If you intend to start this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the country or state you reside in to know what is expected of you. The bottom line is that you need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your country to know what you need to do before you can legally open your own window cleaning business in your city.
You can start your window cleaning business from a small town in the United Kingdom and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.
20 Steps on How to Start a Window Cleaning Business in UK
Table of Content
- Understand the Industry
- Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity
- Sole Trader
- Limited Company
- Private Limited Company (LTD or Ltd)
- Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Understand the Industry
Window cleaning line of business is a subset of the Building Exterior Cleaners industry and this industry is known to provide both window cleaning and general exterior cleaning services for residential and commercial buildings. The service offerings in this industry include power washing and other cleaning services for windows, driveways, swimming pools, gutters and ventilation ducts. In the bid to increase revenue, players in this industry also offer services such as lighting maintenance and snow plowing services et al.
A recent research conducted shows that capital intensity for the Building Exterior Cleaners industry is low. The report shows that for every dollar that industry operators spend on labor, they spend $0.05 on capital. The industry’s capital intensity has been slightly exaggerated since the recession, as recovery in downstream demand has enabled building exterior cleaners to be able to afford to rehire key personnel they laid off during the recession when profit margins plummeted.
As a result, the industry has spent a disproportionate amount on wages in recent years, and the industry’s capital intensity has fallen accordingly. However, experts do not expect this trend to continue over the next five years. If you are a close observer of happenings in the Building Exterior Cleaners industry, you will notice that the demand for industry services tends to move in line with activity in the housing market, since home furnishings in general are often purchased when consumers relocate.
The window cleaning line of business will continue to blossom because people will not relent in ensuring that they cleaning their windows when they move into a new apartment or office and from time to time. Good enough, there is no major player in the industry and there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend to open their own window cleaning business.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own window cleaning business include that the business has low entry level requirement, it is a thriving business and the business is easy to setup and manage with minimal startup capital.
Over and above, the window cleaning line of business is a profitable industry and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can choose to start on a small or large scale with several outlets in key cities all across the United Kingdom.
Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of window cleaning companies cut across owners of houses or offices or any facility with windows. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all the facilities and those that reside around your business location who have the purchasing power.
Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to window cleaning business simply because window cleaning is a niche idea in the Building Exterior Cleaners industry.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The fact that the entry level for a window cleaning business is low couple with the fact that it is a profitable business means that loads of people would want to engage in the business. Besides, there are no major players in the industry which is why the business is highly competitive.
A consistent increase in the share of the population residing in urban areas will likely hire the services of window cleaners more vital and of course measures of the residential real estate market, including housing starts and existing home sales, are expected to continue improving.
As a window cleaning business owner, it is important to note that gaining a competitive edge requires a detailed analysis of the demographics of the surrounding area and the nature of existing competitors. And even if you are successful at first, new competitors could enter your market at any time to steal your regular customers. Don’t hesitate to adopt successful strategies from your competitors, but understand that directly competing with an entrenched rival is a bad idea; creativity and diversification is the key in this regard.
Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Here are some of the most popular window cleaning services companies in the United Kingdom;
- The English Cleaning Company
- P I Window Cleaning
- Top Window Cleaners
- Professional Cleaning Services (UK) Ltd
- A.J Window Cleaners Ltd
- The Window Cleaning Company
- IB Cleaning-window cleaner
- Waterfed Pole Window Cleaning UK Ltd
- The London Window Cleaner Ltd
- Bedford Window Cleaning
- The Fast Window Cleaning
- Diamond Cleaning Services UK Ltd
- AB Windows & UPVC Cleaning
- Top TD Cleaning Company
- Winchester Window Cleaning
- High Level Window Cleaners Ltd
- A&P Window Cleaners Leeds
- Mr Reach Window Cleaning
- UK Commercial Cleaning Services Ltd
- Clearview Window Cleaning Services Limited.
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Window cleaning business is not a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several window cleaning businesses and general cleaning services companies when you go shopping for window cleaning services.
So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out a thorough market survey to know the amount required to rent a space and the amount required to purchase the required working tools and equipment such as stepladders, dusters, disinfectant cleaner, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, and truck and also the running cost to successfully run the business. et al.
If you are considering starting a window cleaning services company, then your concern should not be limited to the expenditure you have to make but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a window cleaning business in the UK, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly come by a window cleaning business that is into franchising.
Besides, starting a window cleaning business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small-scale businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With window cleaning business, you should just try as much as possible to establish relationship with cleaning chemical distributors and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet to market your window cleaning services,
Please note that most of the big and successful window cleaning businesses in the United Kingdom started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work, and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own window cleaning business brand to become a successful brand with loads of clients patronizing your services.
On the contrary, if you decide to buy a window cleaning company franchise in the United , here are some of the available companies to choose from;
- My Window Cleaner
- UK Window Clean
- Nationwide Cleaners
Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own window cleaning business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established window cleaning businesses and even general cleaning services companies who are also into window cleaning. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is an economic downturn. So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your window cleaning business especially if you are into the importing the cleaning chemicals that you use. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity
The United Kingdom has a wide array of options that you can choose from if you are looking for a business structure to build your business on. The most important thing is that you should select a business structure that will best serve your overall business vision and mission.
In UK, you have the option starting your business as a Sole trader, Limited company, Private limited company (LTD or Ltd), Public limited company (PLC), Limited liability partnership (LLP) or Guarantee Company (LBG)
If you are not sure of the business structure to choose, then consider going through the quick preview below before making your choice;
A sole trader is a business-type where one person owns and runs the entire business. It is the simplest business structure you could adopt. It is very suitable for any one-person businesses; this includes independent accountants, web developers and gardeners among others.
A sole trader is an individual is entitled to all/any profits of the business but is also liable for any debt/damages incurred. In the UK, there are currently over 3 million registered sole traders, and the number is growing with a massive influx of skilled freelancers.
A limited company is a legal business structure that means a business is a separate entity from its owners. This means the owners are only liable for any business debts to the extent of the amount of money they have put into the business, thus limiting any exposure for business owners beyond their total investment. There are two types of limited companies you can incorporate in the UK.
Private Limited Company (LTD or Ltd)
In a private limited company, the owners privately hold shares. This is the most common and preferred incorporation structure for most small businesses in the UK. Over 5.2 million limited companies are operating in the UK now.
The bottom line is that if you have plans to grow your small window cleaning business beyond yourself (one person) and then sell it, then a Private Limited Company would be the most suitable structure. If you are considering operating a mom-and-pop kind of window cleaning business, then a Sole Tradership would probably be the best structure to build your business on.
But if you have plans to build a business brand that has a significant amount of senior management, capital and that deals in services, then a Limited Liability partnership would be the best choice.
Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend to operate from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own window cleaning business in the UK, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Twofold Clean® Window Cleaning Services, LTD
- Lake Freetown® Window Cleaning Services, LTD
- Prince Jordan© Window Cleaning Services, LTD
- Luton Township® Window Cleaning Company
- Claudius Lucas ™ Window Cleaning Services
- Leeds Way™ Window Cleaning Services
- King’s Pride© Window Cleaning Services
- Queen’s Pride® Window Cleaning Services Company, LTD
- Marcus Rushford© Window Cleaning Services
- R Jolly-Man© Window Cleaning Services
Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United Kingdom, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.
Here are some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your window cleaning business in the United Kingdom;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Commercial Umbrella Insurance
- Public Liability Insurance (PLI)
- Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
- Employers Liability Insurance (ELI)
- Key Man Insurance (KMI)
- Trade Credit Insurance (TCI)
You can contact the following leading insurance companies in the UK to purchase the needed insurance policies for your window cleaning business;
- Aviva PLC
- Old Mutual Ltd
- Prudential PLC
- RSA Insurance Group PLC
- Direct Line Group Insurance PLC
- Hiscox Limited
- Admiral Group PLC
Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own window cleaning services business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Away from the results you produce as it relates to providing professional window cleaning services, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some window cleaning services stand out. If you want to make an impact in the commercial cleaning services industry cum window cleaning services line of business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment to the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own window cleaning services company;
- Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
- International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
- Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO
Please note that you can successfully run a window cleaning service in the United Kingdom without necessarily acquiring professional certifications as long as you have adequate experience cum background in the commercial cleaning services industry.
Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United Kingdom without the proper documentation. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own window cleaning services business in the United Kingdom;
- Business and liability insurance
- Council Permit
- Chemicals handler certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for trucks (especially as it relates to conveying your working materials and equipment to site)
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a window cleaning business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale. Securing a standard and well – positioned office facility and acquiring the needed working tools and materials are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, Hence if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale window cleaning business.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors, and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your window cleaning business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations, and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Although when it comes to choosing a location for your window cleaning services business, you can choose to locate the business in any location of your choice especially if you are offering basic window cleaning services. Services that do not require your clients to come to you except for meetings.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your window cleaning services business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.
It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough funds for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your company, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city you intend to start your business.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your window cleaning services, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility study and market survey. The possibility of you coming across a similar business that just closed shop can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your window cleaning business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for window cleaning and other related cleaning services in the location
- The purchasing power of households, residential estates, local government councils, corporate organizations in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of window cleaning services and other commercial cleaning services in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community / state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Having said that, these are some of the cities in the UK where you can locate your window cleaning business;
Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you want to start a window cleaning business, please note that there are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines and relevant software applications.
You will also definitely need working tools and equipment like stepladders, dusters, disinfectant cleaner, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, and a truck. Computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of an office facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard window cleaning business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Supervisors, Sales, and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, Cleaners, and Drivers. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard window cleaning company.
The Service Delivery Process of a Window Cleaning Business
The operation process as it relates to window cleaning services depends largely on their area of operation and organizational structure.
Usually, when a window cleaning services company gets a contract from a client, it could be households, residential estates, construction companies, real estate companies, and corporate organization to clean their windows and exterior of their facility (either one – off or long – term cleaning), they will first conduct cost analysis in order for them to know the manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.
Once they conclude their cost analysis, they will deploy the required manpower, materials, and equipment to execute the job, and then they will get paid after successfully carrying out their job.
It is important to state that a window cleaning company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated window cleaning services business process is not cast on stone.
Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Marketing ideas and business strategies are one key aspect of a business that must not be neglected when drafting your business plan. As a matter of fact, if you are not certain on the marketing ideas and strategies to deploy before starting your business or if you are not sure of how to generate sales for your business, it is advisable to you go back to the drawing board.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your window cleaning services.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your window cleaning business;
- Introduce your window cleaning company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, residential estates, industrial estates, local government councils, corporate organizations, small and medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your window cleaning services company is located.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media to get your message across.
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your services
- Engage in roadshows in targeted business communities from time to time to promote your septic tank cleaning services business
- Join local commercial cleaning business associations for industry trends and tips
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of networking and marketing your services
- Advertise our business in the community – based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your window cleaning services at rock bottom prices is to purchase your cleaning supplies directly from wholesalers and importers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantities of items you purchase directly from importers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you offer your window cleaning services at the right price is to ensure that you cut the operational costs to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives and also purchase. So also, if you are able to secure business partnerships as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.
Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The availability of competent and reliable window cleaners under your payroll, your business process, and your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.
Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to network and build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned; key members of your team are highly qualified and can favorably compete with the some of the best in the commercial cleaning services industry.
Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.
One of the strategies that you would need to employ in order to generate repeated sales from your customers and also to retain them is to ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them, continue to generate repeated sales from them and also attract new customers.
If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back to purchase from you. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results, or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, keep track of their progress, send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your window cleaning business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community – based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your window cleaning business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your window cleaning business in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your window cleaning business on your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your window cleaning business is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo.