I spend a lot of my time finding out what my competitors’ do for the money they charge. This year there are well over 100 carpet cleaners in the yellow pages, and many more that are not; as a consumer you are faced with the daunting task of choosing one cleaner over another. So how do you choose? What are the going rates? What should I look for? Who sets the standards? Why are some cleaners better than others? How do I know the difference? Why do some company’s charge more, and are they really worth it?
I am sure I have over looked a few questions, but I will answer the most common one as objectively as possible.
Did you know that the #1 customer complaint against all service companies is not showing up on time?
Note: Dan’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning has never shown up later than the time promised! NEVER…not even once since 1994!
Unfortunately price is one of the most common factors used when evaluating a carpet cleaner. I get numerous calls each day from people price shopping for a carpet cleaner. I say unfortunately, because price should rarely enter into the decision of choosing to clean your carpets since there is no such thing as a going rate. There are standards though – the IICRC sets them and following the standards provides you with a better cleaning. www.iicrc.org
Prices will range widely from as little as $100 up to several hundred to clean your entire house. The difference lies with the services performed and the end results achieved by a specific company. How they go about the whole process is also a factor, including respect for the client’s time.
Let me give you an example of a $100 cleaning. A salesman posing as a carpet cleaner arrives at your home (most likely an hour late) then attempts to sell you extra services deodorizer or carpet protection almost the moment they walk into the house. Usually an attempt to charge for spots prior to cleaning is carried out. The sales pitch is relentless and doesn’t end until the cleaner leaves or you kick him out.
The carpet will likely not be pre-sprayed with a professional cleaning agent; generally it is diluted soap that runs through the machine. Some of the less scrupulous cleaners use laundry soap instead of proper cleaning agents. An insufficient rinse and extraction is done and your carpets are less than clean and likely full of soap residue.
This insufficient cleaning process may achieve two results, (1) a seemingly clean carpet for a very short period of time, due to lack of proper rinsing of soap residue. (2) A very wet carpet that starts to re-soils before it is dry and continues to re-soil due to residue not being rinsed out. Drying usually takes 2 or 3 days and the carpet may start to smell bad.
Now let’s compare to the proper way of cleaning; the way Dan’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning performs the service.
An IICRC certified Master Textile Cleaner arrives, conducts a pre-inspection with you, points out any problems or concerns with the carpet, ascertains information regarding spots or stains, and offers an opinion as to what can be done with them.
Only a professional grade cleaning agent is pre-sprayed into the carpet and allowed to dwell. This is followed by a thorough (water only) rinsing and extraction with as many dry passes as required to achieve the fastest possible dry time. The goal is to have the carpet dry in hours, not days.
Further spot cleaning, if required, is included with the price however some stain removal may require additional cost. The furniture has been moved, cleaned underneath, blocked or tabbed to protect both carpet & furniture from damage. Typically a carpet protector would be suggested for specific high traffic areas. Cost would be discussed, as well as providing you with the information to allow an informed decision on your part, as to whether or not you need or want a protector. Sales quotas or pressure to buy NEVER enters into the equation.
A post inspection with you assures that you are satisfied with the work, prior to the technician leaving. Specialty problems, maintenance tips or general spotting information is made available to you.
Presuming all is satisfactory, re-affirmation of our company’s solid guarantee is provided, as well as after cleaning care instructions.
Price aside for a moment which of the above two services is actually worth paying for? Are all the hassles really worth the lower price?
We all make value vs. price decisions every time we shop. A certain item may be inexpensive, but will it perform as well or last as long as a similar but higher priced item? Or will you have to put up with the problems of inferior quality?
I make the same decisions for my business purchases. Which protector or detergent will work best in my client’s homes? Will the cleaning be as effective if I use a less expensive product? The whole evaluation process for my company is based upon this… what will provide the best end result in my clients’ homes? Cost is never an issue, unless two products perform equally as well.
The value of my decisions shows up within your home! If your carpet dries within hours, stays cleaner longer, has fewer spots and no one badgered you for add-on sales; is that not a valuable company trait worth paying more for?
Peace of Mind
In addition to all of the previously mentioned reasons, next to the cost of your house the carpets are the next most expensive item in a home. Are you willing to risk damages to the carpets or worse yet having to replace ruined carpets due to the mistakes of an inexpensive, untrained cleaner?
Remember those over wet carpets that took 3 days to dry? During that 3 day drying period the warranty on your carpet was voided. Laundry soap and some other cheap chemicals can also void warranties. We won’t even talk about what might be growing under the carpet as a result if this over wet carpet.
Generally prices are derived by a company’s evaluation of operating costs as well as the benefits of its service performance when compared to its competitors. Nothing else should affect this evaluation. Comparing prices of different companies should evoke some questions that need answering. Such as; is the cheaper cleaner using the best detergent for “my” carpet or is it an inexpensive soap? Is he/she properly trained and IICRC certified to ensure that my carpet is not damaged? Can they afford liability insurance and state of the art equipment?
Let’s face it; it costs a lot of money to operate any business in our current economy so a business owner must price their products and services in order to stay in business. Hoping to make money by charging low price in hopes to get lots of customers is not a solid business plan thus the need for persistent and relentless “hard sell” salesmen to top up the coffers.
Food For Thought
Take a look around your home, why did you shop at Ethan Allen as opposed to Discount Jim’s? Why did you insist upon a StainMaster carpet? It certainly wasn’t because of the price. More likely it had to do with Quality and performance. Rarely does Quality come with a low price. How does that old saying go…”the bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of a low price”.