New Guy

#1
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Ray
Hello Everyone,
I grew up in the floor-covering business and know a great deal about installation and materials but I hope to be able to walk after I retire and have decided to look into another honest living: carpet and surface extraction.
I have a mechanical mind and to me, common sense just makes sense.

My first two questions out of what will probably be many are:
1. Can a hard work ethic and good equipment be enough to get started in this business?
2. Should I sit on my startup savings for a year or two and learn from an established pro?

Your advice and experiences are greatly appreciated. Similarly, if you have any questions on repair or other installation related issues, I'd be happy to help.

Thank you for reading,
-
Ray da Rookie
 
#4
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1. No
2. No

A good work ethic and good equipment are not the only thing needed. Without a steady stream of clients you'll be out of business before you ever start.

Go to and SFS class, see what it takes to be in the game. At dinners and lunches ask your classmates questions.

Build your plan in class then decide if its a path for you.
 
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#5
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Mike Pay-oh-tay
Welcome!

If you were to call all your existing flooring customers and tell them about your new endeavor, how many do you think would call you when they're ready to clean their floors?
 
#6
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1. No, good equipment and work ethics are key for a good employee.

2. Maybe. IF you can find someone decent to work under, that'll be gold learning this business out in the field. But something tells me that if you work for another business, you'll just learn how to push a wand, instead of how to grow a business.
 
#8
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Think about taking a temporary job with a large company in your area. See what you like about it and what you don't like. Find out if you like working with that type of equipment. Think about how you are going to attract your customers. Low prices won't cut it.
 
#10
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Jimmy L, I'm in my late 30's and tired of making other people rich.

Lee, I'm not familiar with MF but I'll look into it.

Desk Jockey, thank you. I just found the web page for SFS. Will look more into it.

Looking into an IICRC course, the closest is in Salt Lake, I am in the Boise area.

Thank you all for your replies
 
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#11
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Take a year to prepare. Read this board and learn for a year. Go to the Mikeyfests and take the classes and use the tools. Watch Mark Saiger videos on youtube. Read and study - The Complete Guide to Cleaning and Restoration - it isn't a complete guide but an overview of the cleaning and restoration industry.
It helps if you are a people person...but apparently not a requirement based on what I have seen...uh...elsewhere...
Or- You can start now on the side...empty apartments Chinese Restaurants and flea bag motel rooms with basic equipment to learn with. It will still take a year and all the above to become more than a hack...but you will be getting hands on and practical experience.
 
#12
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Mickey,
I am sure all of our customers would use us if needed, I'm 3rd generation installer and learned from the best. Only problem is, all of those customers are in another state. I moved out here to be with my wife and have been working for corporate America (making eyeglasses) for the last 8 years.

I don't plan on low-balling. I plan on doing quality work for quality pay.
I learned installations from some of the best in the game, Dad and Gramps. I just got tired of lifting 200 lb. rolls of carpet up stairs. Think I'll leave the low-balling to Stan
 
#13
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Jimmy L, I'm in my late 30's and tired of making other people rich.

Lee, I'm not familiar with MF but I'll look into it.

Desk Jockey, thank you. I just found the web page for SFS. Will look more into it.

Looking into an IICRC course, the closest is in Salt Lake, I am in the Boise area.

Thank you all for your replies
Stick around. It's nice to talk to someone the same age as me. These old guys keep jibberjabbering.
 
#18
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Have you used any type of equip before to clean? If not, might be a reason to find someone who has done it before. Work with them in either starting it up together or work under someone to learn. Or find someone like Robert @ Interlink who would probably train you on cc if you bought a TM. :) I got into this learning from someone that was already doing our cleaning process while at another company. When we decided to start ours, I had savings to put into it, and the marketing part covered. So on the other partner's end, I was able to learn about processes, etc. Some issue or hard stain you haven't come across before, someone that has been doing it for a while probably has.

If you don't produce good results on cleanings it will show online. That will haunt you.

It sure beats working for someone.
 
#20
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Stick around. It's nice to talk to someone the same age as me. These old guys keep jibberjabbering.
News Flash... If you are over 35 you are old... You might not feel it(old) yet, but it's coming. About 37-38 or so is when "things" started hurting for no reason.
 
#21
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I plan to invest in TM. I'm a pretty quick learner with an eye for detail but I realize the value in learning from veterans. If I get into high rises or secure locations, I'll look at portables.

My biggest fear is having a unit break down on me while on site. I want to be equipped to resolve it in a timely manner. From what I gather, most of these machines are fairly simple and able to be fixed without the aid of an engineer.
Dad always told me to carry two of every tool so if something breaks, I won't have to drive all over creation looking for a replacement. Won't be able to fit two TM's in a van though, so I'll have to learn how to work on them.
 
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#22
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I plan to invest in TM. I'm a pretty quick learner with an eye for detail but I realize the value in learning from veterans. If I get into high rises or secure locations, I'll look at portables.

My biggest fear is having a unit break down on me while on site. I want to be equipped to resolve it in a timely manner. From what I gather, most of these machines are fairly simple and able to be fixed without the aid of an engineer.
Dad always told me to carry two of every tool so if something breaks, I won't have to drive all over creation looking for a replacement. Won't be able to fit two TM's in a van though, so I'll have to learn how to work on them.
With proper maintenance, break downs are rare. When they do happen, you apologize to the customer and find a way to make right
 
#24
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News Flash... If you are over 35 you are old... You might not feel it(old) yet, but it's coming. About 37-38 or so is when "things" started hurting for no reason.
I'll be 37 this october, and I'm currently wearing a knee brace, my hip has been getting sore, as well as my lower back. But I'm not bitching about it yet
 
#25
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1. No
2. No
A good work ethic and good equipment are only needed but without a steam stream of clients you'll be out of business before you ever start.
Go to and SFS class, see what it takes to be in the game. At dinners and lunches ask your classmates questions.
Build your plan in class then decide if its a path for you.
I'll translate from Topekan: 1- Yes, hard work and any equipment are enough to get started. Sustaining the business (without resorting to discounting) as a start-up is hard. 2- No. Most of the people in this industry are just like you. Use some saved money to jump in, then tried to figure out that sustainability thing. 90% are gone every two years, and another 9% just got lucky. I wouldn't recommend going to work for someone in your service area, as you will have made an enemy out of an established local company. Lucky or good, they're already there, and they'll have the incentive to compete you out of business.


Commercial work might be the easiest way to get steady money flowing. Ask Richard, as Idaho is just like Kansas, only lumpier.
 
#27
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Hey welcome to the board RJ!

I read over other comments quick, but I always ask anyone who is thinking about this line of work.....

Have you tried it yet?

Before you invest a lot of money, as others have mentioned, keep doing research, but an actual ride a long and or trying the cleaning is really a very crucial thing I believe.

It can be tough work, but if you have been lugging those giant rolls of carpet around and throwing them around, I know you are not afraid of hard work....

I just hate to see people get in to deep and then are selling their equipment off cheap if is doesn't work out.

Many of us have probably benefited picking up some pretty nice new equipment after the fact....(some people have 5 Tile and Grout Turbo spinners...and like to let us know at times @Justin Stockwell :biggrin::clap:)

But seriously, I do wish you the best and will try to help in any manner I can, as well as many on this board take the same philosophy

Looking forward to your posts :)
 
#28
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The amazing thing about this board to me is that most of these guys will give you cell numbers and answer your calls. A good local dealer is nice. But having guys with 30 plus years experience available to answer questions is priceless. Any mistake you can imagine,one of us has made it.

Just be careful of the Hacks with butlers and no 17inch turbo hybrid.
Jk Mark. Your truckmount is adorable. :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
 
#30
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The reason I suggest going to work for someone else first is to gain experience with the equipment. I have seen too many times, people getting in over their heads. You have to have some understanding or how the equipment works and how to do minor repairs.
 

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