start a cleaning business

How to Start a Cleaning Business: The Ultimate Guide

Kurt GraverBusiness Start-up Guides

Ready to start your own cleaning business? It’s time to jump in. With the right business plan and dedication, you can quickly get your successful cleaning business up and running. This guide will take you through each process step, from planning and marketing to obtaining licenses and permits.

Cleaning Industry In The UK

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the cleaning industry. Consumers and employees expect professionals to clean public and communal areas regularly. This expectation will lead to continued growth in the industry.

The cleaning industry contributed nearly £54.4bn to the economy in 2020. Turnover has increased by 21% since 2015, outstripping the economy’s overall growth.  

Cleaning and hygiene activities contributed over £9bn to the economy in 2020. The contract cleaning market is worth more than £3 billion, and the sector is predicted to grow by half a billion over the next few years. 

The demand for house cleaning has grown by over 25% over the past five years, and one in three (34%) households now employ someone to help with domestic chores. 

Demand for environmentally friendly cleaners using ‘green’ cleaning products has been growing for several years. This will impact the future of the cleaning industry as consumers increasingly look for green credentials.  

There is a high demand online for cleaning services in the UK. Each month, there are approximately twenty thousand searches for keywords related to “domestic cleaning” and five thousand searches a month for keywords related to “contract cleaning”.

This blog post will explore all the ins and outs of starting a cleaning business. We’ll walk you through some considerations you should make before beginning operations and some helpful tips on getting started.

Understand The Local Cleaning Industry

One of the first things you should do when considering starting a cleaning business is to understand your market. Your customers will be a good indicator of what you should expect regarding demand and competition and the fees you could charge for your services. 

The best way to understand your market is to conduct customer surveys. You can use free online survey tools like SurveyMonkey to do this. Doing surveys will give you a better idea of what your customers want and how much they’re willing to pay.  

Your local market research should also include finding out what services your competitors offer, how much they charge, and the quality of their work. It’s important to differentiate yourself in the market, so make sure you understand which services are lacking in your area and which you can capitalise on. 

Decide on the Type of Service You’ll Offer

Another critical aspect of starting your cleaning business is deciding on the type of cleaning service you will offer. You can provide various cleaning services, each with pros and cons. 

Residential Cleaning

Domestic Cleaning is the most common type of cleaning service. It usually includes cleaning the house’s main rooms, but it can also include oven cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and window cleaning. It’s typically done weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Home cleaning can include more than working with individual families. You can sign agreements with estate agents and housing associations to do end-of-tenancy Cleaning and other one-off services.

Commercial Cleaning

Commercial Cleaning involves cleaning large commercial properties, such as hotels and office buildings. 

Commercial Cleaning can be done daily, weekly, or monthly and is a great way to get involved with larger cleaning jobs. 

You may need several cleaners to work on commercial cleaning projects.

Start Your Marketing Early

One of the biggest mistakes people who start cleaning businesses make is not marketing their services early enough. To maximise your revenue, you must ensure you market your cleaning business as soon as possible.  

Start marketing your cleaning business as soon as you decide on a name and set up a website. You want to do this as soon as possible to attract customers and generate revenue consistently. 

Start marketing your cleaning services on your website and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business. 

Also, join local business directories. Not only will this generate more leads, but it will also allow you to get better at selling your services, which will help you make more money from each cleaning job.

Also, sign up for local 3rd party services marketplaces like:

Choose the Equipment You’ll Need

Another important aspect of starting your cleaning business is choosing the necessary equipment. 

Domestic Cleaning requires basic cleaning equipment. If you have selected to operate a commercial or specialised cleaning business, you may also need specialist equipment such as vacuums, pressure washers or hoses.

Bigger companies, or those required to travel between locations, must also consider their transport arrangements. You could consider using your own car or hiring or purchasing a company van to get from place to place.

Determine Your Prices

Another important aspect of starting your cleaning business is determining your prices. 

You’ll want to ensure that your prices are high enough to make a profit but low enough to compete in the cleaning industry. 

The best way to determine your prices is to do some research on the going rates in your area. The best way to do this is to contact local cleaning companies in your area and ask them how much they charge for their services. 

You can also ask them if they hire independent contractors; if they do, you can ask how much they pay their contractors. When determining your prices, you’ll want to ensure that your prices are competitive. 

Average Cleaning Rates in the UK

ServiceCost RangeType
House Cleaning£18 – £20Per hour
Carpet Cleaning£36 – £55Per hour
Specialist Cleaning£20 – £25Per hour
Pre / Post Tenancy£80 – £160Per job


The cleaning industry is not highly regulated. Larger companies adhere to the Cleaning Chemical Safety (The COSHH Regulations).

Many associations and professional bodies are working to improve the standards and qualifications in the industry. 

You will also need to get three types of insurance essential for a cleaning business.

  • Public liability insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Employers’ liability insurance

Staff Requirements

In your initial start-up days, you may choose to run your cleaning business alone, either to keep costs down or because you’re waiting for your business to take off before hiring your first employees. 

While you can certainly start your cleaning business with a solo operation, having employees from the beginning can be beneficial. 

Having employees from the start will allow you to scale your business faster and give you more time to focus on growing it and marketing it.  

You’ll want to ensure that you’re hiring the right people. Have a thorough interview to ensure that you bring in the right people. Finding qualified staff isn’t necessary for a cleaning business, but you will need to find hardworking, committed and trustworthy staff.

As your business grows, you will need more staff. In addition to cleaners, you will need them.

Sales Manager – responsible for developing new business opportunities and securing contracts from marketing leads.  

Technical Manager – responsible for the technical execution of orders, keeping inventory records, and monitoring equipment and group serviceability.

Supervisor(s) – They will manage cleaners and maintain the company’s standards.


Starting a cleaning business can be a great way to earn money from something you love.

Before you start, you’ll want to know your market, hire your employees, start marketing early, decide on the type of service you’ll offer, choose the equipment you’ll need, and determine your prices.

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