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Carpet installation is a difficult DIY project for most homeowners, which means they turn to a professional when they reach this stage of home renovation. It's easier to hire someone to haul heavy carpet, stretch it, cut it and nail it down than to wrestle with the materials and second guess the process.
That "someone" could be you. If you have the right skills and experience for efficiently installing a tight carpet without any glaring seams, then your high-quality work can help you grow your own carpet installation business from word-of-mouth advertising.
Business Basics and Hiring a Crew
Every business needs an employer identification number come tax time, and you get one from the IRS. Having an EIN also allows you to open a business bank account and put employees on your payroll. Before you start looking for hard-working team members, don't forget to sit down with an insurance agent to help protect you against accidents or disgruntled customers.
Next, you need to hire some helpers because carpet is heavy and cumbersome, meaning you need at least two or three people to get the job done well and in a reasonable amount of time. Seek out applicants who have a strong work ethic, which you can determine through their work history and references. You also need to work with people who take direction well and try to work quickly and accurately.
You're likely interested in starting a carpet business because you already have experience with carpet installation and will know how to train people to use a good technique, so don't automatically discount interested applicants with no carpet experience. Instead, try to gauge how teachable they seem. Stubbornness and a big ego aren't useful qualities for teamwork, but effort and communication can go a long way.
Startup Costs for a Carpet Business
One of the appealing factors of starting a flooring installation business of any kind is the relatively low startup cost. Unlike other service businesses, heavy machinery is not required. At most, you'll need a company truck or van to help you bring the carpet and crew to the site. This truck also serves as a mobile advertisement, so definitely get some decals.
You also don't need to carry around expensive tools and equipment. Carpet installation tools can fit in an average-sized tool box in your truck, and you can order tack strips and foam pads as needed. Although the overhead cost isn't high, you should definitely create a budget to help you understand what to charge customers and how much you can pay employees.
Learning How to Find Clients
In order to succeed with a carpet business, you need to develop a professional network among carpet sellers and commercial construction companies. Many homeowners expect to arrange installation services at the same time they buy the carpet, so they agree to use whomever the carpet seller uses or recommends. You want to be the one they recommend or the one that construction managers call when they need expert carpet installation.
However, you still need to market your carpet installation service to homeowners. Purchasing a carpet and then looking for a separate carpet installer is more likely to occur among homeowners who buy their carpet online. That means your carpet business also needs to be easy to find online. Have a professionally designed website optimized for local search keywords plus a fully formatted Facebook page and Google My Business listing to reinforce an accessible and modern brand image.
You should also consider the fact that many homeowners will attempt to install a carpet themselves and then seek help to finish the job, or they may just need carpet patching and repair. Mention these services on your website to encourage people to call you regardless of their carpet dilemma.
- Register your business with your Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
- Once you have enough manpower to accommodate large jobs, target government offices, airports and hotels. Before you bid on a contract, ensure that you have the right equipment, enough manpower and enough time to complete the job in the time allotted. Additionally, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t undercut competitors to that point that you are no longer making a profit. Provide better or friendlier service instead of lowering your prices.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.