Cleaning Service Owners


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Because the materials, chemicals, and equipment for professional cleaning are likely to become more complicated, you should take courses that will help you adapt to chemical and mechanical advancements. Science courses can teach you about the products you'll be using. You'll need to purchase and use your own equipment, so a vocational class that  covers mechanical systems and repairs can help you better understand the machines and their upkeep. Accounting classes and student business organizations will prepare you for the record-keeping aspect of the work. Take English and composition courses to develop writing skills for your own advertising and promotion.

Postsecondary Training

Though this may change in the near future, the cleaning services industry had been typically easy to break into. If you're looking for employment with a cleaning service, you probably won't need any special certification, or even a high school diploma. Even as you develop your own service, you probably won't be hindered by a lack of education or training when seeking clients. As the job becomes more technically demanding, however, training programs will become standard.

Students should try to get firsthand experience in the business. You should seek out large cleaning businesses that contract their services to companies; these larger companies will be more likely to have good training systems in place. You should look for a company that has some certification and belongs to either regional or national professional organizations. Membership with such an organization will mean the company is privy to training information and requirements.

Some technical schools and community colleges offer training for cleaning technicians seeking certification. These schools offer courses in the use and care of cleaning agents, supplies, and equipment, as well as job organization and planning.

Other Education or Training

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification offers online, video, and home study continuing education (CE) courses on crime and trauma scene bio-recovery, mold remediation, water damage repair, estimating and sales, human resources, marketing, and other topics. The Restoration Industry Association also provides CE webinars and classes. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification isn't required to run a cleaning service, but it can help you attract business. You should either belong to a regional professional association or seek certification with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). Several different categories of certification are available from the IICRC, including carpet cleaning technician, commercial carpet maintenance technician, upholstery and fabric technician, master textile cleaner, master fire and smoke restorer, and master textile cleaner. The RIA offers the following disaster restoration-related certifications: certified mold professional, water-loss specialist, and certified restorer. Because of the special skills required for removing smoke and water from property, restoration certification involves a demanding program of training and testing. 

Most states and municipalitiies require cleaning service firms to have a business license, or have other types of licensing.  

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

It will take several years of experience as a cleaning worker to build the skills and contacts necessary to own your own cleaning firm. Working at a large cleaning firm will provide the best opportunities to interact with experienced colleagues and learn the latest cleaning techniques and business practices.

In addition to a love for cleaning, you should be detail oriented, be able to focus one element of ownership, and to work efficiently on different elements of your cleaning firm business. You also need good business sense and the ability to constantly promote and market your company. You should be friendly with your customers and follow-up with them to ensure they received excellent service to encourage repeat business.