How to Start a Cleaning Business in Wisconsin | The Ultimate Guide

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Wisconsin Cleaning Business

Are you considering starting a cleaning business in Wisconsin? If so, you’re not alone. According to Market Research Future, the cleaning industry is growing, with an expected annual growth rate of 7% between 2021 and 2026. With the increasing demand for cleaning services, now is the perfect time to launch your Wisconsin LLC in the cleaning business.

In this comprehensive guide, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through the process of starting a cleaning business, including the necessary steps, legal requirements, and best practices to follow. By the end of this article, you will clearly understand How to Start a Cleaning Business in Wisconsin.

What is a Cleaning Business?

A cleaning business in Wisconsin is a professional service provider that offers various cleaning solutions to clients within the state. Depending on the business’s niche, these services can include residential, commercial, and specialty cleaning. Residential cleaning involves cleaning homes, apartments, and condos, while commercial cleaning caters to offices, retail spaces, and other business establishments. Specialty cleaning services can include carpet, window, and post-construction cleaning.

Cleaning businesses in Wisconsin must follow the state’s legal requirements if you will form an LLC, such as registering the business with Wisconsin’s Secretary of State, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, and adhering to tax regulations. Furthermore, these businesses must develop a solid business plan, invest in high-quality equipment and supplies, employ and train staff, and create effective marketing strategies to grow and succeed in the local market.

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How to Start a Cleaning Business in Wisconsin

To start a cleaning business in Wisconsin, you must follow the guidelines that include identifying your niche, developing a business plan, registering your business with the Wisconsin Secretary of State, obtaining the necessary license and permit, purchasing equipment and supplies, setting your prices, develop a marketing strategy, and hiring and training staff. 

Step 1: Identify Your Niche

The first step to starting a cleaning business in Wisconsin is identifying your niche. Various cleaning services include residential, commercial, and specialty cleaning. Residential cleaning involves cleaning homes, apartments, and condos, while commercial cleaning involves cleaning offices, retail spaces, and other business establishments. Specialty cleaning services include carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and post-construction cleaning.

Residential CleaningCommercial CleaningSpecialty Cleaning Services
HousesOfficesCarpet Cleaning
ApartmentsRetail SpacesWindow Cleaning
CondominiumsPost-Construction Cleaning

Choosing a niche that aligns with your skills, interests, and the demand in your local market is essential. Research your competition and determine the type of underserved cleaning services in your area. Focusing on a niche will help you attract your target customers and set your business apart. If you will create a rental property LLC in Wisconsin, it is better to know about starting Wisconsin cleaning business as well.

Step 2: Develop a Business Plan

A solid business plan is crucial for the success of your Wisconsin cleaning business. A business plan will help you outline your business goals, identify your target market, and develop a marketing strategy. It will also help you estimate your startup costs and plan your finances. Here are the key components of a cleaning business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Provide an overview of your cleaning business, including your mission statement, goals, and objectives.
  • Company Description: Outline the structure of your business, the services you will offer, and your target market.
  • Market Analysis: Research your local market and competition, and explain how your cleaning business will stand out.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Describe how you will attract new clients and retain existing ones, including your pricing and promotional strategies.
  • Operations Plan: Explain how your cleaning business will operate, including your staffing requirements, equipment, and supplies.
  • Financial Projections: Estimate your startup costs, projected revenue, and expenses for the first few years of your business.

Step 3: Register Your Cleaning Business

Before starting your cleaning business in Wisconsin, you must register your business with the Wisconsin Secretary of State. Here are the necessary steps to register your cleaning business:

Choose a Cleaning Business Name

Selecting a name for your Wisconsin cleaning business is essential to forming. There is a complete guide on Wisconsin Business Name Search for you to have a proper Wisconsin cleaning business name. 

In Wisconsin, if you do not wish to file your cleaning business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your cleaning business name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application with the Wisconsin Secretary of State to keep the name. 

You can check the availability of your desired business name by searching the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions‘s website.

Hire a Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is a person or entity responsible for receiving legal documents and official notices for your Wisconsin cleaning business. In Wisconsin, your Registered Agent must:

  • Be a resident of Wisconsin or a business entity authorized to do business there.
  • Have a physical address in Wisconsin (P.O. boxes are not acceptable)

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. 

You can serve as your Registered Agent or appoint a friend or family member or hire the Best Wisconsin Registered Agent Services.

Recommended: Professional services will ensure your business gets legal notices and critical mail. With LegalZoom’s Registered Agent Services, they offer peace of mind and expert support for businesses, ensuring compliance and seamless communication with state authorities. That’s why we recommend using –

LegalZoom – $249/year

File For Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation

If you form an LLC for your cleaning business, you must file the Wisconsin Articles of Organization, which costs $130. However, if you form Wisconsin Corporation for your cleaning business, you must file the Articles of Incorporation. The Articles of Incorporation filing fee costs $100 for online and by mail filing. It is crucial to provide accurate and complete information on this document, as errors or omissions may result in delays or rejection of your filing.

  • Online Filing: Create an account/Log in to the SOS site, get the e-form, fill it, and submit online. Or get the online PDF, fill it up and upload it back on the site.  
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail to State of WI – Dept. of Financial Institutions, P.O. Box 93348, Milwaukee, WI 53293

Recommended: Filing the Articles of Organization and the Articles of Incorporation is easy and hassle-free if you hire a professional service. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee)

Create an Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is a document that contains all of your company’s organizational details. It is optional to draft an operating agreement in most states. Yet, having one as an internal document is strongly advised. Creating the Wisconsin Operating Agreement includes information like-

  • About Business
  • Members and management
  • Capital contribution
  • Profit Distribution
  • Change of membership
  • Dissolution

Recommended: Creating an Operating Agreement is like having a personal legal guide at hand; it’s efficient, thorough, and ensures the smooth and compliant operation of your business. With LegalZoom’s operating agreement, it will protect your rights as an owner, keeping misunderstandings at bay and your business on the path to success. That’s why we recommend using –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99

Obtain an EIN 

Register your business with the Wisconsin Secretary of State and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Before that, you must obtain an Employer identification number (EIN) in Wisconsin to open a business bank account or hire an employee for your Wisconsin cleaning business. 

The application of an EIN in Wisconsin can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Register for State and Local Taxes

Depending on your business structure and location, you may need to register for state and local taxes, such as sales and income taxes.

Wisconsin Sales Tax

Wisconsin sales tax is a government-imposed tax on the sale of goods and services. It is generally added to the price of a product or service at the point of sale and paid by the consumer. The tax is collected by the retailer or service provider, who then remits the collected tax amount to the relevant government authority. In Wisconsin, the sales tax rate is 5.00%. 

Wisconsin State Income Tax

State income tax in Wisconsin is calculated based on a progressive tax rate, which means that individuals with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate. The tax rates in Wisconsin vary depending on income levels, with the highest rate imposed on those with the highest incomes. The revenue generated from state income tax funds various public services and programs in Wisconsin.

Step 4: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

In addition to registering your cleaning business in Wisconsin, you must obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Some of the common licenses and permits required for cleaning businesses include the following:

  • Wisconsin Sales Tax Permit: If you sell products, such as cleaning supplies, you may need Wisconsin Sales Tax Permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
  • Occupational License: Wisconsin requires an occupational license specific to the cleaning industry. 
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you plan to hire employees, you must obtain workers’ compensation insurance to comply with Wisconsin law. As well as the EIN.
  • Business License: Your local city or county government requires a business license in Wisconsin. The business license fee in Wisconsin ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 5: Purchase Equipment and Supplies

You must purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to start your cleaning business in Wisconsin. Some of the essential tools and equipment for a cleaning business include:

  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Carpet cleaners
  • Mops and buckets
  • Brooms and dustpans
  • Cleaning chemicals and solutions
  • Microfiber cloths and towels
  • Sponges and brushes
  • Protective gear, such as gloves and masks
  • Ladders and step stools

Investing in high-quality equipment and supplies is essential to ensure efficient and effective Wisconsin cleaning services. You can purchase these items from local retailers or online suppliers specializing in cleaning products.

Step 6: Set Your Prices

Determining the prices for your cleaning services can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the industry. For you to set the prices for your Wisconsin cleaning services, research the prices of your competitors in Wisconsin to get a general idea of the going rates for cleaning services, calculate the cost of labor, including your hourly wage and that of your employees, and determine the profit margin you want to achieve and factor that into your pricing.

It’s crucial to strike a balance between competitive pricing and ensuring profitability. Consider hiring an accountant for bookkeeping. 

Step 7: Develop a Marketing Strategy

A well-planned marketing strategy is essential for the success of your cleaning business in Wisconsin. Here are some effective marketing tactics for your cleaning business:

  • Create a Professional Website: A website is essential to showcase your Wisconsin cleaning services, share client testimonials, and provide contact information.
  • Leverage Social Media: Create business pages on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to connect with potential clients and share updates about your cleaning business.
  • Utilize Local Advertising: Advertise your Wisconsin cleaning services in local newspapers, magazines, and community bulletin boards.
  • Offer Promotions and Discounts: Attract new clients by offering promotional discounts and referral incentives.
  • Network with Local Businesses: Establish relationships with local businesses and property management companies to generate referrals and create strategic partnerships.

Step 8: Hire and Train Staff

As your cleaning business grows, you may need additional staff to accommodate the increasing workload. Investing in your Wisconsin cleaning business is better, but it is best to invest in your employees. Ensure they receive the proper compensation and training for their welfare and your company. 

Benefits of Forming a Cleaning Business

Forming a cleaning business can be a wise entrepreneurial decision as it offers a range of benefits. Here is the list of benefits to consider before you form one.

  • High Demand: With the increasing population of Wisconsin, which is currently 5,955,737, there is a growing need for cleaning services. This translates to a high demand for cleaning businesses.
  • Flexibility: Wisconsin cleaning businesses offer flexible work hours, which allows you to work around your schedule. You can choose to work part-time or full-time.
  • Low Start-up Costs: Starting a cleaning business is relatively inexpensive compared to other businesses. You can start with just a few cleaning supplies and grow your business as you gain more clients.
  • Recurring Revenue: Wisconsin cleaning businesses offer recurring revenue since most clients require regular cleaning services.
  • Personal Satisfaction: Wisconsin cleaning businesses offer a sense of personal satisfaction since you get to see the results of your work immediately.
  • Diverse Clientele: Wisconsin cleaning businesses can cater to a diverse clientele, including residential, commercial, and industrial clients.
  • Growth Potential: Wisconsin cleaning businesses have a high growth potential since you can expand your services to include additional cleaning services or target new markets.
  • Low Overhead Costs: Wisconsin cleaning businesses have low overhead costs since you can operate from home and do not require expensive equipment or inventory.


What are the requirements to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You will need to register your cleaning business with the state and may need a business license and liability insurance.
Do I need to have prior experience to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
No, you don’t necessarily need prior experience to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin, but having experience can be helpful.
How do I get business insurance for my cleaning company in Wisconsin?
You can contact an insurance agent in Wisconsin who specializes in small business insurance to get business insurance coverage.
What are the startup costs associated with a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Startup costs can vary depending on your services and the equipment you need, but can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Can I operate a cleaning business out of my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can operate a cleaning business out of your home in Wisconsin as long as you comply with local zoning laws.
What kind of cleaning services can I offer in Wisconsin as a business owner?
You can provide general cleaning services such as residential or commercial cleaning, carpet cleaning, window washing, and more.
Do I need to obtain a permit to operate a residential cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Generally, you do not need a permit to operate a residential cleaning business in Wisconsin.
Should I incorporate my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You may want to incorporate your cleaning business in Wisconsin to protect your personal assets.
How do I market my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You can advertise your business in local newspapers, online directories, social media platforms, and word of mouth.
Do I need a business plan to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
A business plan is not required, but creating goals and guidelines for your business can help it succeed.
What kind of legal structure should I choose for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You can choose a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation when registering your business in Wisconsin.
Where can I find resources for starting a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You can visit the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center for resources and assistance with starting or growing your business.
Do I need a cleaning certification to operate a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You do not need a cleaning certification, but it may be helpful in establishing yourself as a professional in your field.
Should I hire employees or work alone for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Whether you hire employees or work alone depends on the demand for your services and your personal preferences.
Can I hire independent contractors for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can hire independent contractors for your cleaning business in Wisconsin as long as they meet legal requirements.
Do I need a tax ID number to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Yes, you need a tax ID number to register your cleaning business in Wisconsin.
What kind of equipment do I need to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Basic equipment can include cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaners, mops, and more that depends on the requirement.
Do I need to provide my own cleaning supplies and products for customers in Wisconsin?
Yes, as a cleaning business owner, you are responsible for providing your own cleaning supplies and equipment.
What should I charge as a cleaning fee in Wisconsin?
Your pricing may depend on a variety of factors including the types of services offered and may vary against after calculating various factors.
What are tax responsibilities for owning a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You are required to collect and remit state sales tax if applicable. Check with an accountant to confirm the relevant taxes your cleaning business may have.
Can I perform services on evenings and weekends for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can perform services for your cleaning business on evenings and weekends as long as you comply with noise ordinance and local laws.
Do I need a vendor or supplier’s license for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
You may not need a vendor or supplier’s license for your cleaning business in Wisconsin, but sometimes it depends on what other sort of work you are going to provide.
What’s the amount of work required to start a cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Starting any business requires hard work and dedication. A developed plan of action and passion to support your cleaning business in Wisconsin will be fruitful.
Will it be hard to get customers for my cleaning business in Wisconsin?
Even developing a long-term customer base for a new cleaning business can be tough in the beginning. However, providing high quality services can encourage repeat business and recommendations.
Can I get help creating broader awareness for my cleaning business with a public relations strategy in Wisconsin, or does that require more regional focus as compared to a simple web presence?
Public relations can support raising brand recognition and can help to generate more leads, though regional tactics when promoted correctly should always prioritize infrastructure enhancement to yield better results.
What opportunities might cleaning business owners from Wisconsin have for expanding their business or “green” approaches for their services?
Green cleaning practices and eco-friendly techniques might improve appeal of a cleaning business situated in Wisconsin, especially to customers drawn towards eco-friendly actions.
Do I need coverage for workers’ compensation as a cleaning business leader in Wisconsin, since there may be increased risks for sole-proprietors?
Even sole proprietors should usually keep workers’ compensation coverage in Wisconsin, due to injury possibilities & liabilities that may result while delivering paid cleaning services.
I don’t have an official accounting background as a cleaning business owner in Wisconsin; should I partner with third-party providers to manage my books or is this manageable to learn?
You can learn how to proficiently balance your accounting books yourself while forming a concise record relating to your comprehensive business costing and expected profit gains or consider a third-party provider for more prominence and accuracy in calculations.
Will possessing a key client-stream from your company strengthen the credit-worthiness of a cleaning-focused business, whereas credit approval can be slow and rigorous in Wisconsin for newer businesses?
Generating high revenue for multiple years in Wisconsin might encourage prospects for business owners to obtain credit approvals. A steady growth in revenue trend would show your healthier financial position overall.
What’s the required liability insurance for Wisconsin cleaning businesses?
A Wisconsin cleaning business must typically carry liability insurance and would usually render protection from risks like property damage or injuries caused to person at residences or commercial premises.

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Starting a cleaning business in Wisconsin can be rewarding and profitable if you follow the right steps and adhere to the legal requirements. By identifying your niche, developing a solid business plan, registering your business, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, purchasing high-quality equipment and supplies, setting competitive prices, developing a robust marketing strategy, and hiring and training a reliable staff, you will be well on your way to launching a successful cleaning business in Wisconsin.

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