Warren's post caught my attention immediately when I Goggled Carpet Market Share.
I think he hit the nail on the head with appearance retention. Back in the day consumers were properly educated by flooring experts, and understood maintenance. Today we expect spills to jump back in the glass.
I have been in the carpet cleaning business for almost 25 years, As the Mills have advised, I have always used steam cleaning or hot water extraction. Today we use huge truck mounted equipment, state of the art rotary cleaning tools, and some of the best and safest chemicals we have ever seen. We are doing the best cleaning we ever have. Dry times are in the single digits and customers love it.
The biggest issues I see:
1. Improper Carpet Installation
2. People do not vacuum enough
3. Improper Cleaning
4. No Professional Cleaning
My point with all this is, at some point consumers were no longer being educated properly. I blame our industry some for that, sharing that blame with the mills and the retailers.
Our industry is full of profiteers and hacks out there Scampooing carpets with "Encapsulation" and "Carbonated" methods that were never approved for residential carpeting.
They do it because they can use a minivan and almost no investment in equipment. They do it because it's easy. Scampooers boast hourly rates around $200 per hour "cleaning" carpets. Scampooers use scare tactics about "days to dry" and are not educated nor certified by any Mill, yet they exist.
Retail flooring salespeople are not of the same educated, spirited group their fathers were. I will venture to say few have been to Dalton, Ga and actually seen carpet made. Education is the problem here.
Installers want to do it the easy way. I see more staples than I do tack strip.
The bottom line; The consumer sees a carpet that looks and feels "horrible" 6 months to a year after it's installed, they see crushed and dingy traffic lanes, ripples all over from the knee kicker installer, and vow to never buy carpet again!
They call a scampooer to "clean" the carpet. To ad insult to injury, they come in and spray some miracle solvent on your carpet, rub it around for a few minutes and charge $200 an hour for this! leaving behind a residue that the consumers are supposed to vacuum away.
And they vow to never buy carpet again. Judging from Warren's numbers, I would say they are keeping their vows.
For those consumers that love their carpet, and wish to know proper maintenance practices and the bottom line on cleaning, I offer the following sources of information:
I am betting you won't find anything about "Encapsulation" and "Carbonated" or "Dry" cleaning residential carpet, why you ask? Because it doesn't work!
The first question you ask a scampooer is where does the dirt go? They will give you some type of "story" about the spray encapsulating the dirt so it can be vacuumed away later, and go on and on about how fast it dries. Of course it drys fast it's a spray!
We use a filter to trap pet hair and other debris from getting into our waste tank and blowers. Take a look at this photo, I just took. This is from one customer that had 2 rooms and a set of Stairs cleaned. This doesn't show what we removed with the vacuum. Ask the scampooer to show you their filter.
|Warning: A closeup of this pic may disgust you.|
Beware of someone toting this yellow machine into your house.
Here's a tip: If there is no large vacuum hose running to a truck in the driveway, ask the scampooer to leave.
What happened here is the scampooers saw an opportunity. Grudgingly the Mills "accepted" the need for Very Low Moisture cleaning for some commercial carpet settings. The "Dry" carpet cleaning business exploded. The training and equipment to get started was 1/10th of what it cost to buy a truck mounted steam cleaning setup.
It didn't take long and the scampooers found there was not nearly enough carpets for them to clean, so they "decided" the only way to make $200 an hour was to scampoo residential homes. This being an unregulated industry, there are no carpet cleaning cops to stop them. The industry associations went broke trying to educate the scampooers. So they were left to multiply.
Here we are today talking about carpet as a floor covering losing it's market share.
Never will any Mill "approve" or "accept" encapsulation cleaning for residential carpet. The pile and construction of residential carpet does not allow for the aggressive action of a floor scrubber. The process just doesn't match up to the deep cleaning of mill and industry approved truck mounted steam cleaning.
Thanks for your time.