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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Question

I am a mother of three and I would like to start a carpet cleaning business. I bought a hot water extraction machine like the ones they rent at your local supermarket. Is this machine good enough to start a carpet cleaning service?


Answer

Answer #1
Well, you can start there, but you will have some challenges.
First of all, a professional will use professional equipment, which is not like the ones you can rent at a supermarket. The limitations of the rental machines are low spray pressure, no heating of the water and reduced vacuum efficiency. Because of this, you will have to work much slower and harder with the unit to ensure acceptable levels of soil removal from the carpet.
You may want to invest in a carpet cleaning class. See www.iicrc.org for listings. There are also professional distributors that sell equipment and supplies and offer training in your area. If you would like a listing of those companies, contact me directly, as this board works hard not to promote one company over another.
Dane Gregory
dane.gregory@charter.net

Answer #2:
You ask if the machine is "good enough" to start a carpet cleaning service. If you meant to ask if the machine is as good as what the "real pros" use, the answer is no. But let me hasten to add that the machine with which you clean with is fairly far down the list of what's important in terms of building a successful carpet cleaning business.
In my experience, marketing and sales skills come first. (You don't have a business until you have customers.) In terms of doing the work, the skill and attitude of the technician is most important, followed by the process employed to do the cleaning. The machine used to employ the process, together with the chemicals and supplies used in conjunction with the machine, would come next.
And then there is customer service. If you don't stand out in this area, you'll be forever struggling to build repeat and referral business (far and away the most profitable source of business).
The bottom line is this: If you excel in the other areas, you will be successful even if the machine you use is less than ideal. And if you are successful, you'll have the income you need to invest in training and more professional equipment.
John Downey
jmd@gurulink.com