The Need for Speed

February 4, 2005
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Do you get all the vacation time you'd like? Do you get enough time with your family? What is your gross dollar average earnings per hour? Would you like to increase it?

I know you have heard the "it takes money to make money" expression before. I believe this. However, I am sometimes dismayed by professionals who believe it takes a lot of money to make money. They plan their business expansions on the next biggest, greatest, and most expensive piece of equipment before they utilize the smaller tools available to increase their earnings easily and inexpensively. If I can show you some small tools and ideas to increase your speed and efficiency, your time (because "time is money") will be well spent.

Let's start at the beginning of the job. When going to the door to greet your customer, consider carrying your spotting kit with you. In the spotting kit you not only have your spotting chemicals, but you have a resale bottle of spot remover for the customer and a few pair of disposable booties. You will sell or give away the spotter to the customer and leave the disposable booties for him or her at the end of the job, a very nice touch.

Carrying these products in at the beginning will save you trips to the van later. Your customer sees you as someone ready and anxious to work, and you will have the spotting kit in the house should you need it at any time during the job.

When measuring the job, consider coming into the high-tech age with a sonar measuring device. These devices replace the tape measure, and do so with both accuracy and speed. The latest models come with a laser-targeting device so you know you are pointing at the opposite wall rather then a lamp in the middle of the room. Some models store and calculate measurements for those of us who are mathematically challenged.

Our technicians always wear a belt pack. Like a carpenter's tool belt, but designed for the professional cleaner, this small, inexpensive item is a great time saver. In the belt pack you carry the things you might need on a moment's notice. Here are some of my suggestions:
  • Your two favorite spotters in small bottles. Usually one for water-based and the other for oil-based spots.
  • A pair of duckbill napping shears (the last-resort spotting tool).
  • An absorbent terry towel.
  • A bone scraper, gum remover, and spotting brush.
  • A small supply of plastic furniture pads.
  • A small supply of foam furniture blocks.

    The need for these items can crop up at any time during the job. Having them with you facilitates quick and easy action that can save you from having to stop your cleaning to go find tools.

    You are really only making money when your wand or cleaning tool is moving over the next section of carpet to be cleaned. Any time-consuming processes that slow you down cost you money. For instance, chewing-gum removal can be a time-consuming pain. When I first began cleaning, it took me several months to realize that liquid or jelled gum removers worked best when given time. Take your gum-removal tool, poke the gum three or four times to break the surface, apply your chemical and then continue your cleaning somewhere else. Give the chemical ten minutes to work and the gum will come up with little effort.

    The solution "T" has proven to be a huge time saver when working with two-man crews. This device simply hooks into the quick connect and splits a solution line to make two solution lines. If you use an in-line injection sprayer you will find the "T" a great help at speeding up your job. One of the hassles of using the injection sprayer is taking the time to remove your hose from your cleaning tool and attaching to the sprayer and then reattaching to finish your cleaning. With the solution "T" your solution line stays attached to your cleaning tool while another auxiliary line is attached to the in-line injection sprayer. One technician can apply pre-spray while the other continues to clean.

    With a little effort, the right tools, and a systemized approach to cleaning, your earnings will grow and your free time will expand.

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