Cleaning Service

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Cleaning Service

Domestic cleaning businesses offer a range of services to householders, including polishing, vacuuming, general tidying and cleaning of bathrooms and kitchens. A recent trend has seen them expanding the range of services they offer to include:

  • Upholstery, curtains and soft-furnishing cleaning, including sofas, chairs and rugs.
  • Damage restoration following major incidents such as fires or floods.
  • Oven cleaning, which is a new growth area.
  • Window cleaning.
  • Ironing.
  • Exterior cleaning, including the cleaning of wheelie bins and outdoor living spaces.
  • Post-construction cleaning - a growing area of the market involving the preparation of new-build properties for the market.

Water shortages and drought orders in some areas have had a significant impact on domestic cleaning businesses as they can consume large amounts of water. Those involved in cleaning windows, wheelie bins, exterior living spaces, carpets and upholstery are most at risk from the restrictions imposed by these drought orders.

Research has found that domestic chores lower people's moods. Despite being a physical activity, housework is believed to have a negative impact on people's lives. As disposable income levels rise, people are more willing to outsource the chores they find unappealing. This has given rise to a whole sector of 'lifestyle' services, including businesses that organise dog walking and dry cleaning, as well as the traditional tasks of cleaning and ironing.

The environmental impact of conventional detergents is being acknowledged by more cleaning services, many of which try to use only environmentally friendly products. However, there is ongoing debate over the reduced effectiveness of 'green' cleaning products, as well as resentment over the premium prices of some ecologically sound products.

Dry cleaning businesses clean garments and textiles that are too delicate to be washed in water for private and commercial customers. They may also offer related services such as ironing and clothing alterations. Some firms provide a delivery service, which is proving increasingly popular. It may be possible to operate this kind of business as a franchise.

The market for dry cleaning has emerged from a combination of factors, including rises in disposable income and the growing popularity of convenience services. Dry cleaning is a competitive arena, however, and many businesses now provide additional services in order to increase profits.

Dry cleaning is a competitive industry populated primarily by small businesses, although a few large chains such as Johnsons have been extremely successful. A trend for franchise operations is also emerging. The sector is facing rising costs due to the need to maintain standards by using increasingly sophisticated equipment and the legal obligations of impending environmental legislation. Many businesses provide other services such as alterations and repairs as a means of boosting profits.

We are becoming a convenience-driven, 24-hour society. People work long hours and struggle to find the right balance between life and work, while rises in disposable income have contributed to the willingness of consumers to spend money on services that would once have been considered luxuries. Taking the trend for convenience still further, dry cleaning and laundry services that offer a pick-up or delivery option are becoming increasingly popular.

Contract cleaning covers both traditional cleaning work within domestic and commercial settings, and more specialised cleaning within clinical settings, public transport, heavy industrial environments and for local authorities.

The industry is currently fragmented, but is becoming increasingly consolidated. Larger operators are striving towards providing a comprehensive nationwide service that resembles a facilities management arrangement, while smaller cleaning firms tend to focus on providing a range of general cleaning services at a local level. The work involves the demanding process of tendering for contracts, particularly with public sector organisations.

Better training and stricter legislation are improving the reputation of the cleaning industry as a whole, which has previously been associated with low job status, a negligible skills base and high staff turnover.

The market for contract cleaning is growing and is forecast to continue its expansion for the next few years, although there may be variations at a local level or in certain types of specialised cleaning. There are many thousands of businesses operating in the sector, but the 20 largest account for well over a third of the market.

The growing trend for outsourcing non-core activities is resulting in greater opportunities for contract cleaners. Outsourcing such tasks as the management and supervision of cleaning services is increasingly common, due to the expectation that a professional cleaning service will work efficiently and effectively.

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Carpet and upholstery cleaners wash and deodorise carpets and upholstery fabrics, including curtains, lounge suites and other soft furnishings. They may offer repairs and advice on the treatment or minimisation of stubborn stains, including treatments to repel stains or static.

Some carpet and upholstery cleaners may provide specialist advice on the care of Oriental rugs, upholstery and rugs featuring animal hides and fur. They may also be able to offer expert cleaning of antique materials. Another niche in the market for carpet and upholstery cleaners is to provide assistance for homes that have been damaged by flood or fire.

The industry is highly competitive and independent operators are starting to provide a broad range of cleaning services.

Numerous allergies are still thought to be caused by the dust mites that live and breed among carpet and fabric fibres. In recent years the carpet industry has developed 'dynomite' carpets, which aim to control the procreation of these mites. Various chemicals have also been developed to help deal with mites in the home, although their effectiveness is not yet universally accepted. Carpet and upholstery cleaners often now offer an allergy or dust mite control service.

Interior design trends change quickly and can prove difficult to predict. However, recent trends have included the use of natural fabrics in furnishings, with a number of different materials now being used as curtains. Professional carpet and upholstery cleaners need continuously to update their knowledge as to how certain fabrics react to deodorants and cleaning products in order to stay ahead of home interiors trends and ensure they are properly prepared to meet consumer demand.

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