Description of Job
• Clean carpets using professional equipment.
• Use specialized tools and chemicals for expert attention to problematic
Even with frequent vacuuming, rugs and carpets get dirty. If you have children
and pets, they get even dirtier.
Although some home centers rent out portable rug cleaners, they are generally the equivalent of a snow shovel in a world of high-powered plows and snowblowers. The best way to get a seriously dirty carpet clean is with professional
cleaning equipment and solutions.
You must learn to master the use of professional extraction systems and gain a
realistic understanding of their capabilities and limitations. Before committing to
a job, make sure you carefully inspect the carpet; make note of any existing stains
or damage, and make certain your contract agreement with the client does not
promise more than you can reasonably expect to deliver.
Take extra care with especially valuable rugs. Oriental, Persian, or antique
carpets may need to be hand-cleaned, or they may need to be processed by specialists. You may be able to act as an agent for another company for that sort of
job, collecting a commission.
Make sure that your contract agreement limits your liability for damage to
You will probably have to move furniture as part of the cleaning process;
again, take care not to accept liability for expensive antiques and collectibles—
ask the client to remove them from the room.
Know the Territory
Many professional equipment vendors offer assistance to their customers in recommending tools and techniques for tricky problems. Some of the most common
stains, such as coffee, tea, blood, and urine, are also the most difficult to remove.
You can also offer special services such as carpet protector and carpet
deodorizer for an extra charge.
How to Get Started
Place flyers and business cards at home centers, hardware stores, and community
centers. Make your services known to area interior decorators and housecleaning
services. Contact real estate agents who might be in a position to recommend
your services to someone who is selling or buying a house and to clients who rent
their house to others.
You should also place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Professional carpet cleaning machines start at about $2,000 and go up from there.
A typical package includes a power-cleaning wand or head, a powered extractor,
at least 25 feet of hose, and various manual wands, rakes, and detailing tools.
The most powerful units are usually mounted in a truck or van, with hoses
that run from the truck into the home or apartment; these machines have their own gas-powered engines, run off the vehicle’s motor, or attach to an electrical
outlet. Expect to pay about $4,000 to $5,000 for truck-mounted equipment. (That
sort of device is quicker to set up and more powerful, but may not be appropriate
for jobs on upper floors of homes or apartment houses.)
You’ll need a supply of detergents and other solutions, including pretreating
sprays, spotting kits, rinses, defoamers, deodorizers, and disinfectants.
You’ll require a van or small truck to transport your equipment and supplies;
if you use a truck-mounted system, you’ll need special equipment and hoses plus
a power source or connection to the vehicle’s engine.
How Much to Charge
You can charge by the hour or by the square footage of the carpet to be cleaned.
Be sure to take into account any especially difficult stains or unusual circumstances when giving a price or estimate.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: In dealing with your client’s property, seek to limit your liability
for damage or loss to the actual replacement value of items in your possession.
You should protect yourself against claims for sentimental value or loss of use.