How to start a cleaning company in South Africa

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So, you’d to like register or start a cleaning company in South Africa?

You’re probably here to find out what you need in terms of paperwork and registrations, and how you can get it as quickly as possible, to operate in South Africa as a cleaning company. Or you might be here to find out what you need to apply for Tenders, Contracts and RFQs, so you can grow your existing cleaning business into something more significant.

In this article, the experts at Pty Company Registration, a local fast-tracked company registration company, touch on all the must-have documentation you need to start a successful cleaning company in South Africa that’s legally registered and eligible to apply for Tenders – whether you’re aiming for private, commercial or government contracts.

To simplify the list of South African cleaning company documents you need, we’ve broken this article into two sections. Here are the useful sections of information you’ll find in this article:

  • Section 1: General Documentation every South African business needs. This section describes documentation if you’d like to trade a South African business. This section will ensure you’re compliant with SARS. You have to comply with this section before moving on to the second section.
  • Section 2: Documentation South African cleaning companies need for contracts. This list of documentation will help you stay competitive with other cleaning companies. It will help you apply for cleaning contracts and it will also help your business stay on top of your industry’s trends and good practices.

If the list of documents below still overwhelms you, or if you need an expert to walk you through the process of getting registered for all the important paperwork, you can always contact a consultant at Pty Company Registration for a free business consultation on what you need.

Please note that we've tried our best to list all the vital pieces of documentation below in both sections, however, what you need may differ depending on your specific business and its needs. So, it's important to check with a professional or a professional institution that you have everything you need for your particular business goals.


Section 1: General Documentation every South African business needs

Here are the specific documents that almost every South African business needs.

  • Company Registration
  • B-BBEE Affidavit or Certificate
  • Company Tax Verification and a Tax Clearance Certificate


1. Company Registration

What you need: You need Company Registration at the CIPC.

Why you need it:  You don’t need to be registered in order to function as a legal business in South Africa, however it does help your business if you do. If you're not registered, you are automatically considered a sole proprietor business in the eyes of South African law.

There are different kinds of companies you can register your business as, however registering as a Pty is the most common structure in South Africa.

The reason you should register your business at the CIPC is related to your personal finances and also your ability to apply to contracts, tenders or RFQs. Firstly, contract application often requires a company registration number – the number you get upon registration at the CIPC. Secondly, in terms of your finances, registering your business offers some extra protection, because it separates your personal finances and your business’s finances.

How you can get it: There are two ways to get a business registered at the CIPC. You can either apply directly via the eServices Portal. Alternatively, if you'd like to save time and effort, you can ask a professional like an accountant or a fast-tracked Company Service provider like Pty Company Registration to assist you.

Helpful links:


2. B-BBEE Affidavit or Certificate

What you need: If you want to apply for tenders, you need signed B-BBEE Affidavit or a B-BBEE Certificate.

Why you need it: The good news is unless you earn more than R10 million, you don't need an official B-BBEE Certificate. You merely need an Affidavit that's signed by a Commissioner of Oath (a registered person who needs to sign that your affidavit is valid – you can usually find at a Commissioner of Oath at a bank or using a fast-tracked service provider).

How you can get it: For an Affidavit, you need to fill out a B-BBEE Affidavit form (see in the helpful links section) and then you need to get it signed by a Commissioner. That’s it. This will be the replacement for your B-BBEE certificate until you earn more than R10 million – at which point it's a much longer process, and you need an official certificate issued by the CIPC. You can also use a fast-tracked documentation service provider or an accountant to help you.

Helpful links:


3. Company Tax Verification and a Tax Clearance Certificate

What you need: You need to register your Company for Tax and you need to ensure your payments are up-to-date.

Why you need it: In order to get a Tax Clearance Certificate, you first need to register for Tax, verify your business and pay your due tax to SARS.

You need a Tax Clearance Certificate as every tender, contract and RFQ will request a Tax Clearance Certificate from you along with your application. The reason it’s a prerequisite if because no business wants to team up with businesses who have outstanding debt with SARS.

How you can get it: As there as various steps before getting a Tax Clearance Certificate the easier route would be using a fast-tracked company documentation business like Pty Company Registration. However, you can also make use of an accountant or do it yourself using SARS’s ePortal.

Helpful links:


Section 2: Documentation South African cleaning companies need for contracts

If you want to run a cleaning company in South Africa, you first need to comply with section 1 before moving on to section 2. You need both sections to comply with the requirements of most state and government institutions.

  • NCCA Registration
  • CSD Registration
  • Letter of Good Standing
  • Employer Tax Registration
  • VAT Registration


4. NCCA Registration

What you need: If you want to apply to any contract, tender or RFQ, you can register as a member of the National Contract Cleaners Association (NCCA) as soon as you’ve been trading for at least 6 months.

Why you need it: Although it’s not mandatory by law, not being registered it will limit your opportunities.

The NCCA is the National Contract Cleaners Association of South Africa, and it sets the national standards for all companies in the cleaning company industry. That's why most companies and government institutions require NCCA Registration when you're applying for tenders, RFQ's or contracts. Your business needs at least 6 months of trading, before you’re eligible to register.

The association aims to offer industry standards for cleaning contractors, cleaning suppliers and organisations. It also provides industry training and a platform to discuss issues relating to the industry.

How you can get it: You can either register directly with the NCCA (see below) or make use of a fast-tracked company compliance company to speed things up.

Helpful link:


5. CSD Registration

What you need: If you want to apply for Government tenders, you have to register on the Governments Central Supplier Database Application (the CSD).

Why you need it: The Government requires all its suppliers to undergo registration on its database, before they are eligible to apply for Tenders. That means, if you’re interested in Government work, this is compulsory for you. If you’re only interested in private contracts, there’s no need to register.

How you can get it: You can either work through the process yourself and register on the Government’s CSD website or you can make use of a fast-tracked service provider like Pty Company Registrations.

Helpful link:


6. Letter of Good Standing

What you need: Registration at the Workman’s Compensation Fund, Up-to-date payments to Fund and a Letter of Good Standing.

Why you need it: Once you start applying for a contract, you'll soon realise that you need to provide a Letter of Good Standing. In short, a Letter of Good Standing is proof that you’re registered at the Workman’s Compensation Fund, that your payments to them are up-to-date and that the Fund will aid you financially if any of your employees ever get hurt or harmed at work. It’s a way to ensure that the company that hires you for contract work does not have to deal with that responsibility.

Besides needing it to apply for contracts, it's a good way to protect yourself and to offer your employees financial aid or support in the case of work-related injuries or harm. The Compensation Fund is a national insurance fund specifically for South African employers and their employees.

How you can get it: Registration can be done at the Labour Department or using us a fast-tracked documentation service provider.

We’ve written two extensive articles explaining everything on Workman’s Compensation and getting a Letter of Good Standing before. So if you’d like more info, you can learn more about the Workman’s Compensation Fund in South Africa here, and you can learn more on how to get a Letter of Good Standing here.

Helpful link:


7. Employer Tax Registration

What you need: If you have or need employees, you need Employer Registration at SARS. You might also need UIF and SDL Registration.

Why you need it: If you employ someone for more than 24 hours a week, it’s compulsory to register as an employer at SARS – even if that’s just one employee. Along with Employer Registration, you'll also be prompted to register for UIF. UIF is the South African Unemployment Insurance Fund. However, there’s no need to worry about large additional sums; UIF requires you to contribute a very miniscule amount to safeguard yourself and your employee, and despite being compulsory, it's worth it.

You may also be asked to contribute SDL (Skills Levy Development), but this usually applies to larger companies (if you expect to pay R500 000 + over 12-months on salaries). In short, it’s a fund to help your employees pursue relevant training, so it will also be beneficial to your business in the long-run.

How you can get it: The first step is registering as an employer at SARS. Below you’ll find a helpful link to all the documentation and information on exceptions to determine whether you need to register as an employer at SARS. You can register for SDL, if applicable, at the SARS Department as well. However, for UIF you can either register at SARS or the UIF office. You'll find more info below. You can also opt to make use of a fast-tracked documentation provider for Registration, SDL and UIF.

Helpful link:


8. VAT Registration

What you need: VAT Registration if you earn more than R1 million in 12 months. If you make less, you can register on a voluntarily.

Why you need it: The most important thing to know about VAT Registration is that it’s voluntary up until you earn over R1 million in 12 months. Then it’s mandatory. It’s often useful to register when you work with various other companies that are also registered because as you submit VAT (Value Added Tax) to your products or services, you can deduct the VAT you pay when acquiring business expenses. 

However, if you're not registered, you don't need to add VAT to your products/services or submit that additional VAT to SARS.

How you can get it: Registration can be done at the SARS or using a fast-tracked documentation service provider or an accountant.

Helpful link:


The content in this article was provided by Pty Company Registration.

About Pty Company Registration:

Pty Company Registration is South Africa's leading Company Registration Service Provider, with a team of over 30 dedicated experts who have assisted over 20 000 South African Businesses to grow into legitimate Companies since 2006. We offer over 120 Company Services, including Company Registration, Shelf Companies, Tax Clearance, VAT Registration, Letter of Good Standing, COID, Website Design, Logo Design and Tender Documents. You can be located anywhere in South Africa (or the world) as everything happens over the Internet. You will receive support from your dedicated Consultant.

For more information, contact:

Tel: 0800 007 269 (toll-free)


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