Intimidated by residential carpet cleaning! What to do?



I bought my carpet cleaning machine over a year ago but I am having a hard time convincing myself that I am ready to go out there and start doing this carpet cleaning endeavor like I promised myself I would.

I see all the problems that others face in their companies and I find myself quite over-whelmed by all the spotting troubles, urine issues, customer complaints, etc. that seem to be the mainstay of day-to-day operations.

I don’t have any IICRC certifications, and I have only been using my equipment to service our janitorial customers. I have a hard time seeing this new enterprise ending well without any knowledge of fiber types, cleaning chemicals, and all the rest of the things a guy should know in order to have a successful carpet cleaning biz.

I guess I’m just succumbing to my own deep seated doubts.

Steve, did you go through any of this?  Can you give me some advice??

Caught in the Headlights out in Montana

Welcome to carpet cleaning, Caught!

First things first, you deserve a lot of credit for having gotten this far. Don’t abandon ship yet. Did I face the same fears you do?  Not quite. We didn’t have all the TV exposés trashing carpet cleaners in my day!  Nor did we have the Internet bulletin boards with their scary stories to strike fear into me.  But it was still a frightening part of my life.

Just keep in mind, Caught, that the average day of carpet cleaning is not nearly as exciting (nor as technically challenging) as you might have gotten the impression.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy my time on the truck. I loved cleaning carpets!  The carpet cleaning industry is easily accessible to people from so many different backgrounds and preferences. You’ll surely find your niche.

So Caught, why don’t you take advantage of the many training courses that are available? They will get your confidence up and the technical know how will prove invaluable. Also the same industry bulletin boards that have may have spooked you can also be a tremendous resource for you.

Making mistakes is part of the game in business. Even if you trip up on your own horror story it doesn’t have to end sadly. Remember that you don’t always have to solve the problem immediately. Call for back up!

By finding a solution to the quandary you will not only raise your cleaning prowess but you will also convert your customer into what I call a “Turbo Cheerleader”.  That will mean more carpet cleaning sales for you.

The basic rule as you inevitably find yourself winging it in the beginning?  Never let them see you sweat!  The first carpet I “steam cleaned” way back in 1972 stayed wet for four days!  (When you think about it- SOMEONE has to be the first patient of a brain surgeon!)

Having said the above, please recall that nowhere is it written “Thou shalt ONLY clean residential.” If you already have a history in janitorial, why not focus on getting more REGULAR contract commercial accounts? (The “key” is to get the key. 🙂 )

Then little by little residential customers (ones who probably work at your commercial accounts) will learn about you and call. You can then ease into residential and learn if it suits you.

Just my input,


P.S. I loved the daily changes and the customer interplay of residential work. But working in the home environment IS the hardest money in this industry. My suggestion, Caught, would be to build your base on commercial (since you are already there) and then dip your toe into working in homes. And don’t let anybody other than you define your vision of success!

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