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

Light shampoo cleaning will do

Posted by MartinJH (MartinJH), 30 September 2003
In all jobs, its the response from the customer that is the key to success.

And its amazing the number of people who have thought about having a carpet cleaned but have gone no further.  I'm one of them.  Then I stumbeled upon this site.

I have recently ordered a shampooing machine and most I have told either want to borrow it or have a free demonstration.  If this level of interest can be taken as for real (As I belive it is) then there is money to be made in a house vacum and shampoo.  I understand that it is not the full professional clean offered by others, but then again a carpet is peoples pride and joy, Its the first thing that visitors see, so sucking out the top level of dirt will (I presupose) do.

So if i'm to sell this sort of service, then how can I make customers realistic in terms of what can be achived with a highstreet cleaning system?

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 30 September 2003
Hi Martin

I will let you into a little secret...

If you go into a customers house with equipment that they can get hold of themselves then you have immediately put yourself at a sales disadvantage.
Part of the business of carpet and upholstery cleaning is the mystic that is attached to it.

If you are seriously going into this business then do it right...

Best of luck

Posted by MartinJH (MartinJH), 30 September 2003
Thank you for your reply

From a stand point of selling, could the mystery be in the cleaning liquids used?  After all, is it not the expertise that is sold, as well as clean carpets. Huh

I work for a firm that supplies lots of the stuff in a unique outlet and have see the difference between the products.  

Selling this kind of information makes the machine a mute point, does it not?

It could also be said, that if I can make enough money out of enough customers, I could then afford to buy something made out of aluminium rather than plasic.

How did you start off?

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 1 October 2003
Hi Martin

I started off very much in the same way as yourself and I suspect most people do likewise.
I have yet to meet 'anyone' who decided, at school, that they would be a cleaner by would seem that we have all drifted into the profession.

I have learned most of my lessons either the hard way or listening to others mistakes.

Decide what you want to do, research and cost your requirements, be realistic.

A little story..... A friend of mine had an old Sherpa van, it was yellow (ish) and rust coloured. We talked him into buying a newer second hand Transit which he reluctantly did after much persuasion.
The response he got from his existing customers was eye opening, with comments like "You've finally got rid of that old van then".

Have a good clean signwritten van (clean inside as well as out and of course tidy.... can you resist not looking into a van which has an open door...of course not)

Have good clean kit, get yourself a uniform of some kind (Alexandras).... You will begin to feel more confident and this will, in turn, give your customers confidence in you. the NCCA says you 'should treat training as an investment NOT an expense'

I hope that this helps

Kind regards
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 1 October 2003
Hi Martin
Just out of curiosity, what machine do you have?
Posted by MartinJH (MartinJH), 2 October 2003
The machine that I have ordered and has arrived is a Bissell Power Brush Deep cleaner.

I have used it and so has my wife (Who is pregnant and says that it glides easily).

We have vacumed the house twice weekly since moving in one year ago, and the carpet is ten years old.  

The water that came out of the machine was a mucky brown and a scrap with the nails on the cleaned carpet did not show a blackish colouration that was present when the same test was done on uncleaned carpet.

I think the only limitation with this machine is it's two litre capacity of water with each room needing a couple of trips to the sink and back.  Apart from that, the machine works very well, especaily if you aren't used to clean carpets.

Thanks for the advice on the uniform and clean van.  The Van will have to wait, but a uniform would be a good idea.  I will take that on.

As far as stains go, where do I go to get some stronger stuff other than shop shelf cleaners?
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 2 October 2003
Hi Martin
Your story has reminded me of a customer we have. He used to buy bits of window cleaning equipment from us and he had started to get enquiries about doing carpets. He came to us saying that he wanted to do it 'seriously' and could we help him out. After running throught the options with him it became obvious that he wasnt going to spend more than 300!
We supplied him (reluctantly) with a Hoover Brush & Wash at 200 and talked him into spending the other 100 on a Prochem training course.
Not many weeks later he was back because he realised he needed a professional machine with more capacity and we supplied him with a Prochem Steameasy at 1100.
Shortly after that he came back and had a Prochem Steampro at 1500. Having spoken to him recently he is now considering leasing a truckmounted machine (approx cost 13,000)
As Derek has said, I suspect that most carpet cleaners go through the same process - and most of them soon realise that if you want to charge a reasonable rate you will have to do a reasonable job. Although freinds and neighbours may appreciate a 'light clean' you need to be extremely careful about the sort of work you get into without knowing a bit more about carpet cleaning in general.
I would hate to put you off in any way but I wouldnt suggest you do much else before you learn about things like carpet construction, fibre identification, the effect of high and low PH chemicals, etc etc.
Have a look at the courses available and consider the 100 or so to get on one - it will be the best 100 you ever spend if you are serious about getting involved in carpet cleaning.
Mike Boxall

Posted by MartinJH (MartinJH), 2 October 2003
Thank you for your rely

This sounds very much like the direction I would wish to go, yet from what you are suggesting, I would be better poised if I were to lend beg borrow or sell for a better machine that costs in the higher end of the market.

Market research into the area would help, and there is no better way to do that than with a simple cleaning job.

This brings me back to the original question " how can I limit the expectations of the customer "?

If, with all being well I go on the course make contacts, find new products and better services, if this is to all go well then would my existing customers be more worried about the increased price in service, or be more happy about the cleaner carpet?

In other words, what are the benefits involved in "going pro" with carpet cleaners?
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 2 October 2003
Hi Martin

Limiting the expectations of the customer..... this you will be doing on a daily basis but we refer to it as 'matching the customers expectations with reality'

As Mike has said and I do agree with him... go on a training course first and foremost.
You will need to know all about fibres and fabrics, constructions as they all play a part in being able to discuss cleaning expectations with the customer.
You also need to know about chemicals, the importance of pH (acids and alkalis)
Knowledge will give you confidence.

Do this and you will be well on the way to becoming a 'pro'

Posted by MartinJH (MartinJH), 4 October 2003
Thanks for your all your help.

Market research is well under way, and I have just had my first customer.

Well me actually, and I am very impressed.  Mum and Dad, Brother and then Sister next. Then its gonna need 5,000 leaflets a week within a 8 mile radius.

Anyone heard of a product called ForceField SoilBlaster?

Oh, and did anyone else think, when they first started that a Truckmount was some kind of hoover adaptor?
Posted by stanley (stanley), 8 October 2003
i use a vax machine for great cleaning results
i cleaned a suite last week for 65 i got some chemical stuff from a fried and the customer was very pleased i cleaned her carpet to with a bissell shampoo and thousand and one - what a fantastic result and nerl90 for 2 hours work - i love cleaning carpets instead of windows
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 9 October 2003
Hi Stanley

If you think the job you have just completed is good..try a professional machine and the results will blow your mind.

Several points...

Please don't just get a chemical 'from a friend' its like playing Russian Roulette.

Vax and Bissell machines produce limited results and do not give you credibility with your customers...after all they can buy these from a local store...why should they pay you when they can do it themselves.

1001 shampoo may cause resoiling problems unless rinsed out thoroughly.

Many window cleaners go into carpet cleaning and some switch completely and have very successful businesses.

I respectfully suggest that if you wish to pursue a business in carpet and upholstery cleaning then 'first and foremost' you book onto a training course.

Do this and you will get a more realistic price for your suites in future, the many professionals I know charge well in excess of 100.00 for a three piece suite.

I hope that this information will set you on the road to a successful business in carpet cleaning....Good luck

Posted by woodman (woodman), 9 October 2003
Bex Bissell and a Vax?
2 hrs to clean a carpet and a suite with those?

I think your on a wind up Stanley Wink
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 9 October 2003
Hi 'W'

I thought so too at first but  I  decided to give Stanley the benefit of the doubt.

I have actually heard of people cleaning this way for real!

Posted by A_to_Z_Clean (A_to_Z_Clean), 6 November 2003
hi MartinJH Grin

Can you tell me:
q1.How long is take to dry the carpet using "brush and wash"
q2.Are you using shampoo or powder(enviro)?
q3.How long it take to clean 1sq?

Regards Grin
AtoZ Clean

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