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How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business With No Money

Are you interested in starting a carpet cleaning company from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a carpet cleaning business with NO money and no experience plus a sample carpet cleaning business plan template.

Almost all homes and office buildings built since 60’s have wall-to-wall carpeting. The replacement costs and the cyclical faltering of the global economy till date have caused these homeowners to want to make what they already own last longer, especially in the case of carpeting, which is a sizeable investment.

This very important conditions existing in the world today that have not only made the carpet cleaning industry a vast one with boasting of producing millionaires, and this practically guarantee your success as an entrepreneur.

The existing world population have become more busy and occupied than they use to be over five decades ago which gives them no time to handle all their do-it-yourself projects. They continually put off until later any chore that requires special equipment.

This is especially true with carpet cleaning, because deep down, they’re fearful of botching the job. Thus, they’re more than willing to pay you as an expert or a specialist to do this kind of work for them.

Even though people everywhere try to save money by handling these jobs themselves as DIY. However, empathy with the people, and understanding of this trend, should be neither cause for alarm nor a deterrent to your success in the carpet cleaning business.

Most businesses employ the services of janitors or janitorial services to vacuum their carpets after hours daily, and then professional carpet cleaners to deep-clean their carpets perhaps several times a week, and then hope to deep-clean every spring or fall, depending on the kind of household traffic, and on their budgets.

This creates a large demand for the services of a carpet cleaning business to carry out the needed service for many individuals and businesses.

Nobody can cope with a dirty looking and smelling carpet, this position the carpet cleaning business as a basic necessity whenever the need for cleaning arises. The carpet cleaning business is a profitable industry which creates jobs that people don’t want to do.

This is also a lucrative market for those jobs people simply don’t have time for anymore. If you therefore have the confidence and penchant for cleanliness and spotless looking rugs, then the carpet cleaning business might be the perfect one for you to venture into.

What Does It Take to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business?

The carpet cleaning business unsurprisingly does not require any special education, formal education, skill or experience to operate a professional-type, deep-cleaning carpet cleaner.

Yet, from your first job onward, you should project the image of a thoroughly experienced expert in your field. And the intent of this write-up is to show you how you can get started in this business, and make between $200-$300 and more per working day.

Steps to Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business With No Money

1. Understand the Industry

This industry includes establishments that clean rugs, carpets and upholstery for residential and commercial clients. Companies in the industry also provide a range of other services; including dyeing used rugs, damage restoration services, ventilation duct cleaning and other cleaning services.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

On average, carpet cleaning companies charge 30 cents per square foot, and generally aim to make between $80 and $100 an hour. The demand for cleaning operations for homes and business are expected to climb through 2016, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the five years to 2016, Carpet cleaning industry revenue is expected to modestly increase, as growth in household formation rates expanded the available client base for industry operators. In the coming years, rising per capita disposable income will positively affect the industry because it will increase consumers’ propensity to spend on carpet cleaning services that are typically performed every one to two years.

Household formation rates are expected to rise as well, as more consumers will be able to afford their own units, thanks to projected improving employment rates.

The Carpet Cleaning industry has a low level of market share concentration. In 2016, aggregated franchise revenue at the top three companies in the industry generated less than 10.0% of the industry’s revenue. The average company in the industry employs between one to two workers.

According to the latest information from the US Census Bureau, franchisees accounted for an estimated 18.0% of establishments in the industry.

In a research data provided by IBIS world, the carpet cleaning industry is currently worth $4 billion and is expected to experience a 1.9% growth within 2011-2016, it is also noted that the industry is currently made up of around 38, 384 businesses providing employment for 69, 148 people.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for carpet cleaning will rise approximately 14% through 2016. In addition to demand and an hourly rate that ranges from $75 to $150, carpet cleaning businesses are easily started and maintained.

According to business professionals and business research companies, carpet cleaning is recognized as one of the top 10 businesses to pursue. And let’s face the hard facts: carpets will never go out of style. Thus, this is a recession-proof possibility!

There are at least 9,000 carpet cleaning firms in the united states, they make between the ranges of $22,313- $33,835 per year.

The companies are dominated by small businesses. The industry is dominated by small businesses, companies in the field employ an average of five people each, 77% of the carpet cleaning businesses employ between 1-4 employees while 23% employs 5 or more employees.

It is also important to note that most carpet cleaning firms are one man shows as 80.7% have no employees at all as it is run solely by them while only a meagre 19.3% are employers of labor in the carpet cleaning industry.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic component of those who need the services of a carpet cleaner spreads across the public sector, the organized private sector, and individuals from different strata of the society and from all walks of life but most importantly everyone need to clean up their carpets no matter their income level.

Residential and public places need it more often than the others though. Below is a list of the people and organizations that will need a carpet cleaning firm;

  • The public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals.
  • Organized private sector
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels and Motels
  • Residential areas
  • Religious Centers
  • Warehouses
  • Retail locations
  • Educational Facilities
  • Lounges
  • Casinos
  • Medical facility
  • Bars

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

The carpet cleaning industry is not very large as it is a niche related to cleaning services but there are still specializations in the field that can be considered. This means that as you go into the carpet cleaning business, you may want to consider one of more of the following niche areas to be listed below;

  1. Commercial Carpet Cleaning
  2. Residential Carpet cleaning
  3. Stain Removal services
  4. Carpet deodorization
  5. Water Restoration
  6. Carpet Restoration
  7. Carpet Repair

The Level of Competition in the Industry

There’s always going to be competition. Some of it will be good for you, and some of it will be bad for you. Accept it as part of life.

Just keep in mind that you’re in business because you feel you can do a better job; you can do it more efficiently; and you can do it with greater satisfaction to your customers than anyone else. Be aware of the competition, but don’t worry about it. Just stick to your own business plan and you’ll be okay

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

In every industry, there are those who have gone past pothers in terms of level of success and having a wider reach. In the cleaning business, the case is the same. Here is a list of well-known brands in the industry.

  1. Chem-Dry
  2. National Carpet Cleaning
  3. USA Master Clean
  4. Sears
  5. Coit
  6. Stanley Steemer
  7. ServPro
  8. Carpet Cleaning Pro
  9. Heavens Best
  10. Green Choice
  11. Oxi Fresh

Economic Analysis

The carpet cleaning business is not that terribly expensive to get into. Once you have the necessary equipment, insurance, and supplies, you’re ready to roll. The hard part is going to be drumming up business.

Nowadays, just about any small business is going to be very competitive, due to the fact that so many people have lost their jobs over the last few years and many of them are going into business themselves. If you work hard and do a good job, then business will come your way.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

There is no need for you to even consider buying a franchised operation. There’s just too much real help available for the “independent” to go to the considerable expense and obligation of a franchise. Starting from scratch, and as an independent, this is most assuredly a low-investment, low-overhead type business the kind we recommend for anyone and everyone who’s determined to make it on his own.

A carpet cleaning business of your own is one of the easiest of all small businesses to start. You will find the initial start-up costs well within your reach and the margin of profit most astounding. It’s an easy business to operate, and yet one that can be called necessary to today’s standard of living.

It carries a very high rating on all business evaluation stability charts, and it’s a business that will grow rapidly to bring you the monetary rewards you desire.

That franchises will work closely with you as you start your business and take it to the point where it is running smoothly and profitability is an advantage, especially in the beginning. But you may find that once you become established and are financially secure, a franchise agreement is a decided disadvantage.                                                                                                                           

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

There are a number of threats that affects the cleaning industry in America. These threats though available, can still be surmounted with the right approach and the right knowledge. Therefore, the carpet cleaning business is not an exception. Here are some of these challenges that are very much surmountable.

  • Marketing changes
  • Online changes
  • Hiring Cleaners
  • Government uncertainty
  • Wages

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Choosing a legal entity for a business is a huge determinant of the size the business will grow into, so choosing the right entity is very straightforward especially if you decided to grow the business big in the long term. While many business owners remain as a sole proprietor, there are others who form a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

There are a number of tax and legal protections that you are afforded when you do so. Therefore, check with a tax or legal professional on the benefits of the different types of business entities and whether you should consider having your business become such an entity.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Your carpet cleaning business name will be the first impression for your cleaning business only if you choose to go for an attractive one.

One that will make those who come in contact with it happy and willing to patronize. Whatever the name is, it must stick and be memorable. Consider the following names for your start-up that can guarantee you attracting a good number of clients at all times;

  • Cleaning Up Carpet Cleaning Service
  • Cleaning up your Act
  • Sparkling Carpets
  • Eat off the Floor Carpet Cleaning
  • Carpet Club
  • Carpet Clean
  • Economic Carpet Cleaning
  • Clean Step Carpet Cleaning
  • Carpet Nirvana
  • Carpet Care Specialists
  • Underfoot Carpet Care
  • Step into Clean Carpet Care

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

Purchase business insurance such as general liability, workers’ compensation if hiring employees, product insurance or home-based business insurance to protect business assets in the event of a lawsuit or settlement. Worker’s compensation insurance covers employee accident or injury while on the job.

You may also need to purchase a surety bond. A surety bond helps promote an honest relationship between business owner and customer. In the event of a lawsuit or settlement, the state may use the bond to pay for legal expenses.

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

There are businesses that require protecting their intellectual properties to a large extent. This might not necessarily be the case with the carpet cleaning business. If you are considering starting your own carpet cleaning firm, then you should consider filing for intellectual property protection.

Filing for intellectual property protection for your firm is not only limited to your company’s logo and other documents, and but also protecting of course the name of your company.

If you want to file for intellectual property protection and also register your trademark in the United States, then you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Even though to operate legally, you must obtain a business license to operate the business, it is not technically required by law to employ licensed and certified cleaners. However, there is a nationally accredited licensing and certification for cleaners that would increase the overall marketability of the business itself and provide an advantage over the unlicensed competition.

The main body that oversees this industry is the Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or the IICRC.

It’s got a long name, but when looking for a group of specialists with carpet cleaning certification, the IICRC seal of approval is shorthand for “expert”, so to say. This institute is the one to go to when trying to track down the most reputable businesses, and represents the main body of knowledge in the country.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

Register your business with the government. Laws vary by state. Talk to your local Department of Commerce and Department of Licensing to receive the forms that you need to establish your business and to learn if you need a license to do bookkeeping.

You can notify the federal government of your business by applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can also create a business name for yourself and file a “Doing Business As” or “DBA” notice. These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to start a carpet cleaning business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Apostille
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement
  • Company By laws
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy

13. Write a Business Plan

You’ve probably heard quite a lot of humdrum talks involving business plans. The reason for that is that they are extremely important especially in a carpet cleaning business. Consider it a roadmap for your business, one that will show you where to go during which stages. For now, however, we’ll have a look at those initial figures you’ll need to get yourself going.

Now, setting up a business plan to help start a carpet cleaning business isn’t rocket science and does not necessarily involve a business consultant’s input. The key to any business plan is to make a list of those things you will be spending money on and how much you will be getting in.

You might wonder why you need to have a business plan. You already know what kind of services you could offer. All you need is to find a client to start your bookkeeping business. If you need to do some marketing, you might say “I will think about it along the way”.

However, one of the most important management functions is planning. Without planning, you don’t know which way your business is going and you cannot measure your progress. A lot of small businesses fail because of poor planning.

Here is a list of items in your business plan to consider:

  • Summary of Business Plan
  • Management and Operating Plan
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Market Analysis and Marketing Plan
  • Financial Plan

In summary, you should include the legal structure of the business, internal and external management and your analysis of competitors and the market.

Also, you need to summarize the financial situation of your practice. As a professional bookkeeper, you are a part of external management for your clients; however, as a business owner, you need to have external management as mentioned above.

As you already know, you have to compete with other professional accountants and bookkeepers. A licensed accountant can offer various services such as audit, review and tax services and can deal with more complex accounting issues. Some professional accountants offer bookkeeping as well as other services; therefore, you need to investigate their services.

Also, you need to determine what kind of services you can offer by doing some research: You need to have a target market. Unless you have in-depth knowledge of various industries, you should not accept everyone as a client.

If you are familiar with the construction industry, you should focus on this area. You need to know whether this industry requires external bookkeepers or not. You also need to analyze the industry in order to offer value-added services.

14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis

The cost will depend on where you are starting business from either your home or an office, as you can choose to start on a small scale from your garage since it. If you are starting from home this will immediately cut down costs because there will be no office rent to pay.

  1. The Total Fee for incorporating the Business in United States of America – $750.
  2. The budget for Insurance, permit and license – $1,500
  3. The Amount needed to rent a suitable office facility with enough space in the United States of America – $20,000.
  4. The Cost for purchasing equipment – $5,000
  5. The cost of acquiring a vehicle- $15,000
  6. The Cost of Launching an official Website – $700
  7. Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al) – $2,500
  8. Other miscellaneous – $1,000

Small Scale-: To start up this business on the small scale, which means starting from your room without renting or leasing an office space and a vehicle, you will need around $10,000

Medium Scale-: On a middle level start-up, which will includes operational vehicle, you will need around $30,000

Large Scale-: On a large scale, if you intend competing with the big players in the industry then you will need a decent office space and an operational vehicle for movement, be ready to cough out around $50,000.

15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Beyond traditional financing, you have a range of options when it comes to raising money. It is important to have a clear cut plan on how to raise capital for your cleaning business from the very beginning. It is important to start from the beginning to determine the means which you want to raise the needed capital to finance your business. Here are some suggestions that you may want to employ:

  • Your own resources
  • Friends and family
  • Partners
  • Government programs

16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

One of the hottest business trends today is to be home-based, and cleaning services are excellent candidates for this type of setup. After all, your customers will likely never come to your facility since all your work is done on their premises. But that’s not the only issue influencing your decision to operate from a home-based office or a commercial location.

Many municipalities have ordinances that limit the nature and volume of commercial activities that can occur in residential areas. Some outright prohibit the establishment of home-based businesses.

Others may allow such enterprises but place restrictions regarding issues such as signage, traffic, employees, commercially marked vehicles and noise. Before you apply for your business license, find out what ordinances govern home-based businesses; you may need to adjust your plan to be in compliance.

17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

Your manpower as a carpet cleaning firm depends on the scale at which you operate, if you operate on a small scale, you will only be the one running the business but if you choose to expand and go medium then you will need at least 4 more workers, anything above 44 employees means you are operating on a large scale.

Whichever scale you wish to operate will determine your manpower need and it is important for you to know that the industry is not labor intensive which only need people to man the equipment.

List of Equipment and Tools Needed to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business

There are loads of professional equipment that is needed to make the business grow and boom within a short period. Some of these rug cleaning equipment includes;

  • A freestanding or portable rug cleaner with a power wand or brush and an extractor that removes the water from the rug and into a holding tank.
  • Vacuum cleaners.
  • Carpet brushes.
  • Chemicals for cleaning.
  • Water storage tanks.
  • Deep carpet cleaning machine.
  • Flexible pipes for water delivery

These are just some of the few things you would need for a start. As time goes on, you should invest in more sophisticated and trendy equipment.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Professional carpet-cleaning services use a wide range of cleaning methods when tackling dirty rugs and carpets. Cost, degree of carpet soiling, environmental conditions and type of carpet fiber typically influence the selection of a carpet-cleaning method. Here are the benefits of the two most common professional carpet cleaning processes used today.

  1. Steam cleaning

Also known as hot water extraction, steam cleaning is a common method of cleaning carpets. In this method, hot water is heated to boiling and injected into the carpet under pressure. The hot water effectively loosens the dirt, and the carpet-cleaning machine immediately draws moisture and dirt away.

Heavily soiled carpet often requires the use of detergent. Using a steam cleaner or carpet extractor is effective in removing odors and killing bacteria and dust mites. There are few drawbacks to this method, other than drying time.

  1. Carpet shampooing

Using a carpet shampooer is the original carpet-cleaning method used by professional cleaners. In this process, a foamy chemical is distributed on the carpet and scrubbed in with a motorized circular brush. This method works best for heavily soiled, low-pile carpet.

Since no extraction process is involved, the carpet must be thoroughly vacuumed to remove soil and residue. Many carpet cleaning professionals recommend steam cleaning as more effective than carpet shampooing.

18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Even before the acquisition of equipment, you need customers. Your prospects are all the businesses and homes with carpets in your area. Your problem is going to be in reaching these prospects, impressing upon then the benefits of your service, and getting them set up with an appointment for you to do the work.

  • Print a carpet cleaning flyer
  • Study the carpet cleaning service ads in your local newspapers, the yellow pages of your telephone directories, and any similar flyers you may have received or seen.
  • Advertise of local newspapers and magazines
  • Send out letters of introduction about your cleaning business
  • Employ the social media as means of advertisement

19. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Even before the acquisition of equipment, you need customers. Your prospects are all the businesses and homes with carpets in your area. Your problem is going to be in reaching these prospects, impressing upon then the benefits of your service, and getting them set up with an appointment for you to do the work.

Contracting with an advertising agency will probably take longer and will cost a significant amount of money. However, you might be able to contact a staff member who does freelance work on the side. But you should set a specific date for completion of the project, and agree to pay no more than half the total estimated cost until the job is finished, and meets with your approval.

The next step is to take this original of your flyer to a printer, and have printed whatever number of copies you want to start.

Most quick print shops will be able to print up to 20,000 copies, and deliver in a reasonable time, with nominal costs. If you decide to start with more than 20,000 copies, you will do better by going to a regular commercial printer. Larger quantities that would take a quick print shop all day can be handled by a commercial print shop in a few hours.

While your flyers are being printed, you should be lining up your delivery people -local Brownie or Cub Scout Troops. No big problem here.

Either look up their local headquarters office in your phone book or call a friend or two with children about the right age for the name and phone number of troop leaders. Arrange to pay these scout troops $10 for each thousand circulars they hand out door-to-door.

One other thing before you start handing out your flyers—be sure that you have someone available to answer the phone and set up appointments for you. It’s usually best to have a woman do this; it makes the caller think of your service as an established business.

You can pay an answering service to handle these calls for you, but if your wife or a friend is available that would be even better. It is, however, imperative that a “live voice” answer your phone. People have some strange ideas about answering machines, and most businesses find they do much better not using them.

20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

Once you have the skills and your equipment ready, it is time to start sourcing for clients. It is important for you to decide the category of carpet cleaning you want to opt for. There is the residential carpet cleaning and the commercial carpet cleaning.

The residential carpet cleaners clean carpets for homes while the commercial cleaners deal with offices and commercial buildings. It is advisable that you start from the residential carpet cleaning while you expand to commercial carpet cleaning because residential carpet cleaning is easier to start and requires less equipment.

To create awareness for your business, you can print out flyers describing your services and distribute them. You should also consider opening a website and starting a blog for your business. A business website would make it easier for customers to reach you.

You should also ensure you put your business on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. As someone who is looking for carpet cleaners may not have heard of your business before, but by searching on the internet, they would be able to reach you and engage your services.

21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

As a carpet cleaner, you would be required to visit your client’s home most of the time. Therefore you have to dress and behave properly at all times. You are a cleaner. You shouldn’t appear scruffy and unkempt.

A good way to boost your corporate reputation and create an impression is to invest in a uniform and dress neatly at all times. You should also have your employees wear uniforms and be of proper conduct. This will ensure that you are properly branded. You must also ensure that you handle your client’s property with care and observe all safety rules.

You should know that most client’s would be observing you while you work and therein lies the success of your business because the probability of a client calling you back for another job or recommending you to other people depends on their first impression of you and the way you handled their job.

22. Create a Suppliers/ Distribution Network

As a carpet cleaning firm, be on the lookout for opportunities and referrals from other cleaning firm who are not in your niche, you can also form alliance with general cleaning firms who will need your partnership. So also, utilize you chances by contacting your banks, worship houses, restaurants you patronize to help them with their carpet cleaning needs.

Another means you can exploit is to go on house to house free cleaning for a start so that people can know you and be ready to refer people to you.

23. Tips for Running a Carpet Cleaning Business Successfully

When you specialize in a particular industry or service, you are much more in control of your time, since you already know the ropes. It allows you to focus on being the best in your niche and provide high-quality services efficiently and profitably.

It’s a win-win scenario. In reality, your business will naturally grow and change. You can always experiment with new service offerings. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your services (and clients) as you grow.

One of the most exciting things anyone can take on is starting their own company, and for those looking to a get a carpet cleaning business going, the prospects are generally bright. It’s relatively easy to get one up and running and they can be highly profitable if run professionally. Before jumping in though, there are several important things to decide on.