How To Begin Your Cleaning Services Business In The UAE

May 27, 2024

With the increasing urbanization in the UAE, it comes as no surprise that there’s a rising demand for effective cleaning services. As people’s lives get busier, services that free up their time and create a clean environment to live and work in are becoming more coveted. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater awareness of cleanliness to prevent the spread of diseases has gripped the UAE. Similarly, the rise of disposable income and the real estate boom have fueled a demand for cleaning services. The industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate of roughly 5%, driven by these diverse factors. 

Entrepreneurs looking to develop their businesses in the cleaning industry should be aware that the market is segmented into residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, disinfection/sanitation services, and other specialized services such as window cleaning, carpet cleaning, and upholstery cleaning. 

Within this lucrative industry, SPC Free Zone recommends a range of business licenses for cleaning companies, all of which can be taken under an instant license from SPC.

8120.00 – Cleaning activities

Largely considered one of the most vital business activities for cleaners, this facilitates general cleaning for all types of buildings. Whether your expertise is in commercial, residential, or specialty cleaning, you can carry out both interior and exterior cleaning under this license. 

This can even include the cleaning of industrial machinery, road and sea tankers, bottle cleaning, snow and ice removal, and street sweeping. Simultaneously, the demand for effective disinfecting and exterminating services is quite high. With this license, cleaning companies can utilize their specialized skills to break into the market. 

It’s worthwhile to note that while a myriad of solutions fall under this license, there are specific cleaning-related services that are prohibited with this license, including agricultural pest control, steam-cleaning, sandblasting (and other similar activities for building exteriors), carpet and rug shampooing, and drapery/curtain cleaning. 
Along with this, cleaners with this license cannot be contracted to clean new buildings immediately after construction; this requires a separate license.

Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity 

Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8120.00 is exempt from this requirement

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8120.00 is exempt from this requirement

8121.00 – General cleaning of buildings

Keep in mind that cleaning services require proper cleanliness practices, the use of harmless and eco-friendly products, and knowledge of effective cleaning techniques—so conducting thorough research and hiring experienced workers is crucial. If you’re looking to carry out cleaning services for houses and commercial office cleaning services, this activity is essential. 

8121.01: We recommend this license for entrepreneurs targeting offices, houses, apartments, factories, shops, and other similar institutions. General cleaning of all building types falls under this license, making it a handy one to have in tow.

8121.02: This covers general cleaning of all kinds of business spaces, offices, apartment buildings, and condos. It mainly focuses on internal spaces, but might also include windows, hallways, and other outside areas that are right next to the building.

It’s important to note that this license mostly covers general cleaning—not specialized interior cleaning activities. As such, cleaning of chimneys, fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, incinerators, boilers, ventilation ducts, and exhaust units are prohibited under this license. For those looking to conduct these activities, see 8129.00 below.
  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8120.00 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8120.00 is exempt from this requirement

8129.00 – Other building and industrial cleaning activities

For business owners looking to become industry experts in specialized—and highly sought after—cleaning activities, this should be on your list of essential activities. Industrial cleaning involves a much broader and often more intense cleaning process compared to general cleaning, and this group includes:

  • 8129.01 – Exterior cleaning of buildings of all types, including offices, factories, shops, institutions and other business and professional premises and multiunit residential buildings
  • 8129.02 – Specialized cleaning activities for buildings such as window cleaning, chimney cleaning and cleaning of fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, incinerators, boilers, ventilation ducts and exhaust units
  • 8129.03 – Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services
  • 8129.04 Cleaning of industrial machinery
  • 8129.05 Bottle cleaning
  • 8129.06 Cleaning of trains, buses, planes, etc
  • 8129.07 Cleaning of the inside of road and sea tankers
  • 8129.08 Disinfecting and exterminating activities
  • 8129.10 Other building and industrial cleaning activities, n.e.c.

From hazardous areas to deep cleaning, and spill and waste management—all using specialized techniques—industrial cleaning is a vast sector with a high potential for profitability. Tackling tasks that a regular cleaning company may be unable to carry out will give entrepreneurs an edge in the market.

Here’s where specialized cleaning of windows, chimneys, fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, incinerators, boilers, ventilation ducts, and exhaust units comes into play. For those looking to service properties fully, swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services under this license can be extremely helpful. All relevant industrial cleaning activities can be carried out here, hassle-free. 

Cleaning of industrial machinery, bottle cleaning, and cleaning the inside of road and sea tankers are challenging tasks that are enabled through this license. Along with this, entrepreneurs who are interested in extending their expertise beyond buildings can provide cleaning services for trains, buses, planes, and other such vehicles (apart from cars).  

Finally, disinfecting and exterminating activities, which are essential for nearly all buildings at one time or another, fall under this license as well. 

Remember that although extermination falls under this license, agriculture pest control is prohibited. Similarly, automobile cleanings such as car washes are excluded, along with the cleaning of sewers and drains which requires other specialists.
  • Third-party Approval: Third-party approvals from Civil Aviation/Sharjah are required only for business activity 8129.06 (cleaning of trains, buses, planes, etc) prior to obtaining your business license for said activity. Third-party approvals are not required for the other business activities under this license
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8129.00 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8129.00 is exempt from this requirement

4330.10 – Cleaning of new buildings after construction

Under the broad arm of building completion and finishing, primarily carried out by construction crews and engineers, comes the cleaning of new buildings after construction. Cleaning companies are hired during the end of the process, working in tandem with other experts.

This is a crucial step before a building can be occupied. It involves removing all the dust, debris, and leftover materials from the construction process to create a clean, safe, and presentable space. Specialized cleaning comes into play here as well.

By following a thorough cleaning process, cleaning companies ensure that new buildings are ready for occupants to move in and enjoy a clean, healthy, and functional space. 

For cleaning companies who wish to carry out specialized interior and exterior cleaning of such buildings, we recommend obtaining license 8129.00 (listed above) as well, since this license prohibits the mentioned activity. 
It’s also noteworthy to mention that companies with this license cannot engage in road painting, installing automated doors, general interior cleaning, interior decoration, and furniture assembling.
  • Third-party Approval: Third-party approval from Sharjah Municipality/Dubai Civil Defense is required for this business activity, post obtaining your business license
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 4330.10 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 4330.10 is exempt from this requirement

8110.01 – Provision of a combination of support services within a client’s facility

If you’re looking to provide clients with a host of combined support services, including general interior cleaning and maintenance, this activity is the way to go. 

It enables companies to carry out trash disposal, guard and security, mail routing, reception services, laundry, and other related services. In short, the operations required to keep a facility running on the ground level. 

So, how does this work? As a company that provides the above services, including cleaning, you will simply provide a team of competent staff to carry out these activities within a client’s space. Remember that these employees cannot contribute to the core business activities carried out within this facility. 

Note that this category focuses on companies providing a combination of support services to keep facilities running smoothly. Companies cannot provide just one support service, or even provide the entire management and operating staff a facility would need for operations. Companies also can’t manage computer systems or data processing, and are prohibited from operating within correctional facilities. 
  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8110.01 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8110.01 is exempt from this requirement

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