Copyright 2006 Dennis Watson
A carpet cleaning business offers many opportunities to make a good living with very little business experience needed. I should know because I ran a profitable carpet cleaning business for 10 years before selling out for a huge profit. In this article I will present to you a simple plan to getting you started in your own carpet cleaning business.
Buying a Franchise or not?
Go a head and look into what a franchise can offer you and then weigh it against doing it yourself. The plus will be that many franchises will train you in marketing techniques and give you instruction on how to operate and maintain your equipment. They will also run some local advertising to get you started. The down side is that you will be paying a franchise fee up front and for the duration of your contract. Also, you will have to spend a certain percentage buying their cleaning chemicals. This can really put a damper on your profits. I recommend that you save your investment and go for it on your own.
Cleaning Equipment – Do some research on what is the newest technology for cleaning carpets, I’m sure you have seen many different types which include steam, dry chemical, portable units and truck mount. There are many equipment manufacturers online that will give you a better understanding of what works well. I recommend using a portable power head unit because many of your clients may be businesses in which a standard truck-mount hose will not reach. Plus the cost of portable units is more affordable. The price range of this type of equipment can range from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the options.
Vehicle – Purchase a used cargo mini-van or small size pick-up truck with a bed liner and bed top. The costs will very depending on year and condition.
Cleaning supplies – Again, do some research on the Internet to find a wholesaler of cleaning supplies, many of the equipment wholesalers will offer chemicals as well.
Vehicle Signs – At first buy the standard magnetic door signs to save money but eventually spend some money to get professional signs painted. This will give your business a professional look.
Word of mouth – Tell your friends and family that you are in business and I promise you will have several people up front as paying customers. Many times they will recommend you to their friends and family as well.
Door to Door – Canvas your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods going door-to-door placing flyers on each door. You will be amazed at how affective this will be.
Newspaper Inserts – For some reason this form of advertising really works well, maybe because these flyers can be saved and hung on the refrigerator or message board.
Business Cards – This is a must, you never know where you will be that will provide you an opportunity to sell your service.
Business Location – The great news about this type of business is that you can run a small business right from your home avoiding warehouse cost until you grow into it.
Target Market – Your first priority is to service homes because you can accumulate several repeat customers relatively fast with little cost but your long-term profit will come from commercial establishments like restaurants and apartment buildings. If you do quality work at a fair price they will use your service every week or month.
Use a flat rate approach. Advertise a whole house special for around $300, you will at times get that huge house where you will spend more time but you will get more small to medium size homes in the end. For commercial units use the square footage pricing, for example $.50 a sq. ft. If the business or apartment is 600 sq ft then the price should be $300. Do some research in your area to see what the going price currently is.
Equipment and supplies = $4,000
Vehicle = $10,000
Up front advertising = $2,000
Office supplies = $300
Total = $16,300 give or take a few hundred
Monthly overhead (if you work from home)
Advertising (flyers, newspaper inserts and business cards) = $1000
Chemicals = Depends on how many carpets you clean plus it’s built into your pricing
Vehicle Fuel = Depends on how many carpets you clean plus it’s built into your pricing
Total = $1,000 give or take a few hundred
Don’t forget the tax write-offs for all of your overhead expenses.
As you can see it won’t take very many cleanings to recover your overhead expenses and to make a profit.