If you love cleaning, or perhaps you know that you’re just really good at it, you may have found yourself debating whether it’s worth setting up your own cleaning business. But what does that actually entail? What do you need to do to start offering your cleaning services to people as part of a proper cleaning business? With tips from The Sparkle Gang here’s a run down of how to start to set up your own business and cleaning company.
Step one: decide what type of cleaning business you want to run
A domestic cleaning business
Domestic cleaning businesses are one of the most common types of cleaning businesses out there. Starting your own domestic cleaning business will involve:
- cleaning surfaces
- doing laundry
- mopping floors
- cleaning toilets and bathrooms
- making beds
- window cleaning
A commercial cleaning business
Commercial cleaning businesses are the ones that are responsible for cleaning and maintaining larger areas like schools, offices, hotels or banks. Anywhere non-domestic that does not require special skills or equipment. This type of cleaning business is harder to run with just one person, and will likely require you as a business owner to hire other members of staff.
As a business owner of a commercial cleaning business, you’ll likely find that not a lot of your work is hands-on.
A specialist cleaning business
There are some places that require cleaners with a bit more skill and who are happy to perhaps work a bit more intensely. These are usually people who work with specialist equipment on things like hoarding cleanup services, carpet cleaning, window washing, ovens or cars.
Specialist cleaning businesses may also be businesses who specialise in places that have perhaps been neglected. Some specialist cleaners might even work on dedicated jobs like crime scenes.
Step two: figuring out what you need to start a cleaning business
Equipment and cleaning products
Cleaning requires a certain amount of equipment and products. Many professional cleaners, if not all, will have their own products that they use, especially domestic cleaners. This may be less common for commercial cleaning and specialist cleaning.
Once you’ve decided which route to go down, you’ll be able to plan out which tools and products you need. Domestic cleaners are unlikely to need tools for roof cleaning, and if you are going to start a cleaning business but you aren’t going to do carpet cleaning, you will not need to buy professional vacuum cleaners, for example.
If you are going to start a cleaning business, you will need to do some admin. This will involve things like keeping track of existing customers, coming up with a marketing plan, determining a pricing structure, coming up with a cleaning contract for new customers, keeping an eye on your expenses and costs. All of this is essential for letting your new cleaning business succeed. You might have thought that being your own boss was easy, but that’s certainly not the case!
Step three: do some market research before you start a cleaning business
You need to figure out how much to charge for your cleaning services. You will also need to find out who your competitors are in your local cleaning industry by looking up what other businesses are nearby. This could make or break your cleaning business. You need to be sure that there is a market for a residential cleaning business (making sure there are already existing clients) or a commercial cleaning business before you begin to invest money into your own cleaning business. This all comes through market research.
Do some searching online and on social media to find other businesses offering the same type of cleaning as you. So if you’re a domestic cleaning business, search for “house cleaners in X” and see who comes up as the most highly rated. Take note of them as a competitor, and take a peek at their prices. Now, the odds are that you can’t charge that much straight away, so also take a look at the smaller companies.
Figure out your costs by looking at your staff list and wages, the cost of the equipment and travel, and use this as well as your research to come up with a business plan and start up costs for your cleaning services.
Step four: the legal obligations
Once you’re sure you’ve got everything planned, you know where you want to clean, whether you’re the only person doing it, what your start-up costs are going to be, etc. You’ll need to work out the legal aspects. Generally speaking, a cleaning business will need:
- liability insurance
- a distinct legal entity (you will need to register as self-employed as a sole trader or register your limited company)
- professional indemnity insurance
- business insurance
Registering as self-employed is easy to do in the UK. You can do so by going online to the HMRC tax website and simply telling them that you are either a sole trader (working for yourself) or a limited company. This will then set you up a tax account for future use. You’ll need to do this whether you are starting a domestic cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business. Otherwise, you will not be able to pay taxes for your cleaning business and HMRC can charge you fines which could ultimately lead to your cleaning business going bankrupt.
The other legal obligations will depend on what type of cleaning business you are going to start. If you start a cleaning business that is going to be entering business premises, you’re likely to need more in-depth insurance, for example.
You’ll also want to ensure that you can afford to pay any members of staff that you are hiring the UK minimum wage, and that you can afford to give them the basic equipment and cleaning materials that they’ll need. Asking them to purchase their own is often considered unprofessional.