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help Setting up a Domestic Cleaning Agency?

Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 12 November 2003

Hello to everyone,

an excellent and very informative board.

I am considering setting up a Domestic Cleaning Agency in
Gloucester. Huh

A good friend of mine has a Selclene Franchise this runs as an
agency. Although not sure about some things he was talking about.

He says that all the cleaners are self-employed status and sign a contract declaring that they are responsible for all NI and tax.

He gets the clients to sign to say that they are the employer in the agreement, they pay the cleaner and he charges them 2.50 per hour worked on a monthly standing order. He is doing very well. I have two questions

1. is it legal to act as an agency and not employ the cleaners??
(meaning is there some obscure european or inland revunue law) Although there appear to be loads of Selclene running along quite happily.
2. If i set up like this could I get insurance to cover this type of set up

Would appreciate your thoughts and experiences

Richard Huh
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 12 November 2003
I do not mean to sound sarcastic.

Why not ask your friend on the quiet as he probably signed a confidential agreement.

Then tell the rest of us
Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 12 November 2003

I spoke to him non of that info is confidential
you would get that spiel if you phoned up
asking him for  a cleaner?

Just wanted to know if there are any guys
who are well versed in employment law
that was all, and if that arrangement is
watertight before I spend money setting

The insurance was the other thing I phoned up
quite a few commercial insurers but none would
touch an agency set up as I did would  not employ or
train the cleaners.

Posted by Musicman (Musicman), 12 November 2003
Hi Domestic Agency, about a week ago I posted the following information about employment/self employment. These are guidelines from the Inland Revenue.

Employed or self-Employed?  


If you can answer 'Yes' to the following questions, you are probably Employed.

Do you yourself have to do the work rather than hire someone else to do it for you?  
Can someone tell you at any time what to do or when and how to do it?  
Are you paid by the hour, week, or month? Can you get overtime pay?  
Do you work set hours, or a given number of hours a week or month?  
Do you work at the premises of the person you work for, or at a place or places he or she decides?  


If you can answer 'Yes' to the following questions, it will usually mean you are self-Employed.  

Do you have the final say in how the business is run?  
Do you risk your own money in the business?  
Are you responsible for meeting the losses as well as taking the profits?  
Do you provide the main items of equipment you need to do your job, not just the small tools many employees providefor themselves?  
Are you free to hire other people on your own terms to do the work you have taken on? Do you pay them out of your own pocket?  
Do you have to correct unsatisfactory work in your own time and at your own expense?  

This would suggest that the cleaners are not self-employed and getting them to sign otherwise is getting into dangerous territory to say the least - don't you agree?

No wonder no one will insure you.

If it was this simple to take people on in a self employed role there would be no employees left.

I feel a phone call to the Inland Revenue coming on!


Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 13 November 2003

Hi Musicman the plot thickens,

inland revenues own document titled
"agencies and people working through
agencies"  CA 25 2003-2003 states the following

"When is and Agency not your employer?"

"An Agency is not treated as your employer
if you work

1. as an actor singer or musician or other
entertainer or

2. As a fashion, photographic or artist's model
in your own home or

on premises not controlled or managed by the people
you work for (agency) except where the nature of your
work makes this necessary. For example

an agency may supply a person to work for an accountant,
who in turn requires him to carry out an audit on a client's premises

All good old inland revunue speak and now I am totally
confused Huh
Posted by pristineclean (pristineclean), 13 November 2003
Hi Richard

Interesting question you've asked. As far as my understanding of the law goes, you're not the employer where you've set up as an introductory service bringing clients and cleaners together and making a commission charge for hours worked, particularly true if the clients and cleaners have signed to this effect.

The interesting part is the insurance. Since you are not the employer, any insurance you have is unlikely to cover anyone but your employees, and since the cleaners don't work for you they're not going to be covered, unless you are employing them on a sub contract basis and have bought insurance for that purpose.

It would be  much cheaper and simpler, I think, to ensure that each of your cleaners has their own liability insurance, and since they will be sole operators, it isnt going to cost them much on a monthly basis.


Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 13 November 2003

Hi Callum,

Thanks have been on the phone to various
insurers and the inland revenue. The insurance
is a very grey area.

The inland revenue well?? I spoke to two
so called advisors and each gave a different
answer one said it can be done, one said
it can't.

Perhaps I should just employ them like most
and get on with it ?/ Huh
Posted by Fox (Fox), 13 November 2003

I feel the right way forward for you would be to employ direct.

The idea of the cleaner being self employed can cause many problems from the clients point of view.

Most people will go to a Company for a domestic cleaner to take the hassle out of finding one themselves and the management of the cleaner.  In the situation you describe with Selclene, what if the client isn't happy with the person that is introduced to them?

If you are not a direct employer you can not discipline or dismiss, this would be down to the client.  In my experience most people find this hard and don't want to become involved in it.

Take control and employ - either that or do it yourself!!!!!

Good luck - let us know how it goes.

Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 13 November 2003

Thanks Fox,

I think you may be right

The Selclene guy will not tell me anymore than
an enquiring customer would get, so not sure
what he does regarding unhappy clients etc.

Regarding do it myself that will not work there
are only so many hours in a day, but if I  employ
this would enable better growth and hopefully
more money.
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 13 November 2003
If Seclene which has lots of Agencies can find a way of doing it so should everybody.

I would have thought individual insurance would be expensive. As there would probablly be a minimumn fee.

I always thought you needed a licence to operate an employment agency

Posted by Fox (Fox), 13 November 2003
Hi Ian

I would like to know:

Are you employed or self employed?

Do you work for an agency or employer?
Posted by highstandard (Peterdirector), 13 November 2003
If a cleaner is going to go self employed they might as well run their own cleaning business rather than paying a fee to an agency,
Posted by DomesticAgency (DomesticAgency), 13 November 2003


That is a good point, they would obviously
get the whole portion of the money rather
than the agency mark up.

You do see enough private cleaner adverts
to realise there are many doing it for themselves
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 14 November 2003

I have several hats but I am self employed.

Regarding Selclene idea why not go to a solicitor.

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