- THE MAGAZINE
My general goal in writing these articles is to tell you about equipment and accessories that make your life better and more productive. When you are more productive you're earning more money.
In order to earn the $400 or more per hour mentioned in the title, you not only have to utilize the equipment presented below, but you must step out of your comfort zone and offer an important service and product to your customer.
Two weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with a carpet cleaning professional. He has been in the business approximately a year and was struggling to make ends meet. He did not have enough jobs booked to bring in the kind of money he needed to pay all his bills and support his family. I asked him a few questions:
Q: Do you offer carpet and upholstery protector to your customers?
A: Sometimes. I try to, but I don't always have it with me.
Q: When you do offer it, how often are you successful?
A: I don't know, once in a while, I guess.
Q: What printed material do you offer your customers to verify you are giving them a good product, and what demonstration do you do to prove it?
A: I don't have any printed material and I don't do a demo.
Q: Do you have dedicated sprayers for applying protector.
A: No, I just use the same pump-up sprayer I use to pre-spray.
I could go on, but you get the idea. This "professional" did not understand that by offering his customers protector and having the proper selling technique, literature, demo, and application equipment, he could easily make an additional $400 per hour while applying protector. The good news - the next week he implemented my suggestions and sold protector on every job he did.
Not too many years ago when I was out on the truck cleaning, my personal goal was to do one hour per day of protection application. That way I could be assured of adding that $400 to my totals every day. It's not hard to do if you offer it, have literature, perform demonstrations, and make it easy to apply with the correct equipment.
Dedicate a SprayerDon't let yourself be caught with the hassles of spraying equipment changeovers when you are ready to apply protector. Dedicate a sprayer for the application of protector. You are much more likely to sell this extra service if you can avoid the hassles of rinsing and cleaning other sprayers in order to apply protector.
Types of Sprayers for Protector ApplicationFor carpet protectors you should use either an electric sprayer or an injection sprayer but never a pump sprayer. It's very important to apply protector evenly over the carpet and you simply cannot do this with a sprayer that does not keep exact consistent pressure over the whole job. Also, always use a fan-pattern jet.
Electric SprayersElectric sprayer will keep a consistent pressure over the whole job, giving even coverage and the best protection. Choose one that has protector capacity to get you through the whole job. Some of these sprayers have an attachment where you can take off the long extension and put on a jet that is designed for upholstery protection. Make sure that this is a very fine jet so as not to over apply on upholstery.
You should do a quick flush with clear water (assuming you are using water-based protector) after each job to minimize the possibility of the protector drying up and gumming your sprayer lines. For this reason it is nice to have interchangeable jugs that make this rinsing very quick and easy. I prefer that my sprayer have wheels. The weight of the sprayer and protector combined can be a bit much over a day's period.
Injection SprayersIn recent years, the major manufacturers of protectors have made the product available in injection-sprayer-ready bottles. The reason for this is straightforward. Many professionals use their injection sprayers for applying protector. To simply screw on the concentrate product to the injection sprayer is a simple and quick way to be ready to apply protector. Some professionals worry they are putting on too much protector under too much pressure. This could be the case but I have found that with a little practice you will be able to apply protector quickly and at the right coverage.
We used to have our technicians practice applying with an injection sprayer by showing them how much liquid comes out with one minute of constant spraying. We would then figure (according to label instructions) the square foot coverage and mark it out on concrete driveway. We would then put a stopwatch to it and have them apply the proper amount of water (we would leave the protector out for this application) to the concrete to show them how it should go down on carpet. A few years ago, DuPont tested this procedure while working with a major manufacturer of injection sprayers and found it to be a safe and effective way to apply their protector.
Upholstery ProtectionDon't miss out on this lucrative piece of business. Many professionals offer a solvent-based protector for upholstery. If you do, consider a solvent compatible sprayer that is solely dedicated for upholstery and has the protector loaded and ready to go 24/7. This sprayer may be a pump up because you won't apply high volume and the application is much easier to control. Use a sprayer with a long extension hose and a specialty gun with a fine-jet fan-pattern spray. This will give you excellent control and the ability to do fine detail work.
Your success as a professional hinges on your ability to get the most profit from each job while keeping your customers thrilled with your work and service. Applying a top quality protector to their furnishings with the proper tools will guarantee you both.