2006 Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine's fourth 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.

Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine's fourth 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 paragraph at the end of the feature for more information.

The study sample consisted of 1,000 domestic, qualified subscribers to ICS magazine who are professional carpet cleaners and smoke/water-damage restoration specialists, and 1,000 cleaning professionals pulled from a national database through Polk City Directories. The split sample was pulled on an nth name basis. The study received a 20 percent response rate.

It is important to understand the makeup of the sample when analyzing any study. Carpet cleaning is the primary business of 56 percent of respondents (see Chart 1). Twenty-five percent cite restoration as their company's primary business, with business service contracting/janitorial, overall floor care and retail floor covering composing the remaining 19 percent.

Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Seventy-nine percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Fifty-two percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals; 31 percent spend upwards of $10,000. The median annual revenue for responding companies is $300,000. The median number of employees claimed by companies is seven, up from three in the prior year, while 36 percent of companies retain 10 or more.

Residential jobs make up 65 percent of respondents' business, with commercial/industrial/institutional work accounting for the remaining 35 percent, the same as last year. The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by respondents is hot-water extraction, both truck-mounted and portable, clocking in at 92 percent.

The body of the study concerns the habits that purchasers and users display when dealing with carpet-cleaning chemicals. For example, 35 percent will always try new chemical products when samples are available, and another 57 percent will try them occasionally. Only 8 percent claim they will not try a new product when a sample is available.

Fifty-six percent of those responding always use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner, according to the study, while 53 percent always use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are always or often employed by 86 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are always or often used by 53 percent.

Quality is the most important factor cited by respondents when it comes to selecting carpet-cleaning chemicals. More than 84 percent claim it is "very important," while just 1 percent dismiss it as "not important at all." Sixty-three percent singled out quality as the most important single factor in the carpet-chemical selection process (see Chart 2). Prior experience with the product ranked second at 13 percent, with cost collecting 8 percent of the vote.

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (see Chart 3). Local distributors and suppliers lay claim to 63 percent of the purchases made by survey respondents, with another 30 percent coming directly from the manufacturer. The percentage of purchases made at "Big Box" home centers remained steady at 1 percent.

The remaining 6 percent of purchases were made from other sources. The Internet continues to make inroads in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. Seventeen percent of respondents make carpet-cleaning chemical purchases online, up from 14 percent last year. Almost 46 percent plan to use the Internet to make purchases in the future.

Respondents changed how they purchase their chemicals from last year. Forty percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year (see Chart 4), while 34 percent claimed the same in the previous year. At the same time, those claiming they "purchase in small quantities" dipped to 45 percent, down from 52 percent. The percentage of those that "purchase whatever is on sale" rose from 1 percent to 2 percent.

Survey respondents increased the amount of chemicals they choose to keep on hand. Seventy-two percent stocked one month's worth of carpet-cleaning chemicals, up from 66 percent. Overall, more than 94 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.

(Editors Note: ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine's "Carpet-Cleaning Chemical 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 carpet cleaning equipment and chemicals. The preceding is an abridged look at survey questions and responses. The study is available in its entirety for $195 ($165 for multiple copies). Additional areas addressed include detergent types; anti-microbial treatments; environmentally friendly or "green" chemicals; brands of chemicals most commonly used; effects of freight and shipping costs; sources for obtaining product information and more. For details contact Evan Kessler at (818) 224-8035, ext. 203 or e-mail Kesslere@bnpmedia.com. Copies may also be purchased online at www.icsmag.com.)

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