Cleaning business -would really like some help/advice please

(29 Posts)
newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 15:25:04

Hi there

I am currently on ML and would really like to start a domestic cleaning business with my two sisters, using only environmentally friendly cleaning products which we would bring. (although i would use clients own cleaning products if that was what they wanted).

My sister also had an idea of us using our own steam cleaners, some thing like this: www.thanedirect.co.uk/steam+cleaners for hard floors and kitchen/bathroom what do you think of this?

We would really want to emphasise on providing good customer service as well as excellent cleaning. Being friendly as well as professional.

I have no idea how to start it up, not sure how to register as a company or name or anything!

I Live in London and would want to work in South east and South West London areas although wouldnt mind travelling as all three of us drive and have our own cars.

possibly charge between £8 - £10 per hour or do you think one off charges like £35 for 2 -3 hours for the whole house? what do you think is reasonable for London?

Any advice welcome.

thanks smile

P.S would i be able to start this whilst i am on maternity leave, whilst receiving SMP?

zumo Wed 09-Jan-13 18:09:17

First thing you need is a good accountant to help you get started, you will need to register with the tax man thats all, accontant will do this for you and save you a fortune claiming for expenses you would never have thought of
Secong Public liability insurance, its about £100-200.
Third a name, just check no one else is using it locally.
Hang on you also need to consider demand, I would hammer the local area as why travel to jobs, just take ones locally as it will save a fortune in fuel and time, demand I feel can be difficult, if you have three people spilt the local area in to three and work one each but under the same name, decide how much time and cash you will each put in, then set a target, get up and running and see if you can get the work in. Some people will dissagree and tell you to get work first but if you get it and havent set up how will you do it?
It will be difficult and long hours but given time and effort it will get easier.
We have just set up a company and the first three months have ben hard but we are confident it will come around, you wont believe how much money and effort will be swallowed by it but its worth it as when is works out its all yours.
Target the blokes who work but live alone as the few I know all have cleaners, one even gets his shopping!
Good luck

newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:52:00

Hi zumo

Thanks for your advice, i now have somewhere that i can start from! I do see your point in working in my local areas too.

Anyone else have experience in setting up a cleaning business?

fishybits Wed 09-Jan-13 19:57:58

Can I make a suggestion as someone that uses a weekly domestic cleaning company?

I have found that when the girls are paired up in twos and work for an hour as opposed to one girl for two hours, they do a much better job and I love that they are done an hour faster. The cleaning company I use charges a standard £10 per hour per cleaner

newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:14:59

hi fishy

your advice is welcome!

That is exactely what my sister suggested, but i thought maybe some clients would prefer only one person at a time if the house had family in.

could i ask whether you prefer to be in or out of the house once the cleaners are in? and are you in london with that pricing?

zumo Wed 09-Jan-13 20:17:01

Thats a good point about two cleaners

hotbot Wed 09-Jan-13 20:25:55

2 cleaners needed as it takes to lift and move furniture and sofas etc. to clean under them

Save your back!

newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:34:27

I hadn't thought about that!

Would probably ask clients whether they would prefer the two people and charge per cleaner per hour like fishybits cleaners? would that be reasonable? bearing in mind i want to charge between £8 - £10.

hotbot Wed 09-Jan-13 21:08:24

Well, it's pretty much the same thing, the house needs cleaning and it will take 4hours with one cleaner for 40quid or 2 hrs with 2 cleaners for 40quid, the outcome is the same.

fishybits Wed 09-Jan-13 21:13:57

I prefer being out but that's just me, others might prefer to be in. I've never been charged anything other than £10 per hour whether in Bucks, Cumbria or Scotland.

newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 21:17:04

Just read fishys post and realised its the same thing!
This is what a baby waking you up at 4am does to you blush

newstart2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 21:20:47

what about the use of steam cleaner, would anyone see that as an added plus?

fishybits Wed 09-Jan-13 21:49:21

Offering different services is a good way of increasing your income. Eg you could have a separate charge for steam cleaning an oven or carpets etc.

I personally wouldn't be swayed by your company just because you use a steam cleaner as standard.

zgaze Thu 10-Jan-13 00:57:11

Do you want to come and practice on my flat? grin I'd definitely be swayed by a cleaner using a steam mop. Currently pay £11.50 ph in south London which is the going rate so don't undercharge yourselves.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 10-Jan-13 04:40:14

Personally I think you're planning to charge too little.

Why chase the market down? What are you going to do when your competitor asks 7:50? Would you charge a fiver just to win a client?

If your USP is going to be that you're "green", leverage that. Don't be just another minimum wage (and it is after you've hauled your arse half way around london) who uses Ecover rather than bleach!

Us women aren't going to take over the world if we keep charging bargain basement rates!

fishybits Thu 10-Jan-13 09:43:46

There are a lot of excellent cleaners who don't use a steam cleaner (or need to) and who charge £10 per hour.

Do not price yourself out of the market or lose money by using a steam cleaner as standard when you can offer steam cleaning as an extra and make additional money from it.

One way to make money is have an initial idea that is a good one/profitable and to keep adding to it charging for each additional service.

I ran a successful business using precisely that model.

lovemytee Thu 10-Jan-13 12:54:48

hi fishybits i understand there are loads of cleaning companies that do not use steam cleaning, however i think allot of people would prefer the use of non harsh chemicals and avoiding the strong smell of bleach in the house, especially when kids in the house. From personal experience and friends and family i know have always complained about that when using cleaners. Also the fact that its eco-friendly and the non use of strong chemicals should reflect in the pricing, so i agree with dolomitesdonkey on the pricing technique. i hope this helps newstart2013 smile

newstart2013 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:32:42

Thanks everyone

(just wrote a long reply but it got deleted)

I genuinely thought between £8 - £10 was the going rate, and i've read some other threads where people charged a lot less.

DolomitesDonkey its true! and i've read the other thread about making £1000 a day, I really don't want to be on minimum wage after all costs. I need to definately take a look at what we want to charge. If we are good at what we do, then the customers will pay.

zgaze you may not be able to afford me once i've looked at my costs. grin

fishybits im taking on board what you are saying, especially about charging for additional services.

Thanks everyone your advice is really helping me to think of this as a business and not just a small income.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 10-Jan-13 15:34:28

I don't have a cleaner right now, but when I did she got 10 an hour and took the piss. All my friends say the same - they're on the fucking phone, never do behind the taps/microwave/shoe-stand etc., etc.

In fact amongst one group of friends it was considered positive if they turned up and didn't steal stuff!

I'd happily pay more if they'd just get the fuck on with it! I am not being a slave-driver here - I'm talking about someone who took 4 hours to do a small 3-bed house (1 room out of bounds!) and didn't even manage to wipe the kitchen worktops down in that time!

carocaro Fri 11-Jan-13 13:13:23

I really like the idea of a one off steam clean from time to time, would you do curtains and unpholstery also? Like an oven clean you can get, isywim. I know when my two boys were younger and asthma prone, we steam cleaned all of the above a lot to get rid of dust mites, it was a right fag and we had to hire a machine every time, so I would have loved someone to come in and do it all!

I am sure if you did a fab little leaflet and did a door drop in your local area, say a 200-500 houses, something along the lines of 'Spring Steam Clean' offer, it sould give you a good idea of levels of interest and response, without having to got to massive expense to test out your idea.

BoysWillGrow Fri 11-Jan-13 17:41:15

Hi newstart.
I'm in exactly the same boat at the mo, I'm getting ideas together, sorting prices, which way to go (was going to go with the Eco thing too, although it pushes the price of cleaning products a fair amount)
I also was thinking of £10ph
I was unsure of how to charge though, whether it should be after each clean or offer maybe £5 off if they paid for a certain amount of hours per month upfront. To encourage them to make it regular with me.
Was also thinking oven cleaning as an extra on top (unsure how much to charge for this though) And also carpet cleaning, but the outlay to buy a decent one straight off worries me.
I live in the south east so was thinking £10 is the going rate. I'm also going to start with a leaflet drop. Hopefully they'll be interest. We have large detached houses round here.
Also how would you approach or go about doing it for local small business's like pubs, small restaurants and small offices, how would you approach them and offer the service? Id feel like a right novice just randomly going in and asking.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 11-Jan-13 18:07:19

I would like a full day deep clean, the type our grannies would've called a spring clean I suppose.

BoysWillGrow Fri 11-Jan-13 18:39:22

I like that idea of a full day deep clean, how much would you think is a fair price for that type of clean? thinking it would be 8 hours worth of work, moving furniture, oven cleaning or carpet cleaning as an add on maybe too.

BoysWillGrow Fri 11-Jan-13 18:43:50

Also if your in the south east MSG me, I'd be happy to do it smile

DolomitesDonkey Fri 11-Jan-13 19:25:38

Tbh I'd happily pay 150 for it to be done you know, in to all the corners and wiping down the back of things. You know, all the stuff flylady wants you to get doing! wink I would expect you to bring all your own equipment and sprays and polishes and stuff for making taps shine and grouting gleam!

I have actually investigated this option before with an agency because I don't want a contract or a regular cleaner.

Sorry, not in the UK and I fear your mileage would be too much! grin

DolomitesDonkey Fri 11-Jan-13 19:26:57

I'm salivating at the thought of all the insides of the cupboards wiped down, the cutlery all taken out of the drawer and the drawer scrubbed.

(not enough to get my arse off the sofa and do it myself natch! wink)

BoysWillGrow Fri 11-Jan-13 20:35:52

Ahh shucks, a customer gone before I've even started grin

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 17-Jan-13 23:23:20

I think £10 is the minimum anyone should take. In London, however, you will be up against some very stiff competition from people willing to work for less.

On the plus side, there are a lot of disappointed clients out there.

If you are good (you show up when expected, you do a good job, you are well-presented and care about providing a good service) then you can get more than "the going rate."

Don't worry about price shoppers. You don't need to please everybody. You just need to please enough people to keep yourself busy. Look at it this way: would you rather clean 10 hours for £15 an hour, or 15 hours for £10?

That said, if you're looking for more than "the going rate" then you're going to need to be better than average.

As for "green cleaning." Well, some people do do that. You need to market it strongly. For the most part, most customers don't really care. They just want someone they can trust to show up when expected and do what they're paid to do. I couldn't do eco because I don't really believe in it. I think there's a lot of hype and nonsense and I don't think many of the products are that good. But, I know a woman who IS passionate about it, she absolutely believes in it, and she does very well.

I'm going to pm you now and send you a link to a forum that I have found helpful in my own business.

tigerdriverII Thu 17-Jan-13 23:29:07

Well...

My cleaners work as a pair. They have their own business so there's none of that worrying about "are they my employee" stuff.

They are pricey - £11 per hour each if I provide all materials, Hoover etc, or £12.50 an hour if they do.

They do 2 hours each once a fortnight and the house looks fab. I am very pleased with them but I do know I pay a bit over the odds.

So basically go for it!

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