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How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Company

Many know that starting your own business is one of the best ways to accumulate and grow wealth. Whether it's the desire to supplement current income, or to be one's own boss, many people are driven to start a new company. Starting a carpet cleaning company is one way that a fair number of people choose to build a profitable business that they can manage on their own, and grow or sell off when the time is right. There are three primary options to choose from to start a carpet cleaning company.

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Option 1: Begin by Buying a Franchise

The easiest way is to buy into a franchise, in which for a franchise fee, or start up fee, you obtain everything you need to begin your business, as well as a list of vendors you usually must purchase your supplies from. You'll also benefit from having a strong brand name. A franchise is the easiest as far as an instant "start up and go" method of starting a cleaning company, however, you will usually pay significantly more to start up via a franchise than by option 2, described below, and you will have to abide by the franchise agreement which may limit your freedoms as a business owner.

Option 2: Begin by Purchasing an Existing Company

Another method used to start a carpet cleaning company is to purchase an existing carpet cleaning company. Similar to starting by buying into a franchise, in exchange for an agreed upon purchase price, you can get a quick start at your own carpet cleaning business. The benefits of purchasing an existing carpet cleaning company are that you get functioning equipment and possibly vehicles, a well established customer list, and typically a question and answer period with the previous owner. The downside of purchasing an existing business, however, is that the equipment may be in poor condition and in need of repairs or replacement.

Option 3: Begin on the Ground Floor

A final option in starting a carpet cleaning company is that you can start from scratch. This is the most difficult way to start a business, but by creating a business at the beginning, you have the ability to purchase new equipment that will suit your needs. If you go this route, be sure to research the available equipment and speak with others in the business to choose the right tools. You'll need a reliable vehicle, preferably a van that you can keep tools and equipment in, carpet shampooers, portable fans, hoses, scrubbers, and shampoos and other chemicals. Also, as you will be starting with no customers, you will have to develop your customer base through advertisement, referrals, and by maintaining a good reputation.

Regulatory Matters

As with any business, there is paperwork involved when you start a carpet cleaning company. Many localities require that you apply for a license to do business within the county or city. If you plan to hire employees, you will need to file for an employer ID number and will have to withhold payroll taxes. You may also want to enlist the services of a good bookkeeper to guide you through records you'll need to keep during the year and what you'll need to have ready at tax time. You will also almost certainly want to purchase insurance or a security bond in the event that you are sued or get into an accident.

Build Your Customer Base

Once you have your equipment and all regulatory matters taken care of, you are ready to begin. Customers will find you if you advertise in local media. You can begin by taking out ads in the local paper or circulars. Coupon books that are distributed at grocery stores and restaurants are another good way to get your business name seen. Offer a free or low cost consultation, and perhaps discounted service on a room or two. Once you have some customers, a website can be set up inexpensively with testimonials from previous customers to attract others.

Keep Your Customers Happy

The key is to exceed the expectations of each new customer so that he or she will refer your services to others. Satisfied customers tell friends, coworkers, and family members. Your goal during your first year should be to build a list of repeat customers and keep them happy so they will continue to purchase your services and will tell others about the quality and excellent service they received. Keep your customers happy and you will be off to a great start for a carpet cleaning company.

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