If you have decided to start a cleaning business for your retirement income, here are some steps to consider before you begin.
- Business Structure
- Business name
- Business License
- Banking Account
More information in Cleaning Retirement Business Books
See this list which describes the many business structures around the world.
In the United States you can operate in many forms such as:
- Sole proprietorship -A business with a single owner. You can use your own name or a DBA (see below).
- General partnership – All partners are jointly and separately liable for the debts of the partnership. You can do this is most states without filing your partnership agreement.
- Limited Partnership – At least one partner, the general partner, has unlimited liability. And one or more partners have limited liability.
- Other Partnerships – LLP (limited liability partnership; LLLP (limited liability limited partnership); LLC, LC, Ltd. Co.; PLLC (professional limited liability company.
- Corporation – These are available in all states with titles like Corporation, Corp. Inc., Co. etc.
You can operate (Canada) as in many forms too.
- Sole Proprietorship – requires no formal business structure.
- General Partnership – can have a formal or informal partnership agreement according to the Partnership Act
- Limited Partnership – This limits both the liability and the participation of the passive partner with the active general partner exposed to unlimited liability.
- There are other forms like a Joint Venture and Co-op. We suggest checking with an accountant and a lawyer.
Choose your business structure first as it determines your business name.
At least in Canada and the United States, you can use your own name for the name of the business such as “Smith’s Cleaning Service” without any special permission from your government.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doing_business_as for other countries.
However, that does not usually sound very professional. Depending on your business legal structure names like “Smith’s Cleaning Service Company” or “Smith’s Cleaning Service Inc.” are better choices.
You can also use a business name that is different from the person’s or entity’s true name. These are called DBAs – Doing Business As. DBAs can be any type of business structure. Usually you need to register your DBA with your state government or province to get a unique name. See
If a name is already taken in your state or province than you cannot use it. Likewise, trademarks cannot also be used.
So don’t call your company “Smith’s ServiceMaster Cleaning Company, Inc.” unless you really hold a franchise from ServiceMaster and they have given you permission to use their name. Although we don’t suggest a franchise for a retirement business, it doesn’t hurt to check out what these types of companies offer. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219678
First you need a business license. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_license
The business license will show business name and address that you selected for your business structure and any DBAs that you might be using. This is obtained from various governmental agencies. It is usually your city hall. So start there first.
In the USA check with the Small Business Association for a list of government agencies that issue business licenses.
In Canada check BizPal
You need a business license to be legal and give confidence to your customers. You will also need it to pay local taxes. It is also useful to convince tax authorities that you are entitled to take business deductions because you have a real business and not just a hobby. Every business structure needs a business license.
The fees for a business license are typically USD $30 or so. Be aware that some governmental authorities will NOT issue you a business license if your address is in a non-commercial area (i.e. your residence). If this is so, consider getting a United Parcel Service address. In fact, it is good to have a UPS address in general.
Some authorities also might require you to place an advertisement in a “newspaper of record” announcing your business. There is no need to pay for an ad in a major newspaper. There are often smaller and cheaper alternatives.
Also check if there are any special training or certifications requirements for running cleaning services. Generally there are not. But ask anyway.
Consider purchasing a bond from your local insurance agency. Many customers will ask if you are bonded. A bond is insurance that covers you in case you damage a customer’s premises, furniture or use defective procedures or other license law violations. It can also cover you for theft and if you have not paid employees or subcontractors. Buy from your local insurance agent. It should be about USD $100 per year or so.
Personal liability Insurance is different than a bond as it a form of liability insurance that helps protect service -providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit. The coverage focuses on alleged failure to perform on the part of, financial loss caused by, and error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder.
If you are just starting out you will not, of course, have any references. However, you can ask to use the names of friends, neighbors, or relatives. Most customers never call references.
It is a good practice to open a separate business banking account. You will also need to accept credit cards so open a Merchant account and / or a PayPal account.
You probably don’t need an accountant starting out but at least invest in some good books and accounting software.
Get to know a good lawyer, just in case.
You should be using a computer with a sales tracking system, appointment scheduler, invoicing, and to-do list to keep track of your business. A web site is also a must in today’s marketplace.
To start invest in some good business cards and brochure.
Check out this link for more ideas. Hundreds of Retirement Business Ideas.
For more information check out my books