The life and times of a professional carpet cleaner It’s simple isn’t it, ye really, it’s simple isn’t it? You go out clean a few carpets - jobs a good one. Think again. Clean a few carpets Well that’s so far from the truth - a modern day professional carpet cleaner has to do some much more. Take me for example. I run a small, but I like to think perfectly formed, carpet and upholstery business in Doncaster. However I have found, and I don’t know why it should come as a surprise, that just carpet and upholstery cleaning in Doncaster is not enough. Rug cleaning came next. You may think that’s just small carpet cleaning but it’s not at all, it’s like a special subject. Then came leather cleaning and if you think that’s easy - think again. There are different leather types which need to be treated differently, as well as cleaning the leather and feeding the leather. Add to everything else curtain cleaning and end of tenancy cleaning and I mean potentially cleaning everything top to bottom - but only if that’s what the customer wants. So many, many hours of training later and I have my services sorted, haven’t I? What about commercial carpet cleaning well that’s tough and that’s no joke. So you’re off and running, right. Well sort of. First there’s, let’s call it sales and quoting, every quote’s a sale and every sale’s a quote. Well what you soon learn, or fall by the way side, is that you have to be able to do both. That is every time you get a chance to quote you have to sell yourself and your business. I’m not a sales man but I am, I believe, good at dealing with people and always give value for money quotes. “Great combination,” that’s a tiny quote of the written kind. Then there’s marketing your business, or should I say identifying the correct marketing mix for your business. That is press advertising, web based advertising, (sponsored and organic). Yes it may sound too obvious to say it but you will need a website. Facebook, blogs, Google places/ Google+, twitter, directories - paid and unpaid, press releases, articles, search engine optimisation, AdWords , AdWord resellers, google partners and public relations. If you don’t know what some of these terms mean then you will, very quickly. There are books and books on marketing but most of them don’t cover all these topics. To say that this was an area that I was not prepared for is an understatement. I have had to learn so much in order to compete in what is a very competitive market place. What advice would I give someone? Ask everyone you interact with as many questions as you can and don’t get rushed into anything. Another area I hadn’t thought about was handling the cold calling. Yes, if you thought that as a homeowner you get bombarded by cold callers then start a small business and watch the flood gates open. You see as a business you have to get your name out there, you just have too. That’s where the cold callers’ start- they trawl through the directories that you have registered with and get your contact details from your website. They have your desire to attract customers but they do it by cold calling which isn’t really the domain of carpet and upholstery cleaner. So is it worth it? Yes, when a customer says “wow it looks like new”, then it’s worth it. There are definitely ups and downs, but for me the good out weighs the bad and I have learnt so very, very much - I’ve had too.