Missouri Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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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 Missouri 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

Missouri requires business owners that operate under a name other than their own “true (legal) name” to register that business name with the Secretary of State’s Office as a Fictitious Name Registration. Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice K. 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 Missouri. Start with a statewide corporate business name search.

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+Missouri” 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.

File a Fictitious Name Registration online through the Secretary of State’s business portal:

In the state of Missouri, filing a Fictitious Name Registration or DBA (“doing business as” name) does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same fictitious name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their fictitious names.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a business license with the state of Missouri. Residential house cleaning businesses should check with their local city clerk’s office for licensing requirements.   Find a City Clerk in Missouri.   (Look under the heading of  “Tap these organizations to get help with registrations, licenses and permits”.)

In Missouri, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together It is advisable for general partners to file a Fictitious Name or DBA in the city 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

Register a new business online here.

Residential housecleaning services are not taxable in Missouri. House cleaning services do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the Department of Revenue.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships must report business income as individual taxpayers on their Missouri state income tax returns. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Missouri (on Form MO-1040ES) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 751-3505.

Missouri general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file a Missouri Partnership Return of Income Form MO-1065. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Missouri City Licenses

Columbia Business License: https://www.como.gov/finance/business-licenses/business-license/

Independence Business License: https://www.ci.independence.mo.us/BusLicense/businesslicense

Kansas City Business License: https://www.kcmo.gov/city-hall/departments/finance/tax-home/tax-forms

Lee’s Summit Business License: https://cityofls.net/development-services/doing-business/business-and-contractor-licensing

O’Fallon Business License:  https://www.ofallon.mo.us/economic-development

St. Charles Business License: https://www.stcharlescitymo.gov/263/Business-Licenses

St. Joseph Business License: https://www.stjoemo.info/index.aspx?NID=433

St. Louis Business License: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/sldc/economic-development/business-services/Business-Assistance-Center.cfm


  1. blank Hannah Young says:

    Hi, i’m looking to start cleaning a couple houses a week to make extra money for my family. Do I need to obtain a license or carry insurance? I want to make sure I do the right thing

    1. Hi Hannah,

      If you plan to earn more than $400 with your house cleaning service, you do need to get licensed, bonded, insured and register for taxes.

  2. what kind of business licence is needed for a cleaning business in st. charles county?

    1. Hi Missy,

      You should check the St. Charles County website for the most accurate information. You may have to call the County Clerk or Director’s office.

      Every city, county and state has a website to provide information to brand new business owners.

  3. I’m starting a cleaning business in Lebanon,MO. What do I need?

    1. Hi John,

      You need to start by contacting your city clerk for local licensing information.

      Business name and tax registration are also needed. Links for city clerks, state business name information and tax registration can be found on this page.

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