How to start a carpet cleaning business in 7 steps

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Start a business, one step at a time

One of the most exciting ventures you can undertake is opening your own business. But for anyone looking into how to start a carpet cleaning business, it can seem a little overwhelming at first. You’ll need to buy equipment and supplies and hire a qualified team if you don’t intend on doing everything yourself. It might seem like a lot, but when you break it down into individual steps, you can be on your way to running a profitable cleaning company in no time!

Why start a carpet cleaning company?

To start with, there’s never a shortage of new customers. Think about all the people you know —  how many of them have carpet somewhere in their home? Consider all those carpets, all the dirt and dust tracked in over the years, and you can see where the steady demand for carpet cleaning services comes from.

There will always be a demand.


As you add customers, you can also expand the variety of services you provide to grow your business.

How to start a carpet cleaning business in 7 steps

Carpet cleaning can be a fairly easy business to start, since you can do it on your own and out of your home. Start small, then adjust as your business grows.

  1. Franchise or solo?

  2. Write a simple business plan.

  3. Pick a place.

  4. Get the business basics.

  5. Consult the pros.

  6. Equip yourself.

  7. Bring in customers.

Ready to go? Follow these steps to get your new carpet cleaning business going.

1. Franchise or solo?

The first step in how to start a carpet cleaning business is to ask: should I start my own independent business or opt for a franchise? Franchising is a popular option for those not willing to endure the trial-and-error that comes with starting a business. But if you’re looking to maintain control over all aspects of your operation and keep the lion’s share of your business profits, running your own independent business is the best option.

2. Write a simple business plan

Once you’ve decided to either start your own business or step under the umbrella of an existing one, the next step is to create a business plan that answers these questions:

Keeping detailed financial records that show cash flow and income will go a long way in making your business succeed. If financing is necessary to get (or keep) your business up and running, a well-thought-out business plan could make the difference in a bank lender’s decision.

3. Pick a place

The next thing to think about is where your business will be located. Working out of your home is definitely an option when starting out, but as you grow, you might need to consider renting space to store your equipment. Find tips on finding space to rent and getting the most for your money here.

4. Get the business basics

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business Carpet
Photo: VisualHunt

After that, you’ll want to set up a business bank account, obtain the necessary business licenses and permits specific to your state, and take out liability insurance to protect yourself and the people you have working for you. Read more here on insurance costs.

5. Consult the pros

An accountant or CPA is another expert you should look to hire. Taxes are no joke, and when it comes to tax returns for businesses, they can be a whole different animal than personal returns. Having a CPA handle your business tax returns will eliminate the fear of getting a letter in the mail one day from the IRS, so they are well-worth the money spent!

It’s a good idea to hire people to do things that require special knowledge.


You might also want to have an attorney lined up — not just in case of emergencies, but also to make sure you’re in compliance with all state and federal regulations. Excellent topics to discuss with your attorney include:

  • General liability insurance
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Whether or not you need a surety bond

If you’re still considering whether to franchise or not, an attorney can also help you make that decision.

6. Equip yourself

Once you have the framework of your business set up, it’s time to start thinking about the equipment you’ll use. The options open to you will depend on your budget, but you can start small and work your way up like I did with my business, ProGreen Carpet.

If you can’t afford a truck-mounted cleaning unit right off the bat, a portable extractor would be a good place to start.

I started off with a Solus 500 unit, which was still working well six months later when I got my first truck-mounted unit, the Panther 25. Since business has been getting busier and busier, I decided to purchase the “biggest and best” truck-mounted unit in the industry, the Sapphire Scientific 870ss. I have only good things to say about Sapphire equipment and recommend their Scientific 370ss as a good truck-mounted starter unit.

After securing a professional-grade extractor, you’ll need to think about what chemicals and  cleaning solutions to use and how you’ll transport your waste water tank. Additional accessories you might need include:

  • Crevice tools
  • Upholstery wands
  • Stair tools

7. Bring in customers

Lastly, you’ll need to let people know you’re open for business. Whether you use something as simple as paper flyers you tuck under doormats or costly radio and TV ads, you’ll need to decide where you want to make your business presence known.

Having an inviting online presence can be the deciding factor in whether a customer chooses your carpet cleaning business over another, so be sure to include online and social media marketing in your plans. If you haven’t already registered a domain name for your business, it’s not as hard as you think.

Getting your own domain will ensure you have a home for your website once it is created.

If you don’t have the funds to pay someone to build a website for you initially, it isn’t hard to create a one-page site on your own. Companies like GoDaddy even have easy tools to assist you in setting up a site so customers can see your pricing, services, hours and phone number.

How to get listed online

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business Google Business Listing
A free Google Business Listing makes it easy for customers to find you online.

Don’t forget to set up a Google Business listing so people looking for carpet cleaners in your area can find you online. It’s free and will put your business where people are looking for services like yours.

Opening accounts with Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram wouldn’t hurt either. The more places your business appears on the web, the more customers will find you.

That’s how to start a carpet cleaning business

Starting your own business isn’t beyond your reach — I did it, so you can, too. Just use these steps to create a carpet cleaning business that will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

Want help finding customers? Check out our free checklist

Image by: Visual Hunt