setting up cleaning business - any advice

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Boost Your Income
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dadooronronrondadooronrondadooronronrondadooronron Forumite
78 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Boost Your Income
Hello - My partner has had her work hours reduced and is wanting to do something from home to top up income. She has thought about ironing but would rather work from home but get out and about if that makes sense - rather than being in house all day. She has talked to a few people lately who have cleaners and pay anything between £8 per hour to £13 per hour and she was thinking of setting up and charging something in between. THe questions she wanted to ask are
  • Do most cleaners supply cleaning items or do the clients leave their own stuff (obv. this would impact on cost)
  • Insurance - will she need insurance and if so any recommendations how much she should pay for this
  • SHe isn't wanting to set up a huge business - probably just work 8-10 hrs per week and is happy to do regular cleaning or occasional cleaning. Can anybody recommend cheap business cards - she went on vistaprint which stated they were free but then at the end they were going to cost quite a bit. She said may have selected wrong type so may try again. Any advice regarding cards/flyers welcome.
thanks - on behalf of "other half" - Ron


  • Have i put this in the wrong section?! Not a single reply - I am starting to feel invisible! RONNNNNNNN
  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    I have a few friends that use cleaners.

    Supplying your own materials vs using the client's own - both approaches are used by my friends. The cleaners usually quote 2 rates dependent on who's materials they are using. A lot of clients prefer to supply their own as they like the particular scent, are allergic to some ingredients, whatever. But if your OH can cater for both scenarios it makes her more flexible, just work out what rates you need to charge for each approach.

    Insurance - not legally necessary, but very well worth getting. Saves you having to fork out if she knocks over a priceless Ming vase ! Any of the insurance companies will offer third-party liability for pretty reasonable premiums.

    Business cards - not really sure on this one, but I've seen machines in shopping arcades, train stations etc. that will print out 50 or 100 at a time for about a fiver, something like that.

    Hope this helps.
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  • I have been doing some research into this for my Other half.

    Materials - I have found most people have said they prefer the cleaner to bring their own products unless something specialist is required.

    Insurance - There are variety of insurance companies who will cover for approx 50-80. Dependant on how much you want to cover.

    Business Cards - I wouldn't bother and just go and get some flyers printed. As this is the cheapest advertisement. I have started several businesses and used the best tool I have to get the word out, my own 2 feet. Spending an evening walking around delivering a few hundred flyers. You can get 3000 A5 single sided flyers printed for £130. You can probably do a basic design yourself, or a pro could knock something up in house and should cost no more than £40-60.

    Hope this helps
  • AmaraAmara Forumite
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    I've been running a cleaning business for a while by now.
    1. Materials: my customers supply them, unless I do one-off jobs, for example end of tenancy deep clean. People usually have stuff at homes and are happy for cleaner to use it . From other hand, your partner can advertise herself as a "green cleaner" and use "green" supplies, then she can charge more. It really depends from her, if she just wants some extra job to top up her wages, I think the best way for her is letting people supply their cleaning products.
    2. Insurance: not necessery, but silly not have it. When I was working on my own (I've got workers now) premium was £6/month for £1m .
    3. Business cards: don't bother with them , they are worth having for a fairly big business, for your DH word of mouth will do better.
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  • taifun wrote: »
    You can get 3000 A5 single sided flyers printed for £130. You can probably do a basic design yourself, or a pro could knock something up in house and should cost no more than £40-60.

    Hope this helps

    We got ours done for £75ish for 5,000 flyers :) We did design them ourselves though as OH is a graphic designer. So make sure you shop around for the best flyer prices and that the company has a good reputation. PM me if you need details of the one my OH used and I will get the name from him :)

    Good luck!
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Forumite
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    I agree with some of the comments above.

    Flyers are more useful for you than cards. Do a week or two of 3-4 hours a day door drops. I suggest you'll get a better response from medium size family homes rather than big luxury mansions. You'll also find clients who value your work more this way.

    I would charge £15 an hour, using your own materials. Reason is you then know your materials, you can use more powerful and efficient products that save you time on the job. Use your own hoover so there are never any problems with clients' machines breaking or not working properly. Obvisouly take shoes off at the door, maybe she can use some slip-ons for indoor use.

    Be wary of tidying up as well - I had a cleaner but ended up stopping their service as they kept putting things away in the wrong places and I could never find them again! I just wanted them to clean.

    Would she consider nannying? I think getting into a trusted role with a family could be a more rewarding line of work?
  • Hi Ron,

    I used to work for a partyplan company, without mentioning names!!...So I have some rough ideas about setting up my own small business- hopefully this will all come in handy to your wife. :)

    Firstly- She is best to start off with buying reasonably good products/equipment i.e. a decent hoover, a decent range of cleaning products, some sort of uniform etc. This may be an initial outlay, but it will go far, customers will talk to other people they know and be like 'Ooo my cleaner is ever so good, she brings along all of her own products so I don't have to fork out for things like that!' - Yes this may cost your wife in the beginning...but it also means she can charge extra per hour for using her own thingsin comparison to those cleaners who don't take along their own equipment and it gives her advertising just by word of mouth. If she is going to declare herself as self employed, she will be able to claim back for things such as uniforms, equipment and so on, as an expense providing she keeps hold of her reciepts- so will get her money back as tax year ends anyway.

    Insurance- please make sure she takes this out otherwise she could shoot herself in the foot. If she uses the comparison sites she will grab herself a good deal reasonably cheap (Should be no more than £100 for the year, if that), she also wants to make sure she writes up some sort of contracts and make the customers sign before she does any work and make sure she also keeps copies of these. This is to cover her own back, incase for example she was to ruin someone carpet accidentely with bleach or something and will have to pay out the costs for this if she isn't insured.

    Advertising- Vistaprint are very good for business cards, they usually have deals on where she could have around 200 free business cards yet only has to pay the postage at around £3-£5, I would only give these to people who generally approach her for cleaning as this will be your most expensive outlay for advertising. As for flyers, these work very well if she goes people hunting!...Get her to spend an afternoon in town just giving out leaflets to everyone that passes her, this way she is bound to get some work. Personally I wouldn't bother with fancy flyers- just get her to design her own black and white ones on Word, print one off and take it to somewhere that photocopies i.e. your local supermarket. They are generally 1p a copy, so thats 100 copies for £1 and if she can give out 200 in an afternoon it isn't a massive cost for her if people just throw these away.

    Hope all of this info helps, and all the best to her. Its not easy in the beginning but all of her hard work will pay off. Promise!:)
  • Agree with Ebe Scrooge's reply to be honest, think most cleaners nowadays use the clients products as allows them to select certain fragrances etc, and also if there are any allergies to anything this is automatically catered for.

    Would imagine it would impact on insurance a bit as well whose products you use so best off staying with it.

    Flyer wise I wouldn't bother, who reads a flyer nowadays? Rather go for a local newspaper advert, or even just word of mouth to start with. Ultimately you want to start slowly and build a loyal client base.

    Good luck though, let us know how you get on!
  • edited 15 May 2013 at 10:26PM
    clairibelclairibel Forumite
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    edited 15 May 2013 at 10:26PM
    Hi Ron,

    Word of mouth is always the best and its where I have gained the most clients, the proof is in your service.

    Ask the client if they want to use their products or yours. I always use their hoover but that is personal choice. I don't want to lug one about and also if it breaks your stuck. Maybe offer ironing as well as some want a bit of both.

    Advertise on freeindex, its brilliant and free. You can also tender for work near to you, there are always loads of cleaning jobs. I have gained 3 clients from here and thats in 3 months. Getting good reviews is the key to success.

    Look on Gumtree under housekeeping people advertise for cleaners on there a lot, she can also advertise herself for free. Set up a facebook page, not sure how that works as I don't have one, again free.

    I put an advert in the local paper and received no interest over 6 weeks, I also put my card in 8 shop windows and again no response.

    I would say the magnets you get for your car from Vista print are better than leaflets because people see them and then can call you. I haven't needed to do this as I have enough clients now.

    A lot of people I have spoke to go online. Good luck.
  • geordie_joegeordie_joe Forumite
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    Busybee123 wrote: »
    Hi All

    Just wanted to share with you how I got my cleaning business going, you might find this useful. I had cleaned for other companies for a few years and decided I wanted to start up my own business. I decided it was best for me if i did it slowly on the side of my job. I searched for ages on the internet of what to do and where to start. I came across this website which I found really usefull startyourown. org/cleaningbusiness It has loads of tools for getting going, including a guide to setting achievable goals, business plan, printable marketing material (my fave) email marketing campaign (another fave of mine). It helped me alot in my early days and I still use it now. I have been running my own business for just over a year now and have my 35th customer. Its been hard work but if your up for that anyone can do it.


    Hang on, you started your business just over a year ago, and this site helped you in your early days.

    The site was only created 3 days ago, well I say created but that's stretching it a bit, it doesn't even have a front page yet!
    Created On:12-May-2013 12:50:26 UTC
    Last Updated On:12-May-2013 12:53:53 UTC
    Expiration Date:12-May-2014 12:50:26 UTC
    DPJames wrote: »
    You are never wrong about anything.
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