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How to start a cleaning business UK

In the UK, the cleaning industry represents around 4% of the workforce and contributed over £54.5bn to the economy in 2018 (ONS 2019). So it’s is no real surprise that cleaning businesses are in demand! This introduction, on how to start a cleaning business UK, will look at some basic set up costs and charges for types of cleaning. 

There are 5 big spenders when it comes to cleaning budgets, Education, Public and Private Healthcare, Tourism and Leisure. Anyone researching into setting up a cleaning business would be well-advised to look into these areas before embarking on a business plan.

As with all start-up business choices, an accountant is best placed to give financial advice on whether you should start a cleaning business as a limited company or a sole trading business. However, you can take our simple quiz that will determine which company structure is best suited for your cleaning business and personality type.

The start-up cost of actually registering with the appropriate government agency, whether as a sole trader or a limited company is relatively low; our charges start from £9.99. Just remember that the decision shouldn’t just be financial – if you are looking to provide cleaning for larger commercial clients then a limited company can project more respectability, and offer opportunities that a sole trader may find more difficult to access. 

Things to budget for; this is a starter list of things you may need to think about in regards to cleaning equipment. In some cases, the customer may have some of the equipment, such as a vacuum cleaner, however you may prefer to budget for a range of equipment so you know the quality of your tools. Customer retention will depend, at least in part, on how clean and how much cleaning you are able to get done in the time paid for. The most important consideration before purchasing equipment is the jobs you will need it to do. A residential home is very different to even a small office.

A smaller, easily portable hoover will set you back around £150 up to around £800 for a backpack style commercial vacuum, designed to be worn for a longer time. 

Steam cleaner for soft furnishings and curtains start from around £150 up to £800.

A domestic carpet cleaner will set up back around £100, anything up to several thousand pounds for a commercial-style cleaning machine. 

Steam cleaner for floors, or mop and bucket starting from around £40 – £100.

Remember, unless you are charging your customer separately or using their cleaning products, you will need to choose a range that you and your customers are happy with and budget for these to be replaced and replenished fairly regularly.

An often-overlooked aspect of starting a cleaning business is training; many good cleaners either have precious industry knowledge or have gained a scientific knowledge of cleaning by attending, whether remotely or in person, a training course. With courses starting from as little as £40 there is valuable knowledge to be gained before beginning your sole trader business. More training and accreditation courses are found on the British Institute of Cleaning Science website www.bics.org.uk/training.

You may charge an hourly rate or a job rate; the best way to find what the going rate in your area is by doing some market research. Check what other cleaners or cleaning companies are charging so you can price yourself accordingly. 

In most cases, residential cleaning businesses charge by the hour for a regular clean. It takes place weekly or fortnightly and a fixed fee for one off cleans, for example at the end of a tenancy or a holiday home let. Some cleaning businesses choose to ask customers to commit to a minimum time per clean, for example 2 hours minimum session. One-off cleans may require a deposit payment before work commences.  

A fixed end of holiday let or tenancy cleaning usually starts from around £100 for a studio to £260 for a larger family home type clean. 

Weekly or fortnightly regular cleaning will often be charged from £12- £15 per hour. A one off clean, such as a residential spring clean or cleaning after building work has taken place, is generally charged from £14 to £22 per hour. However, can be as high as £30 per hour if specialist equipment is required. 

Whether your intention is to start a residential cleaning business or to embark on something larger, if you are thinking of starting a cleaning business, as a sole trader or a limited company, Duport can certainly help!  You’ll get everything you need to start up your business from £9.99.

This includes legal documents and access to our expert advisors, who are here to help you at every stage. You will also receive a comprehensive report detailing how to start a cleaning business in the UK. This includes, market issues and trends, trading, commercial and legal insights.

Take our 60 second quiz now and see which type of company structure to create that will best suit your personality and business.