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

Truck Mount or Quality Portable?

Posted by harvey (harvey), 3 November 2003
Sorry guys your opinions are sought after again!!
Having surfed this Forum for a week or so now i have found it very informative with more and more questions coming to mind the more i learn.
Putting costs to one side (for the moment), for normal residential/office/pub/restaurant cleaning How much better is a truck mount than a good portable?  Is the main benifit the reduced setting up time or?
I know truck mounts are far more popular in america and wondered why you professional guys seemed to stick to good portables!
Thanks in advance for any advise on this or the other posts which have been kind enough to respond to!
Posted by Cloverleaf (Cloverleaf), 3 November 2003
I have run a portable for  the last 3 years with no problem.
I know that if you'v got the work a truckmount will cut your time considerably and wish I had one for the commercial jobs.

If your starting from scratch I would say a good portable is the best bet. If you can get a high turnover of customers or commercial jobs then a truckmount is the better option.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 3 November 2003
you hear of a lot of portable users moving onto truckmounts but never truckmount owners moving to portables, this I  think says it all.

Posted by Glynn (Glynn), 3 November 2003
You "Cannot" begin to compare the effect a Truckmount has in any cleaning situation when compared to ANY portable.
A portable can't keep up with the heat for one, esp when using superior tools eg Dri-Master which provides superior cleaning of cottons, flatwaeves etc - a portable just cannot do this.

You cannot clean a five bedroom house without spending half the time of the job filling/emptying as you can with a TM. and NO ONE with a portable can supply the dry times of a true TM operator (with true dedication) as a TM operator can. To put it simply, there is NO comparison.
I spent 22 years building up a company (and it is succesfull) then realised that I had wasted 22 yrs using inferior equipment, wish I hadn't ben as naive !.



Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 3 November 2003
my last answer was a little abrupt so I'll add some more.

there are lots of reasons people chose to stay with portables, they feel that they do a great job with a portable so why change or lots of them are scared of the complexity of truckmounts.

Truckmounts are'nt just for commercial work they are perfect for domestics also.

if you  ask which is best you will get 2 different answers one from portable users and one from truckmount owners

I have a truckmount and 2 top of the range portables. the portables have'nt been out of the garage for months.

Posted by ALEXDH (ALEXDH), 3 November 2003
Perhaps you should sell me one of your portables sir.

You don't want them making the place look  Roll Eyesuntidy. Roll Eyes

Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
Posted by harvey (harvey), 3 November 2003
This is quality info!
Mike which kind of Truck Mount are you using, it must be good to make you leave top end potables in the garage every day!
Ive just been browsing the alltec site and see that they have an entry level Truck Mount the SteamWay 6100 sidekick    The site does not have any prices on it but it claims to be the cost effective way to get into Truck Mounts.  Does anybody know anything about this particular unit?
The site also talks about the FAST TRACK marketing system that i am very interested in but nobody seems keen to talk about!
Posted by ALEXDH (ALEXDH), 3 November 2003
Hi the Side kick goes for about £7000 exc vat i believe.

I dont think that includes much else , maybe wrong though.

the rest of the package with training is about another £4,000 K

I am copying this of the leasing brochure so prices may be a little different, but it gives you an idea.
Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 3 November 2003
I've been in the game for 4 years, moved onto a T/M 2 weeks ago, it's like been in retirment now!!  

Plus the job results, do not compare, makes you feel like you have been doing an inferior job useing a portable.

Did it 18 years sooner than you Glynn.
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 3 November 2003
I went from portables to Steamway Sidekick in January,
not looked back since but after 22 years with portables I did find the transition more difficult than I imagined.The SideKick is a great entry level TM, perfectly suitable for any domestic job you could come across and medium size commercial. I recently completed a 500 plus sq mtr government dept office block comfortably in a day, on my own using a wand. I did have to re-position the van a few times as 150ft of hose is all I carry. The deal I got on a 3 year lease for complete set up, works out at £325 per month.
As Glynn said, if you can do it, dont waste your time - go TM. You dont have to go for a big high powered unit to start with a Side Kick or similar will do.
Posted by lenpg (lenpg), 3 November 2003
Hi Harvey

Truck mount V portables, both have good and bad points!

In my humble opinion the Truck Mount is far superior machine on carpets, whether it be commercial or domestic, however I believe the portable have the edge on any TM say on a three piece suits.  I use both systems depending on the job at the time, TM Prochem, Portable Ashby’s

If you are looking into a TM what type of van have you? The majority of TM have long wheel-based and high vans and have a job parking or getting into confined space, (double-parking).  Think small and will the unit fit, I have a Vito and carry 80 gal’s of water, if I can’t get in to that space no one can!

Fast track systems look good but costly (but they are putting time and effort into it as you do with carpet cleaning you what a return on your investment)

Len a non-fast tract member.

Posted by brucie (brucie), 4 November 2003
Most of my work is domestic work in London.Lucky to get parked within 200 yds most times.
see the problem ? Angry
Posted by woodman (woodman), 4 November 2003
Horses for courses

as Brucie says no good if you have to park your TM round the corner, and what about security I don't now about you but some of the places I used to work you could not have left the doors open on the van or the the house infact most customers would have insisted on the door being shut.

There is a place for both oh and Mike I do know off TM operators that have returned to portables for the very reasons given above.

No one can question the power and heat generated by TM will be superior but a portable in the right hands will clean just aswell Wink
Posted by woodman (woodman), 4 November 2003

just to tag on the above,

Have you thought about Dry-Fusion?

Contract cleaner I spoke to last week has been told by one of his major clients that they no longer want 'wet cleaning' he is probably at this moment sorting out a dry-fusion machine.

Just a thought!
Posted by Nigel_W (Nigel_W), 4 November 2003

I have a truck mount and I still regularly use portables.

All of my work is in London so there are times when I cannot use the truck mount.  I am completely satisfied that the jobs I clean with a portable are as professionally done as the ones I clean with the truck mount. The only differences are really in productivity, especially on commercial work or large residential jobs.
Also there is some feelgood factor for both you and the client. It really is an impressive piece of kit.

My advice is that you should buy a truck mount when you need one. Alot of people who concentrate on the domestic market can operate very well with portables. Most householders are more impressed by politeness, service, care and attention and a smiling face than they are by your horsepower on the drive. They will judge your performance on their overall experience during your visit to their home. Only a small part of this will be their view of the equipment you are using. Any way lets face it - it will not be long before truck mounts are commonly used and therefore they will not be the unique selling points that they are today.

Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 4 November 2003
I agree with most of what you said there. Dont get me wrong I  think my Kick Start is Great, however I still Have a portable Pro Plus. As to reverting back to things, I dont know of anyone going back to portables personally, however I do Know of a couple of guys who have gone from TM to Dry Fusion permanently.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 4 November 2003
As soon as I saw the title of this topic i know that old chestnut would raise its head, 'where I live you can't park within 200ft of the house'

I must live in a great place Grin 99%of the time I can park next to the front door and  I never have any worries about security.

woodman as I said my post was slightly abrupt, yes there will be some truckmount owners who will use portables. but I know a lot of T/M owners who'd rather pass on a job than get out their portable.

The dry Fusion point was well put. I know alot of T/M owners who when they can't get in with the T/M will use rotory cleaning rather than a portable.


often when this topic is discussed it is seen as truckmount owners bashing portables and portable owners saying they can clean just as good as a truckmount.

As has already been said, quality comes from the person using the equipment not the equipment being used. I can clean a carpet just as good with a portable as I can with a T/M but I prefer the convenience & speed of the T/M


Posted by pre-vac_Nick (pre-vac_Nick), 4 November 2003
Just thought id add my two pennith worth!!

As i have said before being brought up by the Prochem family i dreamed of owning a TM But living in south London where most of my domestic work is causes a problem with parking etc and traffic wardens the ba*$%rds!!

But there is a way round this, all i do is work hard and  expand my business to the surrey borders where most houses have a drive and the traffic wardnens are a little more laid back!!

Simple really but i feel ive got another 2 1/2 years left yet then my 4yr business plan should be on track!!

So i suppose what im saying is a TM is no good for me now but because i really want one ive got to work for it then ill appreciate it more Grin Grin
Posted by lenpg (lenpg), 4 November 2003
Hi All

I noticed that some of you advised parking some way from the customer 200 yds plus, surely when taking any booking you check availability of parking with the customer, Yellow lines red routes, parking meters etc? no matter what system you use.  I know customers are not interested in you parking but then again they want the job done are we too hover over there home and do a beam me up Scotty if any of you know how to do this let me know and I buy you Star Trek drink.

It doesn’t matter what area you work the goons in uniforms will try to nick you, a trick if you call it one is a yellow revolving light mainly when I have to double park, it works for me and I cover the N, NW, EN, E, SE and DA post codes, care should always be taken when parking in a council estate with goons in uniforms they are jobs worth.

I will drag my portable so far then think ££ are we not into making money or are we into break even.

This may be deviating from the first posting SORRY!


Posted by harvey (harvey), 5 November 2003
Thanks again for all of your replies!

It would appear the majority think if you can afford to purchase the TM with then it makes doing most jobs to a high standard a little easier as well as quicker.

Am i right in thinking that customers are generally more impressed (as long as the work is carried out well) when a truck mount turns up at the door than standard portables?  If so has this helped when actively seeking customer referals?
Posted by Glynn (Glynn), 5 November 2003
More than you could imagine, people actually start to insist on Tms after a while.


Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 6 November 2003
Ive been twice as busy, literaly, since getting my TM and apart from a larger YP ad have not done any extra marketing (not had the time).
Posted by harvey (harvey), 6 November 2003

has most of this extra work come fom referals?  And has this extra work covered the additional purchase costs?

thanks again

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 6 November 2003
Not wishing to break the flow of this thead but I have to say that it is refreshing that certain T/M owners have posted here without displaying the blinkered view so often encountered - namely that anything other than  a machine permanetly bolted to a van is a mear toy, not to be taken seriosly.

Well done gents  Smiley Smiley Smiley

As Nigel wrote in another topic, [paraphrased] it is a mistake to get locked into one 'system'  and be blind to the alternatives.

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 6 November 2003
Been a Northern Bloke and a bit thick, what does MBICSc
stand for, never could understand talking in letters!!
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 6 November 2003

It stands for Member of the British Institute of Cleaning Science.



Most of the Northern Blokes I have known who claim to be a bit thick are real Canny Lads  Wink

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 6 November 2003
Hey I got Science prize at school for 99% in my Science leaving exam, does that mean I can put summat after my name??

Gee that was a long time ago, bloody good memory I got.

Now remind me what were we on about Huh Huh Huh
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 7 November 2003
The extra has come from everydirection, but a quick breakdown on the main ones are:-
From Jan 1st to Oct 31st this year.
Repeats an Extra 20%,
Referalls an Extra 10%,
Y/P an Extra 300%,
Van an Extra 400%,
These percentages are the extra compared to my average from the same source.  I would say the TM creates a lot more local interest when doing a job, and gets them talking and coming over more for instant quotes etc.

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