How to run a cleaning franchise

A franchisee outlines his typical working week and reflects on the qualification and financial requirements for entering the sector.

It seems that we have become a nation who are no longer prepared to clean up after ourselves – and the industry is cashing in.

The UK's domestic cleaning market is worth a staggering £9 billion per year and is only set to grow over the next decade. With this surge in demand, competition is fierce, but as a franchise buying into a reputable business and brand reputation, you're already half way there. What happened in your first few weeks as a franchisee?

Alex Markov: I was provided with all the templates, files and the training manual to show you how to run the business. You don't have to do a lot of training first.

When I started I worked part-time, one or two days a week as I had another job, but now I work only for Nationwide.

FS: What is your typical week now like?

AM: Normally, I work Monday to Friday, although sometimes I work weekends as well. When I have time, I work.

I don't just work nine-to-five hours. But with this business, when I am tired I can finish!

[Every week] you must advertise your services as you are looking for cleaners and clients at the same time. [Typically] I send cleaners to jobs and I carry out paperwork.

"You don't need a lot of qualifications to run this business"

I send forms to clients and to the cleaners, who both fill these in with the dates and hours they have worked. And these are sent back to us by the client.

I don't clean or supervise any cleaning. I manage the business from home.

FS: So you must have staff. How did you find them and how do you manage them?

AM: With a cleaning franchise you can do a lot of things yourself or you can delegate. At the beginning I did the advertising myself, leafleting and answering phone calls, admin work. Now I have more clients and I hire leafleters and administrators.

We interview and register cleaners, and when we have a new job we allocate local cleaners to that job. We train the cleaners but we normally hire experienced cleaners with references.

We also get feedback from clients as we must ensure that the clients are happy. It is the client who pays the cleaner.

FS: What are your costs and overheads?

AM: I can work from home, so I can grow my business with low overheads. A typical Nationwide cleaning franchise costs £7,999 with no VAT.

I needed a printer, which wasn't very expensive, but I have no need for equipment or vehicles as the cleaning staff will provide their own.

Everybody who is part of the Nationwide franchise has an accountant. I collect all of the paperwork – receipts and invoices and enter the date in the files for that financial year, before sending these off to our accountant.

You don't need a lot of qualifications to run this business.

FS: How much can you earn in this business?

AM: You can decide how many hours you want to work and how much money you can earn. With this cleaning franchise the majority of your income comes from direct debit payments from advance-paying clients.

Nationwide states that some franchises can earn as much as £9,000 a month; which is more than £100,000 a year. And it seems that there is a high profit potential, partly due to the lower overheads associated with this type of work-from-home business.

FS: How do you see this industry?

AM: At the beginning I wasn't sure of myself but I knew that I wanted to succeed.

But I really like it because you can make your own decisions and that is a nice feeling. You can choose your hours to work.

I also have a close working relationship with my franchisor [and the founder] Peter Munro and can call him anytime. We have a lot of business these days!

Sarah Louise Dean

About the author

Sarah Louise produces content across all titles in the Dynamis stable.