7 Costly Mistakes Every Business Owner or Facility Manager
Should Avoid Before Hiring A Carpet Cleaner.
Plus – Easy Comparison Chart of Commercial Carpet Cleaning Methods
Plus – Insider Carpet Cleaning Cost Information
Plus – Carpet Cleaning Negotiating Tips
Carpet Cleaning for office and business type carpet – The Good Bad and Ugly When you are ready to have your commercial carpets cleaned, you should have a basic understanding of at least…‘what not to do’. This will put you miles ahead in saving yourself from a lot of hassle, disappointment and costly mistakes.
This report reveals common sense information that should be helpful to anyone who has commercial carpets to be cleaned. Getting this report is not meant to be another technical regurgitation of information you can get from other places. Rather is an ‘inside view’ from our company who is well experienced in the commercial carpet cleaning industry and knows the carpet cleaning industry overall does not have the most polished reputation. Because of this, we want you to get a practical set actionable things you can do, or not do, when you are ready to hire your next commercial carpet cleaning service provider.
The Carpet Cleaning Industry
It is reported that more than 47,000 carpet cleaning professionals operate in the United States. If you add all the ‘non-professionals it at least doubles that number in my opinion’. The Carpet Cleaning industry had never had a stellar reputation, namely because there are too many ‘non-professionals running around’ doing shady business, and too many others that simply may mean well, but just don’t have the know how to quality deliver results and provide a professional level of customer service. I have realized that even today, there is mass confusion and illiteracy regarding carpet cleaning in general and even more for cleaning commercial carpets. But mostly it can all be a moot point if you just know how to navigate the finding and hiring or the right commercial carpet cleaning service. Commercial Carpet Cleaning is a newer classification for carpet cleaners. Most carpet cleaners do not distinguish the the difference between cleaning commercial grade carpets or residential carpets, namely because they use the same method to clean both. That may have been justified 10+ years ago, but NOW there is a significant different on many points that should be important to you if you are a business owner, property manager, or facilities manager that has commercial carpets. Simply put, you can do better if you know better.
Mistake #1. Not Choosing Services that Specialize in Commercial Carpet Cleaning
Find a service that specializes in cleaning commercial carpets. You will find they can deliver a better result and better prices, especially the larger your building or facilities. Most carpet cleaning companies specialize in ‘residential type carpet cleaning’, so it’s harder to find ‘dedicated commercial carpet cleaners. Commercial carpet cleaners however better understand how to clean commercial carpets better (with fewer problems), faster and often at lower cost.
Many carpet cleaners will not agree to this statement, and to give them credit I will say that the smaller the amount of commercial carpet to be cleaned the less of a factor it may be. But for larger facilities I know from experience, and clients experiences as well, that when you don’t specialize in commercial carpet cleaning you are often not set up with the right equipment and processes that can do the job more efficiently while delivering a reliable no problems result.
Mistake #2. Blindly letting your Janitorial or Service Clean Your Carpets
If you’re janitorial service says they can clean your commercial carpets – inquire and verify their carpet cleaning method and other clients. I personally have witnessed carpet cleaning being done by a janitorial service with hired labor, towels and spray bottles. Another stated their carpets cleaned 1 week earlier by their janitorial service. I clearly pointed out a myriad of dirt, stains, spot and filth that was clearly visible, a moment of silenced passed and he agreed – the carpets did not look clean at all. Now wait – I am not slamming janitorial services that clean commercial carpets professionally with good results, but I am stating that companies that pay for any inferior carpet cleaning service, which in many cases is from janitorial services, then they are getting duped. Why pay for ‘dirty carpets’? Use the chart supplied in this report to decide what method you may prefer. Ask your cleaning service if they ‘sub-contract the work’ and who you will be dealing with if things wrong or results are unacceptable. Are they insured or listed as an additional insured, what method of cleaning will be used, etc. There are exceptions to this point remember, you may get lucky – some Janitorial services do deliver good carpet cleaning service, or employ or contract with quality professional commercial carpet cleaners – you just need to know before you sign on the dotted line.🙂
Mistake #3. Not Requiring and Verifying Liability Insurance
Never hire a commercial carpet cleaning service that is does not have adequate liability insurance to cover replacement of your carpets or other damages. Always verify the providers Certificate of Insured – by calling their insurance carrier directly and requesting a copy be sent directly to you. I know of a school in Georgia that was forced to spend $80,000 to replace commercial carpet less than 1 year old, when a local hot water extraction company (not insured) left the carpet too wet during the summer months when the school was not running heating and cooling systems, causing mold growth which ultimately led to removing and replacing the carpet. Another example was when a carpet cleaning van accidentally rolled down the hill into the building. Stuff happens, make sure your service has liability insurance that will cover damages on your property or for carpet replacement.
Mistake #4. Not Getting an Onsite Demonstration and Quote
Not having the service provider provide an ‘onsite demonstration and quote’ before you choose. Forget those by phone quotes – you are asking for troubles you don’t want. It may seem like a hassle, but it will save you bigger hassles if you don’t get an onsite demonstration. This is so recommended because you will see first hand who you are dealing with, what method and equipment they use, and their demonstration should be on ‘your dirt’ or ‘your carpet’, preferably on one of you toughest dirtiest areas. It might be your entrance area, or another area with heavy dirt and stains. If the company is not willing to clean at least an 8×8 sqft area with their equipment/process – don’t waste your time with them. Note: This is one of the best tips you should consider. It’s much better than all the ideas of checking references, reviews, experience, etc. and really gives you the ‘results oriented‘ information you need.
Mistake #5. Not Being Clear About What You Are Paying For
I learned early in my career as a management consultant that before I could make a client happy with my services, I had to clearly know what they wanted, and if I could deliver same. With commercial carpet cleaning you can be tempted to make a lot of assumptions, and many carpet cleaners will use that to their advantage. Make sure you get up-front clear pricing in writing, agree on things like days, hours they will be working, deadlines if needed, if doors will be open while they work, what they will move to clean under, and what will be left in place and cleaned around, what areas might be off limits, who to contact if problems are discovered, and anything else you want to know. Then again, you both have this agreement in writing with signatures, You will be glad you did and it always results in better service with less hassles.
An important tip here is to include in your contract a ‘final walk through’ with you before you sign off on the job as acceptable. Also you should consider a ‘1 week’ callback period in case you discover cleaned stains that are ‘re-appearing’.
Mistake #6. Not Having Reasonable Expectations
Expecting too much for too little equals disappointment. If you have a very difficult situation (say carpet that is trashed with filth from 12 years of wear and tear) then don’t expect a miracle on the cheap. It’s common sense to know that the dirtier and more difficult the situation, the more time and effort is required to do the job professionally. It’s also unrealistic to think every stain will remove from carpet, because there are chemicals that do permanently stain some types of carpets or alter it’s appearance.
On the other side of this however, you may be told that ‘that’s as clean as it will get’ and be advised to buy new carpet to replace those difficult areas. I say so from personal experience that many times carpets indeed looked like ‘goners’ and were slated as ‘unclean-able’, when actually it was cleanable with the proper skill and time. My advice to you is to have them try to clean again – under your watch. You may find that in their ‘rush’ to get the job done, they may just need to ‘work it’ with more patience or purpose before it comes clean.
Mistake #7. Not implementing good advice from professional commercial carpet cleaners.
Having carpets cleaned enough does not necessarily mean hiring a commercial carpet cleaner. First and foremost it means using your own carpet cleaners, those vacuums you have! Frequent vacuuming and use of ‘walk off mats at entrances’ is the best way to keep you carpets clean, and professional carpet cleaners away. Otherwise research proves it’s better (and saves you money) if you keep your commercial carpets cleaned, rather than waiting until they have been damage by grit, dirt and wear. Any professional commercial carpet cleaning service provider should be well rehearsed at inspecting your carpets and providing sound advice and solutions to help you manage your carpets with optimum results that support your goals. Even smaller businesses can get excellent tips and service from good commercial carpet cleaners that will save you money and headaches depending on your situation.
Real examples have been to identify where the ‘soil’ is originating from – and to implement low cost easy ways to better control it from getting on your carpets.
Choosing the right method to clean Your carpets.
Getting the right service to clean your commercial carpets is only part of what you need to do right. The second important consideration is to know what method is going to be used to clean your commercial carpets. The carpet industry recognizes five cleaning methods for carpet. These methods include:
..dry absorbent compound,
..hot water extraction,
..and rotary shampoo.
I will simplify this however to 3 categories and provide realistic pro’s and con’s of each based on our experience, customers feedback experience, and other credible information sources.
> Dry Process Rotary Methods (dry foam, bonnet, absorbent compounds, etc.)
> Hot Water Extraction (truck mount units, trailer mount units, portable units, etc.)
> Encapsulation (Newer method combining improved chemistry with mechanical scubbing)
Why I bring this up is because clean carpet can be accomplished by any of these methods, but method can influence your costs, and costs are what most business owners and facilities managers are interested in. Also, each method can render different ‘clean results’ and overall experience and satisfaction to you. So you may be willing to pay more – or less, or choose a particular method depending on what you learn here.
To compare these 3 methods in detail could require writing a book. I have tried to boil it down to the main things that most business owners and facilities managers would want to know. And just as a pre-curser to the chart. Our company has employed the use of some of the best hot water ‘truck mounted’ and portables hot water extraction equipment available on commercial carpets of various types. We have used and worked with professionals who employ the bonnet cleaning methods, and dry compound methods, and interviewed non-clients and new clients who used these methods. We have had no direct experience with dry foam methods however.
Comparison Charts of what you need to know about commercial carpet cleaning methods.
Notice, I believe you can get good results with any method – even a rag and water if the service provider is skilled enough, and so selecting a commercial carpet cleaning service is very important! There are lot’s of good ones, and lot’s of not so good ones. My point being that even with the very best method, results are ultimately going to depend on who’s driving the method with related results and cost (including hidden costs).
Here is an important point about ‘encapsulation’ however if you wish to find a commercial carpet cleaner who uses this technology. Encapsulation is really a product, not a process. I is a newer ‘chemistry’ that replaces traditional carpet cleaning solutions to clean carpets. Not all encapsulation chemistry is equal, but many carpet cleaners have adopted it to replace their current carpet cleaning solutions. This does not mean however that they have a ‘encapsulation process’ to clean carpets. It just means if they use a hot water extraction process for example, they may use an encapsulate chemistry product when they clean. So you still may with to really ask what ‘carpet cleaning method’ they use their ‘encapsulant product with’, when you contact them. And in all cases, invite them to do a demonstration on your dirt, on your carpets. You will see what, how and who, and get a much better understanding if you want to do business or not.
Information to help you understand and negotiate cost to clean commercial carpets.
Approached this concept of pricing with common sense. From experience I can share that we have a wide berth of rates we charge clients depending on the situation and conditions. There are many reasons any particular carpet cleaner might charge you more or less than another. Whatever you do though the idea is find a good ‘win win’ relationship with your commercial carpet cleaning service that will make both of you happy. A bad deal is simply bad business for everyone involved.
There are a myriad of considerations a commercial carpet cleaning service might consider when quoting a job or account. Distance to job, how hungry the service provider is, day or night work or holiday work, how dirty, how much stuff to move or clean around, type of soil and stains, size of job, multi-stories or not, if cleaning once only, monthly, quarterly or annually, and scheduled time it has to be done, and much more.
The primary factor most commercial carpet cleaners use when pricing a job is the estimated number of work hours and supplies to complete the job. This is why ‘method to cleaning commercial carpets’ can be important to figuring commercial carpet cleaning pricing. Cleaning commercial carpets, especially larger areas, can add up to large variation in hours required to clean the carpets – thus dramatically affecting cost. This is one important reason why method and equipment become so important in commercial carpet cleaning larger areas – because the service providers skill and method or process to clean your carpets (along with all the other factors) may mean thousands of dollars in cost variation.
With smaller commercial carpet cleaning projects, the pricing may commonly rival residential cost of 24 to 28 cents per square ft on average according to a 2010 survey. The larger and very large accounts however can get so competitive on pricing that quotes are given in 1/8th or 1/16th of a cent, such as 8.75 cents per square ft.
Check out these insider comments from commercial carpet cleaners (many also clean residential carpet too) about what they charge clients to clean commercial carpets. The main thing you will see is that pricing is not very predictable.
Excerpts from various commercial carpet cleaners in various regions about Commercial Carpet Cleaning Pricing.
Spot Cleaning @ $45 per hour
Pile lifting/Deep vacuuming @ $.14 per sq. ft.
Encapsulation cleaning/Traffic Areas @ $.12 per sq. ft.
Restorative Hot Water extraction @ $.20 per sq. ft.
Carpet Protector Applied @ $.10 per sq. ft.
Type of factors used to determine cost for cleaning commercial carpets (construction and fiber)
Type of facility (restaurant; high-rise office building, etc.)
Number of occupants
Type of weather
Soil types, outside dirt tracked in, food, drinks
Budget for cleaning
A good price for cleaning commercial carpets would be between .12-.17 cents per square foot depending on how dirty the carpets are and who you are paying.
If you are working by yourself. A range might be between .12-.13 cents per sq. ft. if you perform high quality work and not established. This is my input for commercial carpet cleaning in Atlanta Georgia. It may be different in other cities and states.
Although location will obviously have to be factored in for pricing, here locally our prices for commercial carpet cleaning contracts go a little something like this:
.18c sqft up to 3500sqft to .25c sqft.
There are several things to consider when establishing a price. One that the carpet is dirty and when was the last time cleaned.Also must take into account the total square feet to be cleaned. I personally do not go below 0.22 per square foot.
15 to 30 cents per square ft.
The national average for “good sized” commercial accounts is 10 cents a square foot. Slide up from there, or possibly slightly under that amount depending on the size, frequency of cleaning, multiple locations, ease of cleaning, etc.
(“Good sized” is deemed to be 10,000sqf +)
My Personal Comment:
At least for the southeast region states, I would estimate that most smaller commercial carpet jobs with a typical number of furnishings to work around (say up to 5000sqft), are going to have cost similar to residential carpet cleaners that clean homes and other smaller commercial spaces. I would agree with larger facilities and buildings that pricing from professional commercial carpet cleaning services will be in the 10 cent a sqft to 15 cent a sqft, and the larger yet, or multi-story buildings might have pricing 10 cent or less a sqft. Remember there are many factors that determine what a fair price will be, and don’t forget to consider ‘hidden’ costs that may come with any particular method.
And depending on your building, facility or establishment – and how dirty your carpets are you may require restorative type cleaning which can double of triple the cost of carpet cleaning. Many restaurants and small businesses often wait years between getting carpet cleaning services, and it absolutely does require more time, labor and supplies to get these carpets cleaned proper.
How to Negotiate to Get what you need from a Commercial Carpet Cleaning Service.
Competitive Quotes are fine, but I suggest you figure out which service provider you really want to hire, then if necessary negotiate if you are concerned about high pricing being out of your budget range. Warning however, there are no winners if you twist your commercial carpet cleaner pricing to a losing proposition for them. The seasoned veterans of commercial carpet cleaning may take shortcuts (shady practice) on you if you are too cheap and ultimately make up for it somehow – or just cease business with you. You both will loose. Here are a few better ideas to consider.
- Just ask your commercial carpet cleaning service of choice to suggest ways you could get his quote within your budget. They should have a some suggestions including the one’s below.
- Agree to give them more carpet to clean (or more frequent cleaning) in exchange for a better price.
- When cost is your biggest concern, consider removing some areas from your ‘clean it’ list priority rather than going with an inferior service that may not be able to provide a good result for you. Perhaps you can do other areas ‘later’ when you have it in your budget.
- Consider having your staff remove items from areas the commercial carpet cleaner would otherwise have to move or work around. Or similar, offer to ‘place items back to their place’ once the service is done, saving them time with handling of furniture and items. This is always a big cost factor for commercial carpet cleaning services, so if you can help, you should see some cost concessions.
- Ask if you could get a price improvement if you could agree on a different schedule to have your carpets cleaned. Commercial Carpet Cleaning services may reduce your costs if they can choose a better time or day to clean your carpets.
- Find a ‘bartering point’ to work with, perhaps an full or partial exchange of your services/products for their carpet cleaning services. For example some restaurants or clubs will exchange ‘$ credits’ for services, or companies that are in the marketing or advertising business will do similar exchanges.
- Ask if your service has a formal referral program in place. If they do ask them what they pay for referrals. Of course it should be contingent on you being very happy with the result you get on your commercial carpets. The extra ‘referral fees’ you gain helps reduce your cost, while helping your service provider to get more clients.
- In those times that you are not happy with the results, or actions taken by your commercial carpet cleaner – then state your concern quickly and clearly. Your professional commercial carpet cleaner will almost always appreciate your professionalism and do what they can to make it rightor to compensate fairly. Many times it’s a simple case of ‘mis-understanding’ or a ‘mistake’. If you are having a serious issue getting satisfaction – refer back to your signed contract and offer a solution where both you and the carpet cleaner can agree with. END OF REPORT.If for any reason you never get ‘satisfaction’ without having to hire a lawyer, then contact your state agency that may be able to help with consumer issues, such as the Contractor Licensing Agency. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
Thomas Hammack is Founder of Healthy Clean USA, a company in Greenville SC that specializes in cleaning carpets for business and office. Healthy Clean offers commercial carpet cleaning to clients in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida – We Are That Good.
We offer extended service to clients throughout the USA via our select network of verified commercial carpet cleaners.
Contact us if you need assistance finding a commercial carpet cleaning service we recommend in your area.