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Not looking good for cleaners around here

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Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:17 pm

I received 3 calls today from cleaners that I have worked with in the past. All 3 are struggling to survive and were asking if there was any work that they could pick up from me. It was difficult to say no to them as none of them are the type who would ask unless they were desperate. The problem is that it remains dead for me as well.

It normally is very slow this time of year, so it shouldn't be a big surprise, but even the commercial jobs are way down right now and it is normally the other way around in Feb / March. I hope they can stick around for the Spring thaw, but I am worried that they will not make it this time.

I guess it means less competition for me and maybe even gets me a few really good techs in the Spring, but they all have families and seeing them struggle bothers me.

Maybe this is just a small town problem....it is likely more cut-throat in the larger markets, isn't it?

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:43 pm

It is tough up here in the north east and very small populations doesn't help. When the bottom hit back for us around 2007 i stream lined my business to stay afloat me doing most of the work. I pushed for more apt. turn overs and meaning doing every thing cleaning / painting and have not looked back at just being a carpet cleaner. I tell every one today to diversify.
Even if you have a large population offer more than a carpet cleaner they are on every corner.

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:56 pm

New England area was crushed 2 years ago and I'm sure many went under as a result of that snow.

Diversity is the name of the game here as well. Rug cleaning and tile are normally pretty busy this time of year while carpets get ignored. Real Estate dies completely so residential work dies with it.

I know several companies that switched to plowing snow in the winter and one even runs a towing service on the side for winter business.

And farmers thought they were the only ones that struggled with what weather does to their business. Maybe there needs to be "carpet cleaning subsidies" like what the farmers get?

Actually, that would be nice. I would gladly accept payment to NOT clean furniture in order to keep the market stable. Cool
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:02 pm

Holy smokes Batman.....forecast is low 50's this weekend!!

Looks like the trucks will be rolling as a warm up always sparks a cleaning frenzy this time of year. Hippo
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Mo on Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:05 pm

I wonder of they were struggling before the winter slow down?

It's tough out there and Im so grateful that my repeats continue to use me.
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:54 pm

We have single digits for the temps this wknd. Maybe just maybe we will get a water damage call.So far we have had mild temps in the 20s.I keep my trucks in shop now that i have a low moisture van i wish i did low moisture back in 1996 but then it was sticky shampoo LOL.

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:04 pm

Hopefully, this weekends warm-up makes it up there in about a week.

I hear Florida has seen upper 30's at night this winter....they must have been going crazy. Do you know how hard it is to buy a winter coat and gloves in Florida?
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:08 pm

Like selling them snow tires LOL

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by dp1 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:13 pm

Wow Sad
You guys make me feel bad, it's 93 degrees yesterday and almost 90 degrees today, I was dripping sweat at 10 am.
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Mo on Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:15 pm

@dp1 wrote:Wow Sad
You guys make me feel bad, it's 93 degrees yesterday and almost 90 degrees today, I was dripping sweat at 10 am.

Are you sure you didn't move to Phoenix?
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Mo on Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:16 pm

@Peter Breen wrote:We have single digits for the temps this wknd. Maybe just maybe we will get a water damage call.So far we have had mild temps in the 20s.I keep my trucks in shop now that i have a low moisture van i wish i did low moisture back in 1996 but then it was sticky shampoo LOL.

Hey Pete how come you have to park your VLM van inside?
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:51 am

Moe i do not have to park the Dodge city mini van in the shop at nite just do because if we get an over nite snow storm it will be nice an clean LOL. The 2 hot water trucks stay put in the shop just alot of stress release not working them in freezing temps.
Today all low moisture equipment goes into job site so the mini van stays out side with no freeze up worrys. I have years cleaning in freezing temps making a living and have bought a few pumps for a min job tickets that makes no sense at all. Thanks for the huge improvement in encap products we can still put out a quality cleaning for our customers.

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:09 am

I do agree, cleaning in frigid temps is often not worth the equipment risk. I have only lost one pump due to cold temps, but I used to have psi line failures on my machine in the Spring due to hidden freeze damage.

For me, I don't clean any more unless it is in the teens for temperature. No more single digits or below freezing days for me.

How do you pre-heat the van's interior before loading up in sub-freezing conditions? You might like the Mr. Heater Little Buddy for that, I use them all the time and they raise the temp in a van to mid-70's in just a few minutes.

Just be sure to turn them off before driving away.
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:14 am

@Mo wrote:I wonder of they were struggling before the winter slow down?

It's tough out there and Im so grateful that my repeats continue to use me.

I think they were struggling a little last fall from what I was hearing. Their biggest problem was always their pricing, which is too low for their market area. Add greater competition to the low prices and you get a nose-dive.

I hope they have a profitable weekend while the Sun is shining. I would hate to see anyone folding up their tents 1.5 months before the Spring warm-up.
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:01 pm

Milspec6 If and when i do bring out a van with hot water extractor the van will always be running with the truck heater on and i will blanket the door with the hoses running out. My cds has to be running for every thing to work. Today i am saving on gas just using a mini van and am trying to go all low moisture in the near future.
Low moisture equipment i am presently using The grumpy has replaced 2 cimexs for commercial The.freedom and orbot for residential

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:56 pm

I am the same way with my Butler, but what about the low moisture van? That stuff needs some warmth as well and I can't imagine leaving the mini running just for heat.
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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Peter Breen on Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:04 pm

Equipment goes from heated shop to mini van that is warm and to job that is heated. I only bring in mini what i will need mostly been orbot 2 jugs a vacuum a gallon of product a quart of peroxide spotting kit and now the oreck orbitor. All that goes into job site. Oh ya a few pads

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by Devon07 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:50 pm

Rob, I see your market very comparable to mine....Im flooded with work....the weather has been good here though. Honestly Im trying to slow the jobs down. When I got back from Vegas I was busy the next morning and havent stopped.

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Re: Not looking good for cleaners around here

Post by milspec6 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:59 pm

I don't know why things are flat right now, but they are really deader than dead.

I booked 2 theaters and few buildings later this month and my sub nearly kissed me on the mouth when I told him about the jobs. Nobody is happy in this region right now, but I really don't understand why other than the temperatures.

We have the warm up this week and things will likely change rapidly.
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