Is there a Vacuum Cleaner in Your Van?

October 2, 2009
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Some cleaning technicians are meticulous with their vacuuming. Other carpet cleaners feel that vacuum cleaning is not part of their job description. After all, they think, their customers have vacuum cleaners and should be performing this function before the carpet cleaner arrives.

Or maybe the mindset is that, “My truckmount has such powerful suction that no pre-vacuuming is necessary.”

But perhaps their customers have something in common with this real-world example. A school district in Florida was experience problems with indoor air quality and carpets that did not respond well to cleaning.

A decision was made to replace the carpet with hard floors. Fortunately, before that decision was implemented, a carpet inspector found that, although the carpet was being vacuumed daily, there was no budget for vacuum filter bags.

Soil was simply being blown into the air to later settle on the carpet.

Carpet cleaning clients live busy lives. Vacuuming the carpet may not be high on their list of priorities. It’s likely the carpet is not being vacuumed as often as should be. Their process or the vacuum they use may not be up to the task.

The IICRC S100 Standard for Professional Carpet Cleaning states that dry soil removal should be the first step of any system of carpet cleaning. Quality vacuum cleaners that remove and retain the soil are also important.

Most cleaners won’t be so meticulous that they spend hours vacuuming the carpets in a home, but those who skip this step completely are simply employing a sub-standard cleaning system.

Dry particulate soils account for most of the soil that accumulates in a carpet, and it is most easily and effectively removed by vacuuming. Not only will the carpet be cleaner when the job is finished but you may also save some time because you will spend less time cleaning fibers that hold less soil.

What types of vacuums are available to the carpet-cleaning technician, and what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Inexpensive Uprights for Residential Use

Pros include: low initial cost. Often more convenient to replace than repair.

Cons: does not present a professional image. Possible performance issues.

Commercial Uprights

Pros: Durability. Superior performance. Different from the vacuum in the customer’s closet; looks professional. HEPA or micro-filters can improve indoor air quality. Can be promoted with cleaning for health.

Cons: Higher initial purchase price.

Central Vacuum System

Pros: Ease of use, no cords or search for outlets. Provides greater air flow and lift than most upright vacuums. Exhausted outside the room/home results in cleaner indoor air. It’s quiet; the motor is not in the room.

Cons: Not available in all locations.

Backpack Vacuum

Pros: Higher production rates. Less tress on back and body, fewer repetitive motion industries. Requires less effort, are less fatiguing.

Cons: New users may resist until they get accustomed to operation. Most models do not include brush for agitation.

Airflow-Powered Vacuums

Pros: Lightweight, no cords. Distinct difference in sound and appearance. Tells your client you’re performing a special service

Cons: Subject to over-heating when subjected to excessive air flow

Pile Lifters

A pile lifter uses brushes to comb or lift matted and crushed carpet pile. The carpet appearance is improved. In addition, this allows easier removal of soils embedded deep in the carpet pile and allows cleaning solutions to reach all the way down to the base of the carpet.

Some pile lifters prepare the carpet for vacuuming, but most pile lifters include a vacuum system powered by a second motor.

Pile lifters can be especially effective at removing pet hair, lint and deeply embedded soils. Be sure to select an appropriate brush for the carpet fiber and style being cleaned.

Add-on Sales

A thorough vacuum cleaning is important. Yes, your pricing should reflect the fact that this needed step is included in your service. But that is not the full extent of how your bottom line can benefit from the excellent job you do when vacuuming your customer’s carpet.

On more than a few jobs, customers have been thrilled with the appearance of their carpet after vacuuming. Some even thought the greatly improved appearance was the result of cleaning, not just vacuuming.

When you use a commercial vacuum or a style of vacuum cleaner different from what is in their closet, the consumer often attributes the improved results to the tool used, not the technician.

You can take advantage of that perception. Let them know they can put a professional quality vacuum in their home. Homeowners know of some brand name vacuum cleaners with price tags approaching or surpassing $2,000. So the cost of a professional quality vacuum may be much less than they expect.

If your clients are like most folks these days, they are spending more time at home; they are more concerned about maintaining their belongings; they want a clean and comfortable indoor environment.

They have seen the evidence with their own eyes. The price makes sense. A new vacuum cleaner becomes an easy add-on sale. You only need to make the offer and be sure to carry a new vacuum cleaner on your van so that the deal can be completed while they are focused on the benefits.

The evidence is established. Vacuuming with the proper equipment results in better overall carpet cleaning, can be a time saver, provides your client with cleaner indoor air quality and can add to your bottom line with add-on sales.

Some will still argue that they don’t need to vacuum. Some folks still believe the earth is flat.

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