Hi Clevelander I started in the residential area specifically and don't offer carpet cleaning. What I found most helpful when starting out is to shop for rates in the areas near where you'll be doing business. Some people will tell you to call up other services and see what they would charge but you can also google the service you are "researching" near your area and visit their website. I was very surprised to see how many companies actually break it down very nicely. Like Sprintcar said there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration when pricing, but at least you'll have ball park figures.
If you do decide to google don't just look on the first page you'll be able to find much more info on the other pages, also yelp reviews tend to put the services website link.
Good luck on your new endevor
And now let me tell you why this has nothing to do with real life. I've told this story before..... when I added on carpet cleaning to my residential cleaning service (prolly 15 years ago) I charged $ .50sf. I got to know a local guy that sold carpet cleaning supplies really well. He had been in the carpet cleaning business for over 20 years and had sold his company just a few years before. The exact conversation was that I was telling him how I got a $100 tip on a $600 job. He was like.... wtf????
So he asked me how much I charge. I said $ .50sf. He was once again like.... WTF???? He said the highest carpet cleaning company in town (at that time) only charged $ .27sf. He was like.... how are you getting $ .50sf? No one ever gets that much.
I just explained that I SOLD
it to the customer. And that I didn't care what anyone else was charging because I knew what I needed to charge. He was freaking out. lol
So if I would have called around and everyone in town would have told me they charge from $ .22sf to $ .27sf I might have F'ed myself and made a small amount of profit like everyone else in town was doing. Seems like a dumb (*) thing to do if you ask me.
Or, just a couple of weeks ago someone called for house cleaning. I forget what price we told them.... something like $250 or $350 probably. So my girl calls the guy back and asks if he wants to set up the time to clean and he says he found someone that would do it for $45.
So I should call around and set my prices near the $45 mark? Seems like another dumb (*) thing to do if you ask me.
By the way.... showing up with one of those rented splash & dash units from the grocery store is not called carpet cleaning. They use the wrong type of cleaner and they don't have anywhere near enough suction to get the crap that you put in to the carpet back out. Not to mention..... how will you get out nail polish? Or blue kool aid? Or rust? Or red kool aid? Or coffee? You can't just spray some of the $9.99 soap on it and hope for the best. I know this hopefully isn't your intentions.... just saying for anyone in the future that reads this.