Monday, April 21, 2014

Carpet Cleaning Ethics Exposed

Hey let's get into the carpet cleaning business today!

Would you start up a auto mechanic shop with no experience?  Would you decide to be a plumber one day with no experience? How about a lawn care service with no experience?  So why does the carpet cleaning industry end up with all these upstarts that have zero experience?

Easy answer, they can get into scampooing carpets on the cheap.  A $2500 investment in a floor scrubber and a mini-van and they are off to the races.  These people don't care about manufacturers warranties, or certifications, or training.  They are in a hurry to make the almighty buck. How hard can it be they ask!

I watch a couple of the industry internet forums, and am appalled at the ethics of these "cleaners" the questions they pose are so ridiculously simple that most of the time I think they are joking.  My response to these questions is to go to work for a reputable carpet and upholstery cleaner for 2 to 3 years before you decide to tackle a customers 3rd or 4th largest investment.

Let me give a couple of examples;  Take the scampooer, he or she buys a big yellow floor scrubber and a gallon of magic juice and off they go.  They don't care that the encapsulation method of carpet "cleaning" is not approved for residential carpet by ANY carpet manufacturer and very well could void the warranty on your carpet.  They don't care, nor do they disclose this to the customer!  #Ethics

I didn't know...

Ignorance is only an excuse for so long, once they have been told, that the method they are using is not approved, you would think most would stop doing it.  Wrong, they don't care.  Then it becomes a question of ethics.  

Another example; pet spots and urine stains.  These same "Cleaners" dump a GALLON or two of wacky water on the pet spot, leave it sit for 15 to 30 minutes and suck it back out, poof the "spot" is "gone" right?

WRONG.  What they have done is soaked your subfloor, and padding with urine flavored wacky water.  This has accomplished absolutely nothing but dilute the urine, and ruin your pad and subfloor.
There is not a single padding manufacturer that I can find that thinks this is a good idea.  So why do "they" do it?  Because it's easy, and they don't care about your pad or subfloor. #Ethics

An approved method involves pulling the carpet and replacing the affected padding and sealing the subfloor, before re-installing the carpet.  So why don't they do it right?  Because they have no Idea how to pull the carpet up and absolutely no clue how to reinstall it.  These people don't know what a power stretcher is and sure don't have one in the minivan.

You should hear the excuses "they" use for this one:

1. The customer won't pay to have the carpet pulled up.
Did you ask the customer?  Of course they didn't ask because they don't know how to do it.
2. There is too much furniture to move.
Plan ahead and tell the customer what needs to be done, they will have the area ready.
3. I have been doing it this way for 20 years.
Does that make it OK to ruin someones padding?  Get many repeat customers? 
4.  And my personal favorite:  The carpet warranty is probably already voided anyway.
I can't find the words probably, sometimes or maybe anywhere in the warranty literature.

The fact is these "cleaners" don't even bother to check if the pad and or carpet is a pet protect or resistant product, which changes the approach to cleaning it dramatically.  How can they check if they don't know how to pull it up and put it back?  Most don't even know what fiber they are cleaning.

I had a online discussion just the other day with a "cleaner" who posted pictures and comments about his encapsulation cleaning of residential carpet when steam cleaning wasn't recommended, He back peddled pretty quickly when I informed him that his method was not approved on residential carpet. And another startup (Founded last July) tells me he "disagrees"  Ok now that was funny.  Unfortunately these are typical reactions.  

What it all boils down to is ethics.  These "cleaners" survive on the hopes that the consumer doesn't know anything about the correct methods and procedures and what their warranty allows.  When confronted by anyone, they tend to run and flock to the internet forums for reassurance that they had a "tough customer" and to move on. I suppose it's a safety in numbers thing.  Oh my! #Ethics

When I started in this business, there was virtually no one that jumped into cleaning carpets and especially upholstery without working in the business for a few years.  Training and certifications were the norm and ethics were really not a problem because the hacks were exposed pretty quickly and out of business even quicker, it was a lot smaller, tighter community.

Apparently, over time, "For Professional Use Only" has changed to "whoever wants to buy it"  Salespeople pose as mentors for these startup's, they "train" and sell these guys the chemicals and gizmos regardless of the intended use, and resell it when they go broke, why not they have no liability. #Ethics

I doubt very seriously this is what the founders of the certification process envisioned. This is the fox guarding the hen house.  Most are not motivated by ethics, but the almighty buck.  This is exactly why I no longer pay for my certification dues.

What can you as a consumer do? 

1. First check with The Carpet And Rug Institute for Approved Service Providers in your area.
2. Next check what information the Better Business Bureau has on that cleaner.
3. Next check Google reviews of the cleaner. Google watches these closely and penalizes cheaters. 
4. Read your residential carpet warranty, It will say "Hot Water Extraction" Or "Steam Cleaning" Only.
5. Ask for referrals from the cleaner for the specific service you are inquiring about.

If you as a consumer do three of the five, you will weed out the scampooer's and hacks very quickly.

I hope this has been informative for you and as always,

Thank you for your time.

A-1 Carpet Service
Sioux FallsSD
(605) 359-1098

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