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Published 20 February 2024
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11 minutes

How to Start a Window-Cleaning Business

Starting a window-cleaning business can be a rewarding way of becoming your own boss while enjoying physical outdoor work. In this article, you will find out how to register, fund and market your company as part of a step-by-step guide to setting up your window-cleaning business.

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Starting a window-cleaning business can be an attractive prospect to anyone looking for physical and satisfying work that allows you to be your own boss. With innovations like ladder-less systems that keep window cleaners on the ground, you can even get in on the action if you are scared of heights!

Starting your own window-cleaning business can mean registering your business and considering which insurance policies you’ll need, and even getting a licence in some areas. Below, we have assembled a detailed, step-by-step guide to help you set up a window-cleaning business. 

Why start a window-cleaning business?

Start a window-cleaning business in 5 steps

1. Research and choose your market

Starting with market research is key, as it will help you to learn about your customer base and competitors. This should leave you prepared to start your business journey.

Try researching online or reaching out to potential customers and local competitors to check out the competition. The questions at the front of your mind should be:

  1. Is there demand for my window-cleaning business?
  2. Who is my business aimed at?

Use this research to decide what type of business you want to create. The key types of window-cleaning businesses are:

Think of further ideas to distinguish your business from competitors. Will your work be of higher quality? Will it be better for the environment? Will your customer service be outstanding? Can you accommodate demands that others cannot?

2. Create a budget for your window-cleaning business

Putting together a business plan and budget is the next step in making your business idea a reality. It should tell you exactly how much money you need, as well as helping you to work out if your ideas can realistically be turned into a business. A business plan will normally be required if you apply for a start-up loan or business loan.

For a detailed guide read our article on how to write a business plan.

You’ll need to create a budget for your window-cleaning business. This should account for all expenses, whether one-off purchases or recurring costs. Major expenses might include:

Other more common overhead costs you may need to consider are phone, water and electricity bills, taxes and rents on any premises owned by the business. 

For a detailed guide, explore our five-step guide to creating a small business budget.

As you set up your window-cleaning business, it can be wise to separate your personal budget from your professional one. Here is where setting up a business bank account can be useful for sole traders and a legal requirement for limited companies and partnerships. This will make keeping track of business costs and income simple, avoiding the possibility of muddling living and professional expenses.

3. Register your window-cleaning business

The next step is to pick a business structure and then register your business. You should think carefully and consider your options in order to make sure you choose the right business structure to suit your situation: 

» MORE: Should I register as a sole trader or limited company?

As well as registering your business, you will also need to obtain a window cleaner’s licence in order to work in most Scottish council areas. Contact your local council to find out if a licence is required in your area, then apply in person, by post or online. Working as a window cleaner without a licence could land you with a fine of up to £2,500, so make sure everything is in order before your first job.

There are no licensing requirements in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

4. Fund your window-cleaning business

Your window-cleaning business will need money to get started – to help you afford equipment such as water-fed poles, for example. You may need to use more than one of the various funding options below to cover start up costs.

5. Find your first window-cleaning customers

You cannot have a successful business without finding customers. Once you have everything in place, marketing your window-cleaning business and landing your first jobs should be your top priority. This can be a challenge, so here are some ideas to help get you off the ground:

How much do window-cleaning businesses charge?

Window-cleaning charges vary based on the type of building and the type of window washing required. However, below are some average figures, but bear in mind that these may differ vary across the UK:

Do window cleaners need insurance?

There are no legal requirements for window cleaners to have insurance, but there are many reasons that it would be a good idea. 

Public liability insurance covers claims made against your business by members of the public, covering activities performed by your company. As window washing involves a considerable risk of causing damage to customer’s property or possessions, getting an insurance policy can be a sensible way to protect you and your business. 

If you are employing somebody, then insurance is a legal requirement. You will need employer’s liability insurance, which protects you from any claims made by your employees. You could face significant daily fines if you fail to secure the insurance after hiring employees. 

It is also worth bearing in mind that window cleaning can be dangerous. It is a physical job that can involve falls when working at height or other accidents that may lead to injury. Personal accident insurance generally pays out if you suffer injury, death or disability. 

If you regularly drive and transport equipment to different workplaces as part of your business, you will need to take out business car insurance

Finally, you will want to consider tool and equipment insurance if you have purchased expensive hardware for your business. This will generally protect your most essential and expensive  equipment against damage, theft and loss. 

» MORE: How to start a cleaning business

Image source: Getty Images

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