Carpet cleaning can be hard. You have to bring heavy hoses up flights of stairs, your van will often be hot, and there can be a pretty substantial barrier to entry. So why do people do it? What makes people want to buy these big machines and drive in these big vans? It’s profitable (if you know what you’re doing). We’re going to explain why it is profitable:
• Most people and businesses need it done
• There’s not a lot of overhead once you get the van and machine
• You don’t need employees unless you want them
• There’s room to expand into other industries
Most people need their carpet cleaned
One of the big benefits of carpet cleaning is repeat business. Carpets are always getting dirty. Kids are always spilling stuff. Pets track in stains. Parties can go awry. And people don’t want their carpet to look dirty, especially since leaving the carpet dirty too long means that they will have to replace the carpet outright. This is vastly more expensive than simply getting it professionally cleaned once a year.
Carpet cleaning, done right, is a recession-proof business. No matter what happens to the economy, people with carpets need them cleaned. If you’re looking for a steady business that can survive whatever crazy things happen in the news, carpet cleaning might be for you if you’re willing to put in the work.
People are also concerned about their health. Dirty carpet means more dust mites, more mold, and a decreased indoor air quality. This can pose a major quality of life issue for people with asthma or allergies. Getting carpets cleaned regularly helps people avoid these health issues.
Above all else, a lot of people don’t want to clean their carpets by themselves. Why rent a Rug Doctor from the grocery store, which may not work on some stains, and clean the carpet yourself when you can get someone to do it for you and probably do a better job? The phrase “Get someone else to do it” is the lifeblood of every service industry.
Carpet cleaning is a major factor in home sales too. Real estate agents and apartment managers are always looking for carpet cleaners to get their houses ready for potential renters or buyers. They want to put their best foot forward and that means having a clean carpet. If you go into carpet cleaning and you can get realtors and apartment complexes to hire you, you can expect consistent repeat business.
And it is important to get repeat business quickly. The first few months of being a business owner, carpet cleaning or otherwise, are often the hardest. The more repeat customers you have and the earlier you get them, the sooner you can pay off any loans and get your business on a steady footing.
Carpet Cleaning for Businesses
Carpet cleaning is also essential for businesses. Not only do businesses have the same health concerns, but they also have to consider how their carpet looks to their customers. Dirty carpets make for a bad first impression. No prospective customer wants to walk into an office building or a restaurant and see dingy dirty carpets. For restaurants, it’s a matter of staying in business. Health inspectors look at the cleanliness of the establishment as a whole. Customers look too. If the carpet is dirty, they’ll expect bad service.
If you do a good job for a good price, you can start to see a lot of repeat business. However, bad reviews can sink your business before you get it off the ground. So no matter how big or small the job, you should always put forth your best effort.
Check out our tips for adding carpet cleaning to your business HERE.
Lack of Overhead
In any business, you’ll always have some expenses. It is true that getting a van and a carpet cleaning machine are decent-sized hurdles. However, once you clear them, your expenses are minimal in comparison to your profits. Cleaning chemicals are relatively cheap, usually taking up around 5% of your revenue. Water, the other essential ingredient for most carpet cleaning jobs, gets provided by your customers. It also helps that many modern carpet cleaning machines are more durable than they were in the past. As long as you take proper care of your van and machine, you can keep them running for years.
Inventory is a major expense of many businesses. Whereas many businesses require large stocks of inventory, some of which expires quickly, carpet cleaners just need enough chemicals to fit in the van. Many of these chemicals can last for months or even a year or more.
Another big reason carpet cleaning is relatively cheap and profitable is that you can run the business from your own home and you can start it up as soon as you get your vehicle and machine. Businesses that require storefronts or offices require lots of extra investment. Getting started on a standard storefront business requires you to get a real estate agent to help you find a good location. Then you need to decorate it which takes time. Whether or not the business is operating, you’ll still need rent, utilities, and inventory on top of your family’s daily living expenses. Home business owners shave off expenses by not needing to pay rent or utilities for extra space.
A home business is also simpler in the respect that you’re not worrying about whether or not you have a good location. Storefront owners have to worry if their location is good for attracting customers. You can just pack up your machine and go to them. It also allows you to control your schedule. Instead of keeping a business open for hours and hoping enough people walk through the door, you’re going out when you’re needed.
Carpet cleaning allows you to make your own rules. Unlike franchises, where you have to follow rules set by a far-off headquarters, you can do what you want. If you don’t want to work weekends or you want to take some time off for a family vacation, you can. Best of all, you’re keeping the profit for yourself. Franchises require you to spend a significant amount of money to the HQ.
You don’t need employees
For many small businesses, labor is a significant expense. It’s even more expensive if you want to have good workers. They want things like health insurance. Of course, that isn’t wrong for them to want, but it can be a challenge to provide as a small business owner. If you aren’t willing or able to provide them, chances are your ability to attract skilled workers will be fairly limited.
As a carpet cleaner, you don’t need to worry about this. You’ll be a one-person operation unless you choose to have employees. This means you won’t need to pay people, deal with insurance companies, or fill out many government forms. That’s more time to clean and more money in your pocket.
This isn’t to say you should rule out getting employees though. As your business gets bigger, you may find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get from one job to the next. In that case, the best course of action may be to hire someone to lighten your workload. Plus, having an apprentice will help you maintain your business as you get older and find that you couldn’t do all the heavy lifting you could in your early 20’s.
Just remember to choose your employees carefully and pay them well. The quality of their work reflects on you.
The versatility of carpet cleaning
Carpet cleaning can be profitable for its versatility. Many carpet cleaners can branch out into other services. In places where basement flooding is a frequent problem, a carpet cleaner can make good money getting the water out of basements. Some carpet cleaners can go into natural disaster cleanup. People living in areas near waterfronts may need mold removal. Certain carpet cleaning machines can even clean tile and grout. This versatility can make your business profitable.
However, you should be careful about offering a large variety of services right off the bat. Just as many restaurants spend a lot of money on ingredients they wind up throwing out to accommodate a large menu full of things they don’t sell, it is possible to offer too many services. Many services require extra investment in equipment. It is important to know what services your market needs before offering a full list. Start with cleaning carpets to get a feel for the needs of the customer base.
1. What is the most important thing I can do to help my carpet cleaning business be successful?
A home business does have significant benefits. However, the lack of a sign in a visible spot can be a hindrance. So your most important asset is marketing. Tell your friends to spread the word. Create an intuitive and accessible website. You should have a good local social media presence. Carpet cleaning is profitable but it is competitive so set yourself apart.
2. Home businesses can be taxing on families. How can I avoid/reduce tension in my house?
You’ll need to work with your family regarding space. It might also be good to get a computer separate from the family computer. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, but it’ll help reduce arguments over computer time. These are just a few ideas. Communication with your family about your and their needs will be the most important thing.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own cleaning business check out my startup documents and course here.