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Area of Minnesota it is hard to turn on the radio without being bombarded with inaccurate scare tactics citing 20 year out of date statistics.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.