ICS Magazine

The 2006 ICS Salary and Benefits Survey

May 18, 2006

Since the dawn of time, when man first pondered, "Hmm. Me wonder how many mammoth hides Grog took home to cave last year?" the importance of understanding the compensation picture in a given profession has continued to grow. Finding solid footing on a somewhat murky economic landscape is vital when asking, "How am I doing?" as well as, "How are we, as an industry, doing?"

The overall purpose of the ICS Cleaning Specialist Salary & Benefits Study is to evaluate current salary levels and benefits of professional carpet cleaners and smoke/water damage restoration professionals. A systematic random sample of 1,500 ICS subscribers, taken from the domestic circulation on an nth name basis, yielded a 23 percent response rate.

So, how is the industry doing? According to our study, the median annual gross salary in 2005 was $60,000; the mean, or average, was $82,167 (remember, we're talking about salary, not revenue). Eighty-one percent of those responding are the president/owner/partner of their business; general managers and office managers make up another 12 percent. More than one-third of respondents - 36 percent - service an area with a population of 100,000 to 499,000. Thirty-one percent hail from the Midwest, while 28 percent reside in the South.

Experience counts in any field, and the carpet cleaning and smoke/water damage restoration business is no different. Fully 40 percent of respondents have been employed in the floor care and restoration industry for 15 to 29 years; 12 percent have put in 30 years or more. These numbers would seem to suggest that the industry is not quite as transient as some might think.

With this level of experience it follows, then, that continuing education would be the rule, not the exception, and the numbers reflect this: 69 percent of respondents claim to hold some form of professional certification. Of those, 77 percent hold the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification's CCT; 61 percent cite the IICRC WRT; and 21 percent claim the IICRC ASD certification.

Almost two-thirds - 64 percent - of responding companies retain five or fewer full-time employees, while only 6 percent claim 20 or more. And when it comes to the fully paid benefits these employees are offered, 59 percent receive vacation time; 39 percent, continuing education; 27 percent, sick leave; 26 percent, health insurance; and 18 percent are offered fully paid life insurance.

Taking the economic pulse of an industry provides some valuable insight as to its overall health and well-being, and this pulse feels strong. The charts included here should further clarify the financial picture of the carpet cleaning and smoke/water damage restoration industry. Be aware that this data is an estimated representation of the industry, and should not be used as exact figures.