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How to Get into Water Restoration: Overview for Carpet Cleaners

If you have a steady carpet cleaning business and think you’re ready to grow into something new, water damage restoration is a logical next step to diversify your business. Water damage restoration is an extremely profitable service that can fuel business growth and provide you with financial freedom.

In this article, we’ll give an overview on what you need to know to expand your carpet cleaning business to include water damage restoration services. Making this move can be a significant leap forward for your business, as long as you’re properly organized and equipped before getting started.

First, Know that Your Hours Will Change—A Lot

The first key point on this topic is to be sure that you know what you are getting into. While there is some overlap between carpet cleaning and water loss (both residential and commercial), they are not the same thing.

For carpet cleaning work, you likely book appointments during a traditional 8:00am–5:00pm window. If those appointments are full, the customer will have to wait until the next opening on your calendar.

Water damage restoration is a 24/7 on-demand service (because disasters rarely happen when it’s convenient!). Working weekends is almost a certainty in this industry, as are working hours that don’t fit nicely into an 8-to-5 schedule. Even if you can position your business to where you don’t have to be out on those middle-of-the-night jobs, the system you create will need to be available at any time.

There is plenty to like about entering water damage restoration, just be sure you are ready for the time commitments that come with this field.

Lay the Groundwork for Your New Water Restoration Business

If you are still reading, we assume you have not been scared away by the previous section. That’s good! Building a water damage restoration business is an exciting opportunity and given that you already have a carpet cleaning business, you are steps ahead of others who may be considering this market.

Some essential groundwork pieces will need to be put in place before you can get serious about finding water damage customers. Consider these three key areas:

  • Education. There is no substitute for proper education when offering water damage restoration services. And, by proper education, we don’t mean watching a few random videos on YouTube. Pursuing formal education will be necessary to provide your customers with the kind of service they expect and deserve.

    Water Restoration Technician (WRT) training taught by Barry Costa is offered by Jon-Don and is the best place to get started. From there, you can add more education to your resume, including Applied Structural Drying (ASD), Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT), Commercial Drying Specialists, and more. The first book you’ll need to buy is ANSI/IICRC S500: 2021 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration. Better yet, go to and order the Premium Subscription service to gain access to ALL of your industry standards.

    The first book you’ll need to buy is ANSI/IICRC S500: 2021 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration. Better yet, go to and order the Premium Subscription service to gain access to ALL of your industry standards.
  • Legal. Water damage restoration requires very different legal protections than traditional carpet cleaning. Contracts must be signed before work begins, and you’ll need to have one that includes the essential verbiage that is required by your state (don’t try to copy another restorer’s contract!).

    We recommend working with an attorney to get your business set up properly. Not every lawyer is your lawyer, by the way. You’ll need to work with one who understands the nuances of water damage restoration and is familiar with the S500 standards.

    A more in-depth review of the legal requirements for water damage restoration is covered in Water Restoration Technician (WRT) training, and we can’t stress enough how important it is to start with that course.
  • Financial. There can be some financial challenges with expanding any business, and that’s certainly true here. What are you going to do if you get a big water restoration job, and you need to acquire a significant amount of equipment and consumables right away? Do you have the cash on hand for those kinds of purchases? If not, establishing a line of credit with your current bank or other financial institution is a smart move. This open line of credit will give you the flexibility required to scale up quickly if the opportunity to do so arises.

It will take some time to create a firm foundation on which you can build this new part of your business. Specifically, you’ll need time to work through the educational component, so get started on that as soon as you are sure that this new venture is the right move.

Invest in the Right Water Restoration Equipment

It is not necessary to accumulate a huge collection of water restoration equipment before you book your first job. It is necessary, however, to have the basics on hand, along with the right safety gear. First and foremost, you’ll need moisture meters, which are critical for finding hidden moisture. And of course, reliable air movers and dehumidifiers will be important components in your water mitigation arsenal as well.

You’ll get a better understanding of what each piece of drying equipment does and why it’s important as you go through the educational process. Also, one of the best things about shopping with Jon-Don for restoration equipment is the expert advice we can lend. Our team has many years of experience in the restoration industry and will be able to guide you on finding the right equipment.

Landing Your First Water Loss Jobs

It’s one thing to be prepared to take on water damage restoration jobs, it’s another thing entirely to secure that work and build your business. For that, you will need a marketing plan, but it’s unlikely the marketing plan that serves your carpet cleaning business will transfer directly over to water restoration projects.

Carpet cleaning is something people look for when their house starts to feel dirty, or they are getting ready to sell and need to spruce it up. Water damage restoration, on the other hand, is what homeowners and businesses need during and after an emergency. This isn’t a service that they shop for well in advance—it’s something they track down when they need it most.

So, where do customers come from in this industry? Insurance agents and property managers are a great place to start as these individuals are likely to have a water-related emergency at one point or another. The best strategy is to begin marketing to these folks before they have a need for water damage restoration. So when pipes burst, the basement floods, or storms hit, your name is top of mind.

Of course, once you do get a job or two from these channels, the best marketing you can do is to perform excellent work for a fair price. Nothing works quite like word of mouth in this business.

How Jon-Don Can Help Your Water Damage Restoration Business

Whether you are just breaking into the water damage restoration business, or you have been serving clients in this space for years, Jon-Don is the perfect place to shop. With a massive selection of water restoration equipment and supplies from the top brands in the industry, you’ll always find what you need. From flood extractors to dehumidifiers, air movers to disinfectants, we have a full selection of water mitigation equipment for professionals. And, when you aren’t sure what you need, our expert team will be happy to help. Contact us today!