Dusting Up on Business
Licenses, Bonds, and Contracts: Legal Documents for Cleaning Businesses

Whether you run a window cleaning business, maid service, or upholstery cleaning company, you need to navigate a variety of legal documents, including insurance policies, surety bonds, and client contracts, to be a fully licensed cleaning services company.

To help you sort through your legal requirements, this guide can help you understand…

  • When your company needs a cleaning license.
  • How to get a cleaning license.
  • Why cleaning businesses need surety bonds.
Do I Need a Cleaning License to Start My Business?

Do I Need a Cleaning License to Start My Business?

Depending on where your business is located, your state and local government might require you to have a cleaning business license or just a regular business license. These are sometimes called "Service Contractor's Licenses."

But before you can get licensed, you may need to be "bonded," which means applying for a License Bond. (We'll go over that in more detail below.)

Though not all state and local governments have these requirements, your business may need to be licensed or bonded to land certain client contracts. Let's take a look at how you can get your business up to speed.

How to Get a Cleaning Business Licensed and Bonded

How to Get a Cleaning Business Licensed and Bonded

In order to be a licensed and bonded cleaning business, maid service, or janitorial company, you have to do the following:

  • Step 1. File a "Doing Business As" or business license application with your local municipal government and open a business bank account.
  • Step 2. Check the Small Business Administration's Licenses and Permits page to see if you are required to have cleaning license to work in your area.
  • Step 3. File necessary applications to become a licensed cleaning business.
  • Step 4. Contact insurance companies about License Bonds and Surety Bonds. You can submit an insurance application here to get free quotes for your cleaning business.
Why Do Cleaning Businesses Need Bonds?

Why Do Cleaning Businesses Need Bonds?

There are two kinds of cleaning bonds that a building / janitorial services company might need to have:

  • License and Permit Bond. You'll only need these bonds if you're licensed by your municipal government. Local governments can be sued if they license a contractor or cleaning professional who does poor work. These bonds protect the municipal government from the cost of a lawsuit.
  • Janitorial Bond / Housekeeper Surety Bond. Often referred to as a surety bond or contract bond, these bonds reimburse clients who pay for a service they never receive. If a cleaning business fails to deliver the work it promised, the Contract Bond reimburses the client for the fees they spent. In essence, these bonds help secure and enforce contracts. (Read our guide, "Should I Get a Surety Bond?" for more details.)

License bonds and cleaning services bonds offer more than just financial coverage. They are a way for you to reassure clients that you are a professional and that you can reimburse them for problems with your work.

Many clients want this reassurance before they sign a contract with a cleaning business. In fact, you can list that you are "bonded" on your business cards or webpage as a way to market your business.

To learn more about the cost of bonds, see these sample insurance quotes for cleaning businesses.

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