How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business

If you’re looking for a profitable business idea that doesn’t require lots of experience or qualifications to get into, then starting a carpet cleaning business could be perfect for you. In this article, we’re going to be sharing exactly how to start a carpet cleaning business, and what to do to ensure that your venture is profitable.

Starting a business from scratch can feel like a very daunting prospect. There are lots of things to think about, from what equipment you will need to buy to how you market your services and find clients.

In this guide, we’ll run through everything you need to get started, whether you want to start a weekend side hustle or turn your carpet cleaning business into a full-time career!

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business

There are lots of reasons to start a carpet cleaning business. Being your own boss and being able to set your own hours is very freeing.

Aside from that, cleaning carpets is incredibly satisfying!

Working for yourself allows you the freedom to be more flexible and potentially reach financial freedom! Although there are some upfront costs involved, once it’s all set up, a carpet cleaning business can have very few outgoing costs which means it could be very profitable.

We’re going to run through how to set up your business from scratch, including the legal side of it. We’ll also talk about the equipment you will need, and the business expenses you will need to cover.

After this, we’ll walk you through how to market your business to find new clients, and how to keep track of clients and manage your business finances.

After reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need to set up your new carpet cleaning business.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business?

Most businesses have some start-up costs, but in-person service-based businesses tend to require a little more capital upfront.

There is quite a bit of equipment that you will need to buy to start your carpet cleaning business. However, once you’ve paid for these upfront costs, the running costs are much lower. And of course, you’ll be bringing in revenue to cover it!

The main things you will need are:

  • A good quality carpet cleaning machine is essential (we’ll cover some of the best options below).
  • Cleaning chemicals, like carpet shampoo, to treat the fabric.
  • Protective clothing. This could be work pants and a t-shirt with your business logo on, or overalls.
  • Business insurance and licenses. You need general liability insurance to cover you if you accidentally damage someone’s carpet or they injure themselves on your equipment.
  • Equipment insurance. Carpet cleaning machines can get quite expensive, so it’s important to have insurance for your equipment in case of any issues.
  • Transport. You will need a vehicle that’s large enough to carry all of your equipment. This might mean you need to buy a car or van specifically for your business.
  • Marketing costs. Aside from social media and managing your own website, you might also want to run some paid ads. You may also want to have some posters or flyers printed.

Compared to other business types, the start-up costs of a carpet cleaning business are relatively low.

Since you visit your customer’s homes to provide your services, you won’t need any business premises.

That being said, as your business grows and you start to employ a team you may want to rent a small office space if you can’t run the business from your home.

Choosing the Best Carpet Cleaning Machine

Choosing the right carpet cleaning equipment for your business is key to making sure you satisfy your customers. It’s important to do plenty of research to ensure you choose the right machine for your needs.

Bissell is one of the most popular professional carpet cleaning brands. Bissell offers a range of carpet cleaners in different sizes to suit what you plan to do.

If you’re planning for your carpet cleaning business to be a side hustle then a small machine would be best for you.

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business : Image of Bissell Carpet Cleaner

The Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner is a great all-rounder. At a medium-size, it’s good for both side hustles and full-time businesses.

It’s a top-of-the-range machine with excellent reviews. You can use it to clean:

  • Stairs
  • Carpet
  • Upholstery cleaning
  • Hard-to-clean areas
  • Tough Stains and Pet Hair

There are lots of different carpet cleaning machines on the market, but Bissell has an excellent reputation and this machine is a great all-rounder.

How Much Money Can You Make With a Carpet Cleaning Business?

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business

The great thing about running your own carpet cleaning company is that you’re in complete control of your earnings. The carpet cleaning industry is very lucrative, even when you’re just starting out.

You need to calculate your expenses and research the average price in your local area to give you an idea of what to charge.

Having said that, if you can work fast and you’re willing to put the hours in then you could potentially make a sizable profit.

Most carpet cleaning companies charge between $0.20 and $0.40 per square foot. This means you could earn between $38.40 and $76.80 for cleaning a medium-sized 12′ x 16′ living room. This could take around 20-30 minutes if the room is already clear.

Stairs are usually charged separately at a price of between $2 – $3 per step.

You can also charge for extras such as:

  • Heavy Stains
  • Moving furniture
  • Steam cleaning
  • Upholstery cleaning
  • Commercial carpet cleaning

In addition to charging per square foot, you can also charge by the hour, or charge a flat fee per room.

If you know that you can do an excellent job in a short amount of time then charging a flat fee will usually be the most profitable option for you.

Once you have built up a customer base, you may want to consider hiring an assistant to work with you. This will allow you to clean more carpets in a shorter amount of time which will maximize your profits.

Over time your assistant may be able to work on their own, and you can train someone new. Doing this will eventually mean that you don’t have to do any cleaning yourself, giving you a profitable hands-off business.

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business – Step-By-Step

When you go to the expense and effort of setting up a carpet cleaning business you need to make sure that you’ve done everything properly.

You will need to make sure your business is legitimate and marketed correctly to reach your ideal customers. There’s a lot to consider, so we’ve broken it down for you to make it easier.

Create a website

Having a professional-looking website is key for any carpet cleaning business owner. Many people fall into the trap of paying a web designer which could potentially cost you thousands of dollars. The good news it’s surprisingly easy to build and manage your website yourself. 

Even if you’re a complete beginner!

The easiest and most affordable way to start a website for your carpet cleaning business is to use WordPress.

First, you will need to purchase web hosting. You can get this with Bluehost for just $2.95/month.

Once you have your hosting, you can sign in to your Bluehost account and download WordPress. WordPress is completely free and very easy to use.

Finally, you will need to choose a theme for your WordPress website. WordPress themes are templates that enable you to create a beautiful website in minutes.

Some of the easiest WordPress themes include:

After you have installed your theme, you can add the content to your website. Pages you might want to add could include:

  • About Page
  • Services
  • Pricing
  • Testimonials and Reviews
  • Blog

Having a blog on your website is a great way to attract new business.

A blog can help you to bring in new passive income ideas and streams. You can recommend cleaning products to your clients, and earn commission through the Amazon Associates program.

Find out more about how the Amazon Associates program works in our Amazon affiliate program review.

Aside from generating extra revenue for your carpet cleaning business, having a blog can help with your SEO. This in turn can help you to grow your customer base, as people find your business organically online.


Branding is a key part of running a successful business. Having strong branding that reflects the values and ethics of your business is essential for building trust with new customers.

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If your branding is memorable, your business will be at the forefront of your customer’s minds next time they need to use a carpet cleaning service.

You need to choose a name for your business, then create a logo and choose brand colors. Once you have these in place, building your website will be much easier.

When you think of a name, try to consider what’s important to your business. Some examples could include:

  • (Your Name)’s Professional Carpet Cleaning Services
  • Fresh Carpet Cleaning
  • Magic Carpet Cleaning
  • (Your City) Carpet Cleaning

You can just use your name, but including your location in the name will help your customers to find you.

Your logo should be relevant to the services you offer. Take a look at competitor logos to inspire you.

Finally, choose your brand color(s). This could simply be your favorite color or a color that you think will make your logo stand out on a page.

This branding should then be used on your stationery, in your logo, and on your website (either the full page or accents like changing the color of menu buttons to be on-brand).

Registering Your Business

As soon as you are ready to start offering your carpet cleaning services, you will need to register your business. There are a variety of different business structures to choose from depending on your needs.

The most popular types of business structure are:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporations
  • S Corporation

Each of these has its own benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your business. If you are just starting your business as a weekend side hustle, then sole proprietorship will probably be best.

On the other hand, if you want to go full-time with your carpet cleaning business and hire employees, then you will most likely need to register your company as an LLC.

Depending on where you are based, you may also need to obtain a business license or permit to trade. Make sure you check with your state whether you need this before you start providing your services.

How Much to Charge?

One of the most important things to consider when setting up your carpet cleaning business is how much you will charge.

As we mentioned above, most carpet cleaning companies charge between $0.20 and $0.40 per square foot. However, to decide what you should charge while staying competitive, there are a few things you should take into account.

The first thing you need to do is work out your expenses. Start by calculating your setup costs and how quickly you would like to make that money back.

Next, you need to consider your ongoing costs; this will include:

  • Maintenance of cleaning equipment
  • Carpet cleaning solution and other cleaning supplies
  • Transport costs
  • Marketing materials

Anything on top of this is profit, so work out how much you need to pay yourself to live comfortably.

The easiest thing to do is add all of the expenses you expect to encounter each month (including your salary) and divide this total by the number of hours you want to work. This will give you what you need to make per hour.

Knowing what you need to make per hour is helpful, but you don’t have to be paid hourly. There are several ways that you can charge your customers. You could charge by square footage instead of by time, or you could charge a flat fee for the job.

How to Market Your Carpet Cleaning Business

There are lots of ways to market your carpet cleaning business. Some are free, and others cost money but are a worthy investment.

Free marketing ideas include:

  • Social media
  • Facebook groups
  • YouTube
  • Blogging

All of these marketing ideas can help you grow your audience online. You can share before and after pictures of your work, as well as videos. This helps potential customers understand the value of what you are offering.

Email marketing is also an excellent way to market your carpet cleaning business. It has a huge ROI of $42 for every $1 spent, and there are lots of great tools like ConvertKit that have a completely free plan available.

Email marketing enables you to keep in touch with your customers about special offers. Making sure your business stays at the forefront of your customers’ minds is key to building a loyal base of repeat customers.

Carpet cleaning is something that everyone needs, so you should also consider offline advertising to target people who don’t use social media. 

This could include:

  • Radio advertising
  • Local newspaper ads
  • Posters and Flyers
  • Sponsoring local events

You can easily create flyers yourself on Canva, or get a graphic designer to create one for you on Fiverr.

Managing Your Business 

Once your business starts to take off you will need to think about how to keep track of everything. This can include keeping in touch with your customers as well as tracking your finances.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps you to keep in touch with your customers and safely store their information.

For a small business, HubSpot CRM is a great option. There’s a free plan for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and you can upgrade as your business grows.

You should also consider how you’re going to manage your business finances.

If your business isn’t very busy at the start then you could manage your own finances in a spreadsheet.

If you struggle with numbers or your business is getting busier then opting for online accounting software like FreshBooks is the best option for you. This software will help you to keep track of your business finances throughout the year and enable you to easily invoice your customers.

The Pros and Cons of Running a Carpet Cleaning Business

There are lots of things to think about when planning to start a carpet cleaning business. As with all businesses, there are pros as well as cons. It’s important to think about each of these to see if there are any cons that would be a dealbreaker for you.


  • The flexibility of working for yourself
  • High earning potential
  • Physical work keeps you fit and active
  • You can meet lots of new people
  • You can work somewhere new every day
  • It’s a low-cost business with high-profit margins
  • You don’t need any specific qualifications


  • Initial set up costs can be high
  • There is a lot to learn about how to clean carpets and operate the machinery
  • You could end up dirty and potentially wet
  • You’re responsible for finding new clients all the time

How to Start a Carpet Cleaning Business: Should You Do It?

Now that you know exactly how to start a carpet cleaning business, you need to think carefully about whether it’s the right option for you.

So, should you start a carpet cleaning business? In all honesty, it depends on how you feel and how much work and money you’re willing to put in.

Carpet cleaning is a physically demanding job. The machinery is heavy and you’ll be spending a lot of your day moving your equipment around and potentially repeatedly bending down. You need to be healthy, strong, and active.

Carpet cleaning can be a lucrative business venture, but some upfront investment is required. This means that you might need to either take out a loan or save up some money from your day job before launching.

The machinery will be anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to buy new. However, you could look for a second-hand machine on Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

Starting a carpet cleaning business is expensive and the day-to-day work will be hard and physical. You will also need to create a brand, market your business and keep on top of all of the legal admin work that comes with owning a business.

Having said that, if you’re willing to invest and put in the work then owning a carpet cleaning business can not only be lucrative but also rewarding. You will get to earn money on your own terms, stay active, and meet lots of new and interesting people on the way.

If you think that you are fit enough to handle the physically demanding work, and you’re happy to handle the admin or hire someone to do it for you then you should absolutely set up a carpet cleaning business!

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