A wounded carpet cleaner’s cry for help …


Hi Steve,

I was messing around with my son’s skate board today (yes, I know it was stupid so no lectures please!) and I wiped out REALLY bad. My knee is totally destroyed for three months and I’ll never use a knee kicker again.  And if my ankle ever works the same again I’ll be surprised.  I have over 100 stitches in me.  Now the problem is what do I do as a one man, solo operator?  I did have a guy that helped me as casual labor but he got a full time job last month.  I have 20 empty apartments and at least 10 of the related hallways plus a few other things scheduled just this week!  What am I going to do?  My head hurts from this seemingly unsolvable problem much worse than my leg does!

Wounded and Hurting in Oklahoma

I’m so sorry to hear about your problem, Wounded/Hurting. We take so much for granted, don’t we? Including our good health!

My guess your big problem right now, Wounded, is not cash flow. (I ASSUME you have an emergency fund of six months living expenses stashed away as ALL of us should have!)  Rather your big problem is satisfying all your regular, long term customers so they don’t “drift away” while you recuperate! Do you have a “friendly competitor” who can take your truck out when he isn’t busy and run your jobs without stabbing you in the back?

Pay him a big percentage, maybe even 60 to 75% of the job total, just to keep you square with your clients. Remember you’re not trying to make money on this. (Even though it wouldn’t hurt!)

It would be good to have a “letter of understanding” between you and whoever you choose spelling out what each side’s responsibilities are.

My very best wishes and let us know how you are doing,


P.S. This situation does point up one big reason to grow your business. At least once a day I would say, “That’s it. I’m firing all the techs and going back alone on the truck!” It’s a tempting scenario … until you seriously think about the different disasters that can happen to you that will seriously threaten your entire income, including skateboard wrecks! (And I used to do some serious single track on my mountain bike in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah.  Those were the days!)

However, one warning, Wounded.  As you evaluate the advantages of hiring employees versus “staying small” there is one business model you absolutely must avoid- I call it the “Road In-Between“.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.