Self-Employed cleaner or cleaning company ?

Self-employed cleaners are the freelancers of the cleaning world. They’re hired guns, mercenaries with a broom roaming the land in search of filth and riches.

A self-employed cleaner can do very well for him or herself, but the job is far from glamorous. That’s why some of these free agents choose the safety and protection of a cleaning company. But which is better? Today, we’ll try to find out.

In this article:

  • Being a self-employed cleaner - pros and cons
    • Pros of being a self-employed cleaner
    • Cons of being a self-employed cleaner
  • Working for a cleaning company - pros and cons.
    • Pros of working for a cleaning company
    • Cons of working for a cleaning company
  • Conclusion

Being a self-employed cleaner – pros and cons

Obviously, as a cleaning company, we have a vested interest to tell you what a horrible fate it is to be a self-employed cleaner. But that’s not true. There are cons, to be sure, but there are also pros. And if you’ve read any of my other articles, you know I try to keep things real. So let’s start with the positive.

Pros of being a self-employed cleaner

  • You are your own boss. Although it can also be a con, there’s nothing quite like being your own boss. The feeling is amazing, though it does come with a side of responsibility.
  • You can pick and choose your jobs. While cleaning agencies offer some flexibility, if you’re a self-employed cleaner, you get to pick all your jobs. At least in theory (you don’t get to be too picky when your rent is due and you’re 120 pounds short).
  • You can charge less. Since you pocket all the money for yourself, you can afford to charge lower rates and still make bank.

Cons of being a self-employed cleaner

  • You have to deal with every aspect of running a business. Since you’re a one-person show, you’re in charge of everything – lead generation, client negotiation, doing the actual work, money collection, accounting, and everything in-between. Did someone decide not to pay? That’s too bad – it’s on you to fix it. Can’t find work? Better learn how to do it. And fast.
  • You have no guarantees and no protection. Most self-employed cleaners don’t sign contracts with clients. The whole relationship runs on trust, and if that trust runs out, so does your money. You can end up losing a lot of money in the long run.
  • You have no guarantee you’ll find work. Sometimes, the well runs dry and you need to look for new opportunities. The only problem is those opportunities don’t grow on trees. You need skills to generate new business for yourself.
  • You compete on price. As a self-employed cleaner, you don’t have a brand. No one takes you seriously and the only reason anyone works with you is because you offer them a lower rate than the competition. The only problem with that is, eventually someone will come along and agree to the job for even less money. And then you have to either lower your own prices or look for new pastures.
  • Clients can drop you at a moment’s notice. Nothing compares to traveling 2 hours to reach your client’s home only to be told at the door they’ve replaced you with someone cheaper. Now you’re down a client, transportation money, and 2 hours of your time.

To many, the pros are totally worth it so they choose to walk the path of the free agent. But what about the rest?

Working for a cleaning company – pros and cons.

Working for a cleaning company has its benefits, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Still, plenty of cleaners turn their back on the world of the self-employed in search for the security of the cleaning agency. Here’s why.

Pros of working for a cleaning company

  • You have a boss. To many, this is a con. And if you see it that way, then you will never work for anyone, ever. You have my respect for that. But to many other people, this is a positive. It means that someone else deals with the decision-making, the planning, and the risk-taking. All you have to do is show up and do the work – that’s it.
  • You’re part of a team. Being a part of a team means different people deal with different aspects of the business. So you have some people dealing with lead generation, selling to clients, accounting, processing payments, etc. All you do is clean and you don’t need to concern yourself with all that other stuff.
  • You have guaranteed pay and protection. Assuming you’re working for a decent cleaning company, you’re getting paid even if there’s a problem with the client’s payment (unless it’s your fault, of course). The company takes the loss, not you.
  • It’s not your job to find work. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have work while you’re employed.
  • Clients can’t just waste your time. If a client wants to cancel last moment and they have a contract with the agency, that’s not your problem – your pay gets covered by the cancellation fee.
  • You get training and help. No reputable cleaning company would ever hand you over a mop and throw you to the wolves. No, you get training and get set up for success.

Cons of working for a cleaning company

  • Less flexibility. Some agencies offer a degree of flexibility when it comes to working hours, but you still need to adhere to those working hours.
  • More discipline. Since you’re representing a business and not just yourself, you need to be disciplined – you need to show up on time and do a good job.
  • You can’t choose your jobs. With minor exceptions, you need to deal with whatever comes your way.
  • You don’t get paid every day. If you’re working for a legitimate agency, you won’t be getting cash payments from clients every day. Instead, you’ll be paid once a week or once every two weeks.
  • You can get fired. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Some people weren’t made to be free agents and instead need the safety and repetition of a regular job. There’s nothing wrong with that. As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to working for a cleaning agency.


At the end of the day, whether you want to work as a self-employed cleaner or work for a cleaning agency comes down to personal choice. Some people were made to roam the free market and fight for every scrap of food that came their way.

Others were made to be a part of a structure. They’re team players and perform best when they’re put in charge of one specific task. None is better than the other. What you need to ask yourself is which is better for you. And if you’re looking for new opportunities, perhaps you could hit us with a text. We’re always looking for new talent.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant, Author - Atanas
Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.