How to Start a Cleaning Business UK on a Small Budget in 8 Steps

If you’ve stumbled upon this article, then the chances are you’re thinking about starting your own home cleaning business in the UK, but you have a small budget. Don’t be deterred if you’re in this situation, the best thing about setting up a cleaning business is that most of your startup costs will go on marketing and most of your essentials will be in your home anyway.

Having a domestic cleaning business is a lot easier than corporate as you will need minimal staff, to begin with, most people only start with themselves and slowly grow their employees as time goes on and they get more customers. Most of your customers will come from word of mouth but you’re more likely to build up a bigger client base if you use your small budget on leaflets and advertising on social media to your locals.

Cleaning in progress sign

It’s estimated that the home cleaning business sector is worth over 10 billion pounds throughout the UK with over one third of all this money being dominated by smaller organisations (under 9 employees), which helps to show that you don’t need a huge budget or hundreds of employees to be successful in the home cleaning industry.

As nerve-wracking as starting your own business sounds, if you’re passionate about cleaning and you recognise that your area is lacking a good home cleaning business, then it’s only logical that you start up your own one! If you’re willing to do it alone for a few months and you can take the pay cut from your regular job, then you will see the business start to grow from one day right in front of your eyes.

We’ve created this guide to help you set up your business, including all the details of where to start and how much it will roughly cost you to do it. Cleaning businesses are very much in need around the UK especially in city-based areas, so check out what your local area has available and if you think your business could be better, go ahead and get started.

Step-By-Step Guide to Setting up Your Own Cleaning Business

Not everything always goes to plan and with this mind, we need to advise everyone that this step-by-step guide may not always go in order, and things may seem like they’re going against you but the more hard-work and effort you put into your new cleaning business, the better it will be in the end. Before you start anything, remember you should always be professional and come across as trustworthy. The majority of home cleaning happens when clients aren’t in the house, which means they must trust you with their house keys and all the belongings in their home. This is essential to consider when you’re meeting new potential clients as first impressions definitely count.

In summary, these are the key steps to setting up your own cleaning business;

  1. Research your market
  2. Write up a business plan
  3. Budget for everything
  4. Search for clients
  5. Develop a strong brand
  6. Grow with advertising
  7. Start cleaning!
  8. Regular check for updated training methods

1. Research your Market

This could be as simple as looking at the other home cleaning businesses in the area and seeing what they offer, if they lack in a certain service then you can make sure that’s your selling point to customers. You need to find a gap in the market, especially if you want to succeed, a lot of people live by the idea that you don’t need to fix anything that isn’t broken, therefore if you try to set up a cleaning business where there is already a perfectly good one, then you won’t have as many clients as you originally planned.

You can even research online too, find out the most successful home cleaning businesses and see what they offer. Think about what services they’re offering and who they’re offering them to. Are they residential cleaners in your local area, are they commercial cleaners for specific industries, are they offering holiday let cleaning services? See what they offer because you might be able to as well. Your research needs to be in depth as it’s essential for the startup of your business and how well it will continue to do.

2. Write up a Business Plan

As a given, every business needs a plan. Before you go any further you have to seriously think about where your business is going and how it will grow in the future. Any truly successful business has a business plan that includes market research, your marketing channels, and your future financial plans. Working everything out step by step will help to gather all the processes you need in order to write a good business plan.

However, writing a plan for your business is definitely not easy, it does come with confusing concepts and a lot of hard work but if you’re willing to think about where your business is heading then you’ll have more of a chance to succeed.

3. Budget for Everything

This step is particularly essential for anyone that is working with a small budget, if you’re starting it up on your own then you won’t initially have to pay wages and you can concentrate on putting all your profit back into the business. However, you have to think about your marketing costs (which will be the bigger money drainer on your startup business) and growing your client base.

You may also need to buy cleaning items and other tools which will help to run your business (perhaps a computer or laptop), these can come with a bigger bill than you may expect and that’s why you need a business plan. Most of your basic items won’t be extremely expensive, for example buying a mop, brush, and bucket won’t take a huge chunk out of your budget. However, if you account for everything you actually need to purchase, then you won’t be worrying about your small budget.

Starting a business on a budget of £100 or less is possible, especially if you’re doing it alone, so nothing is impossible. For anyone who is thinking of starting with 1 or 2 employees, you will have to think about wages which are a lot of initial commitment that will come with a bigger budget.

4. Search for Clients

Social media will definitely become your best friend during this stage of your business set up. After you have started your social media channels, you will want to let everyone know about your new, up and coming business. Facebook and Twitter are great local platforms in which you can pay to reach a certain target audience.

If you’re starting a window cleaning business , then you will generally need to target older people rather than teenagers and young children as they will be the homeowners. Although you can’t state homeowners on your social media platforms when you pay for marketing, you can definitely state an age, we would suggest going for 23 and above. This is where most of your clients will come from.

However, you can also get leaflets or posters printed and start posting them through doors and putting them up in community areas. If you start with a base of 5 clients or so, they will naturally chat about having their house cleaned which may then lead to word of mouth clients. Local people naturally gossip anyway, this may seem like a bad thing now but when you’re starting up your business, you want as much chat as possible.

5. Develop a Strong Brand

Having a good website and logo as well as a slogan and headline for your business will help develop a trustworthy and strong brand. You want everyone to want your services, and only developing the very best brand you can do this, if you have an average slogan with average reviews then you’re never going to get that top client base you want.

Once you’ve cleaned a few of your client’s houses, ask them to review your business on your social media or tell their friends, this will really help to back up the idea that you have a strong brand that people should invest their money in.

Remember that people are putting their money and possessions on the line giving you assess to their home and they will only do this to someone they think is honest. Having a strong brand will also help to grow your client base too as it will show potential clients that your business is worth their time and money.

You also need to factor in that you might want to work with other companies that can provide services you may need and vice versa. For example, if you are cleaning a space and suspect that it could have a pest problem then you need to tell the customer. If you recommend pest services of a certain company you can share business, as they can recommend you for cleaning after they do jobs as well.

6. Grow with Advertising

Once you have established yourself through various methods, you will want to grow and hopefully, start to employ people. The more you advertise yourself and your business, the better! Offers are always great to advertise on social media, for example, if you have a package you can offer clients (such as 3 house cleans for the price of 2), then this will intrigue them to find out more about your business. If you can budget in a website then this will be even better, having a booking system or a contact page will allow people to find out whatever they need and book a house clean if they’re wanting one.

Facebook is great for paid advertising as you can target your audience and let as many people as possible know about your business, if you want to target a certain area (in which your business is based) then that is definitely possible, you can also target genders and age groups too which is helpful when it comes to your home cleaning business. Adverts are paid for on Facebook by the reach you get from them if your advert reaches 500 people in one day you may pay around £3, but if you set your budget on the page then you can always spread the cost over a few days.

For example, if you have £100 to spend on Facebook advertising then you can set it to spend £100 worth of advertising over the next month, this way you’re more likely to get a bigger client base as it will reach a lot more people who could potentially be interested in your services.

You can even use social media to grow your business for free, you can run competitions (such as share this post and win a free house clean!), or you can just directly ask people to like and share your posts so that more people see it. Having your family and close friends share your business posts on social media will allow their friends to see it and thus resulting in more clients and a growing business.

You will be a lot more limited to growth if you don’t utilize your social media channels properly, research has shown that businesses who regularly use their social media have a bigger client base than those who don’t which is just another reason to grow your business online.

7. Start Cleaning!

You may have already started cleaning at this point, but if you haven’t then you might want to start! You don’t have to have years of experience, training or qualifications in order to start your own business and you definitely don’t if you’re a good cleaner anyway, so you should start as soon as possible. The sooner you start cleaning and getting your business name out to the public, the quicker you’re going to build a successful and money-making business.

8. Regularly Check for Updated Training Methods

Whilst running your business you will most likely start to hire people and although they won’t have to have qualifications you want to make sure that their cleaning is up to standard. This is especially applicable if you have set up the business yourself and you want the standard of cleaning to stay the same.

There are many training courses you can send your employees on (or go on yourself), they can help to keep everyone on track and can even lead your business into new ventures such as industrial or commercial cleaning. If there is a service you want to offer but perhaps don’t know how to do it personally then you can sign up to a training course, learn it, then offer it as another new service to your business. For instance, BWCA offer courses on window & roof cleaning, these two services of window and roof cleaning could be great additional services you can offer your clients to bring in a additional revenue streams.

There are also countless cleaning books that you can use to your advantage, if you want to be the best in business then you’ve got to do your best to be well-read and educated on the subject that you’re offering to others. Cleaning isn’t always as easy as picking up a brush and dustbin, knowing as much as possible will really put you above your competitors which is a big advantage if you want to succeed.

Helpful Tips for Running a Cleaning Business

Despite what people may say, running a business is a lot of hard work but it is extremely rewarding, especially when you have multiple clients who are very happy with your work. You want to run your business with happy employees as this is the only way you’re ever going to get the results you want and need. There are always new things to learn, and that’s why we thought it might be helpful to put together a few helpful tips for running your own cleaning business.

  • Treat everyone with respect – This goes for your employees, clients, and yourself. You need to think about how a good boss treats their staff and customers then implement this into your business. Respect is earned too which means the more time you spend with your staff and clients, the more likely they are to be respectful of you and your business.
  • Don’t expect everything to go your way – You may have put together a business plan and have growth plans for your business, but this won’t always plan out the way you want it to so make sure you’re prepared for when things don’t go your way, it’s only natural. Allow setbacks to push you to carry on and improve your business even more. You will get clients and customers who don’t like a certain house clean or are unhappy with something, but this is inevitable and must be something you learn from.
  • Let your clients and staff be the centre of your business – If they say something is wrong then look into it, if they’re unhappy, then make them feel better. Your business isn’t solely all about you, you have to think about all the possible outcomes and ensure that only the best things happen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I charge?

This is completely dependent on the home size, for smaller houses then you will obviously charge a lot less than a bigger one. However, you may need to calculate the price based on the hours it will take. We suggest charging an hourly rate between £20/30 (also dependent on where you live) then pricing up the hours. If you think a home will take 3 hours to completely clean, then you may charge £50. This is completely personal to your business though, it is particularly useful to look at competitors price and have yours similar (maybe even cheaper).

How much will it cost to get started?

It can be as cheap as £50 if you just want to buy your essentials or it can be a lot more, it is all dependent on your budget. We would suggest having around £300 is a good start to get all your basic supplies and market the business a little.

How do I start with no money?

Starting with no money just requires yourself and a lot of hard-work. Take to the houses and write up some leaflets, the more houses you clean, the more money that will be profit and eventually go back into your business. It’s a lot easier than you may initially think.

Can I do this based from home?

Definitely! However, you will have to leave your house to actually clean homes when the time comes. You will be able to create your business plan and advertise your business from home but unless you are paying employees from the start-up of your business, you will need to go and clean yourself.

Will I need any employees?

You don’t need employees and especially if you’re sticking to a smaller budget you won’t be able to actually hire people straight away. However, as more money starts to flow through your business account you will find hiring employees to be a good idea! Only start hiring people when you think you need to and when you can actually afford to pay them too.

We hope this guide has helped you start up your home cleaning business and reassured any insecurities you may have about possibly starting a business yourself, remember that you’re more than capable of reaching your full potential. Happy Cleaning!