- Fantastic Team
- 11min read
- Published: September 5, 2019
- Views: 1,922
How to Start a Cleaning Business in the UK
Starting your very own cleaning business in the UK is a great way to dive headfirst in a vast and profitable market. According to the BCC, the cleaning sector in the UK is worth nearly £25 billion!
With over 700,000 people employed in the cleaning sector, growing a business in this niche can both be extremely lucrative and very hard. The oversaturation of the market can be bad, especially if you’re a new business trying to compete on prices of already established companies.
- Benefits of starting a cleaning business
- Where to begin
- What documents you need to start a cleaning business in the UK
- How to manage a cleaning business
- Common expenses for cleaning businesses
- How to find and keep clients
- Choosing between starting your own cleaning business and buying a franchise
Benefits of starting a cleaning business
A thriving sector, the cleaning industry is healthy and growing by the year. Low-cost entries, a 27% growth increase in the last ten years, and at least a 10% increase since 2011 are all signs of a healthy and growing sector.
It’s also a great place to start a business if you don’t have any qualifications or previous experience in cleaning.
How to start your own cleaning business: Where to begin
Right now, you are probably asking yourself hundreds of questions, which means that you care and that is a good sign. However, enthusiasm is not enough. Before you undertake any actions, it is very important to do some in-depth research and make some decisions.
Determine your business structure
First things first. Sit down and consider the type of services that you want to provide.
There are many different types of cleaning services such as domestic, residential and specialised cleaning. If you are new in the field, it is better to start with domestic or/and commercial cleaning.
Special services such as window cleaning, carpet cleaning or end of tenancy cleaning require professional skills and more expensive tools and machines. Bear in mind that providing specialist cleaning services requires a larger investment. That’s why if you want to go big quickly, you may want to consider joining a cleaning franchise.
Market research and customer targeting
Doing local market research are vital steps when starting a cleaning company. Choosing a location is closely related to what types of services you are going to provide.
In order to target the right customer base, you need to determine your priorities. For example, if you prefer to offer regular cleaning services, you need to make sure that you choose an area where people can afford a cleaner on a regular basis. And vice versa, if working in a certain area is a priority for you, then you need to do some research and figure out what is the market gap in the chosen location.
When it comes to competitor research, you can research local cleaning companies and see what types of services they provide, how they operate, check their price, availability and everything that you think is important. You can also check their websites, social media, and other media outlets.
What documents you need to start a cleaning business in the UK
While experience isn’t required to start your own cleaning business in the UK, acquiring the proper documents is mandatory in order to legally operate as a business.
To start a cleaning business in the UK you’ll need three things:
- Eligibility to work in the United Kingdom
- Registered limited company
Eligibility to work in the United Kingdom
According to UK laws, you’re eligible to work here if you’re a British citizen, you’re a European Economic Area citizen, or if you’re born in Switzerland.
If you don’t fit in these three categories you’ll need to obtain the proper visa in order to start and run your cleaning business in the UK.
As an employer, you need to register with HMRC and collect tax and national insurance for your employees. If they are self-employed, they need to be registered as such and to complete an annual Self Assessment tax return.
As you may already know, one of the legal requirements to work in the UK is national insurance. Make sure your employees have one. If you decide to hire foreign people, make sure they have already applied for one.
Another important thing to know is that you are required to have employer’s liability insurance. It is your obligation to also require liability insurance to all of your future employees.
We recommend you to make public liability insurance that covers accidents in working time. The process of cleaning involves chemicals, so you need to make sure you have covered possible accidents.
Sole trader or a limited company registration
Once you choose the type of services you are going to provide, you need to register as a service provider in order to legally operate in the UK. While most small businesses prefer to register as sole traders because it’s a simpler business structure, registering as a limited company is a much better choice.
Deducting tax is much different for limited companies than it is for sole traders. You’re not personally liable if you’re operating as a limited company, giving you a layer of protection and it also is much more credible in the eyes of the customer.
For more information on limited companies and sole traders in the United Kingdom you can check the Government website:
How to manage a cleaning business
Having a cleaning business will require you to manage money, hire people, communicate with clients, market your company and a lot more.
Managing a cleaning business when you’re just starting out can be overwhelming. Something that Edmund, one of our franchisees, knows from personal experience.
Build a team
One of the things a business owner is responsible about is building and growing the company.
As the cleaning sector in the UK is a fast-paced niche you’ll need to build and grow your team fast in order to be able to keep your competitive edge and acquire new clients.
Job websites might be your best bet when it comes to finding new people to join your team. Facebook groups are also a great way to find people who’re looking for a job and you can easily reach them.
Sort out the budget
Even though it’s fairly cheap to enter into the cleaning industry in the UK, there are still quite a few things that you should consider when you start your business.
Equipment, vehicle, marketing, even some registering costs. Getting the word out there will also cost you at the startup stages of your company. While considered cheap, the sum can easily go north of £10,000.
Another way to have it easier on your budget is to invest in a cleaning franchise. This would allow you to work with an already established brand and give a sort of a push in the beginning.
Charge for services
As a new business, you can’t afford to compete on prices with other cleaning companies. After all, you’ll have to recoup the initial investment made to start the business.
To find the best amount to charge take a look at how much your competitors are charging and base your price on that. Most cleaning companies in the UK charge by the hour, by room or by square meters. If you want to choose the best method, read our full guide on how to charge for cleaning services.
You need to spend a buck to make a buck
The investment of setting up the business and gathering the initial equipment is going to be the biggest expense. Permits, insurance, setting up the business – the cost adds up.
On top of that, you have some other common expenses that you have to worry about so let’s go over them.
Choosing the right equipment and cleaning supplies depends on the type of services that you are going to offer. However, we have a list of items that you need to get when starting a cleaning business in the UK. So, take a piece of paper and write down your first shopping list:
- Professional vacuum cleaner
- Cleaning detergents
- Dustpan set
- Mop and bucket
- Sponges, brushes and microfiber cloths for different surfaces
- Scraper blade
Often, when doing regular cleaning, your employees will be required to use the tools and materials available in the property. However, when it comes to commercial cleaning, you will need all of the equipment above, plus equipment trolleys. In other news, for cleaning services like carpet, upholstery, window and oven cleaning, you will need much more specific and expensive machines.
While it may seem like something small, having uniforms for you and your team is a great way to start branding your company.
If you’re a small team of two or three, we recommend not to skip on uniforms. It will make you look professional and trustworthy.
If you’re really trying to make it work and don’t have a budget for branded uniforms you can invest in same coloured t-shirts.
Marketing is a must in such a competitive niche. If you’re trying to get the word out there leaflets are a great low-cost option. You can easily spend some time every weekend giving them away to people.
Investing in marketing and branding could be heavy for any business owner, especially for a new one. But the bottom line of any company is to make money and marketing is an essential channel to reach this goal. So, if you don’t know how to promote your business, or you don’t have the money to invest in proper marketing, we recommend you to take advantage of our proven marketing strategy by joining our franchise.
How to find and keep clients
As a newly established business finding your first clients is going to be the hardest thing for you.
Building a client list
Building a client list is a long process. However, sometimes simple techniques like “refer a friend” work pretty well. Your family members are most likely going to be your first clients, invest in business cards and fliers you can leave to your clients so they can call you back easily or to give to friends.
Once you build up a client list, you may need a CRM (customer management system) to keep track of your employees’ work and your customers’ data. At Fantastic Services, we use an intelligent CRM system that serves the needs of your franchisees and their technicians, delivering real-time access to the prices and availability of the services we offer.
Aim to make each client a returning one. Having a set amount of recurring jobs per month is the secret to run a successful service company. From the very beginning, you need to remember that the client is always right. At the end of the day, the customer makes the business. They are going to book your services to make their life easier, so always strive for that. Be helpful, patient and friendly and always aim for customer service excellence.
Building a reputation
To create a reputation, you need to be consistent. These days, reputation is one of the most significant marketing tools a brand has. That’s why the franchise model is a very successful business model with historically higher success rates over small independent businesses. According to IFA, “maintaining and strengthening brand identity is vital to franchise success”.
Choosing between starting your own cleaning business and buying a franchise
With the oversaturation of the UK cleaning services market, buying a franchise isn’t a bad option. In fact, it can save you quite a few problems in the long run.
Starting your own company from nothing can be hard and sometimes quite expensive especially if you want to do things properly. Investing in a franchise, however, gets you covered on marketing, customer service, branding, finding your first clients and you even get help when you want to expand your business.
Starting a cleaning franchise with us will get you covered on marketing, customer service, schedule tailored to you, job and sales training, financial support and a sure way to quickly profit from your investment.
For more information on the cleaning franchises that we offer check our main website.
- Last update: January 29, 2020
Posted in Starting a Business
Fantastic Services manages 25+ professional home cleaning and maintenance services, provided within the UK, Australia and the USA. With 10+ years of experience behind our back, and 400+ of successful franchises, we continuously set the bar higher with our cutting edge technology implementation and marketing approach. Explore our business opportunities on the main website!