Do I Need a License to Clean Houses?

January 20, 2023 in Business

Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

Do I need a license to clean houses?

In general, you do not need a specific license to clean houses. However, depending on the particular services you offer and the city or county where you operate, you may need to obtain a business license, which is generally issued by the city or county where your business is located.

It’s important to note that if you are going to use certain chemicals, such as those used for carpet cleaning, you will need to ensure that your employees are appropriately trained and certified. Additionally, if you plan to hire employees, you will need to register for state and federal tax withholding and obtain worker’s compensation insurance.

It is also necessary to check with your local government to see if there are any other regulations that might apply to your business, such as zoning laws or health and safety regulations.

It’s always important to check with your local authorities to know the specific rules and regulations that apply to your area.

What are the legal requirements for starting a cleaning business?

The legal requirements for starting a cleaning business can vary depending on the location, but here are some general requirements that you may need to consider:

  1. Register your business: You will need to register your business with the state and obtain any necessary licenses and permits to operate in your area.
  2. Obtain insurance: It’s important to have liability insurance to protect your business and clients. You may also want to consider workers’ compensation insurance if you plan on hiring employees.
  3. Register for taxes: You will need to register for state and federal taxes, including income tax, sales tax, and employment taxes if you plan to hire employees.
  4. Comply with labor laws: If you plan to hire employees, you will need to comply with labor laws, including minimum wage, overtime, and workplace safety regulations.
  5. Comply with environmental regulations: You may need to comply with regulations related to the disposal of cleaning chemicals and materials, as well as regulations related to energy use, water conservation, and other environmental concerns.
  6. Get necessary permits: Depending on the services you offer, you may need to get specific permits, such as pool cleaning permits, hazardous waste handling permits, etc.
  7. Comply with zoning laws: Make sure that your business is compliant with local zoning laws, and that your business location is allowed to operate as a cleaning business.
  8. Keep records: Keep records of all the work you do, including the date, time, and location of each job, as well as the amount of money earned and the expenses incurred.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and regulations may vary depending on your location, so it’s important to check with your local government for more information.

Here’s a checklist of things you must consider when starting a house cleaning business in any state.

  • Choose a business name and check that it’s available (Search “my state’s business license verification”)
  • Register an LLC, Corporation or DBA with each state you will be operating in (Be sure to do this first before applying for other licenses)
  • Check if your specific state requires a state business license (Check with the county clerk)
  • Check if your state AND your city require a cleaning services license (Check with your city business licensing department)
  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number – if you plan on hiring employees (Apply through the IRS)
  • Check with your state, county and city to see if you require surety bonds (these protect customers against losses due to the behavior of cleaning companies)
  • State Tax Documents (Consult an attorney)
  • Check what insurance you need (workers’ compensation, unemployment, and others)

How do I get a license for a cleaning business?

Use the North American Industry Classification System to identify what business license you need.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a system used by government agencies and businesses to classify and organize economic data based on the type of goods or services produced by a particular industry. It is used in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The NAICS is used to classify businesses and industries for statistical and analytical purposes, such as tracking economic trends or determining eligibility for certain government programs. In simple terms, it is a way to group and categorize different types of businesses and industries for data collection and analysis.

NAICS Cleaning Codes –

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes are used to classify businesses by their type of economic activity. The codes for cleaning services can vary depending on the services provided. However, here are a few examples of NAICS codes that may apply to cleaning businesses in 2023:

  1. 561720 – Janitorial Services
  2. 561740 – Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services
  3. 561790 – Other Services to Buildings and Dwellings
  4. 561730 – Landscaping Services
  5. 561710 – Exterminating and Pest Control Services
  6. 561740 – Window Cleaning Services
  7. 811198 – All Other Personal Services
  8. 561722 – Shimmy-proofing and Exterior Building Maintenance
  9. 561750 – Pressure Washing
  10. 561780 – Specialty Cleaning Services
  11. 561730 – Industrial Cleaning Services
  12. 561790 – Cleaning and Maintenance Services
  13. 562910 – Remediation Services
  14. 562998 – All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Services
  15. 562920 – Septic Tank and Related Services
  16. 562991 – Septic Tank and Related Services
  17. 562998 – All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Services
  18. 562990 – All Other Miscellaneous Waste Management Services
  19. 562910 – Remediation Services
  20. 812320 – Power and Pressure Washing Services

It’s important to note that the codes are not exhaustive, and other codes may apply to your specific type of cleaning business. You should check with the NAICS website or your local government to confirm the appropriate codes for your business.

Find more information here:

For more advice for how to Start a Cleaning Business, check these guides out next:

How to Start a Cleaning Business in 10 steps (2023 Guide)

How to Get Cleaning Business Clients: 21 Marketing Ideas

How to Manage Your Maid Service for Free


Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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