Will a sole trader suit my cleaning needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

What is a Sole Trader

 

A sole trader, also know as “one man band”, are normally individuals that work alone and have a self employed status. The sole trader will undertake all cleaning and ironing work within your home usually. The sole trader would be responsible for a self assessment annually, paying their own taxes and national insurance contributions and for their business insurances. Should the sole trader start to take on employees, they must be registered with the HMRC as an employer so that the appropriate  taxes may be paid and have their insurances amended to cover more than one individual.

The Pros of using a Sole Trader

  • Flexibility of work undertaken within the home
  • Flexibility of price as the sole trader has minimal overheads – the general rate for a sole trader is typically £7 – £8.50 per hour, although some self employed cleaners do charge up to £10 per hour.
  • The relationship between client and cleaner can sometimes be more personal as the cleaner can almost become an extension of the family as it will always be the same cleaner at the home

The Cons of using a Sole Trader

  • If the cleaner is not registered as self employed with the HMRC and is working “cash in hand” for the client, weather the client is aware or not – this changes the relationship to an employer/employee relationship and if investigated the client may be fined for not registering as an employer by the HMRC  – It places the homeowner in a difficult position as they will been seen as the employer and investigated for the correct legal trading status, tax and PAYE affairs
  • The cleaner may have minimal level insurance or no insurance at all – When interviewing potential cleaners always ask for a copy of their insurance details and would also recommend calling the company the insurance is held with to validate the policy to ensure your home is protected against damage, spills or breakages
  • If the cleaner is sick/on holiday/breaks a leg etc. the client would have no cleaning service
  • If the cleaner decides to quit or close their business the client would have to go through the process of advertising, interviewing, vetting the cleaners references and designing a rota for a new replacement cleaner
  • If the client is unhappy with the clean or the service the client would have to confront the cleaner directly to resolve the issues

Check list for a employing a self employed cleaner:

1) Does the cleaner have references you can telephone to ask about the cleaners service, reliability and standards?
2) Can the cleaner supply the client with a copy of insurance details?
3) Can the cleaner supply proof of self employed status, such as government gateway number or proof of employer status by way of their employer code?
4) Does the cleaner sub contract out work when on holiday/poorly – Who to? Who’s insurance is the replacement cleaner covered by?

 

 

Will a Cleaning Franchise suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In the third of our What Cleaning Service Would Suit My Needs? this week it is the turn of the Cleaning Franchise

What is a franchise?

A franchise is the practice of an individual  buying the name, brand and proven business model from a successful business, with on-going fees for the continued use of the brand and business model. The franchisor owns the business, the intellectual property and the trademarks of the business. The franchisor expands their business by selling set geographical areas to the franchisee to operate in, following an operations manual of methods and procedures to replicate the original successes of the first business.

Franchising has been around in business for many years and was first sold as licensing agreements were the owning party would sell the right to use their branding to an individual.  Business model franchising (full turnkey solution) is now the most typical arrangement and has grown massively since the 1950’s when Ray Kroc decided to grow the empire, we all know and love, McDonald’s, through a business model franchisee route. Since Ray Krocs proven world wide success of creating “The worlds biggest small business” many other businesses have followed suit – Subway, Toni & Guy, Dominoes Pizza, Signs Express and Spar to name just a few of the brands you may know

Cleaning services are very popular within franchising and many cleaning brands already exist such as Molly Maid, Time For You, Bright and Beautiful and Daily Poppins to name but a few but what does having a cleaning franchise mean to a homeowner looking for a cleaning service provider?

Like with a cleaning business many of the pros and cons will be similar with a cleaning franchise, such as a stand in cleaner if your cleaner is sick or on holiday, training and quality checking and of course the cons are there too like staff turnover and standard consistency etc but below are more franchise specific pros and cons

 

The Pros of using a cleaning franchise

  • Big brand = Big success: Well known brands are perceived as trusted and reliable as they have stood the test of time
  • A good franchisor should always be providing training and refreshes of training, so that you as the client,  always have a good service using the latest products or the latest cleaning techniques for example
  • Franchises tend to be throughout and area, region or country –  so even if you move house or area, you should be able to stay with the same company

The Cons of using a cleaning franchise

  • Big brand = Big expectations: A franchise that operates in Leicester may have different standard levels as a franchise in Glasgow both selling the same service or product. Although all franchises claim to sell a complete business operations manual, some may not rigorously enforce or check up on the standards and output of some of their franchises leading to different brand reviews and feedback up and down the country.  Some franchisees may be not operate their business to the letter of the franchisors vision. Just because a cleaning company is part of a franchised brand, it doesn’t mean it is the magic solution; bad businesses and business leaders can exist in a franchise model just as they do in an independent business
  • Costs – From all the competitor research undertaken it is found that franchises tend to be more expensive then both Cleaning sole traders and cleaning businesses. Most franchises don’t operate with a cost per hour to the client and tend to run “cleaning schedules” were they will state that a house, let’s say a 3 bed detached with 1 bathroom, would be a cost of £52 a fortnight for example.
  • Contracts – The great majority of cleaning franchises (I’m yet to come across one that doesn’t) have cleaning contracts with their clients that can last 3, 6 and in some cases 12 months – If you are not happy with the standard or service it will either become a case of grinning and bearing whilst trying to sort it out with your franchisee to get the standard/service you want and were expecting or it will cost you money to get out the agreement

Checklist for a cleaning franchise

  • What insurances does the franchise have and can they provide you with copies?
  • Can they provide references and testimonials?
  • How many branches do they have? How are they audited and checked for quality standards?
  • How often do they receive training?
  • How often do they undertake pricing reviews on their services?
  • Does the owner/manager clean/ever cleaned?
  • Are they a member of the BFA (British Franchise Association) ?
  • How does the franchise stay in touch with its clients to give the feeling of local customer care?

 

Next week: Cleaning Agencies

Will a cleaning business suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

To continue on with our “Why use a cleaning service” post; after looking at sole traders previously, we will be looking at cleaning businesses and what the Pros and Cons are for homeowners thinking of using a cleaning service

What is a cleaning business?

A cleaning business is usually a number of cleaners that all work for the one business. A cleaning business may still trade in a sole trader capacity but most will trade in a Limited company capacity as the business grows. Some cleaning businesses may also be registered for VAT, depending on their size and turnover. The business is normally owned/run by an individual and is a private business operating in the owners local area.

Mrs Mopp Cleaning Services is a cleaning business.

The pros of using a cleaning business

  • One of the disadvantages of sole traders is that if your cleaner is sick/on holiday/breaks a leg the homeowner is left without a cleaner. In a cleaning business, as there are normally several cleaners and/or bank staff, so that you as the client should never have an uninterrupted service
  • There are usually several ways for clients to pay when using a cleaning business such as online, by card, direct debit etc. as a business will service several clients a day, compared to a sole trader, and it is not feasible or safe to be collecting money off every clean, making it easier for the clients to pay their bills and budget their own household.
  • The pricing within cleaning businesses tend not to be hugely dissimilar to sole traders with rate from £8.50 – £12.50 per hour  being the average rates and depending on if the business is subject to VAT, provides the cleaning materials etc. – with added security of an uninterrupted cleaning service, higher insurance cover and fidelity bonding on staff and an up-line for complaints
  • Some people do not like to complain when they are not getting the service they would like. With a sole trader, whilst a pro is that the relationship between cleaner/client may be closer that can cause problems in its own right if the relationship does become too friendly, as to tell your cleaner you are not happy may result in you not having a cleaner at all or putting up with a service you do not want as to not rock the boat. With a cleaning business, there is a manager you can talk to who can either have a word with your cleaner or even replace your cleaner all together if necessary
  • Spot checks and training of staff to ensure standards are met and kept

The cons of using a cleaning business

  • Due to the hard and arduous nature of work, there is usually a high turnover of staff within the cleaning industry, so even though you may not have an uninterrupted service it may not always be the same cleaner that will come to your home
  • A cleaning business may have a contract or at the very least Terms of service which may impose charges on a client for cancellations and lock outs, for example, as the cleaning business will have an obligation to its staff regardless, whereas a sole trader only has to think about their own time and money.
  • As businesses grow, some may lose the “personal touch” as was there in the beginning as sole trader due to the number of staff, clients, suppliers etc that the owner will have to deal with and the client may not feel as loved as they once did

Checklist for a cleaning business

1. Does the business have Employers liability insurance, Public liability insurance, at a minimum of £1 million and do they have fidelity bonding against their staff – can they provide you with a copy of their insurances?

2. Does the business have references from clients they currently serve? What is the retention rate of their clients?

3. Can the business show and tell you how they recruit, train and monitor their staff?

4. How does the business keep in touch with its clients as not to lose that “personal touch”?

5. What does social media think of the business? Check online, do they have good/bad reviews, what does their customer service levels come across like? Do they have visibility on the web? Could you connect with your Cleaning business through multiple channels?

Next week: Cleaning franchises.