How to start a carpet cleaning business

Photo of whats needed

Kit needed to start and run your business

In 2004 I received advice on how to start my own carpet cleaning business, and it is the best thing i have ever done .

If you want to know anything then ask in the comments and I will answer the questions , anything from what machinery to advertising, stain removal .

This is a better way as we all have different needs, so ask away and I will reply, could you also if you have time please Like my facebook page and share it keeps the karma going  ,Thanks

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The first thing you need to decide is how much you have to set up, probably between £1000 to  £3000 or higher if you start with a Truckmount  which can be upto £30,000 .


A large hatchback is adequate to start with if you are on a low budget, as you gain experience and a client group you will then move onto a van which we give you confidence and display a professional look to your customers, this can also be sign written and bring in a steady stream of work.


This will be determined by your budget but as a minimum I would purchase

Heres whats in My Barnsley and wakefield carpet cleaning  Van

  • A twin vac portable with at least 100  psi pump with a wand and 50 ft of hose,so and a hand tool for upholstery work.
Hot water extraction carpet cleaner

This is the first Machine I started with .

  • Slow speed rotary machine less than 200 rpm
  • Pump up sprayer for your chemicals
  • Carpet brush, upholstery brush
  • High PH and wool safe carpet and upholstery cleaning solutions , various spotting solutions wool solutions
  • 2 buckets, a pile of terry towels
  • A commercial hoover
    Vacuum cleaner

    This is a essential part of carpet cleaning

All this will cost us about £1000 to £3000 depending if you buy new or second hand


I would recommend going on a   Solutions  basic carpet and upholstery cleaning course about £200 to £300
Solutions Training

Links to Machine and chemical suppliers 

World of Clean

Next try and contact a carpet cleaner at least 50 miles from you and ask them if you can spend the day with them.

When you find a carpet cleaner make sure you get on with them as the are a invaluable resource for advice.

Getting work

Here’s a list of ways I have used

  • recommendations
  • Leaflets
  • Internet
  • Newspaper ads
  • Do friends for free to get some practise
  • Door knocking
  • Emails
  • Telephone
  • Facebook
  • Website
  • Tumbler
  • wordpress blog
  • Sign written vans , cars
  • Letters to commercial firms,then follow up with a visit
  • Free listings
  • Join carpet cleaning forums  
  • Networking
  • Posters
  • Facebook

Here is a update on New training dates 

Training Courses – October  12th, 13th 14th and 15th 2015

It can’t be difficult. It’s only cleaning…

These are words we’ve heard so often, from both the public and from many new entrants to our own industry.

Carpet and upholstery cleaning is fraught with very expensive pitfalls for the unwary. Without the right training, recognising the issues of cleaning, for example, a woven, wool pile Axminster as opposed to a tufted polypropylene carpet could turn out to be a very expensive example of ignorance and neglect.

Our industry is forever changing. What was once Best Practice may not now be compatible with many more recent developments in dye and fibre technology, cleaning solution chemistry or carpet and fabric construction.

Whether a seasoned, experienced technician or a new entrant to our specialised sector of textile cleaning, knowledge, understanding and skills are vital tools for the true professional.

On the Solution Carpet, Upholstery and Specialist Spot And Stain Removal Training Courses, not only do we teach you the theoretical side of carpet, fabrics and cleaning technologies, we also schedule into each and every day hours of hands-on-the-tools practical experience, a vital element missing from many of our competitors’ training programmes.

Although our courses are structured in a way to make learning easy and enjoyable, it is inevitable that, for some, there will be aspects that require a little extra clarification.

Places are strictly limited to make sure courses are not too full and that we can spend the correct amount of time with each delegate. So if you would like to book a place do it now to avoid disappointment.

For more information and to book a place please call 01209 204343the Jaguar machines, and the new I-Xtreme first hand. For those attending all three courses discounts are available plus the addition if required of an Free open workshop on the Friday morning.

The courses will feature both technical and hands on training and will be presented by the well respected Ken Wainwright and Nick Robertson-Vousden.

All courses feature the following:

  • Introduction
  • Practical demo’s from beginning to end
  • Solution cleaning chemicals and solutions
  • Carpet types
  • Fibre identification
  • Chemical types
  • pH
  • Product application techniques
  • And much more…

To read more on each course:

2 Day Carpet Cleaning Course

1 Day Upholstery Cleaning Course

1 Day Specialist Spot & Stain Course

Register as self employed

for help and advice ring me  (Neil) on 01226891577

Carpet cleaning companies

Links to carpet cleaners I recommend

Gryffindor carpet cleaning

Based in Wimbledon Dean covers all south London for carpet and upholstery cleaning

Tunnys Rotherham 

Citrussteam is a Newly formed company based in Oswestery , Alan Irving the owner operator has completed training at solutions in Cornwall and has passed for membership off the Ncca .

Citrussteam is a Truck-mounted business that offers Carpet cleaning as well as upholstery ,rugs and Tile and grout cleaning .

Alan also provides a commercial cleaning service for any doctors surgeries ,offices call centres pubs any large or small commercial buildings that have carpets or hard floors .


If You live in Sheffield and are looking for your carpet cleaning or a end of tenancy clean then look no further than Supreme Clean Sheffield or Chesterfield , Steven who owns and runs supreme clean has the highest Google 5 star ratings for all of Sheffield

52 responses to “How to start a carpet cleaning business

  1. Hi im going on the carpet cleaning course with the ncca next week im in the middle of setting up in buisness as a cleaning buisness and carpet cleaning will be part of the buisness once ive completed the course will I be able to go out to clean carpets after completing the course.


  2. Hello, just wondering if a rug doctor with upholstery tool is a good enough machine to start up with? Many thanks steph.


  3. Hi neil
    I am considering starting a carpet and upholstery cleaning business but would also like to do a course but can’t find anything where I stay which is in capetown. I am employed but would like do this as a second income I am also an electrician


  4. Hello myself and my husband are hoping to start a carpet cleaning business this year.he has booked on a professional training course at the end of march (as suggested above). However it would be helpful if he could shadow someone who is doing the job like you sugessted . i wondered would you be open to the idea of my husband coming to spend some time with you? We are based in merseyside so not in your area.


  5. Hi I just want to start my cleaning company starting in household cleaning couches and so on I just want to know how to go about it. I’m in South Africa


  6. Hi Neil,
    Just wondering if a Jaguar Cub machine would be good enough to start up the business with? Also is it only the HMRC I got to register the business with?



  7. Hi Neil,

    That’s a great guide! Honestly I know everything you mentioned about except one thing. Is it necessary to do a course? Is it like
    without it you can not open business?. I am asking because I have big experience in this
    area so it seems to be useless. However surely I might catch up important or new tricks etc. ???
    Apologies for any mistakes. Written from phone.


  8. Hi Neil, great info btw!
    I am considering setting up a carpet cleaning business and have a friend who is moving on to pastures new and has offered me his gear as follows;
    Powr-Flite PFX1085Eph-2 starter package
    1 x extra hose length
    2 x turbo driers
    1 x dri master hand tool
    stain removal kit
    1 x backpack sprayer
    1 x envirodri gen 4 carpet brush
    All the chemicals i’d need for a long while
    Plenty of training and advice over phone if req.
    Loads of training manuals etc.

    He’s open to offers but i really don’t know where to start. I’ve looked on forums for the cleaner and second hand values but still not sure. Can you shed any light on this setup? Good or bad? It’s also about 6 years old.
    Thanks in advance for any advice you could give.


  9. Angela Fletcher

    Hi Neil,
    How wonderful to find a site like this supporting new start up businesses. My son has recently started up a new carpet cleaning business in the Greater Manchester area. He’s bought an Alltec pro, looks very similar to your first machine. He’s done the NCCA course and just enrolled for the Advanced Spot & Stain course in June & got tickets for the TACCA event in June. He heavily discounted jobs for friends & family to get some practice. We’re promoting him via a Facebook page (KLEANER HOLMES – check it out!). We’ve got flyers and either done a drop around local housing estates, left them with tradesmen and local businesses). However, business seems slow on the uptake and I was wondering if there are any other hints or tips you have for building a customer base?


    • Hi Angela

      I try to help new carpet cleaners as much as I can as thats how I started .
      Your son has done all the right things so far , when he goes on The Tacca day he should network as much as possible , there will be a large number of very informed cleaners there , who will be only to willing to help a new starter.

      The best way I found to get work coming in was leafleting its hard work but does pay off if you are willing to engage people you will get 1 job per thousand, fb is good but the fan page is limited now to how many people will see it share articles ,and again engage facebookers .

      On your facebook page I would put more pictures , and a picture of the owner ,people ring and ask for me as i have my pic and name on all my sites a contact email address and a local landline , I have both and 9 times out of 10 people ring the landline.
      Get a website they are cheap if you do it yourself ,once you have that you can use google Adwords to send people to your site .

      I just searched carpet cleaners manchester and google returned 636,000 related pages so there is stiff competition out there Rochdale it was 39,000 I would concentrate on being the best carpet cleaner in Rochdale get on netmums “BE EVERYWHERE”

      As Martin Riley said to me ” A business is like a jet plane ,it needs full thrust at the start to take off”

      Good luck hope that helps



  10. Angela Fletcher

    Thanks for the advice Neil, great idea about adding a picture of Lewis! We’ve just paid about £30 to have a pro make an ad for him and about £140 to include the ad in a local business advertisingmag which gets distributed to about 7,000 homes. I’ll show him your comments about leflet dropping because I think he’s had some conflicting advice about that 👍. thanks again and keep up the great work😀


  11. Terrence Miller

    Hi, great advice and info!
    Looking at the list of equipment you suggest for a new start, are there any websites you would recommend to buy this equipment from?


    • Hi Terrence

      I would buy my equipment from the nearest large supplier , that way you will build a relationship with them and they will be able to fix problems fast and give you good local advice. The main ones are Prochem , ashbys, solutions,Hydramaster and my favorite for service, advice and good quality machines and tools is Alltec in Royston Hertfordshire .


  12. Hi Neil

    Like most people posting comments here, I’m thinking of starting this type of business, in conjunction with pressure washing, gutter and window cleaning.
    I do have a couple of mates that run a carpet showroom/fitting business, and I mentioned it to them. They’re response was “a lot of hard work for little return”. As I don’t really know who else to ask, I saw you’re forum, so thought I’d ask you, but I think I know what you’re answer will be in response to theirs!
    I am already employed, but I have wanted to do something like this for a while, and I think it could run alongside my job nicely as I work shifts. What’s you’re opinion on that?
    Regarding equipment, I was looking at the CFR Eco 500, sold by Amtech UK. Do you know much about it?



    • Andy

      I think you have a good business plan , the CFR Eco 500 is more than adequate to start with , I would add to that a slow speed rotary so that you can do low profile commercial jobs and use for agitation , As for no money in it the first person I learnt from over 15 years ago turned over £100,000 in his first year I think his profit was about £40,000 but increased as his business became established.

      The only problem with carpet cleaning is you have to market for new customers so living near a large city like wakefield ,Barnsley and leeds like I do helps.
      window cleaning will keep regular money coming in ,try to keep the carpet cleaning separate if you can as you will achieve a higher price and be perceived more as a expert , than a jack of all trades

      I I started the same way you are going to and it worked well but you soon run out of time and end up fed up of working all the time.

      Go for it Andy you have nothing to lose second hand machines sell well on ebay ,I got one last month paid £1000 for £3000 machine and equipment as she jumped in to fast and didn’t like it , so its always worth having a look on ebay you want a twin vac 135 -500 psi machine with heater or a separate instant heater rotary low speed 175 rpm


  13. Hi Neil

    Thanks for the response. Since first seeing the forum, I noticed that you recommend Alltec. They are only a stones throw from me, so I’m going to give them a look. I think I’d got a bit too focused on the CFR machine, because I liked the idea of recycling but some of the kit at Alltec looks amazing, especially when you add a rotovac to it.

    I also wanted to say thanks for your words of encouragement, and I’ve given some of the additional add on bits a second thought. I think you’re right, I’d prefer to be regarded as someone who does a good job at one thing, not just an ok job at loads!

    Thanks again


  14. Hi Neil, i’m looking at starting my own carpet and upholstry cleaning business very soon, i have purchased a van and am going to book onto a course as suggested.
    i have a budget of around 1500 – 2000 to spend on equipment and was wondering if you could give me some examples of good equipment in my price range as i realy dont know where to start looking.
    thanks, ellis.


  15. Hi Neil,
    Firstly, thanks for all the above information that you’ve provided above in your own time, I’ve found this all very useful!
    I’ve been considering setting up on my own for a while now but never quite had the balls to do it. In addition, my knowledge of the industry is relatively poor.
    Can you help with a step by step guide from where to start.
    I’m fortunate to have family who are in marketing, graphic design and business development so I’m thinking more towards the specifics of cleaning.
    I’ve only ever used rug doctor for small jobs and although it did the trick, I’m aware it’s not the greatest of kit available
    Thanks again,
    Ps will follow you on Facebook


  16. Hi Neil,
    Is a Taski Aquamat 30 a good m/c to start with its got 90-100psi pump twinjet and front roller brush sorry dont know the r.p.m? ,


  17. its nice to see getting trained in this field and make business out of it , We are into this business to and i feel its a wonderful article , Contact us for any suggestions or cleaning , we’re carpet cleaning local area ,


  18. Hello ,
    I am considering starting my own business and carpet cleaning came up as an option. Would you be able to say what the average earnings are, either weekly or monthly before or after all reasonable expenses are deducted.

    Thank you


  19. I’m thinking about starting a carpet cleaning business. How much work is there out there and how much could be earnt as an average in a year? I’ve found your website intresting and informative thanks.


  20. Hi thinking about starting up a new carpet cleaning business and found this website a really good help. 🙂 what I have been hearing is that nowadays it’s more of a 2 man job. I would just be working by myself. Would you agree with what I have been hearing?


  21. Hi Kevin , it’s more of a two man job if you have commercial contracts ,but on domestic it can easily run by one man.

    The vast majority of cc are start of as man bands then if they need any help they just hire in helpers as needed.
    So times they do expand and add extra vans and take on staff the choice is yours


    • Hi Neil
      U seem like the man I been looking for haha 👍 I to am just trying to start up on my own here’s where I am…
      I have brought a rug doctor x3 ( budget low)
      I have got business cards and uniform and also trying to build a website!
      I have contacted every letting agent in my area with some positive responces for end of tenancy and have also contacted the brewerys to try get into some local pubs
      My big question is what else do i have to do apart from get insurance how do I register as a business ect and how long do I get as I’ll still be working my current job. I’ll add u on face book if u could drop me your number be great
      Regards Pete


  22. Hi Neil,I would love to start up my own cleaning business and I would like to start up with carpet question is: would I be able to do it on my own,or will I need a man working with me as well! Thanks for taking the time to read this adj ,hopefully respond as well!


    • Hi Lavina

      There is no reason that you can’t run a carpet cleaning business successfully by yourself , I know of several that are working in the industry .
      The majority of carpet cleaners that are really successful however seem to be partnerships of husband and wife , but i think this is mainly due to the fact that as you get busier you need someone to do the marketing and paper work more than as a physical help. if you look for the forum you will find several female operaters who post on there on a regular basis , up this helps


  23. Hi there i in process ofstarting my ownlittle buisness in upholstery cleaning carpets and car valeting i purchased all equipment esrly this year but just getting riund to starting off i bought a steam pro 2000 with chemicals floor scrubber everything to start offin a small scale evenwas given the nvq folder for carpets and upholstery and also checking sheat for before and after job checks i will in time take the full course iv had few practices at home and on my own car an happy with results would i need to take the full course beforebi can start or not for family and friends and advice would be much appreciated thanks inadvance


    • Hi Carl

      I think most of us started that way ,with friends and family ,but I made sure I had training before I ever cleaned someones carpet for payment .
      The reason being even though its rare there are a few carpets out there that can catch you out , and then you end up owning it , and the cost with some can run into the high hundreds on residential carpet and bigger houses into thousands .

      so answer is practice on your own but get training before you start there are lots about that will give you a good start , solutions in cornwall ,cleansmart in nottingham , alltec in royston herts,ncca, and if your in scotland then Jamie pearson in fife and also john kelly in cramlington to name the one I know of.

      Good luck with your business and keep getting training its a investment in yourself.


  24. Thanks for that ill sort soon as i sort a van that my next stap thanks again


  25. To add to previous comment, looking to spend 5 total for equipment,want a high psi machine,good vacuum,not sure if better with heater or jag with no heat


    • Hi Lee
      I know Nick that sells the Jags and from the comments i’ve seen on his forum they all seem very happy with them , Nicks philosophy is that using the correct solutions and agitation heat isn’t needed , and from my own experience I have a heater but rarely use it .
      A 4 jet wand would give you better rinsing capabilities, but this would need to be balanced with dry times due to increased flow.
      I use a twin jet wand as does the majority of cc.

      solutions do a training course where you would be able to meet other jag users and also alltec in herts do one as does cleaning systems uk in scotland also john kelly , Restoremate in crammlington.
      I would attend a training course before spending up to £5000 on a machine your choices with the spec you have listed is the enforcer ashby’s. airflex, and jag Id go for the Jag .


      • lee Armstrong

        Thanks Neil,ye wouldn’t contemplate starting with training,planning on doing 2 or 3 to compliment good machine n jag it is then,know I can always purchase an external in-line heater for those really dirty jobs n suppose can hook up to available hot water on site where possible,I’d like to compliment you on you blogs,going to be really helpful as I move forward, cheers bud
        Well contacted nick there n he cut me a absolute stonker of a package!big up solutions Cornwall/world of clean


  26. Hi, I am going to start a carpet cleaning business but my budget is low at £1000. I’m using my car as transport to begin. My question is can you recommend the best carpet cleaner for around £500 New or a more expensive good second hand one that I could maybe get from ebay at around the same price. Thanks in advance for your help.


    • Any twin vac with a 100psi pump will be adaquate .
      Or a karcher ,numatic to start with .
      As long as you follow your chat pie chart and replace parts dependant on the carpet you are cleaning ie if it’s badly soiled up the ph of your cleaning solution or increase agitation .
      You always have to replace something you haven’t got with another part of the pie .

      Don’t forget training as it is essential north of the border Jamie Pearson at cleaning systems uk ,Newcastle John Kelly at restormate , and the south Nick at solutions ,cleantalk and world of clean . Cheers Neil


  27. Tatiann Alstrom

    Great advice…..I’m planning on starting my very own carpet cleaning business


  28. Im about to start my new cc business. I want a machine that could do both commercial and domestic. Does this used prochem ninja sound good for around £1200. is it too powerful for domestic?

    3 x 3-stage TRIPLE Vacuum Motors.


    500 psi 4-Port pump. (All New Piston AND Seals)


    Brand New 3KW Portable Water Heater.


    Brand New Spare 3-stage Lamb-Ametek Vacuum Motor Worth £177

    What do you suggest is good for back-up machine? the craftex sabrina/jangro are quite cheap, but what do you think is best


  29. Richard Parker

    When googling twin vac portable the numatic WVD570 wet and dry comes up as a popular search result.

    Would this be a good start up machine?


    • Hi Richard

      The wvd numatic is ok for upholstery and small domestic jobs , but lacks in psi (rinsing flow) for more than a couple of rooms

      the best starter machine are twin vac over 100psi , airflex.prochem,craftex,alltec,amtech and the cub by solutions in cornwall which has a 300 psi pump a great starter machine that is capable of larger jobs as well.


  30. Peter Lofthouse

    Hello Neil, thanks for the above information. I am hoping to start up in business in July this year in the North Leeds area. Could you give me some independent advice on solutions. Which Eco product would you recommend for most of your everyday business for both natural and synthetic carpets.


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