How To Start A Window Cleaning Business In The UK
Starting a window cleaning business is an excellent venture for someone who wants to be their own boss. What’s more, if you are wondering how to become a window cleaner on a tight budget, you don’t need a lot of start-up capital, and the business is simple to run and can be a lucrative, stress-free occupation.
Apart from some essential tools of the trade, you will need to protect yourself and your window cleaning business with the right insurance. Brisco Business Insurance can help you compare coverage from leading UK insurance providers to find the best cleaners insurance that fits your needs.
How To Start A Window Cleaning Business
In theory, you could go to your local DIY store to buy a bucket, a squeegee and some detergent and start a window cleaning round in your own street, starting with your neighbours.
There is nothing wrong with starting small, gradually building your client base, and extending your reach. However, if you want to earn a decent living from your window cleaning business, it can pay you to set your sights a little higher.
Kitting yourself out with the right equipment won’t cost much money. You could launch your business with as little as £100 to £150, but don’t forget that you will need to put your safety first.
Taking a health & safety course is wise, as you will learn correct lifting and handling techniques and how to work at height when using ladders safely. The BWCA (British Window Cleaning Academy) and FWC (Federation of Window Cleaners) have accredited training days and window cleaner courses.
You will also need to decide whether you will work as a sole trader, enter into a partnership or register as a limited company so you can employ staff to work for you. If you plan to expand your business and build a window cleaning team, it can be easier to run as a limited company.
Identify Your Clients
Every successful business is built on solid foundations. This means creating a window cleaning business plan to help clarify your aims and set out your goals.
Your business plan will focus your mind and plan how you want your window cleaning business to operate and grow. It will also help you to identify and target your ideal client base and the size of your market.
Firstly, you must identify your clients by deciding whether you will provide your services to domestic or commercial customers. If you want to run a solo operation catering to your local residential community, this will be a more straightforward set-up than catering to commercial clients.
Once you have your business plan and know whether you will work with domestic or commercial clients, you should get yourself protected with the most appropriate insurance to fit your needs.
For example, your job involves climbing ladders and working at height, so you will need insurance to cover you should you have a fall or an accident that prevents you from working. You can include income protection insurance in your policy to help keep some money coming in to pay your bills while you are incapacitated and unable to work.
Public liability insurance is also recommended, as you will share the same environment as your customers. Your clients and members of the public are at risk of accidents and injuries from tripping over your tools and equipment, damage to personal property or injury from falling objects overhead.
You will also need employers’ liability insurance if you employ staff. It is a legal requirement that all employers are covered with employers’ liability insurance, so as soon as your business starts to grow to a level where you need to employ staff to keep up with demand, you will need to get this insurance in place.
Get The Right Equipment
Once you have decided which client base you are targeting with your window cleaning business, you will need the right equipment to deliver an efficient, outstanding service.
While you will need the standard essentials such as buckets, sponges, squeegees, scrapers, and blades, for a domestic service, you will need a commercial vehicle such as a van to transport your tools and equipment between customers.
You may also want to invest in ladders to reach high windows, or you could choose to use a ‘reach and wash system that uses a water-fed pole that you fit with cleaning attachments to clean windows above ground floor level. This may be enough equipment to enable you to service domestic and light commercial clients, such as your local high street shops.
For larger commercial use that involves offices and tall commercial premises, you will need more specialist equipment, such as water purifiers, cranes, cherry pickers, and even abseiling equipment to scale the outside of large office blocks, which will require specialist training and extra insurance coverage.
Marketing Your Window Cleaning Business
Marketing your window cleaning business is essential to raise awareness of your services and attract customers. However, window cleaning can be a competitive marketplace, so you need to make your business stand out from the crowd.
When creating your business plan, you should consider your unique selling point (USP). How you can differentiate yourself from your direct competitors will be the key to finding your niche and building a core base of regular customers.
Your USP could be that you promise to undercut any quotes from your competitors, or you could offer extra services that your main competition doesn’t, such as patio jet washing or driveway cleaning.
There are a few things to put in place to help market your business, including:
- Business logo and brand
- Business website
- Online marketing such as social media marketing, content marketing, SEO etc.
- Listing your business in online directories (Google My Business, Yell.com)
- Traditional marketing using flyers, business cards and press releases
Do I Need A Licence To Start Window Cleaning in the UK?
You don’t need a licence to start or run a window cleaning business in the UK, but you must ensure your business meets government requirements to trade legally.
This includes ensuring that your business is registered with HMRC and that you’ve taken out the correct insurance to protect yourself and any staff you employ against costly claims.
How Much Do Window Cleaners Make?
How much money your window cleaning business makes will depend on a few factors, including:
- The Location Of Your Business: If your business is based in a built-up town or city where your customers are close to each other, you can earn a decent income. You may bring in more money in this situation compared to a rural domestic setup because there will be less travel time between customers and lower fuel costs for your company vehicle.
- The Size Of Your Round: The more window-cleaning customers you have, the more money you will earn. You can make a good turnover from being the only window cleaner in your area, especially if the size of your round is large enough to keep you occupied all year round.
- Whether You’re Targeting Domestic or Commercial Clients: You may be able to make more money from ongoing contracts with commercial companies than with a handful of domestic clients. However, you may need to invest in more specialist equipment to cater to commercial clients, which may increase your overheads and reduce your profits.
Don’t forget that your clients may give you tips at Christmas, which can boost your income significantly during the last quarter.
According to data from the British Window Cleaning Academy (BWCA), almost all window cleaners with reach and wash systems could comfortably turn over £25 an hour and at least £200 a day.
Starting your own window cleaning business can be a very lucrative venture, especially if you offer flexible services that can include extras such as conservatory or patio cleaning to domestic customers.
The big money often lies with securing ongoing window cleaning contracts with business owners, so whichever path you prefer to take, you should be able to earn money whatever window cleaning set-up you choose to do.
If you’re looking for comprehensive, affordable business insurance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Brisco’s experienced, friendly team today.
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