Through a very convoluted process I found this web site and it is an incredible resource- one of the best I have found for someone who is thinking about getting into this business. So could I too pick your brain for some advice?
I have no background in the industry and what got me to thinking about even becoming a carpet cleaner was the lousy job a carpet cleaner did at my house (for $368.72!) I hate my job and have some savings to invest. My wife does not work and she would handling sales, marketing, appoint setting, books, etc. In the beginning I would work the business part-time with the goal being to eventually build into our full-time income. I also have trustworthy friends that can help me as needed.
I realize that it will take a significant investment in training to become a competent carpet cleaner. I am planning to attend your SFS seminar plus of course IICRC classes. Your thoughts, please …
Excited in Dallas
First, congratulations on an excellent career choice. This is a great industry … IF you know what you are doing AND do it right. If not, you may go broke! Or even worse just sort of limp along “owning a job”. (Which is where a lot of carpet cleaners wind up.) Frankly, it sounds like you are on the right track. But even so a few thoughts:
1. Benefit from other internet resources than just this site. For example, there are quite a few discussion forums out there. Go here for a partial list with links. They can be a tremendous asset- if only to make you feel less alone. (You will need to learn which advice can be trusted and how to avoid all the energy sucking, petty bickering but that is true everywhere in life, isn’t it? J )
2. I applaud your decision to invest in training. Technical training will not only help you avoid costly and embarrassing mistakes. It will also make you feel better about yourself and help you justify what you charge.
3. Buy the very best equipment. Your labor cost (especially your own) will always be the biggest part of your overhead. So anything you can do to increase your production and reliability will be money well spent.
4. Make Cheerleaders. Many people talk about this- few actually do it successfully. Remember that many of your customers will give a “passive referral” if someone asks them for your name. Few will become raving fans- “unpaid salespeople” that will excitedly promote your services to everyone they know. (We’ll give you the systems on how to achieve this goal when you attend SFS but meanwhile to learn more see this Special Report.)
5. Can you “clone” yourself? At some point very likely you will get tired of pushing a wand five days a week. Or you just won’t be able to keep up with all your Cheerleader referrals. So can you develop systems that will give your customers all the Moments of Truth that YOU personally have always given them? On the “cloning yourself” idea you might look at this Special Report.
7. Charge enough- The vast majority of carpet cleaners I work with do not remotely charge enough to cover their true cost of doing business … much less make a profit. Few of your clients will tell you that you are not charging enough- many will take advantage of it. Remember one of my favorite sayings I share with every SFS class- “there is no virtue in poverty.”
My very best wishes.
PS It’s amazing how many people just sort of fall into this industry. (I did.) But even so I would suggest you sit down with your wife and ANALYZE YOUR LIFE AND BUILD YOUR COMPANY AROUND YOUR GOALS INSTEAD OF THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
NOTE: One other reminder, Excited. Don’t delay reserving your seat for a 2010 SFS seminar. (Click for class schedule) We are sold out for the rest of 2009 and often fill a seminar months ahead of time.