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Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

advice please

Posted by sweetalkingdevil (sweetalkingdevil), 30 January 2004
Hi, just been reading through this very helpful website. I am amazed to see how helpful people are on here to new people starting up, they are after all potential competition. However, seeings that things here all seem to be quite helpful, i was wondering if those more experienced in these matters would be able to give me some advice. I am by trade an antiques restorer and  i am thinking of adding a sideline into my business of upholstery cleaning and stain gaurding fabric for my existing and future costomers. I am not interested in commercial carpet cleaning and such like. Firstly, could anyone recomend the sort of machinery i should look to get for this type of work? Secondly, and as i am not familiar with the problems that can arise in this type of work, would it be worth taking one of the courses such as those offered by pro-chem? any advice greatly appreciated. If anyone needs advice re; furniture restoration, polishing etc. then i am happy to oblige.
kind regards.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 30 January 2004
Hi Sweet talker

My wife will kill me if she sees me starting a post like this.... you are likely to get us all into trouble using a pseudonym like that. Wink  Grin

May I suggest that you book onto the NCCA training course at Leicester in February (see dates on post re NCCA Training)

Contact the NCCA Tel: 0116 2719550

Paul, one of the trainers, has a wealth of experience which may help you.

With antique items it's not just the wide variety of fabrics that you have to contend with but the multitude of stuffers and fillers inside, many of which can bleed wonderfully.

Hope this helps
Posted by gwrightson (gwrightson), 30 January 2004
well i recently discovered a great way to remove heat marks from polished tables
cigarette ash mixed with olive oil , to a smooth paste
gently rub in wipe of, hey presto
better half very impressed  it worked
so tell me  have u used this method
or do u know better
Posted by sweetalkingdevil (sweetalkingdevil), 30 January 2004
Hi geoff, yes indeed i do know of this, it is in fact a very old method, but a good one none the less. the fag ash is a mild abrasive, the oil a carrier. works in pretty much the same way as t-cut or brasso do, both of which can also be used to remove blemishes but caution must be taken as you can easily come unstuck if you over do things. Thanks for the tips derek, food for thought, will keep doing my research.
Kind regards.
Posted by chris_rushton (Chris_R), 30 January 2004
Be VERY careful - cleaning upholstery is the most difficult and trouble prone part of our job- you will need training by the NCCA.
Posted by sweetalkingdevil (sweetalkingdevil), 31 January 2004
Thanks for the replies. Which is the better course out of pro-chem and the ncca? Any others i should be aware of? What are the nightmare scenarios of cleaning upholstery? are there insurance policies that cover products liability and roughly how much are the premiums??
Kind regards.
Posted by Jim_Lynch (Jim_Lynch), 31 January 2004
Before spending money on courses and equipment, it would be worthwhile to tag along with a board member in your area on a few upholstery cleaning jobs, to gain an insight into whether or not you will like the work, as well as the problems that can be encountered.
I'm sure someone here would be willing to let you tag along. I would be glad to help, if you can pay your own way here  Grin

Posted by Northerclean (Alex), 31 January 2004
Hi Sweettalk,

Welcome to the board firstly, hope you enjoy the site.

Anyway, I've more or less just got in cleaning so I would highly recommend the NCCA course for a knowledge base on equipment, fibres, and how to clean. Paul is a really nice guy and takes the time out to answer all questions everyone has. I’ve not got a Pro-Chem. machine so I couldn’t answer, I use an Ashby’s Ninja and the results are excellent. I didn’t really know what machine to get so the NCCA course was good value for money in helping me decide.

Anyway, any question I can help with just us a shout.


Posted by mark_roberts (mark_roberts), 31 January 2004
The Prochem course is good as they teach you how to clean with a little bit of theory.

The NCCA course is good as they teach you the theory but very little cleaning practical.

I've been to them both.

Do what Jim said.  You may hate cleaning upholstery as many of us do.  Or you may love this business and decide to start your own up and become the next world wide dominating franchise!!!!!!!!!

Mark Roberts
Posted by sweetalkingdevil (sweetalkingdevil), 31 January 2004
Hi, thanks to everyone for their replies, especially jim for the offer, however queensland is just a little bit out of my patch Grin I must add i am feeling quite optomistic that this could become a nice little side line for me in my furniture restoration business, after all, i already have a proverbial foot in the door with my customers, it would'nt be so hard to talk them into letting me provide this extra service to them, plus i already have a van of course so i think it is a little easier for me than those just starting out. I also think that the two types of busines go hand in hand so to speak, and that both business could feed of each other, it's all furniture after all, any more advice on pitfalls greatly appreciated.
Kind regards.
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 31 January 2004
Hi Sweet talk

Welcome to the fringes of the wonderful world of fabric cleaning.

Would it be right of me, from reading your first post above, to presume that you would be working at the middle to high end of the market? Although within the lower end there can be many problems for the inexperienced upholstery cleaners, the upper levels tend to provide even more problems. My advice would be to follow the advice above and spend some time with an established and experienced technician. Another alternative, as a way of finding out what your market is like, is to work with an "Associate" who could take on all of your work, give you  a little profit but without the risk or capital outlay. Think like a businessman. How many suites do you expect to clean in a month? 2? 4?  What would be your outlay on machine, insurance, accessories and training? What price point are you looking at? How long would it take to get a return on your outlay?

If you were thinking of going into carpet cleaning too, I couldn't see a problem in your venture, but to feed off your existing market, at the lower volume, high risk end of our industry, within what I perceive to be the highest cost marketplace, on a low volume turnover would be a poor business decision. My apologies for being pessimistic, but from the information to hand, this is how I read the situation.

Safe and happy cleaningSmiley

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