Consumers and Their Carpet Cleaning Decisions

April 14, 2003
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ADVO, the nation’s largest full-service targeted direct mail marketing services company, recently commissioned a carpet cleaning consumer research study designed to help carpet cleaning retailers and retailers of carpet cleaning supplies identify and deliver against consumers’ needs.

The findings are based on research conducted using the NFO WorldGroup consumer panel. A screener survey mailed to 80,000 U.S. households in July 2001 found that 11 percent had bought carpet-cleaning services/supplies in the past six months. Follow-up questionnaires were mailed to 770 past-six-month carpet cleaning service/supply purchasers in September 2001, of which 601 were returned. The questionnaires were completed by the primary- or co-decision makers in the household, 79 percent of which were female.

ICS Cleaning Specialist was given permission to present some of the study’s findings to its audience in order to help the carpet cleaning and restoration professional better understand the factors that drive consumers and their purchasing decisions.

The ADVO survey found that while economic conditions have affected the way people spend money, 61 percent of respondents spent the same amount of money as planned on carpet cleaning services or supplies. Only 17 percent spent less money than they had originally planned.

Thirty-nine percent of those responding had their carpets cleaned by a professional some time in the past 12 months. Of those hiring a professional, 40 percent did so to have wall-to-wall carpeting cleaned, while fewer than 8 percent hired someone for emergency care, area rugs, upholstery or smoke/water damage.

When selecting a contractor, 40 percent learned about the contractor through a referral. Twenty-six percent had work done by the contractor before, and 23 percent learned about their contractor through advertising. Forty-two percent of those responding said they asked about contractors’ qualifications or experience before hiring them.

When making their selection, 32 percent of responding consumers received estimates from more than one contractor. Sixty percent of those receiving more than one selected neither the highest nor the lowest bid; 37 percent chose the lowest bid, and 3 percent selected the highest-priced estimate.

When it comes to standing out in a crowd, home improvement stores (72 percent) are more likely than independent carpet cleaning contractors (42 percent) to be seen as all about the same, fueling the idea that independent contractors and retailers have a better opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Among those consumers who hired someone to clean their carpets, only 13 percent said they had any problems with misleading or deceptive advertising. Most consumers indicate that they would hire the contractor again, but only 19 percent were contacted to find out about their satisfaction with the service. When it comes to dissatisfaction, however, 97 percent of consumers tell others when they’ve had a bad experience with a store, with 43 percent always telling others of a bad experience.

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