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Launching your own upholstery cleaning business can be a great way to turn your specialist cleaning skills into a profitable business. Read on for your guide to what you need to know before launching your upholstery cleaning business.
An upholstery cleaning business specialises in cleaning the fabric of upholstered items of furniture such as lounges, armchairs, dining chairs and ottomans. An upholstery cleaner typically travels to residential and commercial properties to remove dirt, dust, stains and grime from upholstered furniture that cannot be removed with regular vacuuming.
Here are some of the key steps involved in opening your own upholstery cleaning business:
You'll need to have a thorough understanding of how to clean different types of upholstered items including couches, lounge chairs and curtains. You will also need to be familiar with working with different materials such as leather, fabric, microfiber and suede. Being a detail-oriented person who can quickly spot marks and stains is useful, as is having good interpersonal skills.
In addition, as a small business owner it's important to have a basic knowledge of bookkeeping, marketing and customer service. You'll need to be motivated and have a watertight business plan in place. Don't underestimate the amount of hard work involved in getting a small business off the ground.
You don't need formal qualifications to start your own upholstery cleaning business, but it can help you deliver an exceptional service. In Australia, a Certificate III in Cleaning Operations can be studied through a TAFE or private training institution, and will teach you cleaning techniques, and how to handle chemicals and equipment safely.
Equipment will be your biggest initial cost when you start out. These are the key things you'll need:
To lower your startup costs, hiring equipment is a possibility. However, keep in mind that although purchasing equipment comes with a large upfront cost, leasing equipment will quickly add up once you've completed a few jobs. If you're planning to be in the upholstery cleaning business for the long haul, you're better off purchasing your own equipment.
There's more than one way to structure a business. It's important to choose the right structure for the business's needs as this determines who can make decisions, who is liable for losses and the business's tax obligations.
The following are common business models you can use for your upholstery cleaning business:
Once you've chosen your business structure, you'll need to choose a business name and register for an ABN. Use ASIC's business names register search tool to check whether your preferred business name is already in use. If you choose a company structure, you'll also get an Australian Company Number (ACN).
Some of the legal stuff might seem hard to get on top of at first, but there's plenty of legal advice and services available online, as well as templates and examples. When starting any type of business, it's important to have all the right legal documentation in place first to protect you and your business.
For an upholstery cleaning business, the main legal documents you'll typically need are:
As you're providing a service, you'll also need to comply with the requirements of the Australian Consumer Law.
Upholstery cleaners typically charge customers per item. As a general guide, you can charge anywhere between $50 and $200 for a couch, and between $20 and $250 per item for other pieces of furniture.
When pricing your upholstery cleaning services, some important factors to consider include:
Before putting a price tag on your services, do some market research on competing businesses in your area.
Compare your business expertise to your competitors, identify potential opportunities and price your services accordingly.
Do I need insurance?
It's very important to have insurance policies in place to protect yourself, your business and your clients from risk. For an upholstery cleaning business, the major ones you should consider are:
Read more: Find out more about insurance for cleaners.
How can I get more clients?
As upholstery cleaning is not an everyday service, it's important to market your service widely and be proactive in your job search. Building a website is a great way to promote your service to a wide audience.
You can also find customers through online marketplaces that allow you to respond to job ads for upholstery cleaning services and/or list your business in a directory. The main ones are:
Listing your services in business directories such as White Pages, Yellow Pages and True Local is also an excellent way to connect with new clients.
Is an upholstery cleaning business profitable?
It is possible to make money from upholstery cleaning, but keep in mind that it will require a solid investment of your time and money first. After you've put money into equipment, insurance and promoting your business, it's going to take a number of jobs before you turn a profit. Depending on the demand for your service, you can also consider expanding your service to include other specialist cleaning services, such as carpet cleaning and window cleaning.Back to top
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