How to get started in the carpet cleaning business

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by Brian_g, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Brian_g

    Brian_g Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking about getting started in the carpet cleaning business. I'd like to know of some good books and / or other training material that can help me get started. I don't want recommendations for material that are primarily motivational in nature, or generic information that applies to all businesses. Here's the type of information I'm looking for:

    Fine print -- legal, tax, insurance and other "fine print" stuff I need to keep myself out of trouble.

    Carpet cleaning knowledge -- How to get out difficult stains. What stuff not to do to avoid ruining a customer's carpet.

    Customer service -- How to offer good customer service without promising more then I can do. I don't want to tell people I'll move their furniture and then be expected to move a china cabinet with the china still in place. I want to know reasonable policies for these type of things and how to best communicate those policies with a customer. How do I deal with customers that are difficult or impossible to please. How to I provide services that will keep the customer coming back to me.

    Advertising -- how to market a carpet cleaning business.
  2. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    So you want us to plan your business for you? Where are you located? Tell us who you are and where you're at or no deal. Not from me anyway.
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  3. Brian_g

    Brian_g Well-Known Member

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    I asked for resources books and / or training materials specifically. I don't see this as asking anyone to plan my business for me.
    But I don't mind sharing a bit about myself. My name is Brian. I'm live in northern Indiana. I work a full time job as a supervisor and I'm a small time landlord. I realized how much I like working for myself about 6 months ago. I was cleaning a house I just bought for a rental. After I got done cleaning the toilet, I had this amazing sense of self satisfaction. I wasn't just cleaning a toilet. I wasn't just cleaning a toilet for money. I was cleaning My toilet for My business and that made all the difference. Sorry if that sounds cheesy, but that's how I felt.

    Here's why I'm thinking about a carpet cleaning business. First, I already like getting apartments ready to rent. I've cleaned carpets before too. In the past I've rented a Rug Doctor. However, with the last house I bought, I decided to have a professional come out and clean. I was blown away with how quality and speed of the work. He was there for about an hour, and charged almost $200. I would have spent a couple of days cleaning with a Rug Doctor and it probably wouldn't have looked as nice. Anyway, it got me thinking. This is something I can do. So I've been thinking about this for a while and I want to learn some more before I drop the money into equiptment.
  4. kennedy

    kennedy Well-Known Member

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    How much can you afford? Like everything else you will need money to start, the cheapest way is to start with a pickup and trailer and buy a start up package from Rotovac. check them out , don`t buy their cheapest startup package, have them up grade it with more powerful equipment. If you have a lot of money than check out the various truck mount systems. You will need to figure out who your customers are going to be, are you going to stick to commercial or just do residential? I do just mainly residential so I only need an extractor that can handle up to 150 ft of vac hose, If I was going to do a lot of commercial I would want a lot bigger extractor that can handle a lot more hose(600 ft).
  5. Scott W

    Scott W Preferred Vendor Premium VIP

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    Our company offers a lot of training on management and marketing. Here is a link to some of the material.
    http://interlinksupply.com/index.html?search_val=marketing&go=Go

    The "Options" package for marketing to commercial accounts was just redone and will be introduced in new form alter this month. It is now a much better package of marketing training.

    We also offer live course in carpet cleaning and related topics like odor control, upholstery cleaning and so forth. There is a location in Indianapolis (Advantage Marketing 800 242-4952) and a couple in Michigan (Great Lake Steamway is just south of Detroit 800 654-3537)

    I have a few training items I can send you at no cost if you provide an email and/or mailing address. scottw@bridgewatercorp.net
  6. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    Nice to meet you Brian. I'm in Indianapolis. If you ever want to come down you can ride along for a day, or two days, or a week, or whatever and I'll show you what I know, and I'm really serious about that. I'm not the guy to look to for marketing advice but I can help you learn how to clean. The only rules are you can't be a creep or a molester or a weirdo, and you can't smoke around me.

    I strongly recommend getting a relationship going with Jon-Don which is just outside Chicago. You are in their next day shipping zone. They have every chemical and all the equipment you'll ever need, in addition to operating the best industry seminar called Strategies for Success. It would be invaluable if you can go.
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  7. RoboShark

    RoboShark Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    What a guy. I don't care what some might say that is just class all the way. Especially since you're in kinda the same area.
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  8. Steve Toburen

    Steve Toburen Strategies for Success

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    Welcome to a great industry, Brian, IF you "do it right". And yes, you are smart to learn as much as you can BEFORE you make the jump.

    At Strategies for Success we've been asked these sort of questions enough we've devoted an entire section of our website to "Starting Out". Everything is free and even though I am prejuidiced I would have LOVED to have these resources all those many years ago when I started out. Just click HERE to access the "Getting Started" info.

    Best wishes and this board will be very valuable for you,

    Steve Toburen
    www.SFS.JonDon.com

    PS Thanks, Ross, for the recommendation. (Trust me, Brian, if we could keep Ross happy you will be delighted!) :) And by the way, Ross is too modest. He has excellent marketing instincts.
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  9. RoboShark

    RoboShark Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My advise to brian would be to try to get a job with a reputable local company and get some experience doing the work to see if you like it and can handle this hard work. It might have looked like an easy way to make 200/hr but it's not all gravy and once you put some real power behind that wand and try it yourself you won't know. I lost 20 lbs the first 6 weeks when I started 7 yrs ago.

    Also if Ross is offering a ride a long I would think hard about taking him up on it.

    Use the resources Scott posted also he knows his stuff
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  10. GreenTechAgain

    GreenTechAgain Well-Known Member

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    I have seen you make this offer at least twice now.

    I give you a lot of credit. There are not too many people out there who would do so.
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  11. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    I miss training people. When I was an employee they'd send trainees with me all the time. Now that I'm on my own I don't get to do it much anymore. It's just rewarding for some reason.
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  12. Mrs.SpeedySteamer

    Mrs.SpeedySteamer Moderator Staff Member Moderator Premium VIP

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    First go on the ride along that is being offered! See if you like it. Your reasoning wasn't cheesy, I think many of us feel the same way.

    I don't know about the Indiana state web site but I know California has a small business link where you type in the type of business you want to start and it gives you everything you need to do. Check out the indiana web site. You're going to want to take some classes and do some on the job training (ride along!).

    If you can try getting a part time job with a local carpet cleaning company.

    Once you've started, keep everyone in the loop, and they can give you recommendations on equipment.
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  13. Tron

    Tron Well-Known Member

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    Brian, I share a shop with Ross, and we co run rug cleaning out of it. (small time operation, nothing too amazing) but I've known Ross for many years and he actually taught me most of what I know in this field.

    But I would like to offer you the assurance/ insurance that if he tries to talk you into a shirtless wrestling match in a baby pool full of KY jelly, you can always bail and hop in my truck too.

    This industry is like a wife.
    It can be the best thing that ever happened to you, or if it's not prepared, treated, maintained right it can be a B1t(# and you will want a divorse.

    Personaly I make sure mine looks good, and is fun to "operate" which brings great reward. Just make sure to keep your wand clean.

    PS. Steve Toburen mentioned the seminar Strategies For Success, SFS for short, if I had attended that 4 years ago I would have skipped a couple years worth of growing pains.
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  14. RoboShark

    RoboShark Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Keep your wand clean. LMAO!!
  15. Brian_g

    Brian_g Well-Known Member

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    I'll try to respond more individually to you guys tomorrow, but for now, I just want to say thanks to everyone that responded.

    Ross, I'm game for a ride.
  16. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    Sounds good to me. Just let me know when. I don't work weekends or Tuesdays usually.
  17. Tron

    Tron Well-Known Member

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    What's the extent of your carpet cleaning knowledge?
    What equipment have you used?

    Even if it's none what so ever that may be even easier to help than someone who thinks they know it all from past experience with out of date equipment.

    What city or town do you live in?
  18. Brian_g

    Brian_g Well-Known Member

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    Right now I'm leaning toward buying a used van with a truck mount already installed. If business goes well, I can upgrade to newer equiptment. I'm thinking I'll get the best value for my money this way. I don't own a truck, so I'd still need a way to transport a portable. I thought about trying to stuff the equiptment in the back seat of my car, but that doesn't seem very professional. So if I have to buy a truck or a van plus a portable, I don't think I would be saving much money over a used van with a truck mount installed. I'm open to contrary opinions. What do you think about this?
  19. Brian_g

    Brian_g Well-Known Member

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    I sent you an email with my mailing address.
  20. Tron

    Tron Well-Known Member

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    That's strange, I think almost exactly the opposite.

    I would think the cheapest way to start would be a work van, not a truck and trailer purchase which those hold value quit well.

    And then if I were only doing residential I would want the more powerful machine and have atleast 250' of hose available for when you just cant get closer.

    Commercial doesn't care nearly as much about bringing in a less powerful porty and only needing to run 50-100 foot.

    Just my experience.
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