2006 Truckmount Carpet Cleaning Equipment Market Study

August 1, 2006
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The purpose of the 2006 Truckmount Carpet Cleaning Equipment Market Study is to identify current and emerging trends in the carpet cleaning industry based on the opinions, preferences and purchasing behavior of carpet cleaning professionals and restoration specialists.

The size and scope of the study dictates that only a fraction of the study can be reproduced here; see the "ICS Market Study" box at the end of the feature for more information.

The study sample consisted of 1,500 members of the ICS Cleaning Specialist domestic qualified subscriber base of professional carpet cleaners and smoke/water damage restoration specialists. The study received a 22 percent response rate. Keep in mind that, in many cases, multiple responses are allowed.

It is important to understand the makeup of the sample responding in any study. Ninety-eight percent of those responding are individuals involved in purchasing decisions concerning truckmounts. Company owners and/or presidents make up 88 percent of survey respondents.

Eighty-two percent of those responding cite carpet cleaning as their primary business, while overall floor care and restoration logged 8 percent and 3 percent, respectively (Chart 1). More than 40 percent of responding companies have two to five employees, while 14 percent of respondents claim 10 or more employees.

When asked what percentage of their residential work is performed with a truckmount, 83 percent of those responding said they use a truckmount on more than 75 percent of those jobs. Seventy-one percent - a slight decrease from last year - claim more than 50 percent of their commercial work is done with a truckmount (46 percent say they use a truckmount 100 percent of the time on their commercial jobs).

Slide-in truckmount configurations are still the most popular with those responding, at 72 percent, while direct-drive or PTO designs showed a slight decrease in popularity from 2005 with 35 percent (multiple responses were allowed, as many respondents operate more than one machine). Study respondents operate their truckmounts an average of 1,079 hours a year. Thirty-four percent expect their truckmount to log between 5,000 and 9,999 hours before needing to be replaced, while 35 percent - 5 percent more than in 2005 - expect 10,000 hours or more out of their machine before replacement is necessary.

Heat exchange is cited as the primary heating method by 78 percent of those responding, with propane, fuel oil and electric heating making up 21 percent (Chart 2). And operators are still running their machines hot: 41 percent of those responding operate their truckmounts at temperatures averaging between 210 degrees and 220 degrees; however, just 24 percent operate their truckmounts at an average temperature of 220 degrees or higher, compared with 32 percent a year ago.

Just 12 percent of those responding claim to use a secondary heat source; of those, 19 percent use propane, 15 percent - less than half that in 2005 - use fuel oil, and a whopping 70 percent claim various other sources, including engine heat, heat exchangers, etc.

If a cleaning professional operates a truckmount, odds are that cleaner drives a cargo van. Cargo vans make up 88 percent of the responses when those surveyed were asked what type of vehicle their truckmount is located in, with box trucks, trailers and minivans trailing far behind.

Carpet cleaning is not the only service provided by cleaning professionals operating truckmounts. When asked what, if any, additional services they perform using their truckmount, upholstery cleaning was claimed by 95 percent; water damage and flood restoration, 69 percent; hard-floor and tile cleaning, 55 percent; pressure washing, 21 percent; and duct cleaning, 7 percent (Chart 3). Interestingly, with the exception of hard-floor and tile cleaning, every service area showed a decrease from last year's study.

One is the still the magic number as far as wands are concerned. Single-wanders make up 74 percent of those responding (Chart 4). Of those who say they will use more than one wand, 95 percent use two.

As mentioned earlier, truckmount operators expect their machines to last for along time, and it shows in their responses concerning their next purchase. Forty-three percent of those responding are not sure or don't know their time frame for purchasing a new truckmount. Those who plan to purchase a new truckmount in one to two years make up 27 percent of respondents, while 30 percent expect to make a purchase within one year.

But how much will it cost? Of those responding, 38 percent expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $19,999. Twenty-four percent name $10,000 to $14,999 as their range, with 9 percent finding less than $10,000 to be their comfort zone. Twenty-nine percent expect to pay more than $20,000 for their new machine.

The best way to improve the relationship between a manufacturer and an end-user, in any area, is for each to better understand the other. The ICS Market Study series is opening doors to allow just that.

ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine's "Truckmount Carpet Cleaning Equipment Market Study" is an in-depth survey designed to measure the opinions and preferences of floor care professionals as they pertain to the use of truck-mounted cleaning equipment.

The preceding is an abridged look at study questions and responses. For information on obtaining the study in its entirety, contact Kelley Trost at Clear Seas Research at (248) 786-1616, or e-mail her at trostk@clearseasresearch.com.

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