How to Start a House Clean-Up Business on Foreclosures

Cleaning Foreclosures

If you're looking for a business opportunity in these tough economic times, one venture you may want to look into is how to start a house clean up business on foreclosures.

Learning How to Start a House Clean Up Business on Foreclosures

If you've always been an organized housekeeper with a tidy home, you may think that running a house cleaning business will be a snap. People with those qualities do have an edge, but when it comes to foreclosures, you can run into some pretty nasty situations where people leave behind unimaginable filth. Because of this, one of the pitfalls entrepreneurs run into when they don't have previous business cleaning experience is either under pricing or over pricing their services. Either one will kill your business.

If you already own a cleaning business, it won't be as difficult to set up a business plan that incorporates the cleaning of foreclosures. Start up will be much less expensive, too, because you'll already have the supplies and equipment needed.

Once you're established and have the license and insurance required for your business, your company will get business by bidding on foreclosure clean up jobs. In most cases, you'll work with banks and real estate agencies.

Establish Prices for Your Services

If you're looking at how to start a house clean up business on foreclosures, you'll want to take the following aspects into consideration when setting your price list:

  • Time and labor - figure an hourly rate
  • Check out your competition - Call other cleaning business that service foreclosed houses. If you learn what others are charging, it will help you know what is competitive and what is not, because while you may originally have thought you could charge $30 an hour, if you find that others in your area are only charging $20, you'll need to make an adjustment. You'll also have to ask yourself whether or not the decrease will still make the venture worth your time and effort.
  • Cost of supplies - this will include cleaning products like mold and mildew cleansers, degreasers, bleach, etc., but will also include the necessary equipment.

Learn from Your Competitors

Just as you don't want to overcharge, you also don't want to undercharge. Learn from your competition. Call a few different companies and ask specific questions. Learn what it will cost to clean different size homes. In the case of cleaning foreclosures, this will depend on the home's square footage. Be sure to ask if they have a website. If they do, check in out in depth. Another thing to pick up from your competitors is the lingo of the foreclosure cleaning business. Note what questions they ask you and the terms they use. This can help you establish your business phone etiquette for your cleaning service.

Price Your Supplies

Cutting costs on your supplies is a good way to make more money per job because you save money on expenses. Check stores near you that sell cleaning supplies. These can include places like:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe's Home Improvement
  • Sam's

Try to buy your supplies in bulk. Keep a list of prices to help you be sure you're buying at the best price. This list will also help you to bid realistically on future jobs, because you'll be able to more accurately determine what supplies will cost.

Downside to Cleaning Foreclosures

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that people leaving their foreclosed home are not happy. It is not unusual for cleaners to find rotten food and human and/or animal waste. Often homes are closed up without air conditioning, and the heat can make the stench horrific. If the home has been closed for a long period of time, it is wise to wear a mask. Some things you may have to contend with can pose potential health risks. A few of the more common things you may run into include:

  • Dead pets (rotting carcass) - Sad to say, but it is not uncommon to find dead dogs, cats and birds left behind by an evicted owner.
  • Mold (some mold is toxic)
  • Roaches
  • Stench

A little less common, but something to still be aware of is the possibility of booby traps left behind by the owner, such as holes in the floor hidden with a throw rug.


If you are aware of the extra work that is involved in cleaning many foreclosures and are still interested in starting your own foreclosure cleaning business, you can actually make good money. It takes a lot of hard work and often a strong stomach, but it does pay well.

How to Start a House Clean-Up Business on Foreclosures