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How to start a window cleaning business

With very low start-up costs, it's no surprise you're thinking about starting a window cleaning business of your own. Here are the ins and outs of becoming your own boss and what you need to do to kick-start your own window cleaning business.

Window cleaning is an appealing trade to get into. There’ll always be demand for your services, with a growing customer base as more residential and commercial property is built – often with plenty of glass!

In 2022, over 230,000 homeowners up and down the UK searched for a window cleaner*. This shows there’s a need for window cleaning businesses on Checkatrade.

If you’re wondering what you need to start a window cleaning business, or what you should include in a window cleaning business plan, or how much can a window cleaning business make, you’ll find your answers in this guide.

We also have a number of FREE business templates to save you time and give you a helping hand:

Don’t have time to read all this right now?

Sign up for our ‘Become the Boss’ series for help getting your window cleaning business up and running in no time.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. At the end of it all, you could be the founder of your new business.

Simply add your email below to make the most of this free business advice.

Starting a window cleaning business in the UK

The first step for any new business is to create a business plan. It’ll help you to remain focused and allows you to make informed decisions.

Creating a window cleaning business plan

Some of the key areas to include in your business plan are:

1. Your market

Knowing the market and your customers well is the key to succeeding in any business. You need to ensure that your customers’ needs are being met by the services you offer to build good relationships.

  • Look for gaps in the market where you can fulfil extra demand.
  • Look at your competitors, what they charge, the services they offer, and how they market themselves in order to see where your company can fit into the industry.
  • Research the industry and any new advances in technology like water-fed poles to ensure you’re offering your customers the best service.

2. Finance

Managing a business well means paying attention to the numbers.

  • Firstly, you’ll need to cover any start-up costs; will you self-fund or take out a loan or credit card?
  • Secondly, decide how you’ll price up your services. Will you look at how much your competitors charge for guidance? Or will you estimate the cost for products and tools use along with your time on the job? Either way, make sure you make a profit.

3. Business strategy

This is where you consider the logistics of your company.

  • What services you’ll offer
  • The hours you’ll work
  • The area where you’ll work
  • How you’ll source your tools – becoming a Checkatrade member means you could save on tools!
  • Whether you’ll hire employees – contractors, employed staff or apprentices?

You’ll also need to decide how you’ll get from one job to the next. If you have a lot of equipment we’d suggest investing in a van.

4. Marketing

In order to attract customers, you’ll need to get your company name out there. You can do this through local social media groups, paid advertising, word of mouth, or handing out flyers.

Your business plan should carefully outline your marketing strategy. You’ll also need to explain why that’s your strategy – again, this comes back to you knowing the market and your audience.

Not sure where to start with your business plan?

We have a fantastic guide for how to write a business plan. And a FREE business plan template for you to use. Simply add your email below.

Training and qualifications

You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a window cleaner and run your own window cleaning business.

However, you will need to adhere to Health and Safety Executive guidelines for working at height if you plan to use a ladder, or work on commerical properties.

Some commercial premises may ask you to show a general health and safety accreditation before they contract the work to you.

If you plan to use a ladder, check out our working at height guide to help keep you safe.

How to start a window cleaning business in the uk

Other useful skills and attributes

When you start your own window cleaning business, you’ll take on the role of ‘the boss’, which is a dream for many.

However, as with any business, you’ll need a number of ‘soft skills’ and personal attributes to help you succeed in this role.

  • You’ll need to be good at time-management getting from one appointment to the next
  • You may need to be adept at managing a team and scheduling workload if you employ others
  • You need to be physically fit
  • You need excellent customer service skills to build a rapport with your clients
  • There’s also a lot of paperwork and administration that comes with running a business, so good organisation is a must

How to start a UK window cleaning business – step by step

In this section, we’ll guide you through the practical steps of setting up a business, including business registration, insurance, the equipment you’ll need, and how to market your new venture.

Business name and logo

Choose a business name that’s unique, memorable, and perhaps a little fun to help you stand out from the competition. Once you’re happy with your choice, you’ll need to register it.

Register your business 

1. Register your business with HMRC in order to trade legally

2. Decide on a business structure: sole trader or limited company

There are different tax liabilities and regulations for each type of business structure. If you’re unsure which structure would be best for your new business, ask a professional accountant for advice.

Business insurance

It’s also well worth getting the appropriate business insurance to prevent any legal or financial issues affecting your company.

While working on other peoples’ property, accidents can happen, for which you could be financially liable without proper insurance.

Also, if a customer or member of the public tripped over one of the cables feeding your water-fed poles, for example, you could be liable for claims for losses and/or damages.

Consider at least getting public liability insurance, business equipment insurance and van insurance. If you plan to employ others, employers liability insurance is a legal requirement.

Finances

Keep track of any financial records (bookkeeping) including money coming in and going out of your account. This will help when it comes to paying taxes and National Insurance.

Don’t worry, running your company finances can be tricky and if that part of starting your business is something you need extra support with, we’d recommend hiring an accountant, undergoing training, or reading online guides for more details.

Does the talk of money worry you?

We’ve got a whole section on our blog around money – Take 5 and read about smart money moves for your business

Get your new window cleaning business off the ground

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

Tools and equipment

You won’t need expensive equipment to get started in this industry. In fact, you may even already own some of the essentials.

window cleaning business start up kit

So, what do you need to start a window cleaning business? As the bare minimum, your window cleaning business start-up kit should include:

  • Bucket
  • Ladder
  • Window cleaning detergent
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Squeegee
  • Scraper
  • Bucket belt

Remember, there are many other types of equipment that you should consider investing in if you want to grow your business and give your customers the best quality service.

If you plan to work from the ground rather than a ladder you’ll need extra tools like a water-fed pole to allow you to reach high windows.

Being a Checkatrade member means you can save on the cost of your equipment and also your work vehicle – our members get exclusive rates with Mercedes and Fiat. Ever wanted an electric van? You could make it a reality!

Get exclusive discounts on business essentials

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, equipment, workwear, and more

Tell me more

Marketing your window cleaning business

Of course, you want to spread the word about your new business to get your diary nice and full.

Print advertising is one way to raise awareness in your local area. You could pay to place an advert in a local magazine or newspaper, or get some flyers printed up.

Checkatrade members have the opportunity to feature in our leading trade directory, which is delivered to homeowners around the country.

Word-of-recommendations will be a really lucrative source of new business as you find your feet.

Signwriting your vehicle with your business name and contact details will help to advertise on the go.

Many homeowners will expect to be able to find your business on social media too.

Save money and time marketing your business

Another option available to anyone starting a window cleaning business is to join Checkatrade.

That way, your new business can benefit from the trust Checkatrade has built over the last 20 years. It’s a great way to build that trust instantly, as well as get a huge number of customer leads for your new and upcoming business.

  • You’ll get a business profile on the UK’s leading trade directory and a search listing in Google, just as a website would
  • You can display customer reviews and testimonials on your profile page
  • You can also manage customer enquiries on the go, directly from the Checkatrade app, keeping everything in one handy place

And with the Checkatrade tick by your name, it makes your marketing just that little bit easier, as 8/10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade, compared to one which isn’t**.

We’ll also help you with free marketing materials and don’t forget, our members get exclusive discounts on business essentials, including workwear, tools, equipment, insurance, van leasing, fuel, and more.

Get exclusive discounts on business essentials

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, equipment, workwear, and more

Tell me more

Useful checklist for starting a window cleaning business

  • Your business plan should include information on how you plan to market, run, fund, and protect your company
  • Starting a window cleaning company isn’t too complicated and start-up costs will be anything from £100 upwards
  • You can make a good profit by building your own window cleaning business as long as you offer a high-quality service and meet the needs of your customers
  • Joining Checkatrade is a brilliant way to attract customers, save on business essentials and give your company credibility
  • You don’t need to work on a high, dangerous ladder as the technology now exists to allow you to work from the ground

Check out this post for further advice on setting up your business.

Quick action: Sign up for our ‘Become the boss’ series

You could get your window cleaning business started right away with the help of our ‘Become the Boss’ series.




You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. And at the end of it, you could be the founder of your new business.

To get trade business insider secrets sent to your pocket, enter your email address in the form below so we can help you to get started:

How to grow a window cleaning business

You may need to start small when it comes to building your own business and this is very common. Try not to overstretch yourself, build from the ground up.

In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of identifying, setting, and achieving realistic targets to scale up and take your business forward.

What is business growth?

Business growth can happen in many different ways. It doesn’t necessarily always mean having more customers. You might have plans to grow your revenue by getting more work, expanding the type of services you offer, or the markets you go into.

Growth is also about making sure you stay efficient and minimise costs in order to be more profitable.

Take some time to think about what ‘growth’ means for your business:

  • What does ‘growth’ look like?
  • How will you achieve that growth?
  • How will you gauge success?

Get your new window cleaning business off the ground

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

What growth targets should you set for your business?

As growth can be achieved in a number of different ways, it’s important to think about what growth targets would be appropriate for your business. Some examples of growth targets include:

  1. Getting more work
  2. Increased revenue
  3. Developing a bigger team
  4. Expanding your services

How will you achieve your growth targets?

The next stage is to plan how you’ll achieve the growth targets you’ve set for your business. 

We have a FREE business development strategy template to help you do this, and a really useful article to explain what information to include:

Once your company has found its feet and has a regular workflow, consider the ways you could look to expand. Below, we’ve listed a few of the ways to grow your window cleaning business.

1. Growth target: want more work?

To get more work, you need to attract more customers.

Within your original business plan, you would’ve written up a marketing strategy. Now you’re in a position to grow, take a look over your marketing plan and check whether you’ve put all your plans in motion. What worked? Or didn’t? What could you do differently? Do you need to think of some new ways to promote your business?

Some marketing tactics you may want to consider include:

Traditional marketing

  • Sponsorship (e.g. a local sports team or community event)
  • Networking (e.g. building relationships with other trades)
  • Incentives. Offer incentives to new customers when they sign up for regular window cleaning over a set period of time. This means more repeat work, allowing you to build your client base.

Digital marketing

Check out our FREE marketing planning guide and checklist to help create a clear list of marketing tactics and responsibilities.

2. Growth target: want increased revenue?

To get more revenue, you need to secure more ‘sales’. But how?

You need to make sure that if you visit a property to provide a quote, that you leave the customer with no doubt that you’re the right person for the job.

Want to know how to sharpen your sales toolkit? Check out these articles to help you do this:

3. Growth target: want to develop a bigger team?

If you have a pipeline of steady work, and perhaps you’re unable to fulfil the demand for your services, it might be time to hire some employees to help spread the load.

You’ll need to understand your legal responsibilities, for example, it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance.

You’ll also need to understand company payroll and learn about holiday pay. Check out our checklist for taking on employees and our guide on how to hire employees.

We have a selection of articles to guide you through the process of hiring a team, helping to protect the trusted name and reputation you’ve worked hard to build:

4. Growth target: want to expand your service offering?

If you work mainly on domestic properties, it might be time to branch into commercial contracts for small offices and high-street shops.

Or maybe you want to venture into the dizzy heights of larger commercial contracts, where cranes, cherry pickers, and abseiling equipment would be required (as well as specialist training).

Perhaps there are more services you can offer your domestic clients, for example, gutter clearance or solar panel cleaning?

Whatever route you choose, investing in new equipment is a great way of offering more and better-quality services. This means you can work more efficiently and charge more for your work.

Whatever growth targets you set, they must be S.M.A.R.T

  • Specific – what does the task involve?
  • Measurable – how will you quantify success?
  • Achievable – is this attainable given the resources, knowledge, and time available?
  • Realistic – is the target realistic to the confines of your job and your existing responsibilities?
  • Time-bound – when should the target be achieved by?

How to tell if you’ve reached your targets?

The simplest way to know if you’ve achieved your targets is to measure them.

Draw up a chart that includes your target, your current figure, the figure you’re aiming for, and the % increase. Populate the chart at regular frequencies so you can monitor your progress.

Other considerations for business growth

There are a couple of other important considerations to make when planning your business growth.

For more tips to help grow your trade business, check out this article.

Grow your window cleaning business with Checkatrade

If all of this seems overwhelming, there is a simple solution. Checkatrade is the UK’s leading trade directory, which can help to launch and grow your window cleaning business.

Here are just a few reasons to join the best trades with a Checkatrade membership:

Get more leads

Checkatrade members receive more than 100,000 leads each week. 3 million homeowners used our trades last year. A third of all trade work comes through Checkatrade***.

Help to secure more work

8 out of 10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade compared to one that isn’t endorsed****. The tick that homeowners trust, which helps you to win more business.

Save money

Get exclusive access to trade deals, saving money on business essentials to help keep your profit margins sharp. Checkatrade members save on average £470 per year each***** on everything from equipment, van leasing, insurance, workwear, and more.

Get exclusive discounts on business essentials

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, equipment, workwear, and more

Tell me more

FAQs

How much does it cost to start a window cleaning business?

Getting started in the window cleaning business is as easy as buying the basic equipment and driving to your customers’ homes. In fact, you could start out as a small company from as little as £100. Perfect if you don’t have any savings.

Of course, if you want to build a large business you’ll need to invest in more advanced equipment and marketing to reach more customers. You’ll also need a van to transport your equipment and insurance to protect your company in case of accidents or mistakes.

Is a window cleaning business profitable?

With low start-up costs and overheads, you can build a successful, small business no matter your financial situation. This means that a window cleaning business can be profitable right from the start. The amount you actually make will depend on the services you offer, your experience, your efficiency, the amount you charge and the demand in your area.

Thankfully, window cleaners will always be needed as most people are either too busy or physically unable to clean their own windows. Especially on upper floors.

How much can a window cleaning business make?

Again, this will depend on a range of factors, but as a rough guide, a window cleaner working alone can earn £200 a day. This means if you expand your company to include other employees you can earn more and more each day.

For more information, tips and prices, give our handy window cleaning prices guide a read.

How do you charge for window cleaning?

Working out how to charge for your services doesn’t need to be a stressful process. The best way to start is to look at how much your competitors charge to get a rough idea of what people are willing to pay in the area. You can then consider how your services stack up against your competitors. For example, if your services are better quality, or you offer less common services you can charge more.

When it comes to actually taking payment for your services you have a few options. You can ask for cash in hand, but make sure to keep a record of this. Otherwise, you can ask for a bank transfer or you can invest in a card machine. The right option will be personal to your company and needs.

Do you need a licence to be a window cleaner in England?

No, but you can consider getting accreditation from The Federation of Window Cleaners to show your customers you’re a legitimate business.

Get your new window cleaning business off the ground

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

*Based on Google Search Console stats = clicks to checkatrade.com/blog/cost-guides/window-cleaning-prices/ between 1st January 2022 – 8th May 2022.

**Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

***Checkatrade brand tracking survey April 2021

****Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

*****Year runs from April 21’ to March 22’. Saving calculation based on average spend across 12,505 members in 2020/2021/2022. Discounts differ depending on the partner. Products range from low value items to high value items. Some exclusions will apply on products.

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