New Business Startup?

LoneStarCarpet

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Mar 24, 2018
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Dave Miller
This is the 3rd time to write this. The first never got posted for some reason, and the second got lost in a brief power outage (with no Uninterrupted Power Supply). So I'm saving early, saving often with this post.

I'm considering starting a CC business. I'm 54, work full time as a tech writer for a government contractor at home and live in the far north Dallas suburbs. It's a comfortable life but not fulfilling. In a former life I worked a few years as a maintenance tech and janitor for a condo building in Chicago. I loved the sense of accomplishment of an unclogged drain or newly polished elevator tracks. I'm a simple man in that regards. A lot has changed since then in terms of better equipment and chems.

I've seen the Truckmount vs. VLM debate. Interesting and amusing. Highly opinionated views (based on real world experience) on both sides. I'm leaning towards high end residential and commercial, and VLM methods. I'm actually talking with someone locally who would be my commercial sales person as I know it's a weak area of mine. He was hankering to sell; and I was hankering to clean. Start out with doctors, chiros, fitness centers, dentists, small offices, and then build up. Or maybe just stay with the smaller businesses.

Forgot to mention. This area is exploding in growth as more businesses relocate to Texas. In fact, two brand new buildings are going up on both sides of the apt complex I live in. I realize my weak area is sales, which is why this salesman may be the answer to the sales problem. Still discussing things now and we could become partners.

I'm trying not to succumb to "paralysis of analysis", but I don't want to go into it blind either. Boards like this are extremely helpful. There is a lot of real-world wisdom here.

I'm not at all a stranger to establishing a solid online presence so I believe that will help. I can do much more than the basic SEO and online marketing.

My plan is to get a CRB, OP (Spyder looks promising but may be out of my range at the moment), pads, good vacuum, great chems, more training, and hopefully a ride along or three. I took Jon Don's CC Tech course 3 years ago but didn't do anything with it. Sadly. I moved less than a year later.

thanks for your time reading this.

Thoughts? Comments?
 

James L.

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Oct 9, 2017
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James Langley
First of all, I wish you the very best in your venture!! A few questions for you... Are you planning to work alone or have help? It might change your view on what equipment to buy/method to use. Why are you leaning toward VLM? I would chime in on these forums and ask questions of people here who are cleaning in the market segment you're aiming for, and find out why they use what they use. And, yes you should get some ride-along experience... it will really pay off in terms of knowing what to expect. It sounds like you have a good marketing guy and plan in the making, that's awesome! Keep learning and asking questions... it sounds like you're getting into the business for good reasons!
 

Anderson

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Aug 16, 2006
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How far are you from retirement?
I would do this partime until retirement...then you have a job after retirement....
that is what I am doing as a teacher......

Also vlm only woint be enough...you will have to at least get a portable or TM.....
Maybe get a crb for scrubbing and a portable to extract.....

The reason is at least half of the building mangers will want HWE.....
And other TM guys will also outsell you....on some of these accounts....
You might be able to do vlm on intermitent cleaning......
 

Scott W

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Feb 14, 2006
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VLM has many advantages and can differentiate you from others with truckmounts or portables. I am a long time HWE man, but I don't disagree with your choice of VLM. I like Brush Pro and the Vibe is a nice, lower cost OP option.

There are issues with any partnership, especially if partnership is supposed to be 50/50. Someone (or both) always feels they are doing more than their share. Be sure any agreement is spelled out in detail including how a potential break-up would be handled.

If there is an area you know you are weak (sales) there is a large benefit to getting better in that area rather than leaving it to someone else. It is too easy for someone who does know sales (or any other weak area) to convince you they are doing things the best way and really hustling if you don't know the difference.

I suggest you attend Gregg Sargent's Build a Better Business class when it is held in your area. Here is a link to the schedule: http://www.cvent.com/Events/Calendar/Calendar.aspx?cal=ab53c6cb-fee0-44a6-a384-c51a2a4b32c0

San Antonio in May.
 

LoneStarCarpet

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Mar 24, 2018
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Dave Miller
All right, let see if I can answer these. I am pretty far from retirement. I don't see it happening in the next 8-10 years. I've entertained the idea of doing it part time, get it built up and quitting the day job when I can't do both.

Scott, great solid advice about a partnership. I'm actually more inclined to hire him as sales than have a partnership because I know some of the problems that can occur. I guess there's at least two schools of thoughts about sales that I'll grossly oversimplify here. One would say, double down on your strengths and outsource your weak areas. The other is to work on your weaknesses so that they're less weak. I know there's a huge benefit of doing sales myself

I was shying away from TM because of added expense mainly. The accounts I am targeting initially would not be restaurant grease pits, which I understand almost demands a TM or very good porty.

Thanks for your replies.
Dave
 

Mama Fen

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Jul 18, 2012
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All right, let see if I can answer these. I am pretty far from retirement. I don't see it happening in the next 8-10 years. I've entertained the idea of doing it part time, get it built up and quitting the day job when I can't do both.

Scott, great solid advice about a partnership. I'm actually more inclined to hire him as sales than have a partnership because I know some of the problems that can occur. I guess there's at least two schools of thoughts about sales that I'll grossly oversimplify here. One would say, double down on your strengths and outsource your weak areas. The other is to work on your weaknesses so that they're less weak. I know there's a huge benefit of doing sales myself

I was shying away from TM because of added expense mainly. The accounts I am targeting initially would not be restaurant grease pits, which I understand almost demands a TM or very good porty.

Thanks for your replies.
Dave
If I may add to Scott's excellent advice, CRB will give you a stand-out edge because businesses and high-occupancy buildings don't like down time or wet floors. You can offer much faster "recovery" time than with HWE.

Make sure to touch base with the existing maintenance staff of the building too, so can gauge what they're doing when you're not there and make recommendations. This is important - just ask my carpet guy who got called in to clean after a housekeeper used an entire gallon of STRAIGHT non-diluted Fabuloso in a restaurant. That wasn't a good day.

A small (3-gallon) upholstery spotting portable would be sufficient for any deep soil issues like coffee spills around an office chair, a pet piddle by the door, etc. Get one with heat, and they are very reasonably priced (well under $1000 for most units).

And since you mention doctors' and dentists' offices, as well as fitness centers, make sure you read up on potential pathogens found in blood, saliva, and other bodily secretions in case you get asked to clean up after a "whoopsie" moment. BBP (blood-borne pathogens) can become a concern in these environments.
 

Anderson

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Nightime work does not need fast dry times....2-6 hours is plenty....
Daytime work...with employees...yes

I agree with the no partnership thing....
I was warned back in the 80s....didnt work for me ...and ruins frindships........

Start partime and work up to fulltime....great choice....
 
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LoneStarCarpet

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Mar 24, 2018
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Dave Miller
First, thanks for all the replies. There is just a lot of sound business wisdom on this board.

Just to update.

A day after I first posted this, I got notice that my last day at the place I worked at would be Friday (yesterday)! I was the only one laid off and it was due to restructuring of a contract I was on. No severance. Just 2 days notice. Good news is another related contract for same contractor may be able to pick me up doing the exact same thing. I won't hear from them for about 2-3 weeks. Until then....

So then the question becomes, do I bite the bullet and buy some equipment and get this party started? That would mean using quite a bit of "lunch" money we've been saving up for times such as this. I know there are other equipment financing options available but I'm just trying to think out loud a bit.

We've got two months left on our current lease so we will be moving somewhere - either in state or beyond. We've moved on short notice in the past, and for only good reasons, so that's not out of the realm of possibilities. Wife just applied for a position in her specialty at 9am and heard back by 11am. She's done that a number of times in her career. There are other smaller factors I"m not able to get into in a public forum but they could tilt the decision.

Interesting that I was strongly entertaining the idea of launching out when I was employed. Now that I have make it work to survive, I'm not so sure I can pull it off. Sure was easier to dream while having a steady income coming in.
 

Anderson

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Bro
your in texas....
Why dont you come by and visit....
Ill show you equipment ups and downs of carpet cleaning....
Im in central texas....
Call or text.......
Marcus
512/868-9008