How to start a cleaning business
Your complete guide to starting a cleaning business
If you’re looking for a low-cost business that can get off the ground quickly and start turning a profit within a year, then a cleaning business is a potential solution. For as long as things have been getting dirty, people have been paying to have someone clean it, and a cleaning business is one of the simplest businesses to start, with a minimal outlay and lots of room to grow. But these facts also make it an industry of fierce competition, and it will take some careful planning and a lot of hard work to make your cleaning business stand out from the crowd. That’s why cleaning business owners tend to be very driven, passionate people with an intense focus on growing their business.
So, before you start planning your cleaning business, ask yourself: do I have what it takes to be a successful cleaning business owner? Because while anyone with drive can start and run a cleaning business, there are certain attributes that the most successful cleaners’ possess, which will put you miles ahead of your competition. A few of these include:
- Being a perfectionist. Cleaning is a job well-suited to those with an eye for minute details who can’t rest until the job is done properly. Attention to minor details will make you very popular with your clients, and happy clients mean more recommendations and more work.
- A passion for organisation. If you love tidying, organising and re-arranging, the cleaning will be a great job for you. It will be an incredibly satisfying outlet and another way you can bring value to your clients.
- Stamina. Cleaning is a long, labour-intensive manual job, so you will need a lot of stamina to keep at it all day, every day.
- Happy working alone. Cleaners often work in isolation, cleaning when people are out and on their own. For a long time, you may be the only person in your business, so you need to be comfortable in your own company for prolonged periods of time.
- Not easily bored. Cleaning requires a lot of repetitive tasks that aren’t always mentally stimulating, so your need to have mental stamina and a good resilience to boredom.
- Trustworthiness. If you’re spending periods of time in someone else’s home or office, they need to be able to trust you with their possessions and keys, especially if they aren’t there whilst you are working.
- People skills. You are the face and product of your business, so you need to be friendly and have good people skills. If you are brash or rude to your customers, they are unlikely to remain customers, or recommend you to others.
- Good admin Skills. Being self-employed means that a large part of your job will involve sorting out tax, wages and other administrative tasks. Even if you’re not 100% with all of the processes, organisational skills are crucial.
- Punctuality. Nobody likes to be kept waiting. It looks unprofessional and frustrates many people. Being able to keep track of your appointments, communicate difficulties and arrive on time are very important.
Without these qualities, your cleaning business is unlikely to ever reach its true potential. That’s not to say you won’t be able to run the business and run it well, but you may not ever become truly successful cleaning entrepreneur with a large business. If you still think running a cleaning business is for you, then let’s get started!
Consider what type of cleaning company you want to run
This might seem like one of the most basic things to ask, but you would be amazed how many people believe that cleaning is a ‘catch all’ term. In reality, there are 4 distinct areas of cleaning, each of which requires its own set of skills, tools and knowledge. So, ask yourself, which of these 4 would you like to start?
Domestic: Domestic cleaning covers any professional cleaning of a residence or dwelling, so you will predominantly be going into people’s homes and doing routine cleans for them, usually in one or two-hour blocks. This is the easiest type of cleaning business to run, because you can start cleaning houses on your first day in business. Domestic cleaning will usually involve cleaning surfaces, dusting, vacuuming, emptying bins, making beds, cleaning household appliances, cleaning kitchens–including ovens, microwaves and hobs–and bathrooms. You will need specific cleaning chemicals or tools for some of these jobs, and sometimes you may only be asked to provide a single service (i.e. deep clean an oven or a bathroom). Domestic cleaning is also attractive because you can clean more than one house in a single day, increasing your earning potential very quickly. As your client list gets bigger, you may decide to take on extra staff.
Commercial: Commercial cleaning simply means to cater to businesses, so most commercial cleaning will be based in offices, shops, centres and schools, usually when the premises is closed. Tasks will include vacuuming, dusting, polishing, emptying bins, cleaning bathrooms, buffing floors and other general tidying and sanitising tasks. While the tasks themselves might not to be time-consuming, you may often need to take in a team of cleaners to tackle the space within the given time. This is why commercial cleaners often start with higher prices and a bigger team, with the owner acting more as a manager than a ‘hands-on’ cleaner. Commercial cleaners may also need to invest in more heavy duty or specialist equipment, so a little extra start-up capital is ideal.
Industrial: You might think that industrial cleaning sounds a lot like commercial cleaning, but in reality there are some key differences. While both will require the performance of sanitary cleaning services and disposal of waste, that’s where the similarities end. For example, in an industrial setting, there is likely to be a ‘shop floor’ area where manufacturing or packaging takes place, along with a different kind of waste material to dispose of. It’s also a completely different level of cleaning, with the office-based tasks coming secondary to cleaning of workshops, machinery and other tools. Some of the tasks an industrial cleaner may be expected to do include:
- Cleaning cladding
- Degreasing hard flooring
- High level cleans
- Machine cleaning
- Machine degreasing
- Window cleaning
- Equipment cleaning
- Hazardous waste disposal
This means that 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 misuse of chemicals could affect or even damage the client inventory. Being in this sector will also affect the way you advertise and gain new clients, how you charge and what your working hours are.
Specialist: A specialist cleaner will 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. A few examples of specialist cleaning areas include:
- Carpet cleaning
- Bio containment cleaning
- Crime scene cleaning
- Window cleaning
- Sharps removal
- Graffiti cleaning
- Odour removal
- Brick wall cleaning
- Car cleaning
- Bird and pest guano cleaning
So typically, specialist cleaners will work in partnership with other organisations, like the police, facility managers, hospitals, councils and more to provide ongoing services that help them do their jobs safely. Usually, specialist cleaners are required to undergo rigorous training and qualifications so that they can clean things like bio-hazardous materials and crime scenes safely, so this is usually for more established cleaning businesses.
The most common practice with cleaning start-ups is to begin as a domestic or commercial cleaner, and to move on to industrial or specialist cleaning in the future if desired. However, there is nothing stopping you starting out as an industrial or specialist cleaner except the necessary qualifications and training, which can be done at any time. For some of these sectors you may also need extra equipment or machinery, so you need to bear this in mind and factor it in to any budgeting you do.
Do your research
Before you start buying supplies and designing a logo for your new cleaning business, you first need to do some very thorough research. Understanding the potential market and local demographic will be the key in determining the type of cleaning business you should start. 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. 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 4 things:
- Demographic: Age, gender, income, education, ethnicity and family size
- Geographic: Region, city and neighbourhood
- Psychographic: Social class, lifestyle, personality, values and life stage
- Behaviouristic: Buying patterns, consumption, loyalty, and attitude
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 consumer spend or 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.
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.
Decide on a business model
Now that you understand exactly what type of cleaning you want to do and who you want to target, you can turn your attention to the workings of your business. Generally, cleaning businesses tend to fall into one of 2 camps – self-owned or franchise. Both of these options work well for different people, with a lot of room for growth and success in each. Really, the difference is in how much control you want to have in the DNA of the business, and how much start-up funding you have.
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 chose, 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, Well Polished 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 1, 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, or want to know what else is involved, the next step is working out how to fund you new venture.
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:
- Sponges & scourer
- Microfiber cloths
- Dusting cloths
- Feather dusters
- Glass polishing cloths
- Cleaning brushes
- A mop and bucket
- A dustpan and brush
- Protective gloves
- Plastic carry caddy
All of this will amount to anywhere between £50-£100, depending on the quality and quantity.
- Furniture polish
- Glass cleaner
- Multipurpose cleaner
- Mildew cleaner
- Floor cleaner
- Toilet cleaner
- Washing up liquid
- Oven cleaner
- Laundry detergent
- Dishwasher chemicals
Note that all of these are classified as hazardous chemicals, so you will need to abide by COSHH rules (we will get to those later). This collection will cost (on average) £150, though if you are aiming for luxury clients then you may end up spending more.
For some types of cleaning, you may need to invest in equipment. Some of this may include:
- Equipment trollies – £250-£400 each
- Professional vacuum cleaner – £100 upwards
- Sweeping machine – £200-2,000
- Van – £3,000 upwards
- 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 of 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:
- Start-up loans, which are available from the government and most commercial banks at very favourable rates, or from other services that operate with government backing.
- 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 here.
- 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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Our 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.
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 (ha!), 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 to only 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 main 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 you 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, over looking for 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 you 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.
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 will talk more about what types of insurance you will need in the next section.
Cleaning Chemical Safety (COSHH Regulations): The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (or COSHH) is the UK law that requires all employers to control the risks of harmful substances. As a cleaner, you will be dealing with chemicals and hazardous substances every single day, so you need to be sure you are following this regulation to the letter. To do this, you must do 2 things:
- Ensure all cleaning chemicals and hazardous substances are always treated with care. This means you need to train everyone who will be handling them (including yourself) to understand the risks, how to minimise them and how to use the substances properly. Because these chemicals, when used incorrectly, can result in health problems or poisoning. This is absolutely essential.
- You also need to undertake a risk assessment. This means taking a long look at your cleaning chemicals, where they are stored and how they are transported and identify what risks they pose. Read the warning labels of all products to see which are more hazardous to health than others and how you might secure these chemicals to prevent misuse or accident. Any issues you come up with should be addressed to minimise or remove risk where possible.
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.
All businesses, no matter what size, industry or trade, are required to have some form of insurance in place to protect themselves, their employees and their customers. Just like your home or car insurance, business insurance protects the business and you as the owner should unforeseen events happen. If anything negative or difficult were to happen and your business wasn’t insured, you could find yourself in serious legal and financial difficultly, with businesses in the past going under due to lack of insurance (usually because they didn’t want to pay for it). If you can’t manage to pay your insurance premiums in one go, opt for a monthly payment plan that makes insurance affordable for every business. It will cost you a lot more later down the line if you don’t have this in place! For a cleaning business, there are two main types of insurance you need to buy:
Public liability insurance: This protects you against claims from third parties in cases of personal injury or property damage, including accidents. Very important for cleaners, just in case you accidentally break that vintage lamp while you’re dusting it!
Professional indemnity insurance: This insurance protects you against claims from unhappy employees or clients. It means you’re covered if a customer refuses to pay an invoice, or if you need to rectify a mistake.
If you are employing any other people to clean for you or work within your business, regardless of their role, you will also need a third type of insurance:
Employer’s liability insurance: If you have any number of staff at all (apart from yourself), then you need to take out employer’s liability insurance. This protects you against claims from employees if they have sustained an illness or injury while working for you.
Again, if you are going to be working in more specialist areas, you might need to purchase additional insurance policies, and you will need to research these before you start working. Luckily, insurance is easy to buy thanks to the Internet, and comparison sites mean you can shop around for the best deals. But be wary – some of the ‘super cheap’ policies might only be so cheap because they are missing certain areas of cover. So before you commit to anything, read the policy carefully and make sure everything you need is covered.
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.
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.