How To Start a Cleaning Business In The UK.

If you are looking for a potentially lucrative market, then starting a cleaning business in the UK will help you join a growing industry. The cleaning industry is an expanding sector for both domestic cleaning and businesses looking to outsource their cleaning.

Cleaning Business

Starting your own cleaning business follows many of the same steps that a normal business would. A standard business plan is as follows:

  1. Identify a target market.
  2. Make sure you have the right certificates and qualifications.
  3. Set a finance and budget plan.
  4. Create a business plan and decide on pricing.
  5. Find the right audience.
  6. Have a business growth plan.

These are all basic, generic steps for starting up a business. Following these steps will help you get off the ground. However, the cleaning industry can be quite competitive. You’ll need to stand out against the crowd. The following tips will help you do just that.

What Are The Three Types Of Cleaning?

Ever since COVID, many people have become cleaning and hygiene fanatics. Social media and news feeds were filled with the ‘correct’ ways to properly clean or sanitise an area to remove contamination. Cleaning should always be thorough to make sure areas are kept healthy and free from bacteria.

It is especially important to know what kinds of cleaning there are if you are thinking of starting a cleaning business. Cleaning to the best possible standard in a reasonable time is what will leave a lasting impression on your clients.

Here are the main three types of clean for any cleaning business.


Removing dirt from floors and surfaces, tidying, and organising. It usually involves simple cleaning agents that can be found in most homes. A simple cleaning is a normal weekly routine for most households.

This will be standard for a cleaning business, but to do a good, thorough clean, you’ll have to go beyond a simple clean.


Sanitising should be the next step in the cleaning process. This involves using cleaning agents and chemicals to remove germs and bacteria from an area. Specific areas like doorknobs, TV controllers, and kitchen utensils should be sanitised, as well as other surface areas that are touched often.


Disinfecting aims to completely kill of microorganisms, leaving an area completely sterile. This usually involves applying a cleaning agent to an area, and then leaving it a while so that it can take effect.

What Type of Cleaning Business Should I Start?

There are a few ways to start a cleaning business in the UK. Typically, cleaners are self-employed or part of a franchise. Depending on the kind of cleaning that you are looking to do, they both have benefits and downsides.


If you are looking to be self-employed, then domestic cleaning might be easier than cleaning an entire office. Domestic cleaning is generally less complicated than commercial cleaning. You don’t have to worry as much about disinfecting as it’s within someone’s home and won’t be seeing as many different people coming in and out.

Domestic cleaners usually charge between £10-£15 an hour. It isn’t as involved as commercial cleaning, and you can usually use every day cleaning products to get the job done.

You could still look to do commercial cleaning. However as you would be cleaning a larger area, you may prefer to start a franchise that hires extra staff.


Starting a franchise requires extra research before you begin. You will want to target a postal area and have your franchise cover homes and businesses within that area.

There are also extra costs with starting a franchise. Initial costs are usually between £7000 and £17000. Consider what you will need to effectively run a franchise, from marketing to admin and management.

Having management experience is ideal as well, as you will oversee hiring and managing several staff. Keep this all in mind when factoring in costs for your franchise. It may be better to start off as self-employed with a small business, and then grow it into a franchise.

You could also join a franchise as a franchisee. Below are some examples of different cleaning franchises.

Merry Maids

Many franchises are similar, at least in their business plan and services, but they differ on what investment you will need to put in and other factors. Merry Maids requires an investment of £5,999 +VAT, and will provide you with training and all the tools that you will need to get started.


Requiring an investment of £10,000 and your revenue to reach £440,000 in two years. This franchise is described as being a premier cleaning service. It will also provide you with training for four days at the home office, and two days in the field. It includes customer conversion and retention training as well.

Do You Need Qualifications To Start a Cleaning Business?

Put simply, there are no legal requirements for starting a cleaning business. You do not need any extra qualifications for starting a cleaning business. With that being said, if you want to display a level of expertise, some customers may prefer to hire a cleaner who has a couple of qualifications.

If you were to want to start a commercial cleaning business, you may need a certificate or qualification. City and Guilds offer a variety of qualifications that could come in useful if you are looking to start a cleaning profession. Certain commercial cleaning equipment may need some training before you can use it.

In summary, you won’t be required to have a qualification to start a cleaning business but having a certificate to demonstrate a level of professionalism could help you gain more customers.

How Much Should You Charge As a Cleaner?

As stated previously, domestic cleaners usually charge between £10-£15 per hour. If you are in London, the average is usually around £17.31, and up to £23 in some cases. Depending on the experience you have, and the services you offer, you could charge more.

When working out how much you should charge, factor in the cost of equipment and supplies as well as travel. Make sure that the amount you are charging covers expenses to avoid operating at a loss.

If you are wanting to be a commercial cleaner, you should charge a bit more. Depending on the services provided and the number of cleaners needed, you could charge up to £70 an hour.

What Is The Most Profitable Cleaning Business?

Both are profitable options, and it is hard to define which would be most profitable as it would depend on the person. A cleaning business has the potential to earn £21,000 a year, according to the BCA. The average salary for a self-employed cleaner is around £21,601 per year. However, a franchise can earn much more overall, but always keep expenses in mind.

It depends on what kind of work you would prefer to do. Starting a franchise will involve managing staff, but also mean that you could cover a larger area. Being self-employed would mean that you cover a smaller area but get to choose your own hours of work and do not have to worry about hiring other staff.