Getting Started in Rug Cleaning … What you Need to Know
With the amount of rugs being sold today on the rise there is a great opportunity out there to clean these rugs when they get dirty. Would you like to offer this service to your existing customers but you don’t know where to start or what you would need? Here’s some basic things to know and to get together before you start cleaning rugs.
First, before you start cleaning rugs you will need additional insurance above and beyond your General Liability policy to handle them while they are in your shop. You may also need additional insurance while transporting them to and from a customer’s address. Check with your insurance agent so you understand your risk and buy the necessary insurance for the risk you are uncomfortable with.
Then most all rugs you will come across should never be cleaned in a customer’s home or office. There are exceptions to that but they would be rare. One I can think of offhand would be years ago when I was at a convention in Las Vegas. The hotel I was staying at had a handmade rug that was inlaid into the marble floor in the lobby. I was down in the lobby late one night and saw they had a company come in to actually clean the rug in place in the hotel since the rug was actually glued down to the concrete subfloor and there was no way to move it. Most of the time a rug should be cleaned in the company’s rug cleaning facility for the best cleaning results. Rug cleaning companies cannot easily transport their cleaning equipment to the customer’s house the way carpet cleaners do. Much of the equipment you will end up with is big and stationary and so plan on having plenty of space to add equipment as you grow.
The rug cleaning facility could be in your garage starting out. Before I built my own rug cleaning facility I used to clean rugs in my garage. Of course my wife hated it because she couldn’t park her car in the garage but it served a purpose for about a year til we built a building. This way I had a place to dust rugs, test the colors, I cleaned most rugs on my driveway, and I had a controlled drying chamber. It worked out well but I could not clean very many rugs a week and quickly outgrew the space.
If you are just starting in rug cleaning you will need to go find another rug cleaner and repair person to help you on the really tough rugs or ones that need repair. You WILL damage rugs if you clean enough of them. It is unavoidable in some situations so you need to have someone you can take them to that can help you repair or fix the rugs. They might also be able to clean the ones you don’t feel comfortable cleaning.
You also will not want to just jump into cleaning rugs without having gone to some classes, worked for someone that cleans rugs or had some other experience with it. It is not necessary for you to be able to identify a Tabriz from a Bukhara from a Hamadan, initially. Once you’ve been cleaning for a while though it might be a good thing to be able to identify different types of rugs. From time to time we get customers that don’t know anything about their rug and they want to know and so if you are able to tell them about it then you will automatically be the expert in their eyes.
However, starting out, you should be able to tell a machine made synthetic rug from a hand knotted wool rug from a tufted rug. From there you should be able to identify the fiber content of the rug so that you will know how best to clean the rug.