Posts

Carpet Cleaners And Good Choices

Everyone has seen the cartoons where the angel sits on one shoulder and the devil sits on the other fighting over the conscience of a wishy washy mind.  Carpet cleaners, like everyone else, are not immune to temptation.  I own a commercial carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas) of Minnesota.  My crews and I can be spotted cleaning bowling alleys and bars until 5 or 6 in the morning.  It is so tempting for carpet cleaners who are out that late cleaning to cut corners and not do a quality job.  How do I prevent my crews from taking the easy way out at 4am?

  • I start by hiring idealists.  Idealists, by my definition, are the kind of professionals who would do a great job whether anyone is looking or not.
  • Next, I make sure to pay well enough that my employees value their jobs and don’t want to risk losing them.  (employees that are paid poorly don’t want to lose their jobs but won’t go out of their way to make sure they keep them either)
  • Bonuses should be won and lost based on customer satisfaction.  The rewards and penalties should be big enough to be a big deal to the technicians.
  • I give 10% of our profits to my employees at the end of every year.  This ensures that my technicians take every client seriously for the sake of ongoing business and referrals.
  • Lastly, these professionals should know that if they cut a corner today, they will be back to correct it soon after.  They will not get out of work, instead they are creating more work and inconvenience for themselves

Temptation is a fact of life for everyone.  I don’t believe life is about avoiding temptation or shielding people from it.  I believe it is about understanding the temptations and making that temptation unappealing.  These policies have really worked well for my company and also protected my employees from making decisions that could cause us no choice but to lose a good employee.

Which Carpeted Areas Are Most Susceptible To Damage

What areas of a home are the most important to clean in a home?  As a carpet cleaning expert here in the Twin Cities, I recommend cleaning all carpet at least once a year.  However, some areas may need more attention.  These areas include:

  • Stairs
    • Stairs take a heavy beating because we slide our feet over the nose of the stairs as we walk down and kick them as we walk up.
  • Halls
  • Halls wear out quickly because we have only a narrow width on which our feet can walk, forcing us to concentrate all of our steps on a single stretch of carpet.  Also, we make turns at the same specific points as we pivot to enter rooms.
  • Path from main living space to kitchen or bathroom.
    • Because we travel to the kitchen and bathroom every single day, this path becomes routine.
  • Entrances
    • Especially if you live in a climate that requires sand and salt to be spread on the roads, areas where people enter your home can be one of the most soiled areas of all.  I recommend taking your shoes off at the door.  Even so, these areas tend to receive the most soil.
  • Around beds and in front of sofas
    • Any time I move a bed or sofa, I see a matted area of carpet that is worn out from people getting up and down off of the furniture.

If you can’t afford to clean all of your carpet, make sure these areas are cleaned and protected at least once a year.  Said areas might require more than once a year, depending on the number of residents and guests you have in your home.

Benefits of Adding Deodorizer to Carpet Cleaning Rinse

I hear all the time: “I can’t believe how good it smells in here now.” I hear this when I call my clients to make sure they were totally happy with the carpet cleaning job we did for them.  Do I have a secret to achieving this?  Yes, I do! Every time we fill our rinse tank with water, we add Multiphase Deodorizer to the mix.  There are three major benefits to doing this.

  • This deodorizer contains an enzyme that feeds on bacteria.  We do not put enough in our rinse to treat problem mildew, mold, or urine areas.  However there is enough to ensure that even if the carpet takes longer than usual to dry there no worries of mold or mildew forming.
  • It helps reinforce the full strength application of deodorizer that we do use to kill the bacteria, mold, mildew, and urine.
  • Leaves your carpet smelling fresh and pleasant.

We have found that despite the extra cost of introducing this enzyme deodorizer to our carpet cleaning rinse, going the extra mile goes a long way in customer satisfaction. Not only making these Minnesota nice clients happy, but actually turning them into full-fledged fans.

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.

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.

When Should I have My Carpets Cleaned at My Home?

When should I have my carpets cleaned at my home?  Good question.  If you ask any random person on the street you will get a full range of answers from every month to never. Who is right? I have been cleaning carpet in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota for over 13 years and I wish I could give one blanket answer for all customers, but I can’t.  I can however, do the next best thing.  I have created a list of options based on different factors that affect that timeline.  These are specific to the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota and may not apply to the climate and practices of other states.

  • Residential carpet should never go longer than a year without being cleaned for health reasons such as allergens, and mold.
  • Light carpet such as white or off white, even light shades of other colors has more room in the dye sites to take on dyes and needs to be cleaned and protected more often than other carpets and should be cleaned before traffic areas are  visible for best results.  Fiber damage and traffic wear patterns show up more noticeably on light colored carpet.  For light colored carpet, we recommend every 6 months to a year.
  • If you wear your shoes on residential carpet we recommend cleaning and protecting every 6 months at the very least.
  • If you have residential carpet that is a darker color you are more susceptible to the carpet looking lighter in the high traffic areas than looking darker.  This comes from actual fiber damage.  Dark carpet should be cleaned once a year for health reasons but if based strictly on looks you can go from a year to up to 2 years depending on the amount of traffic.
  • Even dark carpet needs to be cleaned at least every 6 months if shoes are worn in the house as that speeds up the fiber damage in high traffic areas considerably.
  • Wheel chairs and walkers are very hard on carpet.  This carpet should be cleaned and protected every 6 months at the very least.
  • Variables such as amount of foot traffic, spills, and age of the owners can affect the frequency of the carpet cleaning as well.  Not every household is the same.
  • One reason for all carpet to be cleaned and protected as well is the sun itself.  The sun’s rays will fade carpet color.  Carpet protectants help protect the carpet from this.  This fading is usually noticeable when the furniture is moved.  The area where the furniture sat didn’t receive any sunlight and appears darker and richer as a result.

Please keep in mind that this is based on my 13 years of experience as a carpet cleaning expert in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota.  Experience has also taught me that there will always be exceptions to these rules and people should keep an eye on their carpet and if it starts to appear dirty or dingy before the recommended time of cleaning then the safe choice is to have it cleaned and protected sooner rather than waiting for the scheduled date to come up.

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.

Profit Sharing in the Carpet Cleaning Industry

Confucius said “The path to wealth is rich in hate.”  This is one of my favorite sayings, partly because it is so very true in most cases.  But also because I love challenges and proving that statement to only be solid wisdom instead of solid fact is a challenge worth taking on.

The carpet cleaning industry in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota is an industry that employers and employees can make a good living.  In most cases a bonus system is set up for “upselling”.  Raise the bill of your clients far enough above what it was when it was booked and you get a bonus.  This is not bad for the employee’s wallets but not always good for their conscience.  This can indeed breed “hate” from the consumers towards the companies and even employees who use high pressure sales tactics.  It also breeds an environment where sales training and skills outweigh quality control and technical training essential to doing a great job.

The best carpet cleaners are rarely the best salesmen.  I don’t think upselling should be rewarded that way.  Employees should understand the products and be knowledgeable about them enough to inform the client when asked or when it is obviously necessary.  Mentioning and selling are two different things.

There is another method that breeds “hate” even more.  This is the bait and switch method.  Everyone has seen ads for $5.95 a room or something along those lines.  If you check the small print you will see that it says something like “deep cleaning 40 cents a square foot”.   When the cleaner shows up to do the job he turns down his equipment and cleans a room with plain water.  Then he pre-sprays the carpet and turns his machine up to full power and cleans a stripe down the center of the room.  He then asks if the customer wants him to do that method over the whole carpet for 10 times what they were originally quoted.  By the time they leave the customer is left feeling cheated.  The employee makes a good living this way but only in the monetary sense.  That method leaves the customer feeling cheated and foolish.  The employee can’t take pride in how he makes his living.

There is only way that I have found makes sense to compensate employees well while also making the customer truly happy as well.  This method is simple profit sharing.  At the end of the year when the profit numbers are figured out the employees split 10 percent.  Each year at the company the employee is vested one more share in that percentage.  This rewards both loyalty and quality.  The more work the company does as a whole, the more profit there is to go around.  Yes the employer has to give up 10 percent of his/her profits but with the increased quality and attentiveness from the employees, I don’t doubt it adds more profit than it costs.

This way the employees can take pride in how they make their living as do their families.

This way the customer can take pride in knowing they got a great job at a fair price and that their money is going toward a company that treats their employees with respect.

This way the employer, in this case me and my family, can take pride in knowing that they are building a successful company without the expense of anyone involved.  Or rather without the “hate” that usually accompanies that success.

Profit sharing has worked great for my company in both employee retention and quality control.  To be honest the results have been immeasurable.

Why Even Have Carpet In Minnesota Homes

Born in Edina and raised in Burnsville, I have lived my whole life in Minnesota.  With all the salt and sand, the sloppy slush, the muddy springs, why install carpet in our homes?  Before becoming a carpet cleaner I didn’t give it much thought, but I might have chosen hardwood or laminate flooring.  Hard floors don’t stain as easily and are easier to dry when moisture is introduced.  Still, the truth is carpet insulates in multiple ways.  I learned this cleaning for television studios.  In the control room they actually carpet their walls.  This reduces echo, and absorbs sound to help soundproof the room and keep those sounds from being picked up by the microphones in the studio.  Everyone who lives in Minnesota knows how cold it gets here in the winter.  Carpet creates a comfortable barrier between the frozen floor and our sensitive feet.  Personally, I like lying on the carpet in front of the fire with hot chocolate in the winter.

It’s my personal and professional opinion that as long as you clean and protect your carpet once a year and take your shoes off at the door, you will be happier with the cozy feel of carpet than chilly hardwood floors.

How Mass Advertising Can Lower Quality

Have you ever been to a fast growing franchise restaurant and felt like the person helping you either doesn’t know what they are doing or just doesn’t care?  Of course you have, we all have.  Unfortunately this isn’t exclusive to the fast food industry.  It can happen in any industry when a company grows “too fast”.

The dream of just about any business owner is to have their company skyrocket to the top.  They look for gimmicks, advertising schemes, and even mudslinging to make this happen.  Some industries like law firms and investment companies have readymade employees to purchase from the well-stocked shelves of universities.  Industries that require on the job training don’t have that privilege.  Industries like carpet cleaning require mentor training, or apprentice training.  Reading a training manual only gets you so far.  Professionals need to pass their expertise down in person.

Mass advertising and gimmicks can lead to very rapid growth, especially when the new fad is creaming the market.  Going from 1 van to 10 or more vans in a couple years is wonderful in theory.  However, it takes at least 10 people to run 10 vans.  20 if the recommended 2 employees per crew are used.  In theory there would need to be 10 experts to train these 10 crew chiefs for several months.  One expert just can’t get that done properly.  In fact the rapid growth most likely takes that person out of the equation entirely as the responsibilities of the administration grow just as fast.  When does this training happen?

In a slow but steady growth model, driven through referrals, there is time for assistants to train under experts for 6 months or more.  Not only learning the basics, but also becoming very comfortable with all the variables they might run into in the field.  Mass advertising and excessively rapid growth would make this very difficult to do properly.

Thorough Rinsing Reduces Redo’s

Reputable carpet cleaning companies agree to return to their jobs any time a customer is unsure of the results of the work done.  The most reputable companies call every job a week after cleaning to make sure they are happy and offer what we call a “redo” to make sure the client stays a satisfied and loyal client.

As important as redo’s are, they also cost money to complete.  This is time and expense being used without extra compensation from the client.  For this reason and more, it is important to do the job right the first time.

Carpet cleaning, like many things in life is largely about balance.  In this case it’s about the balance of PH. levels.  The process starts with pre-spray and spot cleaning agents and finishes with a rinse to balance the Ph. out.  All professional carpet cleaners, no matter who they are, start off with an alkaline or acid pre-spray.  The next step is to rinse it out with a rinse that is opposite the pre-spray on the Ph. scale.  Spot cleaning agents vary in specifics, however, unless it is a leave in treatment, they all have one thing in common.  Cleaning agents need to be rinsed out as much as possible.  Cleaning agents that are not rinsed thoroughly can attract dirt back to the spot or spill.  This makes the spot or spill look like it has resurfaced and come back after the cleaning is done.

The best way to thoroughly rinse the carpet is to make sure you have the most powerful direct drive carpet cleaning truck mount available.  Second, make sure you are using a rinse that is opposite the Ph. of your pre-spray.  Third, simply do extra rinse strokes any time you clean over an area you spot treated.  The whole room doesn’t have to be done this way, just the spot where you used a spot treatment.  Fourth, you do extra vacuum strokes where you did extra rinse strokes.  Extra rinse means slightly higher moisture levels and requires “balance” when it comes do drying the carpet as well.

By maintaining balance in the carpet of both Ph. levels and moisture, the chances of a spot or spill appearing to return on you are nearly eliminated and so are your redo’s.  Out of the last 1814 jobs, my crews only had to return to 23 of them.  All 23 are still very happy clients.  This is one of the methods they practice at every job to make sure they keep their routes redo free and full of loyal, paying, repeat customers here in the Twin Cities.

Two Man Crews Vs. One Man Crews

In the carpet cleaning industry, you often hear of one man crews being better than one two man crews.  In truly selfish terms, the employer can make a lot more money with one man crews.  The cost to the employer is less with one man crews.  Also, they spend longer in the presence of the customer and build more of a rapport which helps in increasing on site sales or “up-selling”.

The flaw in this strategy is that it only benefits the company and in no way benefits the client.  The customer may believe that the extra time spent by one person means better quality.  However, between setting up the job, pre-spraying, cleaning, setting down the wand to pull the hose or go get the spot treatments, easily two thirds of the time is spent doing what the assistant would do while the crew chief keeps the wand moving.  The truth is this is all wasted time that the customer could be using to live their busy lives.

Two man crews are efficient.  It is easier for a crew chief to ask his assistant to go to the truck to get something, than to set the wand down and go get it himself.  This can lead to steps being skipped for the sake of time or fatigue.

One other important factor that I have found is accountability.  Two man teams rely on each other.  One person can’t sacrifice quality without it affecting the other worker.  It’s much easier to decide to slack off for one day or one job without personal accountability to another crew member.

Loneliness can also lead to depression.  There is no one to help spur the other team member on.  Honestly, cost to the employer and increased sales are the only benefits to having one man crews.  Solo routes will always be necessary in any carpet cleaning company.  That being said, for the sake of the customer, solo routes should be the exception, not the rule.

Rapid Re-Soiling After Carpet Cleaning: Professional Carpet Cleaners

 

Professional carpet cleaners stopped using oil based soaps or “shampoo’s” decades ago.  Some less experienced carpet cleaners still have a problem with rapid re-soiling.  Why is this?  Proper training and equipment eliminates this problem for those companies that understand how it works.

  • State-of-the-art direct drive truck mounts are important to get the carpet dry enough after the job.
    • If the carpet is left wet for days then the carpet will lose its ability to resist rapid re-soiling.
    • Ph. balances must be equalized.
      • Companies that rinse with water will leave the Ph. level of the carpet too high after cleaning. This can feel residue-free, but will attract soil none the less.
      • Companies that grow too fast through advertising tend to have a turnover of only a few months.  Proper training takes many months of assisting to an expert carpet cleaner to ensure that Ph. ratios get balanced.

Carpet cleaning is a science, but it is also hard work.  Training is important as well as hiring the right workers and paying well enough to keep them motivated and in your employ.  “Shampoo” may not be a factor in professional carpet cleaning anymore, but work ethic and training always will be.

Rapid Re-Soiling After Carpet Cleaning: Do It Yourself

When you pull out your couch to get that tennis ball your dog knocked underneath it in a rousing game of repetitive catch.  You suddenly notice that the carpet underneath the couch looks completely different than the carpet in front of it.  A few months go by and either your conscience or your partner begins nagging you to do something about it.  “Don’t worry sweetheart, I will rent a rug doctor.”  Famous last words.  If it was that easy then everyone would do it.

This is one of the leading causes of rapid re-soiling in carpets today.  The three reasons being;

  • Operator error.
    • No one should be expected to know what they are doing when trying to do a professional job on their first try.
    • It takes days to do the best job possible with a rental unit.  Many people don’t realize this until they are in the middle of the job and rush through it after that (understandable).
    • Equipment power.
      • Rental equipment is limited by the electrical power source available and can’t risk tripping circuit breakers in the homes and apartments it is used in.
      • Rental equipment is designed with more emphasis on its durability than its effectiveness. After all if it broke every time it was rented, it would eat up all the profit. Meaning that it’s going to be underpowered.
      • When more than 5 percent of the moisture is left in the carpet, it takes a long time to dry and will affect the carpets resistance to re-soiling.
      • People tend to beat up rental units. After all, they don’t own them, and most people tend not to respect other people’s property. This means the equipment’s performance will likely be sub-par, something that a rental company is not as likely to be concerned about as long as it is still rentable.
      • Available cleaning agents.
        • Professional carpet cleaners stopped using “shampoo” or oil based products decades ago. The rental units often still use these.
        • Rental units often rinse with regular water which is not capable of balancing the Ph. levels of the cleaning agents that were used, even if they were not oil based.

The truth is that most people who attempt to clean their own carpets do not ever attempt it again.  Or they get stuck in an endless cycle of cleanings that become more and more frequent over time as the residue builds up in the carpet.  Most professional carpet cleaners know (and those that don’t, should) not to use oil based products or “shampoo’s”.  Few suppliers even carry those products anymore.  Also professional carpet cleaners are the only carpet cleaners that know the proper mixing ratios, have the expensive direct drive truck mount equipment to do the job (this varies from company to company).  Truck mounted  units are not limited by circuit breakers and some even run directly off of the V8 engine.

In summary, DIY carpet cleaning is a buyer-beware sort of thing. If you’re serious about cleaning your carpet, you should hire a serious professional to do so. Have a great day!

Brief History of Carpet Cleaning

Carpets made walking barefoot in our homes a reality.  Carpet is also responsible for laying in front of the fire or the T.V.  And as I can speak from experience here in Minnesota, carpet also lowers heating costs in the winter.  The one thing people realized early on was it gets dirty and it’s not as easy to clean as hard floors.  So how did they get them clean?

The first cleaning method was “have the slaves or maids clean them”.  I would say lol but there is nothing funny about slavery or indentured servitude.  The reality was that carpet cleaning was only affordable to the wealthy.  Carpet was primarily loose rugs that could be removed from a room and beaten to remove the dust and dirt.  Sometimes a stiff bristled brush was used to sort of sweep the dirt and sand from the rug.  In 1827 a publication teaching servants housekeeping said to use a lemon to remove ink stains.

The 1880’s took a bit of the load off of the servants by the invention of carpet sweepers.  By 1900 the horse drawn door to door carpet care business was in swing.  Early models were so large they were on a carriage drawn by a horse and parked at the curb of the building getting cleaned.  Sounds familiar to me as a professional carpet cleaner.  Soon in the 1920’s the wealthy were given the opportunity to own their own personal carpet cleaners.  These were expensive and John Q. Public couldn’t afford it for decades after that.

In 1947, I am very glad to say, hot water extraction was invented.  Though consistently improved over the last half a decade or so, hot water extraction has continued to be the leading method.  It is hard to believe that a $2,000 portable unit and a $70,000 direct drive truck mount fall under the same classification, but they do.  From rug doctors wielded by homeowners to Hydramasters wielded by professionals the hot water extraction industry continues in full swing to this day. There have been other attempts to improve on the carpet cleaning industry such as dry cleaning, foam cleaning, rotary cleaning, etc.  Each of these methods spiked interest when they first came out.  Each declined as fast as they rose as people were disappointed in the results they received.  Even with the bad publicity of cheaper portable machines, the positive results of high end hot water extraction truck mounts has maintained the lions share of the carpet cleaning industry with no signs of slowing down.  In some ways the carpet cleaning industry is still a door to door industry.  Though now it is a multimillion dollar door to door industry.

Making Life Easier For Property Managers

Property managers have a unique business unlike any other industry I can think of.  Whether residential property management helping people rent and manage their rental units, or commercial property managers owning buildings and leasing out the spaces, or managing the tenants for a building owner.  What makes their jobs unique is that they are firefighters without the glory.  By that I mean they spend all day putting out fires.  Much of this I’m not aware of in specifics, but their tenants run into problems and look to their property managers to solve those problems.  Some of these problems effect the carpet or upholstery.  This could be a leaky ceiling, dripping down a chair onto the carpet.  An overflowing toilet seeping through a wall into the adjacent office.  The sippy cup that isn’t supposed to leak, but instead drips milk in a trail from the kitchen to his bedroom as he swings it back and forth.  When any of these things happen it becomes another in a long string of “help me nows” that I’m sure seem to happen all at once.  No vendor should add to these headaches.  Property managers also understand it is far cheaper to clean and protect their carpet as opposed to the massive cost of replacing it.

It is my belief that carpet cleaners should be the Aspirin for these headaches.  Making life easier for property managers by being upbeat and friendly.  Picking up and dropping off keys.  Always being on time.  Calling ahead to ease their mind.  Doing their best every time.  Using the top of the line direct drive truck mounted carpet cleaning vans.

Service industries across the board should understand that service is about making life easier.  Making life better.  I have found that everyone wins in this scenario.  My clients are happy because when a tenant tracks grease all the way down the first floor hall, they already know who to call and they know it will be painless.  I win because they won’t even think of going somewhere else.  I get more business and they get peace of mind.  That’s what I mean by making life easier for property managers.

Calling The Customer

How many times have you been waiting for a service provider to show up and they are late?  Frustrating isn’t it?  In fact it has been getting so bad these days that we almost expect it.  We worry from the moment we book the job, until the minute they show up at our door.  Worrying takes years off of our lives.  At least I’m convinced it does.  The sad truth is that this worrying can be prevented.  One simple invention by Alexander Graham Bell called the telephone makes this possible.  One simple call to say they are on the way and an approximate time of arrival takes all that worry away.  Peace of mind is a wonderful thing that is underappreciated by the service industry and vendors everywhere.  This is not because they will be late.  This is because they could be late.  My work or social plans are important to me.  I don’t want to have to cancel plans, but if I have to, I want to know as soon as possible.  Martin Cooper invented the cell phone in 1973.  This wonderful device makes it even easier to put people’s minds at ease.  After the phone call to say you are on your way, you might still hit traffic or get into an accident.  Not good, but not as big of a problem when you can call the client before you are supposed to arrive.  I made both of these phone calls part of my carpet cleaning company the day I started it.  This gives me a chance to apologize if I am late but also places their minds at ease when I am not.  I think it is important to respect my clients and I don’t understand how we have allowed so many vendors to disrespect us for so long.  My time is important and so is yours.  I at least want an apology and an approximate time of arrival so I can go about my life instead of waiting around like a teenager waiting for that dreamy classmate to call lol.  We are all adults now.  I think we should start acting like it.  One call to the customer is all it takes.

Holiday Home Remedy For Red Wine Spills

The holidays are wonderful in so many ways, from stockings filled with drug store impulse items to selections of food and drinks that we don’t even consider consuming the rest of the year (eggnog / lutefisk), but for some reason find irresistible while high on Christmas cheer.  That being said, there are staples at nearly all celebrations, the least of which is definitely not red wine. Whether a dry merlot or a soaking wet port the variety is endless, but the problem is always the same.  What is this sneaky Grinch always hiding one sip, or one out of tune “White Christmas” away?   This problem is; the more wine you drink the more likely you are to spill it.  If you were lucky enough to read this blog before you tripped on your aunts cocker spaniel (poor Buddy), then, you sprang to action like a marvel super hero.  If not, at least you can salvage your friendship with a shameful return to the scene and save their white carpet, or blouse.  Hopefully, saving your invitation to next year’s celebration at the same time.  This remedy is simple.  If you want to get red wine out of nearly any material; simply clean it with white wine.  Yep, in some twist of Gods sense of humor white wine is the cure for the red.  Always blot excess moisture first with a throw away rag and then apply white wine a little at a time until the red wine is gone.  Always be gentle with the rag as you can wear the fibers out if you rub too hard.

  I’ve used this method on both clothing and carpet successfully.  Nothing in carpet cleaning or clothing is 100%, especially since there are so many different varieties of both carpet and wine out there, but this is the closest I’ve seen thus far.  It either gets rid of it completely or to the point that it is barely visible.   One thing that sets this method apart is that some leave behind a yellow color.  This method does not, at least in my experience so far. 

Nothing can take the place of a professional carpet cleaner with state of the art equipment and knowledgeable crew chiefs, like Commercial Steam Team.  However, not everyone can afford to hire the experts every time Uncle Leo has a few too many and forgets the glass in his hand as he re-enacts his hail Mary pass to win the 1967 Hopkins little league football championship.   That is precisely when home remedies are wonderful tools.

Cleaning Up Carpet After Pets

Store-bought or homemade remedies for pet stain and smell removal from carpets generally don’t penetrate deeply enough in carpets. Cleaning pet urine from carpet using these tools can be a long frustrating process. Even when you think its done in a few days the smell can come back because the scrubbing doesn’t penetrate into the carpet padding, and in fact makes the problem worse by forcing the urine further down into the carpet. To remove pet urine smell you have penetrate into the carpet without driving the problem deeper. 

Eventually after several carpet cleaning attempts using different products you may find a combination that appears to work, but forcing the urine so deep into the carpet that you can’t smell it as strongly can actually cause more problems. This is because some of the urine still remains, encouraging the growth of bacteria. Later when you vacuum you then blow these germs into the air.

The solution is a deep cleaning with an environmentally friendly hot water extraction cleaning.

Go here to learn more.

Welcome to Carpet News!

At Commercial Steam Team we feel it’s important that people know about carpet, how carpet can impact quality of life, and learn strategies to get the most out of your carpet. Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to having you visit again!