Cleaning & Restoration Association News

A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned, but a Dollar Earned is Not a Dollar Saved?

October 13, 2008
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That’s correct. A dollar earned isn’t saved; it usually goes to pay expenses. You might ask, “Why is the guy who talks about gadgets giving us a money lecture today?” It’s because, in times of high costs of doing business and a slower economy, there are some terrific accessories and concepts that can directly influence your bottom line.

We are all concerned with marketing and promoting our business. We have all given consideration to selling more services on the job. Everyone has considered diversification to expand earning potential. Creating more work and bringing in extra dollars is an excellent way to build the bottom line, also known as profit. Today, we are talking about none of this.

For every dollar we earn, we are paying fixed and variable overhead expenses. That means that for every dollar you earn, you are pushing 50 percent or less – often a lot less – down to the bottom-line profit. Profit, by the way, is what remains after all the expenses have been paid, including a good living wage for you and your employees. For most companies, if they take on a new expense of $1, they have to earn $4 or $5 in new business before they breakeven.

Conversely, if you can save a dollar by not spending it on expenses or by getting more production done in the same amount of time, that savings goes directly to the bottom-line profit. A dollar saved is truly a dollar earned. Let’s look at some accessories that can quickly save you time or direct expenses.

In-line Injection Sprayer

This is one of the most-used single accessories in the carpet cleaning industry. It puts the pre-spray down hot (its most common use), creating more cleaning effectiveness, and it puts it down quickly, saving time. Don’t underestimate the value of consistently hot pre-spray. Granted the carpet and air will cool it quickly but the initial hit of hot pre-spray will increase the chemical activity and more effectively release the soil, saving time in the extraction step.

One popular-selling injection sprayer is designed to spray at 80 to 120 PSI, depending on the pressure leaving the truckmount. With a larger spray jet opening, you are applying pre-spray at more than twice the rate of a typical pump sprayer. You can now move faster. Imagine carrying around an 11-gallon sprayer with you. That’s what you would have to do to match carrying the 5-quart container on an injection sprayer. At a 1-8 dilution, the injections sprayer will give you more than 11 gallons of ready-to-use solution – no frequent fill ups. When it comes to efficiency and time saving, the injection sprayer is hard to beat.

The Belt Pack

It’s time to block up the furniture – I’ll run to the van and get the foam blocks.

I need a towel to wipe off the baseboard – I’ll run to the van and get it.

Here is a stubborn stain that needs something extra – I’ll run to the van and get it…the list goes on.

Consider using a simple belt pack that can hold a towel, some spotter, knapping shears, your tabs and blocks, a bone scrapper or spotting brush. The belt pack is worn around your waist or clipped to your existing belt, and carries the items you need. You just don’t know how much time it can save you until you have one and use it. It will cut minutes per job, which translates into hours per month.

Chemical Proportioners

Chemicals are not your highest expense item, but they are certainly valuable enough to make sure they are not wasted. The use of measuring cups as opposed to using the glug method – pouring the chemical directly in and counting the “glugs” as some type of measurement – is the best way to make sure you are diluting correctly and will always give you a direct cost savings. A bottle-top proportioner is also a great idea for measuring, and is available for quart or gallon jugs.

Defoamer Injection Device

Foam may develop during your cleaning process as a result of previous “foamy” cleaning chemicals used. It may also develop during hard-surface cleaning where your cleaning chemical is agitated into foam. Foam in your machine can cost you a lot of time and excessive dumping. You end up dealing with it by employing expensive defoamers.

I was quite excited to try this little device. It fits into the vacuum line and uses suction and a control valve to slowly draw in a small amount of defoamer while cleaning is being performed. I was pleased to see it only drew the liquid defoamer when I had the wand down on the floor creating some degree of suction. Set-up takes literally seconds, and it saved me significantly in the amount of defoamer I would normally use on a job. I found this to be a useful gadget for both portables and truckmounts.

Consider your business practices and look for ways to work more efficiently and save money on expenses. With that said, let me caution you to avoid cost-cutting measures that would diminish your quality or service to your customer. When hard economic times force us to look closer at our business, it is also the best time to consider improving your quality and customer service while the less-wise operators cut prices and shortcut their work, leading to a poor customer experience.

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