How to set up a carpet fitting business

A carpet fitter unrolling a new carpet.

Regardless of profession, any tradesperson is only as good as their tools. And when it comes to professional gardeners and landscapers, this is certainly the case.

Fitting new carpets can be a fiddly and time consuming job. This is why many people in the UK employ expert installers when it’s time for a new carpet. For this reason, these skilled tradespeople have the opportunity to earn a good living.

However, what do individuals need to do to set up their own carpet business? And are there any specialist insurance requirements when it comes to this trade? In this guide, we answer both of these questions and more as we run through the essential steps involved in starting a carpet fitting business.

How to start a carpet business

Becoming a carpet fitter takes a lot of hard work. However, starting your own carpet business has its own set of unique challenges. As well as mastering your craft and producing the best quality of work possible, you’ll also need to think about the practical aspects of running a business. This includes everything from market research and tool acquisition to insurance policies and incorporation.

Below we run through the essential steps all business owners need to take when launching their own carpet fitting company.

Put in the research and write a plan

Once you’ve decided you have the skills and experience needed to go it alone, the first thing you need to do is research your local market. Successful carpet fitters will usually have work scheduled a few weeks in advance. However, in order to emulate this and tap into the market demand, you need to know how to position yourself in your chosen area. This requires market research and, in some cases, a business plan.

Your market research needs to cover a number of areas. For example, before launching your business, it can help to know how many potential clients are in the area you are planning to operate in. Your research could involve breaking this down into domestic and commercial jobs. You could even go into further detail to determine how many homeowners, landlords and small business owners in the area may be interested in carpet fitting services.

This research will give you an idea of what your customer base may look like. It will also allow you to pin down a specific area you’d like to target, making it larger or smaller based on your findings. Using this data, you may even be able to come up with some financial projections. Whether this is just to give you a personal target, or are needed as part of a business plan, this can be useful information to have.

Research should also include looking at local competition. By looking online and in local business directories, you can determine how many carpet fitters already operate in your area. By identifying what services they offer and how much they charge, you can highlight ways to make yourself stand out after launch. This could include offering different or more niche services, or adopting a more competitive pricing structure.

Finally, if you require investment to launch your business, this research could be invaluable. This is because in order to secure a business loan, lenders will require you to produce a coherent business plan. As well as a brief description of your business and a financial overview, the research discussed above can help you produce a strong business plan.

Purchase the tools and materials you need

One of the largest, yet often overlooked, expenses of setting up your own business involves the purchase of tools, equipment and materials. While everything you needed to carry out your job was likely provided to you as an apprentice or an employee, when you take the plunge and start your own company, this is not the case. Naturally, to be a successful self-employed carpet fitter, you have to purchase all the equipment you need to deliver your services. Below we list the basic tools and equipment all carpet fitting businesses need:

  • Stanley knives (and replacement blades)
  • Staple gun (for wooden floor carpet installations)
  • Carpet roller
  • Carpet stair tool
  • Knee pads
  • Knee kicker
  • Power stretcher
  • Tape measure
  • Tack strips
  • Duct tape
  • Seaming iron
  • Carpet adhesive

Register your business

No matter what trade you practise, when it comes to going it alone, officially registering your business is an important step. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Before registering, you need to choose the type of business you want to run. There are a number of options, each with a range of pros and cons.

Your first option is to run your business as a sole trader. When you use this model, you will not have to worry about paying to register your business or publishing your accounts each year. However, there are also disadvantages to sole trader companies. For example, when you operate as a sole trader you are personally liable for your business’s debts. This means, your personal assets could be at risk if your business’ creditors decide to call in their debts and your business does not have the money to cover it. This is also the case if you run your business as a partnership with another individual. However, in this case you would share responsibility for any business debts.

Alternatively, you can register as a limited company. When you do this, liabilities are limited, meaning your personal assets enjoy a certain level of protection. However, limited companies do require you to pay an initial incorporation fee. Additionally, you cannot serve as a limited company director if you are an undischarged bankrupt or a previously disqualified director. Unlike sole traders, limited companies are also required to publish their accounts each year.

Buy insurance

If you work as a tradesperson, you’ll know accidents happen. While you learn to deal with this as an employee or apprentice, when you run your own business, you can become liable when an accident occurs. For this reason, purchasing the necessary insurance policies is an important part of starting a carpet fitting business.

Although business insurance is not a legal requirement in this trade, it is strongly recommended that all carpet fitters take out public liability insurance. This protects you if a client or other member of the public is injured due to the actions of your business. It also protects you against third party property damage claims. For example, you will be covered if a client falls over the cable of one of your power tools and becomes injured. You will also be financially protected if you accidentally damage a client’s floor while installing their new carpet.

Tools and equipment insurance is also a good idea. These policies provide financial protection in the event vital tools or equipment you rely on are lost, stolen or damaged. Depending on your policy, this type of cover can also provide compensation for any loss of earnings experienced until your tools can be replaced.

Finally, you may need to consider employers’ liability insurance. In the UK, if you employ anyone, you are legally required to have a policy of this kind in place. Employers’ liability cover provides financial protection if an employee becomes ill or injured while working for you.

What is carpet fitters’ insurance?

Carpet fitters’ insurance is a bespoke policy designed to cover those who work in this industry. Here at Markel Direct, we understand the needs of carpet fitting businesses. That’s why we offer comprehensive carpet fitters’ insurance packages that allow you to combine a number of covers into a single, all-encompassing policy. 

Business insurance from £5 a month