Residential vs. Commercial Cleaning: Advice from Steve Hanson

February 29, 2020 in Business, Systems & Automation

Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

There may be a lot of similarities between residential and commercial cleaning businesses, but it is important to note that they do function differently.

Cleaning systems are unique to the type of service

Systems are important when starting a cleaning business and they will change with the type of cleaning that you are offering.

With a home cleaning business, you have a smaller space with a set amount of standard domestic rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hallway, and living area.

Your cleaners should be trained in each of these rooms, being thoughtful about being in someone’s personal space, cleaning effectively, with quality and while moving swiftly through the cleaning client’s home.

However, when it comes to commercial cleaning, cleaners will need to be trained in an entirely different way.

Large commercial buildings may or may not have a kitchen, they are typically an office type setting and you may or may not be working during business hours.

For commercial cleaning services, you will likely have more high powered machinery to be sure the job is done at a quick and efficient pace. Cleaners will need to be trained on the equipment used as well as how to conduct their position in this alternate setting.

Train your cleaning staff for residential or commercial cleaning services

All of your domestic cleaning service staff should be trained on how to clean a home in the way that your particular Maid Service does it. At any stage in your cleaning business, it is important to have your whole company looking cohesive and systematic.

Your cleaners should be trained to carry out cleanings expertly and in the same ways so that no matter who you send in, the job is done with the same quality and performance. Hitting production rates and safety standards should be your goal, OSHA requires safety training once a year, so incorporate improved methods in your yearly retraining for cleaners.

Consider including customer service training and chemical solution training as well, this can greatly benefit you in the long run. Providing comprehensive training in these areas will allow you to have more confidence in your cleaners because they will know how to interact expertly with cleaning clients and within their homes.

Cleaners should be trained on how to remove oil and to identify surfaces in order to know what to do without ruining more delicate surfaces.

Additionally, you can offer a bloodborne pathogen training, this is vital because blood can be a dangerous thing to come into contact with when you do not know the proper protocol.

Train your managers and their supervisors too, even when first starting a cleaning business.

Each person is an essential part of your company and the way it functions, so training really helps with unified growth.

Training at all levels is needed across the board whether you are starting a cleaning business in the residential or the commercial cleaning service side. The thing that separates the two, is the style and content of each training.

When you are working with commercial cleaning services, the structure of the buildings, the number of rooms, and the general environment will all be different. It is vital to notice and understand these differences so that you are able to send your team in fully prepared for the job at hand.

If you are a Maid Service owner currently wanting to expand into commercial cleaning, be sure to provide comprehensive training for all cleaners who decide to make the switch with you.

Take care of all of the technical things

When starting a cleaning business, you need to be able to show that you are legit.

To get started with legitimizing, begin your training by providing certifications of completion and having cleaners sign the document.

There are also other certifications that your cleaning company and your cleaners should have, these may differ when it comes to working on commercial cleaning or domestic services. The Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) provides training and certifications which are regarded highly in the professional cleaning industry.

Additionally, you will also want to find out what insurance you need to run your home cleaning or commercial cleaning business to keep it above board.

Find the right cleaning client

When looking into commercial cleaning services, starting a cleaning business off with a target customer in mind can make all the difference.

Your demographics will be different, and they’ll change from examples like stay-at-home mom or young professionals into other demographics like salons, medical, or industrial professional buildings.

Consider these differences when you start looking for a way to brand your cleaning company.

If you’re getting started in commercial cleaning, look out for small accounts. You want to get started slowly as you ease into this business so that you don’t get overwhelmed. These can be very large spaces.

Plus, if you start pricing for large, 30 or 40,000 square foot facilities you run the chance of underbidding and overloading your cleaners.

Don’t lose your nights to your cleaning business

Speaking of overloading cleaners, whether you are working in residential cleaning or starting a cleaning business with commercial cleaning services, sell daytime cleaning as much as possible.

This is pretty typical for home cleaning companies, but sometimes offices may request for after-hours cleaning.

If you are looking into providing services around the clock, wait until you have such an influx of commercial cleaning clients that you need to open up after-hours cleaning. However, you don’t need to, there are plenty of opportunities to do daytime cleaning.

When transitioning from domestic to commercial cleaning, it will likely make it easier for the cleaners of your company to stick with the same operating hours.

This article was created from a talk given by Steve Hanson live at the 2019 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

About the presenter

With 32 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Steve Hanson knows what he is talking about when it comes to building and growing a cleaning business.

Steve is the President of and, which are both popular and useful sites that provide information for those in the cleaning field.

He is also an ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.) in the area of the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and Certification Program. With such a grasp on the ins and outs of all levels of starting a cleaning business, Steve is really an expert when it comes to trying to expand your residential cleaning company by offering commercial cleaning services.

Follow this advice and more to avoid mistakes and get to know the commercial side of the cleaning field.

This talk first aired at the 2019 Maid Service Success Summit.

The Maid Summit is an annual online event that brings together the most successful leaders in the cleaning industry, like Debbie Sardone, Angela Brown, Courtney Wisely, Amy Caris, Chris Schwab and more. Get free access to masterclasses and workshops that will help you to grow, scale and automate your cleaning business so you can get more leads and create more profit. Make sure you’re on our email list to find out how to get free tickets to the next event.

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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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