How to start a cleaning company

Entrepreneur or not?

More than 80% of the cleaning staff work part time. You can run a cleaning company part-time, in addition to a job or caring for a family. Whether the Chamber of Commerce and Tax see you as an entrepreneur depends on several things.

Cleaning as an entrepreneur

You are an entrepreneur, and you must register with the Chamber of Commerce if these 3 statements apply to you:

  • you provide goods or services, in your case cleaning work;
  • you ask a commercial price for it and
  • you do not (only) clean with friends or family, but you have customers.

Tax applies different criteria for turnover and income tax when it comes to determining whether you are an entrepreneur. With the entrepreneur check, you can check whether Skat also sees you as an entrepreneur.

Arrangement of home service

If you clean for private individuals and work for the same customer for a maximum of 3 days a week, you are not an entrepreneur. You will then be covered by the home service scheme. You can have multiple employers. You state your income in the tax return under ‘income from other work’.


The number of companies in the cleaning industry has grown significantly in the last 5 years. In 2016, there were still 16,052 cleaning companies registered with the Chamber of Commerce. On January 1, 2021, there were already 21,482. You will find mostly small businesses in this sector. More than 70% of companies are sole proprietorships. So there is a lot of competition.

To differentiate yourself from your competitors, you can choose a specialization, such as floor maintenance, glass cleaning or delivery cleaning. Look at what the competition in your area has to offer, and do a competition analysis, for example. This will help you decide how to differentiate yourself. Learn about the market that appeals to you. That way, you make a choice that suits you and you know that your offer meets the demand of your target audience.

I think it’s a must to have my own things with

Naomi Engelhardt also researched the market before starting her company Luxury Cleaning Services. “I had a suspicion that there was a great demand for private cleaning services. Through Marktplaats I saw how many people were looking for domestic help.” In recent years, she has seen the private market grow considerably in particular: “More and more parents are both working. Then there is less time left for the household, especially if there are children.” According to Engelhardt, her customers appreciate that she thinks with them and that she does not have a fixed day off per week. ”That way I can talk to all my customers on a regular basis, even now that I no longer perform all tasks myself I try to be everywhere as much as possible, also in the office buildings and window cleaning. It allows me to ask how things are going and what could be improved.


You do not need to apply for a permit to start a cleaning company. Diplomas are also not required for basic cleaning work. If you carry out special cleaning work, such as in healthcare, graffiti removal or facade maintenance, it is advisable to follow a course for this. In this way, you can demonstrate that you know exactly how to best approach this cleaning task.

There are quality brands for cleaning companies. This shows that your business is delivering good quality. Industry organizations Cleaning is a subject! (SieV!) And Ondernemingorganisation Schoonmaak- en Bedrijfsdiensten (OSB) issue these quality labels.

There are courses and courses in how to start a cleaning company. This is not mandatory, but can help you along the way if you do not know where to start.

Health and safety risks

When cleaning, you may face a number of health and safety risks. For example, cleaning products often contain irritating or toxic substances and the work can be physically demanding. If you start a window cleaning company, you will regularly work at height. It also involves risks.
At you will find information about the risks of working in the cleaning industry. It tells you what you can do to limit these risks. You can also cover yourself by taking out insurance.

Finding your first customers

If you know who your target audience is, it’s important to reach it. For example, you can create a website or Facebook page for your cleaning company. Make sure it is clear what you can help your customers with and how they can contact you.

Try to get as much free publicity as possible. Tell everyone you know that you started your own cleaning business. Ask local media to write about your new business. You may even be able to arrange a conversation. In addition, advertising on an online platform such as Marktplaats is an available option.

A satisfied customer is the best advertisement for your business. Make use of it. Ask customers to write a review on Google Maps or Facebook.

More and more parents are both working. This gives less time for household chores.

Engelhardt found out what her target audience is about to fly: “When I just started, I made flyers myself and handed them out in the neighborhood. The first calls came within 1 week. I had flown in different neighborhoods, and some neighborhoods got more responses than others. “

Engelhardt: “As a start-up entrepreneur, you are still uncertain. You go to a customer and do not know what to expect. Sometimes a job doesn’t go through and I could sit with that. I then wondered what I could have done differently or if I was too expensive. Now that uncertainty is gone. I know what I’m here for and that a refusal is not personal. You just have to get over it.

Tip: Do you want to know what you can charge per hour? Use the Chamber of Commerce’s hourly price calculation tool. This allows you to calculate your hourly rate based on a desired net income.


As an entrepreneur in the cleaning sector, you are liable for VAT. This means that you must collect VAT from your customers and submit a revenue statement.
The low VAT rate of 9% applies to cleaning work in homes. The high rate of 21% applies to cleaning work outside homes and to special cleaning and window cleaning. An exception is buildings that are at least 50% built-up. You can charge for glass cleaning within the low VAT rate.

Within a week of the flight, the first calls came

Is your annual turnover less than 20,000 euros? Then you can make use of the small business scheme (KOR). You are then exempt from VAT and do not have to charge VAT. You do not file a tax return and you cannot claim VAT back yourself. Please note: if you plan to invest a lot of money in the coming years, such as in a company car, KOR is not favorable.

You file an annual tax return on the profits of your business.


Can’t handle your tasks on your own? So see if it is possible to hire staff. This is also possible if you have a one-man business.
Engelhardt quickly got more tasks than she could perform herself. “I almost drowned at work and did not know how to make it happen. Fortunately, my husband wanted to join the company as a business partner. We now also have 3 permanent employees and in busy times we work with freelancers. This way, we can still handle all queries as quickly as possible. ”
If you hire staff, you must report this to the Tax and Chamber of Commerce. Then you have to pay payroll tax. You are also obliged to comply with the agreement (the agreement) in the cleaning and window cleaning company. This describes the rights and obligations of employers and employees in the cleaning industry.

General starter information

In addition to the above, as a start-up entrepreneur you will (possibly) also have to deal with:

You can read an overview of all the steps you take when starting your own business in the start-up menu.

Own things

Tip from Engelhardt: “I think it is a must to have my own things with me. Sometimes the customer forgets to get something. Then you stand there and you can do nothing. Therefore, I quickly bought a car for work. When you open my trunk, you just see buckets, vacuum cleaners, and cleaners. You can move fast with a car. As a cleaning assistant, you go from hot to here. You can not do everything by bike. After a year or two, we also bought a bus with a water tank. We use these for window cleaning and facade cleaning, so we can also supply everything for those tasks. ”

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