When Good Jobs Go Bad

October 14, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


We've all had them, those memorable days that start out so promising but can't end soon enough.

The weather is perfect, the schedule booked full with three large jobs for preferred repeat clients. What more could one ask for? Well, certainly not the recent chain of events my tech and I endured on such a day this past spring.

I pride myself on meticulous van maintenance, and I firmly believe in heading off potential problems before they become a reality. Yet some things are simply unavoidable.

While cleaning a client's bedroom during our first appointment, the homeowner came upstairs and asked me, quite innocently, if "that smoke coming out the side of the van was normal."

The "smoke" turned out to be water vapor emanating from a blown, defective high-pressure fitting. This happened once before under similar circumstances about 15 years ago, so I was prepared with a contingent of spare fittings and other parts in stock on the truck. I wasted a good hour (OK, I'm not a mechanic) replacing the fitting while my tech finished the job with the portable. No problem, just a little set back - if that was the only thing that went bad that day. But this was just the beginning.

I phoned our second appointment and informed the customer we were running late. It turns out she was on a tight schedule, and asked if I would mind rescheduling her for another day. For those of you keeping score: Job No. 2 - lost. With all our newfound free time, we arrived at our third and final appointment about two hours earlier than scheduled, waiting in the driveway for 90 minutes until the homeowner arrived from work to let us in.

The job entailed cleaning several pieces of furniture as well as most of the carpeting in the house. We cleaned the furniture first and, as I started to set up for the carpet cleaning, I instructed my tech to deodorize the freshly cleaned pieces. As he misted them, he observed that the deodorizer smelled a lot like the pre-conditioner.

Uh huh. With both chemicals stored in similar spray bottles, he grabbed the wrong one and proceeded to pre-condition all over again. Needless to say, I had to re-clean everything. The bright side: this client now had the cleanest furniture in all of New Jersey.

As we neared the end of the carpet cleaning and what we thought would be the end of a perfectly bad day, I encountered some freshly spilled latex paint behind a doorway. I sent my tech out to the van for the POG, only to discover it was left at the first appointment! Murphy's Law for Carpet Cleaners was being enforced hard that day, and we were first on the docket! I finished the job, left some information sheets and an invoice behind, took my check and locked up. At this point we couldn't head home fast enough, but at least the day was finally over.

Or so we thought. Driving down the Garden State Parkway, anticipating a hot shower and a baseball game, there came a most-unwelcome "pop" as the truck's engine died. Luckily (if there was anything lucky about that day) I carry AAA and a cell phone. We waited about an hour for a tow and had the truck brought back to my garage, where we discovered we were now the proud owners of a defective fuel pump.

The moral? Never take a good day for granted. Our day started with songbirds chirping and ended up with ravens cackling! The ones you think will be long and lousy turn out to be great, and the days you start out with a huge smile end with anything but!

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to i Cleaning Specialist Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

The 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition

A look in photos at the 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition, which was held from April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and Spa in Frisco, Texas.

1/27/15 2:00 pm EST

Grow Your Business and Improve Operations with New Payment Technology

Attend this free webinar to learn how new developments in payment technology can help you close more jobs, increase upselling opportunities and improve operations.

Podcasts

The winter slow season is a great time to pursue commercial cleaning accounts and stay busy. John "the Hitman" Braun solicited questions from thousands of cleaners across the country regarding their questions on commercial cleaning accounts and answers them in this episode of the show.
More Podcasts

ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine

CoverImage

2014 Nov/Dec

The Nov/Dec ICS features content on how to get better meter readings, a roundtable on truckmount development, neighborhood marketing and more. Also included is the annual Buyer’s Guide and Directory.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Janitorial Work

In addition to residential and commercial carpet cleaning, do you do any janitorial work on the side?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ICS STORE

FinalCover.gif
The Carpet Cleaner's Book of Unlimited Success! (ebook)

Don’t worry about the recession or about your competition.  Now you can be the owner of over 400 ways for carpet cleaning professionals to make more money and get more jobs!

More Products

ICS DIRECTORY AND BUYING GUIDE

Director_Buyer.jpgThe premier resource and reference guide for the cleaning and restoration industries.

Click here to view

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png youtube_40px.pngcrc logo

TRUCKMOUNT EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES GUIDE

Truckmount.jpgEquipment listings and specifications from the leading industry manufacturers.

Click here to view