If you’ve decided to start your own carpet cleaning business, you’ve made a great decision. There’s a lot of demand for specialist cleaning services like carpet cleaning. With the right tools, plenty of determination, and an efficient business management system, you could succeed in starting a carpet cleaning business that brings in reliable income.
It makes a big difference when you start off on the right foot. In this article, we’ll discuss the best ways to set up your own carpet cleaning business, the vital equipment and licenses you need, and effective strategies for attracting new customers and growing your business.
Laying the groundwork: business planning and financing
Before you start your carpet cleaning business, you need to do some planning. First, decide if you want to operate as a sole proprietorship or form an LLC. A sole proprietorship is usually faster and easier to set up, plus it costs less. But an LLC brings benefits like protection from personal liability and more tax flexibility.
Next, create a comprehensive business plan. This should cover:
- Your mission and vision for the company
- The customers you want to serve
- How you’ll market and promote your services
- The operational details of your business model
- Financial projections for expenses, revenue and profitability
Now you’ll need to decide how to fund your carpet cleaning business. Many new business owners use personal savings or borrow from friends and family. Sometimes they take out a personal loan or get a business credit card. A business credit card is easy to qualify for, even if you have limited financial history, and using it responsibly helps build your business credit for future funding needs.
Once you have funding in place, it’s time to make your business legit by choosing a business structure, obtaining proper licenses and permits, and registering your business. Check with your city clerk’s office for license and permit requirements. You’ll also want liability insurance to protect against any claims.
With the basics handled, invest in high-quality carpet cleaning equipment, and get proper training for how to use it. Look for equipment that uses hot water extraction, high heat, and powerful suction for the best results. You should also find small business management software that includes an online booking system, to make it easy for clients to schedule appointments.
Last but not least, plan how to market your new business. You can begin by talking to friends, family, and neighbors, and then ask for reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook. It’s also a good idea to build a professional website for online visibility.
How to get trained, licensed, and insured as a carpet cleaning business
Starting a carpet cleaning business requires proper training, licenses, and insurance. You’ll need to get:
- Carpet cleaning training and certification in cleaning techniques and equipment use.
- Business licenses and permits from local and state authorities.
- Sales tax permits
- Official registration of your business name
- Business insurance like general liability, property, vehicle, and workers’ compensation coverage.
Carpet cleaning training
Before you start a carpet cleaning business, it’s a good idea to complete coursework to become a certified carpet cleaning technician. Certification proves you have the skills and knowledge to properly clean carpets, boosting client confidence.
To start, complete training from an accredited organization like the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). Their courses can certify you as a Carpet Cleaning Technician, Rug Cleaning Technician, or Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician. You can find in-person or online courses to fit your needs.
Some equipment companies like Jon-Don and Rotovac also offer training tailored to new business owners. On-the-job experience is invaluable, so try shadowing other local carpet cleaners to pick up tips and tricks of the trade. Prepare a list of questions about costs, tools, hiring help, customer service and budgeting to get expert advice.
Registering your carpet cleaning business
Once you’re fully trained and certified to clean carpets professionally, it’s important to register your business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Requirements vary in each state, so check with your local government. You’ll usually need a general business license or occupational license, and some states require you to get a special permit to work with carpet cleaning chemicals.
Carpet cleaning insurance
Insurance is vital for any service business. You’ll need liability insurance, which protects you in case of any damage to a customer’s property or any injuries that might take place as a result of your work. Once you hire employees, you’ll also need workers’ compensation insurance to cover you in case of work-related injuries.
It’s also a good idea to get vehicle, equipment, and commercial property insurance, so that you’ll have protection if anything happens to the tools and vans you rely on to do your work.
Purchasing equipment and setting up operations
The tools you choose will make or break your business, so research your options thoroughly to find durable, efficient machines that extract deep-down dirt without damaging carpets. Consider buying attachments for hard-to-clean areas, like stairs and upholstery. You’ll also need chemicals, solvents, and absorbents that complement your machines.
Don’t go overboard at the beginning though. It’s best to start small with the most essential equipment, then expand your arsenal as your customer base grows. Here are the must-haves for anyone starting a carpet cleaning business:
- A carpet cleaning machine or extractor. Look for an industrial model that can handle residential and commercial jobs, like Bissell, Rug Doctor, and Hoover.
- Detergents and cleaning solutions formulated for carpets and upholstery. Test different products to determine which ones remove stains and odors most effectively.
- Accessories like hoses, wands, and upholstery attachments.
- A truck or van to transport your equipment between jobs is a must. You may want a trailer as your business grows.
Other useful items include knee pads, gloves, extension cords, flashlights, carpet rakes, ventilation fans, and deodorizers. Don’t forget cleaning supplies for your equipment, like disinfectants, lubricants, and replacement parts.
Investing in high-quality gear and keeping everything well-maintained will allow you to provide the best service and build a loyal customer base through word-of-mouth referrals.
5 ways to market your carpet cleaning services
With the foundation set, you can focus on finding loyal customers. You can start with friends, family, and neighbors, but then you’ll want to branch out. Here are 5 effective suggestions for marketing your carpet cleaning business.
Encourage online reviews and testimonials
Positive reviews and high ratings help to build credibility and trust in your business, so encourage customers to leave reviews on sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Google. Ask happy clients if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial for your website. Their endorsements and recommendations carry a lot of weight with potential new customers.
Optimize your online presence search engines
Optimize your website for search engines like Google, so that people searching for terms like “carpet cleaning” and “rug cleaning” in your area will find you. Focus on including these keywords in page titles, content, page URLs, image alt text, and internal linking. The higher you rank in search results, the more visibility you’ll gain.
Adopt social media marketing
Social media is a great way to raise brand awareness and connect with potential clients, so create business profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post regularly about your services, share before and after photos, promote current specials, and engage with your followers.
Pay for more visibility
While organic marketing methods are ideal, paid ads can help get your business in front of new potential customers quickly. Start with a small budget and track your results to optimize your ad spend.
Ask for referrals
Don’t be afraid to ask happy customers for referrals to their friends, family, and neighbors. Offer an incentive like 10% off their next cleaning for any new clients they refer. Work hard to build long-term relationships with clients, so as to develop loyal brand ambassadors who recommend your business.
Other marketing strategies include:
- Ask realtors, home cleaners, and hardware stores to recommend or partner with your business
- Create a professional website and online business profile to help people find you online
- Network with local businesses who may refer customers
- Distribute flyers, coupons, and business cards to realtors and homeowners associations
- Advertise in local newspapers, magazines, and on radio to raise your profile.
- Offer special promotions and discounts for new customers.
How software can streamline operations and growth
Once you’ve launched your carpet cleaning business, it’s time to focus on streamlining your operations and fueling growth. Here are some of the ways that software solutions designed for small service-based businesses can help you work smarter, not harder, to boost revenue.
Manage your schedule more efficiently
An online booking and scheduling system like vcita is a great way to remove hassle and confusion from appointment booking. The online booking widget allows clients to make appointments directly on your website, and the calendar syncs across devices so you’re never double-booked.
The mobile app also allows you to manage your schedule on the go, and you and your customers will receive reminders about upcoming appointments. No more scribbling down appointments on scraps of paper or trying to juggle multiple calendars.
Send invoices and get paid faster
Invoicing and billing tools allow you to easily create professional looking invoices, and send them by email or print and mail them. When you use vcita, you can produce branded invoices in a couple of clicks, and invite clients to pay online.
This way, you’ll get paid faster, your clients will appreciate the convenience of online payments, and you’ll have a clear record of all invoices sent and payments received, making tax time much easier to manage.
Grow your customer base
A full CRM system designed for carpet-cleaning businesses, like that offered by vcita, is a much more effective way to track and nurture current and potential customers. Store all the details about interactions with customers and future clients in a single location, so you can find them easily.
With a CRM, you can also produce and send professional email newsletters, SMS messages about special offers, and articles about carpet care that help keep your business top of mind. What’s more, vcita’s referral feature allows happy clients to easily refer you to their friends and family.
Client portals, like the one offered by vcita client portal, provide an excellent way for you to securely share important documents and information with your customers in one place. Use it to send service reports, recommendations, tips for carpet care and more.
Clients can also use the client portal to message you directly with questions or concerns, and to check up on your arrival time or most recent suggestions.
Starting a carpet cleaning business is an achievable goal
Now that you know about how to establish the business, buy the right equipment, and streamline operations, you have all the information you need to start your own carpet cleaning business. With hard work and the right tools, you’ll soon be on the path to building a successful service company.