New York 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 York Department of Taxation and Finance 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 county where the business will operate. A business name that includes a full legal name(s) of the owner(s), does not have to be registered in the county or counties where they intend to do business.

Start with a statewide corporate name search in New York state 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+New York 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 or city.

It is advisable to also do a business name search at the County Clerk’s offices in the counties where your business will operate.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships should file for an Assumed Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) directly with the local county clerk’s office where the business is based. If the business operates in more than one county, an Assumed Name certificate must be filed in those additional counties. Assumed Name application forms can be purchased from legal stationery stores in New York State.

Find a New York State County Clerk:   Click on the list of counties and search for “county clerk”.

In the state of New York, 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.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a business license with New York State . Residential cleaning businesses must apply for a business license at their city or county clerk’s office.

New York state provides an online business resource portal, The New York Business Express.

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.

In New York state, 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. Filing for an Assumed Name Certificate is required for general partnerships. 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.

Business Tax Registration

Residential cleaning businesses must register for a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority with the Department of Taxation and Finance through the New York Business Express portal.

Residential housecleaning services are taxable in New York State. Residential House cleaning businesses must collect and send sales taxes to the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of New York through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in New York (on Form IT-2105-I ) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the New York Department of Taxation and Finance at (518) 457-5181, weekdays 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

New York general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form IT-204-LL. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected City Licenses For New York State

Albany Business License: https://www.albanyny.gov/211/Licenses-Forms

Buffalo Business License: https://www.buffalony.gov/638/Licenses

Mount Vernon Business License: https://cmvny.com/departments/city-clerk/37/#

New Rochelle Business License: https://www.newrochelleny.com/81/City-Clerk

New York City Business License: https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/certificate-of-assumed-name–business-certificate

Rochester Business License: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/businesspermit/

Syracuse Business License: http://www.syrgov.net/Business_Licenses.aspx

Yonkers Business License: https://www.yonkersny.gov/government/departments/city-clerk

4 Comments

  1. blank Jerez A Williams says:

    Hello, for a SC based cleaning company what do I need to do business in NY?

    1. Hi Jerez,

      It depends on how your business is structured. If you are a sole proprietor or in a general partnership you register a business name and business license at the city or county clerk’s office where your business will be based.

      If your have an LLC or corporation, you should contact the New York Secretary of State’s office. The best way to see what you will need in New York State is to go to New York’s Business Express Portal. A link to the portal is on this same page under Business License Registration.

  2. blank Zarah Amini says:

    I want to open a solo cleaning service in NYC. Do I have to apply for a license? I am only by myself.

    1. Hi Zarah,

      It is a good idea to get your solo cleaning service licensed. You would register as a sole proprietor in your county.

      Click or tap on the New York City link at the end of this page to get started.

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