ICS Magazine

Get That Carpet to the OR, Stat!

April 6, 2011

“Performing surgery today?” your customer asks. With tongue in cheek, she may initially make fun of your “surgical booties,” but will quickly be impressed with the extra care you are taking as you perform your cleaning.

Is it worth the time and expense for you to wear or even dispense shoe covers to your customers? Let’s consider your business for a moment and see if we can come to some conclusions.

As you build your cleaning company, you may continue to do the work yourself or grow the company by using trained technicians. As we have often heard, “time is money,” and we know that, by moving fast, we are able to get more square feet cleaned in our day. This translates to more money at the end of the day as long as we keep that wand moving. This was motivation for me when I cleaned carpets, and also with our commissioned technicians.

Every customer should be called after the job to check their satisfaction. We always did this and, at times, we’d receive a lukewarm answer. The conversation would go something like this: “Yes, the young man seemed to do a good job and everything looks all right, it is just that he went so fast I’m not sure he was getting all the dirt.” So what does this have to do with wearing shoe covers?

Value given and value perceived is not always the same thing. It doesn’t matter how clean the carpets look; if the customer does not believe she received a good value, she will not call you back to clean again, and she will not refer you to her neighbor.

Wearing shoe covers is an excellent way to help your customer “value” your service. If you are using shoe covers now, you know what I mean. Your customer just paid you a lot of money; she wants to be happy and she wants to talk about you. She wants to be able to tell her neighbor, “I just had Gordon’s Carpet Cleaning do my carpets and they came out so nice. They really do a good job. They even wear booties over their shoes and take them off and put them on when they come in and out of the house. Our technician was so nice… he even left a pair for me and Joe to wear while the carpet dried out.”

How much will this cost you? Almost nothing, compared to the impression it makes on your customer. Giving away 40 cents worth of shoe covers may be the turning point to get $1,000 worth of referrals.

When should you wear shoe covers? On every job, whether the customer sees you or not. If you give on-location estimates, wear shoe covers. When performing cleaning and when first entering the home, put the shoe covers on and let the customer see you doing it.

Just about every one has to make one or two trips to the van during a job. When you leave the house, take the shoe covers off, then put them on again at the door threshold. This keeps the outside soil outside, whereas otherwise it’s attracted to the damp bottom of your work shoes. An added benefit, they cover your ugly and worn work shoes.

Each job deserves a pair of new shoe covers. Your customer would not like the idea of you reusing a pair you wore on the last job into her home.

You will find differing quality and durability available. I prefer plasticized covers: they are waterproof, they protect your shoes while cleaning, and they don’t fall apart when they get wet. A quick look at pricing from your favorite distributor will put the shoe covers in the range of $0.14 to $0.40 per pair.

Leaving a couple pairs with the homeowner is a very nice touch and always appreciated. They can wear them over their shoes or over their stocking feet to keep their feet dry. This one little act may be the difference in your customer fully appreciating your service or wondering if you really care about her and the work you do.

Try it. You have nothing to lose.