Business License – Do You Need One to Clean?

Business license – do you need one for your house cleaning business? If you work for family no. But you may need a business license based on your jurisdiction and the rules for the city you live in.

We Ask a House Cleaner about a general a business license and a housekeeping license and legal documentation for business startup.

Angela Brown, The House Guru gives tips and industry business advice. Small business with a physical location is different from a maid service where you clean in someone else’s home.

Today’s sponsor is where we connect house cleaners and maids with homeowners. #HouseCleaning360

That is a referral database that was created for house cleaners, by house cleaners.

Here’s how it works: you go to You set up a business fan page, that has all your business information inside it.

Then, a customer calls you, and they live 40 miles away. And they say, “Hey, can you come clean my house?”

And you say, “No, I don’t travel that far. But if you go to, you’ll be able to find a house cleaner in your area.”

And we refer business to each other through this online database. You don’t have a business fan page on yet? Go get one today so we can send business your way.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: Business License – Do You Need One to Clean?

 All right, onto today’s question which is from a new house cleaner. She says, “I’m starting a business, and I want to know do I need a business license? Right now, I’m just working for family and friends.”

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Answer: Business License – Do You Need One to Clean?

Business License dishwashingAll right, that’s an excellent question, and the answer is for family, no. You do not need a business license to work for your family.

If I go in and wash my mom’s dishes after lunch, I just washed my mom’s dishes. That’s all it is. I do not need a business license for that.

If we have kids, and they do chores around the house, they are cleaning the house. They do not need a business license for that.

“As You Start Your Business” – Yes

But, the key here is you said, “As I start my business.”

So, as you start your business, yes, you do need a business license depending on the scope of your business.

So, it’s clear upfront to get your business all flushed out, and to figure out exactly how you operate.

What is a Business License?

Business License license applicationWell, in the United States there are over 40,000 different jurisdictions for business licenses.

Business licenses are at a government level and a local level. They are at a municipal level,  county level, and city, state level. There are all these different jurisdictions, and they all have different rules and regulations.

So, it depends on the type of business that you’re in. It may be that you don’t need a business license, and it may be that you do depending on how your business is set up.

Business Licenses Keep You Legal

Business License license applicationIt’s a permit that allows you to sell and exchange services for money. It’s a permit that allows you to do that in the jurisdiction where you live.

So, what it comes down to is do you need a building permit? Do you need a fire code permit? Do you need a health code permit?

A lot of this stuff does not apply to house cleaning. So, there are few licenses that are required for house cleaning. But you need to check with where you live to find out exactly what it is you need.

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Go to City Hall

Now, City Hall is a great place to go to check out to find out what the rules and regulations are for your area.

And this is an excellent thing to do. Because as you start talking to people, you’re going to learn a lot. You will uncover a lot of things about small business that you didn’t know.

Not Familiar With Business Set Up?

Business License scoreIf you’re not familiar with how a business is set up and you need help with a business plan, there is help.

In the United States, there’s a program called SCORE. And I will leave links in the resources section below to SCORE so you can check it out.

SCORE is a bunch of people that have volunteered their time. And they’re business experts or retired. They jump in and they give you free mentor advice.

So, if you’re unfamiliar, you might need somebody to talk to. If you want to spin ideas off somebody, SCORE is an excellent and amazing resource.

Do I Need a Business License?

Business License websiteSo, if you’re not sure you need a business license, there is help for that too.  If you are like, “Hey. Does this apply to me and my type of business?”

There’s a website called And, I will leave links to that in the resources section as well.

What you do is you go in and you plug in your industry. And then you plug in your zip code or the city that you live in.

It will match you up with all the different business licenses for the different areas that you live in. It will also tell you what is required based on your industry.

Make Everything Legal

Business License employment contractSo, my suggestion to you is this. Jump in if you are a business owner. Not for family, because for family you don’t need this. But as you start your business, as your business grows, make everything legal right up front.

And by that, I mean file all the legal documents. File everything that is appropriate to your business.

Even as you go to take a job somewhere, there are employment papers you sign. And so as a boss, there are also boss papers that you sign that says, “Hey, we’re doing everything legal by the book.”

Protect Yourself

Business License suspicious manDo all this so now. Then you don’t have to worry that the IRS comes at you with an audit.

They won’t be able to say that you didn’t file your appropriate tax paperwork. You don’t have the proper licenses. You don’t have the proper this, that, or the other.

Business License papers pleaseAnd I’m not trying to scare you. But what I’m trying to say is this. If you have everything in place, then you are set if you’re ever audited. Or if anything ever comes up, you say, “Hey, here’s my paperwork.”

And they go, “Oh, they’ve already done all the research. They’ve already processed everything, they’ve done everything by the book. Okay, you’re good.” And it’s a much easier process if you have all your documentation in place.

It Depends, But Do the Research!

So, do you need a business license for house cleaning? I don’t know. It depends on the jurisdiction you live in.

But my suggestion is that take some time and research it. That way, you know that you are playing by the rules, and you’re following everything by the book.

Just so there are no surprises later on. And so that you are an official business owner, and you are legal and you have the permits to do business.

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All righty, that’s my two cents for today. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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Resources For This Episode

Score Small Business Administration and Advice –

Business License Requirements for Your Area –

Requirements to Start a Residential Cleaning Business –

Legal Documents for Cleaning Businesses –

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