Photo Credit: Mangpor2004
“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey
In the excitement of starting your new cleaning business, choosing a name seems to be the easiest task on your start-up list. You probably had a name in mind when you made the decision to start a house cleaning business. You can already see your business name on a website, social media accounts, business cards and —most importantly— on your customers checks. But is it the right business name? There are three questions to consider when choosing a business name for your new cleaning business.
Is The Name Available?
The right name for your house cleaning business starts with what’s available in your town, county or state. In many states and counties, before you register a DBA (doing business as) name, you need to do a business name search. In all US states, it is a good idea to start with a statewide corporate name search through your Secretary of State’s Office. Many county and town governments can also perform a search of business names that are in use locally.
Then it is advisable to do an online search for your chosen name. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Your state” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and “Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your state, county, city or town.
Be sure to have two or three alternative business names in mind in case your desired name is unavailable. Don’t forget to research your alternative business names online, too.
If the business name you want is available in your town, county or state, you should register the business name. In states, counties and towns, you can register for a DBA (doing business as) name, also known as “Fictitious Business Name”, Assumed Name or Trade Name. The only exception to registering and using a DBA name is when the owner of a business decides to use their own full legal name.
In most US states, sole proprietors and general partners who set up a business that includes the owner(s) full legal names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) do not have to register the business name with the state or their local county, city or town. Some states have very strict rules about using an owner’s name as a business name. For example, in Oregon, “real and true names” include a first name, middle initial or name and last name.
Does The Name Reflect Who You Want To Serve?
Do you only want to clean homes, or do you plan to include some commercial customers, such as small offices? Do you plan to specialize in cleaning apartment and condo common areas? Are you targeting a particular group of customers like first time moms, school teachers or seniors? If you plan on going deep with one group of customers, your business name can speak to them while also being neutral enough to appeal to other groups of customers.
For example, house cleaning businesses that target seniors, may have names like Budget Maids, Friendly Cleaners or Nook and Cranny House Cleaning. For seniors on fixed incomes, a house cleaning business with a name like Budget Maids suggests service at a reasonable price. Seniors who value friendly service might be drawn to Friendly Cleaning Service. Seniors who are sticklers for detailed cleaning would find Nook and Cranny House Cleaning the right service for them, based on the name alone.
Of course, there are other groups of customers who also value reasonable prices, friendly service and detailed cleaning. The name you choose should both speak to your target customers and be neutral enough to appeal to other potential customers.
Research your potential customers beyond neighborhood, income levels and education levels. Put yourself in your customers shoes and think about the qualities they might seek in a house cleaner. What do they need? What do they value most: price, dependability, friendliness, detailed cleaning or flexibility? A good step by step guide to researching your business idea and potential customer is the book Will It Fly by Pat Flynn.
Will It Take You Where You Want To Go?
Many people who choose to be self-employed house cleaners start out as solo cleaners or two person partnerships. In those cases, using your personal name(s) for the business might be all you need — in the beginning. As you add more customers and learn more about the cleaning business, you may decide to bring on contractors and hire employees. You might even make that leap to growing your house cleaning business into a large firm you can sell on retirement or leave to your children. Don’t be afraid to choose a neutral cleaning business name that can stretch to meet those goals. Location names, such as Mid-South Maids, Big Sky Cleaning or Canyon House Cleaning are some examples. Names that describe cleaning tools and actions, like Mop and Bucket or a desired outcome name like Marvelous Cleaning Service can also grow with your business.
Like many things that seem easy, choosing a business name is should be done with a great deal of thought and care. A business name is how you brand your company with customers, vendors, other cleaners and the government. A business name is how you present your business to the world. Let your cleaning business name show the world what you have to offer, now and in the future.
Go state by state with rules in Cleaning Business Name Basics – Part Two
Just Getting Started?
- Apply for a business name
- Get a business license
- Register to pay taxes
Just click on the map to find your state and get started.
How did you come up with your business name? Share your origin story in the comments below⬇︎.