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

New Business.
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Hi Everyone, I'm seeking advice and help on starting a new carpet cleaning business in North West. I've saved around 10,000 to put into the new business.

If you were in my shoes, where would the money go and what equipment would you purchase to get yourself up and running?

Is 10,000 enough?
Is there somewhere that I'd get advice and training?

I'm currently self employed in IT, but feel I need a change in direction.

Please, Please, Please can anybody help?

thanks Shaun K  Huh


Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 10 February 2004
contact the ncca they will help http://www.ncca.co.uk/


Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Thanks Steve that a big help...I'll get myself on 1 of there courses and also ask them if they have any information on starting up.
Posted by strakercleaning (strakercleaning), 10 February 2004
NCCA will offer you the most un-biased advice  Cheesy
Check your local competition and decide wether you wish to compete or offer a slightly different service Cool
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
thanks Chris for advice...there around 6 companies around my area (flintshire) looking in Yellow pages, 3 look big and well established. But I guess thats the same everywhere, you just got be honest, hard working and hopefully the jobs will come your way. If people like yourself are making a good living out of it, then I hope there's room for 1 more.

Will get on the phone straight away...

Is 10,000 a good figure to start this type of business with?

thanks Shaun
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 10 February 2004
can't agree with any of the answers so far, how can the NCCA help this man, yes they can train him but I think thats where it stops,

he needs to talk to us, carpet cleaners who are out their everyday, perhaps members of the NCCA could give him some advice but when did the NCCA start advising on bussiness start-ups or marketing a new bussiness.


I may be wrong ( if I am I'm sure Derek will tell me Wink)  but its not as if they can start reccommending machines or companies. Get in touch with NCCA about some training courses but I think you'll get better business advise elsewhere.

I keep mentioning this but you should come along to the 'sunny day out' then you could talk face to face with lots carpet cleaners, and its in the north west

Mike
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Thats fantastic Mike, when and where is this event? I must agree with your comments, as I've just rang them and they just gave me information on courses. I dont think they had time for anything else.

People like yourself know how hard it is to start off on a new venture, the pit falls and the mistakes. I've been thinking about this for a few months, looked in on some forums and tried to understand the difference between each machine. I'm none the wiser as each person has a different opinion, on machine and materials. I just need guidance in making the correct choices and maybe an overall opinion from all you guys on how to approch this new venture.

It would be great to talk with you, let me know when the next event is.

Thanks so much for your help.

regards Shaun Kinnair.
Posted by mark_roberts (mark_roberts), 10 February 2004
Why do you want to become a carpet cleaner?

You must know the answer to this question before you can even to start to open a business.

Before you spend your money:

1- go on the sunny day out and network
2 - get a cleaner to take you out for a day to see if you will like cleaning
3- if after this your still keen then get trained by Prochem (for practical) and NCCA (for theory) in both carpet and upholstery cleaning.
4- try and get some marketing training
5- test your marketing to see if theres a demand for this service in your area.
6- buy equipment.  Good 2nd hand would be suitable.

Your now ready to start trading and should only have spent about 5K.

All the best.

Mark Roberts
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 10 February 2004
Hi Shaun

The staff who work at the NCCA offices are employed in administration and are NOT carpet cleaners.

The Directors of the NCCA are all working carpet cleaners and volunteer their time to the Association.

The NCCA courses are generic and give an unbiased introduction to the industry looking at ALL the different techniques available... it is a starting point and that is what you were originally asking.

10,000 is a reasonable investment but before you spend any of it I would recommend that you go on the NCCA two day course around the twentieth of this month (February)...then make your decisions.

Kind regards

Derek
Posted by leerob695 (leerob695), 10 February 2004
hi all every one keeps on mentioning the NCCA i have asked for an info pack from them
i am currently IICRC certified and a BDMA technician are these qualifications worth the paper they are written on i ask this cause i also am in the process of starting a cpt cleaning business up myself so are these qualifications worth keeping up
Posted by felixthecat (felixthecat), 10 February 2004
hi there,
im in the same boat as you pal,so what i did was first go on the NCCA course and learn the theory,looked for a machine that would not cause me to much trouble,so i bought a second hand DRY EXTRACTION MACHINE from HOST{FREESTYLE MODEL}spoke to one of the advisers on the phone and he got everything i need to start up for 2900.Bought a van for 2000 and booked a place in the yellow pages in May for 300,so while im waiting i had 500 leaflets printed and 500 business cards printed
getting the van signed this weekend and off i go.One bit of advice thou (everybody has there own opinions on the different machines,so i went for a Host Dry Extraction because you cant shrink a Carpet Colour bleed a Carpet and you can do every Carpet without to much worry.They will also learn you to use it on one of there training courses.I spoke to another Carpet cleaner who uses one and he does very well out of it.
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Thanks too all you guys for helping me. Why Carpet Cleaning...Well looked at a few business ideas, but after gaining feedback from friends and relatives they all thought carpet cleaning would have more demand and its doesn't depend on the weather.

I'm currently work as self employed software developer, but this job involves a lot of travel and sometimes doesn't always gurantee work. I've just had my first kid, so I dont feel like traveling anymore.

So there my reason for Carpet Cleaning.

Can someone tell what these Sunny Days are?

Would love to hook up with someone for a few days too a week, just to see what it was all about, gain some valuable knowledge and to see if I was cut out for carpet cleaning.

Does anybody know of any good second hand carpet cleaning places (either internet or not)?

Once again thanks everyone for the help. If anyone needs help with a computer related problem then I'm here to help.

regards Shaun  Roll Eyes
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Hi felixthecat,

Good look on your new venture and thanks for the advice. I think I'll need a course to understand the difference between each machine....its good to know, that you started up on 5000 and I hope its money well spent.

regards Shaun
Posted by ALEXDH (ALEXDH), 10 February 2004
Keep that spare 5 k in reserve for selling yourself over the next year or so , when thinking flyers think in terms of thousands not hundreds.

When you do your flyers bes ure to show them to friends and family for a good honest opinion. shoew them a compettors and see which they like best.
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Thanks mate, even though I have 10,000, I was looking to spend in the first month.

1000 on training
500 on advertising (flyers).
2000 on a van
3000 on equipement and materials.

I know where to get the training, flyers and van. But not sure on the equipment, my guess is that I'll get a better idea after training.

Good advice on the flyers, I guess the best people to show is friends and relatives...and to look at other advertising material to find out what works.

Had a flyer the other day about carpet cleaning, they where charging 20 for a 12 x 12 room, is that cheap and how long does that space take? Would like to earn some profit from my new venture.

regards Shaun
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 10 February 2004
Hi Lee

In answer to your question relating to the IICRC and BDMA qualifications... Yes, they are!

If you wish to do Fire and Flood work then your BDMA qualifications will be invaluable.

IICRC (This is not an Association but a US Certification Board) courses are very good and there is now a UK office that has been set up although it has to be one of  the best kept secrets at the moment  Wink
If you have the Carpet and Upholstery IICRC qualifications then this will gain you entry into the NCCA... if you wish to that is!

Regards
Derek
Posted by ALEXDH (ALEXDH), 10 February 2004
Dont be put off by the cheap flyers they will serve the people you dont want the Winkprice hagglers Wink. or they will pressure them into cleaning more .

They may also have on the bottom of their flyers somethibng like 30 min charge or all prices exclude VAT if you are serving domestic you should state vat in your estimates i think.

14p a square foot they are charging Roll Eyes Roll Eyes, how will you get rich on that, I am now charging 35p for a quality service  Grin Grinminimum order 40 Grin Grin. all clearly stated.

If it was a carpet which looks a pain then increase this as you will take longer use more skill to clean it.

A 12 x12 will not take long 45mins to an hour including setup an 1.5hrs including packing up. depnds on soilage though really.

I want to earn a min of about 25 an hour whilst actually working. I would just beat this on this room charging around 50 pound, protection charged at around 30p a square foot if applied. So if was lucky i could be earning more like 50 an hour.

I only require 50% of the customers they get with there cheapo prices and i still earn more.

I am a newby, the majority of chaps on here know more than me and many have different opinions.




Posted by ALEXDH (ALEXDH), 10 February 2004
Ps with those prices you will lose customers but it is best to start high and know what you are doing rather than be cheap and know what you are doing.

Main thing for the customer though is that you know what you are doing.

I know of one chap who charges 42p a square foot but he is rather marvellous.

I know another bloke who is also rather marvellous and has great charm and he charges 30p. He could make more in my opinion. But i guess it is hard to put your prices up once you have set them. If i am full of it i can can offer a sale and if i really need to win the work appear to be reducing the price as i am a nice chap.and am doing the customer a favour.

Never tell anyone what you charge per square foot just give them a total price.




Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 10 February 2004
Shaun, give that 1000 to me and I'll train you Grin work with me for 2 weeks and you'll learn more than you will on any course.

do a search on the 'sunny day out' on here and www.cleantalk.co.uk.

what machine to buy  is the last of your worries they are mostly all the same, what you need is a good understanding of carpet cleaning marketing.

most carpet cleaners arn't very good at typing ( this post has took me 10mins Shocked) so they will give limited advise on these chat boards you need to talk on the phone or face-to-face.

Mike
ps I'm sending you a private message Wink
Posted by Shaun_Ashmore (Shaun_Ashmore), 10 February 2004
You'll need more than 500 for flyers to get a steady flow of work! I would definately try Alltecs Fast Track course, it's 3500 but if you ask John Flynn and many others it will save you years of pottering around scratching for a living and get you focused on the better spending customers straight away.

Shaun
Posted by shaun_pearson (shaun_pearson), 10 February 2004
hi shaun

im also relatively new to this industry(2yrs) and wish you well in your venture.  some of the advice you recieve on this forum and others like it will be priceless and its free. mike made a couple of good points in his last post and like yourself i was unimpressed with the ncca when i contacted them for advice on starting up. carpet cleaning is not technicaly difficult, hard work and rewarding it is, mentally stimulating it is not. the hard part is running the business and keeping the work coming in.

good luck mate

shaun p
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
Thanks guys for all the info, never thought I'd get some much help in just one day.

Whats this Alltecs Fast Track course which costs 3500, not sure I've got that kinda cash for just training. If its training?? Who's John Flynn?

On the advertising flyers, there a local printing company which print 10,000 flyers for 150. But if you think 500 is to low for flyers then I'll revise my limit to 1000.

On the offer to me, of working with a carpet cleaner for 2 weeks, I would rather work for nothing than to pay for the privilage to work with someone, as I think my time and effort is good enough pay. I hope you understand, but thanks for the offer.

Once again thanks all you guys for the advice, you've all shocked me with your good will...I hope when I'm up and running I can return the favour.

Can anyone tell me about these "Sunny Days" do I just turn up, hold my hand in the air and shout "I wanna be 1 of you, please help" or is more formal? Please let me know of any near the North West.

Shaun  Cheesy
Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 10 February 2004
Shaun

I've sent you a private message with my phone number.

Regards

John

ps Who am I?? I'm one of the lads of mature age!!
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 10 February 2004
To Shaun from Shaun,

How have you found it in the two years that you have worked? Have you found it rewarding? Starting up any business and keeping it going for the first year is always the hardest part.

Its always good to have people like yourself who been there and done it and giving advice 2 us mear mortals.

As for the mentally stimulating bit, I've had that for the last 8 years as a software developer, so its time to give my mental side a rest.

Keep up the good work and good luck mate

shaun K  Smiley
Posted by shaun_pearson (shaun_pearson), 12 February 2004
hi shaun

yeah its been good for me thanks. im an engineer by trade and i worked in the petrochemical industry for 10 years,  good money but not very nice places to work.now i earn less annually but i do a lot less hours for it and i calculated that hour for hour im not that worse off. getting a lot of repeat work this year so i must be doing something right.  more time with my family which is the best thing about this.

speak soon mate

shaun
Posted by nick.solution (nick.solution), 12 February 2004
Hi Shaun

First put your money away out of site and get plenty of information regarding the multiple  systems training and chemical suppliers!!  when you've finished training and looking do some more thinking, and carefully invest your money in the right products and equipment, its very easy to buy the wrong kit even if it does look great!!

plenty of FREE information on the forum from people with a huge amount of experience, and I'm sure most, if not all will agree they have spent to quickly on what seemed a good thing at the time.

Good luck

Best regards Nick
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 12 February 2004
Hey Nick

Why do you think we have 'garage sales' from time to time  Grin

Best wishes
Derek
Posted by leerob695 (leerob695), 12 February 2004
just a quickie

as i am also in process of starting up small business i took the advice of derek bolton so i filled in online form regarding info for joining the NCCA all i can say is that within 2 hours of me filling online form in i had recied an email confirming that they were sending me the pack out
(fantastic and efficient i chuckled to myself) so neway i got the info pack today and i had a question to ask so sent an email to admin and in less than 2 hours from sending that email i get one back from Paul Pearce
what i am saying is that i have recieved prompt reply,s to my queries so i for one will be joining the NCCA
you cant go wrong with service like that!!!!! Grin Grin
Posted by gwrightson (gwrightson), 12 February 2004
shaun   150  for 10000 fliers
 have a word with mike halliday
 he put me onto  printers who
 will do  10000 for 98   full colour
  and a great guy to know for help
  he likes to stir things up a bit on here as well
  creates alot of debate  , you wont get him
  over weekend   , away on dirty weekend in
 amsterdam  good luck
geoff
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 12 February 2004
Thanks Geoff, and everyone else for there advice, all this information is adding up to something I understand.

About the leaflets found a printer near me who does 20,000 for 125 1 colour thou or 10,000 for 80 all A5 and he said he could print them for the next day. As he's local I may stick with him.

Could anybody give me advice on this machine (if its good or bad for the price) here the link http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2595779094&category=2992&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBWA%3AIT&rd=1

Would I need more eqipment?

He's also selling a van.

Once again thanks everyone for your advice.

Shaun  Grin
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 12 February 2004
Shaun,
The Cheyanne 3 (Make sure it is this) is a good portable machine, I used to have one, and is one of the more powerful ones. However it does not come with a heater and an inline heater from Prochem will set you back 400 - 500, but you can get a cheaper one from a diferent source. New machines come with a basic set up i.e. Machine
     Hoses
     Carpet Wand.
The other peripherals mentioned in the add you can pick up cheap anyway so I wouldnt take much notice of them.
If it is a Cheyanne 3 then the starting price is a good one, but Id watch how hich it goes.
Dave.
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 13 February 2004
Thanks Dave, will find out what it is...

regards Shaun
Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 17 February 2004
Okay I've had one opinion on the item below, Could anybody give me a second opinion on the below item, as I have the guys phone number and I'm on the verge of making him an offer.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2595779094& category=2992&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBWA%3AIT&rd=1

Is this a good starter machine?
Is the price a good price for a Cheyenne 3?
Where could I get a second hand inline heater from? and what is this?
Would I need more eqipment?
Is there anything else I should know?

many thanks Shaun.  Huh Huh Huh Tongue








Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 18 February 2004
Shaun,

Yes, it is a good starter machine, but your chances of picking up a second-hand in-line heater are next to none. as Dave said, the cost new is in the regeon of 4-500 and the altrenative external heat exchangers are about the same price. Without one of these options you will have no means of heating water - Do not rely on the customers' tap water being hot enough to start with, let alone staying hot throughout the job.

With regard to the other prices, he hoses and wand are part of the standard equipment package, as is an upholstery tool, which is not listed.

The prices of the chemicals and bucket are grossly over-valued.

The Prochem training course is a bonus not normally part of a second-hand purchase.

John.


Posted by shaunkinn (shaunkinn), 19 February 2004
Thanks mate, I'm now having second thoughts.. Huh


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