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Reflections on a TM

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 8 November 2003

During an interesting conversation earlier today the topic of prices and standards came up specifically between portable and TM operators.

I have to admit that in commercial environments the humble portable will probably always come second to the TM as far as time is concerned and this in turn will obviously affect prices.
For years there were very few TM operators in the UK but now there are many more with many newcomers opting for the TM as their first machine.
Comments like, “will never go back to a portable” are commonplace form technicians who have made the change. There is no doubt about it TM operators can earn some serious money

Really it’s all down to personal preference and the work that you wish to do. Costs of TM’s are high initially but as someone said to me some time ago, “my TM is twelve years old, how many portables have you purchased during that time”

Personally I am a portable man perhaps if I was a few years younger I would give serious consideration to buying a TM but do so now… it would probably outlast me!

Food for thought though!


Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 8 November 2003
Hi Derek,

Here speaks a man who has gone back ot portables.

The decision was based largely on factors other than opperating efficiency.

I have a large established customer base, supplimented by referals, but mainly repeat business, so my market is predictable.

I also have a transit van which is packed to the gills with what I consider essential equipment/chemicals so the T/M was in a trailer

Into this scenario comes the fact that many of my clients live in pedestrian precicts where the nearest parking is 200ft or more away and you get the situation that the portable was a more practical option and the trailer made parking more difficult or impossible. It was therefore left at home.

The amount of time the T/M was standing idle increased when I decided that the unsociable hours and payment delays associated with working for a brewery were unacceptable.

I have never regretted not not worrying about the safety of the T/M, people tripping over hoses crossing public footpaths and other sundry little niggles.

As to time saved by useing a T/M - on some jobs un-noticeable, on others negligible.

Quality of work and drying times are not issues since tecnique can largely compensate for inherent differences.

This is not a condemnation of T/Ms, indeed if I were just starting in this business rather than 'accidentaly' drifting into it as an offshute to designing/ building machines back in the 60's, then I would probably  buy a T/M and build a suitable market.

Old dogs can learn new tricks but some of us learn which tricks to forget  Grin

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 9 November 2003
Thanks John for an interesting alternative concept.

There seems to be an increasing divide between TM users and Portable users creating an us and them scenario.

I said in an article some years ago that several things seem to be happening in the UK..

1. At that time the Fire and Flood Restoration business was being concentrated upon by the large specialised organisations including the franchises...hence the emergence of the BDMA (British Damage Management Association)

2. Commercial carpet cleaning was becoming the arena for the TM users to exploit as they could cope with the area volumes more easily and competitively.

3. The Domestic work would be split between TM and portable users.

Maybe some years later I was wrong but this was the trend I believe in Australia and we seemed to be heading the same way.

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 9 November 2003
the most important thing in our bussiness is not what equipment we use but how our cleaning is perceived by the customer. If when we've finished cleaning the customers carpet they believe that carpet is clean, then they are happy.

they say ignorance is bliss!

have we made the carpet clean, or just cleaner.

A truckmount will remove more dirt than a portable but will it make any difference to the appearance of the carpet?,  if not then does it make any differance that you used a T/M rather than a portable. ( hope that made sense Wink  )

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 9 November 2003

I take your point, and yes, like all your posts, it does make sense.

However, I think that your statement " a truck mount will remove more dirt" should read CAN remove......

Some years ago I had an on-site demo of a TM whilst cleaning a British Legeon hall. The club chairman was present, and asked me " Why does their bit not look as clean as yours? And your bit is drier"

OK, so I admit that had we swopped machines things would have been different but I make the point that there are more variables to consider than just the tool employed.

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 9 November 2003
Ok John, there will always be variables that will effect the end result but in a level playing field where everything is equal apart from the machine used then a truckmount can remove more dirt Wink

With the title derek gave this topic It would be very easy for its content to go off in any direction, My opinion of the truckmount is its perfect for 95% of  carpet cleaning situations, it makes life a lot easier and has some great marketing advantages over a portable.

It would be interesting to know out of the real big money earners in our industry who uses T/M and who uses portables because in the end we are in this bisiness to earn money so we can enjoy an affluent lifestyle.

whether we use a portable or a T/M to acheive this is uninportant.

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 9 November 2003
Hi Guys

I hate to have to say this but unless I am very much mistaken the TM operator 'should' have  the highest earning potential... .

Mike ...your statement about cleanliness as being perceived opens a whole new can of worms...I have my own thoughts on this but then I am old fashioned.

I like to think I know when a carpet is as clean as it can be but to be fair, even then, it may not appear to be any different to a cleaning method which is considered to be 'cosmetic'

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 9 November 2003
Without wishing to run off at too great a tangeant again, but I will, I feel that the biggest turnover companies in our industry use a low moisture system and specialise in the commercial environment.

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