When I started my cleaning service in 1988, I was also working for an established cleaning company as well. Actually, I worked for a few companies, but the one that really helped me was owned by a family friend named Ed Kashmir. 

Ed knew that I was starting a cleaning business and he was willing to help me, as long as I provided excellent service to his clients as his employee. Could a similar arrangement help you? 

When you are first getting started in the cleaning business, the hardest thing to do is find new cleaning contracts. Have you considered subcontracting?

Why This Works

Large cleaning services can benefit from outsourcing their smaller cleaning accounts with a subcontracting relationship. Often, large cleaning services are not interested in smaller accounts because they have bigger ones to deal with. It’s hard to supervise employees at smaller accounts as well. 

If you approached a large, well-established company, they may be interested in subcontracting or even giving you their smaller cleaning contracts.

How To Approach This

Most well-established cleaning services will not be worried about a new startup stealing all their business. However, you may come across a grumpy owner that views your offer to subcontract as a threat to steal his clients. With people, anything can happen.

With that being said, take a low-key approach. A simple introductory phone call or in-person visit is the way to start. “Hi, my name is (your name) and I just started a small cleaning service. I was wondering if you ever subcontract your smaller cleaning contracts. If so, I would be interested.”

picture of business manThis is the starting point, where it goes from there is hard to say. You might find someone right away, you might have to call 20 companies with little interest at all. It’s worth trying because when you’re first getting started, you need to try many methods for prospecting.

I am always impressed when a contractor reaches out to me about our subcontracting program. In some cases, the timing has been perfect because we had a contract to fill. Be sure to have a clear written agreement and discuss terms for payment ahead of time. Treat this as you would any client that is paying you.

You will make less money as a subcontractor but it’s a place to start. Down the line, you could be the one helping some else get started.


What are your thoughts on subcontracting? Please leave a comment below.

Remember, if you are looking to start or grow a commercial cleaning business, we can help.