Starting out on the cheap

Discussion in 'Lets talk Business!' started by Mikey P, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    The age old advice of getting a portable or low moisture gadget to get by with until you can afford a truckmount is horrible advice if you ask me.

    It's the equivalent to telling a guy who wants to open a restaurant to just sell microwave'd burritos from the truck of his car until he can afford to rent a building and equipment.

    In your first few years it's beyond critical to blow the doors off of each precious customer that you'll more than likely be paying a fortune for. Guess what, you wont be blowing anything but the chance to make them a repeat with your portable and undeveloped skills....

    GO BIG or save up longer.


    and be smart, work for others for a couple years if you can, get some skills on someone else's dime.




    How did you all start up with equipment and what would you do differently now?
  2. Lee Stockwell
    Lee Stockwell

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    Used Pacific 175 and Hild water vac in 1970. Grocery store floors and janitorial to start. Eased into carpet soon and focused on it.
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  3. Acp
    Acp

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    started with big hospital accounts which were portable only anyways... sucked. Then started doing residential for prop managers and that also sucked.

    Then went ETM for some years and that also sucked.

    agree with above it was all not really worth it but you have to start somewhere I guess
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  4. Lee Stockwell
    Lee Stockwell

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    The rage then was "dry foam shampoo", Blue Lustre rental machines, or Johnson's Rugbee for "professionals".

    After less than a year in our newly built house with harvest gold nylon carpet I was frustrated with the hallway and dumped a 5 gallon bucket of hot water on it and vacuumed it with the Hild.

    Despite the 3 day dry time that was an AHA! moment.
  5. Blue-Collar Hero
    Blue-Collar Hero

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    In the late 60's were were shampooing with a Hild 175. When we moved on to Vapor Vac's, the Steam Genie Portables, then Jiro portables, finally in the mid 70's we got our first TM. Steam Genie's Hydro Genie II

    The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history! :winky:
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  6. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    Worked for many other companies both large and small. First attempt at my own business was in Calgary Alberta. Bought a dustbane 175, tank and shampoo brush and dustbane wet/dry vac. Leading technology at the time. Went out of business in 6 months as my partner was my brother in-law, now ex brother in-law. Next attempt, bought a G.H. Wood 60 psi portable with a Hydro brush. Stole tons of business from truck mounts with that hydro brush. Then bought my first high performance portable, a clean master 450 h. 2-7.2 inch 3-stage vacuums and hypro 500 psi pump. (Usually could only get 300 psi before blowing breakers). Autofill/dump. Unfortunately, if fell off the back of my truck one day and shattered. Bought my first truckmount. A JEM made by Jim Miller in the back of a Mazda pickup with a diesel motor. Pto unit with a propane heater. Unusual looking but hot and powerful. From there I have had a wide variety of TMS and portables. If I was going to start from scratch somewhere, I would look at the market first. Are you doing houses and light commercial? Are you doing commercial glue down? Are you doing lots of condos? Right now I do a little of everything because I just don't know any better. Going forward, I would specialize more and refer out work that I don't want to do. Good example, take a Jim Pemberton class and become an upholstery specialist. Just need a little mini van and a portable with heat. Very inexpensive and profitable.
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  7. Jimmy L
    Jimmy L

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    Started out with a 10 gallon portable and was ready to upgrade with a bigger portable and a relative said go BIG. Used half our savings and bought a prochem demo unit and a used van. So I agree don't start with a portable, or shampoo machine get something that will open bigger doors for you.
  8. Bob Pruitt
    Bob Pruitt

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    I worked for someone for 2 weeks in 1979...bait and switch pos and when I figured that out I quit and went on my own.
    I think you could make an argument that the portables weren't any worse than the truck mounts in 79. Peoples expectations were also lower...even the wealthy in Montecito.
    I had the commercial Vibra Vac Portables that put out a fair amount of cleaning detergent...rinse... and a heavy duty oscillating brush agitated and finally the 60 pound drag head extracted. Still think that is the best portable ever made. Both the head and the main unit that carried the clean water and dirty water were set up like dolly... so easy to get up stairs and maneuver. Was young, so that also helped. 2 vans and portables until I hurt myself moving a cast iron hide a bed...thought it was a regular couch when I grabbed it...oops. Truck mounts from that point on...no more lifting 5 gallon buckets.
    Have started a few other times since but this time I went full on Saigerized Butler and Mikey Board CRB etc. In a position that I can be selective and that has begun to work out pretty well...recently. I have been back at this a year now but I subtract out 2 months for hurricane Irma so 10 months actually working the business. Getting repeats and lots of referrals and new accounts.
  9. Hack Attack
    Hack Attack

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    Although I agree portys slow you down, the guys who learn properly on a porty will smoke a guy who thinks he knows how to clean who started on a TM..

    And you will still need a porty for difficult access or after hrs secure sites, or nice upholstery...
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  10. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    They still make and sell those vibra vac units in Asia. More modern units with 2-3-stage vacs and 2 inch plumbing. Combined with their 16 inch swing brush wand it's hard to beat. There is a guy in Seattle selling them. I am really tempted to buy one
  11. Bob Pruitt
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    I would buy one if they were the same. The cleaning tool part is the same but the main unit isn't. It's made for Institutional cleaning not bringing it up and down stairs and back into the van...not the dolly shape.
  12. Blue-Collar Hero
    Blue-Collar Hero

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    First off Dan I like you. Second as good as that statement sounds...It just doesn't have much validity.

    Maybe for yourself and some these elite porty cleaners on this board but not for the average Joe.

    The average cleaner that only wants a paycheck but has a TM will annihilate the average porty cleaner.

    You must have above average skills just to acheive mediocre results with a porty. You'll need to have superior skills to offset the inherent disadvantages of cleaning with a portable.
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  13. Nomad74
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    Good thread. I don’t care what Marty says.
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  14. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    The one sold in Asia is still the same. Might be able to purchase it off Ali Baba. The modern one is like most portables.
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  15. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    All depends on where you live. If you are in Podunk, Kansas then a truck mount is what you need to compete to compete with all the Chavez's down there. If you are in a large metropolitan area, then a high performance portable might be more up your alley. No matter what other people say, a high performance porty will perform the same as a truck mount. The difference comes down to ease of use. For houses, the easiest thing to set up is a truck mount. For high rises, a portable will work great. The trick is not to use a porty when you should be using a truck mount and vice versa. Both great tools that have their own niche.
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  16. Blue-Collar Hero
    Blue-Collar Hero

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    While I may look stoopit. I ain't...well not that stoooopit. You need to try that shit out on another board. We all KNOW the truth. :biggrin:
  17. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    If it looks stoopit, walks stoopit, smells stoopit, it's probably Chavez.
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  18. sOOper hero
    sOOper hero

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    not necessarily
    if target market is res, maybe.."maybe"
    and maybe for sure if spouse has secure job that can support the household for a year or five

    But if starting with com and prop mngmt, TM's not near as important

    only thing a TM does for an "undeveloped skill" Op is allow him to do chitty work faster.
    It can help them "fck-up more efficiently" ...LOL







    maybe in the rug shop at DA Burns .
    But everyday synthetic carpet??

    What will one learn from the myriad of mediocre outfits they can't learn on their own in a year of apts/prop mngmt and com?
    With the chems available today, if one is too stupid they can't be doing average/mediocre work (like the majority of outfits) within a week or three of apts and com, they're too stupid to be on their own anyway

    My Spiddy senses are tingling.....
    what did you learn at Millers?
    How to upsell like hell or starve?

    what did you learn at Coit?
    The phone numbers to call when you started on your own?

    only thing you couldn't of learned on your own, was the custy list to start







    poor analogy
    let's try it like this;
    The dude on the boardwalk, pier or street corner with burrito and hotdog cart very well may net more than the dude at the Swanky Inn and HooHash Diner Emporium when the bean$ in the burritos are counted.
    One has a huge nut to crack every month, one not


    Here's the bottom line though..
    Fact is, IF they have what it takes that people like/trust them, and have ambition,
    they'll grow with a good porty , scrubber and quality chems , (provided they have enough sense to know how to pour water out of boot)
    WITHOUT the directions being on the bottom of the sole.

    equipment can and does make one more or less efficient.
    But it's really not key.
    Whether they like/trust you is key to getting and keeping custys .
    from there, it's largely a matter of how ambitious you are and how stupid you ain't
    ..L.T.A.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
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  19. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    Get real Larry

    99% of cleaners getting started today are vacuum hose lickers.
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  20. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    A good part of is productivity. Using a portable to do houses, while possible, is like banging your head against the wall. A good used truck mount will make your life a lot easier and will let you achieve better results with a lot less effort.
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