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How to Make $500/week Cleaning out Foreclosures
Foreclosure Sign

by - April 22, 2012 - 50 Comments

The trick to entrepreneurship isn’t always how to start a business; it’s what business to start.

And it’s also not always about creating something new. When Steve Jobs built Apple, computers had been around for decades. Jobs didn’t make the first computer, he figured out how to make them smaller so that more people could have access to one. Cars weren’t new when Henry Ford introduced the Model-T. Ford innovated ways to sell cars for cheaper so that more people could buy them.

Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to look back at Ford and Jobs and conclude there were more opportunities in their time. However, opportunities still abound today, if you have an eye to spot them. One entrepreneurial venture that is booming right now is cleaning out foreclosures.

What is the Foreclosure Cleaning Business?

The housing bust has created a glut of foreclosed properties. Nearly 4.4% of all mortgages have received a foreclosure notice. Once homeowners move out, banks look to get the property on the market and sold as soon as possible. However, there is one major obstacle banks face in moving the houses to sell: cleaning.

Former mortgagees have no incentive to get properties in saleable condition when they leave their homes. In fact, most foreclosures are riddled with trash and property that foreclosed homeowners don’t feel like transporting with them. Foreclosed homes need a lot of TLC before they are ready for an open house. With a large inventory of bank-owned properties, there’s a need to hire cleaners.

How large of a need? From 2007-2010, foreclosure home cleaning businesses expanded 1,000%.

What’s the Work Like and What Does it Pay?

Those looking to start a foreclosed home cleaning business need a flexible schedule. Banks often need cleaners at a moment’s notice and work needs to be completed on a strict turn-around. Often weekend work is involved and some properties require a lot of work before they are in selling condition. However, the jobs pay well, often averaging between $500 to $2,500 per house.

Another way that foreclosure cleaners make extra money is by selling things that have been left behind by the previous homeowner. You obviously want to check with the client, but often times they’ll ask you to clear out anything left behind in the house. It’s your choice whether to dump the stuff, keep it, or sell it.

One time I was asked by a client to dump a left-behind treadmill and washing machine. I ended up making an extra $300 (in addition to my cleaning fee) by selling them on Craigslist!

How to Start Your Own Foreclosure Cleaning Business

The good news is that you don’t need much to start this type of business. All you need is a telephone number where you can be contacted and some cleaning supplies. The crux of business success is getting jobs. To accomplish this, you’ll need to do a bit of networking.

The best place to network is with real estate agents who specialize in selling real estate owned properties. They aren’t too difficult to locate. Simply call up local realtor offices and ask for the agents in charge of selling foreclosures. It might take some selling to get listed their cleaning vendor list, but if you have a competitive price and flexible schedule, there is no reason you can’t make in-roads.

While realtors are your best bet, you can also advertise on websites that have cleaning service directories. Also, it can be useful to contact local banks directly and reach out to real estate law firms. All this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get cleaning jobs, but banks won’t know how to reach you if you don’t advertise.

However, with payment of $500 per house, you won’t need many jobs to earn a little extra money.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

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  • http://tightfistedmiser.com Andy Hough

    My stepdaughter and her boyfriend actually have a business similar to this. They mainly clean out rentals when the tenants leave stuff behind but they will do any similar job that comes their way. Real estate agents and property management companies are their best contacts.

    • IV Smith

      I would like to do something like this but in hope that the over head in not too expensive,

  • Amy Ledesma

    Great article.Very helpful.

  • http://www.review.thealisokitchen.com Rachael

    Great article! Do you think it is best to have a website to share with potential clients? Do you need any sort of insurance? What’s the best way to get started?

    I am very interested, but I don’t want to do anything illegal.

    Thanks for the great ideas! I love this website.

    • Funky Cold Medina

      Just jump into it. Over time you’ll figure out if it is dangerous, unprofitable, or illegal. No worries.

  • http://www.ehustleonline.com Carla Easley

    I used to clean out garages to make a little extra money on the side and also received a lot of free things that I sold on Ebay so I pretty much doubled my income from doing something that wasn’t stressful to me.

  • Melissa

    Hey everyone, please check out my page, Cross Fit Cleaning, I am based in Philadelphia, I am in the cleaning business, I have been doing this for a long time now, looking to get into clean outs and clean ups of all kinds!!! Thanks to my Aunt I found this website thanks to my Aunt! Hope to hear from you all
    Free estimates, low rates and dust free worries!

  • http://www.russacklaw.com/ Russack Law

    Why is this? When banks and real estate agencies are calling corporations for foreclosure clean up jobs, they are usually going through the phone book or surfing the internet looking for companies.

  • juanes

    I wanted to get into this business but I still trying find out if there still good money to be made some say the business is slowing down. What do you think

  • LML

    This is fairly good info, but you leave a lot out.

    Figure on average, costs exceeding $3000/month, then wait for repayment 30-90 days after the job is completed. If you’re hard up for money, just close this page immediately!

    Work 7-10 hours a day, 6 days a week. 100 miles+ per day!

    Have 2 to 4 employees. Banks want 24 hour turnaround on bids, 3 day turn around to finish. Can’t do this alone! Homeless people are often inside, or coming in at night and pooping in sinks, etc.

    Equipment: riding and push mower, weed eater, edger, trimmer, chain saw, ladders, drills, all cleaning equipment including water and head lamps as you’ll be in a home with no power, & no water. Yes, you’ll need to sweep carpets or have a generator. You should also have all safety harnesses, hazardous materials training, CPR training, GPS on your vehicle to jump from house to house, etc. L&I will monitor your every step.

    I could go on, but people seem to think this is a “get rich quick” business, but in reality you will work your a$$ off, maybe net $60k/year, but have to pay taxes up to $10k in the income, so work the following year just to cover taxes. Good lord, this is FAR from fun or rich!!


      Thanks for the reality check. This kind of detail should be in the initial article.

    • Gerrell Nombre

      yah but is it worth it or you are just scaring us

  • http://cheap-threadmills.digistore-online.com sale treadmills

    You are right. Many of these things are bad purchase ideas, but I have found some good Ebay deals from time to time.

  • cclyn

    You might want to mention that selling items left in the house is ILLEGAL!!!!!!!! Items left in the home are to be put in storage for a minimum of 30 days, during which time the bank has to notify the homeowner that the items are in storage and that they either have to collect their belongings or pay the storage fee. After that time is passed, and the homeowners have not claimed the items, the bank may auction off the contents of the storage unit. Mortgage holders do NOT have any legal claim to personal property left in the contents of the home to ‘offset” the cost of the foreclosure, until after the items are held in storage. Mortgages are on the home and the land, not on the contents of the home. Trash out companies who remove items from the home can be charged with theft and can be prosecuted. In some states it is even a felony.

    • plebe

      You should check your acts on the illegality of selling things. it is different not only by state but also by county that the clean out is in. Another factor in it is if it is a foreclosure or eviction. it is always wise to check your local laws prior to selling. also it could be in the foreclosure paperwork that anything left behind is up to the lender to decide what happens to it.

      • plebe

        facts not acts

    • http://Mail Leticia

      I wish I would have knew about this because me & my kids lost our home because my xhusband desided to go on with his life so I could not pay my house anymore we’ll I had just had my baby & was at the hospital when I came back my house was empty they took all my stuff & left us with nothing I could not believe when my neighbors told me that the workers were losing there cars with all my furniture I lost everything I still have nightmares because they took my life my kids thing all my memories vides pictures everything!! I tried calling my mortgage people & they couldn’t give me any info nobody helped me find my stuff they said that it was thrown in the trash I was alone atleast that’s how I feelt I will never forget this tragety & I can’t believe that there are people that cruel that was my stuff I knew I was loosing my home & that hurt so much as it was but loosing all I had hurt even more.

      • Jacqueline M

        Leticia, So sorry to hear of your tragedy. The mortgage companies definitely know who they use for preservation services. When attempting contact it is best to do everything in writing so that you have written proof if you need to escalate your complaints. Let me know if you need assistance.

      • Niko Kritikos

        Holy moly…..How long did it take for you to have that baby? Good luck

    • http://hope4uall.org/ Hope4uall

      Sow Leticia I Had EVEN Worse Twice In My life. People all over need help from business sabotage sin on others without regard for their whole lives many paid them to live. Yet they steal our homes for nearly nothing and use all officials clerks and creating forged paper to pushing it is a horror stories creationism by the greed of others who perform these evils amidst the worlds people. But ruthless. Someone’s heart is in all life’s gains and home stability, there is hope4uall though so wake up and gathered in the physical anything your hearts desire. Do so on purpose by connecting with lightened empathize with types you grow as resonant can be found in the shared existing mankind needs to wake up and fix what is wrong with everything.

  • Reed Soderberg

    Keep up the good work i will return often.

  • mary waltimyer

    so, how do I “sign-up” for this job ?

    Thank you,

    Mary E. Waltimyer


    • Kristin O’Shaughnessy

      It’s a “start your own business” job!

  • Andrew Merino

    Im ready to clean, I live in dallas tx,

  • Karlaina Wilson

    I’m very interested in this opportunity, how do I get started or where do I sign up….

    • Ray Charles

      Theire are several companies you cans sign up for. You can try AMS, Safeguard Properties, and Cyprexx. Keep in min that some of these companies dont work in every state. And you will need insurance for your business, and in some cases the will ask for a licence.

  • http://proofinprofit.weebly.com Melaney Bridges

    I could ditch my part time to clean houses and work with my home business a heck of a lot more. What cleaning supplies are needed? I’m always looking to expand my business and keep myself educated in the business. With the money I already make this will be an awesome addition the the fund family!

  • http://www.oddsorerrands.com Odds or Errands

    Great article with very helpful info I can use in my business.

  • Ray Charles

    I am actually a contractor for Safeguard Properties. They have direct contact with many banks and then they call me when they need a house cleaned out. Bank of America is the best paying bank that i know of. I one made $8000 cleaning a Bank of America foreclosed home. You have to apply at Safeguard Properties. When they need help, they will call you, but one they call you, you will constantly get homes to clean out. I usualy clean out 4 homes a week. The down side is that you some times have to travle to other towns and you will have to work on the weekends. The average home pays $500. They pay depending on how much trach is in the property.

    • Deanna Segoviano

      Ray, what kind of company is Safeguard? I am interested in cleaning out focused homes but I am looking into working with banks. What do you recommend?

    • Candace Gengler

      I will try Safeguard Properties. Thanx for the leads

    • Candace Gengler

      I am a worker, thats what I do. I also have a team of workers. I would like to be considered for any jobs that you may have , that you need help for. reply at: 510-750-9925 anytime or reply at my e-mail address: candacegengler@yahoo.com

    • Gerrell Nombre

      thanks ray big help I am a worker, thats what I do. I also have a team of workers. I would like to be considered for any jobs that you may have , that you need help for. reply at: 850-509-6732 anytime or reply at my e-mail address: gerrellnombre@outlook.com

  • susan r

    I always need extra money and not afraid of hard work.
    Tks for the real info.

  • Jacqueline M

    Hi Everyone,
    Remember, any expenses you incur (mileage, supplies) to perform the services could be a tax write off for your business.
    Go for it! To your success

  • http://www.beautyflow.com/best-prenatal-vitamins/ Dina Herbew

    seems like quite nice business possibility. I guess it just depends on the luck too.

  • Dre

    Actually the mortgagee is the one who loans money (like a bank). The mortgagor (borrower) is the one who receives the loan against the property. It’s a common mistake people get mixed up because it sounds like it should be the other way around.

  • TheBloggersNest

    This is actually called Property Preservation and can be a great source of income especially if you learn to do lock changes and weatherization work.

  • makai

    My oh my. I am a building contractor. We also do property maintenance and preservation. Problem 1. With preservation is getting past the first 60 days. My first trash out was disputed and after labor and dump fees etc I lost $1000. 2. Start up. You need TRUCKS / TRAILERS or rent uhauls. More out of pocket you won’t see for 45 days. You need 10k + to start properly (fuel, locks, insurance, tools, mowers, chainsaw / polesaw, weedeater, generator, truck, trailer, misc supplies, wages, etc.). 90% of people who enter this field fail and leave. Within 60 days. 3. Chargebacks. Whether it is 3 days, 30 days or 300 days or more they can charge you back for anything at anytime. Good luck fighting them. They are often so upside down liens are pointless. You may not get charged back until after sale making a lien pointless. This is not get rich quick. It takes perseverance and patience and capital. Licenses and high end insurance and Inc. Vs. LLC make it easier.

    • makai

      Mom and pop operations will get sunk fast. This can be a winning proposition just be careful and prepared

  • Andrew Cona

    steve jobs did build the first personal computer ever though..

    • Gerald Grealish

      No he didn’t. IBM made the first personal computer

  • crystal haynie

    Hey I have been doing research and would like to start doing this. Is the safe gurard company in TN?

  • James

    I worked this kind of Job for fifteen ( 15) years this is very dangerous work. You are sent out to all over Georgia to the most dangerous hoods. Put yourself in these peoples shoes you have just lost your home and they sent strangers out to take what ever is left does not matter really if you could have gotten it by dead line or not it was yours. This brings up bad feelings . Most of these hoods are not white people. Most of the people doing this work are white cause they have the best back ground checks. Several of my friends were shot while doing this work, not only because of bad feelings but one was robbed right across from the Federal State Prison. One was shot cause he came up on a house being used for a Drug house. If there is a job out here other than this GO GET IT. Money is not worth you life. We were taking our children with us cause we were not told how dangerous this work was we found out on day when a bunch of hoods jumped us for being in there black hood. All we wonted was to do our job and get out. If you do feel like you can do this do not do it alone and get a Gun permit. Please. You will not be sorry.

    • MultiBillionHeir .

      typical racists jargon

  • Marquesha Takenomessfromanybod

    I have 15+ years in cleaning. I do have a car. I live in Baltimore, Maryland (city). I would love to get started with an contractor. If you all know of any people in need of services please email me at MrsSalley76@comcast.net and please feel free to call or text me at 443-447-3614. Thanks everybody for any help you may come up with.

  • http://www.extra-cash-online.com/ Robert Connor

    We like the simple idea!

  • Cristin

    So where’s the actual link/website or whatever to sign up & start working??

  • KelKel R

    For any of you asking questions on how to work for these companies like safeguard
    .. don’t do it! Safeguard will screw you over. But what hasn’t been mentioned is you can not just clean out homes, you have a large variety of standard industry work orders assigned to you for boarding windows to roof repairs. I have been in the industry 7 years. You must abide by specific government rules you must take photos of everything you do. A simple lawn mow will require anywhere from 20-100 photos. Google property preservation. Before you decide to spend the money to start your own company and try to get contracts work in the field as a contractor for a property preservation company to learn the industry and what’s required. My company covers Al and MS. I have about 30 crews who are all 1099 contractors. They make anywhere from 300 a week to 2000. Hope this helps.

  • CK

    What’s the catch?

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