How To Start A Carpet Cleaning Business
Why would you want to start a carpet cleaning business, out of all the various types of businesses out there? There are numerous
reasons why you might consider doing so.
- 1. Skill Level vs. Potential Income
For the skill level involved, carpet cleaning as a business pays rather well. Professional carpet cleaners are capable of earning
in the range of $75 to $150 per hour of their own labor, or the labor of their trained and competent cleaning technicians. Those
numbers apply to what might be classed as residential and small-to-mid-size commercial jobs. Out of that gross income, you
will, of course, have some expenses to pay: labor by the hour, day, or year; investment in equipment; maintaining one or more
work vehicles; carpet cleaning products; promotion of your business via one or more forms of marketing; insurance; and some others.
- 2. Initial Capital Investment
You will need to purchase or otherwise acquire dependable and effective carpet cleaning equipment. Carpet cleaning methods,
and the equipment associated with them, have historically broken down between what can be called “wet” and “dry” methods. Wet
cleaning is not necessarily super-wet, and dry cleaning is not totally dry. Some carpet cleaning businesses use just one of
these approaches, and tout its benefits as vastly superior to the other. Other companies own and use equipment of both types,
and suggest to their customers that they are better equipped to handle any type of cleaning challenge that might arise. They
might use both wet and dry techniques together in the performing of a single job, or they might use wet in one situation, and dry
in another. Some companies will charge one price for using just one cleaning method (their “Standard” rate), and a higher rate
(for their “Premium” service) if they use both methods on the same job.
How much does it cost to start a carpet cleaning business?
The cost of just starting out in the carpet cleaning business can be from pretty low to pretty high. In the higher ranges, there
are companies offering franchise opportunities in the $50,000 (such as Chem-Dry) up to $150,000 range (such as Zerorez).
There are also well-designed packages of new professional equipment, capable of enabling you to perform professional-quality
work for far less – between two and three thousand dollars in some cases (such as Nature’s Quick-Dry). Then, of course, there
are always people trying to sell used equipment through such websites as Craigslist. Prices for used equipment will range from low to fairly high, and may or may not include a van or other type of commercial vehicle.
- 3. Try to Be Unique
For a small business, just starting out, according to university-level professors of Entrepreneurial Studies, you will be better
able to successfully enter and compete in the market if you offer a niche-type of service. This means offering one or more
services that might be being overlooked by the lion’s share of businesses already in the industry in which you are interested.
If the potential customers in your market area perceive that you do something better or fill a void better than your
competitors, it will be likely that they will want to do business with you.
- 4. Part-Time vs. Full-Time
If you choose to start a carpet cleaning business, you can approach this in a number of ways, depending upon your own availability.
For one thing, you don’t have to be available five or even six days a week, from early morning to late afternoon. When starting a
new business, you may be understandably reluctant to give up any job or jobs you may already have. When a carpet cleaning job is
scheduled, it is at the mutual convenience of both the customer and the individual who will be performing the service. Customers
for carpet cleaning work can be surprisingly flexible. He or she who calls you to do a job may work a more or less full-time
job, but may work from home every Thursday afternoon, or every Friday morning. Or many will be in no particular rush, and will
be agreeable to take your first available slot, even if it is a couple of weeks away.
Some of your first several jobs may well be for friends or family members who want to see you succeed. They will realize that they
have to accommodate to your schedule and availability.
- 5. Wide Variety of Backgrounds
No particular technical or educational background or credentials are required for someone choosing to enter the carpet cleaning
field. Customers won’t be asking to see your diploma or learn your grade-point average, or want to view a certificate from a
technical training institute. You will instead be evaluated based on such things as the technical quality of your work, and your ability to interact with and listen to what the customer wants.
Low Price vs. Value Received
You don’t have to be the cheapest in order to get and retain customers.
The customer will be looking at the relative value she feels she is receiving from your work, compared to what it might cost elsewhere. I stress that value is important, rather than just price,as many people have been burned by unscrupulous carpet cleaners. These are the people who advertise with some ridiculously low rate, then push up the actual price once they are in the door. This is what is called “Bait & Switch”. Bait & Switch is not a good policy to adopt if you want to stay in business for
the long haul.
In every type of market, of course, there are what are called Price Shoppers. These are people who will only pay what they
determine to be the absolute lowest price for whatever good or service they are shopping for. Even if you succeed, by offering absurdly low prices, to obtain their business one time, you can be sure that the next time they need their carpet cleaned, they
will feel no loyalty to you. They will inevitably find someone even cheaper, and do business with them. Trying to be the cheapest, unless you have the resources of a company such as Walmart at your disposal, will prove to be your quickest way
right out of business. While is can be difficult for many people starting a business to accept, most people, yourself probably
included, respect a business owner’s right to earn a living, and are willing to pay a fair and competitive price for value received.
- 6. Any Locale Can Work
Finally, carpet cleaning is a business that can be supported in any type of location: in the city; in a smaller
town or suburb; or in a more rural setting. If you are in a city or a metro area of substantial size, there are more
prospective customers for your service, but there are also more competing companies. On the other hand, if you live in,
and plan to remain living in a rural, sparsely settled area, along with fewer potential customers, you will face few or
perhaps no other competing carpet cleaning services.