Are you interested in starting a carpet cleaning business? There is ample opportunity in the carpet cleaning industry. Research shows that the annual revenue in the United States for janitorial and carpet cleaning services is $45 billion. From routine cleanings to damage from floods, there will always be a need for carpet cleaners.
If you’ve identified a need for carpet cleaning services in your area, you may be wondering how to get started. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about how to start a carpet cleaning business. We’ve included a step-by-step guide to help get you started.
1. Determine Your Business Structure
You’ll find that there are generally two types of business structures available when starting a carpet cleaning business. You must determine whether you would like to open an independent small business or start as a franchise. Each has its pros and cons. For instance, franchising takes away much of the risk and hassle associated with running a first-time carpet cleaning company. However, you are typically required to use the parent company’s:
- Color schemes
- Pay structure
Opening a solo endeavor provides a lot more creative opportunities. However, it also carries a bit more risk, since you’re entirely on your own without an extensive support system. Running a solo operation gives you more freedom and control over your expenses.
2. Draft a Business Plan and Get Your Finances in Order
Once you’ve decided which business structure you prefer, it’s time to write a business plan. A business plan is a simple document that dictates how you’ll run your company. It includes things such as your purpose and mission statement. You’ll want to answer the following questions when drafting a business plan:
- How will the company earn a profit?
- What kind of truck-mounted equipment will I need?
- What is the target audience? Who am I looking to attract?
- What marketing efforts will I use to attract customers to the business?
- What are our short-term financial goals?
- What are our long-term financial goals?
You’ll also want to take time to get your finances in order as well. Find out how much cash on hand you have from investors. Determine the cost of the equipment. If you elect to operate as a franchise, the parent company may provide equipment to you. However, you’ll need to pay a rather sizeable franchise fee. Make sure you account for all expenses before getting started. If you take on debt, try to determine the best way to do so.
3. Secure a Location and Determine Your Service Area
The next thing you’ll need to figure out is where you want your business to operate. Would you like to have a storefront that customers can visit? As a service-based industry, this may not be necessary. Customers likely wouldn’t visit your store for your business. Instead, they’d look your company up online and give you a call. By this definition, you could operate from anywhere. It’s completely fine to work out of your home when starting.
However, the two things you’re going to need to consider are your equipment and your employees. Do you want your employees to show up to an office each day? Or would you rather they report directly to the job site? If the former, you may want to pick a central location other than your home. Additionally, you’ll need somewhere to store your carpet-cleaning equipment when it’s not in use.
4. Take Care of Legal Requirements
There are a few legal requirements associated with running a business. For instance, you’ll need to register the company with your local secretary of state’s office. You’ll also want to open a business bank account and secure an employer identification number from the IRS.
Furthermore, you’ll want to set up a business bank account and take out the necessary small business liability insurance. You’ll also need business licenses and permits to operate your business. You may need to secure these licenses at the local, state, and federal levels. It’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney to ensure that you’re starting your business correctly. Doing so can help you avoid costly fees and untimely delays down the road. You can also discuss matters like worker’s compensation with your attorney.
You’ll also want to consider consulting a CPA in addition to an attorney. Business taxes and payroll can be a bit confusing, especially when running a business for the first time. For instance, did you know there is a difference in the way that the IRS treats employees and independent contractors? Much like an attorney, a CPA can be a worthwhile investment to ensure that you run your business legally.
5. Bring in Customers
Now that you are ready to run your business, it’s time to start bringing in customers. As a new business in the area, you’ll want to invest heavily in marketing. Not only should you consider print and media advertising, but you should also think about running social media and online campaigns as well. Make sure that you’ve set your company up with Google Business to ensure that you show up in local search results and don’t forget about your carpet cleaning website.
You can consider offering discounts to new customers to help bring them into the fold. When marketing, you’ll want to make sure that you emphasize your value proposition. When you opened your company, you likely did so because you felt that you could make a difference and provide something to the local community that currently doesn’t exist. Is it cheaper prices? Better service? 24/7 availability?
Whatever the case may be, you should make this known to your customers when marketing. This is what you feel sets you apart from the competition and is what will help drive new customers to your business.
In addition to the steps we’ve listed above, there are a few other things that you’ll want to consider when starting a carpet cleaning business. Keeping these things in mind will make it easier when creating your carpet cleaning business startup.
- Make Sure You Know What You’re Doing – This may seem like a given, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, your company is bound to fail. You’re running a professional business, and you need to treat it as such. Consider attending training, getting certifications, and joining groups and associations of carpet cleaning business owners. These will not only improve performance but will also increase legitimacy as well.
- Consider Future Expenses – Many first-time owners think solely about startup costs without considering the costs of running the business in the first three months. Remember that you’re going to need gas, chemicals, and all of the other equipment that helps you clean carpets months down the line.
- Manage for Profitability – Consider using Key Performance Indicators to track your company’s success. KPIs give you objective numbers to measure performance and business growth.