ICS Magazine

Be Careful What You Wish For

April 12, 2007

This old adage may never be truer than with respect to CRI SOA Program, the mill warranty programs and the IICRC. Discussions have lit up the industry bulletin boards and got the industry blood stirring among cleaners and suppliers alike.

One thing that is certain: the carpet cleaning industry as a whole has always been seeking the respect of the mills, the makers of the products that you are responsible for cleaning. Arguably, you keep them in business by literally making them look good. They can’t maintain the product themselves, yet they often produce carpet with seemingly little or no regard for those that clean it.

That charge has been led by the IICRC. The organization’s leadership has been on the Dalton doorstep, screaming the cries for you, the professional carpet cleaner, literally demanding and ultimately gaining the ear and respect of some in the carpet manufacturing industry.

In the face of loss of market share, right or wrong, the mills and their trade association, CRI, have chosen to make cleaning issues a crusade that they believe is necessary to protect the future of the sales of the product they produce. The CRI’s SOA Program was born out of this perceived necessity, and the mills are proceeding to follow the guidelines they have established.

Shaw and others have decided to make a requirement for the use of IICRC-certified firms. Absent any meaningful information to suggest otherwise, this is really a good way to select a professional carpet cleaner. The odds of finding a qualified professional who is IICRC certified are better than finding one who is not. I’m sure that statement will turn off more than a few readers; I will stand on it just the same.

The IICRC is far from perfect, but it is the best we have. It is continuing to help move the industry forward and gain credibility for professionals who provide excellent services, giving the industry a better reputation than the less professional operators that much of the consuming public equate with this trade.

Are we glad the mills have heard the IICRC? Now that they are listening, and we have at least some of their attention, many out there are complaining that the mills are demanding something unreasonable.

Are there problems with SOA? You bet there are, but they are being addressed and, like the program or not, the mills are imposing this, and smart marketing demands that you use the tools that you have available…one of those is to become an IICRC-certified firm.

At the end of the day the mills, your customer and you all want exactly the same thing: for Mrs. Piffleton, carpet buyer and consumer of professional carpet cleaning services, to say “Wow, my carpets are clean,” and “I like carpet because it just feels better.”