How to Start a Cleaning Company and Succeed in the UK

Starting a cleaning company in the UK can be a lucrative and rewarding venture, especially given the evergreen demand for cleaning services. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to launch and grow your cleaning business successfully.

As a city full of rental properties, London presents a promising market for end of tenancy cleaning businesses. Notably, one in three households in the UK now employs a cleaner, and the demand for cleaning services is continually growing.

However, stepping into this industry might seem daunting without a proper guide. Let’s break down the process for launching an end of tenancy cleaning business in London in 2023.

Why Start a Cleaning Business: Is it Worth It?

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of starting a cleaning business, it’s crucial to understand the reasons why this venture is worth your consideration. According to the British Cleaning Council, the UK cleaning industry employs over 700,000 people and contributes over £24 billion to the economy. Here are some compelling reasons to dive into the cleaning business:

Low Start-up Costs

One of the most attractive aspects of starting a cleaning business is the minimal initial investment required. Unlike many other businesses, you won’tneed a physical storefront, and there are no significant upfront costs related to inventory or stock accumulation. All you need are the right cleaning products, a reliable mode of transportation, and the necessary insurance coverage.

Flexible Schedule

As the owner of a cleaning business, you have the freedom to choose your work hours. This flexibility allows you to tailor your schedule to your needs and preferences. Whether you have other responsibilities or simply prefer working at specific times, being your own boss grants you full control over your calendar.

Selective Job Choices

Running a cleaning business gives you the power to choose your clients and projects. If a particular job doesn’t align with your interests or is too far from your base, you have the liberty to decline it. This autonomy ensures that you can focus on the jobs that truly resonate with you, creating a more fulfilling work experience.

Minimal Entry Barriers

Becoming a cleaner doesn’t require extensive qualifications or experience. While it’s essential to educate yourself on safe cleaning practices and product usage, there are no stringent prerequisitesto enter the field. However, it’s advisable to prioritize safety by learning about proper chemical handling and product labels.

Cultivate Your Culture

As your cleaning business grows and you potentially hire employees, you have the opportunity to shape and nurture your company’s culture. You can establish unique ways of working that align with your values and goals, ensuring that your business reflects your vision.

Different Types of Cleaning Companies

Before you embark on your cleaning business journey, it’s crucial to decide the niche in which you want to specialize. Here are the three primary types of cleaning companies:

  1. Residential Cleaning

Residential cleaners cater to homeowners and individuals, offering services such as carpet cleaning, kitchen and bathroom cleaning, floor mopping, and dusting. Attention to detail and respect for clients’ belongings are crucial in this niche.

  1. Commercial Cleaning

Commercial cleaners serve businesses, including offices, shops, and studios. Their tasks typically involve cleaning workspaces, common areas, and ensuring a clean and organized environment for employees and customers.

  1. Specialized Cleaning

Specialized cleaning services target specific areas or industries that require expertise. This may include graffiti removal, handling chemical spills, or other niche services. Specialized cleaners often need additional training, certifications, and specialized insurance coverage.

How Much Do Cleaners Get Paid?

The earning potential in the cleaning industry can vary based on several factors, including the type of cleaning you offer, your level of qualifications, and your experience. UK statistics indicate that the average cleaner earns approximately £10.31 per hour, equivalent to around £19,000 annually. However, cleaners operating as sole traders may earn closer to £35,000 per year.

It’s essential to research your local market and assess the pricing strategies of your competitors. Consider factors like the demand for your services, your unique offerings, and how you’ll accept payments from clients. Offering incentives or discounts can also help attract new customers and differentiate your business.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Start a Cleaning Business

To ensure a successful start for your cleaning business, follow these step-by-step guidelines:

Identify Your Market and Choose Your Niche

Conduct thorough research to identify gaps in the cleaning market in your area. Determine the type of cleaning business that best suits your skills and the demand in your locality. For example, if there’s a shortage of commercial cleaners in your area with a nearby business district, consider filling this gap.

Check Your Qualifications

Depending on your chosen niche, assess whether you need additional training, certifications, or licenses. Some cleaning specialties, like window cleaning in Scotland, require specific licenses. In England and Wales, you may need to register as a waste carrier, broker, or dealer.

Choose a Business Name and Register It

Selecting a catchy and unique business name is crucial. Check for name availability through official channels, such as Companies House if you plan to establish a limited company. As a sole trader, consider using a “trading name” if you want to operate under a different name than your own.

Acquire Necessary Cleaning Equipment

Invest in the essential cleaning toolsand supplies required for your business. The specific items may vary depending on your niche, but some basics include disinfectants, cleaning solutions, mops, buckets, gloves, and more. Start with the minimum required to provide quality service and expand your inventory as your business grows.

Determine Pricing and Payment Methods

Analyze your local competitors’ pricing structures and tailor your rates to remain competitive. Consider accepting advance payments, deposits, or flexible payment options to accommodate your clients’ preferences.

Develop a Business Plan and Marketing Strategy

Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. Simultaneously, craft a marketing plan to promote your cleaning services effectively. Utilize digital and traditional marketing channels to reach your target audience.

Search for Cleaning Contracts and Clients

Kickstart your client acquisition efforts by leveraging your network. Inform family and friends about your new cleaning business, as they might provide valuable referrals. Explore local community groups and online platforms to promote your services. Business cards, flyers, and a strong online presence can also help attract potential clients.

Provide Outstanding Service

Once you secure clients, focus on delivering exceptional service to build a positive reputation and generate word-of-mouth recommendations. Nurture client relationships and strive for customer satisfaction.

Consider Expanding and Hiring Staff

As your cleaning business grows, assess whether you need additional staff to meet the demand. Hiring part-time employees or apprentices can provide valuable assistance. Ensure that you comply with legal requirements, such as employers’ liability insurance, when hiring personnel.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Cleaning Business?

Your initial start-up costs will depend on the type of cleaning business you plan to establish. For a domestic cleaning service, you may need minimal investment in essentials like mops and cleaning cloths. In some cases, clients may provide cleaning tools in their homes.

For commercial or specialized cleaning, additional expenses may include equipment trolleys, professional vacuum cleaners, and even a vehicle for transportation. If you use a car or van for business purposes, consider obtaining van insurance.

Should I Start a Self-Employed or Limited Company Cleaning Business?

Determining the appropriate structure for your business is vital as it influences various aspects including your income and tax obligations.

Sole proprietorship/individual entrepreneur

An individual who singularly owns their venture. Legally, there is no distinction between the owner and the enterprise itself.


An organization that stands as a separate legal entity from its proprietor, established irrespective of whether it’s a solo venture or includes a handful of employees. Leverage connections of relatives and acquaintances.

Inform everyone you know about your budding venture – it’s possible someone is seeking a cleaning service right at that moment. If your circle is aware of your business venture, they can pass on the information within their networks. This way, if someone requires a cleaning service, your business can be referred.

Marketing your cleaning business

Advertise in community forums

Seek out regional community forums or bulletin boards where you can showcase your business. Whether it’s a neighborhood app or a Facebook group dedicated to local happenings, you’re likely to find platforms to attract business in your vicinity.

Market your offerings through business cards or pamphlets

Possessing pamphlets or business cards is highly beneficial for occasions where you encounter potential clients. Giving them something tangible to refer to can be an effective promotional strategy. Consider distributing flyers in local bulletin boards or eateries that permit such activities.

Amplify your cleaning service presence on social platforms

Initiating a Facebook page and actively engaging with followers through responses to comments, feedback, and queries can substantially enhance your customer relations in the real world.

Deliver excellent service to foster word-of-mouth referrals

Enterprises like yours thrive on referrals, often stemming from satisfied customers. Once you establish a client base, focus on cultivating strong bonds with them to encourage endorsements to other potential clients.

Available insurance options for cleaning enterprises? 

As you devote effort to establish your business, maintaining a pristine reputation is essential. Utilize insurance solutions for cleaning services to initiate your venture with confidence, tailoring coverage to match your business requirements, and adapting as your business expands.

Public liability coverage

Safeguard your business against incidents where individuals might get unintentionally harmed due to your services – for instance, accidents such as slips or falls on a freshly cleaned floor at the site you’re servicing – with public liability coverage. This policy aids in covering legal expenses and shields you from any potential claims.

Employers’ liability coverage

Secure your workforce in the event they are harmed or fall sick due to their job responsibilities with employers’ liability coverage. It is a mandatory requirement if you have employees, offering coverage for damages, compensation expenses, and legal fees in case an employee or ex-employee successfully files a claim against you.

In conclusion, establishing a thriving cleaning business in the UK, particularly in London, is more than feasible given the persistent demand for quality cleaning services. By meticulously selecting the appropriate business structure, carving out a niche that resonates with your strengths, and deploying effective marketing strategies, you can build a venture that is both profitable and personally gratifying. 

Remember, success in this domain is predicated not just on business acumen but on consistently delivering excellent service, fostering positive client relationships, and adapting to market dynamics. With the UK cleaning industry being a substantial contributor to the economy, venturing into this sector offers promising prospects and the potential for substantial growth and success. 

As you embark on this entrepreneurial journey, let this guide serve as your comprehensive roadmap to achieving your business aspirations in the cleaning industry sector.