Congratulations on finding your way here. This guide will give you many valuable insider secrets to starting and operating a successful carpet cleaning business in just about any area of the country. All it takes is a desire to be your own boss, the capacity to do the work, and – with the right system - minimal start-up expense. The best part is that you can immediately start making $75- $100 an hour doing work that is healthy and fun.
This guide was written for those of you who are considering becoming a member of our Greenway Carpet Care™ team, but the information can be applied to other carpet cleaning systems as well. I will tell you a little about how and why I started the company and what it takes to make your business a success. I'll cover the basics of carpet cleaning and the different methods available.
So, let's get started! The great thing about carpet cleaning is that this is the right business at the right time. No matter what the economy is doing, carpet, rugs, tile, and furniture will still get dirty and need to be cleaned. In fact, people are currently more likely to clean their carpet instead of replacing it. Once you are set up, you can begin making money immediately.
I know that most of you probably didn't think you would end up cleaning carpets for a living, but believe me, carpet cleaning is a profitable, enjoyable, and easy businesses to operate. If you are considering a green and dry carpet cleaning business, your chances for success are pretty high as more people have become aware of the importance of healthy carpet cleaning. Consider the following benefits:
In 2003, my wife and I retired to sunny Florida after being in the natural health care field for many years. With the collapse of the economy in 2008, we needed to supplement our retirement, but didn't want to go back to sitting at a desk. We decided to create a business, but it had to meet certain criteria. We wanted something that would allow us to be active, not sedentary; have fun, meet interesting people, and get paid to help others. We were also committed to creating a green business that was environmentally friendly.
I remembered the Chem-Dry franchise I purchased and operated for a year while attending college in the 70s. I really enjoy carpet cleaning. I think it's the immediate feed-back of doing a good job, meeting interesting people, and feeling great from the workout - just like being at the gym, but getting paid for it! What I didn't like about Chem-Dry was the damp carpets (took several hours to dry), breathing in harsh chemicals all day, working with heavy equipment, and having to pay a monthly royalty fee (which is currently $4,200 per year, I believe).
Once we decided on a green carpet cleaning company, I went online and began researching methods of cleaning carpets with natural products. I found that you can actually clean a carpet with baking soda, carbonated water, and dish soap; just not very effectively. Eventually what caught my eye was a natural, organic method utilizing plant fiber (cellulose), and a solvent made from citrus and coconut oil. I also discovered a pre-treatment product that absorbs greasy dirt and spills, which is vacuumed out of the carpet without a trace of residue. This became the heart of the Greenway Carpet Care™ system, which works as follows:
Most of the dirt on a carpet or rug is loose, dry dirt that is tracked in. It's down near the backing of the carpet; you usually can't see it, but it's there. So the very first step is to thoroughly vacuum (dry extract) the loose, dry dirt out of the carpet. After vacuuming the carpet, the spots and stains - or heavily soiled areas are treated with a product that has a higher alkaline ph. We don't use a lot of the solution, just enough to loosen the dirt from the carpet fibers.
After vacuuming and pre-treatment, the remaining dirt is the stuff you see in a dirty carpet or rug. It’s greasy, grimy dirt that is attached to the carpet fibers. We use a special carpet cleaning machine with two soft, counter-rotating brushes that “massage” the carpet cleaning product (made from plant fiber coated with the solvent made from orange oil) into the carpet, down to the backing.
The remaining greasy dirt is liquefied by the orange oil-solvent and absorbed into the plant fiber. If you look at our Greenway product under a microscope, the particles are porous, just like tiny sponges. They work by absorbing any remaining dirt. After about ten minutes, we re-vacuum the carpet, removing the plant product and greasy dirt.
The result of this technique is a perfectly clean carpet without using any harsh chemicals or flooding the carpet with water. In addition, up to 97% of dust mites, mold, bacteria, viruses, pet dander and other allergens are removed; greatly improving indoor air quality. Many customers tell us that their allergies improve after having their carpets cleaned with our system.
After purchasing what we considered to be the most effective equipment and products, Greenway Carpet Care™ was born in 2008 in Brevard County, Florida. We began by advertising in a local magazine, and were soon as busy as we wanted to be. My wife and I worked together - I would do the heavy lifting and operate the carpet cleaning machine, and she took care of the details. After developing our first business, we set up a second one in North Carolina, which was just as successful. In 2012, we decided to expand Greenway Carpet Care™ through individually owned businesses and began selling the rights to our system. We currently have distributor-licensees in North Carolina and Florida, with plans to expand Greenway throughout the U.S.
One big advantage over our competition is that customers are usually pre-sold when they call. They have been to our website and like what they see. They want green, all natural, and dry. Their questions are: How does it work, How much does it cost, and When can you do the job? That's it. Just being familiar with our Greenway carpet cleaning process is enough to close the deal and make the appointment. We (typically) advertise by the room or living space, and the phone estimate is easily understood by the customer. Scheduling is up to you, based on your personal goals. You can even start your business part-time and keep your current job until you’re making enough money to go full-time. The best thing about setting your own hours and days is that you can take time off when you want. With your business number forwarded to your cell phone, you can schedule appointments from just about anywhere! Most customers can wait a few weeks to a few months to get their carpets cleaned.
In my opinion, Greenway is superior in that it offers an all-natural method for cleaning carpets without toxic chemicals and massive amounts of water. It is also the most inexpensive way to start your carpet cleaning business because it is a Distributorship, not a Franchise. A carpet cleaning franchise will set you back $15,000 - $80,000 to start (or more), plus equipment, supplies, and possibly a vehicle. You are required to purchase products, supplies, and equipment from the home office exclusively and will be locked into their rules and regulations.
Of course, you can always go into the carpet cleaning business alone. All you really need is the equipment and training. However, if you do the research you will find that the price of a Greenway Carpet Care™ distributorship is much less than you would pay to develop the same level of carpet cleaning service on your own. Following is what you will receive as a member of the Greenway team - you simply can't beat this deal on your own.
There are several systems to choose from, including hot water extraction, shampooing, the bonnet system, and dry foam. Following is a description of each:Hot Water Extraction
Perhaps the best known is hot water extraction, or “steam cleaning.” This is not really steam, but hot water mixed with cleaning chemicals. Hot water extraction systems force hot water into the carpet, then immediately extract the water out. The problem is – even with a skilled technician - it’s impossible to completely extract all water out of the carpet, so the carpet can take days to dry if not properly done. Wet carpets are an ideal environment for mold and bacteria to grow and proliferate. This method may appear to do a good job at first, but spots can return as soon as carpets begin to dry due to detergent residue and over-wetting. In addition, the massive amount of water needed to operate hot water extraction systems generally utilize harsh synthetic chemicals to aid the hot water to dissolve the dirt in a carpet. These chemicals have been linked to upper respiratory health problems and other illnesses. In fact, a special hazardous waste permit is required in many locations before you can do business.Shampooing
With this popular method, shampoo is mixed with water, sprayed onto the carpet and scrubbed in to produce a soapy foam, which is then vacuumed up. This is a cumbersome and messy method that leaves behind a sticky, soapy residue which attracts dirt like a magnet.Bonnet System
This is the system that we used in our Chem-Dry business in the late 1970s. A floor buffer is equipped with a shag pad that is moistened with solution, and then moved over the carpet. The pad picks up dirt and when saturated, is rinsed out with water or replaced, and the process is then repeated. The problem is that it removes only surface dirt and leaves solvents in the carpet. After a few weeks, spots wick back up and carpet looks as bad as it did before cleaning. Another problem is that the rotary action of the buffer will distort the carpet fibers. Carpet warranties may be voided by manufacturers if this system is used.Dry Foam Extraction
Dry Foam Extraction is a method that utilizes a cylinder brushing machine. It tufts the carpet fibers up so there is no distortion and cleans down to the backing of the carpet. The dirty foam is immediately extracted, leaving a clean carpet that dries in about two hours. It still leaves a residue in the carpet that will attract dirt. A new dry foam machine can be purchased for around $4,000, plus additional equipment.
Registration, Licensing & Permits, and Insurance
For residential business, we have found that a good weekly newspaper or monthly magazine (with actual news content and reasonable display advertising rates) is a pretty good medium. An ad should bring in about five times its cost in business. After the first month, roll your net profits (after expenses) into increasing your advertising budget. If you invest $500 in advertising per month, you should make $2,500 in sales. There are many opportunities to promote your business: radio and cable TV, flyers, referral contests, and - most importantly - the internet.
For commercial business, giving a demo of your process by cleaning their carpet or rugs in the office entrance or waiting area is the best sales tool. You can do this for just about any business, including hotels, restaurants, and day care centers. Also, consider trading your services for theirs (barter). This is a good way to get something you need for free or at a discount. All that is involved is your time and the cost of products.
The secret to becoming successful lies more in your attitude than your location or sales ability. It's a well-known fact that a consistent positive attitude will dramatically increase your bottom line – and also improve your health and personal happiness. Being part of a growing company that is dedicated to helping you succeed is also important.
Feel free to call me personally at 877.222.0860 if you have any questions. For more information on Greenway Carpet Care™ and the cleaning process, watch our YouTube videos. Thank you for your time and I wish you much success in whatever you choose.
Tim Bagby, ND, President - Greenway Carpet Care, Inc.™
For more information, or for an estimate by phone, call (866) 261-4648.