How to become a self-employed housekeeper (with steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Becoming a housekeeper can be a rewarding career for anyone who's motivated, detail-orientated and who enjoys keeping spaces clean and organised. Many housekeepers work for an agency but it's possible to become self-employed and start a housekeeping business using the right skills and drive. In this article, we explore how to become a self-employed housekeeper, discuss the benefits of doing so and provide eight key steps to achieving this career goal.

What is a housekeeper?

A housekeeper is someone who offers cleaning services to the public and organisations including homes and working environments like offices or hotels. Being self-employed, they enjoy greater flexibility with whom they choose to work, their working hours and the fees they charge.

Self-employed housekeepers can perform cleaning tasks in a variety of locations. They get to choose their customers and how and when they visit them to perform their cleaning duties. Some housekeepers visit various clients in a day. A housekeeper's responsibilities might include:

  • vacuum cleaning

  • emptying recycling and general waste bins

  • dusting and polishing

  • sweeping and mopping

  • washing up dishes and kitchenware

  • changing bedsheets

  • doing laundry

  • ironing and folding clothes

  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces

  • maintaining financial records

  • keeping a diary of clients and scheduling working days and times

  • marketing their services

Related: Self-employed vs employed: the differences between the 2 options

How to become a self-employed housekeeper

If you're wondering how to become a self-employed housekeeper, here are some things to keep in mind. While there are no academic requirements for a housekeeper to work in this field or to start a cleaning business, there are still certain skills that benefit the role. Among these are a strong aptitude for cleaning, excellent customer service, a sense for business and the determination to succeed. To work towards becoming a self-employed housekeeper, follow these seven steps:

1. Build up experience

It's common for many housekeepers looking to start their own business to build up their cleaning skills with an agency. This allows them to gain experience in housekeeping and learn how to work more efficiently. Skills for good housekeepers often include:

  • being attentive to detail

  • exemplary cleaning abilities

  • strong communication

  • a high standard of hygiene

  • interpersonal skills

  • being highly organised

  • loyalty and reliability

  • good time management

Building skills while with an agency and gaining experience also presents an ideal environment to foster relationships. Networking is about establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships with people. This is an excellent way to get references and could potentially lead to future clients.

Related: How to write a housekeeper cover letter with no experience

2. Determine business requirements with a business plan

Pulling a business plan together can prove a highly effective way to map out everything before you begin. A business plan details goals and strategies for the business. These often include a combination of:

  • a summary

  • a description of the business

  • information about the services the business will sell

  • a market analysis

  • company goals and specific performance milestones

  • a marketing plan

  • a finance and budgeting plan

Before launching a cleaning service, or any independent business, it's advisable to understand all requirements for starting a business. A business plan can help define these. It's also important, at this initial stage, to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes.

Related: Top 10 benefits of being self-employed

3. Choose a company name

Although not necessary, having a company name can add credibility. It's a good idea to have a name with a strong brand and the housekeeper's identity while being easy to remember. Choosing words that reflect organisation, cleanliness, hygiene or efficiency can prove beneficial. It can help show potential customers what you represent and can provide.

Related: A list of inspiring quotes for small business owners

4. Planning your finances and budget

Having a clear plan in place for how you plan to finance the business is critical. Before getting started, it's sensible to budget for all necessary outlays and ensure a contingency fund is in place. First, outline the initial and recurring costs for mandatory items such as equipment and insurance. Then plan for optional expenses like marketing and advertising.

Related: How to manage a budget: techniques and a step-by-step guide

5. Insurance

As a self-employed person, it's important to know what insurance to take out for the business. There's a range of insurance options available for self-employed people. They may cover and protect against several different risks, including:

  • the vehicle you use for the business

  • the cleaning equipment you use

  • other equipment such as a phone or laptop

  • cover for accidents at a client's home or business.

6. Choosing and buying equipment and supplies

Self-employed housekeepers usually buy their own cleaning equipment and supplies. It's important to know what's needed and how it's budgeted for. Cleaning equipment and supplies can include:

  • a vacuum cleaner

  • brushes

  • mops

  • a variety of cleaning solutions

  • disinfectants

  • ladders or steps

  • buckets

  • cloths, sponges and wipes

  • an iron

A cost-effective method to consider is to buy in bulk, where possible. Wholesalers, discount stores and online retailers are all potential places to explore. Comparing online deals against in-store ones is also worth doing to find the very best prices and offers.

7. Research and set rates

Determine the rate to charge clients by undertaking extensive research with other local housekeeping businesses. Set an hourly rate that's competitive but also high enough to cover your expenses like supplies, travel, insurance and any other business costs. Also consider additional charges, such as if the job calls for specialist equipment or the work is outside your normal scope.

Related: What are pricing strategies and why are they important?

8. Marketing

Good advertising is at the core of many successful businesses. Having an established name, logo, clear contact information and list of services helps potential clients understand the nature of the business and how to make an enquiry. There are several avenues to explore when looking to market a business, including:

  • creating business cards

  • taking out an advert in the local paper

  • posting flyers door-to-door or on notice boards

  • setting up social media pages

  • putting the business name and contact information on your work vehicle

  • asking friends and family to spread the word

  • using a network of contacts

Always have marketing materials, such as a business card to hand. Running initial deals and incentives, like a discount price for the first ten clients, can also help build rapport and a list of customers.

Related: How to write a self-employed CV (with template and example)

Benefits of being a self-employed housekeeper

There are several key benefits to working for yourself. These include choosing the hours you work, what rates to charge, which clients to take on and being your own boss. As a self-employed housekeeper, other advantages include:

  • Increase in demand: Good housekeepers are typically in demand. Individuals and businesses always require efficient cleaning and disinfection for their homes and workspaces.

  • Higher potential to earn: Working for yourself gives you the potential to earn more than being employed by someone else. The more work you put into it, the greater the potential rewards can be and all earnings go directly to you.

  • Control and independence: Working for yourself puts you in charge. While you're responsible for both managing the business and providing the work, you also have the freedom to make your own decisions.

  • Rewarding: Starting a business from scratch, and watching it grow and succeed can prove incredibly satisfying. Self-employed housekeepers can work in a field they personally enjoy and put their skills and knowledge towards their goals.

  • Job satisfaction: Many self-employed housekeepers enjoy the satisfaction of providing excellent service in the homes and businesses they clean and keeping clients happy. They also have numerous opportunities to learn more about being a business owner and grow professionally as a result.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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