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hired the competition.....

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hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:27 am

When I used to clean carpets, one of my competitors used to irritate me by under pricing whenever we crossed paths.

This competitor has 3 vans on the road daily. They also do duct cleaning.

Hired them today, and here are my observations. Mind you, they have been in business 4+ decades.
The only cleaning chems they offer, are an Arrow degreaser (think purple power stuff from the lumber mart, type stuff) and citri-solve. Both of these are degreasers. They also offer a deo, which I would not want.

They don't offer an enzyme or OSR for pet issues, a "green" cleaner, or any other type of cleaning agent. They only have a rotary, IF you request it at the time of your appointment (meaning they don't carry it on the van).

They apply it with a 2 gallon pump up sprayer, no hydroforce....

They run a 2 jet wand, and use about 600 PSI on the water pressure, running hydromaster PTO drive machines.

I watched on of the owner's sons clean. Never let off the trigger. Forward, back, finger on the trigger. Wanded the hall and living room carpet twice, only once in the bedroom. He's been doing this 30 years.

THIS was some of the competition I was up against then, and I suspect many of us face the same type of competition. This really tells me, that people don't know, or just don't care.

To be fair, their prices were not what I would call expensive. It was 71 bucks, BUT (!!!) they charged a 12 dollar "trip" fee. I would never in a million years, do carpet that cheap. Two guys, one hour on the job, 83 bucks? Sure, I know I have a small house, and they probably average a better ticket. But I honestly don't know how they could get better tickets when they don't offer anything for services, like you guys would.

Maybe these guys find that consolidating what they offer is better for them. They offer tile, duct cleaning, furniture, and carpet cleaning. But they don't have a clue about chems, and they don't know jack about running a wand. I'm glad I didn't ask about cleaning a couch.....

Just thought I would share that with you all. There were more things I found unimpressive, but this gives you something to think about from a former carpet cleaner that hired another carpet cleaner.

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by dp1 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:16 pm

Wow Shocked
So you're saying they don't do dry passes ?
How long does it take your carpets to dry, particularly the living room and hall, I guess if your carpets polyester or polypropylene it will still dry within IICRC guidelines which is within 8 hours, but if your carpet is nylon, my guess is it will take 24 hours or longer to dry unless if you put carpet fans on which you might still have laying around in your garage ?
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:02 pm

See that all day long down here as well. Home Depot chemicals, tools from 20 years ago, and little to no clue what they are doing.....but cheap. The really sad part is that they are also the ones that survive for decades while many of the good ones are going under. It is just another example of the customers having no understanding about our industry.

I was called today by a lady wanting to clean 2 sectionals and a living room. I went over the job and explained what I do and what the estimate would be, she told me that it was twice the price of the "Steamer" when she called them. I can't match that price as I don't do that kind of low-skill cleaning, but in her mind we are apples to apples. Just poorly educated.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:45 pm

No dry passes DP. Yes, I still have 3 air movers. No way it would have been dry without them. I've got one blowing down the hall now, finishing the drying as I've been at work all day/night.

My carpet is a textured Berber, poly. .

They offered Teflon at 20 a room, and I passed. I asked them if they thought that was a good idea, since I have pets in the house, and he thought it was a good idea. "I've never had any issues" was his response..... I don't think so.....

Rob, I honestly think people are just plain IGNORANT when it comes to carpet cleaning. I think they believe "It looks cleaner, and I saw them working, so it has to be clean".
I think he had the wrong jets in his wand too. At 500 PSI, my machine pushes more water than his did. I get a good flush with my machine.

He also told me his machine could not make 1000 PSI. He was amazed my porty could. Firing Cat

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Mo on Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:14 am

Im sure that cleaner is in all the coupon mailers in your town.
I had a neighbor as how much in would charge to clean a room and his response was" its just one room. A few weeks later I see the steamer parked in their drive way and mind you I have a low minimum
Why didn't you use your Porti to clean the carpet Freemind. We're you just curious about the former competitor.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:04 am

We actually haven't had coupon mailers for about 5-10 years now. They don't advertise. None of them do anymore. They have a facebook page, and websites, but no EDDM, billboards, radio, or TV.

I didn't clean my own carpets, because I just didn't feel like doing it. Dragging everything out, setting up, and all that. Next time I clean the carpets, I'll hire the big restoration guys, and see how well they do. If they are crap like this company was, I'll just have to do it myself from now on.

This is the kind of thing that really bugs me. I know the proper way they should be cleaned, and all I expect from someone I hire, is to do it right. Just seems no matter what the situation is, no one seems to care anymore, and apparently, most everyone seems to be OK with that. A guy like me, doing things right, couldn't get enough business to get it off the ground and mark my territory. Home owners just don't care.

This is why I think joining organizations in the industries are a scam. They aren't doing anything to promote what should be done properly, keeping their members going in business. If the IIRC would be telling people how things are SUPPOSED to be done properly, half assers like the ones I hired wouldn't be in business long.

The public is uneducated, and it hurts anyone (including these organizations) trying to do things right.

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:37 pm

Your last posting Freemind should be on page one of the industry magazines and newsletters because it is truth. Groups like the iicrc are doing nothing to help educate the public and their classes are also doing nothing to educate the cleaners to any real extent. I mentioned this a few years ago, but the only way that it would change is to require licensing for textile cleaning. That way, there would be an enforceable standard that must be met in regard to chemicals, methods, and applications. The public will not educate themselelves on it.

I had a call today from a lady who has never hired a carpet cleaner before. She asked the normal questions regarding stories she heard from her grandparents. You know, what kind of shampoo do you use, how many days will it take to dry, do they have to move out for a couple of days before they can be in contact with the carpet, how long until the chemical smell is gone, etc.?

I updated her knowledge and she was shocked. I gave her my estimate, she was shocked again by how little it would cost. She booked immediately. She told me that she was scared away from hiring carpet cleaners decades ago after a bad experience and had no idea it was so different now. Can you imagine if there was a national campaign to update the public like they did for radon, termites, etc.? We would all be too bsuy to sleep.

Too bad it will never happen....
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:59 pm

Here is something else to chew on.....

I called my agent today, to ask him about adding power washing/soft washing/roof washing. He then called the underwriter, and informed me that they are no longer (as of a week ago) insuring power washing. There have been WAY too many claims from power washers over a short time frame, and it has become very UNprofitable for them to insure them.

Power/soft washing, like most other service businesses, are promoted to be cheap to start, on a shoe string budget. Any knuckle head can jump in and make MILLIONS! Then they go out, do a bunch of damage, and screw the rest of us, who take the time to LEARN how to do it right.

I suggested to my agent, that the underwriters require proof of training or develop some test, that would prove they are FIT to be insured. He agreed with me. He was upset, as this would drive business AWAY from them. His underwriter was going to bat for me, to get me insured. My agent knows if I have to get my business insurance some place else, all my insurance will likely go with it. He doesn't really want that to happen.

Point of this is, it's a larger issue than say a few of us getting frustrated about getting business. Some of these ding dongs are really screwing things up all the way around.

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Yep, that happened in the mold industry as well about 12 years ago. Too many morons got into it and screwed it all up until you couldn't even get insurance any longer unless a franchise.

As time goes by, I am starting to think lawn service is the way to go. Grass always grows. City's will fine the owner if the yard is not mowed. Very limited skills needed. Contracts are set up to where you may never even see the owner all Summer, just send invoices and cash checks. Equipment is available everywhere and the season can last quite awhile. Lots of competition though.

It is all very frustrating these days
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by dp1 on Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:02 pm

I’m surprised you didn’t say anything to them regarding not doing dry passes, that’s probably one of very few things that I would not accept if a company come and clean my carpet, with the exception if they use vortex, may be I’ll keep quiet and see how long does it take to dry.
Regarding insurance, if your agent is an independent agent, he / she can look for another carrier that provides coverage for pressure washing.

Bob, I think that’s something I wouldn’t want to do, lawn service is tough work, and not that much money either, my gardener charges my landlord $ 50 / month, once a week, granted he has 2 of my neighbors yard to do as well, so it doesn’t cost him any extra expenses except for his time, but at $ 12.50 / week ? He usually spend about 30 minutes, that’s way too low imo.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:30 pm

Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to do the mowing as I hate that kind of work and quit it as a teen. I just see 2 local guys doing it and they tell me that they each have about 70 houses that they mow every week, never see the owners, and they just drive the truck and trailer while a few teens do the work. I don't know what they charge nor how much they keep, but his house is a lot nicer than mine.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Mo on Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:57 pm

I have a friend that has a a lawn care biz in the valley. He does pretty well and the majority of his business is commercial not residential

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:29 am

DP, my carpet was dry the next day. It would NOT have been, if I didn't have the Omni mini air movers. If I would have relied upon the ceiling fans and the A/C to dry them out, I'd probably still be waiting....

Lawn service? No thanks. I don't know any of them that just mow. They all offer landscaping, and they all have to do trimming, edging, and use leaf blowers to clean sidewalks. They all also bag the grass, so there is something else to contend with.
Lawn service here is EXTREMELY competitive.

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:43 pm

Really what it seems to come down to is exterior vs interiors when dealing with residential customers. Nobody entertains any more, people just live like hermits and don't really care how the place looks inside. Now the outside is different, the neighbors see the outside. The people passing by see the outside. Even the delivery people will judge you by the exterior of your home, so those things get taken care of. Lawn mowing, siding, driveway repair, landscaping, painters, etc. I think they are a better industry these days.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:08 pm

I think you are mostly right Rob. People used to visit, play cards, have family get togethers and things like that. Those things just don't happen much anymore, especially with the "average Joe". I do notice the wealthier people, still do gatherings and get togethers much more than the blue collar people do.

I think carpet and tile are one of those things that get dirty slowly over time, and no one really sees it. Certainly people don't think about cleaning it as often, or at all.....

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:35 pm

You are right, people don't really notice the gradual soiling...sort of like getting older. I will say though that I have not stepped foot in a single food establishment or bar where the carpets didn't look terrible in the last 3 months. Some are so bad that they actually are slick from the grease and oils yet I seem to be the only one noticing it. Everyone else just stares into their phones.
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:55 pm

Maybe you should have someone create an app for your locals, that points out the dirty floors and such. Your phone would break from ringing!

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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:10 pm

Maybe a forensic light app?
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by Mo on Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:28 am

Good point point about less entertaining and get togethers. I used to think that the conversion to hard floors instead of carpet was over blown but I sure am seeing a lot of wood and laminate out there
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Re: hired the competition.....

Post by milspec6 on Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:55 pm

Laminate and wood floors are just as maintenance intensive...and far more costly. The funny part is that everyone that goes to wood floors end up throwing a large rug over it anyway to reduce the echo, reduce the need to sweep up all the time, and for warmer flooring in the winter. My house has oak floors, but it was built in 1860 so there was no other option. I would not go with wood floors as an upgrade unless I lived away from winters, no pets, and no kids.
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Re: hired the competition.....

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