Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business and Choosing the Best Portable Carpet Extractor
The carpet cleaning business continues to expand rapidly across America. Independents and franchisees are growing by large numbers. Carpet cleaning companies are cleaning carpet, tile & grout, boats, automobiles, furniture, drapes, walls, carpet dyeing and much more. Some specialized carpet cleaning companies have even branched out into the lucrative duct cleaning business and water restoration business. Although the residential carpet cleaning business is large, even larger is the commercial opportunity. Although running a commercial driven carpet cleaning business might require more equipment and might not be able to be run out of your home the opportunities are large. Hospitals, office buildings, hotels, warehouse facilities, retail outlets, restaurants, apartment complex common area’s, club houses and much more all need this service more than once a year.
It is because of this fast growing business that there are dozens of manufactures of carpet extractors to choose from. Over $100,000,000 in carpet extractors was sold in 2008! With this huge opportunity getting started requires choosing the best machine possible for your budget to begin. It is important to determine how much machine you would like. There are machines that do both carpet and tile & grout, though if you’re going to be cleaning mostly cars or lugging this machine up stairs often it may not be a machine you’d want because of its weight. The following is a quick summary of the different features to look for when choosing a portable extractor:
- PSI – There are extractors that go from 50 psi – 1200 psi. If you plan to do mostly residential homes and upholstery having a machine that does is between 50-250 psi is usually sufficient. Too much pressure and you’ll get the common compliant that you’re leaving the carpet to wet buy homeowners. When cleaning upholstery typically you’ll only be at 50 psi and for most residential carpets you’ll be either at 100 or 200 psi. If you plan on doing a lot of tile and grout you’ll want high pressure of 1200.
- Heat vs. No Heat – Hot water does assist in the cleaning process. It will help in breaking down the oil and debris in the carpet. Soil in the fibers typically will extract easily with no heat, though the oil in the fibers of a carpet are more easily extracted with heat. Heat will speed up the process, though with no heat agitating the carpet before will assist or a higher PSI will also assist in extracting without heat. The labor cost if running crews is much lower using heat than using only a cold extractor. Another option is pouring hot water in the extractor and pre-spraying before hand. The downside to heat is you’ll be using more electricity and risk tripping the breaker with some machines.
- Tank Size – The bigger the tank the less stopping to refill when cleaning. If you’re going to be doing a lot of automobiles and upholstery a 3-6 gallon should be ok, though if you’re doing a lot of rooms you’ll want a larger tank.
- Weight & Size – Remember you’ll need to load the machine in a truck or van. Some machines are terribly heavy, while others aren’t.
- CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) – This is the air flow which will assist in the drying time for the carpets
- H20 Lift – This is how much the lift is for pulling back up the water that’s been released into the carpet. The more you lift the dryer you’ll leave the carpet. A good balance between lift and CFM tends to be better.
- Look for attachments you’ll need. Most portable carpet extractors aren’t sold as packages so you’ll want to make sure to purchase the vacuum & solution hose, wands, upholstery tool and crevice if needed. Packages are put together occasionally so make sure to check.
In conclusion it is essential to choose the best machine for your budget when starting a cleaning business. The better the machine the greater the saving are in time spent at each job site and quality that your customers will receive. Good Luck and always feel free to visit us online and chat with a personal account manager with further questions.