In this post, we’ll be taking you on a whirlwind tour of the main components involved in building your very own cleaning business. We’ll cover everything from idea formation to operations and introduce you to some people who have in-depth knowledge of the cleaning industry and business owners.
Forming your business
We sat down to have a chat with a friend who recently made the jump into business ownership. She was working for a local marketing business, and although she enjoyed her job considerably, she always had the idea of starting up something of her very own. Lauren told us that she decided to make the leap after her children had started primary school, she wanted more freedom in terms of her working hours and the ability to show her kids that turning your dreams into a reality really can happen.
So, why a cleaning business?
Lauren’s background was in marketing, on the surface the two sectors don’t really have many of the same skills associated, but she found that the leap was much easier than she had anticipated. Many of the soft skills that she used during her marketing career were well placed to be utilised in the cleaning business setting, she specified these for us;
“I have a knack for getting to know people, I really think that the ability to be social has helped get my business off the ground as well as setting up well to grow into the future.”
“I love to organise things and can be quite a stickler for getting things just right, that definitely came from my marketing background. It was very important to have good time keeping skills! On the organisational side, I always take a lot of pride in having my home just perfect, everything has its place. Cleaning probably isn’t the right job for someone that doesn’t enjoy organisation”
“The final skill that I think is really important for this kind of job is energy and endurance, you spend a lot of time on the move. In my previous job, there was about as much movement needed as you might find in any other office/computer-based job. Making that jump to being on the go all the time was a huge adjustment. I found that having the right pair of shoes, understanding when to take breaks and doing light warm-ups at the start of my day really helped!”
Making the jump to owning your own business
As with most change, starting up a new business from scratch can be a very daunting task especially when you are jumping into it solo. We asked a few startup-related questions to get an idea of Lauren’s struggles and triumphs!
Did you have doubts about the business when you were just getting started?
“Of course, I actually made the decision to start off doing cleaning as a side project whilst I was still working at my marketing job. It was a struggle to get everything done, and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day especially with two kids and my own home to take care of!
If I had to start my business over again, I would probably take the same route. It wasn’t really doable for me to leave my other job whilst starting up my own business. I was able to take lessons from my previous job into my own business if I hadn’t had those experiences and learned from them then who knows where I may have ended up.”
What was the most challenging part of the whole startup process?
“I’d probably say the most difficult part was working on it on my own, at the time I didn’t know anyone who had started up something of their own and I didn’t know anyone that worked in the cleaning business. I took a lot of inspiration from business owners resources online and used that as a tool to help me through some of the more difficult aspects.”
What is your favourite part of owning your own business?
“There are honestly so many benefits that it’s quite hard to decide on just one. I get to decide on my own hours and can choose to build my schedule around my family rather than the other way round. Owning your own business comes with some serious responsibility, but it feels like I’m doing something worthwhile. I love the ability to go into a house and get it sparkling, not only is it cathartic for me but there is a great sense of accomplishment when I get positive feedback from clients!”
So what can we take away from this?
A handy way to work out if a cleaning business would be a good fit for you is by doing some personal development planning.
Come up with and write down at least one example of where you have shown that you possess the qualities that we’ve listed above. This type of personal development checklist can be beneficial in showing you some of the skills that you need to work on!
Note: this isn’t a completely exhaustive list but think of your own personal circumstances. List out your current duties at home or work, which of those qualities or skills do you have or could you work on? Which would help you the most if you were trying to start up your own cleaning business?
Idea into product or service
Having the idea about your business is usually one of the key moments in any business person’s life. You might get a glimpse of the inside of a business and take your inspiration from there or perhaps know someone that works in another industry that helps you to spark an idea. But, those ideas must be formed into tangible products or service that you can offer to people. In this section, we will help you to define the sort of cleaning business that you might be looking at building.
When it comes to cleaning, there are two directions that you can come from. Either you take the stand all on your own, or you turn to a franchise and build on top of that. Both are equally viable options, it just depends on what you prefer.
If you want complete control of every aspect of your business, then self-owned is definitely the way to go. With a self-owned business, there is no one else involved until you hire them, so all decisions, work and other business issues must be dealt with by you. If you have previous experience running a business, or a deep desire to learn how to run your own business, this will not present too much of a challenge.
Running a self-owned cleaning business means you are free to take your business in any direction you choose, at any time. If you have an organised mind, are good at admin tasks and are friendly, there is no reason that you cannot create a successful self-owned cleaning business. Self-owned cleaning businesses are often run by those looking for a business that they can grow slowly and organically into something unique and successful.
The other option open to the cleaning world is franchising. Cleaning franchises are incredibly popular, primarily because cleaning is a very territorial, local business model. So instead of setting up in business for yourself, you can buy a regional franchise of an already existing cleaning business. There are plenty of them out there – Molly Maid, Thomas Cleaning, Jani King and DublCheck, to name just a few, and this model helps you hit the ground running.
In exchange for a franchise fee (which averages around £12,000), you are allocated a territory and provided with all of the marketing materials, branding, supplies, insurances and back office functions you need to get the business going. For some franchises, there might be extra fees or agreements (like Molly Maid with their cars, which are all the same make and colour of car with the same branding) to take out, but generally, that one-off fee will give you everything you need. Because the franchise fees do tend to be variable, franchising is a very popular option for those with a fair amount of funds available to them – either through savings, pensions or redundancy pay. But the main advantages – having a pre-built, successful business and an ability to go out and get clients from day one, or even have them provided for you – often outweigh the initial cost.
Now, depending on your choice of model, some of the rest of this paper might not be that useful to you. For example, if you buy into a franchise, then you don’t have any control over the branding of your business, your insurance is provided for you, and you are told how to market and advertise. But if you are setting up on your own then keep on reading!
Defining your business
There are three major pathways that you can take with a cleaning business. It’s usually best to specialise in the beginning and then grow into the other specialisations that working with all three from the get-go.
Domestic cleaning is your run of the mill home cleaning, this will include duties in each of the rooms in someone else’s house similar to ones that you do for your own home. The areas of cleaning tend to be smaller than the other two, but it can still be hard work!
When your job involves dealing with other people’s homes there is a lot of trust involved from both ends, building up this trust will be important as part of your marketing and should play a big part in the planning for your business.
As we mentioned before, small/ self-owned businesses tend to focus on specific local areas, you might already have a lot of competition for domestic cleaning close by you, so this is certainly something to check out before you jump in.
Case Study: Jackie
Jackie is a domestic cleaner from South London, she decided to take up cleaning part-time after she retired from childminding to bring additional income into her home. On the whole, Jackie finds that the work suits her needs and she enjoys cleaning and always being on the move. It can sometimes be a little bit tough on her physically but the positives outweigh the negatives!
Her hours tend to be during the 9-5 period when the homeowners are themselves out at work. This works well for Jackie as she picks up her grandchildren from school in the late afternoons after work and gets her work done earlier in the day. Most of her business comes from word of mouth referrals, she began cleaning family and friends houses and then eventually transitioned to new clients once people started recommending her services.
Specialised cleaning is vastly different from home cleaning, and it’s sometimes referred to as industrial cleaning. You will be taking on much larger projects, be expected to use more specialist equipment and usually follow more rules and regulations than you would in a house cleaning job. Specialised cleaning locations can range from factories, windows of buildings and variable incident cleanings.
If you’re looking to clean in an industrial landscape, you will likely need to learn a lot of new skills and invest in some different equipment. Industrial cleaners need to understand how to clean machinery safely and effectively and learn how the misuse of chemicals could affect or even damage the client inventory. This is something to think about when planning for growth, the training of employees will be much more stringent in an industrial cleaning business!
As a specialist cleaner, you should have an area of expertise outside of all the other types of cleaning. Specialist cleaners have the capacity to be far more profitable with a much smaller client base, simply because of the specialist areas they work in
Case Study: Jim
Jim worked as an industrial cleaner at a potato processing factory in The Netherlands. The job consisted of long night shifts on alternate weekends due to the continuous production the factory. The pay reflected the night shift pattern as well as the expertise needed by the cleaners. There was a risk to both lives of the employees and to the production equipment.
The position worked well for Jim as he was attending university at the same time. This type of cleaning is much more reliant on a team of people rather than solo work as there are strong chemicals involved, large drops in the warehouse and dangerous equipment.
The commercial side of cleaning is an in-between option. It focuses on the cleaning of office and workspaces. These could range from the small ten-person business to a large corporations headquarters. As with the industrial cleaning, it’s more likely that you’d use a team to cover the work done on a larger property. It’s also more likely that it would cost more to start up due to the employees and cleaning equipment required.
Duties on this kind of job will include taking care of the hoovering, general tidying, emptying of bins, disinfecting the canteen and making sure that all break areas are put back to their original states!
Case Study: Thomas
Thomas began his commercial cleaning with four friends, he oversaw the management of clients and work schedules whilst his friends made up the cleaning team.
They began working in small to medium sized business in the local areas that they live in, once they started to grow they moved on to taking contracts from larger businesses with bigger square footage. The hours for commercial cleaning are usually later in the day as it disrupts business to have a host of cleaners at the same time as the company employees.
Your business plan
We’ve popped the business plan paragraph into this segment to remind you that once you’ve turned that idea into a product or a service you should be writing all the details down in a professional format. A lot of the information in this next chapter is important to the overall success of your business, and all of it should be mentioned in your business plan. We’ve written a simple guide to creating your first business plan already so make sure you pop over there and check it out.
Do your research
The first thing that you first need to do after deciding how your skills and business ideas fit together is some very thorough research. You will use this research to underpin the way you present your brand with marketing as well as allowing you to understand the potential market (their needs and wants).
If you’re looking to run a domestic cleaning business, you need to make sure that people in your area can financially bear the cost of hiring someone to come in and clean their house. If you want to start an industrial cleaning business, you might want to check how close the nearest industrial facilities are. Of course, if you are looking into the commercial side of things you will need to be in close distance to business areas.
Research will also help you determine who you are targeting, how you will find them, how much you can charge, how you advertise and pretty much everything else about your business.
Here are just a few things you need to research in order to create a solid, successful business plan:
Identify your target market
When researching your target market, you should be considering five things:
All of these factors help you build up a picture of your ideal client and what drives them to buy. By knowing your client in this way, you can target them much more effectively. You can also judge when your busy periods would be, what kinds of people you can expect to deal with and how much they will be able to afford.
Assess their spending habits
Take the information you’ve gathered from your target market research and use it to start digging a little deeper. Do polls, read up on how much the average business spend is in your area, ask questions or read around on message boards and community Facebook pages. This will give you a good gauge on how much people are willing to spend on all sorts of things, all of which helps you decide how much they may pay for cleaning services.or
Identify their preferences
Now that you have an idea of who and how much, it’s time to focus on positioning. By studying and identifying your target market’s preferences, you can understand what their unique pain is and tailor your service to relieve it. If the pressure comes from not having enough time to clean because they have to work, then you can advertise a ‘clean while you work’ service so they can come home to a clean house. If their pain is that the building they rent their office in doesn’t have cleaning staff, resulting in the employees having to clean it themselves, you can promote yourself as their own personal daily janitors. Once you have thought about this and come up with some ideas, reach out to a few of these people and test the waters. Just asking for feedback can be incredibly valuable, and can help you create perfectly tailored services before you go to market, and not afterwards.
How much is it going to cost you to operate in your area? Are you living in an affluent area with higher prices or one with more of a working-class background? Are you able to buy the supplies you need for low prices, get to where you need to go effectively and cheaply or advertise within your budget? Each of these factors will affect how you structure your prices, and it may even make you reconsider where your ideal territory is.
Check out the competition
Finally, look up any other cleaning businesses in the area and see what they are doing. Find out where they are advertising, who their customers are and what level of service they are offering. Note what services each is offering, how long the business has been around and how many employees they have. What are their unique selling points (USP’s) and how are they leveraging them in their advertising? Look up how their business is doing financially by searching for them in the Companies House records. This might be one of the most valuable things you end up doing because it gives you a very realistic view into what the market can bear and how successful you can expect to be in the same area. Analysing your competition is the closest you will get to seeing the future, so it’s worth the time.
All of that research might take a while, but we promise you, it will be worth it. Using it, you can create a truly unique business built on facts, figures and realistic goals, instead of just stumbling around in the dark. So hang on to all of that information – you’ll be needing it.
When positioning your business, it’s handy to use some of the proven tools that already exist. One of these includes PESTEL analysis. As a new business, you want to be as knowledgeable as possible about the landscape that you’ll be selling in.
Being aware of the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal aspects of your area (and keeping up to date with changes in these areas) is so important, even for small startups.
Take each of the six areas and think about how each might have an impact on your business.
As a basic example:
- Political – Think about the impact that new policies or taxes set out by government might have.
- Economic – Brexit could cause an economic impact on the UK, filter this into your strategy.
- Social – Think about the changing state of the social landscape, are there changes to demographics coming in the future?
- Technological – What impact could automation have on your business, how will you make sure that you are always valuable?
- Environmental – Cleaning products can cause strain on the environment, what will you do as a business to limit the damage?
- Legal – Similar to the political one but this focuses solely on legislation.
- That makes an end to the Market Research chapter. When it comes to your business the best way to make sure that you are successful is by putting the legwork in to set yourself up on the right path. It’s much easier to do it that way around rather than fixing issues and putting out fires as they come at you!
Get your marketing right
As well as some initial spend on equipment, it is also necessary to allocate some of that budget to marketing. Building up clients, especially from scratch, is one of the hardest parts of running a cleaning business, and one way to tackle this is with effective marketing. Your marketing approach should ideally be broken down into 2 categories – branding and advertising.
Before you get anything made up or even register the name of your business, you need to do some serious thinking about branding. That’s the name, colours, logo, brand values and public persona of your business. Branding is an essential part of starting up your cleaning business, as this is what your customers and the public will see when they come across you.
It is how you will be identified, talked about and remembered, so naturally, your brand needs to be something clean, easy to understand and impactful. Not an easy task if branding or visual design isn’t your thing. But if you are struggling to come up with a brand identity for your business, don’t just settle for the easy option. There are plenty of people out there – from freelance graphic designers to brand positioning agencies – who can help you uncover what your band is about and design materials that put that out into the world. And if you’re concerned about cost, don’t worry – there are solutions for every budget. If you know your skills aren’t in branding or design, seek out professional help.
Before you seek the help of a professional, you will need to think about the type of customer you want to target (which should be easy if you’ve done your research) and see if there are any business decisions you could make that would be favourable to that type of client. These business decisions are also brand decisions and should be something you promote.
So, for example, you could pledge only to use eco-friendly, green cleaning products to attract the environmentally friendly, or high quality, luxury products for those looking to make a statement. You could donate some of your time to a local charity or good cause, or act as a mentor for the younger generation. All of these decisions will have an effect on your branding and help you position yourself as having a unique and special offering that customers want to buy into.
Advertising is a crucial activity for cleaners, as it is the primary source of new clients. There are numerous ways you can advertise your cleaning services, and it may take some experimentation to find what works for you. A few tried and tested methods for the cleaning trade include:
Newspaper/magazine advertising: For trades and domestic services, local magazines or newspapers are still a firm favourite for advertising. They are usually inexpensive, and tend to yield good results, mainly because this is where many people expect to find these sorts of businesses. So if you are doing any work for domestics or commercials, this is a pretty safe way to go. Make sure your advert is well designed, eye-catching and not too wordy.
Flyers: Flyers are another popular advertising option because they don’t cost a lot to produce, they can be distributed easily and often result in new business. Once you’ve had them made up (with all the key information included), you can have them sent out with newspapers, hire a company to deliver them to every home and business in your local area or hand them out yourself.
Magnetic car sidings: Investing in a magnetic sign to attach to your car is a low-cost, high-return option. Everywhere you go, your branding will be seen by everyone on the road around you. Similarly, when you are parked up doing work, the shopping or at home, people will see your brand. Because most cars are solid colours, those with signage tend to stand out and get noticed – which is exactly what you want.
Business cards: Like flyers, your business cards are a way of getting your branding and services out there. They are smaller than a flyer, so are more likely to be hung on to. You can also approach other local businesses and ask if you could leave some cards in their reception area or on their counters. Not everyone will say yes, but the ones who do will often produce good results.
Of course, you don’t have to just stick with what has been tried and tested by cleaners before. There are a few other approaches you could try that, while not anything new in the wider business world, these tactics aren’t seen much in the cleaning industry. So why not try:
Having a website: Websites are a fantastic, low-maintenance tool to help you be found online. When we live such busy, hectic lives, Googling problems is the norm. So when someone is looking for a cleaner, they will often look to the internet, rather than turning to a newspaper or magazine. You don’t need anything spectacular – even a simple 1-page brochure website explaining your business and your services is enough to put your head and shoulders over other cleaning businesses. If you really want to stand out, you could also implement an online booking tool with a built-in calendar, so clients can see when you are free and book you during those times. After all, making it easier to buy your service dramatically increases the chances that they will.
Networking: Business referral networking groups are powerful ways to gain new business in the UK, but it is quite rare that you find a cleaning business out networking, which is exactly why you should do it. Networking means you are getting yourself and your brand out there, building up a reputation in the areas and getting to know all sorts of business owners and people – all of whom have cleaning requirements, or know people who do. Even if you’re not looking to get into commercial or industrial cleaning, you can pick up a lot of domestic cleaning jobs just by meeting new people at a networking event.
Getting on social media: Again, not a very common thing for a cleaner to do, but if you are targeting businesses of any type for commercial, industrial or specialist cleaners, they often hang out on social media talking shop. You might need to do a bit of digging to work out which networks they are using (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or something else?), and then get yourself on that network and talking to them! Social media can be a fantastic source of leads for cleaning businesses, as long as they are in the right place.
The important thing to remember about marketing your business is that it’s not always about quantity, but quality. So experiment with a few different approaches and try to measure what is bringing results, and what isn’t. This will help you understand where you should be putting your money in future, and stop you wasting hard-earned money on useless marketing. If you’re not sure where to start with marketing your business, ask for some help! There are plenty of marketing companies out there who can help support budding businesses for any budget, so take advantage of their knowledge to grow your business.
Funding your cleaning business
When you first start your business, you will need a pot of money available to buy things with. One of the huge positives of a cleaning business is that the start-up costs are typically very low. The bulk of the costs will be in equipment, chemicals and materials, followed by insurances. Most cleaning companies operate personal vehicles instead of purchasing business cars or vans as a way of saving money, and some will even insist that their clients buy the cleaning supplies to lower costs even further. As an example of the sort of things you might need to buy, the average domestic cleaner will need:
This section includes all the brushes, cloths, dusters and other general cleaning implements that you might need for a job.
For the basic parts, the total will likely amount to anywhere between £50-£100, depending on the quality and quantity.
You might also want to think about investing in some larger appliances that would help the day to day. If you are planning to travel in your own van then carrying vacuum cleaners and other equipment could be worth it. These might include;
Equipment trolley – £250-£400 each
Professional vacuum cleaner – £100 upwards
Sweeping machine – £200-2,000
Van – £3,000 upwards
The chemicals you need will include a number of items that you might find in your own home. When it comes to the chemicals, think about the impact that they could have on the environment (this could even be an interesting niche for you to fit into in your area: EcoCleaner).
Keep in mind that there are strict regulations when it comes to working with chemicals, this is to keep both you and your clients safe. We will go into more detail on this later! This collection will cost (on average) £150, though if you are aiming for luxury clients, then you may end up spending more.
● Public liability insurance
● Professional indemnity insurance
Both of these costs will depend on the type of cover you choose – you can get public liability insurance for £38 a year, for example, or for £5 a month from some insurers. And that’s it. There are no more essential set up costs for a cleaning business, so, to get yourself kitted out with a basic range of chemicals and tools, you could be spending as little as £150. You can also save money on this by buying online and in bulk, or shopping around for the best deals.
But while this might get you off the ground, you will quickly find you need to invest in other things – like advertising, marketing, hired help and more. This is when many business owners tend to run into trouble, especially if they can’t fund their business themselves. Of course, there are many other ways you can finance your business as it starts out, so even if you don’t have all of the capital you need, you can still cover your expenses. A few different methods of funding businesses include:
● Government grants, which are often awarded by the local council in alignment with their schemes. Contact your local council to find out what grants or support schemes are available to you.
● If you need to buy machinery, equipment or vehicles, you could consider taking out asset finance instead of buying them outright, spreading the cost.
● Angel Investors are a special category of investor that can help fund your business from the ground up. You can find out more about them with a simple Google search!
● You could investigate peer-to-peer lending, which is essentially borrowing money from an individual or other business instead of a bank. There are a few different peer-to-peer lending networks around the country, so have a look and see which would work for you.
Once you have tackled the initial investments, you now have the task of working out what your monthly cash flow will look like. Here, you should be compiling a list of expenses each month in order to calculate how much income you would need to cover them. This is the area many business owners tend to struggle with, mainly because they only think of the obvious costs involved in running their business, and not some of the more operational ones.
Here are a few of the things small business owners typically forget to plan for in their monthly budgets:
● National Insurance payments
● Personal tax
● Corporation tax
● Vehicle maintenance
● Insurance premiums
● Loan repayments
● Software licences
Budgeting is a key part of your business plan, and without one, businesses tend to overspend, leading to financial difficulties. To help, we have a few tips to help to keep a handle on the purse strings and your cleaning business in profit:
1. Remove unnecessary expenses. If you are finding that your expenses are higher than your income, you need to start looking at cutting back the expenses while you gain new clients. Some ways to do this would be switching to cheaper brands of products, or only dry-cleaning your uniform once a fortnight.
2. Review your budget regularly. Every six or twelve months, you should take a look at your yearly cash flow and see if you need to make any adjustments. This is also a good time to do a price comparison for some of your services, to see if you can get a better deal on products or insurances. Doing this means you will always know where your business should be so you can take steps to correct things quickly if they start going wrong.
3. Save! While it might be tempting to spend every penny of your profits, especially in the beginning, you should do your best to resist. Putting some of your income aside every month into a business savings account means you will always have a ‘rainy day’ fund. You can use this to cover slow months in business or to pay the tax bills at the end of the year.
4. Plan monthly. As well as looking at your overall cash flow every 6-12 months, you should be creating a monthly budget and cash flow plan based on your experience and expectations of the month. Perhaps there are busy periods of the year and quiet periods that you need to plan for.
5. Time is money. Don’t forget that the time you spend doing any job equate to the amount you’ll earn. So set limits for tasks and don’t spend longer on them than necessary. This means you won’t be losing out on any extra income and will be far more productive.
6. Get regular customers onto direct debits. Cash flow is one of the biggest problems with cleaning businesses, especially in domestic cleaning. This is because cash is often meant to be left out for you, but is forgotten, leaving you chasing late payments. So get yourself a good invoicing tool, and try to convince your regular clients to switch to electronic payments or direct debits. This really is a win-win, as it’s one less thing they need to remember, and it ensures you get paid on time.
7. Talk to a financial advisor. If you need help with budgeting or planning out the financial future of your business, talk to a financial advisor. They spend all day helping business owners just like you work out what the future of their business looks like and how to plan for it. Their years of experience means that you will likely see far better results than if you didn’t ask their advice.
Financial planning done properly
One of the things that can help you budget effectively moving forward is utilising various financial planning tools. This business financial planning tool, for example, will help you create an accurate forecast for your business, using all of that wonderful research. You can input the prices of your supplies and insurances, how much you expect to be bringing in and see a full breakdown of your cash flow, profits and debts before they happen. This can help you make strategic decisions, like whether to go with a different insurer, change the brand of cleaner you use and more. Internal calculators can help you calculate the financial impact of every component of your business, allowing you to plan effectively and make informed decisions about how to spend your money going forward.
Register your business: No matter what structure you choose for your business, you are required to register it with HMRC before you can legally start trading. If you are going to be a sole trader, you need to register as one to show that you own the business. You will also need to register for self-assessment tax, which means you will be responsible for calculating and paying your own tax each year. If you would like a little more protection and separation between your business and your personal life, you could opt to set up a limited company, which would essentially put up a wall between you and your business liability-wise – so if your business gets into debt, your personal assets aren’t at risk. You would need to register as a limited company within 3 months of starting the business, so you have some time to consider the option.
Get adequate insurance: Like any business, you are required to have adequate insurance cover. We’ve spoken about this one above, but it’s always a good idea to pop a reminder in!
Cleaning Chemical Safety (COSHH Regulations): The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (or COSHH) is the UK law that requires that everyone working with hazardous substances (in our case, chemicals) is able to use them correctly, limits the amount that they use and monitors their usage.
We recommend that you head over to the Health and Safety Executive government website where they have all the resources for you to learn the ins and outs of the COSHH requirements.
Note that they have a web page created specifically for people working in the industry. Remember, COSHH isn’t a recommendation, it’s required that you stick to the regulations by law, not doing so will put yourself, your clients and your business in jeopardy.
Pay the National Minimum Wage: In the UK, if you hire any employees to work for you, you are legally required to pay them the National Minimum Wage. This law is in place to ensure all employees are paid fairly for their work. The minimum wage rare depends on the employees’ age and is updated every April so you will need to stay abreast of the changes and adjust your pay accordingly. There is also the National Living Wage, which is a step above the National Minimum Wage. The National Living Wage is what is considered a fair, liveable wage. Once again this rate does vary and is updated along with the National Minimum Wage in April.
If you are working within a specialised or industrial environment, you may also have to contend with unique regulations for those environments, so make sure you research which apply to you and how to adhere to them.
One of the things that make cleaning such an attractive career is that you don’t need any qualifications in order to do it. But while many people opt to just start their cleaning business, we urge you to look into some training beforehand. By training and earning a few basic qualifications, you can put yourself above the competition in terms of the quality of your service, your trustworthiness and your own working abilities.
What’s even better is that a lot of the training you might want to do can be done online, so you don’t have to delay starting your business in order to qualify. Not only that, but if you’re looking to move into more specialised areas of cleaning in the future, these qualifications put you in a better position to win those contracts. Some might even be a mandatory requirement before you can become a certain type of cleaner. Here are just a few of the things you might want to train in before you start your cleaning business:
● Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Training (ideal to prove your compliance with the regulations)
● Cleaning in Food Premises (particularly useful for those looking to move into commercial or industrial cleaning)
● Lone Working Training (Helpful if you will be working alone a lot of the time)
● Domestic And Residential Cleaning Training (includes learning how to clean tough areas and improves the quality of your work)
Of course, there are many more training courses and programmes out there, and it’s up to you how many, or few, you want to take. Training might not be an essential part of starting a cleaning business, but if you are looking to create a business that can expand, grow and flourish, it is training that creates a firm foundation.
Growth chapter, scaling up
You’ve gotten your business off the ground, dealt with your first clients and are starting to get a little bit of a growth itch? Most business owners will feel like this at some point. Here are some tips on how to expand your cleaning business.
- Plan to succeed – we are always talking about planning here at Brixx but it’s vital to your business success, even after the business plan/market research is done. Keep making annual strategic plans for your business to keep you focused on your goals. Having a yearly plan will also help you to keep abreast of the changing market that you will be working in.
- Decide on how you would like to grow – are you looking to move into new cleaning models, do you want to grow your team and expand the areas you cover or would you just like to improve the services that you already supply. There are many options and some of them will be more suited to you than others (this is where that annual planning from tip one comes in).
- Remember the core of your business – you’ve managed to get clients because you are offering something that they need/want. Don’t stray too far from your USP. Your client’s needs and wants may change over time, don’t be worried to adapt to it but keep up with the core service that your business is offering.
- Find a mentor – We mentioned a little bit about networking earlier in the post. You might find that you get stuck when it comes to growth, having someone there to assist you or give you helpful advice might be just what you need. Try linking up with some networking groups in your local area and see if you can find someone that might be able to give you that helping hand!
At Brixx, we work with start-ups from all walks of life, helping them understand and plan for the journey that is starting a business. Our unique online tools can help them visualise every element of their business, plan for investments and understand how their business will grow, before they have even booked their first appointment.
Utilising business modelling, financial forecasting and simulated scenarios, we help start-ups prove their concept and gain a clear understanding of what their business should look like at every stage. By planning ahead financially this way, start-ups have a much higher chance of succeeding and going on to be strong, profitable businesses.
For more information on our business planning tools, or to find out how we can help you start a successful cleaning business, get in touch with the Brixx team today.