“Price Is What You Pay, Value Is What You Get”
There are seemingly two options when it comes to cleaning your carpets and upholstery (or indeed rugs, hard flooring and leather…)
The first option is to hire a DIY carpet cleaning machine and purchase chemicals from your local supermarket or hardware store.
The second option is to call a few carpet cleaning companies and plump for the cheapest quote you’re given over the phone.
Big mistake. Here’s why:
The machinery makes a huge difference
There’s rarely a week that goes by that we’re not called out to try and rescue a carpet that has been over-wet or shrunk by a homeowner using a Rug Doctor or similar rental machine.
These machines simply don’t have the power or the suction of more advanced professional carpet cleaning machines, and the chemicals aren’t anywhere near as effective in my experience.
In addition to this, the homeowner operating this equipment is highly unlikely to have any knowledge of how to safely clean a carpet or how to remedy a fault or mistake.
We do not recommend – under any circumstances – that you attempt to clean your own carpets with these hire machines.
So, now we’ve ruled out renting a DIY machine, I guess it’s time to call a professional…
But how do you choose the right company to clean your carpets or upholstery?
Although I’ve already covered why you shouldn’t consider hiring a carpet cleaning machine, you may be surprised to learn that some “professional” carpet cleaners use budget equipment that you could actually hire yourself.
In fact, one of the biggest problems with the carpet cleaning industry is that anybody can hire an under-powered machine, post a few leaflets and start cleaning carpets.
And if the business owner has very limited funds, it is often the case that they haven’t been professionally trained – and some will even be trading uninsured – meaning they offer you no protection against accidental damage or injury.
Needless to say, this is not a risk you would wish to expose yourself to.
And then there’s the carpet cleaning companies that have actually attended industry training courses and do hold full insurance.
Surely they’re all the same aren’t they? And it’s simply a case of booking the cheapest quote?
Although many companies may indeed operate equipment that far out-performs basic rental machines, there is still a huge difference in the price (and performance) of professional grade carpet cleaning machines.
Here’s an example of how 3 local carpet cleaning companies may differ in their approach, service levels and results:
Company A.) Operating in the bottom end of the market, this company invests very little in equipment, training or products, and only survives due to the volume of work such cheap prices secure. It goes without saying that results will not match those of a more conscientious carpet cleaner operating a higher standard of equipment. Indeed, the results are often unacceptable and the process may cause damage to expensive furnishings (as with homeowners using rental machines, we often attend homes with carpets that have been damaged by inexperienced budget priced cleaners.)
Company B.) This company might be operating a reasonably efficient but dated portable electric machine and may have attended a training course several years ago when starting the business. Although not operating at the high-end of the industry, they operate machinery that gets satisfactory results and charge accordingly. Re-investment in the best training, equipment and chemicals is stifled (as are results) due to high running costs and limited repeat business. Sometimes these companies may be more of a general cleaning company – rather than carpet and upholstery cleaning specialists – and therefore their commitment to furthering and improving their knowledge is not what it should be.
Company C.) This company charges a higher price than company A.) or B.) but offers a superior service and attains better results. This is because they constantly reinvest in the best training, machinery and chemicals in the industry and are therefore exposed to higher running costs. For example, while the purchase cost of the carpet cleaning machines of company A.) and B.) is likely to be in the range of £250 – £3000, company C.) may have invested anything from £5,000 – £30,000 in one machine alone. Such an investment means that the results attained are the best they could possibly be and repeat customers are the norm.
These 3 examples paint a very general picture of the carpet cleaning landscape, but I’ve omitted one other important example:
Company D.) The False Advertiser
The false advertiser can easily be spotted because of their incessant promotions of a SALE that never ends.
The headlines are depressingly predictable:
HALF PRICE SALE
5 ROOMS FOR £50
GET ONE SOFA CLEANED, GET A 2nd FOR FREE!
This is an unethical approach for two reasons:
The first reason, is that even if they do manage to charge a reasonable price for their service, they are giving you a false impression of the original price. In other words, there was never an original higher price.
The second reason is far more sinister and it involves an illegal practice known as bait-and-switch.
Here’s the official definition:
- the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods which are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
So, in the case of the carpet cleaning industry, a company that is using illegal bait-and-switch tactics would use an eye-catching headline to advertise their services for a bargain price.
An example would be the above mentioned “5 ROOMS FOR £50.”
From my many years of experience, I can guarantee that if such prices were to be completely genuine, the company would be out of business within a year.
The cost of purchasing and maintaining professional grade equipment (and vehicles), along with the advertising costs of acquiring customers via bargain offers, would mean it would prove an incredible feat if they even managed to break even.
But, of course, their aim is not to actually leave your home having only cleaned your 5 rooms for a mere £50.
That price is for their really basic clean.
What they actually want you to do is to opt for their advanced deep clean; at a vastly inflated price.
Here’s the thing:
There is no such thing as an advanced deep clean … Or at least there shouldn’t be.
Every carpet cleaner’s final price should always include performing a full deep carpet clean and extraction, using the best quality chemicals and maximum effort.
Yes, there are sometimes special circumstances when a higher cost may be necessary (an obvious example is if you require Stain Protection applied, or if the carpet cleaner is likely to incur additional costs on a job).
But offering a fictitious headline price for a darkly cloaked, inferior service, with the sole intention of using aggressive sales tactics to inflate the price multiple times, is quite simply illegal.
And by falling for such deceitful tactics, your final bill is almost certainly going to be far higher than if you had chosen to spend a little more with an honest company with a proven track record.