Fully Equipped for Success
Equipment and tools are key components to providing home services such as carpet and floor maintenance. The cleaning methods and equipment an owner chooses to make an investment in affect a business’ chances for success and the ease of attaining it.
The better a company’s equipment, the easier it will be to succeed. But this equipment also comes with a price tag that must be taken into account. Finding the right balance is critical.
One of the most important decisions an owner must make is deciding how much can be spent on equipment. Many items make up the expense list when launching a cleaning business, such as office expenses, insurance, marketing materials and education. By far, the two largest are the initial cost of getting customers and paying personal bills while the company is getting established.
New owners often focus most of their attention and funds on what is needed to provide the service and forget about the other sizable expenses that must be accounted for.
Why we buy the good stuff
Single-truck business owners are the primary labor source for getting the work done. Quite naturally, they desire the best equipment. Who would want equipment that was slow, unreliable and embarrassing?
Confidence: Having the best builds pride of ownership. Business owners must do many things outside of their comfort zone, so it is nice to regain some confidence in knowing you have the best equipment.
Marketing edge: Featuring state-of-the-art equipment often gives companies a boost to stand out from competitors when advertising. Having more powerful, professional-looking machinery can sometimes provide the edge that is needed.
Referrals: Consumers often don’t understand that the skill of the cleaner is the key component to getting the best results. Instead they often find it easier to credit the equipment used in the process. It is easy for them to refer a company that has the latest and most powerful equipment.
More money in less time: Efficiency is often the byproduct of more powerful equipment. Of course, it is always nice to complete work faster and easier, but increasing production speed is vitally important for companies who’ve established full work schedules.
Reliability: The more fully booked a company is, the more costly it is to have unscheduled repairs. Newer equipment generally has fewer breakdowns. Lacking confidence that your vehicle or machinery will start and work properly is a frustrating way to run a business.
Why it can be wise to wait
The simple reason all cleaners do not have the newest and most powerful equipment is that these highly desired tools cost a lot of money.
It would be great if all startups had an unlimited supply of investment funds. If that were the case, they could launch with all of the best, most expensive equipment. Unfortunately most begin with limited money, and if that gets used up before the company produces enough revenue to pay all of the bills, the business fails.
Finding the right investment balance
I have often seen owners spend most of their investment funds on great equipment only to end up with little left for all of the other startup needs. I have dealt with some who have so little remaining, they cannot afford a modest website, let alone start a marketing campaign which includes advertising expenses.
Though the benefits of costly equipment are many, the survival of the business trumps all other considerations. Survival requires sacrifice. It won’t do you any good to have the greatest tools if you don’t have any customers on which to use them or fall behind on the rent for your home.
Many successful owners started by using portable or used equipment. This may not have been the easiest or fastest way to get the job done, but in the beginning, time is generally an abundant asset. By keeping a watchful eye on the books, they were able to make their investment money last. As the business gained momentum, the owners were then able to increase the quality of equipment used.
Bear in mind that there is more to succeeding in the cleaning business than just cleaning. Running a business and getting customers are costly expenses as critical as the equipment. Discipline must dictate purchase decisions in order to keep the big picture of success in mind.
If you can afford the best equipment from the beginning, by all means, go for it. But if you have limited investment funds, you will need to find the appropriate purchasing balance for your situation.
Steve Marsh is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor and a Senior Carpet Inspector. He helps home-service companies quickly establish profitable clienteles and then progress on to serve higher quality customers. To help companies achieve these goals he created the step-by-step programs Single Truck Success and Be Competition Free. For more information, visit www.professional-carpet-cleaning-service.com.