How To Start A Cleaning Business From Scratch
The following post is a simple guide to starting a cleaning business, step-by-step, from scratch.
Learn about the sector and identify your market
First, you need to know and master your market to be a convincing choice for customers. There are many markets within the cleaning industry and you should choose and identify yours between the various types of cleaning businesses, such as those listed below:
Residential/Domestic: In general, this type of work requires you to work in a person’s home for a diverse range of customers.
Commercial: Cleaning commercial areas such as office buildings, shops, schools, often by night, early in the morning or the weekend. Common cleaning tasks include cleaning the floors, the washrooms, the windows, desks and emptying the rubbish.
Industrial: Industrial cleaning is often confused with commercial cleaning, but there are some notable differences. Industrial spaces needing cleaning often feature specialist equipment to clean specific materials such as cladding or ducts, and by nature are different from commercial spaces. This means that specialising in this area may involve pursuing particular qualifications, particularly if working in challenging environments such as cleaning at heights or in cramped conditions. Because of this inaccessible environment, the use of elevating work platforms such as cherry pickers may be necessary; which would require training staff to operate these.
After picking an area of work, you can opt to specialise your services in one or more cleaning types:
Carpet cleaning, Car cleaning, Bio containment cleaning, Window cleaning, Graffiti cleaning, Odour removal… the list goes on!
Again, each of these could involve investing in particular equipment or further qualifications. In doing so, you would be solidifying your place in the market and demonstrating your prowess in your chosen field! This really helps convince customers that you’re a trusted and proficient service provider.
Find out about the market
You also need know if there are there potential clients. It is imprudent to start a business without first finding out about the market, the customers and the competition. Understanding a market requires asking a lot of questions: How much do customers want to spend? What type of cleaning service(s) is best for my target customer base? What do my competitors offer?
Write a commercial cleaning business plan
Writing a business plan will help you map out some potential questions and plans for your cleaning business. Making such a plan does require work, but pays off down the line where you will have planned for certain difficulties or transitions.
(Click here to read our blog post on how to write a commercial cleaning business plan)
Choose an address
Your company must have a location. This can be the address of your home or a commercial space you own or rent. If you want to work from home, the pros are that you won’t have to pay for a commercial space, thus saving you money, but you will have to store your equipments here, which could be an inconvenience. If you decide to rent a commercial space, this could add a professional appearance to potential customers. Having a physical space can allow you to advertise your company visibly with your company name and logo.
Name your company
Choose a name for your company. You need a professional and catchy name. It has to be unique and easy to find for customers. Ensure that the name you have chosen is available. Design a modern and smart logo that match with the name, that you can use across your website, your business cards or other advertising media.
Legalise and register your cleaning business
As a business owner, you have certain obligations. “You need to register as self-employed with HMRC, and you’ll need to complete an annual Self Assessment tax return. You’ll also need to pay your tax bill by 31 January each year, and make a payment on account every 31 July.”
Open a bank account for your cleaning business
Furthermore, you can separate your business finances from your personal ones. This way, you will protect your business operations by being able to account for each payment, in-goings and outgoings.
Insure your cleaning business
It is necessary to insure your business, in case of any accidental damage whilst at work, either to physical property, or a work accident in relation to your staff. Find an insurance with sufficient coverage that works for you.
Find money to start
A cleaning company is a physical services based business. Save money to make sure you have the items required to provide these services, or take out a sensible loan from a reputable source that will allow you to start your cleaning services at a lower cost.
Invest in your adapted equipment
Prepare and buy your equipment according to your services. If you have a carpet cleaning company, you will need to buy cleaning products for carpets and a carpet cleaning machine. Get durable equipment to withstand wear and tear, and that will last for many years. In addition, get some safety equipment too (e.g. gloves and masks) if you handle chemical and toxic cleaning products.
Invest in a business van
Buy a business vehicle. A business van is a valuable asset to your cleaning business, helping you transport your equipment between sites. Furthermore, a vehicle can be a good advertising platform for your cleaning business. We made a video on how to sign write your van; be sure to read it for extra tips (Click here to watch our video and read our tips for your sign written van before you get your vehicle wrapped)!
Develop your popularity and your reputation: business identity
Finally, promote your cleaning company to ensure its popularity among your target market. You can create a website and relevant social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.