If you’ve just come home after a long day of scrubbing cat pee out of a customer’s carpet- we thank you for your service!
We’ll make your life a little easier by putting all the information you need, along with links to plenty of great resources to read, in this short and snappy guide.
1. Buy a business or start from scratch?
Do you want to fast-track your way to becoming a six-figure CEO? Instead of building a business from scratch, buy a carpet cleaning franchise or even an established local business.
One popular franchise opportunity is Chem-Dry, with 3,000 franchises around the world. Expect to invest between $67,645 and $178,907 to open a franchise.
Business for sale marketplace Bizbuysell lists carpet cleaning businesses starting at $80k, many with annual cash flows of $100k or more.
Start from Scratch:
Starting a carpet cleaning business from scratch is riskier, but it has its benefits. In exchange for some hard work, you must validate your business idea and model. In return, you get complete control over branding, pricing, and the direction of your company.
2. Draft a business plan
Starting a business without a plan is like going on a road trip without Google Maps. Why wing it when some preparation can bring you a clear roadmap to success?
To start the process, see if you can answer these questions off the top of your head:
- How much money will you spend bringing in new customers?
- How will you measure success?
- What drives your customers to make a purchase?
To help with the next steps, StratPad is a free business plan software that walks you through the process of creating one in 24 hrs.
3. Look for investors
Can you start a carpet cleaning business with no money? Yes—with financing. In fact, it’s best not to drain your personal savings when launching a company; you’ll need that money to pay your bills until you have a stable cash flow.
New business owners can borrow money from banks, lending institutions (like PayPal), or even private investors, then pay it back over time.
But, beware of the downsides…
- Banks can take away your assets if you’re unable to make the payments
- Interest rates vary from 4%-71% annually
- Borrowing from friends or family can put a strain on relationships
4. Find an office
Many start a carpet cleaning business from home, but as your business grows (and your comfy bed becomes tempting), you’ll want to separate your home life from work. But you might not need to lease an expensive office—LoopNet is dedicated to helping you find an office space while saving money.
LoopNet’s advice on leasing:
- Estimate 150- 200 square feet per person
- Buy extra space to support a fast-growing company
- Check out older buildings for lower rent
5. Register your business and open a bank account
Registering your business is essential if you want to hire employees, get a loan or have personal liability protection.
How to register your business:
- Choose your business structure
- Register with the IRS
- Get permits and licenses
Read more on registering from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Next, open a business account at your local bank. Separate accounts prevent personal finances (e.g., grocery bills) from mixing into your tax preparation. You can easily track expenses, manage cash flow & create invoices for your carpet cleaning business with Quickbooks (and manage your tax returns – too!)
6. Find a mentor
Just like a captain can’t steer the ship without their crew, you’ll have a hard time starting a carpet cleaning business by yourself. A mentor is someone who guides you with expert advice when you hit a roadblock and steers you away from throwing in the towel.
- Business coaches: Coaches help you find clarity, push you to confront your fears, and give constructive feedback. Search a business coach directory to find a perfect match.
- Podcasts: There’s a podcast for everyone these days—even carpet cleaners! The Rich Cleaner Podcast offers juicy insights on how they grew a $1 million business.
7. Get equipment and business tools
- Get familiar with top brands like Dyson. Decide which vacuum style you prefer: canister or central vacuum?
- Visit cleaning industry trade shows like The ISSA Show
- Shop online at the Carpet Cleaner’s Store or Lowe’s for discounts
Workiz’s inventory control system will prevent you from running out of cleaning products and losing jobs. You’ll get a crystal clear picture of stock levels and alerted when numbers fall below a certain point.
8. Bring in customers
Make sure you check off these basic tactics to get prospects to pick up the phone before you launch:
- Special offer: An irresistible “grand opening” offer is one that has value, relatable marketing, and is perfectly timed.
- Create a site that gets the phone to ring: Your website should be built for SEO but also with customers in mind. List your services, your business hours, address (if you have one,) the areas you service, positive customer testimonials, before and after photos, and have your phone number centrally located so customers can call in and book services
Ad campaign: To get the phone ringing, you can run ads on Google, Yelp, and social media sites like Facebook. But, be sure to use a campaign tracking tool to see which ads bring in business and which are just wasting your money. Then you can double down on the ad sources that work and kill the ones that are just wasting your money.
Time to get moving
You’re going to be an amazing carpet cleaner and business owner—we believe in you! Will it be easy? Of course not. Starting a business comes with risk and a steep learning curve.
Carpet cleaners will always be sought after, and with determination and the right community support, you can power through the highs and lows of starting your own carpet cleaning business and get paying customers in no time.