New Jersey 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 New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services plus 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 county where the business will operate. Start with a business name search at the County Clerk’s Office to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.

It is advisable to 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+New Jersey” 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 county or city.

Sole proprietors and general partners who intend to operate under a Trade Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) must register the name with the County Clerk’s office where the business is based.   Find a County Clerk in New Jersey.

In the state of New Jersey, registering a Business Trade 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 Trade Name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade 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 New Jersey. Residential house cleaning businesses must apply for a business license at their city or county clerk’s office.

In New Jersey, 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 Trade 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.

New Jersey provides an online business resource portal, the New Jersey Business Action Center.

Business Tax Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners must register for Tax and Employer Purposes with the New Jersey Division of Revenue even if the business does not plan to hire employees or collect sales tax. Register a New Jersey business for Tax and Employer Purposes.

The business registration code for cleaning businesses in New Jersey is: 2729 – Interior Cleaning/Janitorial, Rug Cleaning.

Janitorial and cleaning services are taxable in the state of New Jersey. Cleaning services must collect and send sales taxes to the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of New Jersey through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in New Jersey (on Form NJ-1040-ES) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services at (609) 292-6400.

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

Selected State of New Jersey City Licenses

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

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

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

Jersey City Business License: The city of Jersey City does not require a business license for residential house cleaning services

Newark Business License: https://www.newarknj.gov/faq/how-do-i-open-a-business-in-the-city-of-newark

Passaic Business License: The city of Passaic does not require a business license for residential house cleaning services

Paterson Business License: https://www.patersonnj.gov/department/division.php?structureid=91

Trenton Business License: http://www.trentonnj.org/317/Business-Registration

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