Integrating Carpet Cleaning to Residential Cleaning Business

Rob Mil

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Honolulu, HI
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Rob Mil
BLUF: I have residential cleaning business, I want to clean my own carpets instead of subcontracting them.

Hello! New guy, most certainly a beginner and kindly asking for guidance and a lot of patience from long time vets.

I recently started a residential cleaning business as a side gig to earn extra cash. In a month, my business went from earning me beer money to a full blown business out of dumb luck as I keep stumbling upon customers. I went from a 1 person company to having 3 cleaners.

Most of my client's house have cleaner carpets but I know it won't be long until I need to subcontract a carpet cleaning job. However I want to do it on my own. Here are my dillemas:

1. I'm in the military, and will probably move in a year. I need something small that I can pack and take with me if I have to move my business to another state. Truck mount is not an option.

2. I won't be using the machine as much as a professional carpet cleaners that specialize in carpets.

3. I do not own a van or truck yet. However, I have 2 panther body cars with trunks that can fit a lot. I'm thinking of financing a van if I have to.

4. In Hawaii, there's not a lot of used machines on craigslist. There's a 220 non-heated Mosquito unit that someone is selling for $2500 and that's about it. I think I can do better than that.

What machine should I get? Or does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation before.
 

ruff

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Ofer Kolton
It is not a bad way to get into carpet cleaning as you already have the client base.

However, if you want to provide a decent carpet cleaning service you'll need to buy a decent portable and some other equipment, which will take some time to pay for itself, if it is only to serve your client base. Most end up developing this business, as it allows for a better hourly rate.

Also you'll need to educate yourself in carpet cleaning (+ decent equipment) as you don't want to perform subpar quality work which will cause you to lose existing clients.

To answer your question shortly, as I am sure others will give more specific info:
Get a machine with a strong vacuum (and arguably 300 or so Psi is sufficient). You can compensate for the lack of heat by extra agitation. The ones that include everything (heat, strong vac and high psi pump) draw too much electricity, require a bunch of cords and will trip circuits.
 

Mikey P

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Greetings!

Education/training is first and foremost.

Don't learn on your new customers who thought they hired a pro if you want them to refer you.

Ride alongs, classes, work for someone else are your choices to gain skill and knowledge.


Keep this in mind, only 5% of professional carpet cleaners do a good job every day, 2% do a great job.
 

Rob Mil

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Honolulu, HI
Name
Rob Mil
It is not a bad way to get into carpet cleaning as you already have the client base.

However, if you want to provide a decent carpet cleaning service you'll need to buy a decent portable and some other equipment, which will take some time to pay for itself, if it is only to serve your client base. Most end up developing this business, as it allows for a better hourly rate.

Also you'll need to educate yourself in carpet cleaning (+ decent equipment) as you don't want to perform subpar quality work which will cause you to lose existing clients.

To answer your question shortly, as I am sure others will give more specific info:
Get a machine with a strong vacuum (and arguably 300 or so Psi is sufficient). You can compensate for the lack of heat by extra agitation. The ones that include everything (heat, strong vac and high psi pump) draw too much electricity, require a bunch of cords and will trip circuits.

If you have 5 grand, what portable set up would you get?
 

Rob Mil

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Honolulu, HI
Name
Rob Mil
Greetings!

Education/training is first and foremost.

Don't learn on your new customers who thought they hired a pro if you want them to refer you.

Ride alongs, classes, work for someone else are your choices to gain skill and knowledge.


Keep this in mind, only 5% of professional carpet cleaners do a good job every day, 2% do a great job.
I plan on giving free carpet cleaning to my friends, I reckon 10 of them should be enough to learn not to mess up. Unless this is harder than I thought it would be. Where I live, there's not much carpeted houses.

Working for someone is out of the question. No one here hires Learners. It's such a small island. Everyone is a competition.

As usual, I go to forums to get PE knowledge from experts. I found another forum before this. However, it is hard to learn when everyone seems to be sponsored by mytee. Most people rave about their products. Then the same people will post on how to repair their mytee that they just got. Doesn't seem right to me. Do all portable machines break easy like that?
 

Cleanworks

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If you have 5 grand, what portable set up would you get?
It's hard to recommend a specific machine. You are going to have to buy at least a mini van. It's not going to fit in a car. Look for a 2 cord machine with 2-3 stage vacuum motors and a 300-500 psi pump. Big wheels and tall handles will help get it up and down stairs. There are many good machines out there. Factor in the weight. Remember, a portable has to be portable.
 

Rob Mil

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Rob Mil
It's hard to recommend a specific machine. You are going to have to buy at least a mini van. It's not going to fit in a car. Look for a 2 cord machine with 2-3 stage vacuum motors and a 300-500 psi pump. Big wheels and tall handles will help get it up and down stairs. There are many good machines out there. Factor in the weight. Remember, a portable has to be portable.
I am planning on getting a new Odyssey before the year ends. I needed because I recently added window washing in my services and those 32 feet telescopic poles are well, long. Not too steep of a learning curve. Just required patience and attention to detail.

I saw Mike P. Post about a new rotovac Monsoon coming out with a little less than 80 lbs. I might wait on that or get a CFX unit.
 
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Mikey P

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And come stateside for this event..


 

ruff

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If you have 5 grand, what portable set up would you get?
I would get a machine with a strong vacuum, no heat, and either a CRB or a 175 machine, in other words something that will allow you for some deep agitation and a low moisture cleaning. A CRB, if you are so inclined, will allow you to also offer a Host style cleaning. And of course- a good quality wand.
 

Old Coastie

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Rob, here are a few concrete ideas to answer your questions. Bear in mind that almost all the people here are truckmount guys and absolutely hate portables.

1: Focus and later, expand your services.
. Buy a CFX-15, a 360i with brush head and a 12” Devastator wand. Get an inline filter, 2 lengths of 2” hose and 2 lengths of water supply line. You can do nearly any carpet job.

2. Find a local supplier and ask advice about general cleaning and specific situations like greasy spills, wax, pet urine and so on. Do a lot of Youtube videos to corroborate what you are told. Find a basic product and again, expand as you go.

3. Get a liability policy. As a serviceman, it should be easy.

4. Go into this realizing that there is no bottom to the well. You can happily spend the next thirty years learning new things.

5. Make sure you have a thick skin. Some of these tightasses have all the people skills of a wire brush.

Good luck!
 
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ruff

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360i is nice but not necessary, especially with a tight budget. A CRB or such will give you much more flexibility and similar results. Not to mention that it will add more electrical draw to what already may be taxed circuits, as it has to work while the portable is on, as opposed to say a CRB.

I know the CFX draws less electricity, but requires an auto-dump set up and what's involved in that and can foam easily therefore require more babysitting of the unit. Not sure that is the way to go.

Some of us were using portables when you were still calling Mark Twain, sailing down the Mississippi, coaster :winky:
 
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Cleanworks

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Cleaning houses with a portable sucks big time. Most of us have done it when we first started. Not that you can't do a good job, Willy P does good work with a portable as well as some others but there are so many good deals on used truck mounts if you are a little handy mechanically. A truck mount makes your cleaning life so much easier.
 

Cleanworks

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Ps. Not to disparage portables. I have 2 high power portables and 2 regular power machines and all get used in their various capacities but don't use portables for truck mount work.
 

steve_64

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I would get a buffer pads and bonnets. If you use a portable dry times will be an issue. Get a couple fans to help too.

Use the portable when you need to flush something but use the buffer and bonnets to clean the surface.
 

Mikey P

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It all comes back to " I want to open a restaurant but all I can afford is a 14" Weber."


So you build your cardboard lemonade stand, your few patrons dine on your delicious cooking while sitting on milk crates, eating from their laps..

Will your promises of a brick and mortar for their next visit get them to spread the word?

People who have the budget and inclination to hire a professional to clean their floors are very few and far between. It's your mission to BLOW their minds with killer results and an over the top customer service experience.

in the hands of a new guy, buffers and portables only blow fuses....
 

Nomad74

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It all comes back to " I want to open a restaurant but all I can afford is a 14" Weber."


So you build your cardboard lemonade stand, your few patrons dine on your delicious cooking while sitting on milk crates, eating from their laps..
Thats how I feel with my rug shop efforts right now. But I keep plugging away.
 
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Rick J

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rick Jones
I have done work for a large national outfit here in my town. Usually color repair or fixes of some sort.
I know the local owners. They have multiple crews out and a large client base.
Their parent compay was looking into doing this several years back. I know the local franchise here did not pursue it.
Don't know if the franchise did.
I think it was spitballed as a cheap add on to their existing customer base. And ----I think --- only because we discussed it briefly. that the idea was to have some light cleaning done in traffic lanes ,,, by the crews already in the home.
 

Rick J

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Cleaning houses with a portable sucks big time. Most of us have done it when we first started. Not that you can't do a good job, Willy P does good work with a portable as well as some others but there are so many good deals on used truck mounts if you are a little handy mechanically. A truck mount makes your cleaning life so much easier.
Most definitely true.. It is carpet cleaning, but in reality it is a completely different product.
completely different, animal than cleaning in vacants.
 

scotty747

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Ditch the telescoping tucker pole and buy a ladder. Way quicker, and you have quality control when the window is in front of you.
 

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