Many people choose to take the plunge and become their own boss. Starting a carpet cleaning business in the UK is a choice which a surprising number of these people make – especially if they have any related experience.

After all, carpets can be found in almost every home, commercial or even industrial property from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. That’s a whole lot of potential customers.

But how much can you make owning a carpet cleaning business? Do you need a license? How difficult is it to get started?

And is all the effort of investing in the equipment, training yourself and finding the customers you need for a steady income worth it? Or might there be a better option?

Let’s find out:

Table of Content
Table of Contents:

Is owning a carpet cleaning business profitable?

Starting a carpet cleaning business does require a certain amount of initial investment. You need to buy the equipment, training, transportation and so on.

But after this, a carpet cleaning business is indeed profitable. Only around 5% of your income needs to be spent on the necessary cleaning supplies. Of course, you may still need to spend money on fuel and marketing.

Yet that’s still approaching a 90-95% profit from the work you do. The average carpet cleaner reportedly earns around £60 to £120 per person, per vehicle.

That’s a fairly hefty take-home for a job which lets you be your own boss.

How much to start a carpet cleaning business (in terms of money)?

If you’re starting your own carpet cleaning business in your own name, you will need to invest in, at minimum, the equipment and training. Some very approximate figures for this might be:

  1. Carpet cleaning machine – somewhere from £1000 (for a second-hand machine) to £3000 or more for a high-quality new one. There are also truck-mounted units which are significantly more expensive. You probably won’t want to start with one of those though.
  2. Training – many carpet cleaning product manufacturers provide certified training courses. One of these will set you back somewhere between £100 to £300 per person.
  3. Vehicle – if you don’t already have a vehicle, you will almost certainly need to buy one.

You won’t need much more besides a home office space and somewhere to park your vehicle. It’s worth remembering that you can then claim a fuel allowance and a portion of your telephone, energy and internet bills against your income when it comes time to pay your taxes.

What you need to start a carpet cleaning business

Right, let’s get down to specifics. What are you going to actually need to start a carpet cleaning business?

1) Learn how to clean carpets

Okay, we might be starting with the real basics here. But if you don’t already have experience in the industry, you need to know how to clean a carpet and do it well.

Because your new business is going to be resting on the quality of service which you can provide. If you can’t clean a carpet at least as well as your competitors, your customers are not going to call you back – and you’re not going to be able to generate the good reviews you need.

If you’re going into business for yourself, a carpet cleaning basics course will usually cost you somewhere from £100 to £300 and should last for one or two days.

Some manufacturers offer courses as essentially product demos for their equipment, which they then encourage you to buy (though you don’t have to). This can be a good way to try these products out at the same time.

2 Buy the equipment

Choosing the right carpet cleaning equipment is a job in itself. You’ll soon see that there is a huge variety of even the main type of cleaner you’ll need available. Making the right choice is often a challenge. Be on the lookout for a machine which is:

  • A portable wet carpet cleaning machine, preferably a twin vac type
  • 100 psi pump minimum
  • Fitted with a wand (you might also prefer a basic walk-behind model, but the wand is usually a better choice)
  • Fitted with a hose of at least 15 metres length
  • If you’re going to offer upholstery cleaning too, you’ll need a hand tool

You will also need:

  • A commercial-grade vacuum cleaner
  • A sprayer for your chemicals (of the pump up variety)
  • Carpet brushes (and an upholstery brush if you’re intending on offering that)
  • Some buckets and towels

On top of this, don’t forget that you will also need to choose the right carpet cleaning solutions, meaning things like:

  • Pre-sprays
  • Acidic rinses
  • Deodorisers
  • Stain removers
  • Other accessories

Prochem offers some of the best in the business. But there are also other reputable manufacturers, including Truvox and Craftex.

3) Get a vehicle

If you already have a car with a decent amount of space inside, you might be able to use it as a work vehicle to begin with.

It’s not as professional as turning up in a fully branded van. But it might get you by if you can’t invest any more at this stage.

Ideally, you will want something that’s at least a spacious hatchback to begin with and move onto a van with your own branding on the side as soon as possible.

4) Start finding customers

This is the real trick when you’re starting your own carpet cleaning business in the UK. Despite the fact that there is a large waiting audience for your services, there is also quite a bit of competition in many areas.

You can start trying to attract customers in a wide range of ways:

  • Get a website – no reputable business these days is without one.
  • Get on social media – set up a business profile on Facebook at minimum and start making friends with local groups and people.
  • Consider SEO and paid ads – consider investing in good SEO and even paid ads to find customers online.
  • Create paper advertising – the internet might be the best way to find new customers these days. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook leaflet drops – especially if you can manage to include special deals and offers. Don’t forget posters or newspaper ads either.
  • Reach out to property owners and managers – letting agents, landlord groups, tenant associations, property management companies – there are plenty of groups out there who need good carpet cleaners.
  • Approach local firms – start off with an email or letter and then follow up with an in-person visit to local business owners.
  • Find local partners – there will be numerous other service providers in the local area – we’re talking window cleaners, gutter cleaners, handymen and builders – who offer the kind of services people might book at the same time as carpet cleaning. Reach out to find local partners who might be prepared to recommend you in exchange for you recommending them.

In general, in all areas of service delivery, you really want to aim to go above and beyond with your customers. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of any carpet cleaning company. The more the same people use your services, the more they recommend you to their friends and the more they leave positive reviews of what you offer online.

Do carpet cleaners need a license?

Carpet cleaners in the UK do not need a license. That said, anything you can do to convince your clients that you are a reliable choice is a good thing.

If you choose to become part of a franchise, that won’t be a problem. Part of the reason so many new carpet cleaners go down this route is to access the brand name which will make new customers trust them.

If you’re starting your own solo business though, it can be a little more challenging to convince prospective clients to trust you. It’s worth noting that you can get reputable training and certification from the IICRC (the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).

How do you price carpet cleaning services?

Pricing your carpet cleaning services is another challenging aspect of going into the business on your own. Don’t forget that there are many elements which will factor into this decision on a case by case basis:

  • Size of the carpet or number of rooms
  • Location of the carpets
  • Carpet condition, including stains and marks
  • Presence of pets
  • Presence of students or large shared house

Average carpet cleaning service prices range from £20 or £50 per room depending on size. Ideally, you will want to aim to clean more than a single room in a house in order to make things cost-effective.

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Starting your own carpet cleaning business in the UK – your options

Of course, there is an easier way than doing everything alone:

Opt for a Fantastic Services franchise and get all of the training, equipment-selection guidance, marketing and even a steady stream of customers via our on-demand GoFantastic booking app and other marketing we do on your behalf.

Talk to one of our experts today. There’s no commitment. Just all the information you need to decide whether a franchise is the right choice for you.

  • Last update: November 18, 2020

Posted in Advice Hub