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Carpet is Made in America

Did you know that, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, 98% of carpet in use in the U.S.  is manufactured in the United States? Remember to keep your American-made carpet clean with a local American company – Commercial Steam Team!

Cheap Carpet Cleaners

Many carpet companies send out flyers in the mail, ValPak or newspapers advertising a very low price. Often the deal seems too good to be true… and it is. Carpet cleaners that offer coupons for a cheap price often hit you with plenty of additional charges once they are doing the cleaning. Bargain priced carpet cleaning companies don’t do a good job because they don’t care about doing a good job.

When a carpet cleaner advertises 3 rooms cleaned for $99 and in small print (max 450 sq ft) be aware that they often make their money on extra charges and up-selling. Even in a small home 450 square feet is often no more than one or two rooms. Extra charges are charged at their discretionary price… and often these prices are not written down and come as a surprise to the customer.

Here are some of the things that cheaper carpet cleaners charge extra for:

  • Stairs
  • Hallways
  • Spots and stains
  • Larger rooms
  • Carpet protectors
  • “Heavy duty” cleaning

Commercial Steam Clean builds its business on reputation and performance. When you pick up the telephone to call us you will get a real live person that cares about everyone of its customers as if they were family. Call Commercial Steam Team today at 952-224-7222 and get a free quote.

How to Pick a Carpet Cleaning Company

When you pick a carpet company to come into your home to clean your carpet you’ll need to pick a reputable company that will give you personalized service and have good work ethics. When you are looking for a carpet cleaning company always ask for references and check out their website.

You are letting someone in your home or business so it is important to check and see what type of employees a company hires by checking them out.

At Commercial Steam Team we are family owned and operated. Our employees have been hand selected based on their personalities and work ethic. See a short video on how we treat our employees as family. 

Meet the Team at Commercial Steam Team

We provide the best service possible by offering you thoroughly trained staff, high quality equipment, superior service and a nice clean carpet!

Meet our team of skilled professionals and see how we can improve the look of your carpet. Our company has such pride in the job that they follow up with a phone call after the job to make sure that you are satisfied.

Visit our team page at https://www.commercialsteamteam.com/ and give us a call if we can be of service 952-224-7222

Vacuuming Carpet is Important

Vacuuming carpet is essential for several reasons, but not everyone does this.  Whether they are too busy, lazy, or think it is unnecessary, many people neglect the maintenance of their carpet.  Vacuuming is important for multiple reasons;

  • Allergens reside in the carpet and vacuuming greatly decreases their volume.
  • Dirt and dust are sharp particles and saw through the carpet fibers as people walk across them.  The greater the volume of these sharp materials, the faster this fiber damage will occur and the traffic areas become discolored.
  • Dust recycling through the furnace can filter through the carpet fibers and cause permanent discoloration around furniture, bedspreads, underneath doors, and especially along baseboards.

Vacuuming the carpet removes these dusts, allergens, and abrasive dirt from the carpet.  Here are a few tips to help maximize your effort:

  • At least once a week, be sure to vacuum the areas where people walk.
  • Vacuum along walls and under furniture as needed.  In dusty homes, this means once a month.  You can get away with only quarterly or less in homes that don’t get very dusty.
  • Clean out your vacuum filter whenever it gets full, as it not only loses suction, but can actually begin dispersing the dust throughout the air.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.  This filter cuts down on the amount of airborne dust and allergens that cycle through the house as the furnace runs.
  • Run your furnace fan in the “on” position.  The furnace filter can only do its job when the fan is running.

As a carpet cleaner in the Twin Cities Area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, I have cleaned all kinds of properties.  Those that vacuum and follow these steps tend to remain in much better condition than those that don’t.

Who Starts Carpet Cleaning Companies?

To understand the carpet cleaning industry in Minnesota, it is important to understand the different types of people who start carpet cleaning companies.

  • The first is the most common type of carpet cleaning company owner.  This is an easy industry to get started in.  For as little as a few thousand dollars, anyone can buy a small portable carpet cleaning unit and start charging their friends, family, and acquaintances to clean their carpets.  These are often people who have either been laid-off or have quit their jobs, and want to be their own boss.  Despite the best of intentions, carpet cleaning is easy to get into but very hard to succeed at.  The term, “fly-by-night” is used quite often in this industry for this reason.  Sometimes the very qualities that made them want to be their own boss, are the same qualities that keep them from succeeding on their own.
  • Second is the investor.  Investors have the money to start a carpet cleaning company.  They might be a lawyer, dentist, real estate mogul, etc.  They intend on starting a company, watching it grow through mass-advertising, and then selling it off.  This can be successful for the purpose of profit, but causes very poor quality-control since they don’t intend on being around when the complaints start coming in.  It then becomes the next owner’s job to try to fix the problems caused by the original owners.
  • Third are the franchises.  Someone who invests in a company with the pure intention of having a successful business.  The franchise, however, takes their cut whenever they can, leaving the owners of the franchise the need to find profits where they can.  These tend to be heavy marketing companies that stress sales at all cost.  It is very common to see the crew chief go an entire day without touching a carpet cleaning wand because he is too busy selling to the customer, while his assistant does the cleaning.  These companies would classify as sales and marketing businesses more than carpet cleaning companies.
  • Finally, is the independent, specialized, carpet cleaning company.  This company is started by someone who has experience in the industry, found their niche, and for some reason or another decided to break out on their own doing what they believe they do best.  This can be anything from upholstery specialists to commercial carpet cleaning specialists.  As with all companies, the goal is to be profitable.  However, without the franchise’s hand in their pocket, it is possible to turn a profit without cutting costs or high pressure sales.  While not all of these companies live up to their potential however, this is the most likely business owner to find his company both profitable and respected in their field.

One thing I recommend asking when hiring a carpet cleaning company is whether or not the company shares its profits with its employees.  This says a lot about the owners of the company.  I believe it is both a smart move in motivation and what every business owner should do to be responsible in the community.

Tips for Reducing Minnesota Allergy Symptoms

Allergens are everywhere in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota. These Allergens can be nearly impossible to avoid on a daily basis.  However, you can greatly reduce the volume of allergens you breathe in within your home.  The majority of allergens that we breathe every day reside in the carpet and upholstery in our homes.

Tip 1:  Clean your furnace filter regularly.

Tip 2:  Run your furnace fan on the “on” setting instead of “auto”.

Tip 3:  Hire a professional carpet cleaning company to clean and deodorize the carpet.

Tip 4:  Have your upholstery professionally cleaned and deodorized.

Tip 5:  Have your Mattress professionally cleaned and deodorized.

Please note: You will want to have your carpets, upholstery, and mattress cleaned by a professional company using a truck mounted direct drive hot-water extraction cleaning system.  You will still come in contact with some allergens, but the less you breathe in, the lesser your symptoms will often be.

Sales Force or Carpet Cleaners?

Carpet cleaners have earned themselves a bad reputation for several reasons.  Many of the reasons, like rusted white vans, are not practiced by a large portion of the industry, but still affect this perception.  One behavior, above all others, is practiced by nearly every carpet cleaning company.  Whether you call it shotgun sales, overcoming objections, or simply upselling, the difference between a financially stable carpet cleaner and one scraping by is their ability to achieve difficult sales bonuses.  These bonuses are usually based on an average increase in the size of a customer’s bill.  This means the main focus of each carpet cleaner is getting the customer to pay more money than they originally were quoted.  This is the job of a marketing company or sales force, not the job of a carpet cleaner.

This also means that once a carpet cleaner has realized that his sale is not going well, he either tries to overcome the objections of the client, or move on to the next client as fast as possible.  Often on two man teams, the crew chief can be found acting as a salesman nearly the whole job while his assistant does all the cleaning.  This is not conducive of ensuring they provide the best service possible.

Another problem these actions pose is that these carpet cleaners are being trained in sales instead of carpet cleaning.  This valuable time would be much better spent training in the technical aspects of carpet cleaning.  Keep in mind: “service” should be the main focus of the “service” industry.  My family owns the Commercial Steam Team, a commercial heavy carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota.  Personally, I believe in training and rewarding carpet cleaners for cleaning carpets, not sales.  I do understand the temptation to become a sales-heavy company; everyone would like more money in their pockets.  I just think we can be a little more patient and let that growth happen through the volume increase associated with referrals and quality, instead of marketing through advertising and then marketing to them again in the home.  The more put off the public is from these bad experiences, the more difficult it is to overcome their objections.  This increases the sales pressure, which in turn, increases the negative outlook on carpet cleaners, and the cycle continues.  If we all did it the right way, the industry would have a much better reputation, there would be more consumers for our services, meaning we would all make more money.  It would not occur overnight, however, but as Obie Wan said,  “Patience, my young Pad Wan.”

Tips: Allergies and Mattresses

With fall approaching, it’s time to get serious about allergy control.  I live in Rosemount, Minnesota and I can personally testify to the fact that the Twin Cities can be an allergy knockout around here.  The pollen, dust, and dander that cause those puffy, running, painful noses and swollen eyes like to hide in the fabric of your furniture, as well as the fibers of your carpet.  Most of those that suffer from allergies know to have these cleaned in the spring and fall.  However, have you ever had your mattress cleaned by your carpet cleaner?  Every time you lay down on your mattress, it squeezes and forces air out.  This air contains dust, dander, and pollen, which cause many allergic reactions.  On top of that, you lay in contact with your mattress for 7-9 hours a night.

Having your mattress cleaned a few times a year can greatly reduce your allergies.  I recommend putting your pillow through the wash on occasion as well.  Also, turning the furnace fan from the setting “auto” to the setting “on” will encourage better air flow and utilize the furnace filter.

Equipment Maintenance is Essential to Quality Control

I own a carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota and quality of workmanship has always been my focus.  From proper hiring and employee management, to staying up to date on technology, there are many things that go into ensuring quality stays at the highest level it can be.  Quality control levels for most companies decline over time, and although there are a lot of factors involved, I believe one of these factors is overlooked by nearly all carpet cleaning companies.

The maintenance of carpet cleaning equipment is essential to keeping quality levels high.  I was speaking with our supplier who supplies most of the carpet cleaners in the area the other day; He said that we were the only company that does preventative maintenance on our vans.  I always assumed that a lot of companies slack off in this department because there are front end costs to this and a lot of tedious work involved.  To hear that we are the only company doing it shocked me!  Carpet cleaning vans are full of tubes and hoses.  If these tubes and hoses get clogged up, the strength of the vacuum drops considerably and the pressure per square inch of solution drops, causing the van has to work at higher rpms in order to try to keep up.  This drop in pressure and vacuum strength may not even seem noticeable to the technician, since it happens gradually over time, but this power is very important to the quality that a company can provide.  No business can afford to go out and buy new equipment every couple years when the power begins to drop.  Some technicians begin to try to boost their results by using more cleaning agents and altering the ph. levels of their solution.  This creates unbalance in the ph. scale and can cause rapid re-soiling.

This is why de-scaling the equipment and lubricating the machine is so important.  Checking valves and running water through the system every night is a must.  These machines are the constant in carpet cleaning.  No matter who you have operating the equipment, no one can do the best work possible if the equipment isn’t capable of producing the best results possible.  Well-maintained equipment gives the technician’s fair opportunity to do their very best work.

Blood Removal in Carpet Cleaning

Whenever I tell someone that I know how to remove blood from carpet, usually without a residual discoloration, they usually ask me if I do crime scene cleanup.  Although I have cleaned up after crime scenes, those are not where this skill comes in most handy.

 

The most common occurrences of blood in carpet seem to come from children and pets.  A cut on the underside of a paw or a bloody nose after a rough game of basement football is all it takes to track that reddish-colored liquid onto a light-colored carpet.

 

But what does someone do to get this out?  Blood is one of the most difficult things to get out of carpet.  I’ve discovered that the iron in our blood rusts when it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air around us.  Naturally, that rusty discoloration is best treated best with rust remover.  I get odd looks when I first break out my rust remover to get the discoloration of blood out, but once people see it work, they are fascinated.

The only catch is that this has to be done by a professional with a top of the line direct drive truck mounted carpet cleaning van.  Rust remover is a spot treatment that is not meant to be left in the carpet.  It needs to be thoroughly rinsed out of the carpet after applied.

Who Would You Like to Have Clean Your Carpets?

Commercial Steam Team

  • Career employees

  • Carpet cleaning technicians who make 10% profit sharing at the end of the year
  • Technicians who are trained to clean carpet

  • Crews who are supplied with everything they need to do a great job

  • Technicians rewarded for quality of work
  • Crews who make a living they can be proud of

Corporate Franchises

  • Short term employees (very high turnover)
  • Technicians who are treated like numbers

  • Technicians trained in marketing and sales

  • Crews who have to pay for their own cleaning agents

  • Technicians rewarded for how much they sell at each job
  • Crews who make just enough to get by


Everything in the Commercial Steam Team column of this article is the standards by which Commercial Steam Team treats our employees.  The Corporate Franchise column is a conglomeration of the different trends that they each individually make.  Not every franchise makes all of these mistakes with their employees, however each franchise is guilty of at least one of these.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to any company who makes any of these mistakes do work for me.  I would want a company that takes pride in their employees and treats them accordingly.

Meet the Team: Natalie Lande

My name is Ryan Zakariasen and my family owns the Commercial Steam Team carpet cleaners in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.  I feel the best way to get to know our company is to get to know our “team”.

Natalie Lande is our office administrator.  She helps to ensure that the daily operations of our company run smoothly and our customers are pleased.  Natalie lives in Bloomington, Minnesota, by way of Northfield, Minnesota.  During her free time she enjoys running, sports, watching movies, writing, and spending time with family and friends.

I thought I would ask Natalie a few questions to help you get to know her better:

Q.  How did you get into the carpet cleaning industry?

A.  I had never worked in the carpet cleaning industry before, so it was all very new for me.  Luckily for me, I learned from the best!

Q.  What do you like about the carpet cleaning industry?

A.  I like the carpet cleaning industry because it is a service that everyone needs and uses, so it challenges us to have the highest quality and professionalism to be the best in a large and growing industry.

Q.  Why office administrator?

A.  I love being an office administrator because I get to witness all of the positive feedback we receive.  My coworkers and I are all working towards the same goal of the best service we can provide.

Q.  What was most important to you when starting with Commercial Steam Team?

A.  It was most important to me to uphold the great values that this company is known for.  Providing great customer service is always my top priority.

Q.  What is it like working with a family?

A.  Working with a family is one of the biggest privileges an employee can have.  The Zakariasens provide a pleasant and friendly working environment which makes every day more enjoyable.

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to introduce you to Natalie.  As one of her employers and co-workers, I can testify that she has been an amazing addition to our team.  She excels at keeping us organized, on track, and gives us the ability to do our jobs to the best of our abilities.  Her cheery personality also brightens up the office in a way that only she can.  I know I speak for everyone when I say that Natalie has been an important and integral addition to our Commercial Steam Team family!

The Importance of Responsible Driving in a Service Vehicle

I own a commercial carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota and my crews are always on the road.  Usually, they are traveling from our shop in Burnsville, Minnesota to a carpet cleaning job at a Plymouth, Minnesota home to an upholstery cleaning job in Northfield, Minnesota then up to Roseville, Minnesota to clean the carpets at a restaurant and then back to Burnsville, Minnesota to pack it in for the night.  With all this driving it is so very important to drive carefully for several reasons:

  • A van with a logo and phone number is a moving billboard.  Every move made on the road can affect public opinion of our company.
  • Repairs after an accident can be very expensive.
  • You can’t clean carpet while the van is being repaired.  This lost time is lost money.
  • Employees can get injured in an accident.  This is bad on both a personal and business level.  These employees have families that love and depend on them.  Also they can’t clean carpets if they are too hurt to do so.
  • Injuries to others out on the road can be tragic and costly.  Although insurance should cover it, rates are sure to go up.  These people also have families and loved ones that can suffer for their injuries as well.

I’m sure there are many more reasons to be safe out on the road, but these stand out to me.  Nothing is more tragic than the loss of life or quality of life due to a senseless accident.  I am so proud that my employees have never had an accident, both for the safety of my employees and for the safety of everyone else in the Minneapolis/St. Paul and surrounding areas of Minnesota.  Keep up the great work guys.

Family Owned Carpet Cleaning Companies Vs. Corporate Franchises

It is true that corporate franchises have deeper pockets than independent family owned businesses.  This is definitely true in the professional carpet cleaning industry.  Other than that, what are the differences between corporate franchises and family owned businesses?

  • Franchises tend to pay closest attention to the “bottom line”.
    • Ideals, morals, employees, and customers usually take a back seat to the stock holders.
    • Since those that profit from the business are not usually present to see these employees and customers, it is easy for them to become disconnected from the people that their decisions effect.
    • Franchise owners have to pay their corporate parent company a percentage of their profits.
      • I am familiar with companies being charged 15% of their gross sales.
    • Franchise owners are usually forced to buy their equipment and cleaning agents directly through their parent company regardless of whether it is the best or most cost effective product.
    • Deep pockets often lead to expensive advertising campaigns that drive in business.  Sometimes so fast, that it reduces months of training to only a few days.
  • Independent family-owned businesses are run by the morals and values of their family.  Not all families are the same, but a strong morally-just family will most likely build a strong and morally-just company.
    • Without a parent company to answer to, family owned carpet cleaning companies are allowed to choose the best product on the market.
    • Without a 15% franchise fee to pay, family owned businesses can pay their employees more and buy more powerful equipment, resulting in better outcomes.
    • Because there is no board of directors to appease, family owned carpet cleaning companies can treat their employees the way great employees should be treated.  I recommend profit sharing as a means of doing this.
    • Without the money to hire large advertising firms to drive in business, family owned businesses rely on repeat business and referrals through hard work, expertise, and customer service.

Although it is true that not all family owned independent businesses follow these guidelines, it is true that corporate franchises have no choice but to adhere to the guidelines that their parent companies have set for them.  Franchises are more easily accessible due to their advertising, but once discovered, family owned businesses have the potential to provide far superior service than corporate franchises.

You Know The Price, But What Are You Paying For?

In the professional carpet cleaning industry, the term, “professional” can be a loose term.  This can be for many reasons, but the one I plan to focus on in this article are those with good intentions and training, but weak equipment.  What do I mean by weak equipment?

  • Equipment can be purchased for as little as a few thousand dollars or more than 50,000 dollars.  Why would anyone pay 1,000 times as much for equipment unless it is substantially more powerful?
  • Some portable carpet cleaning equipment is small enough to be transported in the trunk of a car and run off of low wattage circuit breakers.  In order to get the most power possible for carpet cleaning equipment, it is powered directly off of the van’s 8 cylinder engine.  To draw even a fraction of the power of an 8 cylinder engine from a circuit in a home or business, the circuit would pop in a matter of seconds.  The more powerful the carpet cleaning equipment, the more thorough the cleaning will be.

We all worry about price when we schedule service appointments, but we also have to consider that a very low price can mean very cheap and weak equipment.  Even the best of intentions can’t replace the power that is necessary to do the job right.

What is a Residential Carpet Cleaning Company?

What is a residential carpet cleaning company? What are the differences between a residential carpet cleaning company and a commercial carpet cleaning company?  What are some of the problems that come up when hiring a residential carpet cleaning company?

  • Carpet cleaning started in the residential districts and residential carpet cleaning continues to be the lion’s share of the carpet cleaning industry.  The reason for this is that the profit margin on each job is much higher in residential carpet cleaning.
  • By training salespeople to upsell in the home, split second decisions made under pressure can bring a residential company large dollars. Residential carpet cleaning companies usually pay very little for carpet cleaning; bonuses are instead given for add on sales.  Residential carpet cleaners can make a very good living if they are trained heavily in sales.  Budgets are already in place when businesses get cleaned, so training in sales are pointless to commercial carpet cleaning companies.
  • Customers can be placed into large vague time frames to minimize driving time and waiting between jobs.  By placing all of the jobs from Lakeville, Apple Valley, Eagan, and Rosemount Minnesota together, residential carpet cleaning companies can avoid gas costs.

Although this is inconvenient to the customer, it has been done this way for so long that most people accept it and take time off of work to get their carpets cleaned.  Commercial businesses need to be cleaned when they need to be cleaned so these time frames are irrelevant in commercial carpet cleaning.

  • Although commercial strength carpet cleaning equipment is better for cleaning residential carpets, it is not as necessary as this equipment is in restaurants, and trucking companies, etc.  Therefore this expensive equipment is usually not considered as cost effective for residential carpet cleaning companies.
  • Advertising is key for residential carpet cleaning companies.  Formula’s such as X amount of dollars spent on advertising equals a similar amount of customers received from the advertising and the profit comes from the up selling done once in the home.

Commercial clients don’t usually to find their carpet cleaners through advertising.  Businesses tend to find their vendors through networking and referrals.  Because of this commercial carpet cleaning companies don’t tend to spend as much money on advertising and instead focus on quality and repeat business.

  • Large corporate franchises are the driving force in the residential carpet cleaning industry.  What these franchises lack in quality control, they make up for in advertising dollars.  I am not currently aware of any commercial carpet cleaning franchises.  I am only aware of independent family owned companies in the area of commercial carpet cleaning.  Family owned independent companies tend to deliver higher quality because the owners are “present” and often maintain the ideals they were raised with.  If your profit comes from advertising, then you will focus your resources toward advertising.  If your profit comes from upselling, your focus will be on sales.  However if your profit comes from repeat business, then your focus will be on the hiring, training, and maintaining of career professional employees.  This is where commercial carpet cleaners stand apart.

The Importance of Carpet Cleaning in Rental Properties

Carpet cleaning is important to rental properties for multiple reasons:

  • Carpet costs money to replace and cuts down on profit
  • It is easier to find renters for a home with clean carpets
  • Odor is a huge deterrent to potential renters

There is a lot of competition among property managers to lure in potential renters as square footage and location dictates most rates.  Clean carpet can definitely be the deciding factor between two potential properties.

How Sand Affects Carpet Fibers

Sand is to carpet what saws are to trees.  I own a carpet cleaning company in the Minneapolis – St. Paul Area and Minnesotans track a lot of sand onto our carpet.  Carpet fibers are very thin strands; thinner than the hair on you head. The fibers are woven and spun together for strength in numbers. This is why we can walk on carpet without damaging it much while the carpet is clean.  The fibers rub against other fibers with limited friction.

Sand, on the other hand, has at least two ways of changing this.  These tiny grains of sand are like boulders to the tiny thin carpet fibers.  The sharp surfaces of the sand are more than enough to chop through a few individual fibers.  Another instance is when two pieces of sand rub together with a few fibers in between them. Eventually they rub right through those fibers.  This is like having sandpaper taped to the bottom of your shoes.

If this is your home then it is not too hard to have people take off their shoes.  This will cut down on the need to have the carpet cleaned as often.  In businesses, you can’t ask people to take their shoes off.  You can, however, have the carpets cleaned and protected on a consistent schedule that make sense for the volume of traffic your company receives.  The cleaning removes the sand and the protector coats the fibers and makes them thicker for the sand attacks that happen in between the cleanings.

My Experience With Multiphase Enzyme Deodorizer

I own a carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota called the Commercial Steam Team.  I have been cleaning carpet for 13 years and one of the most effective products I use is Hydramaster’s Multiphase Deodorizer.  As in its name, Multiphase is a triple action deodorizer that covers a broad spectrum of odor causing bacteria.  I like to use this deodorizer because it is both powerful on bacteria while being gentle on carpet cleaners.  In my 13 years of carpet cleaning in Minnesota, I haven’t found anything that works nearly as well.

How Your Van’s Appearance Influences First Impressions

How many times have you driven by your neighbor’s house and seen a white van parked in the driveway covered in rust with hoses running into the front door of the house?  After seeing that beat up old van, your first inclination was probably not, “I should get their phone number so I can have them clean my carpet”.

This is because your subconscious makes certain assumptions when you see a poorly maintained van;

  • If the van looks that old, the equipment is probably out of date as well.
  • If they haven’t taken good care of their van, do they take good care of the equipment?
  • If they can’t afford a new van, can they afford capable employees?
  • If they don’t take pride in their appearance, do they care about generating positive word of mouth?
  • They don’t look like they care at all!
  • Are they too cheap to do a great job?

The truth is that one or more of these assumptions is probably correct.  If you want people to take you seriously as a capable and educated professional, you cannot let your first impression be a rusted out van.  A sharp, crisp, clean van lets people know that you take pride in being the best professional carpet cleaning company you can be.  After all, your van is a moving billboard.

Uniforms Are Important In The Carpet Cleaning Industry

I can’t tell you how many times I have driven by someone’s house or business and saw work being done by someone wearing a sleeved or sleeveless white t-shirt.  Unless you’re a painter, that’s not a uniform in my opinion.  The questions that instantly pop into my mind are;

  • If they can’t afford uniforms, can they afford good equipment?
  • Can they afford to pay for good employees?
  • Can they afford the cleaning agents that are necessary to get the stains out?
  • Are they out of money, lazy, or cheap?
  • What kind of message are they sending their customers?
  • What kind of message are they sending their employees?

Sharp, clean uniforms tell your customers that you are a team.  It shows that you are dedicated enough to provide this for your employees.  More importantly is what not wearing a uniform says, Which is, “I’m not good at my job”.

Spring Carpet Cleaning in Minnesota

“Since it’s May of 2011 and we don’t seem to get a spring this year, do I still have to get the carpets cleaned?”  I know the weather here in the Twin Cities has been mimicking Seattle lately, but yes even their businesses need to have their carpets cleaned.  In fact, the extra moisture this year poses an extra risk of mold and mildew in carpets.  This happens because of the humid air as well as moisture being tracked in on people’s shoes.  A thorough carpet cleaning and an enzyme deodorizer treatment is very important after the winter is over.  The enzyme in the deodorizer feeds on the bacteria kills the source of smells and allergens.

Salt and sand are also tracked in from the Minnesota roads, parking lots, and sidewalks.  They don’t affect houses as much since people usually take their shoes off at home.  However, employees and customers rarely take their shoes off in a commercial setting.  The more sand and salt gets trampled on the more damage it will do to the carpet.   A powerful commercial carpet cleaning will clear this out of the carpet fibers allowing the carpet a fresh start.  New debris will always get tracked onto the carpet, but keeping the overall amount of sand and salt at a minimum is crucial.

How Sand, Dirt, and Dust Wear Out Carpet

Have you ever had your carpets cleaned in your home or business and the carpet didn’t look as good as you had hoped in the high traffic areas?  This could be because your carpet cleaner didn’t do a sufficient job, but it could also be permanent fiber damage.  If it didn’t look like there was much of a difference after the cleaning then it was probably not a very good job.  That being said, carpet fibers that have taken on damage will appear dirtier than they really are because they no longer reflect light the same way that they did before this damage happened.  Similar to scratched-up Plexiglas, light is distorted and will appear much darker than the unscratched Plexiglas.  This happens because carpet fibers are essentially made of clear plastic.  These fibers are so thin you may need a magnifying glass to see them.  They are woven together like yarn to make thicker strands.  Sand, dirt, and dust are very small but compared to carpet fibers they are gigantic boulders with sharp edges.  The more soiled the carpet gets, the more power this sharp debris has to saw into the carpet fibers, sometimes severing them from their root completely.  Compare it to taking sand paper and gluing it to the bottom of your shoes.  That is the best analogy I can come up with though to describe what happens when these particles collect in large numbers.  Our shoes crush and mash the fibers together, scraping and slashing them with tiny sharp particles.  To be honest, it is pretty amazing how well carpet stands up to this, especially in commercial applications.  Even worse than dust and dirt are the metal shavings created in machine shops.  These particles are like tiny saws and our shoes are the lumberjacks.

The best defense against these microscopic belt sanders is to have the carpet cleaned and protected on a regular basis (minimum of once a year).  The cleaning lowers the numbers in the sand and dirt army while the protector creates a thin plastic layer over the fibers that will take the damage instead of the fibers themselves.  Much like how wax protects the paint job on your car from flying sand on the roads.

My Very Own Testimonial!

As a company we have so many testimonials from people all over the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota.  From Britt, the building services field supervisor for the City of Brooklyn Park, to Alex Shapero at J.N. Johnson in Edina Minnesota we have posted testimonials complete with pictures describing why we are the company best suited for cleaning the carpet and upholstery for their companies.  When it comes to their experiences with carpet cleaners they are the experts.  I decided though, that after 13 years of carpet cleaning I would give my own testimonial.  Not just for the carpet cleaning work we do, but by how much easier it is to do a great job when the carpet was protected the time we cleaned it before.  Time and time again I have had the same experience.  Carpet that had been previously protected is not as dirty when we arrive.  This is because the interim vacuuming’s lift far more dirt and dust from the carpet.  The fiber damage in the high traffic areas isn’t as bad, both from less dirt and dust, to saw into the carpet fibers and the fact that those particles have to wear through the protector before wearing through the fibers themselves (like wax does for car paint).  Dyes from spills have a harder time finding their way into the dye sites of the carpet.  Dirt, spots, and spills seem to strip away much more easily the next time we clean.  My favorite thing about carpet protector is that it makes our great work look better and last longer.  Our results are that much better than when we didn’t previously protect the carpet.  So my very own super special testimonial is “I, Ryan Zakariasen owner of the Commercial Steam Team in Burnsville Minnesota says, “Carpet protector not only works, but works consistently well.  The difference between protected carpet and unprotected carpet is a noticeable difference.”

Networking in the Carpet Cleaning Industry

Why are networking groups wonderful for carpet cleaners?  For those of us carpet cleaners that “walk the walk”, networking is a forum for educating the public and also a chance to spread the word about what an amazing job we did for Bob’s mother in law’s sister’s cousin’s fiancé’s best friend’s boss.  First-hand knowledge is always the best evidence but when that is not available, the word of someone you trustworthy is a close second.

Indoor Oxygen Quality

More and more we hear about the importance of air quality in homes and businesses.  Air quality effects asthma, congestion, allergies, headaches, and many other medical conditions.  Air quality can cause problems and/or make current problems worse.  Some of us have air quality in the front of our minds but some people don’t think twice about it.  Why should they, some ask,  it’s just tiny particles they can’t see hiding inside an invisible gas.  Out of sight, out of mind.  When I hear the words “air quality”, I don’t feel that I hear the full impact of what is at hand.  This is why I like to call it “Oxygen Quality”.  Oxygen is the life blood of our respiratory system and very few people don’t understand the importance of oxygen.  Indoor “oxygen quality” affects every breath we take.  Even if the tiny particulates floating in the air didn’t harm us directly, they are still taking the place of and depriving our lungs of valuable oxygen molecules.

Allergies are often mistaken for colds or the flu and businesses with poor air quality report severely increased numbers of sick days to those who have good oxygen quality.  Productivity is also higher in employees who are not affected by asthma and allergies.  It has been proven that this oxygen quality is important but how can we effectively improve the quality of the oxygen we breathe in our homes and offices?  There are a few options to improve indoor air quality:  Air scrubbers and air filters are of course helpful to remove what is already in the air.  Running the furnace fan 24/7 helps cycle the air and replacing the furnace filter when it gets saturated with dust are also helpful.  But how do we affect the causes of poor indoor air quality?  In office buildings especially, a huge amount of dust and allergen particulates reside in the carpet and upholstery.  Every time we sit in a chair it expels the air that fills the foam seats and shoots those particulates into the atmosphere around us.  On a sunny day sit your chair between you and the window, slap the seat and watch the dust dance in the sunlight.  Similarly the carpet kicks up those particles as it’s walked on as well.  Dust treats these fabrics like a filter and sticks to them building up until they are jarred loose.  The longer between cleanings the more particles get expelled into the air.

Professional commercial carpet and upholstery cleaning is the best way to remove these particles from these materials.  Oxygen is important to us all and like anything important it requires some investment to receive its full effects.

Who sets the standards for carpet cleaning industry in the Twin Cities?

Who sets the standards of quality in the carpet cleaning industry?  I wish I could answer that question by giving you a name of someone or some agency that holds those in our industry accountable.  However, there isn’t one.  It’s not like the NFL where a commissioner oversees the actions of the owners and players and fines those that step out of line accordingly.  In the past our reputations had been the best way to sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly.  If you did a good job for someone then you would clean for their whole extended family and friends.  People looked to each other for this info because they trust each other more than the advertising executives that wrote the commercial on their favorite radio station for piles of money.  Those days have seemingly ended.  Even here in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota it is hard to turn on the radio without being bombarded with inaccurate scare tactics citing 20 year out of date statistics.  As consumers we have grown dependent on T.V. and radio advertising to tell us what to buy and where to go.  Our first call is usually to the jingle bouncing around in our head, instead of to our parents or friends for references.  Our industry has accepted this as the standard practice for quite some time now and acts accordingly.  X dollars spent on advertising = Y dollars of new customers.  No need to do great work if there is someone new to fill the void whenever you lose a client to bad service.

So who does set these standards?  Who demands accountability?  Most people blame the consumer.  “You get what you ask for.”  On some levels that’s correct.  But how many times can you be disappointed after giving up your precious time researching without saying “what’s the point?”  It’s easier to be disappointed after calling the first company that comes to mind than to be let down after putting forth an effort.  Also, if there were enough companies out there worth referring then that is where our minds would first go.  I believe that it is the small businesses that set these standards.  We can choose to compete with the big national franchise moguls by cutting corners and slashing prices to eek out a living, or we can do what those huge companies can’t do by ensure quality stays at its highest level.  We accomplish this by hiring idealists as well as using profit sharing to ensure that they take as much pride in the company as we do.  We use our money on the best top of the line equipment instead of advertising.  We pass out bonuses for quality control instead of sales.  We train carpet cleaners instead of a sales force.

I may just be a small business owner in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota, but I believe that we can be an example to the public.  We can lead the way to higher standards in the carpet cleaning industry.

The Key To Referrals For Twin Cities Carpet Cleaning

Born in Edina and raised in Burnsville Minnesota, I have lived my entire life among the “Minnesota Nice” and I have to say that it is not a myth.  This doesn’t mean that everyone in Minnesota is nice all the time.  It simply means that the base intentions of these Midwestern folks are to be cheerful and form bonds with those around them.  At least that’s what I’ve noticed.

This applies to carpet cleaning in the Twin Cities Area as well.  People in Minnesota hope and expect cheerful, capable people show up to clean their carpets.  We say to ourselves “I treat others with respect and a cheerful attitude.  Why can’t they do the same?”  If I wanted to be treated like I lived in New York City, I wouldn’t live in Plymouth Minnesota.  I want to believe my vendors abide by the “Golden Rule”.  If I get a good price I might accept that instead, but I won’t refer them to my friends.  If they do a good job with a bad attitude I might accept that, but I won’t refer them to my friends.  If their price is fair, if they do a great job, AND they make me feel comfortable with a smile on their face, then I WILL refer them to my friends with enthusiasm.  I become a cheerleader!  I become an advertiser!  I want to see them succeed and I want my friends to thank me for relieving them of their stressful decision on who to let in their home or business to clean their carpets.

People live in and move to this sometimes frigid climate for the warm hearts of the people who live here.  They feel let down when they don’t receive that kind of treatment, and I can’t blame them.  In my experience as a commercial carpet cleaning expert here in the Twin Cities, kindness and personality is often the missing ingredient in referrals for Minnesota carpet cleaners.

Why Do I Like Being A Professional Carpet Cleaner?

Why do I like being a carpet cleaner?  My answer is usually received with a look of disbelief.  When people think of carpet cleaning they often think of an overweight guy in a rusty van and a less than white t-shirt.  This is one of the reasons that I like being a carpet cleaner.  Confused?  I like being the best at something and the larger the gap between the best and second best the better.  For 13 years our motto has been “don’t just be the best in the carpet cleaning industry.  Be the best of any industry!”  This has worked wonderfully for me and I have enjoyed passing this on to my employees as well.  Demanding the same and compensating accordingly because they are worth it.

The other reason I love being a carpet cleaner is our customers.  Loyal fans are a more appropriate term.  Knowing that you are making a difference for people and seeing the smiles on their faces when you do is an amazing reward for any hard work.  Being greeted like old friends by our customers warms my heart.

Third is being in a position to offer bonuses for quality work and end of the year profit sharing for our employees.  Knowing that we are doing things the way they ought to be done, not just the easy way or the most profitable way is very rewarding.  Being successful with a clean conscience is rare in any industry, especially this one.  As a family owned business, we agreed that it is only worth doing if we can enjoy it.  I have to say that I have enjoyed it in so many ways.  So yes, I do like being a carpet cleaner.

Carpet Cleaning Quality Control Calls Are Key

Did you know that Commercial Steam Team calls every client the week after we do a carpet cleaning job? It’s critical not only to help ensure that every client is happy, but it also makes good business sense in other ways.

For instance, in spite of regularly scheduled maintenance and a high attention to detail, it’s still possible to miss equipment that is starting to slide out of alignment. Catching this early lets us correct the problem before it becomes a problem.

If our clients see something wrong, they tell us, in part because we assure them to do so helps us too!

And if anything is wrong, we schedule a redo. Quality control, after all, means making sure that everything we do is quality.

Follow this link to learn more about why carpet cleaning quality control is essential for our business.