Are you one of those individuals who relishes turning a dirty or untidy house into a clean and fresh-smelling home? Do have some time on your hands? If so, there’s an interesting business opportunity available to you. Most people don’t relish housework, and when they’re trying to fit a busy lifestyle into not enough hours, they’re quite happy to hand over the domestic chores to someone else.
Making a Living as a Cleaner
According to the British Cleaning Council, the cleaning industry provides work for over 700,000 people. While many of these are employed in shops, and offices there is an ever-increasing market for domestic cleaners. The potential is there, it’s just a case of deciding how best to take advantage of it.
Setting Your Rates
Home cleaning is usually paid for based on the time it takes, so you’ll need to decide how much to charge for house cleaning per hour.
The average hourly rate for house cleaning in the UK falls somewhere between £13-20 per hour when a cleaner is booked through an agency. Prices tend to be higher in London and other major cities and lower in less affluent regions. Some agencies charge more, and costs will be higher when the cleaner or agency provides either cleaning materials of equipment.
Generally speaking, if you’re an independent cleaner rather than an agency worker people will expect you to charge less than this. This is a little unfair. It’s true that if you’re not working through an agency you don’t have to give up a proportion of your wages to them, but as a self-employed person, you have other overheads and time considerations to take into account. Fair or not, that’s the way it is, so you’ll probably have to take it into account when deciding on your hourly rate.
Be Clear About What You Want to Offer
You’ll need to decide if you’re looking for a limited number of regular clients, who’ll employ you on a weekly or fortnightly basis, or if you’re also happy to take on one-off jobs, perhaps something like spring cleaning or after party cleaning.
You may set your rates based on house cleaning prices per hour in the UK, but what about your travel time and transportation costs? Who will provide the tools and the detergents? There are lots of questions you’ll need to ask yourself, and the clearer you can be about the answers the more chance you have of success.
Marketing Your Cleaning Business
If you’re looking to stay small, you may find all the work you need by speaking to family, friends, and neighbours. If you’re planning on a cleaning empire you’ll need to explore other avenues. Landlords and construction companies can be a good place to start. Both, however, are likely to expect that you have your own tools and the means to transport them. And they probably won’t be interested until you can prove your reliability and professionalism. Collect references from your early jobs whenever you can.
As soon as you become self-employed you need to register with the tax office. You’ll fill in an annual tax form and have to pay any tax due by the advised dates. You should also consider taking out public liability insurance and if your business grows and you employ others, employers’ liability insurance is a legal obligation.
The Challenges and Rewards
Starting any business is a challenge, but the monetary rewards and personal satisfaction are there for those prepared to put in the work. And if you clean to a high standard your customers will regard you as a treasure!