Carpet cleaners are used by countless homeowners and businesses to have sparkling clean spaces. Clean carpets are a welcoming way to enter any environment, whether it be a store, office, or home. There are countless customers who benefit from carpet cleaning services, but if you want to start providing these services, you’ll need to understand how to start a carpet cleaning business.
First of all, is carpet cleaning a good business to start? Starting your own business has a lot of facets to it that you may have never considered. Firstly, there’s a lot of equipment you’ll need to purchase. Then there’s the task of finding reliable and qualified staff, and that’s not even the half of it.We know it sounds like a lot of hard work, and it might be a bit overwhelming. However, we’ve broken it all down into some simple steps to follow that will help you get your business off the ground.
Getting into the carpet cleaning business is a complicated process. There’s more to it than just registering as a limited company. That’s why we’ve put together this simple plan for starting up your company. Want to know how to start a carpet cleaning business? In this article created by our team at Trafft, will explain in more detail about these steps to follow and you’ll have a registered, well planned business ready to go!
Franchise vs New Company
The first decision to make when thinking of how to start a carpet cleaning business is whether you’re going to build a business from the ground up or not. Alternatively, you might find a franchise of a carpet cleaning business for sale. There are benefits and drawbacks to each way of doing it. If you buy a franchise, you might have higher upfront costs than you would by starting your own company. Franchisees, however, have the benefit of brand recognition. Plus, the company you’re a franchisee of is probably already well-known and perhaps putting out advertising on your behalf.
If you don’t want all the hassle of building a business from scratch, you might enjoy being a franchisee. The fees for this are usually between $20,000 to $50,000. In return for this fee, you’ll usually receive marketing and training. You’ll also be able to use the existing logo and branding of the franchise. Additionally, to the upfront fee, you’ll need to factor in office space, inventory, and expense costs.
Starting a franchise business can be expensive but it does give you extra benefits. You’re likely to get clients more quickly because of the brand’s existing reputation. This can mean gaining revenue quicker. Also, being part of a franchise can mean you don’t make the new business errors that many beginning company creators make. Your brand and logo are already ready to go.
On the other hand, creating your own company gives you the opportunity to choose every aspect of it. You can choose the logo, brand, marketing materials, etc. Basically, you have total control over every decision. Building up brand recognition and reputation can be time consuming. Once you’ve done this though, you could end up with a truly flourishing company.
Writing a Business Plan
What’s the next part of starting a carpet cleaning business? Whether you choose to go the franchise route or start your own company, the next step is to create a carpet cleaning business plan. A carpet cleaning business plan should address the following questions:
- How will my company turn a profit?
- What is my customer base?
- What is my target demographic?
- How will customers find out about my services?
- What are my long and short term goals?
Section off your business so you can take a thorough look at each part. You may want to target homeowners or businesses for your services, depending on your goals, but before you think about that, write down exactly what services you’re going to offer. These may include:
- Steam cleaning
- Stain removal
- Carpet repair
- Deep carpet cleaning
- Green products
Then, write down what you think your everyday expenses will be, and design your marketing strategy. This is vital to your company’s success.
We’d like to reiterate that a business plan is always going to grow and change. It should be an iterative document that will change as your business and goals develop. The first business plan you write will give you a chance to structure your plan of attack and define your goals. Then you’ll feel confident that you know what to do next.
Create a Budget
Having a budget is just as important as a business plan. Right from the start, you should be asking yourself, what your carpet cleaning business income is going to be and how you are going to meet that number. You need to decide how much you’re willing to expend on everyday expenses, and startup costs. Here’s a short list of costs to consider:
- Cleaning products
You also need to think about how much money you need to live on. Always try to have 3 months of expenses in your back pocket, as you may not be earning revenue for a while.
As you plan your company out, note how much money you already have, then figure out how much more you may need to get the company up and running. You’ll need to seek this in investment or apply for a loan. Figure out what your startup costs are, for example:
- Business license
- Daily expenses
You’ll find that plenty of business budgeting templates are available free online. Using a template is a great way to make sure you don’t forget any possible expenses.
Undertake Training and Certification
You can’t just start off straight into carpet cleaning with no experience. Customers want to know that you’re a certified professional who knows what they’re doing. You may consider getting in touch with someone else who has a carpet cleaning company. This is a great way to get hands-on experience beforehand. You could ask to shadow them for a day to see what a general day looks like.
Before you can truly get started, however, you’ll need to have some carpet cleaning experience. Getting a license and training is a great way to show customers that you know what you’re doing. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers courses. With one of these, you could get certified as one of the following:
- Rug Cleaning Technician
- Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician
- Carpet Cleaning Technician
These certifications can be completed either online or in-person. This makes it easy to get properly certified by a recognized entity.
Once you have certification, you don’t need a degree, but it does help to have some business knowledge. It’ll help if you have the following:
- Cleaning experience
- Managerial experience
- Marketing knowledge
- Customer service skills
- Mechanical knowledge
Once you’ve got your training, the next step in starting your own carpet cleaning business is the equipment selection. The equipment you choose will likely be highly dependent on budget restrictions. Keep in mind that you may be able to purchase more expensive equipment in the future when your business is thriving.
You need to choose tools that have longevity. For example, more and more clients are seeking cleaners who use green products. This trend of environmental sustainability isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, it may be a good idea to spend a little more on attaining these types of products.
Renting equipment is a valid option if you don’t have many customers yet. As soon as you can though, it’s going to be cheaper in the long run to purchase your own tools.
Overall, the startup costs of having a carpet cleaning business are highly variable. A lot of your company’s expenses depend on what equipment you can purchase. For example, you’ll be spending a lot less money if you can find a van that’s already suitable for your purposes without adjustments than if you buy a van that you’ll have to adjust yourself. Or, as mentioned before, you could choose to buy regular cleaning supplies, or choose to spend a lot of money on eco-friendly supplies. All in all, you could end up spending anywhere between $500 and $85,000 on your carpet cleaning company.
The main equipment costs will be:
- Effective equipment for carpet cleaning
- Cleaning products
- A van for carrying your equipment around
While looking at insurance might not be the most interesting thing to do, it’s definitely necessary if you’re serious about starting your own business. You’ll want to be insured in case of liability. There is a range of policies you might consider:
Commercial property insurance
This would pay out to cover any equipment that gets lost or damaged. This includes cases of flood, fire, or other similar situations.
You’ll need this to ensure your van is covered in the event of a crash or theft.
Workers comp insurance
If you have employees, this insurance is an absolute necessity. If an employee is injured at work, it will pay medical bills or lost income.
Commercial liability insurance
This type of insurance will pay the expenses if a client gets injured or you damage the property of a client.
The costs of these policies will vary according to your choice of the insurance company. Other factors include location, value, and the number of employees.
We also recommend that you have a surety bond in place. This is an escrow account that holds money. It makes sure that you complete the services promised that you were paid for. You can then use this money towards any damages owed if you damaged a client’s carpet.
You won’t have any carpets to clean until you have customers. This is why marketing is such a crucial element of starting a carpet cleaning business.
Focusing on marketing at the beginning is really the only way to get a good number of customers in the door.
It’s important that you understand that people are only going to get their carpets cleaned annually, or semi-annually at most. You’re not going to get the same customers every week. So, you will definitely need a large number of customers. You should also focus on repeat bookings, meaning, you should always be encouraging customers to make future bookings.
It’s vital to find where the gap is in your region. Maybe there’s an abundance of commercial carpet cleaners but a shortage of residential ones. Or carpet cleaners who only clean houses larger than 4 bedrooms. You need to find out where the gap is and be the one to fill it. This is how you’ll get customers.
Online marketing is an important aspect of your business, but don’t forget that offline marketing is still very effective when done right. It will depend on your target demographic as well. For example, if you do residential cleaning in an area with many older homeowners, they may not see the online promotion. For offline options, marketing at malls, supermarkets, or fairs is a great way to go.
Build an Awesome Website
Image source: BAFE
There are plenty of free or cheap website options available these days, and many of them look incredibly professional. When you are marketing online, you’ll need to learn how to optimize your site for search engines. Searches retrieve results based on relevancy so stick to language that you think people might search.
It’s a great idea to create a Google Business listing. This is how many people now search for businesses. It is free and will come up when people google carpet cleaning in your area.
Find Some Great Software
Starting a carpet cleaning business is no easy feat. There are so many different things to worry about, fro your employees, to insurance, to making sure your vacuums’ batteries are still working. Plus, appointment scheduling, especially when you’re starting off, can be very difficult.
You need to make sure you don’t overbook or double-book yourself. You’ll also need to market, send invoices and manage the day-to-day running of your company. There will be a lot to remember. A software that can help with all these things will be a great asset to your business.
This software would let you take carpet cleaning appointments online which customers love. Most people prefer making appointments online rather than on the phone. The software could also simplify tasks and accept online payments.
A fantastic software you can use is Trafft. It’s a SaaS version of WordPress – Amelia which is used by more than 4,000 companies all over the world. It makes booking easy and functions 24/7, meaning that your customers can book appointments and pay for them at any time of day.
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