Entrepreneurship · 7 April 2022

How To Start A Cleaning Business

How to start a cleaning company

If you like the idea of running your own business, can work hard without direction from others and love to sort, tidy and keep homes and buildings fresher than spring daisy, then you may be wondering how to start a cleaning business.

Simple steps to set up a cleaning business

  • Identify your target market – commercial, residential or specialist
  • Check if any qualifications are needed
  • Crunch the numbers
  • Work Out Your Rates
  • Complete your business administration including registering the business with HMRC, drafting a business plan, defining your marketing plan, setting up relevant insurance and dedicated email and phone numbers for the business.
  • Buy in your materials, equipment and supplies
  • Prepare your sales pitch and introduction to new clients
  • Find your clients
Whether you’re already self-employed and want to set up a new business, are looking for a side hustle to top up your existing income, or want to jump right into a new business idea, then there are lots of businesses that can be set up relatively easily without too much initial expense.

Business ideas such as cleaning will allow you to dip your toe into the water without the risk of losing vast sums of cash along the way and make excellent businesses for both new and experienced business owners.

Read on for more detail on the simple steps to follow if you want to set up your own cleaning business.

Identity Your Target Market – Commercial, Residential, Specialist

The first step to any new business is to define the product or service that you’re offering and to who you will be offering it. Cleaning businesses can span commercial, residential and specialist service areas so think about the pros and cons of each and what kind of people or businesses require the services that you’re offering before deciding on which direction you want to take your new cleaning business.

Residential Cleaning

Residential is the easiest option to go into for a brand new cleaning business. Simply identify the area where you will be happy to work, considering the time it takes to travel between addresses, then get the message out there. Consider the type of client that you would both like to work with and who is most likely to need your services. Paying for a cleaner is a luxury service that not everybody can have, so consider who your target demographic is carefully and have them at the front of your mind when planning how to advertise your business.

Commercial Cleaning

A commercial cleaning business may require special licences or qualifications early on in the process before you can win commercial work to show that you know how to handle harmful cleaning chemicals. Big corporations or public sector companies are likely to tender their cleaning contracts out to larger companies that have plenty of staff on the books. Unless you’re already working in the cleaning sector for somebody else and have a good idea how commercial cleaning works before you go it alone, you may want to start elsewhere with your cleaning business unless focusing on smaller businesses that have similar needs to domestic cleaning.

Specialist Cleaning

Specialist cleaning services can refer to either the location of the cleaning, the service itself or the products being cleaned. For example, you may want to specialise in cleaning roofs and guttering, ovens, or carpets and upholstery, or you may want to offer a dedicated end of tenancy cleaning service to landlords, tenants or students halls of residence. These options can be included in a variety of cleaning services that you offer your customers or something that you choose to specialise in completely with no other cleaning offered.

Whichever option you choose to start your business with, it can be adapted and changed along the way but it is important to be clear from the offset which type of cleaning and the type of client that you are building your business around.

Check What Qualifications You Need

If you’re choosing to centre your business around domestic cleaning, you’re unlikely to need any formal qualifications but you may need to undergo training if using specialist cleaning equipment or chemicals in commercial settings. For more information, and to check what you may need to know about cleaning qualifications, contact the British Institute of Cleaning Science.

Some private individuals may also like to see that you have a current DBS check, especially if you’re working in a household with children or vulnerable adults. You can apply for a basic DBS check and certificate via gov.uk website.

Crunch The Numbers

Calculator and coins on a desk

Having a clear understanding of the amount of money that you have to invest in your business is crucial in getting it up and running smoothly. Take a look at your finances, do you have savings that you have been building especially for your new business venture? Will you need to take out a business or personal loan to buy the supplies you need to start?

When working out how much cash you will need, don’t forget to include things like marketing spend for websites, flyers and adverts that you may need, the cost of materials, supplies and equipment that you will need to buy to run your business, storage costs if any. When looking at the long term business plan, consider how staffing costs such as wages, pension contributions and national insurance may impact your finances if you intend to have staff working for you as well as taking home your own pay.

A cleaning business could in theory be started with a simple vacuum cleaner, mop and essential cleaning supplies but more specialist cleaning services may need expensive professional carpet cleaners or tools which can be much more costly and will need to be considered in the financial planning stage of setting up your business.

Work Out Your Rates

When you know what kind of cleaning service you’re offering and who you will be offering it to, you need to decide on how much you will charge.

To determine what you will charge, think about whether you will charge a flat hourly fee, or if you will offer blocks of 10 cleaning sessions for a discounted hourly price, whether you require a deposit upfront before any booking or if you will accept cash, card or online payments?

All of these things should be considered with your ideal customer in mind to help you determine which is the best option for you and the people you work for and the location that you operate in. One of the best things you can do is to see what other people in your area are already charging for similar kinds of cleaning service that you will be offering as this will give you a ballpark figure of the going rate and always think about your target customer.

For example, there is no point in charging £60 an hour if your target market is residential cleaning for single-parent families because they are unlikely to be able to afford this.

Whatever price you decide to charge, make sure that it is a true reflection of the time, effort and energy that you put into the work, the costs involved in travelling to and from venues and that the cost of cleaning materials are covered.

Business Admin

Lady sitting at desk working with paper and computer screen

Type Of Company

You will need to decide how you will register your cleaning business with HMRC and understand how each option affects your liabilities when it comes to recording your income and paying the tax owed. Will you be setting up as a sole trader or limited company? You can find more about each option here so you can decide which route is best for you.

Write A Business Plan

Unless you’re applying for a business loan from the bank, this doesn’t have to be a huge document, but it does help ask yourself certain questions and write down the answers. Things like, how will you finance the business, how many sales do you need before making a profit, somewhere to record your expenses and estimated income etc. Read this guide from the Prince’s Trust for excellent tips on writing your business plan and helpful templates to use.


Set up a new account or allocate an existing account that you already have but don’t use as a dedicated business bank account. If you’re a limited company, a dedicated business account is required by law, but even if you are operating as a sole trader, keeping your business and personal finances separate is highly recommended.

Taking this approach will ensure that any transactions, income and expenses to do with your cleaning business are kept in one place. This makes it easier when you come to do your tax return at the end of the year and if you require the services of an accountant at a later date.


Business cards, flyers, adverts, word of mouth and social media are great, low-cost ways to start spreading the message about your new business. When it comes to creating a professional appearance with your business communications, consider setting up a new email address and buying a new sim card to ensure that your business communications stay separate from your personal ones.

It can cost just a few pounds a month to purchase a professional sounding domain address for your email account and having a dedicated phone number will ensure you know the call is about business, allowing you to answer the phone accordingly when it rings. These are the little things that give the impression of a well-managed business over somebody that is using their personal email address.




Business development