Between 2013 and 2020, turnover for the UK’s domestic cleaning industry increased by 21%. If you fancy venturing into this growing market but you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to set up your own UK cleaning business.
Step 1: Market Research
Our first top tip for setting up your own cleaning business is to complete thorough research into the market. This will help you decide what kind of venture you want to launch and what kind of customers you wish to target.
There are three main cleaning markets:
- Domestic – general cleaning as part of the day-to-day running of someone’s home
- Commercial – providing cleaning services to businesses, shops, factories, bars, restaurants etc.
- Specialist – for instances that require deeper cleaning with specialist equipment/training such as carpets & upholstery, fire and flood restoration, hoarder cleaning and deep cleaning in medical settings
The kind of cleaning business you set up will largely depend on your experience and demand in the local area. Check out this guide to finding your target audience for more advice on conducting market research.
Step 2: Qualifications
UK cleaners usually don’t require any specific training or qualifications. The only area where this might differ is if you’re planning on setting up a specialist cleaning business.
You can explore the different training options available for cleaning professionals here.
If you’re planning on starting your own domestic cleaning service during the coronavirus pandemic, we recommend familiarising yourself with the government’s guidelines to help keep yourself, your clients and any staff you hire as safe as possible.
Step 3: Budgeting
Before you start your cleaning business, there are a few essential investments you’ll need to make – such as your equipment. For domestic ventures, this will likely include a new set of mops, microfibre cloths, eco-friendly cleaning products and a vacuum.
For more specialist services, you might need to invest in a variety of different tools such as carpet cleaners, which will require a larger outlay.
If you’re in need of inspiration on how to afford your equipment when it comes to starting your own cleaning business, here are the 7 best ways to fund your cleaning start-up.
Step 4: Set Your Prices
How much to charge your customers can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make. You need to factor in your travel expenses, cleaning products, the time it takes you to complete the job, as well as enough to make a small profit. However, you also need to make sure your costings are competitive so that clients aren’t swayed by cheaper price points. It’s all a balancing act!
Get a clear idea of what you should charge by researching your competitors’ pricing plans.
The next question is whether you’re going to charge an hourly rate or stick to a set price. The main benefit of charging hourly is that if the job takes longer than you anticipated, you’ll still be paid for your overtime. However, UK businesses and homeowners are more likely to prefer a set price as they’ll be able to pay you upfront and will know the costs in advance.
Step 5: Start Marketing
Now you’ve discovered exactly how to start a cleaning business, it’s time to find some customers! If you’re a domestic cleaner, this might be as simple as going door-to-door to post flyers through letterboxes to advertise your services. Or you could set up a Facebook business page and get friends and family to share your posts to get the ball rolling.
For a specialist service, it’s best to stand out against the crowd by creating a website to target those searching for local cleaning services online. Using keywords within your site copy can help you to rank higher among Google search results.
Cleaning Business Requirements & Legal Obligations
If you’re setting up your own cleaning company, there are a few legal requirements regarding self-employment that you’ll need to keep in mind and adhere to.
You’ll need to register as self-employed with HMRC and complete a Self-Assessment tax return.
Similarly, if you’re planning to manage a team, you’ll be required to register as a company.
It’s also recommended that you take out the right kind of insurance. Public liability insurance protects you from public claims of injury or loss as a result of your work – such as someone slipping on a wet floor that you’ve recently cleaned. If you’re going to be employing others, you’ll be legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance.
Creating a solid foundation when starting your own cleaning business will make it easier for your company to expand in the future. Once you’ve established your brand and completed your first few jobs, word of mouth and positive client reviews will organically boost your business. This is why it’s great to get into the habit of handing out business cards to existing clients as well as potential new ones who you meet along your journey!