Whether you've been running a cleaning business for a while now or you're just getting started with launching a cleaning service, you're probably going to want a website as part of your online marketing plan.
A question I get asked a lot in my web design business is “I run a X/Y/Z business and I need a new website. How much will it cost?”
So in the spirit of 'They Ask, You Answer', I'm going to answer it here.
In this article, we’re going to cover the one-off and recurring costs involved in starting and running a website.
Obviously with something like a website, there's not going to be one fixed price, and the cost of it is a going to vary due to a few main factors:
- What goals you want to achieve with your website - for example, are you just starting up and simply need a holding page to direct potential clients to so that they can contact you; or are you an established business looking to streamline processes by taking online bookings/appointments?
- Are you planning to build the website yourself (the DIY option), hire a freelancer, or an agency?
- Are you looking for a bespoke, custom-built site that will stand out from the crowd, or are you happy with a customised website template?
- Are you likely to need extra functionality on your website beyond a 'standard' site (back to the online booking example, e-commerce and online payment solutions)
These are points to consider before you start anything. You may not be sure of the answers to some of these questions right at the beginning, and that's where working with a website or marketing professional can help you to identify what it is you need from your company's website and what you're trying to achieve.
Ok, so maybe you're in a position where you need a new website, your budget isn't massive and you want to get the best value for your money.
What's the minimum outlay you'll need to get a website up and running?
What you need to set up a website for your cleaning business
Somewhere for your website (and possibly email inbox) to live. DIY all-in-one options where you build your own website (like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress.com and Cleaning Service Websites), are options that usually include hosting costs, so you don't have to pay a separate charge for these and you don't have to figure out how to set up and maintain a server properly!
As ever, things that are cheap or free have their limitations though - often you'll get a certain amount of storage space on your hosting plan. This can be eaten up at smaller volumes with things like functionality on the website drawing server resources, large volumes of website traffic, and even a pile of unread emails taking up space on the server.
If you want to move away from a website platform in the future too, you'll need to move the website onto your own hosting, which may or may not be possible depending on the company.
If you opt for you own hosting, the cheaper option is to go for shared hosting. Again this has its pitfalls in that a lot of cheap hosting has poor website load times and limited storage. Some companies also have servers that are up and down like a rollercoaster, so there may be times where your customers cannot access your website if the server is down.
The next option up is a managed VPS, where you're not sharing your server with a host of other websites. The pricing below assumes you would want a managed VPS rather than an unmanaged one, where you would have to provision and run the server yourself (not fun).
Finally you can get dedicate servers, which are well, dedicated to your website. These are best for established cleaning businesses who need fast, top-notch support for any potential issues such as the site going down.
Cost involved -
Via a website builder's shared hosting - inclusive (plans usually start from around £6 - £10 a month).
Shared managed hosting - from approx. £10 a month
Managed VPS - from approx. £20 a month
Dedicated server - Starting around £100 a month
To keep things professional, you're probably going to want your own custom domain name. With website builders, you often get a free domain name, however this usually includes the name of the site you built your website on (so for Example Cleaning, www.examplecleaning.cleaningservicewebsites.co.uk).
Assuming you would prefer www.examplecleaning.com/co.uk, a domain name cost varies a little depending on the registrar you get it through, but is a fairly standard charge either yearly or for however many years you choose to purchase in one payment. Expect to pay more for .com domains, but these are easier for website visitors to remember than some of the more obscure ones which are popping up!
Cost involved -
From 99p for first year, £6-£10 a year for .co.uk domains, and £10-£20 a year for .com domains
Technically this is optional, but really you need one. And just like a domain name, you could have email@example.com but it doesn't scream 'professional cleaning company'.
If you have a domain name, you can set up an email address for your business. Many hosting companies offer email hosting as part of your hosting package - this is useful for keeping things all in one place, but again can eat into your server storage space and is not a recommended solution for those wanting to grow their business.
Check out this article on why it's a good idea to keep your website and email hosting separate.
If you're already familiar with Gmail, then Gsuite is probably going to be a good option for you. You can have your custom email (say firstname.lastname@example.org) and personally I found it a LOT easier to set up via Gsuite than mucking about with POP/SMTP settings in Apple Mail/Outlook/whatever mail client you use.
You can also easily set up email aliases (so customers can email email@example.com, but you might reply from firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cost involved -
Email on website hosting - price included in hosting cost
Gsuite - from £4.60 per user per month.
Now we're on to the actual design and setting up of the website. This is where the cost can vary wildly, and you need to have considered the questions we asked at the beginning of the article. We'll look more at DIY vs paying a professional in a minute, but for now let's assume you want a fairly basic, good-looking website, and you're prepared to do as much of it as possible yourself.
Picking a design template for your site and then customising it yourself and adding your own content is going to be the lowest-cost option. In this scenario, (if you pick a free template/theme) the only real cost is your time - this can be OK if you are tech-savvy and have the time to do it, otherwise you may find yourself on a steep learning curve where you can get overwhelmed and stuck.
This is where a website builder like Cleaning Service Websites comes in - it's designed so that cleaning business owners can build their own websites using pre-built templates, so you don't need a lot of website know-how to get up and running. And if you do get stuck, there's plenty of support and even the option to purchase 'upgrades' so that a professional can quickly do the bits that would take you ages!
Cost Involved -
If you're looking for a basic website, expect to pay at least £300 which would likely be for a generic templated design.
But what features would take your cleaning business website from a basic brochure-type site into something that would cost more?
Extra Features for Your Cleaning Business Website
- Ecommerce solutions (to sell products/services online)
- Appointment scheduler
- Integrated booking system
- Payment gateway (could be Paypal/Stripe integration or a more custom solution)
- Email marketing
- CRM integration
Build it Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Undoubtedly, there's some situations where knowing whether to build your own website or pay someone to do it is an easy decision - for example, if you aren't remotely tech-savvy and the thought of building a website for your cleaning business brings you out in hives, or if you know you haven't got the spare time to do so.
However, a lot of people fall in the middle in that they have a little technical know-how, but might not necessarily have all the skills needed to make the right website for their cleaning business.
Now we've looked at the basic costs of setting up a website, such as hosting, email, domain name(s) and picking a website platform, you might have a clearer idea of whether you have the time/budget to hire somebody to build the site for you, or whether you are going to do it yourself.
If you are going to build your own site, then a really useful option is to have some sort of service (either from the website builder company or someone you know), where you have the potential to outsource any parts that either are beyond your technical knowledge, or you find are eating into your time too much to make into a reality.
If you want to hire a professional to build your site, then a freelancer can be a great option. They usually don't have the overheads that a web or creative agency do, and so can be a more affordable option.
On the negative side though, some (not all!) freelancers can be hard to get hold of, and can be somewhat 'undercover' with how your website works so that it's very difficult for you to go elsewhere if things don't work out.
Of course this can happen too with agencies - but they are usually based from a physical location with various team members, so there's often more reliability in terms of timelines and deliverability.
Ultimately though, it's best to pick out a couple of web designers/developers (ideally by word of mouth recommendation) who you can get a tailored quote from before committing to anything. Some will charge a few hundred pounds and some will charge thousands.
When getting quotes, make sure that if you want to launch the site at any time other than 'whenever', you get a clear timeline of when each phase of the website build will be carried out, and what the designer needs from you in terms of content, signing off stages etc.
You'll also want to know what support is included not only for the launch of your website, but also for the aftercare. Do you get bug fixes included for the first 30 days? Is there an ongoing Care Plan to purchase at additional cost to keep your website maintained?
Potential extra costs with hiring a web designer/developer
- Design revisions - many web designers will allow a certain amount of revisions to the design of the website within the quote cost, then beyond that you'll be charged extra.
- Turnaround - If you want your site done in a week or two and it's a sizeable job, then expect to pay more.
- Late fees - an example of this; some web designers will ask for content to be provided by a certain stage in the development process. If you don't hold up your end of the deal, you could be holding up the project and be subject to late fees.
- Work/amendments after launch - check if these are included for a set time period after launch, or if they're charged as extra.
- Ongoing maintenance - this will be a (usually) monthly or yearly ongoing extra charge, however if you aren't clued up on how to safely keep your site updated and running at it's best then its definitely one extra cost to seriously consider.
This should have given you a clearer idea of not only the basic costs in setting up a website for your cleaning business, but also got you to think about some of the other factors that can cost extra, and whether these are going to be ones you need to consider for your own website.
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