The Truth…How Much $$ It Really Takes??

The number one question that people ask me about contents and restoration cleaning is…

“How much money am I going to have to invest in equipment and supplies to get started?”

And my answer is always one word…”Depends”.

To begin with asking how much money will it take for me/my business to get into restoration cleaning is like asking how much money will I need to buy a car?


Do you want new or used?

Where are you located?

What fazes of the cleaning process do you want to do in house and what do you want to sub out?

Are there equipment rental facilities near you?

Are you willing to JV with someone else?

Just to name a few.

If you want to buy a car you can go to a Kia dealership or to a Mercedes dealership. Obviously you will be having two very different conversations with your pocket book when you decide which dealership to go shopping at.

The same is very true for getting into the cleaning aspect of restoration.

I know companies that use 48,000 square foot facilities and yet I do all my cleaning in less than 320 square foot of space. So it’s easy to see there are several ways to get the job done.

And obviously there is going to be a huge difference in cost between the two. Insurance, Utilities, initial cost investment, upkeep etc.

However…you have some questions to ask yourself before we can answer the “how much money is it going to cost me” question.

1. What type of services am I going to offer?

2. How much money do I have to invest in startup?

3. What type of Education and Classes do I need to take?

4. What size facility will I need?

5. Employees???

6. What kind of software do I need to bill out to insurance companies?

7. What equipment and supplies will I need?

8. How do I market my services?

Because there are so many questions I am going to break them down over several posts.

So let’s begin…

1. What type of services am I going to offer in house?

Restoration cleaning can be anything from full on handle anything in the house or structure that was damaged or just handling specialty items like area rugs, upholstery or artwork. Some people say that if you don’t handle every single aspect of a job that you won’t get the work but that is not true. I use sub-contractors on my jobs all the time to do work that I don’t have the equipment to handle and don’t want to buy it. Such as piano guy, grandfather clock guy, HVAC guy and maybe plumber guy. 🙂

Now the more services that you handle “in house” the more money that you get to keep in your pocket. But if you are just starting out and are limited on how much you can initially invest then sub-out some of the specialty item cleaning and you can still make a smaller profit percentage until you can invest more in equipment later on as your business grows.

For instance you can do laundry in house and buy an $80,000 Esporta Machine…

Or you can JV with a cleaner to do the laundry for you and you get a percentage of the total billing and not have to put out all that cash or get a loan.

You may also want to offer complete structure cleaning services within your company as well. I would highly recommend this as it does not require a lot of equipment and the profit margins are huge!

As I said earlier you can sub-out to specialty contractors certain pieces of your job but it is very important for you to remain in charge of the quality and service that your sub contractors provide on your job. You will need to have a good understanding and knowledge of what processes are needed for your subs to complete there part of the job so you can inspect what you expect from them.

Another important piece of cleaning belongings is electronics. The equipment to do this can vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. So this may be a good item to sub out at first unless you can rent the equipment (which we will talk in detail about on another post) and have the proper training on how to use it.

There is a portable system made by Fireline that is quite inexpensive.

And a system made by Odell that is considerable more.

Both of these systems are good and work well. It again just depends on you and your budget.

The one thing that any homeowner or adjuster is going to want from you is for you to be their one stop shop. They only want to deal with one contractor and write one check in most cases. So the more you are willing to expand and handle under one roof the faster your contents processing business will grow.

Well I hope I have given you lots to think about. And hopefully didn’t freak you out. 🙂

Next post we will talk about question #2 How Much Mullah Is This Gonna Take?


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