How to Choose a Carpet Cleaner
Look up carpet cleaners in a phone book. There are normally several pages at least!
How do you choose one? Have you heard the horror stories about carpet being wet for days? Do you choose one that advertises that they have been around for 40 years? What happens if a teenager straight out of school then turns up? Who will you be dealing with?
Remember, owner operators have a vested interest in looking after you. They want your business now and in the future.
Word of mouth is good - your friends may have used someone that they were happy with.
However, if you have different carpet, different levels of soiling, pets, or stains, you may not get the same results as your friend.
Reviews on websites can be helpful, providing that they are genuine. Having fake or false reviews is illegal, as a major franchise recently found out.
Be wary of advertised offers that seem to be too good to be true. They usually are.
The first question most consumers ask is:
"How much does it cost to clean...?"
The answer really doesn't tell you anything about how they clean, how well they clean, which method they use, which procedure they follow, if they move furniture, etc.
Better questions to ask are:
How long have you been in this business?
What formal training have your technicians had?
Do you vacuum before cleaning the carpet?
Which cleaning method do you use?
WARNING There are often general cleaners in Port Macquarie that have purchased carpet cleaning equipment. With little or no training they offer carpet cleaning services. It is in your best interest to not let them practice on your carpets. You may have to pay for replacement, repair, or re-cleaning. It is safest to stick with professional carpet cleaners.
Beware of carpet cleaners who offer to beat other prices by 5 or 10%. You might "save" $5 or $10 on the day, but you might also have to get it re-cleaned or repaired if it wasn't cleaned correctly.
This often happens with renters wanting the cheapest price possible, but the cleaning isn't satisfactory to the property manager or owner. Then you have to pay for cleaning the carpets properly, and often to rectify the problems caused by the previous cleaner.
This photo shows a carpet we re-cleaned after it was cleaned by someone who called himself a professional, and had undercut our price by about $10. Not only did he not vacuum the carpets as per the Australian Standards, but his cleaning was sub-standard. There is also a possibility that the vacating tenant will have to cover damage to the carpet and underlay.
Ensure things like walk in robes are included in your quote, and that the price is fixed, so that there are no surprises on cleaning day.
Workplace safety and safe work practice regulations have affected the carpet cleaning industry. If someone offers to move all your furniture when cleaning, it is very important to make sure that either they have insurance cover as furniture movers, or that they are covered by your household insurance if they injure themselves while moving furniture. Workcover will generally not accept injuries to carpet cleaners caused by moving furniture. If you are concerned, you can ask for a Safe Work Method Statement (a charge would normally apply to prepare this). This is almost mandatory for any commercial work nowadays.
A carpet cleaner who belongs to an industry body normally cares about their industry, and has to abide by the bodies rules & regulations.
Carpet cleaners who have industry qualifications obviously know more than those who don't.
The Federal Government recognised qualifications for carpet cleaners is the Certificate lll.
WoolSafe Australia offers a rigorous training & testing program. Be aware that wool carpets can be permanently damaged by incorrect cleaning methods. Wool is the commonest carpet that is damaged by untrained carpet cleaners. And, unfortunately the damage may not show up for 6-12 months, or if damaging residues are left in the carpet, until it is next cleaned. Things like sugar soap and bleach, often used when cleaning walls, will damage wool carpets, but normally the next tenant gets the blame.
The industry is full of operators who use what is called bait and switch tactics. They quote you a low price to get in the door, then add on costs for things like detergent (yes!!), rooms larger than a certain size (sometimes larger than 9 or 10 metres square!!) spot removal, and even charge you a call out fee if you tell them you no longer want to use them. Always read the fine print and conditions if you receive advertising with 'great' offers. They may also try to pressure you into having additional services like deodorising or carpet protection. Most modern detergents contain deodorisers, and some also have carpet protection included.
Carpet protectors - check your carpet's warranty. Most will be void if a protector is applied during the warranty period. Selling carpet protection is a common ploy by franchises to increase sales, even if the carpet is not suitable for protection.