- THE MAGAZINE
The study sample consisted of 1,000 active, direct-request subscribers to ICS magazine who are professional carpet cleaners or smoke/water-damage restoration specialists. The sample was conducted on an Nth name basis from the magazine's domestic circulation. The study received a 25 percent response rate.
It is important to understand the makeup of the sample when analyzing any study. Carpet cleaning is the primary business of 63 percent of respondents (see Chart 1). More than 22 percent cite restoration as their company's primary business, with business service contracting/janitorial, overall floor care and retail floor covering composing the remaining 15 percent.
Residential jobs make up 68 percent of respondents' business, with commercial/industrial/institutional work accounting for the remaining 32 percent. The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by respondents is hot-water extraction, both truck-mounted and portable, clocking in at 86 percent.
More than 65 percent of those responding always use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner, according to the study, while 57 percent always use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are always or often employed by 91 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are always or often used by 53 percent.
Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (see Chart 3). Local distributors and suppliers lay claim to 67 percent of the purchases made by survey respondents, with another 24 percent coming directly from the manufacturer. The percentage of purchases made at "Big Box" home centers doubled in 2003, from 1 percent to 2 percent. The remaining 7 percent of purchases were made from other sources.
The Internet continues to make inroads in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. Fourteen percent of respondents make carpet-cleaning chemical purchases online, an increase of more than 50 percent from 2002. And more than 40 percent plan to use the Internet to make their purchases in the future.
Respondents changed how they purchase their chemicals from last year. While 41 percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice in 2002, only 34 percent claimed the same in 2003 (see Chart 4). At the same time, those claiming they "purchase in small quantities" jumped to 54 percent in 2003, up from 41 percent the previous year. Those that "purchase whatever is on sale" remained steady at just over 2 percent.
Survey respondents did not, however, deviate from the amount of chemicals they choose to keep on-hand. More than 65 percent stocked one month's worth of carpet-cleaning chemicals in 2003, the same as in 2002. Overall, 95 percent of those responding claimed a month's worth of supply or more on-hand at any one time.
To continue to strengthen and build on the relationships between chemical manufacturers and their clients, it is important for both sides to understand why, when and how companies make their carpet-cleaning chemical purchases.