Sound ADVICE NEEDED Carpet & Hard Surfaces ON a Start-up Company

Robbdny

Active Member
Aug 20, 2012
882
146
43
North Carolina
Real Name
Rob Antonelli
Business Location
United States
Hello Everyone,
My name is Robb and I would appreciate it very much if you read everything here and if you are in a position to offer advice please do or if you know of someone please pass it on to them, thank you for your time. To start I live in a small town 20 mins outside of Charlotte NC almost on the NC SC state boarder. After being in composites, manufacturing, and the extreme sports industry most of my life I feel I need a change in direction. I enjoy the satisfaction of cleaning mostly carpets, and flooring inn general most people shrug there shoulders knowing my background and dont understand why. But I do enjoy the satisfaction of vacuuming and cleaning floors and the house in general.

I grew up in many businesses owned by different family members and owned 3 successful ones of my own. My last job being a Product Development Engineer and I have done a lot of work on the drone aircraft's for the military such as Global Hawk, Excalibur, GE 60. or as they like to call them UAV.
Below is link is a snowboard company I started in the 80's and sold out after breaking my back I competed on a professional level I started my snowboard company inmy parents basement in my late teens and by 23 I had 60 people working for me 2nd largest only to Burton Snowboards Mfg.
http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/1996/08/05/smallb1.html?page=all
http://www.aurora.aero/Development/Excalibur.aspx (Last Professional Job)

(I HOPE THAT YOU CAN TAKE 5 MINS AND READ WHAT I TYPED AND MY REASONS FOR WANTING TO GET INTO THE CARPET/HARD SURFACE CLEANING BUSINESS, IF NOT AT LEAST WHAT YOU HAVE READ ALREADY GIVES YOU AN IDEA WHO I AM)
NOW I AM NOT CRAZY I AM NOT LEAVING A GOOD PAYING JOB WITH UNREALISTIC INTENTIONS ON STARTING A CLEANING COMPANY. I WAS LAYED OFF 3 YEARS AGO AND AT THE SAME TIME THAT HAPPENS BOTH OF MY PARENTS FELL ILL. MY CURRENT INCOME IS FROM TAKING CARE OF MY PARENTS, (CAREGIVER) AND IT JUST GIVES ME, WIFE AND MY DAUGHTER ENOUGH TO PAY THE BILLS.

My personal house has a higher end Frieze Carpet and because of the main traffic area only being 6' wide its impossible to keep it looking nice. I replaced it the first time only after living here for 3years that was before my daughter she 3 now and my mom she in a wheel chair living here.
I have hired 2 different carpet cleaning companies to come in. The 1st company with a great reputation in our town Blue Eagle Carpet Cleaning http://www.blueagle.org/
They used bonnet and encapsulation method of cleaning. The results were impressive but I thought there cost was high $275 for aprox. 800sq' that included Teflon Protectant. It took them about 1.5hr they were very professional and very through. As an engineer I had a hard time understanding how a bonnet could clean deep and extract the deeply attached dirt. Never the less it looked good for about 3 monts. After educating myself on the forum and online I would say they did a text book job not to mention there a family owned company with a STRONG SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

The 2nd company I called off of Craigs List and I honestly don't know how he is STILL IN business. I was in a time crunch situation having family coming into town the next day he said he could be there in about 1-2 hours.
He didn't introduce himself nor walk the house with me.
He didn't pre-spray even the traffic areas
He didn't agitate any of the carpet
He didn't per-vacuum he assured me with his TM system it was unnecessary
No corner guards
Dirty Boots no covers and shirts that were dirty and even one guy had holes in his
I think the only thing he did right was find my house.
when he 1st started I pointed out to him his vacuum didn't look like it was sucking anything up he then tested said it was fine until I brought in my shop-vac and then left to check on something and told me he forgot to clean the filter from his last job the lift seemed better but who am I to say??
"HE REASSURED ME THEY HAVE THE SAME EQUIPMENT STANLY STEEMER HAD AND
He must have been high because I fixed his sloppy work with my Hoover!
HIS PRICE WAS ONLY $99. $10 a Room for the deodorizer
He didn't move any of the furniture he just came in and went right to work almost as though I wasn't even there. He didn't put anything under the legs of my wooden furniture. I moved as much as I could beforehand the only thing he did move was the couch and I cannot believe that he didn't vacuum where the couch was he picked up the bigger pieces of debree and left everything else.

He also verbally said he guarantees his work 100% more like a taillight guarantee. I was embarrassed with his work and really just wanted him to finish and leave being in business for myself I consider myself a good judge of character. My wife insisted on is deodorizer little did I know he was walking around with a generic Zep bottle misting it into the air but then again he only wanted to charge $10 a room or $30 total.
He was in a hurry to leave I paid the $130 he reassured me that after the carpet was completely dry the traffic lane would look beautiful after a vacuum and it should be dry by later in the day it was about 12 noon then.

Lastly and I apologize for the length of the letter I am tring to condense it as much as possible. When my wife walked down from upstairs with just socks on they were instantly wet from the carpet. Then I took my shoes off and couldn’t believe how wet it was. We have a Hoover Multi- terrain to clean-up baby spills and pee spots from my 3 mini Doxins. From my experience with our Hoover I know I could get the carpet much dryer then he did. (45MINS AND 8 GALLONS LATER THE CARPETS FELT MUCH BETTER, THE WATER I EXTRACTED WITH MY HOOVER WAS LIKE DARK COFFEE MY WIFE KEPT ME FROM POPPING A GASKET)
It wasn’t until 24hours or the next day that the carpets were dry.
15 mins after he left I called him and expressed our concern with the wetness of the carpets. He said what would you like me to do? He said he started his next victim’s house but after that he would come back with his air movers at that point me and my wife didn’t even want him in our house.

THE BIGGEST REASON I WANT TO GET INTO CARPET AND POSSIBLE HARD SURFACE CLEANING IS, I feel that with some guidance and the proper equipment I can provide SUPERIOR SERVICE IN the growing area of NC & SC that is missing. I would greatly appreciate some advice I will be operating on a shoe string budget to start my salesmanship and customer service are equally as strong as my mechanical aptitude.
I have around a starting budget of about 10k I know that difficult but to start it will be a supplemental income along with the money I receive as a care giver to my parents.

Because of the problem I personally have in my house with the traffic lane I really like the operation of the Rotovac 360I They quoted me a complete package price however I have reservation about a few things perhaps someone here could help answer them.

360I with the Tile and Grout Package seems nice (NOT WITH CFX OR THE WATER-HOG JUST 360 AND THE BRUSHES)

Rotovac CFX Extractor $2300.00
I haven’t heard a lot of real good or a lot of real bad. It seems overpriced I am concerned about the inlet pressure and heat as you know that is determined by each particular house. Also 130-140f at the sink is far from steam. I want other people opinion I thin with a price tag of over 2k for the CFX seems excessive for what your getting. For Rotovac reason they said they do not know what the H2o Lift is. Working in Aerospace and composites vacuum is what we use to forum our parts usually about 24” of Mercury but only .5CFM..LOL

If my budget will allow I was thinking about buying:
Used Amtex 13 Predator or an Electric with dual 3 stage vacs & capable of 1200psi
Used Rotovac 360 with the tile and grout kit
The chemicals and smaller items I would probably buy most new

I said 10k that would leave me a meager budget of about $2500 for advertising as I said this will be a supplemental job to start. I have been trying to find a company to do a ride along with but have not had any luck as of yet.

I did some calling the other day and in the Charlotte area the rotary cleaners do not seem to be that popular my thought was I could do carpet and tile and grout and a machine the the Predator would be perfect..If I went the electric portable route can I get some recommendations from you guys. Another problem in the area of SC I live the soil is Orange like in GA driving through my development I didn’t see (1) driveway that was clean. I live in a development with about 300 houses plus condos being from the development would surly give me an advantage.

Sorry for so much rambling I am 110% serious and wanted my post to reflect that

Thanks Ahead of Time
Robb
Rock Hill SC
[email protected]

PS I know those who have read this dont want to read anymore but I would also like to hear from someone about restaurant hood cleaning growing up in a family store and Pizza shop I understand and know of the demands
 

Scott W

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Feb 14, 2006
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Well, I read the entire post. I understand you want some help, but I am not sure exactly what help you want / need. Having been in business for yourself, you know that developing relationships with customers that will return to do business with you year after year and recommend you to others is a key to growth and making a profit. Few carpet cleaning businesses will do well until the repeat / referrals come in. That can take a year or two since people often go that long between cleanings.

I have some articles I wrote on how I marketed my company in the ealry years. Send an email if you want copies. [email protected]

The company I work with now, Interlink Supply, has offices in Charlotte and Greensboro. The Charlotte store is run by Clean Source 10709-O Granite St. 800 292-3309 The Greensboro address is 616-F Guilford College Rd. 800 264-8328.

What other help are you looking for?
 

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
39,219
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www.drynclean.com
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Robert Allen,Jr.
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Welcome to TMF Robb. Consider this dvd to help you get started at www.ridealongseries.com.

When I have more time I will write some detailed answers later tonight.
 

Todd the Cleaner

Todd Cottino
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Sep 4, 2011
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www.toddscleaningservice.com
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Todd Cottino
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Hi Robb,

It sounds like you already know quite a bit about the business. As to looking for equipment it you have $7000 or so to spend I would look for a used van and truckmount. TMF member $1KaDAY seems to be real good at finding good deals on used equipment. If at all possible I would avoid being stuck with just a portable machine. Ultimately when your business is up and running you should have both a truckmount and a portable. If you have more specific questions, just ask. TMF is a great resource and there are a lot of guys here that will help you.
 

Robbdny

Active Member
Aug 20, 2012
882
146
43
North Carolina
Real Name
Rob Antonelli
Business Location
United States
Well, I read the entire post. I understand you want some help, but I am not sure exactly what help you want / need. Having been in business for yourself, you know that developing relationships with customers that will return to do business with you year after year and recommend you to others is a key to growth and making a profit. Few carpet cleaning businesses will do well until the repeat / referrals come in. That can take a year or two since people often go that long between cleanings.

I have some articles I wrote on how I marketed my company in the ealry years. Send an email if you want copies. [email protected]

The company I work with now, Interlink Supply, has offices in Charlotte and Greensboro. The Charlotte store is run by Clean Source 10709-O Granite St. 800 292-3309 The Greensboro address is 616-F Guilford College Rd. 800 264-8328.

What other help are you looking for?
W


My weakest area getting into the business is getting the best equipment on the budget I have and still have some money left for marketing and business expenses such as incorporating and insurance. I know I want the RV 360 I am still uncomfortable with getting the right extractor on my budget. RV really pushes there CFX my personal opinion is $2k is a lot of money for the RV CFX EXTRACTOR and what it has to offer. I would appresheate your input on that Scott and would love anything that you would want to email me. Thanks again for taking the time to respond

Robb
 

Scott W

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Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
16,373
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West Jordan, UT
I am not a big fan of CFX extractors, but then I work for a competitor, so that is not a totally unbiased opinion. The new Nautilus line of extractors from Hydro-Force looks really good. The right model will depend upon the types of carpet you will be cleaning and the types of soil you are removing.

While good vacuum is always important, you might clean a deep plush or Saxony residential carpet with a different pressure than you would a short olefin loop on commercial glue down carpet.

Heat will be more important if the soil is oily or greasy and less important if you have a lot of particle soil.

In most cases, I suggest you get a heat source separate from the extractor. There is only so much power one or two cords can provide. It is best put to use on vacuum and water pressure. For starting on a budget, you can even get a bucket heater for around $60.

Most Interlink stores will have a few on the floor you can demo and compare. I prefer to see and touch a purchase like that rather than getting specs over the telephone.
 

Robbdny

Active Member
Aug 20, 2012
882
146
43
North Carolina
Real Name
Rob Antonelli
Business Location
United States
I would like to get some opinions on this set-up
Amtex 13 Prowler with about 50hours it looks runs and sound like new I haven't seen it in person only details pictures and videos
Asking price $3600 it does come with an regular wand and hose. This is asking price mind you

360i Rotovac with tile and grout heads I have found several for under $2000 with relatively low hours

I would like to see what people have to say about that set-up assuming everything is in the condition I am describing.

The other thing I was thinking about I am real curious what people would say there top biggest mistakes were when they started there business? I grew up running my own business but I am just as green as the next guy with only 6 months of reading and Internet research so please fire away

Thanks Again
Robb
PS I think I am goi g to move part of this post to the proper forum location not that I don't appresheate everyone's comments I very much do!!! Thanks again Scott for the email. I am also looking for someone to do a ride along for hopefully a week within an hour from my home but out of the competition area