How to start a cleaning business

Starting a cleaning business is a popular choice for many: here's our Startups guide to help you set up a cleaning business in the UK

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Cleaning business insurance – and other cleaning business requirements

Any company where you employ staff will have to comply with employer regulations. Cleaning work is traditionally low paid, and if you want a healthy profit margin there’s a good chance you’ll be paying your staff the minimum wage, currently £6.31 per hour. You will need to keep up to date with the regular increases to the minimum wage to avoid facing fines and prosecution as an employer. Click here to see the current minimum wage requirements. The responsibility of employing staff carries with it a raft of additional issues and complications. Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you take on staff (you can compare quotes here on the Startups website) and, if you’re taking on a commercial cleaning contract, you will also need to consider the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, otherwise known as TUPE.

These regulations stipulate that, when you take on a cleaning contract with an office or other business premises, you are obliged to take on the cleaning staff already working there. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website offers comprehensive information on TUPE legislation, as does the CSSA website. Cleaning involves handling potentially harmful chemicals, so you will also need to comply with acts such as the Chemicals Regulations 2002, Dangerous Substances and Preparations (Safety) Regulations, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act. You do not need a licence to start a cleaning business. However, staff with Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks may prove a valuable asset when reassuring potential clients of your company’s reliability. If you are cleaning buildings such as schools and hospitals you are also likely to have this information requested by clients.

It’s also important to think about training; according to Andrew Large, chief executive of the CSSA, “it is perfectly possible for a cleaner to get by without a qualification, but it’s strongly advisable to get one.” The most basic qualification is the Cleaning Operatives Proficiency Certificate, delivered by further education colleges and overseen by the British Institute of Cleaning Science. There are also a range of NVQ qualifications, overseen by Asset Skills and delivered through further education colleges. Useful contacts British Cleaning Council www.britishcleaningcouncil.org 01562 851129 Cleaning and Support Services Association www.cleaningindustry.org 020 7920 9632 British Institute of Cleaning Science www.bics.org.uk/ 01604-678710

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