The Cleaning Industry – An Overview

by Jason Campbell, Sep 2018

The domestic cleaning industry has always been around in one way or another. Upper and middle class families throughout history and particularly in the UK have always employed domestic services. Today, it isn’t so exclusive. More and more people can afford cleaning services today than ever before. However, the development of this industry into what it is today did not begin until 1914: the beginning of World War I.

At this time, around 2,25 million people were employed in the service, most of which were women. However, as more men were obligated to go and fight on the western front, women would take over their jobs and roles, such as in armaments manufacturing or other factory work. This lead to a drop in people employed in the industry to only 1 million, as other trades took priority. The same thing essentially happened during the Second World War.

After 1945, with the expanding availability of once expensive appliances such as washing machines, cookers and irons; a more relaxed attitude to cleaning and women particularly becoming more well versed on how to handle all the domestic duties themselves, the domestic cleaning industry became almost obsolete.

However, with the 60’s came the progressive movements. Women were no longer satisfied with being expected to simply stay at home and be domestic housewives, and many began to enter the workforce. This left the domestic duties up to someone else and businesses took advantage of this.

By the 70’s, many companies emerged and began offering package domestic cleaning services. These were less personal and more professional. Due to more and more households having both adults working and life expectancy increasing, cleaning businesses and services began to flourish. As the industry grew, so did equality. Cleaners and clients developed much more amicable relationships than in years gone by and the industry continued to develop from there.

Today, the domestic cleaning market is worth an estimated £2.86 billion and contributes around £24 billion to the UK economy. Turnover in the industry has increased by 21% since the recession, which is greater than the national economic growth of 17%. Around 2.5 million homes in the UK employ or can employ some form of domestic cleaning service, which is around 10% of the country. There are currently around 700,000 people employed in the industry and it is estimated that there will be 467,000 new job openings before 2024. Wage growth in real terms has increased too, averaging around 6.4% in the sector, compared to the national average of 2.3%.

This growth can obviously be put down to the multitude of factors mentioned earlier, along with the prioritisation of leisure over domestic responsibilities and more recently the development of reality TV shows such as ‘How Clean is Your House?’

The market is clearly growing, and fast. So fast that now is simply the best time to get into the industry. Enquire about a Well Polished Franchise today and become part of one of the largest growing industries in the UK.

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