Does anyone work in or run a cleaning/domestic services business?

(37 Posts)
RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 20:14:19

I have loads of questions and will probably forget half of them but i would really appreciate wisdom from anyone who has experience of this kind of business and consensus on whether i can/should do it?

I have been a cleaner through an agency for 3 years. I love doing it and have been talking myself out of setting up on my own for as long as i can remember. Through the agency the work has been very part time and so recently i took another PT job in a shop which has just driven home the fact that all i really want to do is work for myself as a cleaner. It is actually quite sad and depressing that i daydream about cleaning when i'm in the shop blush

So, i need to make a decision. Do i go for it? I am worried about not getting enough business to survive.

I also have no idea what i would need to do legally, other than get public liability insurance and register as self employed.

It is my intention to start out as a cleaner but i have thought of extending to things like laundry/ironing, changing pet bedding, dog walking/feeding, pet sitting etc. should I offer these services straight away or wait to see if there is a demand? I'm thinking just offer? Are there any services i could offer that i havent thought of?

Another worry is that i am a lone parent and have no evening childcare, at least not until i am earning enough to pay for it. I have daytime childcare but am i likely to have lots of work in the evening that i would have to turn down? Or could i employ someone to do the work i couldnt do? That sounds like a scary idea to me but i suppose lots of people do it.

Any advice or wisdom greatly appreciated.

originalmavis Thu 10-Dec-15 20:16:50

Good for you! I'd try to get a mix of commercial and private client work.

I don't know where you live but could you also do dog walking, granny sitting, plant watering? You can take on people as the work picks up.

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 20:22:23

I had wondered about granny sitting but unsure of whether qualifications are required? As that is like a home carer? Or maybe i am wrong. Yes plant watering, dog walking. I would even offer cooking but i cant cook at all! blush

givemecheese Thu 10-Dec-15 20:25:34

I've just started up. I started in augustvwith a Facebook post and got 3 new customers with that. I launched a website (that I did myself so low cost) about 3 or 4 weeks ago and I am now at a point I'll be fully booked with one or two new people. I honestly think if you do a good job you will be busy in no time. I only work until 3 most days, 4 occasionally. Where are you based? I have also thought about employing someone but its a scary thought!!!

donajimena Thu 10-Dec-15 20:29:45

Yes I do. I have my own business and I do quite well out of it.
Do you live in a big town or city? I don't do any domestic cleaning I work for a few letting agents. I'm happy to help if you want to PM me
I'm also a lone parent and I work school hours mainly

Akire Thu 10-Dec-15 20:33:39

I think offering extra services is great idea, I use care agency myself when carers are off but it would be handy especially for older people who find the housework hard but who don't need a carer to have someone run errends. Eg go pick up meds or food shopping or go to the post office on top of regular cleaning. It's difficult because lots of agency's for carers don't do just cleaning but if you need someone to do odd jobs cleaners don't usually do them either.

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 20:44:27

Thank you all, this is all so positive. I am in a medium sized town in NI. I have had lots of requests from both agency clients and from people they have talked to, to leave the agency and work for them directly but have declined up to this point out of fear of failing miserably.

Those who are already doing it, what are your insurance costs? What costs have caught you by surprise that you hadnt thought of?

donajimena Thu 10-Dec-15 21:10:13

One thing I didn't do was work directly with any agency clients (I started doing domestic with an agency) its a really unethical thing to do and some of my employees actually tried to steal my clients !
Nothing to stop you taking the word of mouth clients though..
Id keep the part time job for a bit until you build up enough regulars.
What do you want though? If its just enough hours to keep you in work (the magic 16 hours) you should be able to do that quite quickly.
If you Want to have £££ you need to look at taking people on which brings its own problems (see above ) but I kind of have it sussed now wink

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 21:28:18

Oh yes i totally agree it is unethical, i wouldnt work with any agency clients, any that have asked have been told this.

I think there is no point doing it for the 16 hours, i can do that very easily in the shop for far less effort and a guaranteed wage. I want to make a career/future security for myself.

Have you any advice or good websites to investigate employing staff?

donajimena Thu 10-Dec-15 22:08:17

I got a lot of help from a government funded business advisory service is there anything similar in NI?
I've got loads of information I could give you but its probably best to message you which I won't do this evening but can do over the weekend?

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 22:13:08

That would be great if you could message over the weekend, donajimena thank you. Not sure if there is anything like that here but i will certainly look. A friend works for a local councillor so i'll bet she'll know exactly where to go for funding etc.

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 22:15:39

Sorry, not funding, advice! I got distracted by the word 'funded' in your post and started thinking about new business funding that we used to have grin

donajimena Thu 10-Dec-15 22:19:43

No worries I will be in touch! smile

Rpj16 Thu 10-Dec-15 22:31:08

Hiya, I used to run a cleaning business and we used to work with cleaning holiday homes. There was also a website I got a lot of information from... I'll try to find it and post it. But it had amazing info, loads of real life examples specified to cleaning. The other thing to do would be to go on ACAS website and call with any specific questions as they are a free helpline for start up businesses!

Think this was the website/blog - you can search for specifics ... www.cleaning-4-profit.com/blog/

Good luck!! (By the way, be careful hiring people. Good cleaners are like gold dust!!)

RudeElf Thu 10-Dec-15 22:52:19

Thank donajimena

Thanks for the link RPJ.

By the way, be careful hiring people. Good cleaners are like gold dust!!

Any tips on how to tell upfront? Did you do reference checks, police checks, trial cleaning jobs?

Rpj16 Fri 11-Dec-15 00:14:01

So when you hire someone, set it up with an interview. You have a website, so mention that on the phone/when they contact you about the job. Then you can ask what they know about you. If they repeat what's on your website, you can tell they looked into it. I interview one girl who said 'I dunno....you clean for people' as her response. I was not impressed as there was far more to it, such as location, why the business was set up etc involved and accessible. Also ask why they want the job (don't always believe when people say they have cleaning ocd - its usually just a line!)

Seems trivial for a cleaning position, but its still a paid job. Usually fairly well paid and its a nice job where you can build relationships, so staff should take pride in it and take interviews seriously.

Another good thing to do is conduct the first meeting at their house, so you can oversee how clean they prepared it for your visit.

Its not a legal requirement to have a valid dbs/crb check in cleaning industry. But you could ask for references from other jobs.

I know some companies only hire staff in teams of 2 so they can cover more, share lifts, minimising petrol costs and potentially (as long as they are committed) can check each others work after jobs are done.

Long reply... Hope it helps in some way. I learnt the hard way in many ways!!blush

RudeElf Fri 11-Dec-15 12:20:20

Thank you rpj, that is really helpful.

RudeElf Fri 11-Dec-15 12:21:35

Also thats link is really good too!

DanglyEarOrnaments Fri 11-Dec-15 22:07:42

I can help advise you - that is one of my (voluntary) roles within a trade association for domestic cleaning services. I also have a cleaning business and have been trading for 18 years now.

I will pm you with some info.

RudeElf Fri 11-Dec-15 22:09:56

Thanks dangly i would really appreciate that.

donajimena Fri 11-Dec-15 22:13:24

Dangly has helped me immensely
(Under my previous guise Dangly) wink

DanglyEarOrnaments Fri 11-Dec-15 22:30:59

Oh brilliant - hello dona <waves> it's great that you are going strong with employees now (drop me a pm with your former alias?)

Also it's great that you're helping others out now, we all need to support and encourage one another, there is SO much domestic cleaning work out there for us, there's no for anyone to be competitive in this industry or to price low, demand is always there once they know where to find you - it's great for us all. smile

donajimena Fri 11-Dec-15 23:25:12

Mumsnet at its best wink

RudeElf Sat 12-Dec-15 11:23:22

You have all been so helpful and yes dangly has already provided me with some fantastic advice.

Am i right in thinking i can register now and get insured etc before i have actually started working? Who all do i have to register with?

givemecheese Sat 12-Dec-15 18:29:26

Ooo, would you mind sending me some info too Dangly. I am in the early days of setting up and I have a lot to learn!!!

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