What to expect?

#1
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Hey guys! New to the business so thank you ahead of time for answering all my entry level questions! I plan to start out slow and test the water but if I get quick steady results would spend on marketing/advertising and the equipment to run the business! But for now I'm plan to start out with a portable and do it in my spare time. (3 days a week+evenings) so currently I'm having door hangers made and fixing to purchase a machine. My question is what to expect?
•Is the return on investment as fast as one would think?
•are most costumers loyal or mainly a one time cleaning?
•what would you expect to make 3 days a week? 150 1000?
•at what point should I establish an LLC?
•is insurance a must right off the start? If so what's the average cost?
I know it's important to protect yourself but when?
•what is the most common type of community that purchase carpet service? Rich/middle class?

I have many more but that should get us started! Lol I really have done a lot of research on line.. google/forums but it is mostly contradicting so I figured I would just ask the guys that do it everyday.. thanks for your help!
 
#2
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75% of my customers are return loyal customers. That number is from january2016 to today. That should give you a good answer to your second question.
 
#4
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Well that's a pretty big number! And a plus you must be doing something right. And sorry hogjowl I just have so many! You can have number one it's an easy one! lol
 
#6
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Hey guys! New to the business so thank you ahead of time for answering all my entry level questions! I plan to start out slow and test the water but if I get quick steady results would spend on marketing/advertising and the equipment to run the business! But for now I'm plan to start out with a portable and do it in my spare time. (3 days a week+evenings) so currently I'm having door hangers made and fixing to purchase a machine. My question is what to expect?
•Is the return on investment as fast as one would think?
•are most costumers loyal or mainly a one time cleaning?
•what would you expect to make 3 days a week? 150 1000?
•at what point should I establish an LLC?
•is insurance a must right off the start? If so what's the average cost?
I know it's important to protect yourself but when?
•what is the most common type of community that purchase carpet service? Rich/middle class?

I have many more but that should get us started! Lol I really have done a lot of research on line.. google/forums but it is mostly contradicting so I figured I would just ask the guys that do it everyday.. thanks for your help!
Congrats at diving in and welcome to the board....

Return on investment....it can be ok, and you can make some money fairly well...but you can also loose it fast too. Establishing a client base takes time. Working part time is probably a good start...and go clean some relatives and friends to get more comfortable is a good suggestion.

Customers usually have carpets cleaned when they finally see....they are really dirty....so they can be loyal if you start out on the correct foot and make sure you have a good professional presentation out of their home, and of course while doing work for them in their homes....

Keep in mind, on loyalty...if they are using you....they were not loyal to the last cleaner...but they might have particular reasons to switch besides price.

With a portable, you are just going to have to add a bit more chemistry, and agitation, and take more time...but that's ok. I have seen a lot of great cleaners with portables, and I feel they have become even better cleaners when they switch up to maybe a truckmount.

Money you can make is going to depend on your area, and how you price things. Don't price to be the cheapest....establish a good fair market price, but also know what you are going to need to make money later if you want to leave your other job. It is more difficult to raise your prices later to support a full time job and not shell shock your client base later when you need to make more money.

LLC, that can happen at anytime...an accountant might help you...for now, most people probably start out as a Sole Proprietorship. But at Tax accountant is someone you want a conversation with to help you....

Insurance....YES! And sit down with a good honest insurance person who can help you. And some places, you won't get in the door to work if you don't have certain amounts of coverage.

Depending on your pricing is where you are more than likely to attract a certain type of clients....being cheap...expect cheap clients.

Also, before you invest in a lot of equipment, many of us would encourage you to do a ride along with another cleaner...or give carpet cleaning a try...you might find out it is not as fun, and even with good money...still not fun....then a bunch of these guys will be out to snatch up cheap equipment....

But again, welcome and I hope we can help you in some manner with an abundance of questions you are going to have...

Also, look at the top right for the search box...type in a question and you might find a lot of topics you are searching for that have been discussed here....

And Marty @hogjowl is a lot nicer than he really comes off to be on these forums....but we don't want people to really know that :)
 
#7
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You are in a great area between Springfield and Branson there is some serious money down there. Don't make the mistake of being too cheap. Its a trap that is hard to recover from. Most new guys under cut the last guy. Low end price shoppers are NOT loyal to any cleaner, they are loyal to a low price.

Fast return? Very fast but you won't be able to pocket it.

You're going to need to reinvest it on tools and chems that will allow you to clean better, faster and offer more services. Such as upholstery in boats and RV's, tile & grout.

Loyal? Most are very loyal once you develop a relationship and do a good job. Not loyal at all if you're in the cheap market.

3-days with a porty. $500.00 a day X 3 =$1,500.00

LLC? right away, get some of that liability off of you.

Insurance?
Its your risk. I think could get by for a little while but don't quote me. Oh and please release me from any liability instructing you to do so and hold me harmless forever. :winky:

Both middle and rich
Any one with discretionary income that would rather pay for the service than do it themselves.

Now go out there, have fun, be safe and by all means don't fook up! :biggrin:
 
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If you don't know how to clean, start with your own house and your mother in law's house.

Don't look for a magic bullet, it does not exist. Find a chemical pimp and ask him for defoamer and a good all-round powder to use.

Think the process through. Vacuum, prespray, scrub, extract. Be methodical. Process matters, efficiency will come.

Do NOT make promises beyond "I'll do my best." Read all you can on spots before tackling them.

Call Mikey a lot, then Marty, in that order. Watch Saiger videos until you scream. Send $10 for the d*mned good advice.
 
#11
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If you don't know how to clean, start with your own house and your mother in law's house.

Don't look for a magic bullet, it does not exist. Find a chemical pimp and ask him for defoamer and a good all-round powder to use.

Think the process through. Vacuum, prespray, scrub, extract. Be methodical. Process matters, efficiency will come.

Do NOT make promises beyond "I'll do my best." Read all you can on spots before tackling them.

Call Mikey a lot, then Marty, in that order. Watch Saiger videos until you scream. Send $10 for the d*mned good advice.
Thats what ive been doing...plus going to MF in scottsdale...
 
#12
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Hey guys! New to the business so thank you ahead of time for answering all my entry level questions! I plan to start out slow and test the water but if I get quick steady results would spend on marketing/advertising and the equipment to run the business! But for now I'm plan to start out with a portable and do it in my spare time. (3 days a week+evenings) so currently I'm having door hangers made and fixing to purchase a machine. My question is what to expect?
•Is the return on investment as fast as one would think?
•are most costumers loyal or mainly a one time cleaning?
•what would you expect to make 3 days a week? 150 1000?
•at what point should I establish an LLC?
•is insurance a must right off the start? If so what's the average cost?
I know it's important to protect yourself but when?
•what is the most common type of community that purchase carpet service? Rich/middle class?

I have many more but that should get us started! Lol I really have done a lot of research on line.. google/forums but it is mostly contradicting so I figured I would just ask the guys that do it everyday.. thanks for your help!
If you're thinking the return of investment is fast, then you're looking at this from a employee's mindset. From @Desk Jockey s comment, you'll need to put the money back in your business, and save, save, save. Because the first few years of your business (mine was 8) wasn't fun with the downtime. I quit my part time job too soon. But I also didn't do hardly any marketing. I depended solely on the yellow pages and word of mouth. Big mistake. Word of mouth only gets you the loyal customers, which come in a lot slower than the one time cleaning customers

And if you're planning on working only 3days a week, I make it a goal to work from 7-8 all the way to dark or later. The best way to reach that goal so early in your business is take a few apartment complexes in. Those jobs will fill in the slow days and will bring in steady income. Apartment complexes are always looking for a good carpet cleaner, so advertise on quality (specifically quick dry time), not price.

Insurance (general liability) yes. It's cheap. Don't mess with workman's comp. If the apartment complex requires it, ask them to include you on their policy, since you're just a one man show. They normally take off 10-16% off the invoice to pay for you on their policy, but it's worth it. And LLC???? I'm on my 15th year in the business and I'm still a sole-proprietor. If you break something, your general liability will cover it. There's all kinds of things to scare you into wanting LLC, but if you're an owner operator, low risk, I don't see a need.

And it depends on your location as to whether the rich or middle class will be the bulk. Just present yourself as professional as you can. Don't smell like cigarettes, brush your hair or wear a nice business hat, wear some nice work pants (most of the guys disagree with me on this), etc, and you'll attract good customers. You're a professional cleaning service, so don't bring any filth in their home while you're cleaning
 
#13
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Great questions with equally high quality responses

My advise is to stay small and keep it all,

provide impeccable service with a winning personality

With a little luck you too will be able to retire to a third world dump before you're 40


PS click the link to get my special report I like to call " Retire Prestige Worldwide Rich...Boats and Hoes"

IMG_1287.JPG
IMG_2547.JPG
 

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#14
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Thanks guys all good info! I feel a little more comfortable with multiple opinions vs me forming one from what I read! So I plan on starting out in a 04 Dodge Ram single cab pickup. I know a van is ideal but i currently don't own a van so. Should I advertise on the truck? I know free advertising is a no brainer but so is looking professional.. also on pricing I have looked at it so much my head hurts! I was woundering what you guys do personally. Do you like offering 3 different packages options? Or more of a 2 rooms for 50- 20 a room after kind of deal? What actually works?
 
#15
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Thanks guys all good info! I feel a little more comfortable with multiple opinions vs me forming one from what I read! So I plan on starting out in a 04 Dodge Ram single cab pickup. I know a van is ideal but i currently don't own a van so. Should I advertise on the truck? I know free advertising is a no brainer but so is looking professional.. also on pricing I have looked at it so much my head hurts! I was woundering what you guys do personally. Do you like offering 3 different packages options? Or more of a 2 rooms for 50- 20 a room after kind of deal? What actually works?
 
#16
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Do you like offering 3 different packages options? Or more of a 2 rooms for 50- 20 a room after kind of deal? What actually works?
By the room pricing offers the advantage of being able to give an exact price over the phone most of the time. But you don't know what it will be like when you get there. If you raise the price enough to cover the really nasty jobs, it could drive away those who like to keep the carpet in better shape. From my short experience with room pricing, it seemed to attract price shoppers.

Bidding on a job by job basis or by the square foot pricing allows you to go out, look at the job, price accordingly, be prepared for what awaits you. It also gives you a chance to meet the customer and them a chance to meet you. Start building a relationship. See what other services they need and you can offer. Maybe additional rooms, protector application, tile floors to clean and so forth. It certainly does require more time, especially early in your career. Eventually, you will build up a list of repeat customer. You know the place, they know you. No need to go see those each time.

The percentage of callers that became customers was higher when I did room pricing. The total sales on each job was also much higher.
 
#17
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You'll make money faster if you price by the room, aggressively advertise, and price over the phone. However, your profit margins will be lower and you'll quickly find that you can't afford to do a good job, unless you press add-on sales and minimum room sizes. Both leave a bad taste in your customers mouth. So, your repeat and referrals will suffer. Making you have to keep generating new customers and more advertising. It's a vicious circle.

If you price by the s.f. and offer in-home estimates, you'll grow more slowly (if you offer premium pricing), but your margins will be much higher and your repeats and referrals will be more stable, assuming you do outstanding work.
 
#19
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Surf craigslist for a trailer. These guys will give you hell, but a trailer is an awesome billboard, plus you'll have more storage room. It's a cheap setup that gets you to the job and looks just as professional.

As for whether or not to charge by the room or sq. ft...I charge both. For someone with a 4000sq. ft house, you need to charge by the square foot. for a little 900sq. ft house, you need to charge by the room.

And when someone calls to ask what you charge per room, say this: "Determining on what type of home you have, I charge an average of $$ per AREA." Use the word Area instead of room, because a living room is the average size of 2-3 Areas. You don't want to charge the same price of a living room vs. a small bedroom. The size of an area is about 12'X14'
 
#23
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again thanks guys all something to think about! I don't know how you all did it before the forums! I may start with room to room just to get out there. That's what I put on my door hangers I have coming! But could Likely switch down the road knowing that! And thanks Hogg Jowl for not calling us all idiots this time! lol
And yes budget is very small! I want to get out there as cheep as I can to professionally do the job for many reasons. Mainly because I need to learn! And i would like to build a debt free business and let it grow at its own speed. I currently have another income so I wouldn't really have to spend any of the profits the company made could put it right back in! At least that's the idea.. don't get me wrong if it needed quick growth I would barrow the cash and build the fire under it!
 
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And yes budget is very small! I want to get out there as cheep as I can to professionally do the job for many reasons. Mainly because I need to learn!
don't cheap out on chems
Use the BEST pre-sprays and spotters money can buy

solicit apt managers .
The overwhelming majority won't pay what it's worth, (you being brand new might think it's decent money though)
but if you want to learn how to clean, experience is the best teacher
you'll learn more in a year part time cleaning rat holes than you will in ten years cleaning residential only



you absolutely need a basic general liability ins policy...it's foolish not to
You being pt time, it should be cheap..like $200 a year for $300K

custy retention/repeats and referrals are more about them liking/trusting you than anything.
If they don't like/trust you, it doesn't matter how good you are

I'll leave the biz stuff to the business men...I stink as a bizman
but do al'ite at all the other stuff

.L.T.A.
 
#27
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Welcome to the Board Clayton...I'm a start up too... sort of... lots of good advice already but here is my 2 cents.
Before you buy a portable or anything else, decide what kind of work you want to do.
The most profitable cleaning work here in Florida is tile cleaning so if you are going to use a portable and want to tap into tile cleaning you need a portable that is capable of producing high pressure. You will want a portable that has auto fill and auto dump or you will need a Helper and a Chiropractor.
The more things you can do...well, the better when starting out.
Whatever you do, while you are doing it, don't think about the money...think about how you can make that carpet cleaner than anyone else. Get a vacuum with an edge tool. Marty likes his Shark Lift Away. Then use it on every job.
 
#29
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I vacuum about twice as fast as Werner, which is still a form of tardation and yesterday pulled this out of a two year old poly with four humans and a short hair dog, never been cleaned.
IMG_20170822_121844.jpg


After pre spraying I then pulled this out with the CRB...
IMG_20170823_152048.jpg


1200 feet or so, 100 or so gallons of water used.

Either they don't vacuum or it's broken.

My point?

Most carpet cleaners don't vacuum.


If you want to succeed don't be like most carpet cleaners.
 
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#30
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Hey guys! New to the business so thank you ahead of time for answering all my entry level questions! I plan to start out slow and test the water but if I get quick steady results would spend on marketing/advertising and the equipment to run the business! But for now I'm plan to start out with a portable and do it in my spare time. (3 days a week+evenings) so currently I'm having door hangers made and fixing to purchase a machine. My question is what to expect?
•Is the return on investment as fast as one would think?
•are most costumers loyal or mainly a one time cleaning?
•what would you expect to make 3 days a week? 150 1000?
•at what point should I establish an LLC?
•is insurance a must right off the start? If so what's the average cost?
I know it's important to protect yourself but when?
•what is the most common type of community that purchase carpet service? Rich/middle class?

I have many more but that should get us started! Lol I really have done a lot of research on line.. google/forums but it is mostly contradicting so I figured I would just ask the guys that do it everyday.. thanks for your help!
Clay
Come ride with us for 2 days before you spend any money or try to take the advice of 20 different people. I respect a lot of the guys on this board but everyone does it different. Being new and trying figure it out. You need to find one system you can begin to copy and then years from now as you develop you can begin to tweak things.

You should go apply for a a job in St Louis with Woodards my friend Tom Blandford would be a great guy to learn under. They have over 150 employees. I know they are always looking for good techs. If you spent 3-5 years in that company you would be way ahead when you moved back home.
 

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