How to Start a Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Business

A carpet and upholstery cleaning business can be lucrative if you follow the right steps and take the right actions. You might think that starting this business is as easy as acquiring a carpet cleaning machine, carpet cleaning solution, and a few accessories and you’re good to go. But this is not the case as it goes beyond that. 

For any business to succeed, it needs to be well planned, executed, and a lot of work has to be put in. That’s the same case with a carpet & upholstery cleaning business. With our guide on how to start a carpet cleaning business, you should have nothing to worry about as we’ve included all the essential information that you need to open a successful business. 

Before starting a carpet and upholstery cleaning business, you need to get some training, come up with a business plan, know your target market, and meet all the legal requirements. Also, finding a good location for your business is key. However, you don’t need a lot of capital to start this business in the UK as you can start with £5,000 or even less.   

Here is what you need to do to open a successful carpet & upholstery cleaning business. 

  • Get training

Before you even think of starting a carpet cleaning business, you should ask yourself this question – Do I have the necessary skills to clean carpet and upholstery or will I have to hire some workers to do the job? As a small business start-up, you need to have the cleaning skills to be involved in the business and reduce your operating costs. 

Cleaning carpet and upholstery is not easy and learning how to do it is easy. You can either enrol for a course or learn from an existing carpet cleaning business. You will be taught how to operate different carpet cleaning equipment such as carpet wands, upholstery tools, and even hoses. Also, you will get advice on how to use carpet cleaning chemicals and the safety measures that you should take when using the tools and chemicals. 

Some courses providers go to the extent of selling you cleaning machines and even chemicals. But it is not a must that you buy them as you can find cheaper tools on the market. 

  • Write a business plan 

After getting the necessary skills, you have to come up with a good business plan. According to the small business association, 50% of new business startups fail in their first 5 years of operation. And the main reason for this is the lack of a proper business plan. Therefore, take your time and craft a business plan that will act as a guide for your business. You should revise your business plan on a yearly business. 

A business plan will help you single out the specifics of your business and detect some unknowns. Some of the things that you will include in the business plan include your business name, start-up costs, target market, the duration it will take to break even, who is your competition, the number of people you plan on employing, your backup plan, and financial plan. 

Selecting a good business name is vital for the success of your business. Take time and find a suitable name for your business. Search the name and find out if it is in existence, then register it as soon as possible. 

  • Consult the professionals 

Another common mistake that business start-ups make is by trying to take shortcuts. There are a lot of things that you need to do and you can’t do them by yourself. For instance, you will need an accountant and a lawyer. Even though you can take care of your business account, pay suppliers, and even pay employees, it is better if you hire a professional accountant to help you out. 

Also, you need to hire a lawyer who will guide you and ensure that you’re compliant with all the legal requirements. Your lawyer will discuss things like general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Besides, if you still don’t know whether to start a sole proprietorship or business franchise, your lawyer will advise you on what to do. 

Having a business franchise can help you not to be liable when your business is sued. This is because the business and the owner are treated as separate. But for a sole proprietorship, this won’t be the case as the owner and the business are considered to be one. 

  • Choose a place 

Some businesses fail simply because they are located in the wrong place. When starting, you can start a carpet cleaning business from home, but shift as you start to grow. You need to have an office where clients can come in and talk business.

Also, you will need a place for storing your tools and products for work. It is a good idea to find a place close to your large customer base so that you can reach them easily and as quickly as possible if they need your services.

  • What services are you going to offer? 

With so many services to offer, it will be great if you start by specializing in a few. As you expand, you can then increase your services. Note that different services may require different tools and some may be too costly for you as you start.

Some of the most popular carpet and upholstery cleaning services include carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, steam carpet cleaning, dry carpet cleaning, rug cleaning, and much more. 

  • Get necessary permits and licenses

Another important step in starting a carpet and upholstery cleaning business is getting the necessary documents. You will need a business license to operate in the UK and a permit as well. 

Start by registering as self-employed with HMRC and then proceed to complete an annual assessment tax return. Furthermore, you will be required to pay your tax bill by 31st January every year and make a payment on account every 31st July. 

If you’ve not taken insurance yet, then you should consider taking public liability insurance which will cover against claims from third parties in case of damage to property or personal injury. Also, you can consider other insurance covers like employers’ liability insurance (if you have workers), and professional indemnity insurance.  

Besides, you will also have to meet the cleaning chemical safety regulations set by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). This body controls the risks of dangerous substances like chemicals being released into the environment.   

  • What tools and equipment do I need?  

After setting up the business and are ready to start operating, you need to get the right tools and products for the services that you will be offering. There is a wide range of options and you can decide to either get new or used tools.

Related Article: Equipment needed for carpet cleaning business

It is always advisable to start small as you expand slowly. Some of the tools that you will need include carpets cleaning machines such as a trunk mount machine or a carpet cleaner with a wand. Note that truck mounts are the most costly but you can get a second-hand machine as well or even hire one. 

Apart from acquiring machines, you need to get the best pre-sprays, acidic rinse, carpet deodorizer, and stain removers. Other carpet cleaning accessories that you will need includes carpet rake, silver foils, hand-held brush, bucket with lid, and stair tools. 

Since there are so many tools and products to select from, always start with the most important items that you will need for your cleaning services. Compare prices and choose the best products to offer exceptional services.

For instance, you can buy a budget-friendly truck mount like the prochem five star, buy Sebo duo carpet cleaner, and accompany them with high-performing sprays such as Prochem power burst. 

The tools that you purchase should be easy to use, durable, high-performing, and reliable in performance. So, take your time and find the best cleaning and upholstery tools and products on the market. 

  • How much should I charge?

This is another challenging step in getting started. Charging highly without reviews to show for your services may chase the customers away, while charging extremely low may have your business struggling.

So, ensure that you get prices from different competitors so that you can compare and set favourable prices. When starting, you need to offer good prices with exceptional services. Then, you can increase the prices later as you expand. 

Some of the factors that determine the prices you charge include location, the level of dirt or stains on the carpet, and if the client has pets or not. In the UK, simple carpet cleaning attracts an average price of £20 to £30, and a bigger carpet can be charged up to £50.

This applies to carpets and rugs. The charges usually vary depending on the size of the carpet or upholstery being cleaned. 

  • Where will I get customers? 

There are several ways through which you can reach your target customers. You can start by advertising yourself in the local magazine, or even Radio. Also, you can hand out leaflets and business cards to both customers and potential customers. Since you’re new, you can even go ahead and offer discounts to new clients and showcase them what you can do that other cleaners were not doing. 

Having an online presence is also important as this will likely bring customers to you instead of you reaching out to them. Market your business on major social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin. Also, create a website where you can highlight what you do and where you can be found. 

Finally, don’t forget to set up a Google Business Listing so that people searching for carpet and upholstery cleaners online can find you. This is free and you won’t be charged by Google but people will locate you easily.  

Creating a website will help with this part, follow our Step by step guide on creating a website

Is carpet cleaning a good business to start?

Of course, Yes! Carpet cleaning is a good business to start as long as you follow the right steps. First of all, starting a carpet cleaning business is easy as you can decide to run it as a sole proprietorship or as a franchise.

Secondly, running the business is very simple as you can start with just a few workers and you can run it from home. This means that you will have no big commitments or overhead costs. 

Furthermore, a carpet cleaning business doesn’t need one to be fully knowledged about the business but just a few cleaning skills and you are good to go.

Most skills are easy to learn but you can also enrol for short courses on some types of cleaning. Besides, you will be your own boss and reap your profits without having to be pushed around. Above all, starting this business doesn’t need large capital as most people in the UK start at £5, 000 or less.

You only need a few tools, workers, and customers. With a ready market, you only need to market yourself well and offer the best services and prices. 

However, the business is somehow challenging as you will have to work for longer hours. Also, starting the business is not that easy as you will have to earn the trust of your customers. Another big challenge is the stiff competition which you should work to be up and above. An incompetent staff can be another trouble for your business success. So, you should hire competent staff or train them to have the right skills. 

Overall, the pros of starting a carpet and upholstery cleaning business outweigh the cons. Just ensure that you follow the right steps and your business will flourish in the end.



Starting your own carpet & upholstery cleaning business shouldn’t be that challenging if you know what to do. Just like any other business, there are ups and downs that you should cope with and overcome as you continue to grow and expand. Follow the steps that we’ve discussed and you will be on your way to success. 

Don’t be afraid to start with losses as many business start ups face this challenge. However, make sure to market your business and stay ahead of the competition. Hope you’ve found this guide informative! Also, feel free to leave a comment or question below. 

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