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How to start a carpet cleaning business

If you’ve been carpet cleaning for a while, you might be considering starting up your own company. However, this sort of endeavour is no easy task. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to start a carpet cleaning business from scratch.

Why start a carpet cleaning business?

Anyone who owns a carpet knows just how tricky it can be to keep clean. So, it should come as no surprise that carpet cleaners are in constant demand for homeowners across the country.

Naturally, if you’ve been working in the carpet cleaning industry for a while, you might be thinking about going solo.

However, if you’ve never operated a company before, you might not be sure how to start a carpet cleaning business. Which is exactly why we’ve put together this guide!

Whether you’re a domestic or commercial carpet cleaner, we’ll walk you through setting up a carpet cleaning business. This includes the initial business steps you’ll need to take and how you can market your company later on.

Rotary head carpet cleaner

How to create a carpet cleaning business plan

No matter what sort of business you’re setting up, forming a business plan is essential for success. Without one, you won’t be able to outline your goals properly and grow your business effectively.

Therefore, when creating a business plan, you should look to include all of the following areas:

  • Business goals – what do you want to achieve with your business and how do you plan to meet this?
  • Startup costs – how will you finance your business at the start and in the future?
  • Finance management – who will govern your business finances? Will you do it yourself or hire an accountant?
  • Your services – what areas of carpet cleaning will you service and where will you specialise?
  • Your target market – will you operate as a domestic or commercial carpet cleaner or both?
  • Your prices – how do you intend to price your services to be profitable?
  • Your area of operation – how big an area do you plan to operate in?
  • Types of marketing – what style or forms of marketing will you invest in?
  • Your working hours – how many hours a week will you be working?

Naturally, this is just an overview of what to include in a business plan. We suggest reading our guide on writing a business plan for more information. Don’t forget to download our free business plan template as well.

What qualifications are needed for carpet laying?

While qualifications aren’t a requirement for setting up a carpet cleaning business, we highly recommend getting accreditations before you start. After all, the more qualifications you have, the more likely customers are to trust your work.

Therefore, if you’re not qualified already, you should look into getting any of the following qualifications:

  • An NVQ Level 1 and 2 in cleaning and support services, including carpet or soft furnishing cleaning
  • A City and Guilds Level 2 Award Certificate and Diploma in Cleaning Principles

You should also consider joining a trade body if you want your service to stand out from other businesses.

For example, becoming a member of the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) shows your skills are formally recognised.

Like qualifications, this can go a long way in attracting more customers to your business, especially in commercial environments.

What other skills do carpet cleaners need?

You need more than carpet cleaning knowledge when starting a carpet cleaning business. In fact, there are plenty of ‘soft skills’ and personal attributes you’ll need to master for your business to succeed.

Below are a few core ones to consider to begin:

  • Carpet cleaning knowledge – it goes without saying that you’ll need good carpet cleaning knowledge in order to deliver a good cleaning service
  • Health and safety knowledge – health and safety knowledge is a must, especially if handling potentially harmful detergents and chemicals
  • Attention to detail – you need to be sure that get every part of a carpet spotless, as well as noting any potential business opportunities on the horizon
  • Organisation – a key skill for any job, managing your business will be that much easier if you can stay organised
  • Interpersonal skills – as a cleaner, you’ll be interacting with a variety of different people on a daily basis, so you need to be able to communicate with them effectively
  • Patience and endurance – much like cleaning, growing a business can take time and try your patience
  • Mathematical skills – numerical skills are essential for running a business so you can stay on top of your finances

Of course, these are just some of the essential skills you’ll need to master. For a more detailed look into what to consider, take a look at our article on becoming your own boss.

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How to go about setting up a carpet cleaning business

With your business plan set up and ready to go, it’s now time to start the business-building process.

This sort of stuff includes getting your business registered and sorting out insurance. In other words, the key steps you’ll need to follow to legally operate your new carpet cleaning company.

How to clean paint out of carpet

1. Register your business

First off, you’ll need to start by registering your carpet cleaning business. Registering your business is essential and a legal requirement by HMRC. Otherwise, you won’t be taxed properly for your work.

However, there’s more to registering a business than simply signing a few forms. You’ll also need to decide if you’ll be a sole trader or a limited company. Be sure to do your research into these areas as both their own pros and cons.

2. Applying for insurance

Besides getting your business registered, another vital area you’ll need to sort out is business insurance. This so you can protect both yourself and your business in the event of the worst happening.

We suggest getting several policies in place before you start working to avoid any potential missteps. Read our article on the best insurance for tradespeople for more information on this topic.

3. Accounting and bookkeeping

A large part of running any carpet cleaning business is managing your finances. Thus, you need to be sure you’re capable of doing this properly or hiring someone that is. Why not look at our piece on small business accounting for more information?

How much do carpet cleaners make

4. Buying carpet cleaning tools and equipment

Finally, when starting a carpet cleaning business, you’ll obviously need the tools of the trade. Not having these is liable to impact your work, so, it’s always best to invest well in this area.

Here are the essentials for a start-up carpet cleaning business:

  • Carpet cleaning machine
  • Hose set
  • Cleaning chemicals and detergents
  • Upholstery cleaning hand tools
  • Hose cuffs and connectors
  • Sprayers
  • Jets and nozzles
  • Protective gloves
  • Water claw

You’ll also need to own a van for transporting all your equipment between jobs. This way, you can always turn up to a job fully prepared. Take a look at our piece on the best van lease deals for more information.

5. Marketing your carpet cleaning business

As a new business, it’s important to get your name out there which is exactly where marketing comes in. From digital marketing to more traditional advertising, there are various ways to do this. We’ve highlighted some of the main points to consider below:

  • Building a website – a website is your business’s face on the web, making it essential that you build a functional site for customers to find. We go into great detail on how to do this in our article on building small business websites
  • Print media – as potent a force as ever when it comes to advertising, print media can be a brilliant way to find new leads. Find out exactly how to unlock its potential in our print marketing blog
  • Company signage – free advertising in its finest form, getting the right company branding on your clothes and van can help to market your services wherever you go
  • Social media – most trades are incredibly visual in their work, making social media one of your best tools for sharing your work. Learn more about doing this our piece on marketing your business through social media
  • Online directories – many people still use online directories to find reputable tradespeople. Consider joining a site like Checkatrade to take advantage of this target market

Give your new business the best chance of success

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Start our checks now

Save money and time marketing your business with Checkatrade

You should now know exactly what’s needed when setting up a carpet cleaning business. However, if you want more help in this area, then why not join Checkatrade?

All of our members get:

  • A free business profile to display reviews and testimonials
  • Discounts and benefits from all of our partnerships
  • Free marketing materials and branding
  • Access to live job boards and instant notifications
  • Work in their area
  • Guarantee for jobs up to value of £1000

Reach out to our team today to learn more. And don’t forget that we have plenty of other blogs like this one. Such as how to start a cleaning business, how much carpet fitters earn, and how to start a flooring business.

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Carpet cleaning business FAQs

How much can a carpet cleaner earn?

The salary potential for a carpet cleaner can differ substantially, depending on your experience. For a full breakdown, we suggest reading our article on carpet cleaner salaries.


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