How To Start Your Own Carpet Cleaning Business

There are two fairly new, and very important conditions existing in the world today that have not only made the carpet cleaning industry a “billion dollar business,” but also practically guarantee your success as an entrepreneur in this field.

First, almost all homes and office buildings built since 1960 have wall-to-wall carpeting. Secondly, the replacement costs and the cyclical faltering of the national economy have caused people to want to make what they already own last longer, especially in the case of carpeting, which is a sizeable investment.

Most businesses employ janitors or janitorial services to vacuum their carpets after hours daily, and then “master” carpet cleaners to deep-clean them every three months or so. Homemakers also generally vacuum their carpets perhaps several times a week, and then hope to deep-clean every spring or fall, depending on the kind of household traffic, and on their budgets.

It’s true that people everywhere try to save money by handling these jobs themselves. However, empathy with the people, and an understanding of this trend, should be neither cause for alarm nor a deterrent to your success in this business.

Most people are just too busy to handle all their do-it-yourself projects. They continually put off until later any chore that requires special equipment . This is especially true with carpet cleaning, because deep down, they’re fearful of botching the job. Thus, they’re more than willing to pay an expert or a specialist to do this kind of work for them

It doesn’t take any special education, skill or experience to operate a professional-type, deep-cleaning carpet cleaner. Yet, from, your first job onward, you should project the image of a thoroughly experienced expert in your field. And, we’re going to show you how you can get started in this business, and make $300 or more per working day, with virtually no investment!

The important part of this business – or any other business – is the owner-operator’s “sense of marketing” and salesmanship. Make no mistake about it, all businesses succeed through marketing strategies and salesmanship. You won’t be selling a product with this business; you’ll be selling a service. And the selling of services is often more difficult than product sales.

Therefore, it will be to your benefit to learn all you can about selling. Then, you should continue to add to your knowledge through an ongoing program of learning. Keeping up to date and being aware of successful selling ideas and methods will add to the total success of any business person.

Even before the acquisition of equipment, you need customers. Your prospects are all the businesses and homes with carpets in your area. Your problem is going to be in reaching these prospects, impressing upon them the benefits of your service, and getting them set up with an appointment for you to do the work.

We have found that the least expensive and most productive method of reaching these people is by way of neighborhood “hand-out” flyers or announcements, delivered door-to-door by Brownies or Cub Scouts, or members of other youth organizations. These flyers are advertisements or announcements of a “Carpet Cleaning Special,” printed on 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 sheets of paper that invite the recipients to call you for an appointment.

Study the carpet cleaning service ads in your local newspapers, the yellow pages of your telephone directories, and any similar flyers you may have received or seen. Make a pencil sketch of your own flyer, emphasizing customer benefits and your capabilities of doing the job take your ideas to the advertising class at a local college. Explain your project and ask for volunteer help. In most cases, you’ll be favorably impressed with the work, and will only have to pay with a copy of the finished flyer for the student’s portfolio, and a recommendation or testimonial about his work for you. Even if there should be a charge for the work you have done at the college, it will be a reasonable one.

Contracting with an advertising agency will probably take longer and will cost a significant amount of money. However, you might be able to contact a staff member who does free-lance work on the side. But you should set a specific date for completion of the project, and agree to pay no more than half the total estimated cost until the job is finished, and meets with your approval.

The next step is to take this original of your flyer to a printer, and have printed whatever number of copies you want to start. Most quick print shops will be able to print up to 20,000 copies, and deliver in a reasonable time, with nominal costs. If you decide to start with more than 20,000 copies, you will do better by going to a regular commercial printer. Larger quantities that would take a quick print shop all day can be handled by a commercial print shop in a few hours.

While your flyers are being printed, you should be lining up your delivery people – local Brownie or Cub Scout Troops. No big problem here. Either look up their local headquarters office in your phone book or call a friend or two with children about the right age and ask for the name and phone number of troop leaders. Arrange to pay these scout troops $10 for each thousand circulars they hand out door-to-door.

One other thing before you start handing out your flyers – be sure that you have someone available to answer the phone and set up appointments for you. It’s usually best to have a woman do this; it makes the caller think of your service as an established business. You can pay an answering service to handle these calls for you, but if your wife or a friend is available, that would be even better. It is, however, imperative that a “live voice” answer your phone. People have some strange ideas about answering machines, and most businesses find they do much better not using them.

Your “secretary” should have a set pattern of answering your calls, and an appointment book. Usually, your flyer will advertise a special such as “Your living room carpet deep-cleaned for just $20. Get all the ground-in dirt and unpleasant odors out. A professional job by experienced master carpet cleaners, and we can do it all for you tomorrow. Give us a call; set up a carpet cleaning appointment with us now; and we’ll have your home sparkling clean, ready for company in no time at all!” This special offer should take you no more than an hour in the customer’s home, meaning that your secretary can book appointments for you at the rate of one every ninety minutes or less, depending on the travel distance between appointments.

By setting your first appointment for 8:30 in the morning, and working thorough the whole day, allowing 30 minutes between appointments, you’ll be able to handle seven appointments per day. At $20 per call, you will gross $140 per day. Your secretary

should book you solid from 8:30 through 5:30 each day. Naturally, some people may want you to stop by at a certain time that’s already booked. In that case, you set them up for their requested time on an open day. You’ll also find that as you gain experience, you can cut down considerably the time it takes you to handle each job, as well as your travel time between jobs, enabling you to book more appointments.

Just as soon as you have job appointments lined up, hurry over to your local carpet cleaner distributor, your local rent-all store, or even some super markets and rent a steam-clean carpet cleaner. Most of the time, you won’t have to pay until you return it, but even if you do have to pay at the time you take it, the cost is usually $25 or less for twenty-four hours. Read the directions and make sure you know how to operate it. Then load it into your car, van or pickup, and set out for your first appointment.

You should bear in mind that carpet cleaning is a type of service business that takes you into the homes of your customers. Therefore, how you look, dress, and handle yourself – particularly in the presence of your customers – will have a direct bearing on the success of your business.

Be clean, and conduct yourself in a business like manner at all times. Dress neatly. In fact, one of the best ways to get off to a fast start is to purchase a working uniform from Sears, Ward’s or Penney’s. Drop by a “pennant shop” and have them make up a special oval name tag which can be sewn over the left breast pocket. At the same time, have them make up a large oval with the name of your business and your phone number to sew on the back of the uniform. When you hire people to help you with the work, outfit them similarly.

Go out of your way to be polite and friendly with your customers, but refrain from being fresh. Avoid getting involved in extended conversations – if you are to keep on schedule, you won’t have time for a lot of talk.

Keep your equipment clean, properly maintained, and operating smoothly. Have your supplies organized and within easy reach. Don’t allow yourself to be caught in a position where you have to make excuses because the equipment won’t function properly, you can’t find what you need, or you suddenly find yourself out of certain supplies.

When working these advertising specials, just concentrate on doing the job and moving on to your next customer. If the customer questions you about the cost to do the other rooms, give an estimate and set up a tentative appointment, which you should later confirm with a call-back after checking your schedule. Don’t try to sell your complete carpet cleaning services on this first call, but do be sure to leave a business card with the name of your company and your phone number.

Your service is the “deep-down shampoo cleaning” of carpeting in your customers’ homes or places of business. Always strive to use the best equipment that’s available. Later on – possibly in a month or six weeks – you’ll want to buy or lease your own equipment. Your business will grow and flourish as a result of your doing a good and complete job every time. It may take you a few minutes longer – especially when you are learning the equipment and establishing a procedure – but in the end this will pay off with satisfied customers; and a group of satisfied customers is the key to your becoming wealthy in this business.

You want your customers to call you again and again to clean their carpets. Being pleased with your work, they’ll spread the word about your service for you, free of charge! And this, of course, will generate an almost unlimited amount of ongoing work for your new business.

The average price to the customer to have a 12 by 18 foot wall-to-wall carpet “shampoo cleaned” is about $50. Your materials to do that size job will cost about $5.

The typical job involves more than just one room, and the average period of time spent on the typical job is about two hours, with an average billing to the customer of $75 – materials for each $75 job cost you about $10 all of which means that with just five appointments per day, five days per week, your gross income before expenses will be approaching $2,000 per week.

Most people who set up carpet cleaning businesses manage to gross $50,000 or more the first year. We’ve described to you how to get started with virtually no real investment. However, we do advise you to either purchase or lease your own carpet cleaning equipment just as soon as you can possibly afford it.

Several equipment manufacturers have financing plans available. It would be well to check out several of these plans before purchasing your equipment. Even better than the financing plans offered, some of the manufacturers have business start-up programs to help you along the way. They will provide you with a complete carpet cleaning business plan, numerous advertising materials, a regular newsletter featuring business ideas from all the buyers of their equipment, and low cost supplies.

Before actually starting work in your carpet cleaning business, you should register your business or company name with your county clerk. The cost for this is nominal, and you will receive a registration certificate or card, which you will need to open a bank account in your company name. You should also talk to a few business insurance agents to get complete business insurance against damage to any of your customers’ carpets or accidents in their homes. Being able to state “All work fully in sured,” will greatly add to your business image.

Think seriously about buying or leasing a van for your service calls. A uniform with the name of your company emblazoned on the back, plus a late model van with your company name neatly painted on the side will do just about as much to build your image and your business as a full page advertisement in the Sunday paper.

On the subject of advertising, so long as you don’t erect a sign on your front lawn or your roof, proclaiming for all the world to see the fact that you’re operating a carpet cleaning business, you won’t have any problems operating your business from your home. Sooner or later though, you’ll have to buy a City or county business license. So, the sooner you do this and are approved by the licensing agency in your area, the better you’re going to feel and the more confidence you’ll exude in all your business dealings.

Definitely plan to run a quarter page ad in your local business and telephone directories. You’ll really be surprised at the number of calls you get from these ads. At least in the beginning, you should run a regular ad in your newspaper. This should be a display ad, at least 2 columns wide by 4 inches deep, and should appear in your Wednesday and Thursday papers. As you become established, it won’t be necessary to run more than an ad every other week in your Wednesday papers and before the holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, when people always want to spruce up their residences.

Radio or television advertising really doesn’t pull that well for this kind of business when you compare the costs to the number of jobs you get from it. I would suggest, that you contact these media and try for a trade or barter agreement. You clean their carpets on a regular basis, and they allow you to store up advertising credit to use in the spring and fall when people are really serious about spring cleaning, and and Christmas preparations.

It’s also recommended that you register as a “probationary member” of your Chamber of Commerce. This will add prestige to your business, and enable you to associate on equal terms with the various other business leaders in your community. Joining and attending civic club meetings, participating in their causes and events, will also result in long-range business income for you.

Something else to keep in mind: Get the word about your being in business out to the people in your area. Get the Chamber of Commerce to mention you in their newsletter; send “blurbs” about your business and service to all your area newspapers, TV and radio stations; arrange to put on an all-day demonstration of your work on the carpeting in the covered mall areas in your city’s shopping centers, and hand out brochures to all the people watching; rent a booth and hand out brochures at all the home building, remodeling, and home improvement shows. Do the same thing at your county fair, and hold seminars on the care of fine carpets. The ideas for free publicity and promotion are limitless, so use your imagination and -push” to get your name in the paper and on radio and TV as often as possible.

There’s always going to be competition. Some of it will be good for you, and some of it will be bad for you. Accept it as a part of life. Just keep in mind that you’re in business because you feel you can do a better job; you can do it more efficiently; and you can do it with greater satisfaction to your customers than anyone else. Be aware of the competition, but don’t worry about it. Just stick to your own business plan, and you’ll be okay.

Depending on the population of your area, you should be planning for additional carpet cleaning machines and the hiring of people to do the work for you within three to six months – that is, unless your original motive for a business of your own was to see how fast you could work yourself to death. Assuming that all goes well with you, within a couple of years you should have “hired help” running the business while you enjoy the fruits of all the hard work you put in at the outset.

I personally don’t see the need for you to even consider buying a franchised operation. There’s just too much real help available for the “independent” to go to the considerable expense and obligation of a franchise. Starting from scratch, and as an

independent, this is most assuredly a low-investment, low-overhead type business – the kind we recommend for anyone and everyone who’s determined to make it on his own.

Got Leverage In Your Business?

What is this concept called LEVERAGE in a network marketing business and how does a person actually get it?

You know, when I started in this profession over 15 years ago, I didn’t have much LEVERAGE to speak of. Geez — I didn’t even know what that word meant.

No one talked about LEVERAGE much back then.

All we really heard about was all the ‘boo coos’ of money you could make in MLM. It was really hyped up as a way to get rich really quick and because of this the Network Marketing industry has been called a pyramid scam by some. Ever heard that before?
This skepticism is caused by all the hype. The skeptics don’t really understand the industry or that it can be a very lucrative profession when people are taught how to build a Network Marketing business properly!

LEVERAGE is the ability to earn a passive residual income off the business building efforts of other people, even while you’re not working.

J. Paul Getty, the oil industry billionaire, said, “I’d rather have 1% of 100 people’s effort than 100% of my own.” Network marketing guerrillas recognize the power of this philosophy and put it to work for themselves
Experiencing it is the icing on the cake! It’s the ultimate sign that all your efforts are being multiplied!

To see it happening for other members with your team is even more rewarding.

I recently received an exciting email from a woman with my ‘sales force’ telling me they just purchased a new home – all because of this beautiful concept called LEVERAGE in her MLM business.

Some people spend so much time boasting about how much money they’d like to make in their business. Unfortunately they don’t know how to make it happen. They don’t take the time to really understand the importance of true LEVERAGE. They don’t understand about having to work really hard in the beginning to build something to achieve the leverage that will give them freedom in the long term! Most of the time it’s because no one has actually explained or taught them how to obtain leverage.

This is the KEY concept which separates MLM from most other businesses. The fact that network marketing helps you LEVERAGE your most important asset which is your time!

Here’s an example of what happens when you LEVERAGE yourself. You go away on a vacation
to a beautiful island with crystal clear blue water and white sand, enjoying your family and friends
for several days with no phones, no emails, no cell phones, no business activity whatsoever
and when you come back…

You discover that all these new business partners have joined your business team! Your
‘sales force’ has been multiplying while you were away relaxing on the beach! Then you receive a check in the mail for their efforts because you put in the effort to build this team! I’ve even heard someone call it ‘coconut money’!

What’s a business team? These are independent business owners all working for themselves only unlike a traditional business you benefit too!

Doesn’t that sound better than YOU doing all the work YOURSELF?

It’s the business team you build that makes this powerful force called LEVERAGE possible.

Without a growing business team, you’re not only working for yourself, but also all by yourself. You’re doing all the work just like you would be if you were self-employed. Self-employed people have no leverage do they?

For anyone who’s read Robert Kiyosaki’s The Business School For People Who Like Helping People, he talks about the ‘E quadrant’ (Employee), the ‘S quadrant’ (Self Employed and Small Business owner), the ‘I quadrant’ (Investor) and the ‘B quadrant’ (Business owner).

When you’re in the ‘S quadrant’ as a small business owner, you’re doing all the work yourself or managing employees. Kiyosaki calls the ‘S quadrant,’ “The home of the rugged individual, the John Wayne quadrant of business.”

We have a friend we visited with while on vacation a few summers ago. As a small business owner, he couldn’t visit for very long because he doesn’t have anyone to work for him while away. He hardly ever goes on vacation and never quits working for more than a couple of days at a time. If he does he loses money!

Unlike those of us in MLM, our friend doesn’t have a business team growing while he’s away. His
business depends on his efforts. He has to manage his employees. He’s got no FREEDOM.

If you’re the typical ‘S quadrant’ small business owner you don’t have the luxury of leaving your business alone. If you shut the door of your store or you’re not there for your service business, what happens? There’s no business, no clients, no ‘sales force’ multiplying, no income because you’ve got no leverage. No leverage No Freedom!

On the other hand, according to Kiyosaki, “Network Marketing is a B quadrant business.”

When you put together a ‘sales force’ of like-minded business owners, all with the same goal of LEVERAGING their business and their lives, something wonderful starts to happen! The business starts to multiply, multiply and multiply some more. This happens without you even being there! I have a sales force that is literally multiplying on it’s own because of the efforts I put in many years ago. There were many people with this sales force that attended a recent company event. I wasn’t even present at this event yet still receive a nice check in the mail every single month because of the efforts of these business people!
You can literally make money while you’re sleeping! There’s nothing like having an organization multiplying in Australia. Because while sleeping here in the USA it’s the NEXT DAY downunder!

The business starts to take on a force of its own. Everyone knows what to do because the business owner whom you show how to get leverage, in turn shows other business owners how. This skill continues to be passed down to the next business owner and so on and so forth until the business grows bigger and bigger, multiplying endlessly and continuing to give you leverage!

So, the next time you decide to take your family on a much-needed vacation, you can really relax because you’ll be LEVERAGING your time. The ‘sales force’ you put together will keep on multiplying while you’re away giving you FREEDOM to spend time with your loved ones.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Time is Money,” right? LEVERAGING your time puts money in your bank account!

The BIG question people ask is, how do I build a business team like this? How do I build a business that pays a passive residual income for something I do one time? The next BIG question is, how long will it take to get this leverage?

Well, it certainly won’t happen overnight. It could happen much sooner rather than later if you find a mentor or coach that has actually created LEVERAGE already themselves.
That means you must be teachable and willing to follow a system that will eventually multiply your efforts. What that means is letting go of total control and the habit of doing it ALL yourself.
Doing it all by yourself doesn’t multiply and create LEVERAGE.
No LEVERAGE No FREEDOM remember?

It’s important to give your business time to develop, be coachable, motivated, consistent, determined, patient, willing to constantly learn and grow, do not quit and most of all be a team player. Plug into self-development trainings, books and seminars. That’s how you’ll get this fantastic concept called LEVERAGE both in your business and this will consequently bring FREEDOM into your life.

Sue Seward

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Copyright © 2005 by Sue Seward. All Rights Reserved.

(***You may copy this article using the attached bio below)

How to Become a Carbon Neutral Small Business

Very few people now believe that man’s carbon producing activities do not have an effect on the wider environment. It is difficult to prove a direct link between man’s production of carbon and climate change, however we at Promotion Products believe the evidence suggests that we need to take greater care of the environment than we do now. We started researching being a Carbon Neutral Small Business in March 2007 – it has been an absolute revelation to us – this article is designed to share our experience and observations with you.

We have tried to set this article out as logically as possible:-

* Global Climate Change and Promotion Products
* What is a Carbon Neutral Business?
* Measuring your Carbon Footprint
* The Small Business Carbon Footprint Calculator
* Reducing your Carbon Footprint
* Offsetting your Carbon Footprint
* How much does Carbon Neutral Cost?
* Future steps – Carbon Neutral Products
* Give us your feedback and we will plant a tree for you

I implore you to read this article and share it with others of a similar mind.

Over the last few months we have witnessed the growing acceptance of our Government in Australia that climate change is a reality and that the production of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon) is driving these changes. Greenhouse gasses are produced by the production of energy – burning petrol, using electricity that comes from a coal fired power station and so on.

Many of us have suspected for a few years that pumping vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere is not sustainable and that we in the West need to show leadership in tackling high carbon emissions. It is difficult for us in our comfortable lifestyles to face that we may need to change our ways slightly!

It could be easy for us as individuals or as small business people to feel useless in the face of this seemingly large problem. Promotion Products is a small Brisbane based business with 2 ½ employees and a small 7 figure turnover. Our business and we personally are partly responsible for the carbon problem by our consumption of goods and services.

The issue of climate change and the associated production of carbon have gone from being ‘green issues’ a year or two back to being mainstream issues that most people understand and understand that we need to act on soon.

What is a Carbon Neutral Business?

Carbon Neutral and Carbon Footprints (the sum of the Carbon you produce directly and indirectly) have become big news lately. Being Carbon Neutral, wither we are talking about you personally, your household or your business is actually a fairly straightforward process. At Promotion Products we could find very little information specifically aimed at small businesses who wanted to become carbon neutral, so we developed our own plan which you are welcome to use. This plan/guide is not sophisticated – it is designed to push us in the right direction. There are three very simple steps 1/ measure our Small Business Carbon Footprint 2/ reduce our Carbon Footprint, 3/ offset our remaining Carbon Footprint.

Measuring your Carbon Footprint

Most activities we undertake in our working lives produce carbon and contribute to our Carbon Footprint. Travelling to work, switching on heating or air conditioning, making a coffee, switching on a computer, travelling to see a client, sending a product sample – all of these things produce carbon – collectively these are known as our Carbon Footprint (the sum of all the carbon our small business produces). It should be noted that we are making our office and our business processes Carbon Neutral, we have a plan which we are going to implement over time to make our products Carbon Neutral.

A small business can measure it’s Carbon Footprint with a ‘Carbon Audit’. We need to know what activities produce carbon and how much they produce. Any small business can easily measure how much carbon it produces, here’s the Carbon Audit breakdown for Promotion Products in 2006:-

Travelling to work and client visits – 57 150km (producing 14.4 tonnes of carbon)
Air travel – 28 000 km (9.52 tonnes)
Office electricity energy use – 5610 kwh (6.51 tonnes)
Office waste (0.92 tonnes)
Total carbon from these activities 31.35 tonnes

So how do you measure your carbon output? – easily! – visit the calculator page to see what your small business carbon footprint is >>> http://promotionproducts.com.au/carbon_neutral/calculator.html

Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Our initial concern about reducing our carbon Footprint was that it would impact negatively on how productive our business is. This is a concern that most business people would share. However we have found that looking at ways to reduce our carbon Footprint has some very positive effects on our business.

Ways that Promotion Products has reduced it’s Carbon Footprint

Reduce Unnecessary Vehicle Travel
Travelling to work, to clients and to suppliers produced the most amount of carbon for us in 2006. We found that we could reduce travel by conducting more of our business across the internet. Instead of visiting a client we found that emailing them information and having a telephone meeting would often achieve the same result. Secondly we realised that we would traditionally check stock at our warehouse, then deliver it to one of our decoration shops, have it decorated with a client logo or message, have it sent back to us and then dispatch it to the client. Not anymore. We have negotiated special arrangements with our decorators that they now receive stock direct from the warehouse, they check the stock, decorate it and direct dispatch this to clients.

Carrying out more web transactions and having a new production procedure have both cut our Carbon Footprint and had the secondary effect of making us a more efficient business. It is not possible for all businesses to do this, the point is we looked at our procedures and saw that we could improve how we do business whilst producing less carbon.

Reduce Unnecessary Air Travel
Travelling interstate to see clients and suppliers and going to Asia on sourcing trips are very obviously activities that produce carbon!

We completely understand that drastically reducing such travel is not an option for many businesses. However we would suggest that many businesses can reduce this amount of travel. As mentioned above, web based transactions have reduced the amount of travel we do interstate. Secondly we decided to see Asian suppliers once every two years instead of every year and have asked our Australian based suppliers to visit us instead when they are in Brisbane seeing their other clients. Again we have found that this small change has made us a more efficient business.

Reduce Office Electricity
In our office we use electricity to power our computers, lighting and air conditioning. We can’t not have our computers on, we need light to see what we are doing and we need our office to be cool in summer and warm in winter! If we cannot do without these things we decided to regulate how they are used. The new rules are:- computers, printers, monitors and lights are switched off every night. Air conditioning only goes on after 10 am and is switched off ½ an hour before we leave -our aim is to use 15% less power in 2007 than 2006. We can all make small changes in the way we run our office, if everyone in Australia did the same the savings would be massive.

Reduce Office Waste
Most of the things we consume in running our office produce carbon – paper, printer cartridges, packaging, brochures, general rubbish etc. Very quickly we found that we could:- use recycled paper and ink cartridges (for a small amount more), say no to excessive amounts of brochures from suppliers, not print every document and store our records electronically. We have found that actively reducing our office waste has produced efficiencies that we did not expect.

By making the changes above we will be reducing the amount of Carbon that our business produces in 2007.

Offsetting your Carbon Footprint
After calculating our 2006 Carbon Footprint (visit Carbon Calculator page) and looking at ways to reduce our 2007 Carbon Footprint we needed to offset the carbon we had produced in 2006. The most straightforward way to offset the carbon you create is to buy trees, when a tree is planted and starts to grow it absorbs carbon therefore neutralising the effect that the carbon could have on the atmosphere.

Several charities and companies offer a tree planting service – simply visit Google type in ‘Carbon Neutral’ and you will see a whole selection of tree planters. These various organisations charge differing amounts to offset one ton of carbon. We have found US based project charging as little as $5 to offset one ton. We have chosen a local Australian based organisation who cost almost triple this amount to offset with. There are three main reasons for using this local scheme – planting in Australia will provide local jobs and help our local environment and the schemes they run are fully audited.

Check them out here:-
http://www.carbonneutral.com.au

Offsetting your Carbon Footprint through your electricity provider

Many electricity companies offer ‘green’ electricity now. This is electricity that has been produced using renewable resources like wind and solar, using ‘green’ electricity is a little more expensive but will cut your carbon footprint. We use Origin Energy who have some good green electricity ‘products’ >>> http://www.originenergy.com.au

How much does Carbon Neutral Cost?

Promotion Products produced a little more than 31 tonnes of Carbon in 2006. Offsetting this cost just over $13 per tonne. At a touch over $400 becoming a Carbon Neutral Small Business has added less than ½ of 1% to our operating costs. However what these figures do not tell us is how much we will save in 2007 by reducing our Carbon Footprint. We will save money by travelling less, we will save by using the web more, we will save by having more efficient businesses practices, we will save because we are using less electricity. Our Green Energy costs a little more and recycled paper costs marginally more. On balance it is my belief (only our 2007 Carbon Audit will tell) that becoming a Carbon Neutral business (for us) is going to add $1000′s to our bottom line.

Future Steps

We found it a little confusing when initially researching becoming a Carbon Neutral business. We found it difficult to work out what exactly the term meant – does it relate just to our office?, does it relate to travelling to work?, does it relate to the carbon produced by transporting our goods?, does it relate to the carbon produced in making our products?

We have found that there are two broad categories here:-

* Business processes. Every activity that your business engages in to make a sale – this includes travel to and from work, travel to see customers, paper used in the printer and all the other things talked about above. Making our Business Carbon Neutral relates to this.
* Products and their transportation. Most of the things we sell come from Asia – a lot are made of materials like plastic and metals that have environmental impacts. We quickly realised for us to calculate or audit the carbon footprint of the 10 000+ items we sell was not going to be realistic in a short time period.

We have a three step plan;-

1. Make our Business Carbon Neutral – which we have done and as you can see is relatively easy and inexpensive to do.
2. Make the freight on our Products Carbon Neutral – this is our next step. We are developing a calculator so that we can offer clients the opportunity to neutralise the carbon produced by freighting their product from the factory. We will be offering this service by January 2008.
3. Starting to audit our product’s Carbon Footprint – we hope to have broadly categorised many of these by January 2008.