It depends on what services you are going to handle completely in house and what aspects of the cleaning and restoration you will sub to other specialty contractors. For instance, are you going to offer full service electronics cleaning and do all laundry in house? The cost of the equipment to handle these two aspects of cleaning alone can cost upwards of $80,000.
But the cool part is that these two areas are very easy to sub out to specialty contractors to handle for you and you don't have to take out a second mortgage to be able to offer these services in your restoration business.
There are really only a few pieces that are on the expensive side. The rest of the tools you will need are pretty basic and quite inexpensive. The list I am giving you is for basic startup equipment you will need without the janitorial supplies like brooms, mops, buckets, etc. You can add equipment as you go along, but this would be what I recommend you have in your cleaning arsenal:
• Ultrasonic Machine
• Air Scrubber
• HEPA Vacuum
• Air Compressor
• Hydroxyl Generator
• Portable Steam Cleaner
• Snail-Type Air Mover
• Step Stool
• Small Tool Kit (i.e. drill, hammer, screwdrivers, etc.)
• Packing Supplies (i.e. tape gun, box knives, etc.)
If you are starting out on a tight budget, some of these pieces you can purchase used or you could rent for your first few jobs, instead of purchasing right away. It’s one of the things I love about restorative cleaning - that you can get started on a pretty small budget if you need to.
Another equipment need that isn’t required right away is a portable steam cleaner. A portable will be necessary to clean upholstery, however this again is something that you can use a sub-contractor to get done for you in the beginning.
In the long run, the more equipment that you have that allows you to handle more of the cleaning process in house will give you an advantage with the homeowner as well as the adjuster. The perception is that the more the cleaning contractor does in house, the more control you will have over the entire process.
So before purchasing any equipment, be very clear what services you want to offer in house and design your facility for your contents cleaning process. Then decide on your budget and go shopping.