commercial cleaning vs residential

Commercial cleaning vs. residential is a decision that every entrant into the world of professional cleaning needs to make early on. While eventually, you may dabble in both ventures, it is good to start out with a focus of a more singular nature.

And even if you do plan to corner both markets, it is still important to understand the pros and cons of both types of accounts. In this article, we take a close look at residential vs. commercial cleaning business pros and cons. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Commercial Cleaning vs Residential: A guide

When it comes to commercial cleaning versus residential, you will probably find that there is no obvious winner. The points included below are designed not to instruct you on which route to take, but merely to educate you fully on all of your options.

Keep in mind that over 3 million people are working in the professional cleaning industry in the United States alone. Competition is stiff, and it is important to enter into the business with a full understanding of what you are getting yourself into.

With that in mind, read on for some commercial cleaning vs residential cleaning pros and cons.

Commercial Cleaning: Pros


One of the best aspects of professional commercial cleaning is that it is very scalable. The accounts are usually significantly larger than residential jobs and compensate well enough that it becomes easy to grow your business.

Large Gross:

Another nice thing about commercial cleaning jobs is that they tend to pay significantly more than your average residential job. A single account may easily lead to tens of thousands of dollars worth of gross income.

Commercial Cleaning Cons

Less Profit per Job

It is definitely true that you will make more money if you find success in the commercial cleaning niche. However, it is also true that the jobs are more expensive on your end. Commercial cleaning requires a big upfront investment on specialty equipment.

You will also need a team of people servicing each location that you service. This means that you will wind up paying a good deal more in salary, insurance, human resource concerns, etc. In other words, the ROI on each job is a smaller percent, even though the actual number that you are bringing in is bigger.

Team Dependent:

You are also very dependent on the entirety of your team when you enter into this market. Keep in mind that industrial level jobs tend to be a lot harder than residential jobs. This naturally means that every team member is serving an important role.

If even one person doesn’t show up, it could derail the entire job.

Very Competitive:

Finally, it’s also just a very competitive industry to get into. In your area, there are only so many “industrial level accounts” which means that everyone in the business is competing hard for the same few opportunities.

As an entrant, this means it can be particularly hard to breakthrough.

Residential Cleaning Pros and Cons

residential cleaning vs commercial cleaningIn the contest of commercial cleaning vs. industrial, let’s now look at some residential cleaning pros and cons.


Low-Cost Barrier

One of the most appealing aspects of residential cleaning for anyone just starting out is that startup is cheap. Most people who clean their own homes regularly are likely to find that they already have much of what they need.

While you may need to keep the broom closet better stocked than you are used to, the majority of stuff is there!

Normal Business Hours

You also benefit from much more regular business hours. The average residential consumer is hoping to have their home cleaned in the 9-5 window. This means that it will be much easier to have a good work/life balance.

This also means that you can expect to be home for the holidays, and other significant occasions.

Easy to Acquire New Accounts:

Virtually every one of a certain income level can be considered a potential customer. In fact, lower-income people often also hire professional cleaners as well. This is especially true if you can offer a service that people can’t do on their own.

For example, the majority of people cannot clean their own carpets. If you can find a way to offer these (or other) services, you will open yourself up to the new business.

However you go about looking for accounts, there are more to go around with commercial cleaning. Contracts can be drawn up quickly, they usually skew in your favor, and the cash is quick.

For people new to the business, these are very favorable conditions!


Liability May Be Higher

Because you are dealing with people’s homes, there may be high liability situations. For example, you may be held responsible for the damage of personal property during your cleanings. You may also need to be mindful of chemical exposure to pets, plants, and children.

High Potential for Bad Reviews:

People are more emotional than businesses tend to be. This means that you may find them more likely to leave bad reviews for you online. During your cleaning jobs, things may go wrong. You may miss an appointment due to illness. You may knock a valued item over and break it.

Whatever the case, if you are dealing with an unforgiving person, these mistakes could stain your record.

People Hover:

Finally, you are also going to find that people look over your shoulder while you work. Especially in the beginning. From the homeowner’s perspective, this is reasonable. You are a stranger in their home, after all.

Still, it can be irritating, and it certainly puts more pressure on your work.

Commercial Cleaning vs Residential: Conclusion:

A quick tally of the pros and cons makes it look like the commercial cleaning vs. Residential contest has been decided in favor of residential. But while cleaning private homes is much easier, it also may turn out to be less profitable.

Ultimately, you will need to decide for yourself which avenue is most suitable.


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