Squeaky Clean: Commercial Cleaning Companies

Person polishing the floor indoors for a commercial cleaning company.

What exactly is a Commercial Cleaning Company?

Commercial Cleaning Companies are similar businesses to Janitorial Service Companies with one significant difference. Commercial Cleaning Companies focus more on deep cleaning that may occur once or twice a year. These deep cleaning services may include carpet cleaning, floor waxing, window cleaning, and pressure washing. Because of the deep cleaning nature of these companies, the risks the business faces are distinctly different than other cleaning companies and so are the insurance policies they need to secure. Here are three types of commercial cleaning companies, three risks those companies face, and five types of insurance all commercial cleaning companies should consider purchasing.

Carpet Cleaning in the hall of a hotel, done by a commercial cleaning company.

Types of Commercial Cleaning Companies

Carpet Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning includes the removal of stains, dirt, and allergens from carpets and rugs. The removal is done through two primary methods: Hot Water Extraction and Dry Cleaning. Carpet is the main floor covering in most commercial settings. With the advent of cubicles and workstations, fabric can now cover many businesses all the way from floor to ceiling. If this is the case, carpet is a big investment that needs to be protected. This is why companies will pay to have specialists come in to clean only their carpets.

Window Cleaning

A commercial window cleaner uses a wider variety of tools to accomplish window cleaning in a very efficient and thorough manner. Because of the difficulty of this task, especially on high rise buildings, many property management companies are willing to pay to have an outside company clean the windows of their property periodically.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing or power washing is the use of high-pressure water spray to remove loose paint, mold, grime, dust, mud, chewing gum and dirt from surfaces. The surfaces that need to be cleaned are often buildings, vehicles and many concrete surfaces.  Property needs to be cleaned and stained periodically and the previous paint or stain needs to be removed. Pressure washing can make sure this gets done and the new coat of paint or stain is there to protect your businesses property for years to come.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in cleaning the exterior of windows on high rise buildings.

Risks Commercial Cleaning Companies Face

Employee Theft

Unfortunately employee theft is a realistic problem in the commercial cleaning industry. Employees are often working at a third party site and frequently they are working with little or no supervision. Insurance should be purchased to deal with this situation. Also, your business should be prepared for the day when your employee is falsely accused of theft. It is common in business for things to go missing or to be misplaced. Your business is a prime target for blame when something goes missing because it is far easier to blame a third party company than to investigate an employee you have to look in the eye on a daily basis. In many cases it is better to apologize and move on then to argue trying to prove your innocence. No matter how your business decides to deal with each situation, it is important to plan ahead for the day your business experiences employee theft.

Working at heights

Working at height is one of the largest causes of fatalities and serious injuries. Common cases of injuries include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. In addition, many injuries involve over-reaching, over-balancing or the failure of a fragile surface. If you have employees who work at heights, it is extremely important to supply them with the proper training and equipment to do their job safely.

Working with chemicals

Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards. Just a few of those hazards include:  irritation, sensitization, carcinogenicity, flammability, corrosion, and the likelihood of it becoming explosive. There are a number of factors that should be considered before choosing a cleaning product. The beginning of these concerns should be the ingredients, how it will be stored, whether ventilation is adequate in the storage area, and if the chemical can come in contact with am employees skin. No matter what type of commercial cleaning business you operate and what type of chemicals you decide to use, the use of chemicals should be done carefully with the health and well-being of your employees as well as clients in mind.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in demolition and removal of debris after a home has been destroyed by fire.

Insurance Commercial Cleaning Companies should Consider

General Liability Insurance

A general Liability Policy is designed to protect a business for third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.  In most states, general liability insurance is required by law for most commercial cleaning companies. For this reason, it is typically the first insurance policy a business purchases. One thing to keep in mind when securing coverage is that general liability is not all encompassing. Taking an adequate amount of time to talk with your insurance agent about all the activities of your business will help you determine what policies your business definitely needs and what policies you can do without.

Workers Compensation for Commercial Cleaning Companies

Workers Compensation Insurance is also required by law for most commercial cleaning companies in most states throughout the United States. This policy is frequently referred to as the ‘exclusive remedy’.  It is called the ‘exclusive remedy’ because the system provides employers with the comfort of knowing they will not be sued for injuries that occur on the job and employees benefit from medical bills and wage replacement when they are injured on the job.

Employee Dishonesty Insurance

Crime exposure comes mainly from theft by employees of clients’ property. Background checks, supervision, monitoring and regular crew changes are all used to minimize the exposure. Employee dishonesty may also be covered under a commercial crime policy.

Umbrella Insurance  for Commercial Cleaning Companies

Commercial Cleaning Companies may need an Umbrella policy if the busniess is not sure the limits of their underlying policies will fulfill the liability of claims.  If you fear a claim may exceed the limits on liability coverage an umbrella policy is purchased in order to help cover your businesses liabilities in excess of the limits on the underlying policies.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines general liability insurance with additional lines of coverage built into the policy. A BOP is often better suited for small business owners because they include targeted coverage options designed for specific types of businesses. Insurance carriers have historical claims trends on file and they know what types of accidents happen most often in any given industry. With this knowledge in mind, they know what policies commercial cleaning companies need and what types of policies the business may be able to go without. No matter what is most important to your business when purchasing insurance, it is important to partner with an insurance agency that you trust and listen to their recommendations.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in periodically power washing the exteriors of all types of businesses.

Common Classification Codes for Commercial Cleaning and Janitorial Service Companies. 

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7349: Building Cleaning and Maintenance Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 561720: Janitorial Services
  • 561210: Facilities Support Services
  • 561790: Other Services to Building and Dwellings

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 96816: Janitorial Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 9014: Janitorial Services by Contractors—No Window Cleaning Above Ground Floor
  • 9170: Janitorial services by contractors- Includes window cleaning above ground level. This class is similar in most aspects to class code 9014, however, it specifically includes the inside and outside cleaning of windows above ground.
  • 9008: Janitorial services by contractor- California only. This is a state special class code and applies to to similar operations indicated above.
  • 0917: Residential cleaning services. This classification is applicable to businesses that provide residential cleaning services inside of a customer’s residence.

Squeaky Clean: Carpet Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning

The Commercial Cleaning Industry includes any type of service that is advanced, deep-cleaning that is commonly done on a semi-regular basis. These types of services may include power washing, window washing, tile and grout cleaning, furniture and upholstery cleaning, and even carpet cleaning.  Carpet Cleaning is a type of business that has risks that are unique to the specific work each business does. There are many types of services the business may offer and you need an insurance agency that is prepared to service the unique risk management needs of this niche industry.

Running your own carpet cleaning business can be both rewarding and stressful at the same time. Owning your own business allows you to work on your own time and hold the keys to your success in your own hands. With that freedom comes a tremendous amount of risk. Risk that falls on the shoulders of the business owner alone. Because of these risks, your business needs an insurance agency who specialized in carpet cleaning companies. An insurance agency that understands the your business, because offering business insurance to carpet cleaning companies is more complicated than most small businesses where a one size fits all approach may work. If your insurance agent does not ask the specific questions it could leave your business with dangerous insurance gaps.

Because of the risk of gaps in insurance policies, it is important to take an adequate amount of time to speak with your insurance agent about the day to day operations of your business. It is equally important to let them know exactly what your employees do as well as what they do not partake in on a daily basis. This will help to make sure your agent has your business classified properly with the insurance carrier. Properly classifying your business can save a lot of headaches when it is time for your business to undergo an end-of-term audit. If your business is not properly classified, it can cause you to under pay throughout the year because you were placed in a less risky classification code. This can cause your business to have an unexpected cost at the end of the policy term. Now one way to prevent this from happening is by going with the Pay as You Go Option for Workers Compensation insurance.  Even if you decide not to go with the Pay as You Go Option, and your business has over paid throughout the year, you get a refund on premium previously paid.  This means your business has tied up cash throughout the year in unnecessary over payment of your insurance premium. Taking time to talk extensively with your insurance agent can help prevent gaps in coverage as well as under or overpaying premium because of misclassification.

Common Class Codes for Carpet Cleaning Companies

  • 2581 Carpet, Rug, or Upholstery Cleaning—Shop or Outside & Drivers (Texas)
  • 2585 Carpet, Rug, or Upholstery Cleaning—Shop or Outside & Drivers (National)
  • 2592 Carpet, Rug, or Upholstery Cleaning—Shop or Outside & Drivers (Oregon)

Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies

Risk Management in relation to Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies .

What are the differences between Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies?

When comparing a Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies, it is important to define what exactly each are. While they are similar businesses, from a risk management perspective they do have some distinct differences. This is why they are classified differently for insurance purposes and why a business owner in one or both of these industries should think about the unique risks each type of business faces. Here is a description of what exactly these businesses are and how a business owner should prepare their insurance and risk management plans for ultimate success.

Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies

What is a Janitorial Services Business?

A janitorial services business provides basic cleaning maintenance to the interior of premises for commercial and industrial clients. These services are typically provided on a daily, weekly, or biweekly basis.  Activities include in this type of service include taking out the trash, sanitizing the bathrooms, kitchens, and break rooms so the business is ready to receive employees and customers. The contract may also call for regular vacuuming and dusting of furniture or bookshelves. Commonly it is an exclusion for janitorial services companies to come in contact with computers or other electronic devices. If your business does interact with electronics, it is important to tell your insurance agent. Electronics are frequently exclude from many insurance packages in this industry.

What is a Commercial Cleaning Company?

Commercial cleaning service companies handle more in-depth and heavier cleaning tasks.  These services occur on a regular basis throughout the year, but not on a daily or weekly basis. These types of services likely include carpet cleaning, power washing, window washing, tile and grout cleaning or even furniture and upholstery cleaning.

How are Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies different?  

The main difference between Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies is the frequency of the service and the detail with which each service entails. Janitorial services deals more with the regular maintenance and cleanliness of the facility where commercial cleaning deals more with periodical deep cleaning of a facility.

What do Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies need to be concerned about from a risk management stand point?

Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies both face risks related to the work the employees do on a daily basis. Three areas  both janitorial services and commercial cleaning companies face risk are related to employee driving exposure, common general liability claims, and employee dishonesty.

Employee driving exposure results when a business has more than one facility that employees travel to throughout the work day. The time employees spend travelling from job to job is time the business is responsible for the liability to third parties for damage that occurs in traffic accidents.

Common general liability claims results most often from slips, trips, and falls that occur as a result of the cleaning activity taking place. Cleaning after hours eliminates many of these risks, but if your employees do clean facilities when they are open to the public, it is important to train your employees well about how to warn customers of a tripping hazards. It is always more important to prevent a trip from happening in the first place than to try to limit the damage after an incident has taken place.

Employee dishonesty is the final common risk Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies face. The employees frequently work at a third party facility when none or few of the businesses employees are present. Often times there are few or only one of the cleaning companies employees present. Unfortunately, this lack of supervision is too much of a tempting situation for many employees. Preparing for the day when your employee steals from a client will go a long way towards the success of your business when this situation does occur. Securing a comprehensive insurance package will help your business with the costs of such a situation. It is equally important to be prepared for the day when your employees are innocent and being accused  of theft. When something shows up missing, the cleaning crew who is here by themselves after hours are an easy target for blame. Establishing a deep relationship with both your employees and your clients in order to deal with these situations in order to get the best outcome for all parties involved.

What types of Insurance do Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies Businesses need?

The risks faced by Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies are all unique to each and every business, but there are certain insurance policies that all businesses in this industry should consider.

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Business Personal Property
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Workers Compensation Insurance
✓ Commercial Crime/Employee Dishonesty
✓ Inland Marine Coverage

Partnering with an experienced independent insurance agent is a great way to limit the time it takes to find insurance coverage and insures that your agent is getting you the best value for your insurance coverage. Independent insurance agents are not tied to one carrier, this allows them to acquire a quote from multiple carriers and make those carriers compete for your business. If executed properly, an independent agent should be able to get your business better coverage at the most competitive rates around. Also, they can give you insight into the positives and negatives of each carrier that a captive agent cannot tell you about their carrier.

Common Classification codes for Janitorial Services Vs. Commercial Cleaning Companies 


SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7349: Building Cleaning and Maintenance Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 561720: Janitorial Services
  • 561210: Facilities Support Services
  • 561790: Other Services to Building and Dwellings

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 96816: Janitorial Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 9014: Janitorial Services by Contractors—No Window Cleaning Above Ground Floor

Keep Your Insurance Policies Squeaky Clean

5 Insurance Coverages Small Business Owner’s may not realize they need for their Commercial Cleaning or Janitorial Services Company


Janitorial Services and Commercial Cleaning Companies have unique risks no other businesses face. Because of these unique risks, businesses within this industry need unique insurance to properly protect the business. There are certain policies that all businesses should have, but there are also several policies that many commercial cleaning and janitorial service companies should strongly consider. Here are five additional policies business owners and managers should strongly consider securing.

commercial cleaning

  • Business Income 
  • Cyber Insurance
  • EPLI
  • Umbrella
  • BOP

Business Income with Extra Expense

Business Income with Extra Expense Coverage is also commonly referred to as Business Interruption Insurance. It is a type of commercial property insurance covering loss of income suffered by a business when damage to its premises causes a slowdown or suspension of its operations. A common time when this policy is needed is when a fire takes place.  The coverage applies to loss suffered during the time required to repair or replace the damaged property. It may also be extended to apply to loss suffered after completion of repairs for a specified number of days.


Cyber liability is divided into two categories of coverage: first-party and third-party. The first -party coverage is commonly referred to as Data Breach Insurance. This policy deals with the immediate response cost related to a data breach. These cost may include notifying all customers who are affected by the breach, hiring a forensic team to find out how the breach occurred and fix it, and providing credit monitoring services for those impacted for up to one year.


EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. EPLI is a form of professional liability insurance designed to specifically address the unique risks associated with hiring, employing, and terminating employees. The average out-of-court settlement for an Employment Practices Liability Insurance claim is about $40,000. If the case actually goes to trial, the average award amount is $218,000, and nearly 10% of these cases can result in an award of more than $1,000,000. Employees file over 90,000 charges per year with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. EPLI Coverage can protect your business if you become the target of one of these cases.


An Umbrella Insurance Policy is designed to lift the limits of all existing policies a business has in place. When a claim occurs, the existing policy will cover the business up to the limits of the policy if the claim is a covered loss. In some instances, the claim will be more than the limits of the policy. In this case, if the business has an Umbrella Policy in place, the Umbrella Policy will cover the additional costs up to the limits of the Umbrella Policy. The key to this policy kicking in is that the underlying claim must be a covered loss. If the underlying loss is the result of a tornado and the business does not have a specific Tornado Policy in place than the Umbrella Policy will not kick in.


A BOP stands for a Business Owner’s Policy or a Business Owner’s Package. These packages of coverages are designed by insurance carriers for businesses in particular industries. Because of historical claims data, the insurance carriers know what claims are common within the particular industry and through this knowledge they know which policies to recommend to business that operate in a given field.