Starting out on the cheap

#92
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Start up
2006 We bought 3 janitorial accounts for $1,000
2007 We bought a $1,500 used Bane Clean, $2,500 used Ford Van. All in we had about $8,500 in the truck mount, van, Chem and tools.
Bill Yeadon came to my house and showed me how to use it. My wife would only allow us to clean one room in the basement. I sat through 2 days of IICRC carpet cleaning instruction.
We busted our ass because the equipment was under-powered and couldn't do what I was capable of selling us into.
We used to hook up a water otter so we could clean tile with the Bane.

Today I would
Buy a full package Hydramaster, Chevy Van and all the toys. I would want to be able to clean anything we could sell.
20/20 is always better. We all know a $900 van payment is cake to make a payment on.

I would not change it. 11 years later. We have the finest rug plant in the state, 4 fully loaded carpet trucks and a retail furniture, flooring and rug store. We employee 15 people, Both my sons , my wife and myself are all able to make a living. We are living the american dream.

That $1,500 Bane Clean started the ball rolling. It's better to get started than not, but if you can get some coaching do. Bill helped point us in the right direction. Gear & Juice are important but not the key things that brought us to this place. It takes so much more than the right truck mount to build a successful company. Great equipment just makes it easier!

You are far from the average laid off factory worker who thinks carpet cleaning will be an easy path to $500 a day riches..
 
#93
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Suppose it depends on your TM setup

The air howl through the tool when I do use my TM on greasy microfibre has me wearing airplugs.
I have thought about putting another vacuum relief inline to cut the noise and vacuum.

How do you address the excess vacuum?
Vac relief on the tool. All of my tools have a vac relief. Heat is controllable
 
#94
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Opening the vac relief on my PMF hand tools take them from being uncomfortable to use to being unbearable without ear plugs.. they HOWL

And I've been reluctant to buy more $$$ high flow/hotter plastic tool if its still going to melt like my earlier pic :neutral:
 
#95
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Opening the vac relief on my PMF hand tools take them from being uncomfortable to use to being unbearable without ear plugs.. they HOWL

And I've been reluctant to buy more $$$ high flow/hotter plastic tool if its still going to melt like my earlier pic :neutral:
The PMF tool was once my "go to tool", and I still have one handy for detail work. The $$$$$$$ high flow, rotomolded tools won't melt on you.

That said, if you have that much heat and can't cool it down, you are best to use a portable. I have seen color loss and texture damage issues from high heat. How is the heat produced on your truck mount, and how is it controlled?

Be careful with the PMF tool with velvets; you can get a "center streak" that is difficult to remove from natural fiber velvet, and impossible to get out of a synthetic fiber velvet if you cook it.

Ask me how I know ..

There isn't a way to damage upholstery that I haven't done myself...sometimes more than once.
 
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That was a #2 little giant at the end of 150ft of hose that melted that hand tool, my main fuel burner has digital thermostat that can control the heat precisely between 60 degree C and 120 degree C give or take 2 degree at the machine
 
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#97
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The PMF tool was once my "go to tool", and I still have one handy for detail work. The $$$$$$$ high flow, rotomolded tools won't melt on you.

That said, if you have that much heat and can't cool it down, you are best to use a portable. I have seen color loss and texture damage issues from high heat. How is the heat produced on your truck mount, and how is it controlled?

Be careful with the PMF tool with velvets; you can get a "center streak" that is difficult to remove from natural fiber velvet, and impossible to get out of a synthetic fiber velvet if you cook it.

Ask me how I know ..

There isn't a way to damage upholstery that I haven't done myself...sometimes more than once.
I haven't damaged a piece (that I'm aware of) but have seen more than a few damaged pieces left from my competitors, they run Boxxer 318's and spitfire 3.2's not exactly known as high performance machines but they "presumably" had uncontrolled heat spikes which left heat set fibre distortion or colour loss that I couldn't correct..

That aside how loud is that SS tool compared to the PMF with the vac relief open on a truckmount?
 
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#98
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I may be the poster child on how to start small, wrong and stay that way.

Here is what I would do differently:

1: Work six months for some company, with the secret attitude that there MUST be a better way and to find it.

2: During that time, find a hard boiled mentor and ask these very questions.

3: Allocate a disciplined number of days or hours per day to prospect, self educate and work. The absolute bane of self employment is being flexible with people who “need” you.

I do not regret much. In 7 years I have learned how to effectively use vapor steam to clean most surfaces, how to refinish stone and clean most hard surfaces, how to do yoeman’s work on upholstery and when to walk feom fabrics and Persian rugs, how to clean carpet to the point people are satisfied and even complimentary and above all, to enjoy my work.

I’ve been blessed to have the equipment at hand when friends had plumbing failures and needed a slurp, when my own basement flooded and even when the mother in law floated herself in poop. I already knew how to shape and set tile or stone and can clean exterior surfaces with the best.

What I cannot do is plan or form the vision of where to be by a certain time. I’m stubborn and persistent, but in a plodding, donkeyish, first gear sort of way, as a result. Time is no longer my friend, though and I work with a broken back and scarred muscles.

For me at this point, I’d need to abruptly buy a van and machine and get out of the Piggy, in order to transition to higher volumes. What stops that? I have no idea how to find work to support it or the confidence to step out. I guess you could say I am more defensively oriented in business than aggressive.

In effect, I am still at stage 1 above, skilled, hardworking, but mystified as to how to make a lot of money with what I do.
 
#99
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That was a #2 little giant at the end of 150ft of hose that melted that hand tool, my main fuel burner has digital thermostat that can control the heat precisely between 60 degree C and 120 degree C give or take 2 degree at the machine
Unless you've tweaked it, a lg #2 usually only goes to a max of 210f. which is about 99c. shouldn't be enough to melt a tool.
 
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I may be the poster child on how to start small, wrong and stay that way.

Here is what I would do differently:

1: Work six months for some company, with the secret attitude that there MUST be a better way and to find it.

2: During that time, find a hard boiled mentor and ask these very questions.

3: Allocate a disciplined number of days or hours per day to prospect, self educate and work. The absolute bane of self employment is being flexible with people who “need” you.

I do not regret much. In 7 years I have learned how to effectively use vapor steam to clean most surfaces, how to refinish stone and clean most hard surfaces, how to do yoeman’s work on upholstery and when to walk feom fabrics and Persian rugs, how to clean carpet to the point people are satisfied and even complimentary and above all, to enjoy my work.

I’ve been blessed to have the equipment at hand when friends had plumbing failures and needed a slurp, when my own basement flooded and even when the mother in law floated herself in poop. I already knew how to shape and set tile or stone and can clean exterior surfaces with the best.

What I cannot do is plan or form the vision of where to be by a certain time. I’m stubborn and persistent, but in a plodding, donkeyish, first gear sort of way, as a result. Time is no longer my friend, though and I work with a broken back and scarred muscles.

For me at this point, I’d need to abruptly buy a van and machine and get out of the Piggy, in order to transition to higher volumes. What stops that? I have no idea how to find work to support it or the confidence to step out. I guess you could say I am more defensively oriented in business than aggressive.

In effect, I am still at stage 1 above, skilled, hardworking, but mystified as to how to make a lot of money with what I do.
Not sure what it's like where you live Stephen but acquiring the right customers takes a lot of dogged persistence some times. Getting yourself, even an old beatup truckmount of some sort, (not too beat up, ya heer) will open more doors for you. It will enable you to consider jobs like restaurants, (which I hate doing) but you seem to be able to hire occasionally. Get someone trained, at least part time on the TM and look for commercial work that you haven't considered before. One of my most consistent money makers is smallish apartment building. 3-4 floors with stairs. I usually average $500-$700 each and there are tons of them around. You have to personally speak to the managers and convince them you are the best person for them. I am still a lot like you, by choice. I have never wanted a large company but as I get older, I realize I can't do it all by myself forever. There are lots of opportunities out there. If the Truck Mount is out of the question, try a Cimex and go after large cgd. Very profitable and chimp trainable as well.
 
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I guess you could say I am more defensively oriented in business than aggressive.
are you getting a full Military pension?
(maybe you mentioned it, or maybe I just assumed that?)

If so, it easy NOT to be aggressive when there's a guaranteed monthly income that covers basic needs .
It's "easy" to stay in "part time" biz mode ...and it's not necessarily a bad place to be

I'm not qualified to be anyone's "mentor" (fo-reel) , but am pretty "hard boiled" .
if you've been dragging around that porty for SEVEN YEARS now and still don't have enough biz to support a TM payment......I have to ask...WHY NOT???

are you spending too much time cleaning appliances and washing walls in rentals instead of carpet cleaning being the main focus???


..L.T.A.
 
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I may be the poster child on how to start small, wrong and stay that way.

Here is what I would do differently:

1: Work six months for some company, with the secret attitude that there MUST be a better way and to find it.

2: During that time, find a hard boiled mentor and ask these very questions.

3: Allocate a disciplined number of days or hours per day to prospect, self educate and work. The absolute bane of self employment is being flexible with people who “need” you.

I do not regret much. In 7 years I have learned how to effectively use vapor steam to clean most surfaces, how to refinish stone and clean most hard surfaces, how to do yoeman’s work on upholstery and when to walk feom fabrics and Persian rugs, how to clean carpet to the point people are satisfied and even complimentary and above all, to enjoy my work.

I’ve been blessed to have the equipment at hand when friends had plumbing failures and needed a slurp, when my own basement flooded and even when the mother in law floated herself in poop. I already knew how to shape and set tile or stone and can clean exterior surfaces with the best.

What I cannot do is plan or form the vision of where to be by a certain time. I’m stubborn and persistent, but in a plodding, donkeyish, first gear sort of way, as a result. Time is no longer my friend, though and I work with a broken back and scarred muscles.

For me at this point, I’d need to abruptly buy a van and machine and get out of the Piggy, in order to transition to higher volumes. What stops that? I have no idea how to find work to support it or the confidence to step out. I guess you could say I am more defensively oriented in business than aggressive.

In effect, I am still at stage 1 above, skilled, hardworking, but mystified as to how to make a lot of money with what I do.
Best move I made was getting the WM. There are guys here with tired machines that they will sell cheap to help you out. You don't have to spend a fortune to step up to something that will make things simpler and better.

Its a motivator too!
 
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Back in the early 90's, a round about friend of the family found out I wanted to try carpet cleaning. He had just got involved with a spin off company of back then the rage of " Chem Dry" it was called " Lazer Chem" it used a 3 different types of cotton bonnets, one had a driver head with 4 brushes that fit through one of the bonnets, this was supposed to flick deep solid sand type debris up and out of the carpet to be caught by the bonnet.

I just couldn't sell this system, I mean I tried, I mean the carpet came out looking awesome but I lived in the high desert of So Cal and the sand/soil was still visible on some of the more heavily soiled jobs. My Dad and I were working on one and no matter how many passes the soil was just not being taken out.

At that moment I knew some form of water flushing/extraction was needed. I went down to Riverside area and bought the biggest Tim-buck-too portable the salesman pitched me....I was young and not a lot of money or knowledge. It was better with out a doubt.......
In less than TWO WEEKS of owning it, I was on the path of trying to hide the fact that it was just a portable unit, knowing full well I was under powered, compared to my competition, even for the TM's back in that day and age. A whole bunch of wasted money on generators, and complete BS trying to keep it all in the van.....and yes I did make it happen, but still nothing could be done about the lack of vac at the end of 100' of hose.

I look at all the guys posting on the web now, and see the portable setup that they have, and the AMOUNT of work/energy they put out to just do a empty two bedroom unit is mind blowing, and this is why most don't succeed, the pure reality that they just spent all this money....and still have to put so much energy into making 85-150 bucks is just too dam much, and they realize that flipping burgers, or helping folks with household projects working at Home Depot is just much easier and better income for most.

They say this industry is how many millions a year....but really I think that money is taken at the front door of most janitor supply stores, licking there chops on the poor guys that have no clue, and big dreams.

On my second venture into carpet cleaning, from the things I learned from the first go a round.... I took the money I had saved went to Interlink in Medford Or. and walked passed all the portable stuff and bought the best unit I could....I had 15,000 cash and was able to buy my PC Legend SE had 500 hours on it, and had the shop completely set up my construction Trailer that I had....

Going from trailer to van, is like going from portable to truck mount, the energy and time saved from trailer to van just made me much more efficient, in getting work done.

In the two times of starting carpet cleaning biz, I didn't have tons of money, and both times they were a struggle, but having more knowledge the second time around is more than likely why I'm still here today.
 
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Great post Tom, thanks for sharing!

I feel like I wasted my first 13 years in business from 1988-2001 using b a n e machines

Was even dumb enough to buy a second unit in 1993

Making excuses for shitty dry times and dirty traffic lanes was our operation

What a devastating difference quality equipment can make!
 
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You are far from the average laid off factory worker who thinks carpet cleaning will be an easy path to $500 a day riches..
You referring to my good looks or well maintained frame?

Seriously, lots of guys could do what we have done.

I started back in college working for Service Master. Running a roto and encaping. What extraction we did was with the old dual motor Castex portables. I spent 4 years working the night shift 4 p.m. to 2 a.m Monday - Thursday. I carried a full time class schedule. That gave me my field experience to know I liked it.

Most guys that are struggling don't have a mentor they are listening to.

When I got my first pharma sales job I had a partner that was a 3 time presidents council winner. Her name was Sue. I sat down with her the first month I was in the field and ask her what I should do. I did everything she told me to do. Within 5 years I was an Executive Sales Rep and at the highest pay grade. Never won the presidents council award. In my mind the money was the score keeper. Get a mentor that has done it and is doing it.

3 things that I think guys that are not making the income they want to should do.
1. Get an assessment from a successful service company owner on how they present them selves and their company. It could be in our industry or another. The basics don't change. My guys are a HVAC owner 49 trucks and a Veterinarian who has 9 veterinarians working for him.
2. Get a sales / marketing mentor. Then do what they say. Don't pay someone for this that is selling a program most are a crock. Again find an owner that has done it! If someone isn't 3-4 levels above where you are, look elsewhere.
3. Stop letting yourself off the hook and making excuses. Refer to the first 2 and start to do what successful people are telling you.

I did everything Sue asked me or told me to do and my promotion track was fast and predictable.

I believe you could take 10-15 of the guys on this board plop them down any where in America in any economy and they would get it done.
 
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LOL..if you ran 100ft of hose on a porty, you're a bigger idiot than the morons that swallowed Bill Bane's line
(at least Bill's equipment was built like a tank)

..L.T.A.
Depends on the porty. I've run 175 feet of 2 inch on my Cleanworks monster and although you can feel the difference compared to 50 ft, I still have more vac power than a standard porty.
 
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See why I hate residential. Gets us all fussing and fighting like Willie,Waylon,
and the boys. Truckmount, portys. Do you use a toilet brush, or a johnnie mop? Flat or string mop, cotton or nylon? Propane or electric buffer, rider or walk behind scrubber? 175 or RX20? Zipper or Cimex? Yes, yes, yes. I have em all. Still trying to make a living after all these years cause I still keep waking up not dead!
 
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Active duty Navy when I bought an exsisting Business (had been round 7-years); came with 2003 Chevy 2500 w/Boxer 421 - started out extremely hacky. Slooooowly working our way out of hackdom into reality. Still have yet to clean anything with a portable but feel as tho cleaners that learned up on them are generally better cleaners for it. Blasting thru our 11th year with 3 trucks; 2 of which are exercised daily. Pretty sold on direct drives; love our Butler and CDS. As fer my 2-cents on starting out - I would urge anyone jus starting out to buy a severely used truckmount over a brand new porty; but taking ANY action beats the alternative.
 

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