with cleaning companies before. Get excellent general liability insurance to protect yourself from property damage, destruction, or injuries to clients. Make sure that your property insurance covers all the important parts of your business, like supplies and equipment. You and your employees should also have enough car insurance to protect you while you travel between work sites.


Lastly, depending on the rules and regulations in your area, it may be good for your business to look into getting a bond. Bonding provides an added layer of protection, assuring clients that you will fulfill your contractual obligations.


By getting the right insurance and bonding, you protect your cleaning business from things that could go wrong and show your clients that you are committed to giving them reliable and professional services.

How To Start a Cleaning Company in Pennsylvania
Hiring Staff


Hiring Employees in Pennsylvania

As a cleaning business owner with employees, you need to know about important employment law issues to make sure you're following the law and that your business runs smoothly. In this industry, there can be a lot of employee turnover, so it's important to know about important parts of employment law, such as illegal discrimination and workers' compensation. Regarding the hiring process, learn how to:


  • Craft a job application that avoids illegal questions

  • Conduct reference checks and make pre-employment inquiries without violating privacy laws, and

  • Ask questions that are both useful and legally permissible during the interviews

  • Setup employee schedules

  • Setup employee payroll service such as:


Be aware of the employment laws that apply to cleaning businesses, such as those about minimum hourly wages, working with children, and showing proof that you can legally work. Keep up with any changes to the rules to stay in compliance.


Proceed with extreme caution if considering treating cleaning personnel as independent contractors. The IRS has strict rules about how to classify people as independent contractors. Misclassifications can lead to legal problems. Check out IRS Form SS-8, which lists the criteria the IRS uses to determine worker status.

By understanding and adhering to employment laws and regulations, you can protect your cleaning business, foster positive working relationships, and ensure a successful and legally compliant operation.

FAQs About Starting a Cleaning Business


FAQs About Starting a Cleaning Business in Pennsylvania

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