Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Should You be a Rug Washer

In response to one of my most popular blog posts

Four Steps to Building a Rug Cleaning Business

I got a great question on FaceBook: I was so pleased that I edited my response and decided to post it here.
The prestigious Red Dragon Rug Spa in England

From a Reader:
Start up costs the way your article describes bare minimum tools needed, seems extremely practical. My concern would be can I handle it, am I diversifying my business. Trading other sales dollars for rug dollars but getting nowhere.
I guess my real question is who should not get in the rug cleaning business?

My Reply slightly edited:

I find that some guys see the money but there has to be more. It takes passion to win at this.

The No Risk Approach

One possibility is to find a quality cleaner that you can sub your work. Then you offer it to your customers and start building your rug business. At a certain point you may decide it is not worth it for you or you may decide it is worth taking a class like Doug Heiferman offers so that you can start to clean some of the easier rugs from the ones you are subbing. Over time you move from subbing all to cleaning all if it works for you.
How long can you keep doing carpets, do you have the money for retirement

Are you thinking about the future

We often see guys in their 50s who realize that the old body is not 25 anymore and they want something that pays well but is not as physically taxing. A big part of it is guys want control over when they work and where they work. I hear comments like they are tired of fighting heavy equipment in and out of houses and up and down stairs. With Rug washing you are in Control.
More tile, hardwood, composite, slate, granite, etc...

Less wall to wall

Another factor is there is less wall to wall carpet being installed today. But there are more area rugs. Cleaners tell me that they go into a home to clean one or two rooms and walk by 10 rugs. Not to mention Carpet Cleaners chasing a smaller number of dollars.

You can not afford to work as cheap as some of your competition and you don't want to either.

Add to this it is easy for a Rug Washer to sell Carpet Cleaning. But it is much more difficult and lower paying for a Carpet Cleaner to sell rug washing as a sideline. In Academy of Oriental Rugs research customers tend to feel if you can clean a Persian rug you can handle any cleaning job better. But if you are a Carpet Cleaner they tend to trust you less and they want to beat you up on price.
Another point is multi-truck operators get tired of hiring and firing and all the time wondering what some yahoo may do in someone's home or even if he is going to show up on time.

Oriental Rugs are not for everybody
But some guys are best suited to be Carpet Cleaning and rugs are not their thing and that is OK too. It is your choice and your future, you decide.

I got a great response from a well known Rug Cleaner Josh Bass:
“Barry O'Connell isn't it funny... Clean 4 bedrooms, LR, DR , FR of w2w and charge 350 or clean 1 rug 9x12.”