Just a few months in....what next? | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

Just a few months in....what next?

MidestCarpet

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Oct 9, 2019
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Ashley Holzwarth
I started my own cleaning business a couple of years ago as a part-time gig. I actually ended up leaving my full time job to pursue cleaning on a full-time basis. I ended up taking some training on carpet cleaning and investing in a decent portable unit with a manual and a rotary wand. I figured, if I was doing move out clean up jobs, I wanted the whole package, including the carpets! Well, things took off really well. I mostly handle residential jobs, but have done some commercial work, including schools and offices, nothing super drastic. Between word of mouth and some strategic marketing, I have seen a huge demand for carpet cleaning. There is not a lot of local competition in my area. Business has been good and I actually have a couple of part time employees --- that really helps with set up using the machine I run.

I really enjoy carpet cleaning and see how much better the profit margins are with it versus regular housekeeping services. I just need some input on where to go next.....

I live in the Midwest, so I anticipate a slow down in carpet demand, even using a porty. My customers have been very satisfied but I do want to upgrade my equipment. A bigger portable may be a struggle for me.... I am a 5 ft 4 in, 130 lb female. I am currently running my business out of my suburban.

My thought was to invest in a some bonnet heads and a CRB through winter and taking some additional training. My rotary isn't the best option for CGD, I know. Then, if things continue to progress, I would be interested in looking at a truck-mount unit. What other suggestions do you have? What would be some ideas for progressing through winter in a way that is conducive to business growth?
 
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MikeGaure

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Congrats! Sounds like yer doing very well.

I would probably add an op machine for commercial cleaning. The brand I like will get shot down possibly but I like the t r in ity op machines

You can pre scrub before using your portable or use it stand alone encap machine. Or a 175 you’ll do better with both if you use ramps it’ll make loading and unloading much easier n safer.

Start looking a for a van in the meantime it’ll be easier to work out of


I started my own cleaning business a couple of years ago as a part-time gig. I actually ended up leaving my full time job to pursue cleaning on a full-time basis. I ended up taking some training on carpet cleaning and investing in a decent portable unit with a manual and a rotary wand. I figured, if I was doing move out clean up jobs, I wanted the whole package, including the carpets! Well, things took off really well. I mostly handle residential jobs, but have done some commercial work, including schools and offices, nothing super drastic. Between word of mouth and some strategic marketing, I have seen a huge demand for carpet cleaning. There is not a lot of local competition in my area. Business has been good and I actually have a couple of part time employees --- that really helps with set up using the machine I run.

I really enjoy carpet cleaning and see how much better the profit margins are with it versus regular housekeeping services. I just need some input on where to go next.....

I live in the Midwest, so I anticipate a slow down in carpet demand, even using a porty. My customers have been very satisfied but I do want to upgrade my equipment. A bigger portable may be a struggle for me.... I am a 5 ft 4 in, 130 lb female. I am currently running my business out of my suburban.

My thought was to invest in a some bonnet heads and a CRB through winter and taking some additional training. My rotary isn't the best option for CGD, I know. Then, if things continue to progress, I would be interested in looking at a truck-mount unit. What other suggestions do you have? What would be some ideas for progressing through winter in a way that is conducive to business growth?
 

Luky

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I started my own cleaning business a couple of years ago as a part-time gig. I actually ended up leaving my full time job to pursue cleaning on a full-time basis. I ended up taking some training on carpet cleaning and investing in a decent portable unit with a manual and a rotary wand. I figured, if I was doing move out clean up jobs, I wanted the whole package, including the carpets! Well, things took off really well. I mostly handle residential jobs, but have done some commercial work, including schools and offices, nothing super drastic. Between word of mouth and some strategic marketing, I have seen a huge demand for carpet cleaning. There is not a lot of local competition in my area. Business has been good and I actually have a couple of part time employees --- that really helps with set up using the machine I run.

I really enjoy carpet cleaning and see how much better the profit margins are with it versus regular housekeeping services. I just need some input on where to go next.....

I live in the Midwest, so I anticipate a slow down in carpet demand, even using a porty. My customers have been very satisfied but I do want to upgrade my equipment. A bigger portable may be a struggle for me.... I am a 5 ft 4 in, 130 lb female. I am currently running my business out of my suburban.

My thought was to invest in a some bonnet heads and a CRB through winter and taking some additional training. My rotary isn't the best option for CGD, I know. Then, if things continue to progress, I would be interested in looking at a truck-mount unit. What other suggestions do you have? What would be some ideas for progressing through winter in a way that is conducive to business growth?
I've met female carpet cleaners whose motivation was by far superior to male counterparts.
Sometimes weight of the equipment is not an issue, if is distributed properly, so don't be discouraged.
If you're in " my " Midwest ( Southwest Chicago Suburbs) we'll do our first gig together before end of the weekend. But you're not, otherwise you wouldn't mention lack of competition ( roughly 200 cleaners in my area)
I guess you're very humble( if you have a few part timers, you're doing just fine)
I'm solely HWE guy, so I won't comment on encapsulation. If I had some offices to clean, I would use encap juice or dry compound to put my Brush Pro 20 to work.
There are 2 ways how to survive winter. My first option would be spending January in warmer climates, second ,quickly find some medical offices to get carpet, tile and LVT on monthly basis. Portable and Midwest winters don't mix well, unless you're running portable from your van.
Welcome to the forum and good luck with deciding what to do next.
 

MidestCarpet

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Ashley Holzwarth
Thanks for the input. 2 of my part time people are solely housekeepers. One other gal is my primary carpet tech/assistant.

As far as location, I am in a rural area and have found an advantage in not charging mileage. The nearest carpet cleaner is about 35 miles from me. I can serve a pretty decent geographical area of clients that are used to paying mileage and they are so happy to have someone they know and trust instead.

Also, I do not need to be the primary 'bread winner' in my home. My husband and I own a farm and we also own another business together as well. However, both of those jobs are really dependent on the weather and the economy, neither of which have been generous lately. Anyway, I would be happy if I handled the bulk of my carpet jobs in the warmer months and I am fine with things slowing down during the winter. My goal is just to be able to net/pay myself 40,000-50,000 after all other expenses. I find that totally obtainable

I was just speaking with the gal I pay to create my promotional ads/flyers that I would like to focus on business/commercial carpet in the next few months. We are working on creating some promotional material for that. However, I really need to up my equipment game if I intend to make that work. And regular manual wand and a Rotovac DHX are not the best for CGD, although there are some brush/bonnet head options I could purchase to help the DHX be more efficient. Hence, me asking about what type of wand to purchase next.
 

Luky

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Thanks for the input. 2 of my part time people are solely housekeepers. One other gal is my primary carpet tech/assistant.

As far as location, I am in a rural area and have found an advantage in not charging mileage. The nearest carpet cleaner is about 35 miles from me.

What is your choice of chemistry, is your unit heated, are you able to rinse carpet well using pressure between 350-500 psi? How long have you been transitioning from jani side of the business ? Wouldn't targeted businesses trust you more if you show up personally rather than getting solicitation from you in the mail ? One simple article about your business in your local newspaper will do more than 90 000 flyer campaign in 4 counties. It's my personal experience from the food related business. Tell us more, so we can give you more input.
I helped to setup a " tiny" carpet cleaning business in CT for janitorial service just like yours. Once they got Century 400 , they didn't look back. They do housekeeping and cleaning carpet, upholstery. They will add tile&grout service shortly.I've mentioned Oreck earlier, use gray or black brush, get some IFT and Squeaky clean from Basic coatings and you can successfully clean hardwood flooring, apply refinishing poly coat and you're golden. It's not about screening and sanding, but it'll do for deep cleaning . I can always find barely used Orbiter under $200 on Crgs. list.
How's your website doing, are you appearing on 1st page? 5 stars reviews are norm for you?
Am I missing something?
You're saying that your gaining more trust because you don't charge for mileage. If I charge $150 per room, what is the $30 of that amount for? For being extra polite?
 
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MidestCarpet

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Ashley Holzwarth
I purchased my carpet equipment in March of 2019. Word of mouth alone has been a huge contributor. I have a referral program and leave referral cards with all clients.

The EDDM mailers were targeted at residential clients, not commercial. The revenue my residential EDDMs generated was 4x the expense, so that was very worth it.
I have not created mailers for commercial entities. I do intend to do some walk-in marketing, face-to-face, for the commercial side of things. Running ads in the local papers is still a great idea to help build brand recognition at a reasonable price. I have a degree and plenty of experience in business marketing, and while I know that is not the same as having the experience that some of you have, I was not looking for input regarding how to build my marketing mix.

Also, I think you know what I mean when I say I am not charging 'mileage' for my local area. Yes, travel costs are obviously built into my pricing. For people that are only a few miles from me, they do not get charged an additional amount for mileage which they are used to paying because the next closest carpet cleaner is over 30 miles from my local area. Clients in my area are used to having to pay an additional $30-50 mileage for this type of service. This means I can offer competitive pricing. That is all I was saying.

Finally, my primary curiosity and the reasoning behind my original post is simply that I am looking to purchase additional equipment. I am content with my portable at this moment. I was just wondering what type of wands/tool experienced professionals would suggest. I have considered brush heads for my DHX, a bonnet system, op, etc.....

My goal is to purchase a van this winter and then look into purchasing a mounted system to put in that van in the spring of 2020. I have been paying cash for everything and intend to continue to do so as I learn the tricks of the trade, so to speak.
 
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OxiFreshGuy

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These threads have been done to death - use your research experience and the Search bar and find the answers you seek.
 
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MidestCarpet

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These threads have been done to death - use your research experience and the Search bar and find the answers you seek.
I agree. and I have spent plenty of time doing just that. At the same time, there are so many new businesses and each situation is a little unique, so that is is almost overwhelming to navigate.
 

MidestCarpet

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Ashley Holzwarth
Congrats! Sounds like yer doing very well.

I would probably add an op machine for commercial cleaning. The brand I like will get shot down possibly but I like the t r in ity op machines

You can pre scrub before using your portable or use it stand alone encap machine. Or a 175 you’ll do better with both if you use ramps it’ll make loading and unloading much easier n safer.

Start looking a for a van in the meantime it’ll be easier to work out of
Thank you for your kind input. I greatly appreciate it!
 

Luky

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I purchased my carpet equipment in March of 2019. Word of mouth alone has been a huge contributor. I have a referral program and leave referral cards with all clients.

The EDDM mailers were targeted at residential clients, not commercial. The revenue my residential EDDMs generated was 4x the expense, so that was very worth it.
I have not created mailers for commercial entities. I do intend to do some walk-in marketing, face-to-face, for the commercial side of things. Running ads in the local papers is still a great idea to help build brand recognition at a reasonable price. I have a degree and plenty of experience in business marketing, and while I know that is not the same as having the experience that some of you have, I was not looking for input regarding how to build my marketing mix.

Also, I think you know what I mean when I say I am not charging 'mileage' for my local area. Yes, travel costs are obviously built into my pricing. For people that are only a few miles from me, they do not get charged an additional amount for mileage which they are used to paying because the next closest carpet cleaner is over 30 miles from my local area. Clients in my area are used to having to pay an additional $30-50 mileage for this type of service. This means I can offer competitive pricing. That is all I was saying.

Finally, my primary curiosity and the reasoning behind my original post is simply that I am looking to purchase additional equipment. I am content with my portable at this moment. I was just wondering what type of wands/tool experienced professionals would suggest. I have considered brush heads for my DHX, a bonnet system, op, etc.....

My goal is to purchase a van this winter and then look into purchasing a mounted system to put in that van in the spring of 2020. I have been paying cash for everything and intend to continue to do so as I learn the tricks of the trade, so to speak.
I owned over 10 portable units and 4 TM machines. If you'd ask question about any of them, I'll give you my honest answer. We're at post # 11 and you didn't mention one fact about your setup. Were are you going with all this. If you like Cimex and have cash, buy it. How we supposed to advise on different " wands " if we have no idea about your equipment. You want to buy van and mounted unit over the winter?Good luck , but make sure that unit in question was working over the winter and wasn't sitting (not being winterized) in some garage for 3 years.
It seems to me that your scholastic background and strategic skills will be enough to propel you to the bright future.
 
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Smtwn janitorial

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An op machine like a vibe if you have some consistent commercial accounts is priceless, and it's easy enough so you really dont need training.
A truckmount will, in my experience, make you much faster and your job will seem easier most of the time. After that you wont look back. Estimate your longest hose runs from where you must park, and get a lightly used low hour truckmount sized based on your hose runs. You will love it.
 
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MidestCarpet

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Oct 9, 2019
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Ashley Holzwarth
An op machine like a vibe if you have some consistent commercial accounts is priceless, and it's easy enough so you really dont need training.
A truckmount will, in my experience, make you much faster and your job will seem easier most of the time. After that you wont look back. Estimate your longest hose runs from where you must park, and get a lightly used low hour truckmount sized based on your hose runs. You will love it.
Thanks! YES I want to invest in a van and a TM .... I just need to pace myself. Buying a TM now, right before a South Dakota winter is probably not the best plan. So I am waiting until early spring. For now, I want to improve my skills. I feel that a new wand for commercial equipment would serve me well as I could also run some office cleaning promotions to help boost sales in winter.
 

Mama Fen

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As a huge fan of low-moisture cleaning, let me second the guys who are recommending you invest in a CRB, op machine, or other low-moisture equipment.

"Family coming for Thanksgiving/Christmas? We can come freshen up your carpets, upholstery, and area rugs and have them dry and ready-to-use in an hour or less. We can also do emergency removal of salt stains, wine spills, or the neighbor's annoying Yorkie who 'watered your plants' last week!"