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A Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business in 2024

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A Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business in 2024
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Do you know your bleach from your detergent? Are you known for getting stains out of anything? If you’re a cleaning connoisseur, starting a cleaning business could be the fresh start you’re looking for.


While you may be apprehensive about starting your own business, it doesn’t need to be hard work. We’ve covered the ins and outs of how to start a cleaning business in our guide, so you can dust off your nerves and embrace your new chapter.


Is a cleaning business really for you?


You’ll first need to decide whether starting a cleaning business is the right choice for you. While you may enjoy cleaning (nothing beats the feeling of a sparkling home, right?), there's a difference between cleaning your own home and cleaning for a living.


Starting a cleaning business can open the door to financial freedom, flexible hours and an immense sense of pride. But there are some potential downsides to consider, such as cleaning products being potentially hazardous to your health, safety considerations like slipping and tripping, and working long hours. You may also spend a lot of time working alone which, depending on your preferences, may or may not suit you. 


There may be both pros and cons you need to consider, but nothing beats the feeling of starting your own business. So, what are you waiting for? 


What skills and qualifications do you need to start this business?


While there aren’t any specific requirements or qualifications you need to start a cleaning business, you may want to brush up on your knowledge to show off your expertise. 


Gaining a qualification or certification, for example, won’t just look impressive to future clients, but can ensure you’re safe while working. Cleaning is a hands-on job, so learning about correct posture while cleaning can be helpful to avoid potential injuries, as well as how to lift heavy objects or boxes safely. It’s likely you’ll also be handling different types of cleaning products, some of which can be hazardous - so make sure you know how to protect your skin and hair from chemicals, and which chemicals you should avoid mixing, for example. 


If you’re planning on cleaning industrial spaces or offering specialist cleaning services such as fire damage cleaning or hazardous waste cleaning, you may need professional qualifications to enter this profession. Thankfully, there’s an array of training courses online to get your knowledge up to scratch. You’ll also get a certificate once you’re finished to impress your customers!


What costs are associated with starting a cleaning business?


How much it will cost to start your cleaning business will ultimately depend on the size of your business and the sector you’ll operate in. If you’re looking to start a domestic cleaning business, this shouldn’t require significant cash to get started, especially if you’re planning to use your clients’ cleaning materials. 


If you’re looking to operate in the commercial space, this may cost you more to get things up and running. You’ll likely need to invest in industrial equipment such as professional vacuum cleaners, trolleys and other materials, as well as a large van to move things around.


Here are some costs to consider for starting your company:


  • Equipment: You’ll need to decide whether you’d prefer to supply your own cleaning equipment, or use that of your customers. You may have products you prefer to use, which you know do the job well, but with this comes the cost of replenishing them when they run out. You could choose to play it by ear - some clients may prefer for you to use their own cleaning equipment, some may expect you to bring your own, and others may not have a preference.

  • Insurance: While mopping, dusting and chemicals, accidents can happen. With the right business insurance, you’ll have peace of mind that should disaster strike, you’ll have the support to put wrong to right. Your policy should cover for claims made against you, such as accidental injury or damage, as well as employer’s liability insurance if you’re planning on hiring others to work with you. 


Set a realistic budget for cleaning products


Be sure to do your research when it comes to the cleaning products you’ll use. What you use at home may not suit your client’s preferences. When it comes to your home, you may opt for whatever products are the best value, for example. But when it comes to your business, it’s important that you choose products that perform well, are high quality and aren’t going to irritate those with allergies, children or pets. With this in mind, be sure to shop around, ask for recommendations and don’t be afraid to ask new clients their preferences. 


Practical steps to start your cleaning business


According to the British Cleaning Council, there are 1.47 million workers in the cleaning sector, which is around 5% of the UK’s workforce, so you’re definitely choosing a popular industry to be a part of!


Ready to get started? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a cleaning business in the UK. 


Research your area and find your market niche


If you’re looking to make your mark in the cleaning industry, finding your niche is a great place to start. Is there something you can offer that competitors don’t? Is there a need for a particular service in your area that you could offer? Perhaps you’ll offer specialised cleaning like end of tenancy cleans, or emergency cleans when disasters strike such as a fire or a flood. Becoming an expert in a particular area can help you to stand out from the crowd.


Having a business and marketing plan in place


While you could dive head-first into entrepreneurship, we wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, putting together a business plan can serve as a guidebook for your business - detailing your aims, plans for the future and your company’s objectives. You’ll have it to hand whenever you need it, to remind you of your goals and offer some determination when times get tough. Looking for how to write a business plan? Take a look at our business plan guide.


If you’re looking to apply for a business loan, the bank will ask to see your business plan to understand what you’re looking to use the money for. Our guide to business loans covers this in more detail.


As for getting your business’ name out there, having a marketing plan is a must. How will people know your business exists if you don’t promote it? From flyers to social media content, you can promote your expertise and encourage friends and family to spread the word too.


Check legal rules and regulations


If you’ve asked yourself ‘what licence do I need to start a cleaning business?’, we’ve got you covered. Here are some legal rules and regulations you’ll need to consider before you unwrap your Marigolds…

ISO certifications

While not essential, gaining an ISO certification can demonstrate your commitment to quality, which could help you gain and retain customers. By being ISO certified, you’re letting customers know you’re committed to performing quality work, and training any employees you have to the highest standards.


Some ISO cleaning accreditations include:


  • ISO 14401 Environmental Management: Shows your cleaning business is committed to protecting the environment. By meeting this standard, your business aims to reduce waste, use cleaning products correctly and comply with environmental regulations. 

  • ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety: Demonstrates your business has a strict health and safety management system in place to protect employees and clients. You’ll always consider the health and safety of staff on-site and undertake risk management.

  • ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems: Businesses with this certification know the value of having a hardworking team who always does their best. You’ll aim to continually improve your services and ensure your clients’ needs are met. Your team will be reliable, you’ll be committed to excellent work and receive minimal complaints from customers. 


Chemical safety - COSHH regulations


As a professional cleaner, you’ll likely work with hazardous chemicals at some point. Even if you prefer to use more natural cleaning products, you may have a job where only the toughest cleaner will do! The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) is the law requiring employers to control the risks from harmful substances. This means it’s your responsibility to handle, store and use chemicals safely so they don’t harm you, your employees or your clients. 


Using cleaning products safely isn’t just a legal requirement, it can also protect the health of you and your workers. Cleaning chemicals can run the risk of health problems such as asthma, skin irritation or even poisoning when used incorrectly. To adhere to regulations, you’ll need to carry out a risk assessment. This involves you assessing the places you’ll work, the cleaning products you'll use and identifying any risks that may occur. From there, you can determine the ways you’ll aim to keep you and your staff safe. 


Forming your cleaning company


Think you’ve got what it takes to lead a thriving cleaning company? First, you’ll need to officially form your company, so your business is ready to roll.


We’re not going to downplay things - starting a business can take a significant amount of time and money. It’s easy to let things get on top of you, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed. That’s where we come in. Instead of forming your business directly through Companies House, you can choose to form your business through SUAZ completely free of charge. We’ll cover the £50 incorporation fee on your behalf (no catch, promise), as we love nothing more than helping businesses like yours come to life. Being a part of your journey is what we love most.


To make your business the best it can be, we offer several company formation packages, from free company formation to our Company Pro package which ticks all the boxes. With our help, you’ll have the reassurance that everything is taken care of. 


Get the relevant licences and insurance


As mentioned, while you’re not legally required to hold a licence to become a professional cleaner, you may choose to expand your knowledge through a training course, such as the British Cleaning Certificate Course. Certified by CPD, you’ll learn all about the cleaning industry, how to use certain equipment and various health and safety measures. 


While you never expect to use it, insurance is designed to protect you when you least expect it. While some types of business insurance are optional, as a small business you’re legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance (EL). This covers your business should one of your employees claim they’ve suffered illness or injury from working for you. Without EL, you could be fined £2,500 for every day you’re unprotected - so it’s really not worth risking. 


Invest in the right equipment


The equipment you’ll need for your cleaning business will ultimately depend on your preferences and business model. 


Here’s a list of equipment you may need:

  • Vacuum cleaner with various attachments for different types of flooring

  • Mop and bucket

  • Dusters

  • Sponges and microfibre cloths

  • Dustpan, brush and broom

  • Protective clothing such as masks and rubber gloves 

  • Cleaning brushes

  • Disinfectant wipes

  • Bin liners

  • Various cleaners such as surface cleaner, toilet cleaner and glass cleaner


Decide how much you’ll charge


How much you’ll charge for your services will depend on several factors, from your level of experience to your location. You don’t want to overcharge and steer customers away, but try not to undersell yourself either! The cost of a cleaner varies significantly across the UK, from £12 an hour up to £23 an hour. Finding a niche can help you to grow your business and the more experience you gain, the higher price you can set. Be sure to do your research, find out the going rates in your area and ways you stand out against the competition. 


Organising your clients


Once your business has taken off, keeping on top of your diary can feel like hard work. The more popular your business becomes, the harder it can be to organise your workload. How you organise your workday will depend on what you prefer, you could choose a scheduling system such as Google Workspace where clients can make a booking with you, or stick to manually organising your calendar. Make sure you keep a log of how long a job has taken so you bill clients correctly.


How to get your first client


Once you’ve set up your business, how do you go about getting customers on board? Here are some ways you could market your business and attract clients:


  • Contact your network - perhaps a friend of a friend needs a cleaner

  • Build an online presence - create an Instagram account for your business, promote your services on Facebook and look into SEO (search engine optimisation) to get spotted on search engines

  • Attend industry events to grow your network

  • Post a flyer through locals’ doors to advertise your services


Get a cleaning contract set up 


A cleaning contract outlines what you and your clients expect from each other. It’s there to clarify what services you’ll provide, when you’ll provide them and when a client needs to pay you. Having a cleaning contract can also help to resolve any disputes should they arise.


Some things you should look to include in your cleaning contract are:


  • Your contact information 

  • Contact or billing number for you to keep track of clients

  • Your list of services, their prices and how regularly you’ll perform them

  • The types of equipment or products you use

  • Your payment details

  • Equipment expectations such as whether you’ll supply your own equipment or use your client’s

  • Dispute resolution - how both parties will resolve any issues

  • Date of termination - how long the document will be valid, whether the agreement can be extended and how much notice the client should give if they wish to terminate the contract

  • Signatures - make sure both you and your client sign the contract


Bring your business idea to life


All great businesses start with an idea. We believe you have what it takes to make your dream a reality. After all, starting your own business can transform your life, offering you long-term financial stability and happiness too. 


Our professional company formation service can support you every step of the way, to give your cleaning business the best chance of success. What are you waiting for? Form your company today with SUAZ. 

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