Sparkling ROI: 4 Ways To Cash In On The $400B Cleaning Industry

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Cyan Zhong
Cyan Zhong


The pandemic greatly shifted how people view hygiene — with many more focused on cleanliness than ever before.

To meet the emerging demand, consider getting into the cleaning services biz, a ~$400B industry that’s projected to reach $633B by 2030.

Source: Subreddit Stats

At Trends, we love “unsexy” businesses, particularly ones that “don’t have flashy tech, aren’t in the news, haven’t raised much funding, and mint cash,” as Sam Parr used to say. And the cleaning industry definitely fits the bill.

Here are three ideas you can build upon to clean up today:

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1. Commercial Cleaning

It’s the most obvious idea for good reason: With a market size of $64.9B, commercial cleaning stands to make the most profit out of the cleaning services industry.  

High-traffic areas like restaurants and offices must meet hygienic standards, but small businesses often can’t afford a full-time janitor. A cleaning business addresses these concerns, especially if your area lacks competition.

Small businesses in this space make between $70k and $100k per year, with a 10%-28% profit margin.

Source: Business Hue

Supplies make up the bulk of a cleaners’ expenses, including tools like power washes, vacuums, mops, and cleaning chemicals, depending on your specialty. For example, your business can specialize in green cleaning — which requires more eco-friendly, organic products to get started.

2. Solar Panel Cleaning

Did you know that to keep solar panels performing properly, they need to be cleaned every 6-12 months?

Each clean costs ~$25 per panel. This may not sound like much, but it ain’t cheap for businesses. For retailer Kohl’s, which has 200k+ solar panels in 163 branches, it comes to $30k+ per clean, per store.

Here’s how you can make hay dough while the sun still shines:

🚛 Start a solar panel cleaning biz. You can target the big boys (Kohl’s, IKEA, Whole Foods), or niche down into residential.

Currently 6% of US homeowners have solar ( ~14m households), and the American residential solar market is forecast to grow at a 15%+ CAGR through 2030.

We betcha these peeps aren’t scrubbing their own roofs. Differentiate yourself by offering discounted subscription cleans, eco-friendly detergent options, and winning customer service.

👷 Train cleaning teams. As solar adoption rises, demand for skilled maintenance teams that include cleaning services will grow as well.

Panels are easily damaged and often difficult to get to, so there is opportunity to train cleaning teams who want to enter the business.

Develop a solar panel certification training program for existing cleaning businesses, or start the next “Uber for solar panel cleaning” by training cleaning teams and connecting them directly with clients.

🤖 Or, recruit the robots. Take a screw out of this Dutch company’s playbook and use robots to clean panels, much like they’re doing with window cleaning (a $2B+ industry).

3. High-end cleaning products

In our grandmothers’ day, household cleaning products were notorious for containing some nasty chemicals. Now luxury biodegradable options are scrubbing in. 

Entrepreneurs who develop a high-end, eco-friendly edge will win big. You could offer cleaning and laundromat services that utilize only nontoxic brands, or offer the option as an add-on at a premium price.

You could also compete with a wider product range, such as the pet cleaning niche (you knew we’d find a way to mention dogs). 

Just like with household versions, you could include these products in cleaning and pet grooming services, or expand offerings to include pet shampoo bars and pet wipes. 

The baby wipes industry is forecast to reach ~$6.7B by 2030, with eco-friendly, biodegradable options driving sales. As pets are increasingly humanized, the pet wipes market may follow suit.

There are already 17.4k monthly searches in the US for “dog wipe” on Amazon, and these bring in $500k/mo., per Jungle Scout. 

4. Home services without the sweat

Don’t want to get your hands dirty? You could get into the cleaning business by sitting at home.

No need to stop at cleaning, either – an X user made $65k/month offering “remote home services,” where he sells leads to home service contractors like cleaners, plumbers, and electricians.

The business model is simple: Contractors need work. If you can send them clients or prospects, they’ll pay you.

Here’s his advice on how to start:

  • Picking a niche like house/window cleaning, painting, or landscaping

  • Building a website and driving local traffic there via Google/Yelp ads

  • Bidding and securing jobs in your niche

  • Telling local contractors you can send them jobs

  • Splitting the money 50/50 between you and your subcontractors

The system works because many contractors don’t want to manage marketing. The trick is making sure you bid on jobs accurately so that your partners don’t end up losing money on projects.

To do that, you need to…

  • Know everything about your niche, including what you can charge, what’s included in the work, and what can go wrong. Learn this by calling 10 contractors in your area, and asking detailed questions.

  • Turn that knowledge into a fixed pricing model that makes it easy for customers to book, and removes the need for in-person bids.

  • Pay to have a website built and make sure it includes online booking features.


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