Minnesota Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

/ / Minnesota Cleaning Business Start-up Laws
Minnesota state flag

This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Minnesota Department of Revenue and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses.  This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the state of Minnesota. Start with a statewide corporate business name search to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Minnesota” 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 or city.

Sole proprietors and partnerships that conduct business in Minnesota under a name that is different from the full, true name of each business owner must register the name of the business by filing a Certificate of Assumed Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) with the Secretary of State.

After registering an Assumed Name or DBA with the state, businesses must publish the Certificate Of Assumed Name in two (2) back to back issues of the legal notices section of a qualified legal newspaper in the county where the business is based.  After publication, the newspaper will return an affidavit of publication which should be kept by the business as proof of publication. Find a qualified Legal Newspaper in Minnesota.

In the state of Minnesota, filing a Certificate Of Assumed Name does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the county and state may also register the same assumed name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.

Ready to start a house cleaning business?

Ready to sign your cleaning business papers

Tap the button to discover eleven things you need to do to get started with your own house cleaning business.

Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a state business license in Minnesota. Residential house cleaning businesses should check with the local city clerk’s office for licensing requirements.   Find a city clerk.

In Minnesota, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. General partners are not required to file any documents with the Secretary of State. It is advisable for general partners to file a Certificate Of Assumed Name or DBA in the county where the business is based. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft. You can apply for an EIN online. In addition, some business registration forms will require a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

All businesses in Minnesota require a Minnesota Tax ID number.  You must contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue to register.

Residential house cleaning services are taxed by the state. Certain services are not taxable (if separately stated on the customer invoice) :

• washing dishes
• dusting knick-knacks
• making beds
• picking up
• room straightening

Housecleaning contracts that include both taxable and nontaxable services are taxed on the full amount unless the nontaxable services are listed separately. More information about taxes on cleaning services.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of Minnesota through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Minnesota (on Form M1) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Minnesota Department of Revenue at (651) 296-3781 or toll free (800) 652-9094.

Minnesota general partnerships that file a Federal Partnership Return Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form M3. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Minnesota City Licenses

Bloomington Business License: The city of Bloomington does not require a business license for cleaning services.

Brooklyn Park Business License: The city of Brooklyn Park does not require a business license for cleaning services.

Duluth Business License: The city of Duluth does not require a business license for cleaning services.

Maple Grove Business License: https://mn-maplegrove.civicplus.com/360/Business-licenses

Minneapolis Business License: The city of Minneapolis does not require a business license for cleaning services.

Plymouth Business License: The city of Plymouth does not require a business license for cleaning services.

Rochester Business License:The city of Rochester does not require a business license for cleaning services.

St. Paul Business License: The city of St. Paul does not require a business license for cleaning services.


  1. I want to have a side job as an a independent house cleaners , do I need a Mn state licenses in order to start up ?

    1. If you plan to pay taxes and run a legal side business, yes.

      Correction: You don’t need a license from the state of MN. However, you will need to contact your local city clerk about licensing. You should also register for state tax and register a DBA if you choose a business name that does not include your legal name. Links to those actions can be found in this article.

  2. So, if I conduct business in the cities mentioned above that do not require license. Which license am I looking for so I can do business legitimately?

    1. Hi David,

      If you conduct business in a city that does not require licensing, you still need to register your business with Minnesota Department of Revenue. A Minnesota Tax ID number is needed to start and run a legitimate business. That is true in those areas where no city licenses for cleaning businesses are needed.

      Since laws change all the time, I would also double check with the city clerks in the cities where you do business. A link to city clerks in Minnesota can be found in the Business License Registration section of this article.

  3. blank Michelle Allen says:

    what about moorhead mn do you need a license or no

    1. Hi Michelle,
      You will need to contact your city clerk’s office to find out whether Moorhead, MN requires business licenses for house cleaners.

  4. blank Bradford Cornell says:

    I live in the country. And want to provide house cleaning services to an area around and including Rochester, MN. Would I then just register with the state?

    1. Hi Bradford,

      You will need to register with the city of Rochester, the MN Dept. of Revenue and register a DBA with the state if you plan on using a legal business name.

      Links to all of those actions are included in this article. Good luck with your new business, Bradford!

  5. How can I change my current LLC to a house cleaning LLC

    1. Hi Diana,

      You need to contact the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office to get accurate information. They will let you know if you need to change your current LLC or if you can just add a DBA (Doing Business As) name to your existing LLC. There are pros and cons to running two or more DBA’s under one LLC. Discover more about that here.

  6. I’m wanting to start a power washing business in my area what will I need to start off I looked up in my area for the city clerk and they do not show any for my town

    1. Hi Alise,

      You didn’t mention which town you live in or plan to do business. There is a link to an alphabetical list of Minnesota town clerks on this page in the Business License Registration section.

      If you can’t find your city (or town) clerk on this list, you can always google your town’s name. Every town and city in the USA has a website. You should be able to find your town clerk on that website. You can also call your town or city hall to get that information.

      If you still have any questions after searching, let me know.

  7. Hello, If I start a house cleaning business do I need some sort of insurance? Thank for your help.

    1. Hi Art,

      Yes, you do need a business liability insurance policy for your cleaning business. You need insurance as a solo cleaner or if you work in a partnership. You need that layer of protection in case you break something expensive in your customer’s home or you hurt yourself on the job.

      Look for insurance brokers that write policies for different insurance companies. Your insurance agent at the brokerage should also be able to set you up with a janitorial bond at the same time.

      If you decide to hire workers, you really must have insurance and bonding for your business.

      When you advertise your cleaning service in your local area, be sure to let potential customers know you are licensed, bonded and insured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *