Small business idea - thoughts and comments please

(17 Posts)
Geoff0409 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:05:38

I am thinking of setting up 2 small businesses, 1 of which would doing domestic cleaning (the other is gardening, but that's for another day) to supplement our income. I would ideally like to start it and then get my Wife involved later as she would like to do something in the mornings once our DS starts Nursery later this year, but is quite a shy person so I am trying to get it going and then hand it over once there's a little less of the donkey work for her to do. If any of you guys employ or would employ a domestic cleaner, what sort of hourly rate do/would you pay, and how often would you need them to come? I think I would prefer to use my own equipment (I would buy a new vacuum and cleaning tools etc to use) as I thought it would look more professional than using someone's own products, but could adjust prices if some customers preferred this option. Also, if you needed a cleaner and wanted to look for one, would you look online, yellow pages, leaflets etc? Obviously I would like to get a couple of customers and then get recommendations / word of mouth, but I have to start somewhere. Any advice you can all give would be much appreciated. Thank you very much thanks .

AwfulMaureen Tue 04-Feb-14 22:17:58

If I wanted a cleaner, I'd probably google first. "Cleaners in MaureenTown" and look for a company that looked well set up and which had it's own website.

I'd want to see that the cleaners were insured and police checked....I'd never look in the yellow pages...I think most people bin them these days unless elderly. I did once keep a leaflet that came through the door about a cleaning service because I liked the graphics and thought that if I needed a cleaner, I'd call them. If I were you, I'd look first at a website...then at making it Google friendly....so you get hits. Also, Facebook can be brilliant as a marketing aid...I've seen a woman I know get a tonne of work ironing and cleaning ovens just by setting up a Facebook page and inviting all her friends to like the page...she then posted all day...at hourly intervals with little reminders of her services and how much it costs etc....then friends liked her posts and their friends saw it...and so on and so on.

If you're short on budget that is an excellent way to go.

Mintyy Tue 04-Feb-14 22:25:00

We do have a cleaner and consider her to be one of our highest family priorities grin.

We pay £10 per hour, in London.

She uses our hoover (which is a fairly new cylinder Dyson) and I provide all the cleaning materials.

I would always go by word of mouth/personal recommendations when choosing a cleaner.

She comes for 3 hours a week and cleans our large 3 bed Victorian terrace in that time, and does a bit of ironing if time permits.

I don't ask her to get involved in tidying, laundry, cleaning the oven or cleaning the windows (I buy in other services for the latter two).

ImMarmite Tue 04-Feb-14 22:28:03

I'm a SE cleaner. I have been known to be so busy I have to turn down work & I often have helps...

My clients included millionaires, footballers, letting agents, little oldies...
I've not had a problem getting work as ALL my clients highly re ornamented me. That's the key to stating up. Make it benifical for them to recommend you.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 05-Feb-14 08:25:36

I paid £10 an hour in London. We had 3 hours every other week. She used my cleaning materials and hoover. I wouldn't really expect somebody to bring their own.

I gave her a key as I wanted her to come when I was at work.

She came through recommendation.

We stopped using her as we were having lots of building work done and now I am on mat leave.

Geoff0409 Wed 05-Feb-14 08:29:24

Thanks for these brilliant replies everyone. It is much appreciated and very helpful.

To AwfulMaureen You are right, I can't remember the last time that I looked in the Yellow Pages for anything to be honest, the leaflet/flyer I have started to design is (I Hope) quite eyecatching.

To Mintyy - your house sounds amazing envy !!! I thought that I might offer 2 services - 1 where I provide all the cleaning tools/supplies etc, and 1 where I will use the customer's if they prefer. That way I hope I can appeal to most people that would need me. I am just outside London, so my charges wouldn't be too far off what you pay currently - so it's nice to have an idea of what a normal price would be. I am a very thorough person (especially with cleaning), am not frightened of hard work so hope I wouldn't let anyone down. Ironing not a problem if someone wants it - no lady in my life (Wife, Mum or Nan ) has ever complained if I have got the iron out smile .

To ImMarmite, well done on your business. May I please ask how you got started, roughly what services/prices you offer, and what kind of marketing you would recommend?

Thanks again to all of you. You are very kind.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Feb-14 08:48:08

Hmm, if my cleaner brought their own priducts I would pay a nominal extra amount.

If your wife might take over, will you restrict yourself all along to nursery hour jobs?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Feb-14 08:49:43

I would get Molly Maid to quote for your house and then charge less - they are expensive!

Geoff0409 Wed 05-Feb-14 10:23:43

Thanks Doc .

That is why I want to offer 2 basic services - 1 flat rate if you would prefer to have your own products used, and 1 slightly bigger rate if I use my own stuff (it will be dedicated equipment, not my personal stuff that I have in the house) - we have a guy here at work who pays people to do everything in his flat - he even has paid someone to change some lightbulbs as he wasn't sure what to do shock . I know that this is an extreme case, but there seem to be people out there who want to have a complete service if you see what I mean.

Not necessarily for just Nursery hours. If there was enough work my current employer wouldn't see me for dust (no pun intended). I am very, very keen to do this, and I am sure that once there is enough of a build up of customers then that is what we would both be doing. It is not going to set the world alight, but if it meant being a bit happier and a bit more control over life then that is the first aim.

workingnomad Thu 13-Mar-14 13:37:53

£10 an hour working in London? I wonder how many people they have to share their bedroom with, if indeed they can afford to live in a normal house.

really1234 Thu 13-Mar-14 13:49:30

I think £10 ph in London is too low. I pay £8 in the sticks to a lady in the village, Agencies charge a good bit more than that.

My cleaner uses my stuff.

whereisshe Thu 13-Mar-14 13:58:30

We pay £15 an hour (heart of the London commuter belt, it's next to impossible to get a non-booked out cleaner here). She does all the basic cleaning, whatever needs doing, for 2 hours weekly. No tidying, no ironing, no oven or outdoor work. She brings some of her own things eg steam vac, I provide most of the products and the vacuum cleaner. She normally provides all of her own products but I'm a bit fussy about the chemicals I allow in the house.

whereisshe Thu 13-Mar-14 14:00:20

Forgot to say, I don't trust flyers - we found her on Checkatrade.

Lamu Thu 13-Mar-14 14:27:10

We used to pay £11 phr in London (zone 1) so I don't think £10 is unreasonable. However the company did stipulate a minimum of 3 hrs a week.

Now out in a village less than 40 miles from London and we pay £14 phr not including cleaning materials or ironing etc. Not an agency cleaner btw.

Whereisshe, I wouldn't trust Checkatrade either. It doesn't have a great reputation, just google some reviews.

Op, you won't beat WOM recommendations. Particularly cleaning peoples homes. Not sure if you're rural but advertise your services in the parish news papers. Flyers through doors. Maybe an advert in a few local newsagent notice boards. And then a really simple 2-3 page website. You can do this yourself, it's pretty straightforward.

whereisshe Thu 13-Mar-14 14:45:58

Lamu I didn't realise that about checkatrade. Are there any decent online trader review sites then?

Lamu Thu 13-Mar-14 15:03:58

Whereisshe, from what I understand it seems slightly underhand in how feedback is given, so for example, you have a bad experience with a trader you can't actually leave negative feedback. It's also a commercial site so assume the trades people pay for some sort of membership. I'm not saying that all the traders on the site are unscrupulous. Just saying don't take everything at face value especially for a big job.

I couldn't really recommend any trader review sites tbh as I tend to use people who've been recommended via friends and family.

HTH

minipie Thu 13-Mar-14 15:13:31

Bear in mind many (non agency) cleaners are paid in cash and so may be willing to accept a lower rate as a result. So you could end up having to compete with that.

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