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Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

carpets & suites what %

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 16 January 2004
I'd be interested in what % of your work is suite cleaning.

Especially anyone who charges over £120. I've recently put up my suite prices and am losing quite a few where before I got every one I quoted.

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 16 January 2004
75% carpets and 25% suites.

As you know Mike I charge for my suite work and am not cheap on carpets either, I find that I loose quotes on carpets but never on suites.

Ouch, there goes my back again, wish it was the other way round.
Posted by lee_gundry (lee_gundry), 16 January 2004
same as john.

Lee G
Posted by Shaun_Ashmore (Shaun_Ashmore), 16 January 2004
at xmas I did about 5% suites, didn't want to know about them far too much money to be made on carpets but to answer your question I would say about same as John and Lee but on a slide.

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 16 January 2004
Thanks for answering lads, its nice to know that out of 53 people that have read this post 3 could be bothered to post an answer Grin Grin

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 16 January 2004

December 40% Upholstery, this month 30% but taking the last few years as a whole, just over 20%.

For a 10 cushion, fixed back pads I charged from £110,
which has gone to £120 minimum. The most expensive suite last year was £320 and I have not lost an upholstery job on price for several years. Mind you, about 20% of customers do not ask the price untill I have finished and since I have not advertised for about 38 years, all costomers are repeats or referals.

Whilst looking up the stats I noted that 11 customers 1999-2002 have not yet rebooked - I must be slipping !

Posted by Dave_Parry (Dave Parry), 16 January 2004
20% upholstery compared to Carpet. Charge £ 20 per seat, so typical 3 seater + 2 armchairs £ 100. maybe time to put the price up.
Posted by Cloverleaf (Cloverleaf), 17 January 2004
I hate doing suites, but u hve to do them.
Existing customers will pay £60 to £100 because they know u are good. January is here so do them.
But I find that that casual calls dont want to pay the money.
I dont like doing them full stop, so I charge above the local average, £40 to £50.
Carpet cleaning is much more lucrative and much more easier as I'm sure u'll know.
I tend now to push carpet cleanining adverts more than upholstey.

Posted by Nigel_W (Nigel_W), 17 January 2004

16.4% this financial year to date (Sept to Jan)

£205 + vat for a suite

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 17 January 2004
Hi Guys and Gals

For a five seating unit suite my price is minimum £130.00.

I agree with a previous post that it can be more lucrative to clean carpets certainly if you are charging less than £100. 00.

My percentage of furniture cleaning to carpet cleaning is higher than some of you who have already posted... somewhere in the region of 35%

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 17 January 2004
I should answer the question myself, I clean about 3 a week so I would say thats less 10% of my work

before Xmas i was charging £95 and I got every job i quoted but now i'm asking £120 not everyones going for it.

to hit the same hourly rate i make on carpets I should charge £145ish

as a sideline I'd like to add, I used to quote a lot of jobs over the phone, if you charge over £80 to clean a suite you won't get the job if you tell them your price over the phone, you have to give an in-house quote.

Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 17 January 2004
I have cleaned five suites since starting back after christmas two leather- three fabric someone advertising suite cleaned from £15 Shocked in local paper no wonder i'm not doing many Huh
Posted by Alan_Kennedy (Alan_Kennedy), 17 January 2004
I've recently started in the business so can't guage percentege just yet. Like Steve, I'm getting local adverts doing the work cheap e.g. 3 piece suite and 1 carpet - £45.   I find if I quote more than £50 I don't get the work.   When I get the business built up, hopefully over the summer,  I will certainly raise my charges as I much prefer carpet cleaning. However, at the moment, needs must!

Regards  Alan
Posted by mark_roberts (mark_roberts), 17 January 2004
I say about 10% is suite cleaning and like most of you I hate cleaning them more so because I'm 6'2" and its sore on the back.

I remember when I used to work for the local low baller (thats how I got started in cleaning) he charged £40 for a suite and we we're expected to do it in no more than 1 hour 30 mins.  Most of the suites were 'stinking' with dirt usually in housing estate type areas.  Don't ask how we did it in that time.  Lets just say it wasen't thorough.

At the moment I charge starting at £85.  I prefere to quote in house and have walked away manys a time.

Alan, could I urge you to look closer at your business and future estimates and charge accordingly.  In two years time the customers your serving now will unlikely want to pay £80 or more ( a jump of almost 100% in 2 years) and so your almost starting from scratch.  This is kind of what is happening to me with suite cleaning.

Mark Roberts

PS. why do customers perceive suite cleaning to be less expensive than carpet cleaning?

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 17 January 2004
I always quote in house and explain to the client that if they took all the material off the suite and laid it on the floor they would completly cover the carpet, I then go on to say that the suite has to be cleaned using a 3" handtool bending over it to do so and it takes about 3 times as long as it would to clean the same area of carpet!!

Hope this helps you to raise your suite prices.

My best local paper ad is suite and any 2 carpets for £49.00, people laugh at it and say what a terible job they must make, remember the customer wants a good job and if sold correctly WILL pay for it.
Posted by Phil_@_Deep_Clean (Phil_@_Deep_Clean), 17 January 2004
I do nothing like 3 suites a week, I guess 10% of my work is suites, although I would hate to do too many, it makes a change somtimes to do a suite.

Dont know about you but I hate cleaning clean suites, I find it boring and dont get the satisfaction as I do with a badly soiled one. Dose that sound strange.



Mick if you do 3 suites a week at £100 each and thats 10% of your work, then I make that you turnover about £3000.00 per week, WOW, I think I will move to Hull.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 17 January 2004
Phil your right, I've got my maths a bit wrong.

I do 3 suites, so say thats 3 mornings so I have 3 mornings and 5 afternoons left which equals 8 so suites are 27% of my work

but this could be wrong also because I've consumed half a bottle of southern Comfort this evening Wink

Posted by Lee (Lee), 18 January 2004
I know I am new to this board but I think charging £230 for a 3 pce is a bit on the unrealistic side. On my turnover I would think I would do less than all of you afor mentioned but I do a lot more commercial work, maybe only 5 % is upholstery, and I only charge £85. I find the local cowboys will undercut me , but let them have it I say. I clean upwards of 1500 sq mtrs a week and know where my market lies, apart time job really but it pays well and we are still gaining .
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 18 January 2004
Hi Lee

I think you meant to say £130.00 for a suite?

Speaking to many professional cleaners throughout the UK on a regular basis, as I do, a charge of £130.00 for five seating units is NOT fact there are many charging much more. Mike has said that 'a more realistic price is £145.00' and I would 'agree' with him (steady on Derek Wink Grin)

Prices have been mentioned from £15.00 to £45.00 for five units....personally I wouldn't put a key into the vehicle ignition for that sort of money.

Take into consideration your costs...Insurance, Accountancy, Administration, travelling, chemical and machines costs, repair and maintenance, this all before you pay yourself. Take also into consideration the hourly rate you would be obtaining for your own salary... I bet your customer is earning more without the bother of running a business

There are not many fabrics that I haven't cleaned over the years ...I can't remember the last one I walked away from.
There are many ways to clean fabrics it is up to the professional to select the method that will do the job SAFELY.....same goes for carpet cleaning.

Posted by Shaun_Ashmore (Shaun_Ashmore), 18 January 2004
I think as John says it's how you sell it!

If I look at my local professional carpet cleaners that have been around for over 100 years W.E.Franklin they charge £97 for a 10 cushion 3pc and £85 for a 5 cushion.

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 18 January 2004

My sentiments to the letter !

There are many 'cleaners' in my area who will do any suite for £35.00 whereas last year I was chargeing £110.00 - £320.00. My minimum job charge is £55.00 and obviously my clients consider that I am worth it.

If the day ever comes when this changes I shall simply change my profession.

Whilst it is essential to keep an eye on the state of the market, it is equally important  that we all consider what sector of the market is ours, rather than get too wrapped up with what is happening in the market as a whole.

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 18 January 2004
There's probably lots of cleaners who are reading this topic who are charging around £45 to clean a suite.

I think it all comes down to how busy you are. if you have no work booked in next week its hard to turn away an extra £45 for cleaning a suite, after all it cost pennies to clean a suite.

So you can sit on the sofa and earn nothing or clean a suite for £45 ( apart from the diesal your bussiness expences stay the same either way).

I bet most of the carpet cleaners who charge £130 plus have been in bussiness more than 8yrs  so have enough regular work to stop them getting desperate.

I think one of the bravest things a man can do is to start a carpet cleaning company and straight away charge top prices's.


Ps:I speak from experiance, when I started I cleaned suites for £30 and livingrooms for £12 Shocked
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 18 January 2004

When I started I was chargeing 3/6 (3 shillings and 6 pence) a square yard for carpet and the first suite I think was £3.00.

Taking the price of a pint of best bitter as a yardstick, my carpet prices are not much different now  Huh

Posted by allencarpetclean (allencarpetclean), 18 January 2004
I agree totally with you mike,
some times we all have to clean items for cheaper when things are quiet, also on the other hand when we are really busy we can throw silly prices at a customer and they quite often accept.
It does pee me off when alot of carpet cleaners say i will never come down in price even if they have no work.
I too am one of those people who would rather earn something than nothing. Ive even heard some people saying you should charge more when your quiet.........Wouldnt get any work then.

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 18 January 2004
Hi Bob

I apologise in advance for upsetting you but I will not reduce my prices if things go quiet...I would certainly take a long,hard look at my marketing plan and do something about it.

Clean a suite/carpet at a lower price and word soon gets around and it would become difficult to suddenly raise them again and justify the increase to that persons friends.

The benefit of being self employed is that YOU are in control of your business and it is up to you to come up with some fresh ideas for promoting your business.

There have been many spoken about already on this Forum which may help. is not my intention to be patronising and I hope I don't come across as such.  I just like to see not only customers get value for their money but, more importantly, that cleaning technicians get a fair rate for the job.
£45.00 is NOT a fair rate for cleaning a three piece suite.

What other reason is there for being self employed than to provide a reasonable living for yourself and family? We work darned hard for it.


Posted by allencarpetclean (allencarpetclean), 18 January 2004
Totally agree Derek no offence taken, generally we all at some times have "come to a compromise" at certain times.
Im very busy at the moment and have not reduced my prices if anything im charging abit more (well i am getting married in 3 weeks time).  im sure alot of people in the past have lost jobs because of going in too cheap it a hard balance to srike this quoting lark but like you Derek with age & experience we all learn along the way........god this debate could go on for ever.
Posted by Shaun_Ashmore (Shaun_Ashmore), 18 January 2004
Once married you will find you have to raise them some more

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 19 January 2004

You never said a truer word.

As a general comment....

I have found that 'confidence' is a key factor....let me explain.

When I was training for the NCCA one of the things we talked about was telephone conversations with perspective clients. One of the things we suggested was that when answering the telephone first of all stand up to do it and to 'SMILE'.

The standing was to keep you alert and the smile raises the voice to a higher octave to sound better/ friendly. This should be done in a quiet room away from children, pets and other household noises.

You may sometimes feel a bit of a 'Charlie' but it does work.
Be confident when speaking to a client and this comes from knowledge and yes, to a degree, experience.

When giving a price, either in the home or over the telephone....don't hesitate, just say what your price is with complete confidence...this comes over in your voice.
Your confidence in yourself will generate the customers confidence in you.

When work is slow then sometimes a hesitancy comes into your voice and this is transfered down a telephone line.  If you have no work at all (and it can happen when you are starting up) don't panic and let your prospective client know are on the back foot from the start.

"Well Mrs Customer I am pretty booked up but I do have a spot tomorrow afternoon/morning, my customer at that time has moved ahead a couple of weeks as the builders haven't finished. If that isn't  convenient I have a slot a week on Monday"

Hope this helps
Posted by Nigel_W (Nigel_W), 19 January 2004
I have read this thread with interest because it raised again a question that I would love to know the answer to.

In general, why do we charge less for upholstery cleaning than carpet cleaning.

1.It is harder work and it seems that most people don't enjoy it.

2. It requires more technical knowledge than carpet cleaning

3. Mistakes and problems are more likely to occur

All of the above indicate to me that we should be earning more per hour from upholstery cleaning than carpet cleaning. It is more specialised.

Some years ago I changed my policy and increased upholstery prices to be in line with carpet cleaning rates per hour. Funnily enough I enjoy upholstery cleaning now Grin

Mark Roberts suggested that it is the customer who doesn't value upholstery cleaning. Is this the case or do we just under value our services in this area?

Posted by petra (petra), 19 January 2004
so how much would you guys charge for a leather three seater x 2, just curiousity, so I know what to charge my husband the next time I spend three hours cleaning and conditioning the damm things.
Posted by Ian_Hare (Ian_Hare), 19 January 2004
charge him £100 per hour if it's your husband!!!!! Grin
Ha Ha
Posted by nick_warrenevans (nick_warrenevans), 19 January 2004
Like many of you my % of suites is far less than carpets. I to do not like diong suites, much prefer carpets.

It seems the prices vary greatly around the country for a 10 cushion ( 3pc suite) i charge £70. Think i need to check around with my local collegues.

I do find that it is more difficult to get really good results on some suites, may be because i don't do so many therefore not so confident Undecided

Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_Gourlay), 20 January 2004
Why do these boards make you feel embarassed to admit what you really charge,

My charge is aprox £65 to £75

I think this is reasonable.

Garages have to pay Bussiness Rates, Rent etc and charge between £15 and £25 per hour to fix  my car,

I could still make a profit at £45  

two or three a day brings in £90 to £135 per day.

However interesting point about the amount of material in a suite and using a 3 inch tool.

I believe I do as much as most of you when I clean a suite, apart from turbo dry.



Posted by strakercleaning (strakercleaning), 20 January 2004
I would say that my ratio is 75% carpets and 25% upholstery Roll EyesROUGHLY
I WET cleaned two 2 seat sofas today and went on to clean 2 bedrooms and HSL (1st to Gd). Sofas were dry by the time i packed away kit but sofas took twice as long as carpets to do upholstery should be priced up Shocked TO PAY FOR PAINKILLERS FOR MY BACK.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 20 January 2004
Hi Ian

Interesting post of yours....the Garages in Leicester charge a heck of a lot more that that per hour.

If you are happy charging the prices that you are then that's fine.

The question was posed and the replies have been given...
It takes me at least three hours to clean a three piece suite (five seating units) and its darned hard work...If you are doing three a day you deserve an 'Oscar'

Kind regards
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 20 January 2004
Carefull Derek,

When I said in another thread that I took 3 hrs to clean a suite, I was told that it was because I was old & fat  Cry

Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_Gourlay), 20 January 2004
I have done three in a day but was ................... afterwards and no good the next day.



Ps Im too fat also but just signed up to a fittness centre

Posted by Dave_Parry (Dave Parry), 20 January 2004
I enjoy cleaning suites so much I ration myself to 1 a day Max. as stated earlier I charge £20 a seat. However if I know before I tell them the price that the suite is 3 armchairs, I charge £25 per seat/Armchair for the aggro. Anyone doing 3 a dayis in my view training for the olympics. and doing it for £65 a suite charity.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 21 January 2004
Hi John

My initial reaction to your last post was....'one out of two ain't bad' but on reflection maybe a dash of the other applies too. Grin

The person who made the post will also age in time  ..that's life....we can wait.. if only to say 'we told you so'

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 21 January 2004
I 'cleaned' a suite yesturday in an hour and 15mins Shocked

I have a gentlemen working with me who's starting a carpet cleaning company in a local town, I'm letting him work with me so he get some free training.

When we arrived we both looked at the suite in amazement, it looked like it had just come out of the showroom. it showed no sign of dirt or wear.

the lady said she would feel better if it had a freshen up Roll Eyes

I vacced it and gave it a fresh water rince, charged her £95

I've found the higher your prices go, the cleaner the suites you clean. On this basis i don't see how anyone who charges £130ish ever cleans a dirty suite Wink

Posted by strakercleaning (strakercleaning), 21 January 2004
I have to agree with the theory that people who will pay more for items to be cleaned, are the ones who have them cleaned before they get dirty Shocked
I have a large number of American clients around Hampstead who call me in annually BUT only spend 6 - 7 months in the property. I go back sometimes and find foils and rake marks from previous visit Roll Eyes
On the other hand, you get people who want job done as cheap as possible and have not had items cleaned for " ABOUT 5 OR 10 YEARS" Lips Sealed
I know what sort of work/client i aim for Cool
Posted by Kinver_Clean (Kinver_Clean), 22 January 2004
Our local car dealer wanted to charge me £520 for a replacement alternator! I went somewhere else got it for £150
I charge £22 per seat.

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