Starting Your Own Air Duct Cleaning Business: What You Need to Know

Starting Your Own Air Duct Cleaning Business: What You Need to Know
Interview with David Hart from RamAir

In today's world, where indoor air quality is increasingly valued, the demand for air duct cleaning services has increased dramatically. This surge is driven by a growing awareness among both residential and commercial customers about the importance of clean ducts for health and efficiency. As a result, starting an air duct business presents a lucrative opportunity with low startup costs and high return potential. 

We sat down with David Hart, Founder and CEO of RamAirInternational, to find out why air duct cleaning is a much-needed service, what you'll need to get started, plus pricing and marketing tips to help you be successful.

Q: Why is air duct cleaning in high demand?

Air duct cleaning offers a range of benefits, both in terms of health and efficiency, making it a worthwhile investment for residential and commercial property owners. Top benefits include improved indoor air quality, reduction of allergens and irritants, enhanced energy efficiency, and extended HVAC system lifespan.

In the past, air duct cleaning was relatively unheard of, but now, consumers are more educated about its benefits and are actively seeking this service. Builders are incorporating duct cleaning into the construction process, realtors are having it done before selling homes, and new homeowners are prioritizing it before moving in. 

With demand and public awareness continually increasing, now is a great time to get into this profitable industry.

Q: How would someone get started in this business? 

When starting your air duct cleaning business, there are basically two options: a stand-alone business or an add-on service to an existing business, like carpet cleaning or restoration. Both are very viable options with a high rate of success and growth.

I started as a carpet cleaner over 25 years ago. I added air duct cleaning to my services, and they fed each other for many years—carpet customers wanted duct cleaning, and duct customers wanted carpet cleaning. 

However, I found I could generate twice the revenue doing duct cleaning versus carpet cleaning, so I transitioned to only offering duct cleaning and haven’t looked back. 

Q: Let’s talk about revenue potential. How much can you earn in this business?

Pricing for air duct cleaning can vary based on a few factors, like square footage, the number of registers, and the complexity of the building. Most property owners don’t know how many registers they have, so I recommend going by square footage.

In my air duct cleaning business, pricing for a residential home is around $0.30 per square foot with a minimum charge of $450. So, if you’re working in a 1,000-square-foot home, it is $450 at minimum. If you’re working in a 2,000-square-foot home, it’s $600. 

Let's say your average residential job brought in $500, if you clean ducts in just 2 homes per day for 5 days, you’ll be bringing in $5,000 per week!

Commercial projects, like casinos, offices, and prisons, command higher rates. We charge $0.60 per square foot—and I’ve bid against companies charging 4X this amount.

Specialized services, like smoke restoration, forensic remediation, or fentanyl decontamination (RamAir is the only system allowed in the industry of Forensic Restoration, due to its level of efficacy in both cleaning and decontamination), can fetch even higher prices, upwards of $1.00-$5.00 per square foot.

Q: What equipment do you need for air duct cleaning? 

One of the reasons air duct cleaning is a popular choice among startup entrepreneurs is its low initial investment compared to other types of businesses. 

The RamAir Standard Duct Cleaning Package includes all the essentials for basic cleaning—except for the vacuum and hoses—for under $2,500. If you have a truckmount carpet cleaning machine and are on a tight budget, the Standard Package is a good option to get started.

Most contractors, however, prefer the RamAir Platinum Air Duct Cleaning Package, which includes everything in the Standard Package plus the Cyclonic PowerVac—all for around $5,000. Both packages include the patented SaniJet system, which provides efficient duct decontamination, essential for maintaining clean and healthy indoor air quality. 

When you consider the income potential from just a few jobs per week, you can see how quickly the equipment pays for itself and starts turning a substantial profit. 

Q: Are there any special licensing or training requirements for air duct / HVAC cleaning?

Some states may require certification and licensing for certain duct cleaning methods, especially if you are cutting into the ducts; however, the RamAir system does not require cutting into the duct at all, so no special credentials are needed. 

Attending training courses, such as those offered by RamAir, can also provide valuable insights and techniques for effective duct cleaning. 

Q: Can you share any marketing tips for someone starting an air duct cleaning business?

To kickstart your business, digital platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, and a professional website are essential to establish your online presence. 

Targeting specific industries such as builders, real estate agencies, and restoration companies through networking and outreach efforts can also yield valuable partnerships and contracts. As I mentioned earlier, real estate agents are often looking to have the ducts in a home cleaned before showing to remove dust, allergens, and odors, so developing relationships with your local realtors is key.

Additionally, incentivizing referrals from industry-related entities like HVAC companies can generate a steady stream of new customers. Most HVAC installation and repair companies don’t offer duct cleaning, so there’s a big opportunity for you to set up a referral or subcontracting program.

Cultivating relationships with restoration companies is a stellar way of generating high levels of revenue through both a steady flow of work as well as those types of jobs being a high dollar. 

Find Air Duct Cleaning Equipment at Jon-Don

Jon-Don offers air duct cleaning equipment and supplies from top brands, like Ram Air. Shop online at JONDON.COM or call a Jon-Don expert at 800-556-6366 for help in selecting equipment and getting your air duct cleaning business started.

About the Author

David Hart is the Founder and CEO of RamAir International and a Scientific Advisor & Instructorfor theHVAC division of the Microbial Warrior Academy. David has over 30 years of experience in HVAC cleaning and remediation and is passionate about helping contractors succeed in the air duct/HVAC cleaning industry.

RamAir International

RamAir International designs and manufactures the most efficient, effective, and affordable total duct cleaning equipment on the market today. RamAir duct cleaning and sanitizing equipment, with the “ClearView” vacuum box, is the first duct cleaning system that allows both the homeowner and technician to see the dust and debris as it is being removed.