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How to Vet a Cleaning Company for Your Office
There are many things you need to run a successful business, and one you might overlook is a clean environment where you and your employees feel comfortable going about daily tasks. While some small businesses handle the cleaning themselves and super-large businesses hire full-time janitors, chances are your business is somewhere in between. That’s why hiring a third-party cleaning company probably makes the most sense. But with so many cleaning services out there, you want to make sure you hire the right one by vetting it properly before signing a contract.
Ask About Convenience and Availability
The first thing you should look for in a cleaning company for your office is convenience. It’s always better to select a service whose employees live and work in your community and can get there quickly and on time. Once you’ve selected a few options, find out if they’re available when your need them. For example, if you want someone to come in early in the morning before you open or late at night after you close, does the company cover those off hours? If cleaners are available, find out what services they offer. General duties you may want handled around the office include dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry and washing windows. Some companies may not perform one or two of those tasks, while others offer those and then some as part of a package deal.
Review the Reputation
After you’ve narrowed down your search to a few cleaning companies in your area that can handle the work you need, it’s time to see what other people are saying about them. Of course, the best place to start is online in places where current and former customers have left reviews. Google, Facebook and Angie’s List all allow people to review businesses and are easy to find. The company itself may have a website, but chances are it only posts good reviews.
Next, you can ask other businesses and offices in your community about which companies they use or if they have any experience with the companies you’ve chosen. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the cleaning companies themselves and ask for references from previous customers. A reputable business is proud to provide this information, and if it doesn’t, that could be a red flag.
Verify Bonding, Insurance and Employee Training
Now that you have a specific company (or two) in mind, it’s time to ask questions about them. A good company values safety and security, and it’ll be bonded and insured. This not only protects them, but it also protects your company if something is destroyed or a person who works for the cleaning company becomes injured on your property.
You can also ask to see the company’s business license, and you may even want to know if the business has any additional certifications, such as one from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Cleaning Industry Management Standard. If the company specializes in cleaning a specific type of office or business, it may have certifications related to that too. Again, if a company isn’t willing to share this information, it could be a red flag that you don’t want to work with them. Finally, ask about hiring practices. How do they screen and train their employees? Will the same person or people be at your office each day?
Naturally, how much a company charges is going to be a big determining factor in whether or not you want to hire its workers. Someone from the cleaning company may need to visit your office to get an idea of the size, what type of cleaning you need, whether you have any special requirements (for example, if you’re a medical facility and require disposal of hazardous material) and any additional information they might need. They’ll typically give you a quote along with a list of the services they can and will provide. You may also want to discuss services you’ll require periodically but not every day, like cleaning the carpets.
Request Additional Information
While you probably have a good idea at this point as to whether or not you want to hire a cleaning company, there may still be some questions you have, depending on your needs. You can ask if the company brings its own supplies or if you’ll need to provide them. If you’re a green office and prefer the use of green cleaning supplies and practices, you’ll need to ask if the company can handle that too. You may also want to ask if there’s a trial period that allows you or a supervisor to provide feedback on the job the company is doing after a specified length of time.
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Globalize Your Business Presence: The Importance of Having a UK Address
In today’s interconnected world, businesses are no longer confined to a single geographic location. With the rise of e-commerce and digital communication, companies can now expand their reach and tap into international markets like never before. One effective way to globalize your business presence is by having a UK address. In this article, we will explore the importance of obtaining a UK address and how it can benefit your business.
Establish Credibility and Trustworthiness
Having a UK address instantly adds credibility and trustworthiness to your business. The United Kingdom is known for its strong economy, stable political environment, and robust legal system. By associating your company with a UK address, you signal to potential customers that you are a legitimate entity operating in a reputable jurisdiction.
Furthermore, having a physical address in the UK creates an impression of stability and permanence. It shows that your business is not just an online entity but has an actual presence in the country. This can go a long way in building trust with customers who may be hesitant to engage with businesses located in foreign countries.
Access New Markets
The UK market is one of the largest and most prosperous in Europe. By obtaining a UK address, you gain access to this lucrative market and open up new opportunities for growth. With over 66 million people living in the UK, there is a vast customer base waiting to be tapped into.
Having a local presence also enables you to understand the unique needs and preferences of British consumers better. You can tailor your products or services accordingly, making them more appealing to the local market. This level of customization can greatly enhance your chances of success when entering new markets.
Improve Customer Service
Having a UK address allows you to provide better customer service for your British clientele. Customers appreciate being able to contact businesses easily through local channels such as phone numbers or mailing addresses. By having a UK address, you can establish a local phone line and receive mail directly in the country, ensuring prompt and efficient communication with your customers.
Moreover, having a physical presence in the UK makes it easier for customers to return products or seek assistance when needed. This convenience can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately benefiting your business in the long run.
Enhance SEO and Online Visibility
Obtaining a UK address can significantly improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and online visibility. Search engines like Google prioritize local search results when users are looking for products or services in specific regions. By having a UK address, you increase your chances of appearing in relevant local searches, driving more organic traffic to your website.
In addition to improving SEO, having a UK address allows you to create location-specific content targeting British customers. This localized approach can help you connect with your target audience on a deeper level and establish yourself as an authority within the UK market.
Expanding your business internationally is an exciting endeavor that can lead to significant growth and success. Having a UK address is an important step towards globalizing your business presence and reaping the benefits of operating in one of Europe’s largest markets. By establishing credibility, accessing new markets, improving customer service, and enhancing online visibility, obtaining a UK address can give your business the competitive edge it needs to thrive on a global scale.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Chapter 4: How to Write a Business Plan for Your Cleaning Company
How to write a business plan for your cleaning company.
All businesses need a plan and, without one, you’re unlikely to attract clients, get your company name known and make a profit. But it’s not all bad news, as chances are you’ve already started creating your plan without realising it! If you’ve done some market research or started to look at the equipment you need to buy then you’re already beginning to put together a plan – now you just need to get it down on paper.
Your business plan is merely a short document that sets out your objectives and helps you (and other potential investors) see exactly what your aims are and how you’re going to go about achieving them. The plan will help you to keep a focus on what’s most important in order for your business to thrive.
One Page Business Plan Download
The idea of writing a business plan sounds quite daunting but it needn’t be a complicated job. In fact, one side of A4 paper should do it! Your goal is simply to get all the key information written down in a logical order.
Topics to Include in a Business Plan
The topics that you need to include in your cleaning company business plan are:
- The name, address and contact details for your business.
- Information on the management of the business; who’s in charge?
- Your company’s Mission Statement: in one sentence, simply summarise the overall aim of your cleaning business.
- Where you will operate from; where you will be based (including if it’s at home) plus information on any overhead costs associated with the business premises.
- Your start-up costs; what cleaning equipment and supplies do you need to buy? Do you need to pay anyone a wage? Have you got insurance?
- The everyday costs of the business; how much will you spend on a weekly or monthly basis? Include all overheads and outgoing costs, like top-up cleaning supplies, petrol and wages.
- Funding and financial projections; where do you plan to get the money from to start the business and what are your projected profits/losses for the next month, year, 2 years etc? How will you maintain the cash-flow?
- Will you work on the business full-time? What will your working hours be?
- Does your business have any local competition and what is the USP of your own business that will make it stand out from the crowd?
- What is your marketing strategy?
- Your pricing strategy; what are you going to charge for your service? Will you charge per job or per hour?
- How you will be paid for your service; do you plan to issue invoices, have a monthly subscription for clients or ask them to pay in cash on the day?
- Are there any other logistics you need to consider, such as transport?
Download our free, ready-made, one-page business plan template and begin writing all this information down to get you started. You’ll notice that it groups some of the questions above into six key headings but do feel free to add in your own sections to ensure that all the relevant information has been recorded.
The Prince’s Trust website may also come in handy if you want to learn more about writing a business or financial plan and download more complex templates and tables.
One Page Business Plan Template
Company Address & Contact Details:
- Mission Statement: (In 1 sentence, what is your business setting out to do?)
- Business Objectives: (e.g. what you will sell, who your customers are and the features of your business that will make it successful).
- Financial Strategy: (including start-up costs, overhead costs, what you will charge for your services, how you will get paid and/or pay others, your projected profits/losses and information on how you will fund the project from the start).
- Marketing Strategy: (e.g. planned advertising, promotions, client loyalty programmes etc).
- Monitoring Success: (what will your milestones be? How will you know when the business is doing well? E.g. number of clients, total sales, net profit).
- Potential Problems & Solutions: (what are the risks and how will you overcome them?)
Should I Operate as a Sole Trader or a Franchise?
If you take a closer look at some of the other cleaning companies out there you’ll notice that they’re divided into two formats: sole traders (like Mopp) and franchises (like Molly Maid). But which is best?
Sole traders are self-employed. If you’re a sole trader then you own the company, you work for yourself and you hire your own employees. You’re also responsible for paying your own tax and sorting out your own insurance. Sole trading means that you have complete control and responsibility over how your business operates but you’ll have to work very hard in order to get yourself noticed and make money.
Franchises are part of a company owned by someone else. The idea is that you ‘buy’ your cleaning business from the larger company and then you operate using their brand name. The company will also give you all the information and training that you need to deliver your service, plus it means you can get started with a business name that’s already well-known which may help you to attract clients. However, franchises can be expensive to start (it might set you back £10,000 to ‘buy’ the company name) and it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll see more success than if you began a company from scratch.
10 Things to Consider When Creating a Budget
Budgeting is a key part of your business plan as without it you’re likely to accidentally overspend one month and find you can’t afford to pay your employees the next. It’ll help you to keep track of how much money is coming in (your income) and how much is going out (your expenses) so that you always know how much you have available to spend, to spare or to save. Consider the following tips when creating your cleaning company budget:
- Cut yourself some slack! Don’t plan to use every penny that you have and keep in mind that whilst some outgoing costs are fixed, others can vary. Always overestimate your expenses so that you don’t find yourself in the red when something was more costly than you planned.
- Delete unnecessary expenses. If your expenses are higher than your income then take a look at which of them could be removed or cut. Could you use a cheaper brand of cleaning chemicals to reduce costs, for example? Or perhaps you don’t really need to dry-clean your uniform every week?
- Review your budget every 6-12 months. Take a look at your cash flow and see whether you need to make any adjustments. This is also a good time to do a price comparison on cleaning products or insurance to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Have a ‘rainy day fund’. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place in case your expenses change – how will you cope if costs go up, if the minimum wage changes or something breaks?
- Plan on a month-by-month basis. Does each month in your business see the same income? Perhaps you have busy periods in the summer where you see your income rise and quieter months in the autumn where your income drops. Make sure that you plan your budget according to your predicted schedule.
- Time is money! Don’t forget that the time you spend doing the job equates to the amount you’ll earn. Set time limits for tasks so you don’t spend longer on them than necessary, thus losing essential income.
- What are you going to charge clients? This will have a huge impact on your budget as if you don’t have enough money coming in then you won’t have enough cash to spend on what you need. Think about whether you’ll charge clients per job, per hour or per month. Most domestic cleaners average around £10-15/hour.
- Don’t forget start-up costs. It’s likely that your first year may be more expensive than others as you’ll need to incorporate your business start-up costs. You may want to set aside part of the budget each month to buy something new or you may be paying off debt from a one-off start-up purchase.
- Don’t spend all your profits! When planning your budget you may find that your income is higher than your expenses and this means profit – which is great! However be careful not to plough all of this money straight back into the business. Instead, keep some aside and pop it in your rainy day fund for emergencies.
- Consult a financial adviser. If you need help with budgeting or want to create a more thorough financial plan then consulting a financial adviser can be a good investment. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand if you need it!
Her favourite article is How to Start a Food Business From Your Home
Cleaning Services Business Plan
You can now quickly and easily create a professional business plan in no time at all for your startup or existing cleaning company.
Using Microsoft Word and Excel, you’ll be able to adapt the pre-written contents of this professional plan in a matter of hours for your own business.
The plan is usable for all residential and commercial cleaning ventures, including franchise operations such as Maid2Clean, Belle Casa, Molly Maid, Ovenclean and Chem-Dry carpet cleaning.
The Executive Summary of This Business Plan
The executive summary below is taken directly from the downloadable cleaning business planning document. The product details target customers, service pricing, marketing strategy, local competition and a complete sales forecast. It also covers paying your employees, the equipment you'll need and a comprehensive writing manual.
Overview and Summary
SuperSparkle Limited is a new company that provides professional cleaning solutions for homes and businesses in the local town. Two experienced entrepreneurs founded the company and have both managed successful franchise ventures over the past seven years.
The Target Market
The main market sectors SuperSparkle will target are homes and businesses within a ten-mile radius of our home base. We’re offering services to small companies with less than ten staff and homes requiring a regular weekly clean together with ironing services.
Once successful, we aim to operate our own franchising solution in year three of this plan.
Research shows that more people are hiring cleaners for their homes together with opportunities to exploit local businesses for evening cleaning work. Recent research shows the domestic cleaning market is worth £9 billion in the UK and is set to grow over the next ten years.
Target homes would be those of young professionals with limited time, couples with young children and the increasingly affluent elderly market. The initial contact for quotes is through direct leafleting.
Products and Services
The cleaning operation is at the heart of our business with additional services provided as required by the customer:
- Weekly or twice monthly home cleaning.
- Home ironing and laundry services.
- Routine cleaning and maintenance of offices.
Sales and Profits
Projected sales for the first year of operation are £305,740, increasing to £623,400 in the second year and £1,118,400 in the third as we take on more contracts.
Net profits are forecast to be 35% in the first year rising to 45% in the third before the salaries of the directors and before tax and interest.
SuperSparkle Limited is a newly incorporated Limited Company set up and run by Ms Rachael Markham. Directors’ loans of £18,000 cover the startup costs and are repaid within the first six months.
Contents of this plan
1) Executive Summary 2) Business Mission 3) Ownership and Location 4) External Analysis 5) SWOT Analysis 6) Planned Objectives 7) Key Action Plans 8) Management Biographies 9) Profit & Loss Account 10) Cash Flow Forecast 11) Balance Sheet
Free Bonuses Included 1) 25 Free Marketing Techniques 2) Financial Planning Wizard 3) Step-by-step Planning Guide 4) Free Online Support 5) Comprehensive Startup Guide
Why Select This Plan?
- Specific for cleaning businesses.
- Complete with financial plans.
- All sections are professionally completed.
- The latest market analysis and SWOT.
- Free exclusive planning tools.
- 90-day money-back guarantee.
- Guaranteed to get finance.
Download the complete system and start planning your cleaning business today.
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“I needed to put together a long-term business plan to cover all aspects of my new venture. I read a lot of books and attended courses, but I was struggling. Then I came across Teneric and suddenly it was all there in a format I could use and in terminology I could understand. After that, it was plain sailing to the Business Department at my local HSBC Bank”
Jill Shilcock, Managing Director, SEAS Education Advisory Service Limited.
“I wanted ideas for the type of information that needed covering in a business plan, and this gave me a template for the document I submitted to the bank. The business loan we were after was approved. If you have never written a business plan before, then I would recommend your product. It was very straightforward and offered some good advice.”
Gordon Mitchell, UK
“I needed a business plan quickly. The template was easy to use, just fill in the blanks on the wizard and refer to the help guide if I wasn't sure. Your system is good value, and I would recommend them to everyone needing a plan. Attached is the basic plan I threw together in a day for the bank. They specifically wanted cash flow projections, and the Excel spreadsheets were really what I was after from your product.”
John Waterhouse, UK
How to start a cleaning business: the ultimate step-by-step guide
Home / / how to start a cleaning business: the ultimate step-by-step guide.
If you need funding to start your own cleaning business, it could be worth exploring a low-interest Start Up Loan .
1. Consider whether cleaning is the right business for you
There’s an old saying that ‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’, which means you can money from other people’s mess. And that is very true for cleaning companies. There is a steady market for cleaners who can bring a little sparkle to our homes and businesses.
According to the British Cleaning Council (BCC) , the cleaning, hygiene and waste industry contributes nearly £59bn to the UK economy and employs 1.47 million people (that's about 5% of the UK workforce).
So there is definitely money to be made!
The pros and cons of starting a cleaning business
Who is best suited to starting a cleaning business.
Lots of people love providing a cleaning service. Starting a cleaning business could be right for you if you are:
Happy to be doing physical work all day
Happy to take orders
Happy to work alone
Trustworthy and likeable - clients have to hand their keys over to you
Not easily bored - you'll be doing repetitive chores every day
Someone who - obviously! - likes cleaning and tidying
If putting in your headphones and cracking on with some cleaning sounds like heaven, you could be the perfect person to start a cleaning business.
Especially if your love of cleaning is matched by your interest in running and growing your own business .
2. Decide what type of cleaning business to start
What types of cleaning business are there.
There are three main types of cleaning businesses:
Commercial cleaning company
Specialised cleaning business
What do domestic cleaners do?
When you start a domestic cleaning business, it's likely you'll do much of the cleaning work yourself, with the opportunity to hire staff and take a step-back later on.
Your days will involve cleaning clients' homes - usually while they are at work - and leaving before they return.
What do commercial cleaners do?
A commercial cleaning business requires a team to clean offices, and other business locations, and it's unlikely you'll be working alongside them.
Your role will involve managing your people, focusing on the promotion of your business, and trying to find new customers.
What do specialist cleaners do?
With a specialised cleaning business, your day will differ depending on what you specialise in.
For example, if you're a domestic window cleaner you'll be visiting clients' homes.
If you specialise in graffiti removal, however, you'll be working with various councils and spending the majority of your day outside.
3. Work out the budget for your cleaning business
Cleaning businesses can be start with no – or very little – money. This means they are popular with people who want to get up-and-running quickly. However, as you grow, you may find it beneficial to invest in certain areas to improve your service delivery or capacity.
Equipment / materials
Some domestic cleaners don’t need equipment at all because they use clients’ cleaning products, hoover etc. However, you may need to budget for bringing your own supplies. For example, if you want to use specific things (such as eco-friendly products) or if you offer an expanded range of services, such as carpet cleaning, which may require specialist equipment.
Starting a commercial cleaning business will involve higher start-up costs, because you'll need professional equipment, several staff members and a vehicle to get the team and/or equipment to the clients' location. You'll also require a larger marketing budget.
Applying for an affordable Start Up Loan could give you the capital to get started. See how much you could borrow with our Start Up Loan calculator .
Basic equipment needed to set up a commercial cleaning business includes:
Equipment trolleys: £250-£400 each
Industrial vacuum cleaner: £300+
Sweeping machine: £200-£2,000
Other materials (mops, cloths etc): £500-£1500
If you’re the only person working in your business, you will use your own car or van to get between jobs. You may need to invest in a small van if you have larger equipment to take with you. If and when you expand, you’ll need to think about how your staff will get to appointments and whether you need to provide transport.
Remember that if you do have transport for work, your van can be a great place to advertise your services.
You can promote a domestic cleaning business for very little money thanks to social media . But commercial cleaning businesses will need to factor in higher marketing costs. Take a look at the marketing section below.
You don’t need to have a uniform to start a cleaning business. Some cleaners just wear comfy clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty or wet. However, you may decide to invest in a uniform with your company logo on it. This makes you look professional and, if you take on staff, helps people recognise your team.
You might not have staff wages to pay straight away but remember to budget for your own wage when you’re starting out. You’ll need to make enough money to meet your living costs, plus any extra for equipment, overheads and taxes.
You’ll not usually need premises when you first start out. You’ll be working in other locations and you can complete your admin at home.
As your business grows, you may need storage space for cleaning materials and equipment . If you grow further, you may need to take on an office and office staff.
4. Write a marketing plan for your cleaning business
Market research for cleaning businesses.
Every good business is based on thorough market research . That means understand the market for the services in your chosen area, how many people are likely to need and want your services, what they can afford to pay for them, and creating a selection of services that will appeal to them.
The first thing to consider when starting a domestic cleaning company is whether residents in your chosen area can afford to pay someone else to do their cleaning
Look around at the prices other cleaners in the area are offering and see if you can beat it
You'll need to do the same with regards to starting a commercial cleaning business: what are the offices and other businesses in your area being charged?
If you're starting an office cleaning company, call around to see if your services could be required
What to include in a cleaning business marketing plan
Writing a marketing plan can help you achieve better results for your business. Your marketing plan should include information such as:
Who your customers are and how your services meet their needs – Make sure you understand who you’re selling to and why they’d use you
What services (product) you offer – Think through what you offer, what the demand is likely to be, how long it will take and what profit you can make
What prices you charge – What do you need to charge to make a profit? What can people afford to pay? What do other people charge?
How you’ll promote what you offer – Will you advertise, have a website, offer packages or discounts?
Who your competitors are and how you’ll stand out – identify what makes you special and different to the other cleaning businesses; build a brand that people will remember and want to use
Marketing tips for a cleaning business
Start with friends and family
Many cleaning companies - particularly domestic cleaners - begin by working for friends and family at a discounted rate (mates' rates). This can help you practice your services, understand how long they take and set realistic prices.
Your friends and family are likely to provide positive word-of-mouth and let people know about your services, which can start the ball rolling.
Encourage word of mouth
You need to be trusted so recommendations from existing customers will be your best marketing. Consider some kind of reward scheme, to entice existing clients to refer friends.
For example, if a customer gets a friend to sign up, they both get 25% off the price of cleaning for the next month. You can set the price according to what works best for you, but remember - the higher the reward, the more interested they'll be in finding new customers for your cleaning business!
Advertising and door knocking
Leafleting and advertising in newspapers and magazines might help you win clients, but simply knocking on doors with price lists can be more effective and cheaper. Potential customers sometimes react better to a friendly face than an ad in the paper, especially if they hadn't considered hiring a cleaner before.
5. Set up and register your cleaning business
Even though it is easy to start a cleaning business, there are still certain things you really need to do. Sort out the legal stuff before you start and make sure you stay on the right side of the law.
Register as a sole trader
If you earn more than £1,000 from self-employment, you need to register as a sole trader and complete a self-assessment tax return . We recommend registering as a sole trader rather than a limited company if you’re a cleaner working on your own, because this will probably be the most tax efficient option. A business employing staff might be better as a limited company.
Check out the differences between sole trader and limited company .
Look into training
You don’t need any training for a domestic cleaning business. However, when starting a specialist and commercial cleaning business, additional training will be required:
The British Institute of Cleaning Science offers a number of courses for those interested in running a commercial cleaning business, and prices are available on request.
ProChemUK also offers a range of courses for those looking at specialist or commercial cleaning, with prices ranging from £95-£190.
It is advisable to have insurance that will cover you for any damage to people’s property. If you take on staff, you’ll be legally required to have employer’s liability insurance .
Get DBS checked
It is a good idea to get a DBS check for you and any staff to reassure clients you're trustworthy
Adhere to legal requirements
It's likely you'll be handling potentially harmful chemicals, so you must also comply with health and safety regulations (particularly COSHH). This includes having training and information in place to protect any staff.
6. Manage all the admin
Running a cleaning business isn’t all about delivering your cleaning services. There is also a lot of admin to consider too. Remember to factor in time to plan marketing, manage your accounts and invoice customers.
Here are some things to think about:
As the company grows, so will your customer base; you must be skilled in keeping records. You need to have all the information regarding every single job, pay the right amount of tax, and make sure your staff (if you have any) are paid on time.
How will you receive payments?
Will you take cash or card payments? If so, what system will you use? Will you expect payment in advance, on the day or after the fact? Will you offer payment plans or monthly packages?
Cash flow can be a big problem for a cleaning business. You need to have enough money in the bank to be able to pay for overheads and expenses, such as cleaning products and maintaining your transport costs. Read out article on cash flow forecasting for more information.
7. Hiring staff for your cleaning business
As demand for your services increase, you’ll find that the only way to grow a cleaning business is to take on more clients. And because you’ve only got a set number of hours in the day, that means taking on staff.
It isn’t hard to find employees for a cleaning business. It is a role that requires few qualifications and is accessible to most people. However, you will need to make sure you hire the right people for your business, otherwise your reputation and business could suffer.
You’ll need to find people who are:
trustworthy and presentable (as they will be in people’s homes, often alone)
hardworking (to make sure they complete work to a high standard, in the allotted time)
Don’t forget you’ll need to train your new staff too.
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You’ll need to work out how much to pay your cleaning staff. In order to make profit, you’ll need to pay them less than you charge your client. This means that cleaning staff wages are usually around the minimum wage mark.
Keep up-to-date with changes to minimum wage. Not doing so could result in fines or even prosecution.
Insurance and legal requirements
When you take on staff, you become an employer. This means you have new responsibilities. Take a look at our article on hiring staff to understand what you need to do.
Ready to start your dream cleaning business?
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Starting a cleaning business in the UK
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Learn about starting a domestic, commercial or specialist cleaning business, including start-up costs, hiring staff, finding customers and the kinds of insurance your business will need.
Starting a business in the cleaning sector means tapping into a growing cleaning market opens in new window in the UK that’s worth over £55.5bn.
Indeed, the cleaning industry employs five percent of the UK workforce and is firmly in the top ten UK industries for employment..
It’s an expanding sector as busy home owners turn to domestic cleaning services to take on chores at home, and more businesses look to outsource cleaning services opens in new window to third-party providers.
The same growth can be seen in the domestic sector with one in three UK homes now employing the services of a cleaner, according to research by British Cleaning Council.
Starting a business in this area has plenty of advantages.
Start-up costs opens in new window are generally low, and you can start small.
Staff costs opens in new window , materials and overheads tend to be lower and it requires a less skilled workforce.
Win a few contracts or a host of regular domestic customers opens in new window and your business is relatively easy to scale too.
However, you’ll need to robustly adhere to health and safety rules and there’s lots of competition from other businesses – but get it right and the payback can be rewarding.
We’ve put together a handy guide to starting your own business but it’s always a good idea to seek independent specialist advice before embarking on any new business venture.
To help make things a little easier we’ve created the Start Up Loans Guide to Business Resilience .
It’s full of tips on energy efficiency, dealing with late payments, and accessing finance guidance to support your business, whatever the future holds.
Download your free copy .
Decide what type of cleaning business to start
Setting up a cleaning service isn’t simply a case of buying cleaning products and hiring staff opens in new window – you’ll need to develop a clear strategy on the type of business you want to run and which customers it will serve opens in new window .
In general, there are three types of cleaning- focused business:
- Domestic cleaning involves cleaning people’s homes, often while they’re at work or cleaning the homes of elderly customers who need additional help around the home. Duties may include dusting, vacuuming, cleaning surfaces, mopping floors, doing laundry and ironing. In many cases, you use the client’s cleaning products and home equipment, though you can supply your own at an additional cost. With a hands-on approach, this is a low-cost way to start a business, with the opportunity to take on staff opens in new window as you build your client base and grow by word of mouth and local advertising.
- Commercial cleaning involves cleaning large private and public spaces such as offices opens in new window , schools, banks, hospitals, retail stores to supermarkets and shopping centres. Working during off-peak hours when premises aren’t in use, you’ll need a team of cleaners and specialist equipment. Your role as the boss will typically involve managing your team, dealing with clients and promoting your business opens in new window . Business is usually contract-based, where you’ll agree to deliver cleaning services for a set period and fee.
- Specialised cleaning businesses run the gamut from carpet and oven cleaning services to window cleaning and car washing.
What skills do I need to start a cleaning service?
Running a domestic or specialist cleaning service will suit anyone who is hard working and happy doing physical, repetitive tasks.
A detailed approach is important – clients will expect sparkling results so it pays to be motivated about keeping things clean.
You’ll typically work alone when starting out – though teams of cleaners are needed for commercial work – and sometimes you’ll work unsociable hours.
You’ll need to be responsible and trustworthy, as you often hold keys to a person’s house or to business premises.
Getting started is relatively straightforward, depending on the type of cleaning service you want to run:
- Starting a domestic cleaning service requires no specific skills or training aside from what you’ve gained looking after your own home. Some basic business skills such as bookkeeping opens in new window are important.
- To start a commercial cleaning business, it’s a good idea to spend time learning some general business skills for running your business, including business strategy opens in new window and marketing to managing staff and bookkeeping.
- With specialist cleaning, you’ll need to have experience in your chosen area, such as oven or carpet cleaning. You may also need to invest in specialist equipment and products.
- Both specialist and commercial cleaning operators may wish to join professional bodies such as The British Institute of Cleaning Science which offers accredited training.
Research the cleaning market
Cleaning is highly competitive, with thousands of small cleaning businesses vying for customers opens in new window .
You’ll need to make sure your cleaning service stands out by carefully researching the market opens in new window to learn about potential customers, existing competitors opens in new window , and the types of prices being paid opens in new window for a range of services you want to offer.
Knowing what price to charge is vital when starting a domestic cleaning service.
Domestic cleaners typically charge an hourly rate.
It’s best to keep your prices fairly similar or either slightly lower to attract new business.
If you choose to charge a higher rate, focus on the high-quality service or extras you offer.
Remember to establish whether your fee includes cleaning products or if will you use those supplied by the client.
Commercial cleaning is equally competitive, and you’ll face competition from established companies all chasing contracts.
Decide on the type of premises you want to focus on, such as large offices or small retail locations, and develop your business so it specializes in these areas.
Calculate costs based on how many hours and staff are required for each space so you can remain competitive, and look for tendering opportunities from local councils or businesses.
How much money do I need to start a cleaning service?
The size of your start-up budget opens in new window will vary greatly on the size of your cleaning business and the sector you work in.
Setting up a domestic cleaning business on your own requires minimal investment, especially if you use the client’s cleaning products and equipment.
Your initial costs will be limited to fuel or transportation, a website opens in new window and possibly printed flyers to promote your services.
You may need to invest in a small van and protective clothing.
Commercial cleaning firms cost more to get started, primarily investing in industrial equipment such as trolleys, carpet cleaners, floor polishers, professional vacuum cleaners as well as a larger van.
You’ll also be paying salaries for a cleaning team opens in new window and you’ll need a larger marketing budget, such as paying for advertising in trade press opens in new window .
If starting from scratch seems daunting, consider buying a franchise in the cleaning industry.
In domestic cleaning, franchise prices start from around £1,500 up to £17,000 for well-established national brands such as Molly Maid.
In addition, you’ll need working capital opens in new window in the region of £5,000 to £10,000.
With a franchise you’re buying the rights to an established brand name opens in new window .
You may get training and advice in running the business along with access to an exclusive territory, branded uniforms and vehicles with logos.
However, attracting customers will still be your responsibility.
Watch this: Want to learn more about what it’s like to operate a cleaning franchise such as Molly Maid? This video talks to a Molly Maid franchise owner:
For more information on how franchises work read our free guide to What is a franchise? opens in new window and How much does a franchise cost? opens in new window
Create a business plan for a cleaning service
As with any business, creating a business plan opens in new window will provide a roadmap for your fledging cleaning venture.
Having a clear idea of your services and pricing, your local area opens in new window and competition and how you can promote and grow your business opens in new window will help you start out on the right foot – even if just setting up as an individual domestic cleaner opens in new window .
It will help you plan the scale and scope of your business, forecast profits and costs opens in new window and is essential if looking for investment opens in new window .
Once you start trading, you’ll need to register your business with HMRC opens in new window so you can pay the correct amount of tax opens in new window and National Insurance (NICs).
Before you register, you need to decide if you should set up as a sole trader, partnership opens in new window or limited company opens in new window and you should seek independent specialist advice to determine which type of business is best for you and your start-up.
- Sole trader opens in new window – this is the most popular way to form a cleaning service that’s owned by a single person. It costs nothing to set up with no running costs. However, the owner is personally liable for all business debts and is responsible for paying tax and National Insurance.
- Partnership opens in new window – if starting the business with another person, you may want to form a partnership. This means the partners share all aspects of the business in accordance to a written agreement.
- Limited company opens in new window – setting up as a limited company protects your personal assets should the business fail, but there are more regulations and legal requirements to deal with.
Does my cleaning service need insurance?
A cleaning service needs insurance cover opens in new window , especially as you’ll be operating on customers’ premises and dealing with potentially toxic materials.
The three main insurance policies you’ll need are:
• Professional indemnity insurance covers, amongst others, unpaid client bills, costs involved in rectifying mistakes, and protection against invalid claims from unhappy clients. It also offers protection against dishonest staff, defamation, infringement of intellectual property rights opens in new window , negligent misrepresentation and loss of documents or data opens in new window .
• Public liability insurance covers your business opens in new window should it cause death or injury to someone or damage their personal property.
• Employer’s liability insurance covers the compensation payable should an employee be injured or become ill because of the work they do for you.
Employing cleaning staff
Finding cleaning staff isn’t difficult – but hiring the right staff opens in new window takes more work.
Look for hard-working, trustworthy staff who will help your business succeed, and get references before allowing staff into people’s houses, business premises or have responsibility for keys.
Cleaning work is typically low paid but you need to be aware of charges to the UK minimum wage or you could face a fine or even prosecution.
As an employer, you must comply with various legal obligations and responsibilities opens in new window when hiring staff.
You must also register with HMRC as an employer and collect tax and national insurance for you employees via a payroll system.
See our free guide to first-time employer’s responsibilities opens in new window .
How to market a cleaning business
Once your cleaning service is up and running, you’ll need to build your brand opens in new window .
Personal recommendations and referrals opens in new window are your best form of marketing in the early days.
Encourage existing clients to sign up their friends by offering discounted services for the first month of cleaning.
Advertise your domestic services locally with cards in a newsagent’s shop window and flyers through people’s letter boxes.
Getting new business is tougher for commercial cleaning companies.
Start by contacting the firms and organisations to find out who manages the cleaning contract, and then write to them by name to introduce your business.
It’s likely that another cleaning firm currently holds the contract, but ask when it’s up for renewal and see if you can quote nearer the time.
It’s worth keeping in regular contact, and find out who the competitor firm is to see what services and prices they charge.
Becoming a member of a professional cleaning body may help you market your business, and inspire more confidence in your services.
The British Cleaning Council opens in new window Federation of Master Cleaners opens in new window The British Institute of Cleaning Science opens in new window Domestic Cleaning Alliance opens in new window
What should I charge?
Your pricing structure could be crucial to your success.
Some cleaners charge by the hour, some charge a flat fee, some charge by the level of work required (so a fee per room, office or home).
You might also need to be flexible and fit around the preference of your client so it may well be worth thinking of an hourly and flat fee rate to be able to quote.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.
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Cleaning Company Business Plan
Cleaning might be a chore for someone but to some people, it is no less than passion.
And why not, who doesn’t like a nicely organized and spick and span place? Although all of us can accept that some of us are better at it than others.
If you are planning to start a new cleaning services business, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample Cleaning Company Business Plan created using Upmetrics – Business Plan Software to start writing your business plan in no time.
Before you start writing your business plan for your new cleaning company, spend as much time as you can reading through some samples of cleaning and maintenance-related business plans.
The cleaning industry stood at a whopping value of 61 billion dollars and isn’t going to slow down any time soon.
Also, with the recent pandemic, the importance of cleaning has grown. And if you know how to organize spaces too there’s no stopping you from building a thriving business.
So, while a bunch of us satisfy ourselves by watching the oddly satisfying cleaning videos on YouTube you could be out there building a profitable business out of it.
But before you go, we have a few tips and business planning hacks compiled for you.
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Things to Consider Before Writing Your Cleaning Company Business Plan
Pick a specialisation.
Pick what kind of spaces you want to clean. It helps you hire people who are the best at a certain job. After all, cleaning different spaces requires a different set of skills and precision.
You can go for anything from cleaning outdoor spaces, hotels, offices, schools, etc.
Decide what additional services you can provide
Sometimes business is all about going that extra mile. Decide what additional services you can provide apart from the primary ones.
This would also largely depend upon the sector of the cleaning industry you are in.
Know your target audience like the back of your hand
Knowing your target audience helps you provide better services and change as their preferences change.
The cleaning industry is a lot about putting technology to maximum use.
Know your competitors
Knowing your competitors is crucial. It helps you stay ahead of them and have a foresight of what’s going to happen in the industry.
Write Your Business Plan
If you have been mocked for cleaning a little too much, don’t take it to heart. Make a business out of it. And here’s a little bit of data to give you the required motivation.
Reading sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for. It will also show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.
We have created this sample cleaning company business plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect cleaning company business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.
Cleaning Company Business Plan Outline
This is the standard cleaning company business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.
- Market Validation
- Short-Term (1 -3 Years)
- Long Term (3-5 years)
- Mission Statement
- Keys to Success
- Units Sold v/s Revenue Chart
- Company Ownership / Legal Entity
- Interior Operating Facilities
- Hours of Operation
- Start-up Summary
- Garden Maintenance
- Grounds Maintenance
- General Cleaning
- Customer Service
- Residential Cleaning
- Commercial Cleaning
- Specialty Cleaning
- Market Trends
- CMS Market Distribution
- Competitive Advantage
- SWOT analysis
- Distribution Strategy
- Marketing and Promotion Program
- Positioning Statement
- Marketing Channels
- Pricing Strategy
- Organization chart
- Management Team
- Hiring plan
- Important Assumptions
- Brake-even Analysis
- Profit Yearly
- Gross Margin Yearly
- Projected Cash Flow
- Projected Balance Sheet
- Business Ratios
After getting started with upmetrics , you can copy this Cleaning Company Business Plan into your business plan and modify the required information and download your cleaning company business plan pdf or doc file.
It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.
The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan
Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.
Download a sample cleaning company business plan
Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free cleaning company business plan pdf to start.
It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your cleaning company business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.
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About the Author
Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more
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How to start a cleaning business and earn straight away
By Naomi Willis | last updated 14th March 2023
Passionate about cleaning? Then it might be time you tapped into the rapidly growing UK cleaning market.
Whether you want to fly solo as a domestic cleaner or build your commercial cleaning empire, this guide will help you get to the perfect start.
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Table of Contents
Choosing the right cleaning business to run
The first and most important decision you’ll make when setting up your own cleaning business is which type of cleaning will be your speciality. It’s advisable to be well researched in the three main markets and focus on your own previous experience.
Domestic cleaning business
A domestic cleaning business involves going into people’s homes and cleaning from room to room. You’ll be busy mopping floors, wiping down surfaces and carpet cleaning.
Domestic cleaning is usually the most low-cost business idea of the three, as you’ll mostly be using the homeowner’s cleaning products.
Commercial cleaning business
In a commercial cleaning business, you will be working in large spaces, such as offices and hospitals. Unlike domestic cleaners, commercial cleaners need to hire a team due to the larger scale of the work, and you will also need some specialist equipment.
This type of business will usually be based on a contract with a pre-determined fee and timescale.
Specialised cleaning business
Specialist cleaners focus on a specific area of expertise, including window cleaning, carpet cleaning, roof cleaning, hazardous waste spills, specialised stain removal, or other services.
This can often be the most complicated business of the three to set up, as specialist cleaning will require you and your staff to have additional training, equipment and accreditations. As a result, this can lead to extra start-up costs at the outset.
What insurance will your cleaning business need?
Any new cleaning business will need to have business insurance before beginning to operate. This will give your customers confidence and ensure you’re covered under most circumstances.
Be sure to compare costs through a comparison site to balance the right levels of cover as well as getting the best overall price.
Professional indemnity insurance
Since you’ll be providing professional services to customers, this type of insurance will be essential. It’ll cover you for any legal fees or compensation you have to pay if your client suffers financial loss due to negligence from your business.
Public liability insurance
If your business carries out work at your clients’ sites or people visit your premises, you’ll need public liability insurance.
If any public, clients, or suppliers make claims against you for property damage or personal injury, this policy will make sure your fees are covered.
Employer’s liability insurance
This type of business insurance is a legal requirement for most UK employers. You, your current employees and any previous employees will all be covered for any injuries or illnesses caused by working for your business.
It will also cover you for any costs related to injury or damages caused to a third party by your employees.
Taking out van insurance means you’ll be covered to use your van for business purposes, such as transporting cleaning products and equipment.
Create a business plan
When starting a cleaning business, it’s good to have a clear plan that you can reference. Below are some initial ideas to get your plan started.
- The Gap – What gap in the market will your business be filling?
- Market Research – Identify trends in the market, and see if your area of business is growing.
- Sales and Marketing – Establish a pricing strategy, and think about how you’ll promote your product.
- Competition – Research the competing cleaning businesses, and work out what you can offer to customers that they aren’t.
It might be a good idea to follow a course with a business plan template and guidance on how to create a business plan.
Cleaning business start-up costs
The budget required to start your business will depend on the area of cleaning you have decided to work in. A domestic cleaning service won’t need much investment and will be limited to transport and fuel.
Commercial and specialised cleaning businesses will need heavier investment, as you’ll need to purchase professional vacuum cleaners, specialised cleaning products and hazard signs.
Consider buying a franchise in the cleaning industry
If launching your own business is too daunting a task, you could consider purchasing a franchise in the cleaning industry instead.
These work like any other franchise, meaning you pay for working under a trusted brand and logo. The price will vary widely depending on the franchise you choose, but the costs will usually include expert advice and training.
Qualifications and skills needed to start a cleaning business
The cleaning market you’ve decided to enter will affect what skills and qualifications you’ll need to have. Your level of experience will help you determine how much extra training you need or if you already have all of the necessary attributes.
Either way, it’s always good to know what’s required before you start contacting clients.
To get started, why not take a course on how to start a cleaning business which will give you an overview of other things like how to handle finances, administration, HR and more!
Usually, domestic cleaners aren’t required to hold any formal qualifications. The skills you’ve developed from cleaning your own home should suffice. However, to meet your client’s expectations, you’ll need excellent attention to detail and consistent results.
Although the profits may at first be fairly modest, having some general bookkeeping and business skills will be really helpful as you grow your business.
To establish your business as a reputable commercial cleaning company, you’ll need to be highly organised, efficient and reliable.
You’ll need to make sure that your staff are properly trained, with a detailed understanding of commercial cleaning equipment and chemicals. As your business may be operating in offices, your staff may also require additional training, such as cleaning without causing disruption to computer systems.
As a specialised cleaning company, you’ll already have experience in your chosen area of expertise. This could be anything from carpet skimming to removing potentially harmful chemicals.
It could benefit your business if you and your staff gain accredited training from a professional body, such as The British Institute of Cleaning Science .
How much will you charge for your cleaning services?
You’ll need to consider the best way to price yourself to attract new customers and remain competitive. A good way to start is by comparing yourself to competitors and researching the prices in your area.
You could also consider offering discounts and incentives to make your business more attractive to potential clients. This will also help you differentiate yourself from the competition and stand out.
Looking for another way to make more money? Why not look at other side hustles you can develop into a busines.
Hiring cleaning staff
There will be no shortage of staff available to hire for cleaning work, but you need to take the time to make sure you hire the right people for your business. Ask for references, so you know that they’re trustworthy and reliable.
Most cleaning staff will start on the UK minimum wage, which is £10.42 per hour (from April 2023) for someone over the age of 23, meaning staffing your business shouldn’t be too costly. But, as an employer, it’s vital that you remember to register with HMRC to collect taxes and National Insurance from your employees.
Develop a marketing strategy for your cleaning business
Your best marketing tool will be word of mouth in the early days of a residential cleaning business. Your existing clients will be recommending you to other clients, and you can encourage this by offering new customers discounted services for short periods.
Commercial cleaning businesses can find it more difficult to attract clients. You should find out who manages the cleaning contracts at your target company and introduce yourself. Be sure to ask them when any contracts are due for renewal.
Specialised cleaning companies have a niche, meaning customers will often seek them out specifically. A good way to market yourself is to create a strong online presence.
To do this, make sure to fully advertise on social media platforms, engage customers with email marketing, and build a business website with SEO.
How to structure your cleaning business?
Once you’ve decided which cleaning services your business will focus on, it’s time to decide what legal structure you will choose. The three most popular structures for UK businesses are sole trader, partnership and limited company.
Whichever one you choose for your own business will impact the way it operates, including the tax you pay, the wages you receive and your legal obligations.
At the start of 2018, 3.4 million small businesses in the UK were registered as sole traders, making this the most popular business type.
Under this structure, you’ll be self-employed and the only person who owns your business. This means that you’ll receive the profits you make but will also be personally responsible for any losses as well.
As the profits of the business will also be your profits, you will pay Income Tax and National Insurance on any earnings.
In a partnership, you’ll still be self-employed, but you will co-own your business with a partner. As a result, you’ll be sharing the responsibilities for all areas of the business.
Both you and your partner will receive the profits of the business, but you will each pay income tax on your share.
If you choose this option, you won’t be self-employed, as the company will be a distinct legal entity from the business owner.
You’ll serve as the director of your own business, making you legally and financially responsible for any business decisions. However, your own finances will be separate from the assets and liabilities of your company.
Limited companies also pay Corporation Tax on any profits, rather than National Insurance and Income Tax.
Create a cleaning business expansion plan
As your business becomes more successful, your profits, budget and staff volumes will grow. You should be prepared for this from the get-go, with a solid business plan and relevant insurance policies.
You’ll need to make sure you’re up-to-date with any legislation relating to wages as you take on more employees to safeguard the continued expansion of your business.
The UK cleaning sector continues to grow, so now is the ideal time for you to start your cleaning business. As long as you identify which one of the three main markets is right for you, you’ll have every chance of success.
If you have a strong business plan and good marketing techniques, then a cleaning business in the UK can prove very profitable.
If you have a limited budget, the best option is to start your own domestic cleaning business. The start-up costs are low, as you use the customer’s cleaning products.
No, but any staff handling hazardous chemicals must be trained to use them safely.
There’s never been a better time to start a cleaning business in the UK, so if our guide has inspired you, dust off those rubber gloves and jump right in.
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How to start a cleaning business in the UK 2023
There are currently 1.47 million people working in the UK cleaning and hygiene industry, that’s 5% of the UK workforce.
If you’re thinking about starting your own cleaning business that figure might seem reassuring, knowing it’s such an established career, or a bit daunting when you think about the competition.
In reality, 2023 is a great year to be joining the cleaning industry. It’s a service that’s always in demand and is easy and inexpensive to make a career out of. Even in the current cost-of-living crisis, there are still many people looking for cleaners.
So whether as a full-time business or as a part-time earner, here’s how to start a cleaning business on a shoestring budget and scale it to your ambitions.
In this article
The following topics are covered in this article:
- Benefits of starting and running a cleaning business
- Set up costs and expenses
- Licence requirements for you and your business
- Registration requirements for you and your business
- What insurance is recommended and required
- How to price your cleaning service
- What equipment to purchase
- How to gain customers and advertise your business
- How to win repeat work
- How to grow your business
Is cleaning a good business to start?
Starting a cleaning company is one of the cheapest easiest businesses to start. It takes very little upfront capital, earns solid money and is easy to scale. This makes it a great business to get into, whatever your ambitions.
If you want to keep it small and local that’s easy to do or if your aim is to grow, the path to scale is straightforward and relatively easy to do.
How much does it cost to set up a cleaning business?
On a budget, you can start a cleaning business for under £15 . This covers the cost of the cleaning products you’ll need.
It is possible to start with 0 expenses if your customers ask you to use their cleaning products, which is common. However, it is recommended to have your own products available.
This price doesn’t cover additional costs that you will have to pay as your company grows. Once you include the cost of registering your company, insurance and advertising, the total cost of setting up will be approximately £150.
If you want to work on commercial cleaning projects there are further costs such as professional training, equipment and DBS checks which will cost around £150 on top of the other expenses.
Do I need a license to start a cleaning business in the UK?
You do not need a license or any professional qualification to start a cleaning business in the UK, but you do need to register your business for tax purposes.
It can also be helpful to get a DBS check before you start as this will help reassure customers and allow you to win work you might not otherwise be able to, however, there is no requirement to do so.
You can pay for a DBS via the UK government website .
Do I need to register as a business to start a cleaning service?
When you first start out as a cleaner, if you earn less than £1000 within your first tax year, you do not need to register with HMRC. However, we would strongly recommend you do, as it will make your life far easier once the business grows. If you're earning under £1000 you will not be charged tax regardless.
To register your business follow the step outlined by HMRC.
Do you need insurance to start a cleaning business?
As a sole trader in the cleaning industry, there is no requirement for you to have insurance, however, it is a good idea to get public liability insurance in case any property damage occurs while at work. This costs about £120.
Also, if you employ cleaners to work for your business then you are legally required to have employers' liability insurance. This covers the cost of damages if one of your employees or contractors gets into trouble.
How much should I charge for cleaning services?
When first starting out it’s a good idea to set your prices at the lower end of the market, typically around £10 - £15 per hour. This will allow you to win more customers early on. As you grow you can then raise your prices and move from an hourly model to a quoted rate.
At this point, you should be able to charge around £300 to £350 per month per home - for 4 weekly cleans. However, you should base your prices according to your customer demographic and the area you’re operating in.
For more help deciding your prices read our article on how to price a job .
What equipment do you need?
When starting out, there are a few cleaning essentials you need.
The following list of cleaning supplies is a good place to start:
- Microfiber cloths – A minimum of 10 per clean is recommended. You can wash these at the end of the day.
- Multipurpose blue cloths - All-purpose throwaway cloths.
- Duster – Allows you to reach awkward places.
- Sponges – Useful on all surfaces and can be disposed easily.
- Bathroom cleaner – Use a spray such as Flash or Dettol.
- Kitchen cleaner – A product like Flash is a good option or any kitchen cleaner that has bleach in it will do.
- Viakal – Great for limescale and watermark removal. Use this on bathroom taps, shower glass, chrome and kitchen sinks.
- Scouring pads – For limescale removal and cooker and oven cleaning.
- Dettol Antiseptic Orignal – Can be used on any surface such as leather, wood or glass and is non-toxic. Don’t use in homes with cats and dogs.
- Bleach Use a thick bleach. Used for toilet and bathroom cleans. Good for tough stains and build-up.
- Floor cleaner – Required for certain properties. Can be used on surfaces other than the floor.
- Cif cream cleaner – Great for removing marks on plastic and walls. Don’t use on matt finish paint.
- Glass cleaner - The Mr Muscle Platinum Window and Glass cleaner is a good option.
- Nitrile Gloves – Protects your hands from exposure to cleaning chemicals and stops them from drying out.
- Apron - Protects your clothes from splashes and dirt and the pockets can be used to store cleaning products.
Some of these products you may find cheaper in-store, so it’s worth popping into your local shop before buying online.
If you own a carpet cleaner, this is also a great way to make more money. You can charge for carpet cleaning as an additional charge allowing you to make more from each clean.
Where can I get clients for my cleaning business?
There are a number of different methods you can use to get clients when first starting out in cleaning, but the best method to do this cheaply is by printing flyers or posting a Gumtree advert.
Flyers and business cards
This is probably the cheapest method possible to gain new customers. Depending on how cheap you want to start you could either:
- Create and print a simple flyer on Word or Google Sheets, with your name, contact details and some information on the cleaning services and standards you offer.
- Order some professional flyers from a printing press or online business. It should cost about £10 for 50 flyers.
Once you’ve got your flyers, and potentially some business cards if you want to look extra professional, start posting them through doors in your target area.
It might be an idea to target high-value properties as these can be more profitable, however, all domestic properties are worthwhile.
Remember you will need to be able to bring your cleaning equipment to the home including potentially a vacuum cleaner, so bear that in mind if you don’t have a car.
Gumtree is a great way to pick up your first clients and is fairly inexpensive. Just sign up for a Gumtree account and create an advert offering your cleaning services. This will cost between £7 to £12.
What’s great about Gumtree ads is that they are localised to your area, meaning the people local to you will see your advert. All you need is 3 or 4 people to contact you and you’re up and running.
When designing your advert there are some essentials you should include:
- The area in which you operate - This can be as broad or specific as you like, although we’d recommend not stretching too far as it’ll be difficult getting between jobs.
- Your hourly rate - Including your prices is one of the surest ways to pick up customers, always be transparent.
- Include an end-of-tenancy price - This is a big earner and what you will charge for professional cleans when a tenant leaves a rented property.
- Before and after pictures - A good trick is to mess up your room/house and take a photo, then clean and tidy and take a new photo.
- Your availability - Make it clear when you can and can’t work and what hours you can do.
- Additional information - Details such as any insurance or DBS checks you have gives you a point of difference. Also, explain what products you use such as eco-friendly products.
Flyers and Gumtree are obviously not the only methods you can use to find customers. Other options such as using social media, word-of-mouth recommendations or other paid services are also options available to you.
Another site to look at is Bark.com , this allows you to boost your profile to potential customers in your target area.
Arranging your first clean
Once your first customer makes contact, you need to arrange your first clean. How you handle this is important as it will determine whether or not you can secure the client as a repeat customer.
Offer a free consultation
It is always a good idea to offer a free consultation before you complete your first clean.
This has two benefits:
Firstly it allows you to assess how extensive the clean will be and how long it will take. This avoids the situation where the customer thinks the job will take 2 hours and is prepared to pay for that price when in fact it takes 4.
It also prevents the scenario where either you're asking for more than the customer is expecting or are forced to clean to a lower standard to ensure you’re completed in time.
The second benefit is you have a chance to meet the customer in person and properly introduce yourself. This makes you appear more professional and allows you to get a feel for the client.
Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions is a powerful tool that will help you win over customers and deliver a better service.
When you arrive at the property, have some questions pre-prepared. You need to find out information about their quirks and preferences for the clean. This will ensure they’re not disappointed.
The following questions are a good place to start:
- How do you like your house kept?
- What’s one thing a previous cleaner has done well or badly that I should be aware of?
- What’s important to you during this clean?
- Is there anything previous cleaners have missed I should be aware of?
If you don’t do laundry or don’t do the dishes then let them know. Be clear about what the clean does cover and what isn’t included.
Remember good customer service is key to winning long-term clients. Most cleaning businesses do not offer a high level of service, if you do, you will stand out.
For some extra tips on how to mange your customers and deliver the best service we've written an article on how to improve your customer communication .
Completing your first clean to a high standard is key to winning repeat work.
In most cases, those who reach out to you will initially ask for one clean and won’t mention repeat work. However, most of the time this is as a precaution to test you out.
If you clean to a high standard and the customer is happy, chances are they will ask about a regular clean. At this point, you can arrange a day and time and sign them up for a weekly clean.
Managing multiple customers
As you acquire more customers, it's important that you stay organised and keep track of the appointments you have booked. To make life easy for yourself we’d recommend investing in a good CRM with service plan functionality.
This type of investment may be a bit much for you at the start but once your business starts to grow it’s a smart investment to make.
Payaca is a great option for this, as within their software you can set up repeat payment plans that allow you to easily organise your jobs and take payments from recurring subscriptions. This is even more useful once you move to a per-job rather than hourly pricing structure.
This is something we go into in more detail in our article on how to secure recurring revenue .
How to scale your business
Once you’ve got an established base of customers, you can start thinking about growing your business. This means hiring an additional cleaner.
We would usually suggest doing this when you have around 15 homes but take this step whenever you're ready. However, do bear in mind that if you're charging a low hourly rate you’ll need enough customers to support an additional salary.
Hiring an additional cleaner
When you’re ready to hire a new cleaner a good place to advertise is on Indeed .
To do this, create an account and post an ad for a part-time cleaner working in your operating area. You should include the hours they will work per week and the area they will operate. Again the more information you can provide the better.
Once you receive applicants, take them on a trial clean where you will shadow them as they work. This way you can ensure they’re cleaning to your standards.
If you’re happy with the quality of their clean you can take them on as a cleaner for your business. However, remember to provide regular spot checks to ensure they’re continuing to clean to the standards you expect.
Increase your prices
Once you start taking on new staff, you’ll quickly find that you need to increase your prices.
This can be a bit daunting, but if you’ve been cleaning to a high standard and your customers like you, then in most cases clients will accept the raise. For those that don’t, this opens an opportunity to switch to more high-value customers.
Inevitably there will be a turnover of customers as your business grows. This is to be expected and allows you to increase your profit margins. Winning high-value customers should become easier as you establish a reputation.
Steps like creating your own website and setting up a Facebook page are important stages in the process of establishing yourself as a business that will allow you to win these customers.
As a rule, you should aim to move away from a price-per-hour model and instead price per job. Once you’ve got multiple cleaners working under you a reasonable price to charge would be around £300 to £350 per month on a recurring subscription. This would include one clean per week.
It is at this point that it’s a good idea to seriously consider a software like Payaca . As we mentioned earlier it makes your life so much easier, allowing you to easily manage multiple accounts and take payments seamlessly.
When processing your old financial information you might also benefit from tools that can help you import bank statements to Quickbooks , allowing you to easily digitalise your paper records.
For more help with increasing your prices check out our article on why your service business should increase it’s prices .
With business booming, you can now think about diversifying your portfolio of clients. Where before your focus will have been on domestic properties you can now start transitioning towards commercial cleaning.
To do this you will need to provide quality assurance. This means using staff with a recognised cleaning qualification, DBS checks and insurance. Investing in these aspects of your business will allow you to put in bids to win larger commercial jobs.
You can also consider other types of cleans such as AirBnB cleans. With the right hosts, you will gain work from multiple homes, which is a very efficient way to grow.
Remember at this point you will be doing very little, if any, cleaning yourself. Your job is now to manage your cleaners and make sure the operation goes smoothly.
Starting a cleaning business is a great idea.
It’s one of those operations that is very easy and inexpensive to start and can be amazingly profitable. There are many examples of people starting from the bottom who are now earning millions from their cleaning business.
There are plenty of shady salesmen promising rich quick schemes, but cleaning genuinely is a profitable profession that does bring results. It does take some upfront work, but with relatively little effort you can be very successful.
And if your aim is for a small-scale operation cleaning is great for that too. You can even build the company to make it into an essentially passive income.
So if you’re in two minds about getting started, stop thinking about it and just start. The most you’ll lose is £15 for cleaning equipment.
So go for it and good luck.
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