Various factors have increased the demand for cleaning services in the UK, including people spending more time at work, less time cleaning, prioritising family over chores, enjoying the cost-efficiency of such services and more. This growing fad means there’s serious demand for cleaning services, and the potential market is huge. So much so that the cleaning sector has been identified as a trend to watch.

Moreover, coupled with the fact that the industry brings in nearly £25 billion, the question “is it worth starting a cleaning business in the UK” gets a definitive “yes”. While it’s true that the market may appear oversaturated with over 700,000 people employed in it, if you organise yourself well and are prepared for what’s ahead, setting up a cleaning business won’t necessarily need to be a difficult endeavour.

Table of Content
Table of Contents:
  1. Benefits of starting a cleaning business
  2. How to start a cleaning business in the UK
  3. What you need to start a cleaning business
  4. Managing a cleaning business
  5. What about the costs?
  6. Finding and keeping clients
  7. Starting from scratch or choosing a franchise?

Benefits of starting a cleaning business

Starting a cleaning business in the UK comes with a number of perks. Apart from being your own boss and enjoying all the benefits it provides, the cleaning business offers a  thriving environment. In fact, here are some of the advantages you can enjoy:

  • A low-cost entry into a prominent industry
  • The sector has seen 27% growth over the last 10 years
  • It’s ideal for people without qualifications or previous experience in cleaning.

How to start a cleaning business in the UK

At this point, you are probably wondering how to start your cleaning service business, and surely there are many questions that are running through your head. But worry not. We are here to help.  We’ll take you through each of the steps involved in how to start a cleaning company in the UK, simplifying the process and giving you the exact datay ou need to make an informed decision. So, without further ado, here are the first steps you need to follow to start a cleaning business.

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Choose your business structure

Your first step is to identify and determine the business structure which you’d like to use for your business. For example, you may wish to begin with a cleaning business start up and venture out on your own. However, you should bear in mind that doing this can be challenging in several ways. Some factors to consider at this stage include the fact that your brand will be unknown and that you’ll need extensive marketing and advertising efforts to build it. Then there’s the issue of financing a start up. In many cases, banks and building societies prefer to lend to entrepreneurs with a proven business model. And last but not least, you’ll have to remember that you won’t be able to get any support as you won’t have a network of peers to rely on.

Meanwhile, franchising as a business model comes with a variety of advantages. Not only will you benefit from an already established brand name that’s well-known in the industry, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of a plethora of marketing materials in addition to the fact that you’ll get ongoing training and support from day one.

Other factors to consider once you’ve decided on a business structure include what type of services you’d like to offer. If you choose to offer domestic cleaning as opposed to company cleaning, your initial start up costs for staff, equipment and materials are likely to be lower. However, if you would like to grow big and grow quickly, then domestic or commercial cleaning franchises are your best bet.

Market research and customer targeting

Whether you’re interested in how to start a cleaning company or how to start a commercial cleaning business in the UK, another piece of the puzzle that comes into play is doing market research.

Market research involves a deep and thorough analysis of your target market, ideal buyer persona and competitors and evaluating these against your service proposition.

For example, location will play a crucial role in what cleaning services you provide. If you would like to operate in residential areas, you need to target individual customers. On the other hand, if you’re thinking about offering commercial cleaning services, you’d need to consider going into business districts and working directly with commercial clients.

Apart from identifying your location, you also need to consider doing a competitor analysis. This means really studying which competitors are currently operating in your desired area or location, what they’re charging their clients for the service (whether domestic or commercial), what services they offer, what type of availability they have (are they available on all days of the week or only during weekdays), etc.

You can do this research by approaching your competitors from a customer perspective. For example, you can browse their website for details about their pricing, services and availability. You can also check out their social media platforms and channels to determine in what way they’re communicating with their customers and whether this is effective.

Another aspect to consider is to look at websites that enable customers to leave reviews. Check out whether these reviews are mostly positive or negative. If negative, see if you can step in and provide a better service to alleviate these customers’ pain points.

What you need to start a cleaning business

If you’re wondering what you’d need to start a cleaning business, you’re in good company. We’ll take you through all the documentation and requirements for how to set up your own cleaning business. Here’s what you need to know. As mentioned before, you do not really need any qualifications or prior experience for starting your own cleaning business. There are, however, other requirements that you need to comply with. These include:

  • Eligibility to work in the United Kingdom
  • Insurance
  • A registered limited company

It goes without saying that not meeting any of these three criteria will set you back, and you will not be able to start your cleaning business in the UK. Let’s take a look at what each requirement entails in more detail below.

Eligibility to work in the United Kingdom

As a starting point, you need to know whether you’re eligible to work in the UK. UK legislation stipulates that you are considered eligible to work if you are a British citizen, a citizen of the European Economic Area or if you were born in Switzerland. Should you not fall into either of these three categories, you will be required to obtain the correct visa so that you can set up and run your cleaning business in the UK.

Also important to note is that employers of staff need to register with HMRC and collect tax and national insurance for your employees. Self-employed individuals will be required to be registered as such and to complete an annual self-assessment tax return.

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As the owner of a cleaning business, you will be employing staff who will be working with some harmful chemicals and detergents. This necessitates the need for you to have national insurance both for your business and for your employees. For foreign staff, they should be able to prove that they have already applied for such insurance.

Another important element of insurance is having employer’s liability insurance for all of your employees. 

Finally, it is also recommended that you take out public liability insurance to cover potential accidents and mishaps during the period of employment.

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Sole trader or a limited company registration

When thinking about how to set up a cleaning company, you’ll also need to determine which business structure you’ll follow. This is a legal requirement that needs to be met before you can start. You essentially have two options here: register as a sole trader or as a limited company.

While registering as a sole trader does have a simpler business structure, it does come with some drawbacks. One of these is the fact that you’ll be personally liable for all debts that your business incurs. On the other hand, a limited company is considered the better choice as you will not be held personally accountable for the debts incurred by your business. Furthermore, this business structure provides higher levels of credibility and an added layer of protection.

For more information on limited companies and sole traders in the United Kingdom, you can check out the government website:

Managing a cleaning business

Now that you have an idea of how to start your own cleaning business, it’s time to think about managing your business, too. It can appear to be overwhelming. After all, you’ll be dealing with money and staff management, client support, marketing and advertising and so much more. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you partner with the right brand. To manage your cleaning business, here are some points to consider.

Build a team

As a business owner, you’re going to be wearing many different hats – marketing, management, recruitment, customer service and satisfaction. The list goes on. However, one of the first things you’ll need to do is build a team that will actually be performing the cleaning services your business will be offering. This is one of the most essential aspects when it comes to how to start a cleaning business or how to open a cleaning company. If you are starting the business from scratch, you may need to consult job boards and websites and even recruiters. However, with a franchise behind you, you will be able to get more support and have an easier time building your team.

Clarify your budget

As we mentioned earlier on in this article, the entry costs for starting a cleaning business in the UK are fairly low. That being said, it does not mean it’s absolutely free. For example, some of the costs you’ll need to factor in include equipment, vehicles, marketing, registration and insurance costs, etc. In addition, you’ll also need to invest significantly into marketing your business and getting your brand’s name out into the public domain. This can easily add up and cost you upwards of £10,000.

With the help of a franchisor behind you, not only will your marketing costs be reduced, but you’ll also get vast and ongoing support to ensure your business takes off by following a proven business model.

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Charge for services

Finally, when it comes to how to set up a cleaning business, you’ll need to figure out your pricing. Most cleaning companies in the UK charge per hour, per square metre or per room, and you can use this as a foundation on which to build your prices. 

If you were to work with a franchisor, this aspect of the equation would be eliminated as you would be charging what your franchisor charges across the board and these prices would be uniform, giving customers more trust in the business, leading to transparency and profitability.

What about the costs?

Of course, the initial fees of setting up a business will be your biggest expense. However, once you’ve gotten that out of the way, you can breathe a bit easier as you focus on your cleaning business. Some of the costs you’ll need to incur were mentioned above. These include the cost of setting up your business, insurance, permits, etc. However, there are other costs to factor in. These include:

Equipment costs

Your cleaning business will not go far without the right equipment. This is why you need to have all the necessary items ready before starting your business. Some of these will include a professional vacuum cleaner, clearing detergents, dustpan set, mop and bucket, sponges, brushes, microfiber cloths, scraper blade etc. 

Ultimately, although some of your staff will be asked to use the client’s equipment and detergents, you still need to be prepared. This is especially the case when it comes to commercial cleaning. And it gets even more complicated when you start offering services such as carpet, upholstery, window or oven cleaning.

Uniform costs

Uniforms are one of the most important ways to create uniformity of your brand and make it even more well known among your clientele. This is why irrespective of whether your business consists of a small team of people or more, branded uniforms are definitely a worthwhile investment.

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Marketing costs

These costs are essential because they are what will bring your brand to the attention of your customers and what will keep your business running. While they can build up over time to significant amounts, they are a must in this niche market. However, if you feel that you will struggle with your own marketing – whether social media or more traditional methods such as leaflets – we highly recommend that you partner with a well-known franchising brand in the industry to help you with these aspects.

Finding and keeping clients

When it comes to how to start a cleaning business from scratch, another important aspect to consider once the business is up and running is finding and retaining your first clients. It will take a concerted effort on your part to do so. But there are some proven ways to help you do this that work.

Building a client list

Although it will take time to build a client list, there are some techniques that do work. Some of these include referrals, handing out business cards or fliers and others. Another important element is building a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track your clients, track employee performance, income earned and more. 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.

Customer experience

Ideally, you would want each client to become a returning customer. The more returning and loyal customers you get, the better it is for your bottom line and is a great indicator of the success of your brand. When it comes to providing a great customer experience, you need to always keep in mind that the customer is always right and that if they have any grievances, these need to be addressed by you promptly and professionally so that they keep coming back to you instead of choosing the competition.

Building a reputation

To Reputation building is a long and painstaking process that takes years to refine. A company’s reputation is also one of the most important brand tools a company has in their arsenal. This is one of the reasons why if you’re considering starting a cleaning business in the UK, you should think about partnering with an established franchise brand.

Starting from scratch or choosing a franchise?

Now that you know the answer to the question “how do I start my own cleaning business” or “how to start your own cleaning business in the UK”, you’re on your way to making some important decisions about your new business venture. 

You have the option to start from scratch, but you can also partner with a well-established brand that has a proven and profitable business model that you can always rely on, as this model is also considered recession-proof.

As a franchise owner, you’ll also benefit from a strong and wide support network, excellent ongoing training and unparalleled marketing support. All this means that you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, but you can focus on being the master of providing the best customer service you possibly can.

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  • Last update: May 19, 2022

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