If you’re looking for a business to start from scratch, a cleaning service can be a great option. It’s possible to get going with little upfront investment and a small amount of equipment - in fact this is how I started my own eco-friendly cleaning business years ago.
Just like any business startup though, there are things you’ll want to set up and put in place before your cleaning service is open for business.
What equipment will I need?
It depends what kind of cleaning business you’ve decided to set up - for example if you’re focussing on domestic cleaning, you’ll need the basics like cleaning sprays, cloths, dusters, mops, vacuums…
If you’re thinking of starting a commercial cleaning business from scratch, then the amount of money you’ll need to invest in equipment upfront will be greater as you may need more specialist equipment - for example a floor polisher or commercial-grade wet/dry vacuums.
Also consider if you’re going to need a vehicle for your business - we’ve all been at that point where you have to wedge an upright vacuum creatively on the back seat!
Will I need to advertise my cleaning business?
In knowing whether you will need to advertise your cleaning business, you’ll need to have decided roughly how many clients you’re looking for per week/month...are you aiming for the business to just be yourself as the sole cleaner, or do you have plans to expand and take on staff in the future or from the outset?
If you’re starting from scratch as just yourself, it may be that you can pick up enough clients to sustain yourself in the early days, and you may be able to grow the business with simply word-of-mouth referrals.
Otherwise, you may want to consider some form of advertising to get your business out there. Local publications can be an affordable way to reach potential clients in the beginning. You could also consider targeted leaflet drops.
How can I promote my cleaning business online?
As a startup cleaning business, there are a few ways to promote your new business online. These include:
Social Media - Do some research into what platforms your target audience are on the most, and pick just one to start. It can be tempting to start up an account on every social media platform out there, but it’s better to do one thing well than many as an occasional poster.
Website - Do you need a website as a startup business? If you want a platform to produce and publish your own informative content to educate and build trust with your potential customers (one that means you have much more control over who sees it), then you do need a website! Not to mention it looks a lot more professional. When starting a cleaning business from scratch, you’re likely not going to have the budget for a custom-built website with all the bells and whistles - but a simple, well-designed site with the ability to publish regular content will work just as well for you.
Regular content - This is a way to build up a bank of information that identifies you as an expert and a ‘go-to’ for your industry. If you can produce regular content that answers any potential questions your customers would have before buying from you, as well as answering questions that your customers may be Googling, then you’ll be building up trust with both future contracts and also with Google. Find the way of producing content that you find the easiest to achieve as a consistent and regular output and start from there.
Cleaning Business Startup Checklist
- Decide whether you’re going to set up as a limited company or a sole trader (you can have employees with both setups), and then register with HMRC
- Name your company
- Write a business plan
- Research your target market
- Get a bank account for the business to keep it separate from your personal finances
- Get appropriate insurance for your business - public liability is important especially when working in people’s homes, and employer’s liability is needed if you employ staff
- Set your prices
- Set up your paperwork & systems
- Make sure you have a basic stock of cleaning materials & equipment
- Make a marketing plan so you know where to focus your efforts first
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