Will a cleaning business suit my needs?

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.

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