ICS Magazine

A CAD to Remember

September 8, 2005
ICS Publisher Evan Kessler gets some hands-on experience at A&I Services’ CAD.

Chemicals, equipment and kids, oh my!
A cad is defined as an ungentlemanly man, a label no carpet cleaner wants to be stuck with. But the CAD, or Customer Appreciation Day, is one of the professional's best tools. Product demonstrations, food, games, and a general atmosphere of fun help reaffirm the cleaner-supplier relationship.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a CAD thrown by Dennis Iverson, owner of A&I Services in Santee, Calif. I was privy to witness an event that required planning above and beyond what I thought it would take for what seems little more, on paper, than a casual get-together.

I should stick with the paper. Executing a successful CAD is not a matter of simply snapping your fingers and wishing it to be so. You need a strong employee base, a group of dedicated, enthusiastic people. You need to arrange for the food, the band, the tables, the chairs, the displays, balloons, hats, games, toys, the products you'll have on display, and you have to make sure it all arrives at the appointed time.

And that's just for starters. Will the date you've selected coincide with any big public affair? Is there a baseball game that afternoon? A high-school or college graduation? Are the salmon running? Is it a national holiday? All of these can impact your attendance. And what about rain? If you want to see your customers flee like lemmings, be unprepared for the skies to open up.

At Steam Way West’s CAD in Orange, Calif., visitors check out The Rugbadger and other equipment.
CAD days should be entertaining not only for the professional carpet cleaner, but for the kids they may bring along. It's important to have a handle on the fact that a CAD is for the whole family; kids games and activities are an important requirement. Keep the kids happy, keep mom and dad happy and, more importantly, keep them at your CAD.

One important ingredient for a successful CAD is supplier support. New ideas and approaches to carpet cleaning are always popping up, and it is important to stay abreast of such developments. CADs offer the opportunity to get a feel for what is going on in the industry as a whole, not just in your neck of the woods.

Planning and executing a successful CAD is no different than planning a convention, a meeting, or your annual Christmas party. You must be organized, efficient, and accessible to your people and your customers, all while making it seem like the whole thing took almost no effort at all.