How To Choose A Carpet Cleaner – And Not Be Taken To The Cleaners
Choosing a carpet cleaner is actually a much more involved decision that one may realize…follow these 6 steps and you will be more likely to have a good experience and clean carpets.
1. Carpet Cleaning Equipment and method – The only type of carpet cleaner you should let in your house should be using the Truck mounted Hot Water Extraction (HWE) method. This really should be your first question, if the answer is “NO”…keep looking. Many Milwaukee Carpet Cleaning companies use this method… but not all, so make sure you ask. Shaw and Mohawk who combined manufacture over 2/3 of the world’s carpet recommend this method….which makes it easier for me to recommend this without looking like I am simply recommending the method our company happens to use.
The links to Shaw and Mohawk are at the end of the article
2. Carpet Cleaning Certification – Many Milwaukee Carpet Cleaners have plenty of real world experience, and unfortunately some of their success can be attributed to luck…..”as in” with no real formal in class training they should be lucky they have not ruined any carpet or upholstery. The two most recognized certifications are the IICRC and the RIA (formally the ASCR). This certification proves that the company has been through the coursework and passed exams pertaining to carpet cleaning, ask to see proof that the firm is certified or go to the IICRC web site at www.iicrc.org. This is another situation where the largest carpet manufacturers in the world are recommending the same thing that I recommend. As of January 2008, Shaw Carpet will require homeowners to prove they have had their carpets cleaned by IICRC certified cleaners in order to honor the Shaw warranty.
3. Carpet Cleaning Price – Choosing a Milwaukee Carpet Cleaner solely based on price will usually come back to haunt you. Not always because of poor quality…but because of the bait and switch. Any cleaner who is offering a $9.95/room special is going to take you to the cleaners…literally. There is not a company in the world who can keep their doors open only charging $9.95/room….it’s just not possible. The low price game can usually be taken out of the decision making equation if the consumer’s first question is question #1 in this article. The $9.95/room bait and switch companies almost NEVER have truck mounted hot water extraction equipment…they simply can’t afford it. Once a consumer starts to narrow down their IICRC certified cleaners that use hot water extraction equipment they will see the bait and switch companies out of the equation.
4. Carpet Cleaning Company, Insurance and Bonding – Make sure to ask if the company is insured and bonded, almost all Milwaukee Carpet Cleaning companies are going to say “YES”….so if you are really nervous….ask for a copy. Also keep in mind the difference in General Liability insurance and a Bond. The General Liability insurance will pay if a homeowner was to slip and fall because the carpets were over wetted, a bond will pay if the cleaner was to steal something from the house where they were working. Most homeowners are concerned about the insurance policy paying if the cleaner breaks something in the house, but not all general liability polices will pay in this instance….sometimes a separate endorsement is needed. Here is another scenario to REALLY keep in mind. Most of our insurance policies carry at least a $1000.00 deductible, so even if the cleaner has the offsite breakage endorsement, the policy is not going to pay up when the cleaner breaks a $900 vase. Homeowners really need to consider “Is this cleaner going to pay out of pocket if the $900 vase scenario happens?” Ask how long the cleaner has been in business, they will almost surely pay for any damages if they have been in business for a long time. My advice…put all your expensive breakable things in a place where even a careful carpet tech cannot accidentally break them.
5. Ask for your Professional Cleaners’ references – Do a little homework on the company, ask for references (even ask for references in your neighborhood). Make sure the company is not only a member of the BBB, but also has a good record. There are Dallas Carpet Cleaning companies in our area that amaze me they are still in business, their record at the BBB is so bad it is obvious that all of their new clients do not check them out at www.bbb.org.
6. Cleaning Employees – Make sure to ask if the company uses employees or sub contractors. Ask if a uniformed employee in a lettered company truck will show up to clean your house. There are some Dallas carpet cleaning companies who are really not carpet cleaning companies…they are just marketing companies. They advertise, book the jobs….and sub it out to an independent carpet cleaner. In this situation the actual company who books the job has little if any control over the sub contractor entering your home, if a sub contractor breaks or steals something in your house you may have little recourse.