Last updated Jul 10, 2024 and written by Aditi Mohan

Starting your own cleaning business? Here’s everything you need to know.

The UK cleaning industry is a continuously growing sector and a top ten industry in the UK. The Industry employs over 1.47 million people and has a market value of £55.5 billion. Most cleaning businesses are small or micro businesses employing less than 10 people, which means it's a perfect small business for enterprising people. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Own Cleaning Business

Market Research and Planning

Before diving in, conduct thorough research on the competitors in your area. Identify your target market, understand your competition, and pinpoint the specific cleaning services you want to offer. You may want to decide now which type of cleaning services you’ll offer. You may decide to provide home cleaning services or cater to offices and professional spaces. Once you’ve decided on a market you’ll want to consider who your competitors in that specific market are, what they are offering and what you can do differently to challenge their market share.

Once your research is done, create a detailed business plan that outlines your goals, target audience, budget, and marketing strategy. A good business plan can help you achieve external investment or work as a signpost to see how far you've come. Its good practice to set your goals in order to create a solid route to follow. 

Legal Considerations for Your Cleaning Business

Next, you’ll want to form your company and make sure it's compliant with existing regulations. If you are choosing to work in a school or any other ‘sensitive’ location, you may need a DBS check. As it currently stands, you do not need any licenses or qualifications to start a cleaning business in the UK, but you may want to consider obtaining certain insurance or registering your business for tax purposes. 

Small Business insurance such as liability insurance will be useful to protect your business and clients in case of accidents or damages during cleaning. If you choose to employ staff you will be legally required to have Employers Liability insurance. 

Finally, you may want to consider incorporating your company and choosing its business structure. Forming your company as a Limited Company structure allows for growth and gives your business a professional edge. However, as a sole trader, you’ll have few obligations aside from your yearly Self Assessment.

Choosing a Name and Brand For Your Business

Your business name and branding can be the key when it comes to standing out in your market. Your name should be memorable and reflect your services. It will be well worth investing time to create a professional logo and create a site or social media account where clients can find you and see examples of your work. Your name and branding should be unique but in line with the UK government's rules for company names. Secondly, you want to make sure your brand name aligns with brand values and gives a good snapshot of our company. 

Invest in Quality Cleaning Supplies and Equipment for Your Cleaning Business

Purchase high-quality cleaning supplies and equipment to ensure your services meet or exceed customer expectations. Reliable tools not only enhance the quality of your work but also contribute to efficiency, allowing you to take on more clients. Secondly, you may set yourself apart from competition if you have better equipment or a secret formula cleaning solution etc. If you're on a budget you can find good quality supplies secondhand or invest in less flashy manual tools and improve your cleaning technique. 

Set Clear Pricing for Your Cleaning Business

Establish transparent and competitive pricing for your cleaning services. You can use social media or your website to communicate these price changes with your clients. You may even want to consider a loyalty program which can help you retain customers and find new clients. You may find that certain seasons are busier than others, and in response to the fluctuating demand you can have a dynamic pricing plan for clients. Or you can specialise in cleaning certain niches such as appliances or spring cleaning services which allow you to charge premium rates for specialist services. 

Marketing your Cleaning Business

Word-of-mouth referrals can be especially powerful, so it's crucial to deliver a great service and encourage your clients to give you recommendations and share your business. However, you should support your recommendations with online and offline marketing activities. You can advertise your business on Social Media, on forums and local Facebook groups. You can also use local bulletin boards in supermarkets, cafes or libraries to advertise your services or reach out directly to landlords via email or cold calling. 

You may want to utilise new social channels such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube to create cleaning content online. This content is especially popular and can even generate passive income on top of your cleaning income. Marketing can help you set your business apart and also allow potential clients to find you and see your work. However, make sure you have your client's permission before filming and uploading content made in their space. 

Make Sure You Deliver Excellent Customer Service 

Exceptional customer service is key to the success of any service-based business. Be responsive to inquiries, address concerns promptly, and go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat clients and advocates for your cleaning business. You may want to create a customer service plan which includes policies regarding last-minute cancellations, a complaints process, and dealing with refunds. This way you can ensure your income is protected but also can communicate your rules and limitations clearly with any clients. 

Monitor and Adapt Your Cleaning Business

Regularly assess the performance of your cleaning business. Monitor customer feedback, track financials, and stay informed about industry trends. Adapt your cleaning business strategies as needed to stay competitive and continue growing your business, you may want to refer back to your business plan to understand plans for expansion or to see how far you have come. Make sure you are aware about every aspect of your business in order to see where things can be improved or scaled up or reduced. 

Next Steps

Starting your own business requires careful planning and thought, however, the cleaning industry within the UK has huge potential for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can start your business with relatively low start-up costs and great room for expansion. You may even choose to hire staff if your client base begins to grow.

Looking for more start-up advice? Our hub covers everything from VAT registration advice to guides on how to apply for grants