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Why are you doing that?

Posted by Andrew Webb on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Under: Carpet Cleaning Tales

I had a little chuckle to my self the other day, (I'll get to that bit in a minute), and it got me thinking.
Apart from the fact I am passionate about what I do and I'm not happy unless the customer is happy, what do I do different from other carpet cleaners that offer a cheaper than cheap price?

Ok, so lets look at the basics:
A customer calls me up, asks me how much to clean their carpets, upholstery or stone floors and if the price is right, they like the sound of me or have seen my work on the gallery page they book me in. BUT do I do anything different apart from being the right price and producing excellent results?

Well, that's where the title of this blog came from.

A couple of weeks ago, a  new customer booked me to clean their lounge diner carpet after seeing my website on google. They wanted a ball park figure of what the cost would be, so I told them a rough price, but would confirm the price when I had seen the carpet as I like to go and see what wants cleaning first as there are many factors which can determine a definate cost.Carpet fibre content, staining, traffic lane wear, furniture to move, how many rooms are cleaning in one visit etc, these all contribute to the final pricing) They were happy with the estimated price and I booked them in.

On arrival, I introduced myself, slipped on my overshoes and walked in.
" Oh you wont need those" the lady of the house said, pointing at my bright blue shower cap looking objects over my work trainers.
" Its ok" I said, " its a habit" She smiled, nodded her head and showed me the area she wanted cleaning.

The carpet looked like a grey/silver wool mix fibre, not too much wear, quite a few stains around the dining table ,also at the entrance from the kitchen and it had that darker tint to all it where it was crying out for a clean. 

Now, this is where the "Why are you doing that?" started.

I got on my hands and knees and managed to extract a small tuft of the carpet from the corner of the room, got out my lighter and proceeded to burn the tuft of fibre. As they burnt, glowed, produced a little smoke, gave out that kind of burnt plastic/hair smell, I heard a loud gasp behind me and upon looking round I could see a puzzled, worried look on the lady's face.
"Why are you doing that?" she asked. 
"Well." I replied. " I am pretty sure its a wool mix carpet but I need to be 100% sure so I am testing the fibre by doing a burn test"
"Oh, I have never seen that before, the last cleaner said it wasa prop-a-poly something and then just cleaned it!"
"Oh dear" I thought. "wonder what he cleaned it with?
 "No Problem Mrs XXXXXXX, its my way of being sure I use the right chemical balance for your carpet when I clean it, so as not to damage the fibres" ( I could at this point go on a lengthy description of ph levels, alkali and acid rinse, wickback but I'll save that for another time.) She still looked puzzled as I made my way back to the front door to get the hoover from my van.

Upon returning, plugging in the hoover, pressing the power button, that lovely question arose again....
"Why are you doing that?"
"Well Mrs XXXXXXX, its to remove as much of the dry soil and dirt before we prespray the carpet. This way we are then only cleaning what is attached to the carpet fibres if that makes sense?."
She smiled, nodded and I carried on with the hoover.

There were a few items of furniture left in the room, a huge heavy oak dining table, a large oak coffee table, and two sofas with wooden feet so I brought in with me, the roll of plastic sticky tabs, and styrene furniture blocks and placed them under the legs of the tables and sofas, where they make contact with the carpet.
Guess what the next question was?............

"Why are you doing that?"
"We do this so there will be no moisture absorbed into the wood when we clean the carpet, because what can happen is the stain from the damp wood can then transfer to the damp carpet and that's a real pain to remove"
"Ah, I see. You're very thorough, the last cleaner didn't do that, he just went around them"...I chuckled to my self as I then half knew what was going to happen when I started cleaning with the big machine.
Next step, mix up the prespray. I knew Mrs XXXXXXX had seen this before so I guessed I wasn't going to get asked anything.......that was until I brought the scrubbing machine in. 
"Whats that?"
" Its to scrub the cleaner into the carpet fibres and lift the pile where possible"
"Oh, ok. Is that necessary?"
"Most of the time yes, but depends on the carpet, sometimes I just use a pile brush to brush it in. Its a little like putting soap on your hands and rubbing the hands together to make the soap lift the dirt away from the skin"
" The last guy didnt do that"
I just raised my eyebrows and smiled.

At this time I was beginning to add some things up in head. The last cleaner came 8 months ago, told the customer it was a ployprop fibre (man-made), didn't hoover, didn't scrub or brush in, not sure what chemical he used..if any, What's going to happen when I start to clean the carpet with my machine? 

So, in comes the Airflex, big and bright blue.
"Crikey, that's a bit different from the last guys machine"
"Was it smaller and yellow?"
"Ah ok, I know what he used now"
She looked at me blankly as I explained what I thought his machine was, and how underpowered compared to mine it was. Didn't want to blind her with science about power, psi and airflow so proceeded to fill the Airflex with hot tap water,added some rinse chemical, connected the hoses, switched the machine on and started to clean the carpet.

Luckily, I had taken the precaution of adding some de-foamer to the rinse tank. As I pulled the trigger on the cleaning wand, and pulled the wand towards me I could see a build up of foam appearing. I called over Mrs XXXXXX and showed her, explaining that there was still some sort of residue left in the carpet, maybe from the previous clean, but now everything will be rinsed out and the carpets should not get dirty so quickly this time.
She looked surprised, but reassured at the same time as she could see the colour coming back to her carpet.

Once the carpet was all clean, I emptied thewater from the waste tank into a bucket so she could see the colour of the water.
"Oh my god, did that come out of that carpet?"
I nodded and continued to pack away the machine, wand and hoses. Then, armed with the pile brush, I started to brush the carpet. Can you guess what the next question was?
"Why are you doing that?"
"We do this to remove the zig zag wand marks and reset the pile, it also helps air the fibres to dry quicker"
She nodded, smiled and looked even more pleased. I presented her with my invoice, she wrote me a cheque and then gave me an extra amount for doing such a good and thorough job.

Now then, what I did above , with sometimes a little variation, is what I do on 100% of my jobs. It all depends on the carpet, fibre etc, but the basics are the same.

So when someone asks me, "Why are you doing that?" followed by "The last cleaner didn't do that" I have a little chuckle to myself because I know I am giving the customer value for their money as they getting the most thorough clean possible and not just a splash and dash job.

And that's what I do differently from the cheaper than cheap carpet cleaner!

One of my favourite phrases:
If you think its expensive to hire a professional,
wait till you hire an amateur.

In : Carpet Cleaning Tales 

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