Are you looking to start your own company in the carpet cleaning industry? With the extended hours that many businesses are working, there are more opportunities for commercial carpet cleaning in both commercial and residential locations. For most people, especially business owners, it is more efficient to hire the work out rather than rent or purchase equipment and do it themselves.
You are not alone in this endeavor, though. There are several national companies that will be your competition. Zerorez is a company that makes $80.7 million each year and has 47 locations scattered across the United States. They have about 260 employees which round out to between 5-6 employees per location. To compete with this company, you will need enough equipment to equip 3-4 employees in your area.
Another competitor, Hydramaster, has taken the carpet cleaning business on the road, literally. Their offices are selling cleaning equipment and supplies out to franchisers, who utilize their patented truck-mounted or van installed tanks. Since they are mobile operations, it is more difficult to track how many Hydramaster-equipped competitors may be in your area. The overall company lists about 50 employees and takes in approximately $15.8 million each year. Don’t be fooled by these numbers, though — there are many more cleaning companies that use Hydramaster equipment for their own independent work. However, there have been some significant quality problems with some of their equipment, so if you can acquire quality cleaning tools yourself, you may be able to beat this competition in quality of service.
What equipment do you need?
Carpet cleaning is an equipment-heavy business to start. There is lots of money to be made, but you can expect to invest around $20,000 to get started, so it is essential to plan your spending wisely. Make a list of potential customers in your area and come up with the amount of equipment you would need to do those jobs. If you buy too much equipment initially, you won’t make enough profit to stay in business. You also need to balance equipment expenses with personnel costs carefully. It is not helpful to have five cleaning units if you are the only person operating them. Make sure the amount of equipment meets the needs of your personnel.
It is possible to buy used equipment, especially when just starting out, but you can easily run into equipment malfunctions and have no warranty to fall back on. Remember, if your equipment breaks down and you have to get repairs for it, that will be the least of your problems. Often, when carpet cleaning equipment breaks, it causes damage to customer’s carpets and furniture, which you may be liable to fix or replace.
Most equipment can be purchased in packages that include the cleaning tools for carpet and hard floors, and if you have not been formally trained in carpet cleaning, it is worth getting training included in your bundle. The basics are not difficult to master, but professional work requires an eye for details such as water temperature and awareness of solution percentage in your work.
You will also need tanks to use with your equipment. A single unit will have two tanks, over ten gallons each, to handle solution and recovery liquid. 25-foot hoses and wands are relatively standard, and you can expect the unit to weigh close to 70 pounds. Truck-mounted units will be much larger, holding closer to 80 gallons of water. Bigger is not always better, however, especially when starting off. It is rare for the tanks themselves to fail, but the hoses, pressure gauges, and pumps are a different story.
If you want to use your money wisely, look for the length of warranties on the equipment you purchase. If a unit only has a one-year warranty, the company is betting it will not break down until after 12 months from the purchase date. Read online reviews to see how the equipment has fared after the end of the warranty for other customers. If you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars, make sure that investment will last.