Consumer’s Guide to Thompson Floor Care and Carpet Cleaning
How to avoid four carpet cleaning rip-offs:
Rip-off #1: UNBELIEVABLY LOW PRICE. To some degree, all of us are attracted by low prices because we want to work within a budget. But some carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price- usually between $3.95 and $9.95 per room- and then, once they’re in your home, they pressure you into buying “add-ons.” It’s as if you were buying a car and found that the dealer was charging you extra for the tires and steering wheel. Carpet cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would like you to believe.
Rip-off #2: BAIT AND SWITCH. Dual process carpet cleaning describes the process of shampooing or heavy preconditioning, followed with hot water extraction cleaning. Unfortunately, unethical carpet cleaners often use dual process as a bait-and-switch technique. Here’s how it’s done: first, they “bait” you with a basic cleaning (single process) at an unbelievably low price. Then, when you call, they try to “switch” you to more expensive dual-process cleaning. If you don’t fall for their switch and choose their basic service, you’ll likely receive poor workmanship using little or no chemical and they will not guarantee their work.
Rip-off #3: UNSUPPORTED CLAIMS. “THIS CLEANING METHOD IS THE BEST.” You’ll read this in almost every advertisement. You’ll hear this from virtually every carpet cleaner. Remember this: the method that’s best for you is the method that achieves your goal. If you want a method that dries quickly, then a method that takes a long time to dry isn’t the best for you. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select a method that best reaches those objectives.
Rip-off #4: OUTDATED BELIEFS. “HOT WATER DAMAGES YOUR CARPET.” Years ago, many people believed this was true because their carpets were damaged by “technicians” who didn’t know how to properly clean using hot water. But today, we know it’s false. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, your carpet is thoroughly cleaned- in the same way that the person who showers and rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath. Obviously, each carpet cleaner will be biased towards his own method. And each method does have advantages. So I suggest you look to what carpet manufacturers say. Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world, recommends only hot water extraction cleaning unit used by firms that are IICRC Certified.
6 Costly Misconceptions about Carpet Cleaning:
Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet.
No. Dirt is an abrasive-like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, your grind dirt into the carpet fibers. This cuts you carpet, just as if you had used a knife. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps- by itself, it’s simply not enough. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.
Misconception #2: The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt.
No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust- and hundreds of other chemicals. When you come into your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet.
If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems- one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, smoke, and chemicals in your carpet.
Misconception #3: One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.
No. The dry chemical methods- which are dry foam, dry chemicals and dry compounds- do not rinse your carpet in any way. Instead, they leave a dirty residue. You might say they clean your carpet only halfway. The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction.
Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution, under high pressure, is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction as the primary method of cleaning carpets, along with IICRC-approved firms.
Carpet cleaners use one of two types of hot water extraction. If they use a large unit that operates from a van or truck outside your facility, it’s called truck-mounted extraction. If they use a small unit that can be brought inside, it’s called a portable extraction. Shaw’s first choice is the truck-mounted unit – and it recommends the small, portable unit only in areas where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach.
The truck-mounted extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to a higher temperature – which breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet. Then the machine uses high suction to draw the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet. This is the method my company uses.
Misconception #4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.
Not true. Many companies own hot-water cleaners by very few companies teach their employees how to properly use them. This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully. The best cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known as the IICRC. Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s IICRC certification and also the certification of the technician who is going to do the job! If they don’t have them, don’t use them!
Misconception #5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.
No. I’ve seen so many problems arise from lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are:
(1) The price may not be for the services you want performed. The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet. But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollens, dust mites and tobacco residues removed as well.
(2) The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that that the low price they saw advertised only lasted until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons. (Some carpet cleaners even break the law by using illegal bait-and-switch tactics.)
Misconception #6: Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the phone.
I wish this were true, but it isn’t.
Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies almost never price carpet cleaning by the room. Instead, carpet cleaning is usually priced by the square foot. So if you’d like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact number of square feet that you wanted cleaned. To get an accurate measurement, I use a measuring wheel to calculate the exact size of the carpet area.
To give you an idea of how we estimate the cost of cleaning, here are the three things we consider.
First, the type of carpet. Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than other types.
Secondly, the amount of soiling. Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that we cleaned within the last six months.
Third, the amount of furniture we have to move. If you move your furniture, you’ll save money.
CRAWLON’ CRITTERS AND CRUD: A GUIDE TO THE SLIME, GRIME AND LIVESTOCK THAT’S SLEEPING, CREEPING AND GALLOPING THROUGH YOUR CARPET.
Asphalt. Bacteria. Car exhaust. Chemicals. Dirt. Dust. Dust mites. Earth. Food particles. Fungus. Germs. Gravel. Grease. Grime. Grit. Hair. Industrial waste. Lint. Mud. Pet stains. Pollens. Pollutants. Rock. Sand. Scum. Smoke. Soil. Tar. Tobacco smoke. Urine. Vomit.
Plus, don’t forget living creatures, such as dust mites, fleas and critters that live, hide and breed in your carpet.