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Starting a carpet cleaning business

savefox

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Hello,

I'm 21 years old. After 2 years of wasting time and action faking I decided to start a home service business, specifically carpet cleaning. I will be doing hardwood, tile and upholstery as well. I chose this idea because it's pretty easy and inexpensive to start, doesn't require any special licensees or permits, and there is demand for this kind of service in my area. Also, my monthly expenses will be extremely low, so I'll get to keep most of the profit I make. I don't have any previous marketing or cleaning experience, except for running FB ads for some Chinese junk, so I'll have to learn everything from scratch. I hope this thread will be helpful for someone wanting to start a service business, and I will appreciate any advice from you.

What I have done so far:
1)Website with online booking and chat - Wordpress(divi plugin), zenbooker, tawk to. Hired a copywriter to do the content part, because my English sucks.
2)Google business profile with some pictures of my carpet being cleaned.
3)Bought cleaning equipment (175 buffer(used), oreck orbiter, good vacuum and some other stuff) - around $1000
4)Facebook business profile
5)Got a google guarantee badge which might help with getting more leads
6)Currently running a google ads campaign, $30 per day budget. I have 2 ad groups. One for exact match keywords and the other one for phrase match. Everything else is the same. Got 3 leads so far for about $15 dollars each.
7)Did 2 small carpet cleaning jobs by myself, the clients were happy with the result. They were just 1 room cleanings that took me about an hour to do. Charged $100 for each. I have my next job scheduled for next week. Missed a few clients by not answering my phone and not replying in chat. Missed a 4 bedroom house cleaning because of my full time job.

I think my main problem is that I don't have a clear USP and I'm having a hard time differentiating from the competitors. I have a good looking website with convenient online booking system and upfront pricing. My method of cleaning allows me to advertise 1 hour dry time. I have a 10% discount for new customers. But I feel like I can come up with something better, so I could justify raising my prices.

I'm tired of commuting to a shitty job every day and wasting my time there. But I'll have to keep it for some time to pay for my expenses.
 
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Mikkel

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It doesn't seem you have a USP problem. It seems your problem is not closing sales.

If you are unable to answer your phone due to work, could you hire someone for cheap? For instance a virtual assistant. Another option could be that you hire one of your parents or relatives or someone who either works at home or doesn't currently work.

What is the point of running ads if your can't close because you are busy with your slowlane job.
 

savefox

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It doesn't seem you have a USP problem. It seems your problem is not closing sales.

If you are unable to answer your phone due to work, could you hire someone for cheap? For instance a virtual assistant. Another option could be that you hire one of your parents or relatives or someone who either works at home or doesn't currently work.

What is the point of running ads if your can't close because you are busy with your slowlane job.
I was looking into getting a call answering service. Just need more leads to pay for it. I don't know why they need to call when they can just book online and even get a discount for it.
 

David Fitz

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Join some FB groups.

Truckmount Forums
Cleaners Connect
 
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Mikkel

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I was looking into getting a call answering service. Just need more leads to pay for it. I don't know why they need to call when they can just book online and even get a discount for it.
You can ask people to fill out survey's for a discount if you really want to find out why people call rather than message online, or you can save the money and cater to those who call.

Personal, I would rather call. More personalized and I can get things scheduled quickly, and I can ask all questions right away.

What is cheaper? Hiring someone you know, or a service? Which ever is the best service for your money is what you should probably choose.
 

savefox

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Got my first lead through Google Local Services ads, got charged $22, not too bad
 

Paul David

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Get reviews from your customers, and run Facebook ads.
 

doster.zach

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Sale. Only $99 dollars, though. Need to target people willing to pay more than the minimum price somehow. Or upsell on-site

That's great, you might want to get a few dozen customers this way to really know what your customer is like. 1 data point isn't enough to know.
 
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savefox

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Get reviews from your customers, and run Facebook ads.
Would fb ads work for this kind of business? with Google ads, the customer is already looking for the service. On FB they're just watching videos or memes and probably not looking for someone to clean their carpets
 

Paul David

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Would fb ads work for this kind of business? with Google ads, the customer is already looking for the service. On FB they're just watching videos or memes and probably not looking for someone to clean their carpets
Facebook ads certainly works for carpet cleaning. Although more residential than commercial.

I've personally generated thousands of pounds (and dollars) worth of work and still do for lots of carpet cleaners in UK and USA.

You're absolutely correct in that on Facebook they're not "actively" looking for carpet cleaning compared to Facebook, that's why it's important to frame it like a special offer (but doesn't have to be) and have good videos, content that stops people from scrolling past. Plus you have to target the correct people. For example, women book carpet cleaners more than men.
 

Invictus

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Sale. Only $99 dollars, though. Need to target people willing to pay more than the minimum price somehow. Or upsell on-site
Don’t forget to also keep them in a CRM for follow up. Carpet cleaning occurs multiple times over someone’s life, so don’t waste the ad by failing to follow up after an appropriate amount of time.
 
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Paul David

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Don’t forget to also keep them in a CRM for follow up. Carpet cleaning occurs multiple times over someone’s life, so don’t waste the ad by failing to follow up after an appropriate amount of time.
Correct. Great point.

We not only have automations going out for our clients to try and re-engage leads who don't convert, but also the ones that have booked a job. For example 10-12 months after a job we'll send an automated text to see if they need it doing again. The customer knows you've done a great job and a simple SMS can bring in lots more work (without advertising!).
 

savefox

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Could someone recommend a good call answering service with appointment scheduling?
 

doster.zach

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@Johnny boy probably can help you, I don't know if they are 100% the same but I would think a lawn-care biz and a carpet cleaning biz have a lot of overlap.

I believe he has employees that handle that, but I'm not sure if he has a service.
 
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Walter Hay

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I was looking into getting a call answering service. Just need more leads to pay for it. I don't know why they need to call when they can just book online and even get a discount for it.
People prefer to to talk to people rather than deal with an impersonal form-filling process online.

Think carefully about using an answering service. The person that a prospect talks to must know everything useful and helpful about your business so that the caller gets the feeling that they care.

Walter
 

savefox

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People prefer to to talk to people rather than deal with an impersonal form-filling process online.

Think carefully about using an answering service. The person that a prospect talks to must know everything useful and helpful about your business so that the caller gets the feeling that they care.

Walter
I'm super bad at talking on the phone + I'm either driving or moving heavy stuff all the time at my job. I'm working on improving it, but don't want to lose clients because of it in the meantime
 

doster.zach

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I'm super bad at talking on the phone + I'm either driving or moving heavy stuff all the time at my job. I'm working on improving it, but don't want to lose clients because of it in the meantime

You will be better off having a business phone that you have a personal voicemail, saying that you are woking and that you will call them back as soon as possible.

Most people would rather go to a human voicemail and be called back, be able to text you directly then go through an answering service.

Getting better talking on the phone.
 
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savefox

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You will be better off having a business phone that you have a personal voicemail, saying that you are woking and that you will call them back as soon as possible.

Most people would rather go to a human voicemail and be called back, be able to text you directly then go through an answering service.

Getting better talking on the phone.
Yeah, I just feel like if I don't take the call right away, they're just gonna call someone else. I think Johnny had his girlfriend taking calls
 

Johnny boy

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Business phone system + phone tree to route calls + RingCentral set up to forward missed calls if your sales girl or you doesn’t pick up, forwards to answering service such as voicenation or ruby which have a sales script and can fill out web form that automatically ads them to a crm, or they can schedule appointments using a calendly that you use for scheduling quotes = 0 missed leads
 

David Fitz

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I know a lot of the guys in America use a CRM called Markate.

If you're only starting out then you won't need any phone answering service. Buy a headset or airpods and answer it yourself.

When you start out try keep costs low and put your money into finding leads and getting sales.
 
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Kevin88660

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Hello,

I'm 21 years old. After 2 years of wasting time and action faking I decided to start a home service business, specifically carpet cleaning. I will be doing hardwood, tile and upholstery as well. I chose this idea because it's pretty easy and inexpensive to start, doesn't require any special licensees or permits, and there is demand for this kind of service in my area. Also, my monthly expenses will be extremely low, so I'll get to keep most of the profit I make. I don't have any previous marketing or cleaning experience, except for running FB ads for some Chinese junk, so I'll have to learn everything from scratch. I hope this thread will be helpful for someone wanting to start a service business, and I will appreciate any advice from you.

What I have done so far:
1)Website with online booking and chat - Wordpress(divi plugin), zenbooker, tawk to. Hired a copywriter to do the content part, because my English sucks.
2)Google business profile with some pictures of my carpet being cleaned.
3)Bought cleaning equipment (175 buffer(used), oreck orbiter, good vacuum and some other stuff) - around $1000
4)Facebook business profile
5)Got a google guarantee badge which might help with getting more leads
6)Currently running a google ads campaign, $30 per day budget. I have 2 ad groups. One for exact match keywords and the other one for phrase match. Everything else is the same. Got 3 leads so far for about $15 dollars each.
7)Did 2 small carpet cleaning jobs by myself, the clients were happy with the result. They were just 1 room cleanings that took me about an hour to do. Charged $100 for each. I have my next job scheduled for next week. Missed a few clients by not answering my phone and not replying in chat. Missed a 4 bedroom house cleaning because of my full time job.

I think my main problem is that I don't have a clear USP and I'm having a hard time differentiating from the competitors. I have a good looking website with convenient online booking system and upfront pricing. My method of cleaning allows me to advertise 1 hour dry time. I have a 10% discount for new customers. But I feel like I can come up with something better, so I could justify raising my prices.

I'm tired of commuting to a shitty job every day and wasting my time there. But I'll have to keep it for some time to pay for my expenses.
Everything seems to be going well for you. You have a proven market demand that has more orders than you can fulfill, due to your full time job commitement.

At the moment you are running a one man team. This means that the amount of labor work (due to nature of your business) you can do per trip is limited and hence this puts a ceiling on revenue per trip.

You could actually increase your revenue per trip without raising your prices that could potentially affect your sale. You could think about cross selling some high end cleaning diy tool to the household during every visit.
 

savefox

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Everything seems to be going well for you. You have a proven market demand that has more orders than you can fulfill, due to your full time job commitement.

At the moment you are running a one man team. This means that the amount of labor work (due to nature of your business) you can do per trip is limited and hence this puts a ceiling on revenue per trip.

You could actually increase your revenue per trip without raising your prices that could potentially affect your sale. You could think about cross selling some high end cleaning diy tool to the household during every visit.
A lot people leave the website after spending 2-3 minutes on the booking page. Do you think that could be because I only have evening appointments available? Like 5-7pm 7-9pm.
 

savefox

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Well, obviously I'm losing some clients because of that. I guess I'll have to choose between my job and my business. Are winter months pretty slow even for cleaning businesses?
 
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Kevin88660

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Well, obviously I'm losing some clients because of that. I guess I'll have to choose between my job and my business. Are winter months pretty slow even for cleaning businesses?
I would not say marketing or sales is the issue now because you have more orders that you could fulfill.

You could give a test and put a mark up on day time slots to be opened to potential customer. Should you have a booking you could apply “emergency leave” or “I am not feeling well today” to take a day off from your day job.

You can do some calculation on how much you are making from day job and how many orders you need per week to quit your job.

It might not be too exciting at the start because it looks like switching from one role of exchanging money for time to another. But personally I would prefer to work for anything that has future upside potential than a job. There is little downside risk as the demand is consistent and at worst you are working more for less. But once you are in a business for some time you will figure out how to scale, hiring more staff or providing higher margin service for instance.
 

David Fitz

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Well, obviously I'm losing some clients because of that. I guess I'll have to choose between my job and my business. Are winter months pretty slow even for cleaning businesses?

No. Christmas will be the busiest time of the year. People like to show off their home.

Jan and Feb can be dead.
 

savefox

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Just a quick update. The business is getting a little bit of traction, I'm doing 1-2 small $100 jobs during the weekdays and 2-3 $200-300 jobs on the weekends while working full time at my first job. I'm only using Google ads now. I'm buying a van this week because renting one for each job is super time consuming. I'm gonna learn how to refinish and restore hardwood floors and offer that too.
 
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Walter Hay

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But once you are in a business for some time you will figure out how to scale, hiring more staff or providing higher margin service for instance.
Yes, and provided you are consistently making good profits you could even consider franchising your business. Service businesses are very often franchised. The franchises amount to buying a job, but there are plenty of service franchise networks that have grown to be huge businesses.

In case you do think of doing it one day, to prepare for franchising you should already start writing down in detail every part of how the business operates.

See my thread:

Rapid Scaling a business by franchising

Walter
 

savefox

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Had my first $500 day yesterday. Only worked for around 5 hours. I just need to do it 20 times per month to make 10k. The customers are happy and always leave a tip.

Just got this guy. Not having to rent a van for each job is nice
 

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