How To Set Up Your Own Cleaning Business

Introduction

Setting up a cleaning business is an excellent way to establish yourself in a rapidly growing market. There will always be a demand for commercial and residential cleaning services across a wide and varied audience, meaning that there is considerable potential for it to be a lucrative and rewarding venture. With a cleaning business, a core benefit is that the demand for the services and products you provide are not restricted to particular geographical areas or even a specific audience.

This market can thrive almost everywhere, which certainly explains why it has emerged as such a fast growing and adaptable industry. If this is an appealing proposition to you, then you have come to the right place. We have compiled this guide, outlining and describing the core components of any cleaning business such as creating a recognisable brand image, marketing your services as well as financial considerations.

  1. Identifying Your Focus And Audience
  2. Necessary Qualifications And Experience
  3. The Importance Of Equipment And Supplies
  4. Charging For Your Services
  5. Arranging The Legalities

1. Identifying your focus and audience

Before identifying your audience, it is crucial that you identify the focus of your business first and foremost. Cleaning businesses can be divided into three categories; domestic cleaning, commercial cleaning and specialist cleaning. The category you choose will decide your target customers for you.

Domestic cleaning, for example, will typically involve cleaning clients’ homes by doing domestic chores such as dusting, vacuuming, polishing and organising. With commercial cleaning, on the other hand, you may have to manage a team of cleaners whose responsibility it is to clean offices and business locations.

A specialist cleaner, however, will have experiences and qualifications within a specific area of cleaning and they will be hired only for that purpose. The precise nature of the role will depend on the specialism. A domestic window cleaner will visit clients’ homes in order to clean their windows, whilst a graffiti removal specialist will work in conjunction with local councils and organisations and work at a variety of locations.

2. Necessary qualifications and experience

The necessarily qualifications and experience will depend on the type of cleaning business you want to delve into. Training isn’t necessary to be a domestic cleaner, although if you are hoping to establish a business then some relevant experience will be an invaluable resource. Although a commercial cleaning business does not have any such requirements either, running it can be a slightly more complicated process as far as hiring staff and communicating with businesses is concerned.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science is the largest independent professional and educational body within the industry, and it offers various courses to anyone who is interested in starting a commercial cleaning business. Specialist cleaners, however, will have to be formerly qualified or trained to at least some extent. This is particularly applicable if you and your staff will be working with potentially contaminated or hazardous substances such as biohazards and chemicals. In this instance, there are a number of organisations and institutions providing courses for various cleaning specialisms, upon the completion of which a certificate is issued.

3. The importance of equipment and supplies

Without cleaning equipment and supplies, you would not be in a position to provide the services that your business is meant to offer. It is for this reason that they will be one of the most substantial ongoing expenses of your business, and why you should always compile a checklist of everything you need in order to work effectively. When combined with additional expenses, you will probably have a limited budget and will have to prioritise the bare essentials. These include vacuums, mops, microfibre cloths, disposal bags and various cleaning chemicals. With specialist cleaning services, you may have to make a more significant investment in order to purchase specific equipment such as pressure washers and upholstery cleaners.

What’s more, there is a considerable likelihood that you and your staff will have to travel to the locations that your clients want to be cleaned. In that case, you will also require a van or a car that can be used to transport your staff, supplies and equipment to designated locations. Purchasing the bare essentials at the start will ensure that you can offer the core services of your business immediately. With the passage of time, you will have a greater understanding of what you can use to supplement your services, and you can begin to upgrade and refine your equipment and supplies in accordance with demand and expectations.

4. Charging for your services

There are several crucial considerations to keep in mind when you are deciding on the rates for your business. It is always recommended to conduct some market research so that you have an idea of what your local competitors are charging for similar services. Striking a balance between your desired revenue stream and expected market rates is important.

If your rates are high in comparison to your local competitors, then there is a risk that you will be competed out of the market. On the other hand, if you want your rates to be higher, then it is essential that you justify this by differentiating your business from your competitors. For example, you may provide a specialist service that isn’t offered in your locality.

Of course, there is the question of whether you will charge per hour or request an upfront and fixed fee. Charging per hour may be preferable if your typical workload varies considerably or you are just starting out. Once you have an idea of how much time it usually takes to clean a certain area or complete a task, then you can start charging a fixed fee for a more straightforward approach.

5. Arranging the legalities

With a cleaning business, it is essential that you comply with health and safety regulations alongside the various legalities that are associated with owning any business. Whilst a specific license isn’t required, you should ensure that you formally register your business for tax purposes. If you have staff, then you have to at least pay them the national minimum wage as well as ensuring that they are always protected against hazardous and contaminated substances that they may come across when working for clients.

If you run a cleaning business, a cleaner’s insurance policy should never be overlooked, as it will protect your expanding business from the hefty expenses that are associated with claims and legal procedures. When you are investing so much time and money into a venture, ensuring that it is adequately covered by insurance will protect you in the long-term. Public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance will protect you against any claims of injury or damage and unsatisfied employees or clients, respectively. If you employ staff, then employers’ liability insurance will protect you against claims from employees in the event of injury or illness that is sustained under your employment.

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