Should You Subcontract When Starting a Cleaning Business?

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.

Scott Gibbens

8 Responses to “Should You Subcontract When Starting a Cleaning Business?

  • This is an excellent idea for starting out! I never thought of subcontracting with a large established company. Thanks so much for writing this and I am very happy to stumble across it. I just started my own business and I have already contacted some major players that sound interested in subcontracting with me. If so I OWE YOU BIG TIME!!!

    Best wishes,

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Mike- Thanks for the comment. I hope that it helps your business. Let me know how I can help.

  • I think that once your cleaning business gets started you should do it all yourself. However, when your business takes off you might want to consider outsourcing.

    Do you have any tips for getting more clients, though? I’m looking to start a cleaning service shortly.

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 year ago

      Hi Garen – I would have to agree. Long term you are better off on your own, but early on take whatever you can. My biggest advice is to become obsessed with prospecting. Tell everyone you know about your new business. Develop a plan to attack the cold market and work it every day. Let me know how I can help.

  • Hello this couldn’t have been more timing.
    I was contacted today by Realtor Pro, they give you vacant houses to clean and everything sound good but you have to pay a $850 yearly fee.
    Is this customary or does it sound shady?
    I appreciate if you can let me know. I am in the process of establishing my cleaning business and I have been absorbing your you tube videos and everything.
    Thank you!

    • Scott Gibbens
      1 month ago

      I am not familiar with them so I cannot give you an honest opinion. There are services that provide marketing, jobs & leads for a fee, but generally, there is no fee for straight subcontracting. I would do more research. Don’t forget to ask about their terms for payment.

  • Cotennie Sailor
    3 weeks ago

    Yes i would like information on opening a cleaning business

    • Scott Gibbens
      3 weeks ago

      Please submit a contact form and we will be in touch.