How to Start Your Own End of Tenancy Cleaning Business

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 02 September 2014 05:21
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Working for others might be a more stress-free choice in life, but is it the best way? I know having a boss might be tiring, but what if your are your own boss? Then all the pressure will fall on your back. Yet, it's good to have your own business. If you are wondering what kind company you should open, why not try end of tenancy cleaning or domestic cleaning services?

According to statistics more than 6 million cleaning services are booked annually in the UK. That's 1 million more than 10 years ago. And the numbers are growing. The whole industry is estimated for around £5 billion. And those numbers are from 3 years ago. There are around 3500 cleaning companies and around 500 000 people employed.

The statistics look promising, so why don't you try and start your move out cleaning company?

Why end of tenancy cleaning?

Compared to other cleaning services, this is the most beneficial and you can get the most money out of it. It includes other services such as carpet, window and upholstery cleaning, rubbish disposal, and for each extra services, you can charge extra.

But there are several downfalls. It's mostly seasonal, because people prefer to move out during the summer or around big bank holidays when they have more time. And unlike other services, people here watch every detail, so you have to clean everything up to perfection.

How to start your end of tenancy cleaning company?

There are a lot of things you need to prepare for, but I will enlist the essentials.


The Equipment

You can't start a cleaning business without the equipment. There are lot's of different machines and accessories you will need, but the essentials are:

  • vacuum cleaners - it needs to be professional, not your ordinary one.
  • carpet and upholstery cleaners - They can deep clean everything.
  • equipment trolley - this is where you can store and carry all your cleaning solutions, products, gloves etc.
  • Floorcare machine - not everyone has a carpet, many people prefer hardfloors. This is the machine for the choice.
  • Wheel bucket - whether you'll use it for a mop, to make your own solutions, for windows, you will need a bucket.
  • Many cloths and rags. Microfibre is the best choice.
  • Sweeper - because it's more reliable and efficient than a broom
  • A van - this is the only suitable vehicle that can carry all your equipment.

Of course, there are a lot other minor things you will need. Starting with the window cleaning equipment - liquids, squeegees, poles, scrapers, water fed systems (when you become more advanced), ladders; to all the wipes, leather care accessories, gloves, sprays, detergents. And there will be more when the time comes and your company grows.


Find The Right Customers

A business can't succeed without customers. But finding them could take a lot of time and effort. You would have to be persistent, patient and creative. What are some of the best ways to find clients?

1. Leaflet drops. It's not the most modern and best practice, but when you work only in a local community (let's say an area), it could do you some good. You can hand hem to random people around stores, community centres etc. It's a cheap option, but it takes time and not anyone would be interested. And from the people who actually got the leaflet, just a small percentage would call.

2. Newspaper ads. They could be a little bit more expensive, specially if you are posting ads on daily or weekly basis. But it would make your business a little bit more trustworthy. Plus, many people read the yellow pages and advert sections, searching for the right service.

3. Store windows. You can stick different flyers and adverts on windows. Of course, you would have to have permission. Find the right places to put your advert - laundry shop, some community centre building, universities.

4. Find the communities. Find the people that use end of tenancy cleaning the most. London is a big city, doesn't matter in what area you live, you can find a community. Students leave their quarters almost every summer and find new places at the end of it. So try to target universities, dorms, schools etc. Or if there are some military garrisons, they could be of help too. They change quarters quite often, so they could be good clients.

5. Communicate with letting agents and landlords. There are many landlord associations which you can contact. Offer your services on reasonable prices, offer them a commission, and some of the landlords might choose you as their end of tenancy cleaner. If you do a great impression with letting agents they can suggest your services to their clients. Don't simply offer the agents a commission, befriend them, you can become partners.

6. Social Media. We live in 2014 and social media is a leading marketing channel. You can't hope to succeed without existing in at least the top social media giants - Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You need to be active, to pay a few pounds for advert campaigns, target the right people, share your discounts, make the audience happy. You need to be interesting and show that you are better than the competitors.

7. Build a Website. We'll talk about this later.

8. Google + Business local page. If you are working locally, you will definitely have to have such a page. People use more and more mobile devices and the chances for some random bloke to google for "move out cleaners *your area*", through a mobile device, are quite big. And if you have a Google+ Business page, there is a bigger chance for this bloke to find you. Of course, there are a lot of different factors that will boost your ranking and visibility in the search engines, but more about that later.

9. Word to Mouth. After you have found your first customers, there is a bigger chance to find the next ones. In order to do so, you would need to show the clients that you are a professional, to please them, to show them your personal touch and how you are better than others. This way they can mention you to their friends and family, mention you somewhere around the web. Word of Mouth is still one of the best ways to become popular, but you will need to show high quality.


Build a Website

Not just some ordinary website that looks like it came from the 90s. Invest in it. Some companies like Move Out Mates -, have based their entire marketing strategy on the website and social media. No newspapers, no TV adverts, no pamphlets, just their website.

And this is becoming a trend. More and more companies invest in a good, user-friendly site, some SEO (Search Engine Optimization), to get good rankings and to be visible for a wider audience, and social mentions. It takes time and more resources than other types of advertising, but it's worth it.

There are a few choices - hire a team of professionals who will do the entire website and will maintain it, or learn how to do it yourself. You have to know that professionals will ask for a lot of money, specially if you want your website to look great and be functional. The prices could reach a thousand pounds, depending on what you want. And that includes the SEO work too. But there are many different platforms you can learn to use yourself - Wordpress, Blogspot, many other 2.0 platforms.

Choosing web developers would be a wiser choice, because they have the experience, they know how to make your website clickable, more interesting for the user, to optimise it for search engines, to bait their attention. It would take years for you to learn it. Or you can make a simpler site with simpler design by yourself and hope for the best.

What a website can give you? People, specially younger ones, prefer to use the Internet as their source of knowledge. When they want to book end of tenancy cleaning, they will enter several keywords to their preferred search engine and look at the results. There are thousands of searches for the services each month and that's only in London. Imagine if you appear on the first page in Google. If your site is well optimised, it will look attractive for the potential customers, so they will find you and click on you. And this way you can get hundreds of visitors, and if the website, prices, offers are right, you'll make most of those visitors to clients.

But all of that is possible, if you have a good, professional website.

If your goal is to have some local presence, then you don't need all that. You can make a more humble page, with something about you, prices, galleries, testimonials and a booking form. Offer your sites in different communities, forums and social media. Be honest, ALWAYS be honest! Tell your story. Many people prefer to use small companies, instead of the giants.


Check the Competitors

You always have to know what your competition is doing. This will change the game entirely. Why? If you competition is providing outstanding websites, low prices, is seen on different types of media, you need to be able to compete. 

Make sure you have competitive prices and you offer something special, something your competition doesn't have. Something like special combinations, a special touch while cleaning etc. 

Find the right team

You might start your company as a solo act, but in order to become better, you would need a bigger team. This way you will be able to cover more ground, take more jobs at the same time and lower the number of cancellations.

Finding a good team sounds easy, but you need to be careful. There are many people who are willing to work for you, because if you are a succeeding company, the salary will be attractive. But you need to research each of the candidates very thoroughly. After all, these people will be the face of your company. They need to have people skills, need to know how to communicate and to be friendly. You don't want a grumpy person, who treats others disrespectfully. And one more thing, you need people who will give 100% for the job. A lousy cleaning leads to negative reviews and a bad name.

Recommended people are better

One of the ways to choose employees is by reviewing the recommendations first. A recommended person has a bigger chance for a few reasons. Firs, the person who gave you the name can give you a background and an opinion, which the candidate could hide from you. Second, a friend won't recommend a lousy person for the job. That doesn't mean you shouldn't give a chance to new, unknown people.

Try not only to keep the customers happy, but make your staff happy as well

A worker who is willing to make the customer happy is the best thing you could wish for. But for this to happen, you would need to make your employees happy, first. Some employers like to sanction their members of staff for all kinds of reasons, just so they could make a profit. Don't be that boss, don't make them hate you. Be polite, give the salaries always at the date you have promised, understand them, help and motivate them. Motivation is a whole different topic and it's crucial for the work process.


Target and find your audience

Let's start with the price. This is a tricky part, because you have to keep a perfect balance. First, you will have to figure out what kind of people are you targeting. If you are aiming for a clientèle which is willing to pay more, then the price could be higher.

Targeting the richer areas like Chelsea or Barnes is harder. The people there don't move that often. So try aiming for Islington or Hackney. They have a higher demand and you will have a higher profit. But you will need to adjust the price for the right people. Not only you need to have better prices than your competitors, you will need to have a rate, that could pay your bills. The balance - a rate which is affordable for the consumers and high enough for your employees to have good salaries.

The come the discounts. Make a whole scheme for discounts which will make the company more desirable. Some of the competitors will sell every service on a full price, separately. Be the wise man/woman and make a few packages. Combine the most demanded services and offer them for a lower price. You can even throw some of them for free if it's worth it.

You can also make special deals for regular customers. It's the logical thing to do - when you have returning clients, give them a discount. This will spread the word. Bonus tip: when you have returners, send the same team as before. That's a small touch, but it will mean a lot for the client.

Please, don't be afraid to comment. Add your opinion and ideas. With your comments the post will become even more useful for users.

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Geoff Smith

I am a writer, SEO, marketing specialist, social media expert and blogger.

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