How to Become a Carpet Cleaner

8 minutes • 5 May 2021

Carpet cleaners use a combination of cleaning solutions, scrubbing and vacuum equipment to make carpets shine like new.

The basic steps to carpet cleaning involve what the pros call the Triple S – Spray. Scrub, Suction.

Carpet cleaner vacuuming confetti

Carpet is still the preferred flooring in U.S. homes. The carpet industry accounts for 51 percent of the total flooring market in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For carpet cleaners the money is good. It takes about 20 minutes to clean the carpet in an average-size room, while the average price per room in the United States currently stands at about $50. Some of your time will naturally be spent driving from job to job, as well as consulting with customers, but overall, if you choose to go the route of an independent carpet cleaner you can make a nice income.

Other benefits of this career path include providing a much-needed service that helps people protect the investment in their homes and office buildings, as well as making customers feel good. Freshly cleaned carpets smell better and can improve the entire vibe of the room.

No formal license is needed to clean carpets, but training and certification can set you apart from competitors. We’ll cover all this and more in this eBook.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How much money you can make as a carpet cleaner
  • The required training and certifications
  • Professional groups to join
  • Employment opportunities for carpet cleaners
  • Finding clients
  • Plus helpful tips

How much money can you make?

The average carpet cleaner pay is $13.56 per hour, according to PayScale, with the top 10 percent of workers in this field averaging $18.57 an hour. At $13.56 with a 40-hour work week, a carpet cleaner can expect to make about $26,000 a year. If you decide to start your own carpet cleaning business and assemble a team of employees to assist, you can expect in time to triple your income to an average of more than $75,000 a year.

Freshly cleaned carpet in living room

Training and Certification

To offer carpet cleaning services you’ll need a business license and, in most states, a surety bond. A surety bond is similar to insurance in that it offers financial protection if the bonded company, such as a cleaning business, should fail in the job or cause damage.

In order to secure a surety bond, you’ll need to provide proof of training and certification as a carpet cleaner. Even if your plan is to work for a carpet cleaning company, employers increasingly expect new hires to have training and certification in best practices for carpet cleaning. This reduces the time and money a company must invest in training new employees.

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a nationally recognized carpet cleaning training and certification organization, considered the gold standard in the industry. The institute offers a 2-day course in carpet care, including training on fiber and carpet identification, advanced cleaning techniques and methods, and spot and stain removal. Cleaning chemistry is also covered in detail so students learn the reaction of soils with cleaning solutions, and how to use chemicals safely.

There are many training programs available. Here is a listing of training and certification programs for aspiring carpet cleaners.

Professional Groups to Join

When you join a professional home cleaning organization you show the world you are serious about your career. These affiliations look good on a resume and can help make the difference in securing that new job because employers see that you are so dedicated to your work that you are involved in professionals groups.

Shoes on clean carpet next to a vacuum

The National Carpet Cleaners Association is the only nationally recognized trade association devoted to cleaning carpets, hard flooring and soft furnishings. NCCA membership consists of insured companies and trained technicians that follow a Code of Practice and are recommended for a full range of services related to the carpet and upholstery cleaning industry.

Low Moisture Carpet Cleaners Association is on a mission to increase awareness and knowledge of low moisture carpet cleaning methods to gain world-wide acceptance of the benefits of low-moisture carpet cleaning systems used by professional carpet cleaning technicians.

There are also dozens of informal online groups for carpet cleaners. Joining one or more of these allows you to meet other pros in the field, learn about job openings and share information.

Employment

If you’re not ready to start your own carpet cleaning business, print copies of your resume and drop them off at area carpet cleaning companies. Think of it as on-the-job training for your own business while you’re getting paid. Be sure to include professional references (not family members) and their contact information. If you can show an established track record of customer satisfaction combined with good experience, chances are you’ll get the job.

Finding Clients

When you’re self-employed as a carpet cleaner, part of your job involves self-promotion if you want steady work. This means marketing your business. You’ve got to get your company name out there and build your reputation in the community.

Old carpet partially covered up by new tile flooring

You’ll need a website, which can be basic or fancy, depending on your budget. This should feature a page outlining your services and contact information, and a few pages of photos or illustrations of common pests. If you get ambitious, you can publish a regular blog on your website with pest control tips and information that customers might find useful. A blog can help your website rank higher in search results and also establishes you as an authority in the industry.

Most printing companies can create a custom magnet sign you can attach to the side of your vehicle. The sign should include your business name, the fact that you offer pest control services, and a phone number to call. You can include your website address at the bottom. As your business grows and you become successful, you can eventually have your business information professionally painted on the side of your pest control van or truck – or your entire fleet. But in the beginning, a magnetized sign will be enough.

While you’re at the printing company, order some business cards with your company name, phone number and website address. If there’s room for a slogan or catchy motto, add that as well.

Customer retention is important, but satisfied customers will also refer companies they like to their friends. Keep your customers happy and you’ll enjoy repeat business for years to come. People tend to stay with companies they trust. Your business strategy should be to deliver on what you promise to the customer and get the job done right the first time.

As an incentive when you’re just starting out, offer customers a discount for referring new customers, then give those new customers a first-time discount on pest control services. It’s cheaper than advertising and arguably better, because you’ll be getting new customers by word-of-mouth endorsement. People trust their friends to give them good advice on home maintenance companies, including carpet cleaners.

Good to know

Print a list of carpet cleaning tips & tricks on card stock to give customers after you finish a job. These are helpful ways to solve minor stains on carpet. They are not a substitute for a full carpet cleaning, but will help your customers get through life’s little accidents. Include your contact information on the card. This thoughtful gesture not only helps your customers but reminds them of your services then next time they need whole-house carpet cleaning.

Child using chalk on carpet
  • Blot stains, don’t rub them. Rubbing just spreads the stain around
  • Use club soda to remove beer and wine stains
  • If that doesn’t work, try a blob of shaving cream
  • Use warm water to dissolve candy stuck in carpet, then blot away
  • Spritz stains with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and distilled water in a spray bottle
  • Use dish soap to cut through grease stains
  • Chewing gum stuck to carpet? Freeze with ice cubes and peel off
  • Candle wax dripped and dried on carpet? Place a clean cloth over the area to be treated, then warm the cloth with a clothing iron set to low heat. As the wax softens, scrape it up with a butter knife.
  • Hydrogen peroxide removes blood stains
  • Use organic cleaning products to remove stains caused by pet accidents. You don’t want to use harsh chemicals on carpet with animals around.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some more great PocketSuite.io content that can help you grow your career as a carpet cleaner. Here’s a great place to start.PocketSuite has thousands of business owners who all started where you are right now. Our community is always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the PocketSuite app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300.