How To Start A Cleaning Business: Costs And Checklist

by Tanya September 11, 2023

Starting a cleaning business has relatively low start-up costs making it more accessible for people.

With the right foresight, it can be a rewarding entrepreneurial venture.

Let’s have a look at your options, costs, and 12-step checklist for starting the business from scratch …

How much money do I need to start a cleaning business?

There are 2 options to start a cleaning business:

* DIY from scratch
* Franchising

Both will cost you money, but if marketing is not your strength, franchising might be a better option.

In domestic cleaning, franchise prices start from around £1,500 up to £17,000 for well-established national brands. You will also need working capital in the region of £5,000 to £10,000.

Here are some costs related to running a cleaning business:

* Equipment and materials: these could include equipment trolleys (£250-£400 each), an industrial vacuum cleaner (£300+), a sweeping machine (£200-£2,000), and other materials (such as mops, cloths, etc.) (£500-£1,500).

* Transportation: you need a van to transport your materials and equipment as well as your staff. Keep in mind that the costs of a van can go above £4,000.

* Marketing & advertising: a website is a must. There will be ongoing hosting fees. Then there are paid advertising costs, the costs of printed materials, branded materials, and more. Overall, expect to set aside over £1,000 for this purpose.

* Uniforms: uniforms provide a sense of uniformity and professionalism. When your team is in uniform, you present the best face of your business to your customers.

* Wages and salaries: it will also depend on how many staff members you choose to hire, and what is their hourly rate.

* Insurance: by law you need to have Public Liability Insurance as you work in other people’s spaces. The cost of this will depend on your insurance provider and the type of cover you opt for.

Still want to go ahead?

Good to hear 😏

Below is the checklist for starting a cleaning business from scratch:

1. Market research

Conducting thorough research into the cleaning industry and studying successful cleaning businesses is a prerequisite for anyone aiming to establish a competitive cleaning venture.

Identify the demand for cleaning services in your area. Determine your niche, such as residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, specialized cleaning (e.g., carpet or window cleaning), or a combination.

Examining the broader cleaning industry can identify growth opportunities, regional market nuances, and emerging service niches, allowing for a well-informed market entry strategy.

Additionally, studying successful cleaning businesses offers a blueprint for understanding what works in terms of marketing, customer retention, employee management, and service quality.

Researching the cleaning industry and successful cleaning businesses is akin to laying a solid foundation for a thriving business, equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate challenges and seize opportunities in this dynamic sector.

2. Create a business plan

Create a detailed business plan for starting a cleaning business. This should outline your services, unique selling point (USP), business goals, target market, competition, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and financial projections.

A USP can set your services apart from everyone by ensuring that what you’re offering is something other companies or businesses don’t have. It can be in the form of better prices, bundle offerings, or even membership cards.

There are various cleaning services out there:

  • Residential cleaning
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Basic cleaning
  • Deep cleaning
  • Spring cleaning
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Window cleaning
  • Sanitization
  • Move-out cleaning
  • New home or construction cleaning
  • Dishwashing
  • Laundry
  • Regular maintenance

A residential cleaning service may target busy families or vacation rental owners, while a commercial cleaning service may target small businesses or larger corporations.

To better figure out the unique qualities of your business when compared to your competitors, you need to understand your target market. Learn as much as you can about it. This will help you create targeted marketing campaigns aimed at potential customers with a higher likelihood of hiring your services.

3. Come up with a memorable name

Before creating a legal structure and registering your company, you need to come up with a memorable business name, that is also available as a domain name.

There’s an art for naming businesses, and it’s crucial that whatever name you choose is easily remembered. Keep in mind that unique names stand out from the crowd than generic ones. 

As a cleaning business, including words that give the impression of reliability, can also get clients to trust you. 

4. Establish a legal structure and registration

Choose a legal structure for your business (e.g., partnership, sole proprietorship, LLC/LTD, corporation) and register it with the appropriate government authorities.

Many people chose to go with LLC/LTD structure.

A limited company is a company ‘limited by shares’ (if they make a profit) or ‘limited by guarantee’ (if they are not for profit).

This means a limited liability company is a type of company structure where members are not made personally liable for debts beyond the capital they invested.

This means the company:

○ is legally separate from the people who run it
○ has separate finances from your personal ones
○ has shares and shareholders
○ can keep any profits it makes after paying tax

5. Buy business insurance

Purchase Public Liability Insurance to protect your business in case of accidents or damages during cleaning jobs.

Purchase Public Liability Insurance protects you and your business should a customer, supplier, or member of the public bring a claim against you for injuries/death or property damage caused by your commercial activities.

If you work with clients or customers in public spaces, visit spaces owned or controlled by others, have visitors to your premises, or manufacture products; PL insurance is your best defense against potentially costly personal injury or property damage claims.

You may need other types of insurance, as well.

6. Buy equipment and supplies

Invest in the necessary cleaning equipment and supplies. This may include vacuums, mops, cleaning chemicals, brushes, and safety equipment.

Different types of services require different tools.

For example, window cleaning may require specialized squeegees, while carpet cleaning may require a more powerful vacuum cleaner.

Make sure to research the types of supplies needed for the services you plan on offering and invest in quality products that will last.

You may want to consider offering eco-friendly cleaning services for the customers who pay extra. In this case, you need to invest in eco-friendly cleaners.

7. Come up with a marketing and advertising strategy

Although it may sound like a no-brainer, neglecting advertising is usually one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make.

While word-of-mouth advertising can be powerful, it’s also crucial to market your business in other means. These may include having a website or social media accounts to promote your products and services online. You can also use them to continuously engage customers through high-quality content. 

Other online marketing strategies include offline strategies such as flyers, business cards, and local advertising.

Marketing is essential to the survival of your new business. You’ll be competing with a lot of other cleaning companies for visibility and potential customers. But don’t stress – there are lots of ways to get your foot in the door, and a lot of those options are free.

Create a strong branding message that resonates with your target market and highlights both the quality of your services as well as your competitive advantages.

Finally, don’t forget to build relationships with existing clients and offer rewards for referrals or repeat business.

Having an effective marketing strategy in place can help you attract customers and grow your cleaning business over time.

8. Hire and train staff

If you plan to hire employees, establish a hiring process and provide proper training. Ensure they understand your company’s standards and policies.

Consider candidates with a proven track record in delivering exceptional customer service and maintaining high-quality standards.

When looking for candidates, consider what skills and experiences they bring to the table, such as knowledge of specific cleaning techniques or familiarity with certain products.

Additionally, make sure to thoroughly vet each employee by conducting background checks and verifying references.

Consider also what type of training or onboarding process you can provide to ensure that they are up to speed on the services offered and your company policies.

Finally, take the time to create a positive work environment with fair compensation and clear expectations for performance.

9. Develop a system for quality control and a feedback loop

Develop a system for quality control to ensure consistent and high-quality service delivery.

Encourage clients to leave reviews and provide feedback. Address any concerns promptly and use feedback to improve your services.

Why it’s important?

Systems make operations quicker, leave less room for error, and make you a pleasure to deal with.

Consider what type of tracking or reporting systems need to be in place to ensure that each cleaning task is completed on time and meets your standards for quality. Having efficient systems and processes can help you increase customer satisfaction and make sure that all members of your team are delivering the same high-quality services.

10. Maintain a professional image 

Create a professional website that showcases your services, pricing, contact information, and client testimonials.

Maintain active and engaging social media profiles. Share regular updates, cleaning tips, before-and-after photos, and customer reviews.

People also tend to trust brands that have been mentioned in the press, so get some PR coverage.

Think of creative ways you can use branding materials such as cleaning logos, flyers, or uniforms to distinguish your cleaning staff from other services in the area.

Finally, make sure that all members of your team provide friendly and courteous customer service while on the job, as this will increase satisfaction and loyalty among clients. 

11. Take care of your finances and accounting

Set up a system to manage your business finances. This includes bookkeeping, invoicing, and tracking expenses.

According to 2019 statistics, the failure rate of start-ups and small businesses is around 90% with finances cited as one of its reasons. 

Start tracking and managing your income and expenditure from the beginning. Collect and analyse your financial information periodically to make more accurate projections on what your business can make in the future, including the directions it should take.

Regularly assess your business’s performance and make adjustments as necessary to stay competitive and profitable.

12. Stay informed about compliance and regulations

Stay informed about any industry regulations and compliance requirements related to cleaning services.

Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is a legal requirement. Failure to comply can result in fines, penalties, and legal consequences that can severely impact your business.

Proof of adhering to regulations also increases consumer trust – when customers know that your cleaning business follows industry standards and safety regulations, they are more likely to feel confident in your services.

You can also view it as a competitive edge. It demonstrates professionalism and a commitment to safety and quality, which can set you apart from competitors who may not follow the rules.

To stay informed about compliance and regulations in the cleaning industry, monitor relevant regulations at the local, state, and federal levels, join industry associations or networks that provide updates on regulatory changes, or simply speak to an expert.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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