How much money needed to start a carpet cleaning business? | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

How much money needed to start a carpet cleaning business?

CoastalCleaning

Active Member
Apr 15, 2009
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Corpus Christi
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Ryan
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United States
How is it done right? I have 10k and want to start this the right way.
That's going to be different for everyone so I'm not sure my story would really help you. I could write pages on how we did it but I'll briefly outline it.

I used 4k as a downpayment for a loan that covered our equipment. Bought a clean used cargo van with low mileage with just 1k down. Few hundred in various supplies and another few hundred in marketing materials and lining up insurance. I made sure not to exceed 1,100 a month in bills because that was the limit in revolving debt my outline allowed. So I was in it for around 6k and needed to land work to cover our monthly debts...plus surviving. I made sure when I jumped ship I had very little debt so living month to month was possible. I did strategically plan my departure from my full time job so I was ahead a little on some bills to soften the blow.

I did have a clear outline of how I wanted to market ourselves the first 6 months. I solicited commercially right from day one. Now whats different with us from most is that we wanted janitorial accounts along with carpet, tile etc. So that opened some additional doors for us. I could not have pulled it off had I not been so confident about landing work and it helped that I'd had outbound sales jobs in the past. I knew what I was getting into and had experience doing it.

The first month we landed a lot of work, but I was constantly passing out cards and rack cards with our company info and what we offer. Landed a lot of low end work (we weren't picky since we were doing this on a shoestring budget) but I made sure to keep our low end work isolated strictly within groups I knew I wouldn't want to work in long term. Like apartment buildings. This way when we raised our prices a year down the road I was only alienating that section of the industry rather than random low end jobs. Its much easier to say that we "don't service apartment complexes any longer" than "we don't want to work with your business because we undercharged".

We also from day one had a policy that payment is due upon completion of the job. So the one off jobs paid right away. We still have that policy and I can only think of a very small handful of jobs we've lost because of it. Now we know not all places can pay right away so we made exceptions at the places we knew were going to be 30 days out. The jobs like apts, motels or janitorial eventually started coming in a month to month and half later so it was tight the first two months.

I would have liked a little reserve to help out but we made due with what we had.

I stuffed away as much as I could the first year. That way we could survive the next two as we worked on growing.
 

DJ Rev

Active Member
Aug 13, 2013
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Trevor
That's going to be different for everyone so I'm not sure my story would really help you. I could write pages on how we did it but I'll briefly outline it.

I used 4k as a downpayment for a loan that covered our equipment. Bought a clean used cargo van with low mileage with just 1k down. Few hundred in various supplies and another few hundred in marketing materials and lining up insurance. I made sure not to exceed 1,100 a month in bills because that was the limit in revolving debt my outline allowed. So I was in it for around 6k and needed to land work to cover our monthly debts...plus surviving. I made sure when I jumped ship I had very little debt so living month to month was possible. I did strategically plan my departure from my full time job so I was ahead a little on some bills to soften the blow.

I did have a clear outline of how I wanted to market ourselves the first 6 months. I solicited commercially right from day one. Now whats different with us from most is that we wanted janitorial accounts along with carpet, tile etc. So that opened some additional doors for us. I could not have pulled it off had I not been so confident about landing work and it helped that I'd had outbound sales jobs in the past. I knew what I was getting into and had experience doing it.

The first month we landed a lot of work, but I was constantly passing out cards and rack cards with our company info and what we offer. Landed a lot of low end work (we weren't picky since we were doing this on a shoestring budget) but I made sure to keep our low end work isolated strictly within groups I knew I wouldn't want to work in long term. Like apartment buildings. This way when we raised our prices a year down the road I was only alienating that section of the industry rather than random low end jobs. Its much easier to say that we "don't service apartment complexes any longer" than "we don't want to work with your business because we undercharged".

We also from day one had a policy that payment is due upon completion of the job. So the one off jobs paid right away. We still have that policy and I can only think of a very small handful of jobs we've lost because of it. Now we know not all places can pay right away so we made exceptions at the places we knew were going to be 30 days out. The jobs like apts, motels or janitorial eventually started coming in a month to month and half later so it was tight the first two months.

I would have liked a little reserve to help out but we made due with what we had.

I stuffed away as much as I could the first year. That way we could survive the next two as we worked on growing.
Thanks for the advice. I want to start in feb/march next year, I have about30- 35k saved and will be leaving my current job to start this. I want to get equipment/advertising for about 20k, Im gonna finance a good used van. Like I said Im leaving my job so I really cant afford to make any major mistakes.
 
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RoboShark

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Nov 14, 2011
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I started with a $10,000 loan from a customer when I was working for another company. It was barely enough to get started with a Ninja, tools, chems, down payment on leasing a van and marketing to get started. We lost money for the first two years before it started to turn around.
I did it very similar.

I had a customer loan me $5000. I found a 2000 Chevy one Ton with a Steamway Powermatic and most of the accessories. Ie: hoses , reels , wand.

The rig only set me back $5500 but I had to fly to Texas from Cen Cal then I had to fill the truck up with gas 8 times to make the 24 hr drive home. I made $800 in So Cal cleaning for family for four days which was about half the cost of travel.

So overall I spent $6200 to get started with a very good running van and a flawlessly running beast of a TM.

The guy really didn't know what he had it was worth at least 13K.
 

akamens

Member
Nov 27, 2011
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www.spotoncarpetandtile.com
Real Name
s kamens
Business Location
United States
...and how are you doing now?

We took a huge leap of faith when we started this business. We didn't have a safety net in the bank and we pretty much put everything we had into the start up.

I put 1k down on a newer 2008 Ford F250 Cargo van. Financed the balance of 12k. We have a payment that runs a little less than 300 a month.

Then I put 3,500 down on a new truckmount and new equipment like hoses, wand, SX, reels and fresh water tank. Ended up financing about 20k. Somewhere around 500 a month payment.

Then invested another 1k in registering the business DBA, Quickbooks, paper literature, business cards and new shirts and shorts...and so forth. Basic starter stuff.

So we put up about 5,500 for a clean used van and new equipment.

With insurance, chemicals and all the monthly payments together to run the business we pay right around 1,100 a month to be functional.

We were tight the first 6 months. Behind a few times actually. Then it finally broke loose and repeat business kicked in and things have been on a steady rise up the last year and half.

We've since invested in a nicer website and seo along with some other moderate advertising ventures. We added an inexpensive buffer about 5 months ago too.

Three things I would have done differently.

- box van over cargo van is a no brainer

- website and seo should have been done on day one

- (safety net) a few grand in savings would have resulted in a lot less sleepless nights

I would have loved to pay cash for everything but we just didn't have it and I didn't want to start with a porty and old beat up van.
 

Troyster

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Apr 24, 2013
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Troy Sims
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About 29 bucks. That's how much u can rent a rug doctor for. I'm not being funny people really do this

Sent from my g2 using tapatalk. Whofat
I know!! let it go already!!! it was an emergency!!:D
 

Troyster

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2013
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Terrace BC
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Troy Sims
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I started with a $10,000 loan from a customer when I was working for another company. It was barely enough to get started with a Ninja, tools, chems, down payment on leasing a van and marketing to get started. We lost money for the first two years before it started to turn around.
agree! shipping and taxes here eat up 25 percent of money spent:(
 

CoastalCleaning

Active Member
Apr 15, 2009
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Corpus Christi
Real Name
Ryan
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United States
...and how are you doing now?
Our success is probably a little skewed because we ended up doing so well in the janitorial industry. I had planned on having just a few accounts, mostly highend, high margin. But it turned out the demand for quality janitorial work was sky high here. So we really ended up putting our efforts into that industry more than anything else. We have finally gotten to the point where our employees do all of our janitorial work. Right now we have 1 full timer and 3 part timers and are still looking to hire. This will certainly motivate me to push for more carpet and tile work.

Overall though we've done well. I haven't physically solicited in years, probably since year one. Every now and then I'll drop a card off or drop a leave behind at neighboring houses but I haven't felt the need to drum up work in some time. Most of our commercial customers for carpet and tile have been regular repeat customers since year one. Our retention rate is much higher than I expected.

I would say 80% of our work is on the commercial end of things. Very lopsided and its been a nightmare trying to get our website done and SEO'd. Its just now starting to come around and we're probably up 10-20% residentially this year. I'm hoping that as our website rankings strengthen our residential work will climb.
 

carracer1967

Member
Jul 5, 2013
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www.allcleancarpetnc.com
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John Wood
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I started out w/ about 18,000 in cash and barrowed about 20,000. I actually had a car/truck salesman find me a brand new 2011 Chevy van (3/4 ton) that had never sold. It is a plain work van, no power windows, no power locks, no cruise control. I got it for 18,000 an it had 62 miles on it. I bought the extended wrap around warranty (5 years bumper to bumper). I put 2400 down and financed the rest. I bought a Strong dry CRB, I already had a hydro-force m200h porty, and I drove out to Chem-tex in Houston TX and had a new truck mount installed. I had the van lettered (see my avatar) I got my LLC, got insured, got a web-site and some business cards (vista print). I bought some shirts and had them embroidered. So far, I have doubled my sales each month. I give a card to anyone that will take one. On slow days, I take my van to a busy shopping center and park it near the door of the anchor store. I have mailed out several hundred fliers, with very poor results, only received two calls from them. I did however book 2 jobs from them. The single biggest advantage I have is that I spent 5 years planning this move. My wife and I worked like crazy to get out of debt. Also, my wife is a teacher and we can live off her income, although it is very, very tight. I could not have done this w/ the debt load we had 5 years ago. I just booked my first doctors office, and picked up a small apartment complex that a friend of mine owns. I contact at least 2 or 3 real estate agents a week, and about 1 out of 20 will meet with me. I still need MUCH, MUCH more business to make this worth it, but it has only been 3 months.
 

RoboShark

Moderator
Nov 14, 2011
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CA
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robert harrington
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...and how are you doing now?
Everyone has something to contribute no more lurking man lets see some more posting on this forum you obviously like from your time spent here.
 

akamens

Member
Nov 27, 2011
73
28
18
www.spotoncarpetandtile.com
Real Name
s kamens
Business Location
United States
Our success is probably a little skewed because we ended up doing so well in the janitorial industry. I had planned on having just a few accounts, mostly highend, high margin. But it turned out the demand for quality janitorial work was sky high here. So we really ended up putting our efforts into that industry more than anything else. We have finally gotten to the point where our employees do all of our janitorial work. Right now we have 1 full timer and 3 part timers and are still looking to hire. This will certainly motivate me to push for more carpet and tile work.

Overall though we've done well. I haven't physically solicited in years, probably since year one. Every now and then I'll drop a card off or drop a leave behind at neighboring houses but I haven't felt the need to drum up work in some time. Most of our commercial customers for carpet and tile have been regular repeat customers since year one. Our retention rate is much higher than I expected.

I would say 80% of our work is on the commercial end of things. Very lopsided and its been a nightmare trying to get our website done and SEO'd. Its just now starting to come around and we're probably up 10-20% residentially this year. I'm hoping that as our website rankings strengthen our residential work will climb.
Thanks Ryan!
 

akamens

Member
Nov 27, 2011
73
28
18
www.spotoncarpetandtile.com
Real Name
s kamens
Business Location
United States
Everyone has something to contribute no more lurking man lets see some more posting on this forum you obviously like from your time spent here.
Thanks Robert, will do!

Would like to consider it learning over lurking :)

Started TMF reads a couple years ago and love the recent makeover. I hope to get a lot more involved in the short future as I kick my carpet cleaning company off the ground this spring!

I really love the group and outputs!

Looking forward!

S Kamens
Spot On Carpet & Tile Care
 

Select

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Mar 3, 2019
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John Cartegna
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I think it was 18k that I started with. A great used van for 3k, I suppose another 8k for a CrossAmerican 6.6, a diesel burner, reels, generator etc., etc. Everything is expensive and adds up really fast!
Did you have any customers prior to getting equipment?

How have things gone?
 

mrotto

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Sep 1, 2009
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Paul Ottensmann
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actually I started with a portable from a previous business I had (not cleaning related). I worked as a bar manager nights and put an add in the weekly shopper for 2 rooms for $38 and cleaned days. Did that until I made more money at cleaning than I did as the bar manager. So essentially I started with the portable and thats about it.
 
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Adam360wash

New Member
Sep 12, 2019
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Adam Shipman
About 29 bucks. That's how much u can rent a rug doctor for. I'm not being funny people really do this

Sent from my g2 using tapatalk. Whofat
Rug doctors suck and obviously u dont have any knowledge about truck mounts and the difference in quality. You get what you pay for!!!
 

Hoss4x4

Active Member
Sep 25, 2011
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Dennis Graham
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United States
It can cost you nothing. There are a lot of Angel investors looking for a investment and to partner with someone who with integrity who is hungry to succeed. So my answer is $0. There are even a few O/O's I know that would like to get off the truck and sell there business. Work for them on a lease to own until they are paid off. No money out of pocket.