2007 Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

February 1, 2007
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Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine’s fifth commissioned market study designed to measure the opinions and preferences of floor care and restoration professionals as they pertain to the use of carpet-cleaning chemicals and equipment. The size and scope of the study dictates that only certain responses can be represented here; see the “ICS Market Study” box at the end of the feature for more information.

The study sample consisted of 1,500 active, qualified ICS magazine direct-request subscribers who have purchase authority for carpet cleaning chemicals and supplies and whose primary business is professional carpet cleaner or smoke/water-damage restoration specialist. The sample was pulled on an nth name basis. The study received a 22 percent response rate.

Chart 1

It is important to understand the makeup of the sample when analyzing any study. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Eighty-eight percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Forty-six percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals; 26 percent spend upwards of $10,000. The average annual revenue for responding companies is just over $328,000.

The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by respondents is hot-water extraction, both truck-mounted and portable, clocking in at 93 percent.

The body of the study concerns the habits that purchasers and users display when dealing with carpet-cleaning chemicals. Ninety percent of those responding use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner, according to the study, while 70 percent use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are employed by 86 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are used by 82 percent.

Chart 2

Quality tops the list of factors cited by respondents when it comes to selecting carpet-cleaning chemicals (see Chart I). More than 98 percent claim it is “important,” while less than 1 percent dismiss it as “not important.” Prior experience with the product was ranked as important by 92 percent, with cost being cited as important by 59 percent of respondents.

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (see Chart II). Local distributors and suppliers lay claim to 68 percent of the purchases made by survey respondents, with another 22 percent coming directly from the manufacturer. The percentage of purchases made at “Big Box” home centers ticked up a percent from last year to 2 percent. The remaining 8 percent of purchases were made from other sources.

The Internet continues to make inroads in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. Twenty-six percent of respondents make carpet-cleaning chemical purchases online, up from 17 percent last year. But just 23 percent plan to use the Internet to make purchases in the future, half that of those surveyed in 2006.

Chart 3

Respondents changed how they purchase their chemicals from last year. Seventeen percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year (see Chart III), while 40 percent claimed the same in the previous year. At the same time, those claiming they “purchase in small quantities” plunged to 6 percent. The percentage of those that “purchase when notified of a discounted price/sale” rose from 2 percent to 4 percent.

Survey respondents increased the amount of chemicals they choose to keep on hand. Thirty-one percent keep a month’s supply available, while 51 percent stock two to three months’ worth of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Four percent claim to have more than a six months’ supply squirreled away.

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. If you liked this article, circle 150 on the Reader Inquiry Card.

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