A domestic cleaning business is a great business startup option, as there are very few overheads. In fact you could start your business with virtually no money at all by using your clients cleaning products and equipment. There is a huge demand for trustworthy, reliable and competent domestic cleaners and the business is pretty much recession proof. As money becomes tighter, householders work longer hours to make ends meet. Having a cleaner for some people becomes a necessity rather than a luxury to keep a work/life balance. This article aims to guide you through the process of setting up a domestic cleaning business – from your first client and beyond.
Is cleaning for you?
Although becoming a domestic cleaner doesn’t require any specialist skills, you do need to enjoy cleaning and you need to have very high standards. If you genuinely enjoy the work and take pride in the finished results it will show, you will soon be a sought after cleaner in your local area. Cleaning is physically hard work, but also flexible enough to fit around family commitments. Once your client fixes a slot with you during the week, they will want you to be reliable in sticking to it. Most people want their homes cleaning during office hours, so that they come home to a nice clean home, so if you can work office hours you are likely to attract more clients.
Practise makes perfect!
Although you clean your own home, cleaning someone else’s is very different. Ask family and friends if you could practice your cleaning skills by cleaning their home – you won’t be short of volunteers!
Ask for feedback and assess to see if you can clean quickly and thoroughly enough within an allotted timescale. This will be very important when it comes to providing quotes to potential clients and working out your hourly rate.
Getting the correct insurance before you start work is extremely important. It’s there to protect yourself and others. If funds are low you could look at funding options such as Marketreview.com credit cards section, which will highlight the best credit card borrowing available. Other sources of funding could be family and friends or using an overdraft facility.
As a domestic cleaner there are two types of insurances to consider.
Public liability insurance, provides cover if a third party claims against you for injury to themselves or member of the public and damage to property, Claims can run into many thousands, so it’s important to take out enough cover. Seek professional advice.
Personal indemnity insurance protects your financial interests and protects you from claims made by dissatisfied clients. It could also payout if clients refuse to pay invoices. Personal indemnity insurance protects you from invalid claims made against you as well as defamation.
Although you don’t intend to break a valuable vase or cause someone to slip on a freshly mopped floor, accidents do and most likely will happen! So protect yourself.
Initially the best way to get your first clients is by word of mouth. Tell everyone what you are doing and get the family and friends who you practiced with to tell everyone they know. Many clients will wish to see references from satisfied customers. This is initially difficult at the start, so encourage people for whom you have done any cleaning work for, even as a practice, to write a review for you.
Other forms of advertising that work well are leaflet drops, adverts in local shops, local papers, magazines and social media. Design yourself a logo and get lots of business cards printed, so that you can hand them out. You could consider leaving your business cards in public places such as surgeries and libraries. Contact local estate agents, they often look for reliable cleaners to do end of tenancy cleans.
Knowing what to charge is always tricky and it is important to research the rates for your local area. Don’t charge too little, as clients may assume that your work is not of a high standard. Cleaning is physically hard work, so you need to make it worth your while. Some cleaners choose to charge an hourly rate whereas some charge per job. Ensure you don’t underestimate the length of time it will take to clean a property – by visiting the property first, rather than quoting over the phone. All clients will have different expectations as to what they want you to clean, be very specific about what jobs are included in the price.
As time passes you will become more adept at pricing, you will know by experience how much to charge for each job.
As you become more experienced you may wish to take your business to the next level by employing staff. Start by hiring a staff member who can take over your cleaning jobs once a week and increase the days as demand rises. Ensure that anyone you hire cleans to the same high standards that you do. This will ensure your reputation remains good. Employing staff involves extra work, which you will need to seek advice on, but hopefully you will be left with extra time to get more clients.
Another way to diversify your business would be to develop a unique selling point (USP). An example of a USP would be to offer cleaning using only ecologically sourced products. Many people are starting to become aware of the toxins present in many cleaning products, which can build up in the home and cause health issues such as respiratory problems. Offering this kind of service maybe needed in your locality.
Grow your business
The majority of this article concentrates on starting a domestic cleaning business, there are more areas to consider as your business grows.
You could consider commercial cleaning, new build cleaning and hospital hygiene in the future.
One thing this article has not mentioned is registering as self employed and tax implications. Self employment regulations vary, as to which part of the world you reside, so it is important to research carefully.