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Hi- wanting to start, could use advice

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TomR View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25/April/2004 at 5:32am

Hello...

  I have been in the janitorial business for ten years, and have run my own operation for the past several months.  I have heard alot about carpet cleaning but for some reason never persued it other than as some small-time spot cleaning and extraction with a portable in my commercial accounts. 

  From what I understand, 3 residential jobs a day can get you $225 dollars with a minimum $75 per job, and $25 per room.  Assuming it takes about a half hour to do a room, with setup and driving time tacked on, those three jobs would take about 10.5 hours.  Roughly $20 an hour.  Not more than I get for one of my janitorial accounts, but cash in hand the same day and a booming demand with little competition for residential carpet cleaning in my area makes me want to do this really bad. 

  How would you guys suggest I start?  I was thinking of working for one of the bigger national companies for a few months to get training and put the salary all into a downpayment on a tm, a drimaster, and other supplies I would need. 

  My mind is a sponge for carpet-care information right now.  Any links or references to information on the subject would be great.  I have been studying this forum, but if anyone knows of a step-bystep "how to clean carpets professionaly" type guide on the net, that would be great.  If not, please tolerate the many stupid questions I will be asking. 

  I'm a quick learner.  The last company I was with (which was tiny), we had one vct maintenance account and a few janitorial(all commercial).  I took care of the vct account, learned enough about it to train others on all the propane machines, how to strip and wax etc etc and a year later we had 64 vct accounts and four janitorial and our customers were very happy.  I got all of the vct machinery and equipment as a "buyout" from my partner and am working on expanding my present company in that direction.  I would love to have a nice hardfloors and carpet cleaning operation running by the end of the year.  My most immediate goal though is getting the carpet cleaning up and running for the cash in hand. 

  Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions you may have as to how to get rolling with the carpet cleaning. 



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Adwa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adwa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 8:55am

Hi Tom and welcome to this forum. You sure can write a letter. If information you want then you came to the right place. I will let the good old boys answer all your questions and just give my opinion on a few things.

I think it would be a good idea to work with a company to start out if you can just to get the on hands experience. This of course is the problem bigger companies are having when hiring gentlemen like you who they hire, train and then leave them. If at all possible and I am being fare to both parties if you could be up front about what your plans are and then maybe you both could work something out temporarily.

Most carpet cleaners start out with a portable and I would suggest High Pressure and then move on to a TM. It is good to have both there will be situations that you would require both pieces of equipment to be used. TM's are the best and very expensive. I believe you should have a good customer base account's to be able to support the cost.

OK just a few of my suggestions, like I said Welcome and have fun.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 9:22am
Tom:  Welcome.  Now that has been taken care of lets look at realty.  Carpet cleaning is not for everyone.  One good thing for you is you have a steady cash flow from your janitorial.  Are you sure you want to use hot water extraction for your cleaning? Have to cover Pad Man's bases.  There are other methods.  One big factor is you have to be patient when getting into this field.  Your equipment should grow with your needs.  Buying the biggest and most expensice is not going to guarantee you immediate success.  Once you have decised on the process of cleaning you can get alittle experience on your own and friends carpets.  Find a good distributor who will not only familurze you with your equipment, but also guide you with the cleaning products you need for both commerical and residential cleaning.  You can clean some of your janitorial contracts to get familiar wGuitarith your machine.  I think I have rambled enough.  Just my opinion
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MR. STEAMER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 12:43pm

Welcome Tom....Doug has a how to guide...you should ask him about it.....feel free to post in the ask doug section....we all do

 

He knows almost everything...I know the rest

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doug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 1:08pm
Mr. Steamer: Your too kind. I have to wait for someone to ask the right question and hope I don't mislead anyone.  But ha waht can I cay than hasn't already been said and done.  Just my opinion.Guitar
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MR. STEAMER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 3:06pm

Doug you know you know everything there is to know

I know you know

Everyones knows that you know

show this guy so he'll know that you know......yanno

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adwa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 3:19pm

You guys are on today.

Really Steamer give Tom some of good advise and not about soap and water.   He will learn our humor soon enough. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MR. STEAMER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 3:26pm

ok Adwa ......Tom are you mechanically inclined???How much carpet cleaning do you do???or how much do you want to do???how much are you looking to invest???have you taken the IICRC courses yet...that might be a place to start

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 3:42pm
I thought Tom was asking the questions?  Great answer.  Answer a questiion with a question.  Good salesman. You forgot to ask if he is married? How many kids? Own your house? Own your car? Just my opinion.Guitar
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MR. STEAMER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 3:48pm
Originally posted by doug doug wrote:

I thought Tom was asking the questions?  Great answer.  Answer a questiion with a question.  Good salesman. You forgot to ask if he is married? How many kids? Own your house? Own your car? Just my opinion.Guitar
well he didn't give enough info...and these are things I would like to know before I make a recommendation
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 4:16pm

Thanks everyone for the information and guidance. 

adwa-  I do want to get a portable as well as a TM, was thinking along the lines of the rotovac startup package, comes with the rotovac, a regular wand, a ninja portable and a few accesories.

doug- I am still learning what I want to use   A TM seems the best bet because what I've read so far makes it seem like if you show up with anything less you are less than what the customer expects.  As an alternative to the TM I am thinking cimex and ecapsulation, but does that alone really do the trick?  The last thing I want is to come to a job that requires something I don't have.  Doing the commercial stuff I've done, I've sweated enough times with spot-remover and a scrub-brush over some stubborn stain that just laughed off my portable extractor.  I already have some decent sized regular commercial work lined up, have had it for years, but always had to pass on it because I don't know enough to honestly sell myself as a carpet cleaner.  I know how a "little" job can turn into a nightmare fiasco is you don't know exactly what you are doing. 

MR Steamer-  I am semi-mechnicaly inclined.  If I understand how a machine works I can problem-solve and do basic repairs on it.  I can't take apart the engine and put it back together in a way that it will still run, but I can do the basic stuff.  I've been doing it for years with propane vct burnishers, walk-behind scrubbers, swing-machines etc etc.  I imagine the basic principles are the same with carpet cleaning equipment.  I do a very small amount of carpet cleaning.  My janitorial contracts state that I spot-clean their carpets as nescessary, then about twice a year they have COIT come in and do the whole thing.  It is work that is offered to me, but I have to pass up for now.  I would like to do alot of carpet cleaning.  The contracts I already service, more commercial contracts and as much residential as I can handle.   I am willing to invest as much as I need to cut a good profit.  I haven't taken any IICRC courses yet. 

  I do have about $12,000 in hard-floor equipment that I am not using and is pretty much sitting there in the garage not making anyone any money.  Instead of expanding hardcore into the hard-floors, I want to get a handle on carpet cleaning so I can offer all of my cusotmers a very well-rounded line of services.  I am thinking I can sell that unused 10k worth of equipment, keep what I am currently using, and put the 10k twords carpet equipment and supplies. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MR. STEAMER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 4:56pm

Wll I think you have answered a lot of your own questions....It sounds to me your going truck mount.....10k US sounds like a used machine...thats the way I would go....I would recommend getting a slide-in unit...just because if you find that Carpet cleaning is not for you...you could always just slide it out and have the Van for other uses.

Hopefully you can get a unit with low hours...I think you should start looking...and you should take the IICRC course to get a basic understanding of carpet cleaning...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LilNiteRidrhood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/April/2004 at 4:57pm

Tom you had an excellent idea when you said you should work for a company for a month or so first.

On the job training is top notch, you'll learn what to do, what not to do and whether or not you will even like the business.

Seems like you have your head on straight.

I should point out that the money is far better than you are projecting.

Good luck



Edited by LilNiteRidrhood
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/April/2004 at 12:37am

  Thanks again,

  Mr Steamer-  good idea about the slide-in.  I am almost positive that carpet cleaning is for me.  If on the off chance I do end up really hating it, I have enough discipline to learn something pretty well and do a good job even if I hate it.  I HATE janitorial work, but it was what I am doing now until business is built up enough to hire people.  I will start looking for that used slide-in.  I think I will take the IICRC course, seems like good credentials to have. 

Lilniteriderhood- Thanks!  If I go with a big company I might not say what I am planning, but if its a little company I definitely will.  I'm not out to stab anyone in the back.  Its good to hear the money is better than what I am projecting.  I was going by the most conservative estimates based on what I've read and the estimates I've gotten from calling places myself.  If this is anything at all like hardflloors, the big companies are set up to make smaller profit per service from a mass amount of services while the smaller companies make larger profit on less services- but generaly do a better job. 

Thanks for the encouragement, I'll be posting more questions and progress very soon. 

edit: I;ve been pouring over this forum and  am just about sold on padmans system.  If it does what it seems to do and any customer complains because I am not dragging out miles of duct and cables from some monster caged inside my van, I'll be happy to suggest to them that they should wait until the job is finished before judging its quality. 



Edited by TomR
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