Straight Talk: Starting a Rug Cleaning Business [Video]


NORTHBROOK, Ill.—May 12, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, rug cleaning experts discuss how to be successful in the rug cleaning industry, including tips for getting started, costs and considerations, finding customers, education, and more. Many carpet cleaners may consider adding rug washing as a service, but what does it really take to get into this aspect of the business and be successful? Tom Monahan, co-founder and owner of Centrum Force, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Robert Mann, owner of Robert Mann Rugs in Denver, Colorado; and Randy Hyde, owner of Renaissance Oriental Rug Cleaning in Portland Oregon share their experiences and answer your questions in this 2-part edition of Straight Talk. Here are some highlights:

What do companies not do that they should do when starting out?

Mann says those new to the industry need to be committed to education—reading and taking classes to truly learn the industry. Hyde adds that organization is important and says, “Don’t treat your rug cleaning business like it’s part of your carpet cleaning business because it’s different.”

Can you do rug cleaning on the cheap?

Hyde says cleaners can start small with less expensive equipment, but it comes at the cost of time and labor. Ultimately, you will be limited by the equipment you have and may struggle to scale your business and become more profitable until you are able to invest in more efficient equipment.

How do you market to the right demographic?

Mann advises that before even starting the business, cleaners should do research on the potential pool of customers by looking at zip codes and home prices. Specialized rug cleaning services are marketed to wealthier clients, so it’s important to ensure the demographic in your area would support a rug cleaning operation. Monahan suggests that towns with universities, medical centers, and professional businesses are also good candidates for a successful business.

Watch Part 1 of this episode of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross below.


Part 2

In Part 2 of Straight Talk with Rug Cleaning Experts, Hyde, Monahan, and Mann answer questions submitted by industry members, including how much you really need to know about rug cleaning to run a successful business and whether you should clean the rugs yourself, have your employees do the labor, or subcontract out certain types of jobs. Additionally, our experts share a little about their own beginnings along with some advice about the space and capital required to start and grow a successful business. Here are a few highlights:

Can you start a rug washing business at home?

Both Mann and Monahan did start their businesses at home, but it’s challenging. Hyde says that rug washing requires a good deal of space, and even if you can make it work at home in a garage, you will likely spend a lot of time maneuvering the equipment around, so having a dedicated space with a functional layout becomes important if you want to do a significant volume of business. As for what type of location is needed, Mann says that a visible location is expensive and not necessary. He suggests choosing an industrial location with high ceilings and plenty of space and power to create an efficient operation with the right equipment.

How much does it cost to start a rug washing business?

The experts agree that it’s possible to get started for $10,000 to $20,000 for something very small and limited, but if you want room to grow and scale, those numbers can go up very quickly. Monahan says it’s important to know where you’re headed and what you want out of the business before you start so that you can invest accordingly.

What would you do different if you could do it over again?

Hyde and Mann both said they would invest more in their businesses sooner, such as buying the equipment or real estate needed to scale their business. “I would have taken bigger risks sooner, spent more money sooner, bought more real estate,” said Mann. “Rug washing doesn’t necessarily provide such a fantastic source of revenue whereas over the long run, investing in equipment, real estate, and people will pay you back.” Monahan agrees that strategically placing your rug plant can mean that the real estate investment itself becomes your retirement plan more than selling the rug washing business.

For more rug washing business tips, watch Part 2 of this episode of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross below, and find more Straight Talk episodes on Take part in the engaging online conversations on industry topics by joining the Straight Talk Facebook group today.


Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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