Is carpet cleaning a good business to start?

Today’s economic and geopolitical landscape has become extremely unpredictable nowadays that the market has become so volatile and unstable. As such, it’s a lot harder for fledgling entrepreneurs to start businesses.

It’s no longer just about having the best and most unique idea which you can market to a new niche audience, not just about meticulous market research and financial planning. Nowadays, it may be easier to go the practical route and aim for a profit that way.

One example of this kind of business is offering cleaning services.

A professional cleaning service is certainly not a novelty, not by any stretch. But it has certainly become a staple in the United Kingdom today. It has already branched out into many different classifications.

There are some outfits who only offer home cleaning, while others stick to office and industrial settings. Some have further gone into specific services, like window cleaning and roof cleaning. However, out of all the specific services, the carpet cleaning business appears to be the most in demand.

Is a carpet cleaning business a good idea?

To maximise the potential of any business venture, you will need to ensure two things: There is a high demand for the product or service your company is offering. And second, there should be a shortage of supply in that product or service on offer. The carpet cleaning business certainly has both boxes checked.

Demand is simply anything that anyone would need and deem a priority necessity. Demand can be created and found almost anywhere. You can even simply start from your own home.

Sure, you may tend to sweep your hardwood or tiled floors. You may find some time to wash your dishes or clean your countertops. But cleaning your home carpets can be a bit more difficult.

Carpets are arguably one of the most difficult things to clean in a house, particularly because they are good absorbers of stains, dirt, and grime. As such, people will simply not find enough time to clean them, should they even want to do so at all.

This mindset has definitely created a large demand for professional carpet cleaners throughout Britain.

A recent survey was conducted attempting to explore the reasons why people outsource their cleaning to professional cleaners. Nearly a quarter of the respondents said that they simply did not want to do domestic chores.

A further third said that with all their jobs and family occupying their schedule, they simply cannot find the time to clean their homes. Sure enough, the survey has found that one in every five people in the UK have hired or employed the services of a professional cleaner.

That amounts to a total five million people. Indeed, the demand for carpet cleaners in the country has been very well established, and this demand definitely makes opening a carpet cleaning business a good idea to start a venture on.

Are carpet cleaning businesses profitable?

The demand for carpet cleaning services are already well-established in the United Kingdom. Despite the current economic situation, with many people earning near-disposable incomes, they still find it in themselves to save up and pay professional carpet cleaners.

And the proof of that is in the money. True enough, the carpet cleaning industry is worth a tantalising £2.5 million, and projections by financial analysts point out that this number could increase anywhere between 6% and 27% by the year 2020.

Growth in the cleaning services industry is very quick because such a business is very easy to set up. In theory, all you need is some cleaning equipment (a powerful industrial grade carpet cleaner, of course, is a must), a stock of detergents and solutions, and a vehicle to transport you and your machines from one client to another.

For starters, you need not hire any additional people yet. You can act as the front desk, the technician, and the driver all at the same time provided you are able to do so – that is, you can do manual labour and heavy lifting by yourself.

Starting a bare-bones carpet cleaning business does not need much investment to start up. Should you already have a truck available for transport, then star-up costs can be somewhere within the £3,000 mark. This could increase to £6,000 if you should need to rent a van.

If you want a seamless transition into the business without you doing any manual labour, you can try licencing a franchise. This does have a higher start-up cost. While most franchises can be acquired for just about £7,000 to £10,000, there are established national brands which franchise fees can rise up to £15,000.

The upside, of course, is that the business is already set-up, with the brand of the company already bringing the marketing and the advertising to you. You also already have your office set up, so all you need to do is run it and collect your income.

With the low initial investment required depending on which way you would want to start your venture, profit margins for carpet cleaning businesses are certainly one of the highest in terms of businesses in general.

According to some estimates, margins for a small- to medium-scale carpet cleaning business can be anywhere between 40 to 58%. That means you are earning as net income about 40 to 58 cents for every pound that you get paid with.

As anyone would tell you, those are very good margins. Couple this margin to the demand for carpet cleaners in the United Kingdom, it proves that the carpet cleaning business can be a very profitable venture.

How much do carpet cleaning business owners make?

The average annual income for any owner of a carpet cleaning business depends on a lot of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The scale of the business one owns (small-scale, medium, regional, national)
  • Overhead costs (apart from expenses, there is also the matter of franchise fees for those who intend to open their business via a franchiser)
  • Payroll expenditures

Small-scale businesses, including those who only cater to about 100 clients or less, naturally tend to have less profit. The size of their business only allows them to tap into a very small base of the industry, and as such, it is but logical they will get a much smaller share of the industry revenue.

One can be forgiven in believing that carpet cleaning businesses do not have much overhead costs to incur. After all, they only need a small office to receive customer orders, some equipment, and some vehicles for traveling from house to house.

However, there are a lot of maintenance costs that many may fail to foresee. Vehicles run on petrol, so it is but natural that petrol expenses will be incurred. As you clean carpets and upholstery surfaces from house to house, your machines will also slowly but surely suffer from wear and tear.

Maintenance of these equipment and the fees for their repair should the break down is also inevitable.

There are also salaries you will have to pay your employees, from your cleaners, to your drivers, to your front desk people and your office managers. These expenses typically arise as your business grows.

If you are the sole proprietor and cleaner at the same time, then you need not worry much about these values affecting your margins and profitability. Nevertheless, average wages for carpet cleaners is about £7 an hour. The same goes for drivers.

If your cleaners are also the ones driving your vehicles, then you might manage to save a bit. For managers and office workers, its roughly £10 an hour.

All these expenses must be considered if a carpet cleaning business is to generate a profit. Furthermore, income from these types of businesses also relies on whether you can scale our business properly and whether you can successfully add value to every transaction.

Scaling your business should be one of the key aspects of your business as you go along. This definitely entails you getting more clients sure, but more importantly, you should look into ensuring that your current clients will keep hiring you in the future.

Customer loyalty will allow you to maintain positive and constant cash flow and allow you to scale bigger.

Value adding is also another key strategy to a carpet cleaning business. This involves selling a basic service, then selling add-ons to that baseline which can cater to many customers looking for an extra.

If you bill £100 for a quick two-hour clean, you should be able to define what that quick clean entails. Then you offer customers extra services they can avail to add on to that basic package.

These can include pre- and post-treatment solutions for carpets, additional cleaners for a short cleaning time, carpet repairs, odour removal, and so on.

All these things considered, based on the current data, the average net income of a carpet cleaning business is roughly £30,000 during the first year, then to about £50,000 yearly as the company continues to grow and establish its brand. 

How much do carpet cleaners make per hour?

The income of a carpet cleaner per hour is definitely not the same as a cleaner working on wages only. Wage workers, as previously explained, typically earn minimum wage. For carpet cleaners working on either a commission basis, or for sole proprietors who are also the ones doing the cleaning, this value can be quite different.

How much a carpet cleaner makes per hour depends on the services that company has on offer. One of the simplest services on offer is dry chem cleaning. This involves spreading a low-moisture detergent on the carpet.

All in all, clumping up all those services below can cost anywhere between £250 and £400 for a standard house, with the job totalling around four to five hours. In effect, that’s earning roughly about £60 to £80 per hour for the business owner.

Excluding costs and other expenses, a carpet cleaner’s net income per hour is around £36 to £48 per hour for the owner– not bad for a bit of vacuuming!

What cleaning method can you offer?

A scrubbing machine is then used to spread this detergent evenly across the entirety of the fabric of the carpet or rug. The carpet will then be left for half an hour or so for the cleaning detergent to do its job.

Then the carpet is vacuum cleaned to remove the detergent off the carpet, along with the dirt, grime, and superficial stains.

Another method for cleaning is the traditional warm water extraction method. The process begins with the application of a pre-treatment solution. This allows for the stains and other particles deep within the carpet to get agitated so it can be easier to clean and take off later on.

This will take roughly half an hour. After this, a carpet cleaner containing solution or shampoo on its tank will be used to pass through the whole carpet. This provides a very deep, extensive clean on the carpet which will definitely make to colours of your rug pop out again.

After this is done, another pass with the carpet cleaner is made, this time, with only water in the clean tank.

Prices for both services mentioned above can vary, but the average cost to clean a simple three-bedroom house will amount to about £200. This of course, only involves the basic service.

There are extra services you can offer your customers. Hypoallergenic insecticide treatments can also be added on for extra cost. There are also post-cleaning treatments that protect the carpet, odour neutralisers, and so on. 


Offering carpet cleaning services can definitely be a good business to start. It involves very low start-up costs, has manageable maintenance and overhead expenses, and can be done as a sole proprietor which can be scaled up as time passes.

It does involve a bit of manual labour both literally and figuratively, especially for those who are interested in starting up the business from scratch, but with excellent profit margins, then the rewards that await down the line will certainly be worth it.

Recent Posts