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How to Avoid Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs

carpetscamBait and Switch

It’s very common for a consumer to be quoted a price on the phone for carpet cleaning, not realizing the company may have a “dual-process” cleaning method. This means they may charge one price for a one-step cleaning process, and a higher price for the better “dual process”. When the cleaning technician comes to the home to start the job, they may try to upsell you on the higher priced cleaning which is often 2 to 3 times more expensive than the one step cleaning process they quoted you on the phone.

Unbelievably Low Price

Many carpet cleaning companies (particularly some of the larger franchises) bait you with an unbelievably low price like 2 rooms for $69, or the whole house cleaning for $149, only to “forget” to mention about all the extra “hidden charges” that may be tacked on, such as “travel fees”, extra charges for dirty carpets, and charges for moving furniture. It’s like buying a home and then finding out that the builder charges extra for windows, walls and a roof!

Unsupported Claims

Many companies claim to be the “best” and have high ratings and reviews. But do your homework and research the carpet cleaning company you’re considering hiring. Don’t just go by reviews on a company website, as they may not always be legitimate. Look at all ratings and reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and other reputable websites.

Outdated Beliefs

Many companies rely on old-fashioned, outdated cleaning methods and products. This is sometimes because the company or franchise they purchased used those methods, and that may be all they know. Other times it’s because the outdated methods are often easier and cheaper, but they are also much less effective.

Outdated Carpet Cleaning Methods

There used to be only three main types of Carpet Cleaning methods: Hot Water (Steam Cleaning, also called “Hot Water Extraction”), Dry Cleaning, and Shampooing. These methods are still used today, and are very common. Most of these systems may clean sufficiently, but most have drawbacks, and in some cases can actually damage the fabric being cleaned.

Steam Cleaning utilizes soap or shampoo added to hot water. This mixture is injected heavily onto the carpet, then immediately extracted out with a suction unit. There are various complaints with this method. The carpets tend to feel stiff or crunchy after it’s dried. This is because the hot temperatures used can remove the natural oils from the carpet. Also, dirt and spots may reappear more rapidly after the carpet has been cleaned. This is because not all of the soap, shampoo, and detergents can be removed, and the chemical residue left behind attracts dirt.

outdatedcarpetShampooing generally uses many different types of cleaning equipment, but the same result is the same. Shampoo cannot be completely removed from the carpet, causing the same problem with residue that attracts dirt more quickly.

Dry Cleaning is the least popular and is not used as often these days. However, the many different types of archaic cleaning equipment all use a type of dry cleaning solvents in the cleaning process, similar to those used to dry clean clothes. This system is not very thorough and may leave residue behind that attracts dirt.

The best carpet cleaning system is one that is both safe (for you, your family and pets, and of course, your carpet!) and effective. The safest cleaning solutions are organic, pH balanced, biodegradable, and environmentally and eco-friendly (“green”). The most effective cleaning solutions do not use any type of soap, shampoo, detergents, or surfactants, as these types of cleaning compounds are difficult to remove from the carpet and actually attract dirt more quickly. Also using a low moisture cleaning system will ensure that the carpets dry within a few hours. This is much better than archaic methods where copious amounts of water are flooded into the carpet, which can take days to dry and can cause mold, odors, and water damage to your floors.

Delaware Valley Carpet Cleaning at http://www.delawarevalleycarpetcleaning.com utilizes up-to-date, safe, organic, pH balanced, environmentally friendly carpet and upholstery cleaning methods.

What to Expect from your Carpet Cleaning Experience

Carpet CleaningWhen I do carpet or upholstery cleaning work for a new customer, this is a general description of what you should expect from me (and in fact from all cleaning companies).

First, I come out and give you a FREE quote and carpet evaluation. The goal of this visit is to see exactly what you want me to clean and what furniture you need moved in order to clean behind it, what types of stains your carpet or upholstery may have, and to discuss if those stains will or will not be removed depending upon if they have damaged the carpet or not. I also charge per square foot, so while I am there I can measure the area to give you an exact price to have your carpets cleaned. This visit avoids any miscommunication that just a phone consultation would create.

If you choose to make an appointment, I will work around your schedule for your convenience, and I make provisions for clients who cannot meet me during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00-5:00). I schedule cleaning starting at 6:00am with blocked times throughout the day and some selected Saturdays in the spring and fall.

After you have made an appointment for me to clean your carpet or upholstery, I will mail you a letter confirming your appointment and explaining in some detail what I will be doing and what I need you to do to prepare for the cleaning.

Then I call you two days before to confirm the appointment.

On the day of your appointment I will call you with an exact time of arrival. So if I am scheduled to arrive between 12:00 and 3:00, then before 12:00 I will call you with the exact time of arrival so you do not have to wait around unnecessarily.

When I am finished cleaning your carpet or upholstery, I will ask you to inspect the job, and I will leave you with instructions if necessary, as well as a free bottle of our internationally known Caret Cleaning Spot Cleaner.

All work is completely guaranteed, so if you have any questions please call. If any spots come back (which would most likely be due to soap or chemicals in your carpet from previous cleanings), I will re-clean any spots free of charge.

After the job is done, I will send you a thank you letter and follow up a few weeks later by phone to ensure your complete satisfaction with the cleaning job.

I take my job and the rapport I have with my customers very seriously. I have clients allow me to come into their home, move their furniture and clean (sometimes) very expensive area rugs, upholstery, and wall to wall carpet. There is a high level of trust involved. Providing outstanding customer service sets Delaware Valley Carpet Cleaning apart from many other carpet cleaning companies and ensures that I will maintain that rapport, trust, and integrity.

Filtration Lines

blacklinesMany clients have black lines on the carpet around their baseboards, doorways and air vents. These lines are called pollution filtration or air filtration lines. Many professionals believe these lines come from the heater system in your home, but actually they do not. Forced air HVAC systems just blow the pollutants around until they settle on the floor and are filtered out of the air by the carpet.

The reason why this occurs is that there are tiny pollutants from your HVAC system smaller than a micron in size. Because they are that tiny they usually go through any type of filtration system that you may have on your HVAC system.

There is much debate why some parts of the US have this problem worse than other parts. The generally prevailing theory is that these pollutants are usually produced in densely populated areas and in areas of the country where there are older power plants spewing these pollutants into the air. The weather pattern also may have to do with it. Since many power plants are in the Midwest, that weather pattern brings the pollutants west to east to the mid-Atlantic states.

The lines generally can only be seen on lighter carpets, especially white carpets. Many carpet cleaning companies over the years have come up with products that say they can remove these lines, but generally they cannot be 100% successfully removed safely from any carpets

And on a side note, burning candles in your home can also add to these lines.

Dry Compound and Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Methods

drycompoundMany companies have developed different types of an absorbent dry cleaning compounds that get evenly spread onto the carpet, brushed and then scrubbed in, then vacuumed off. These dry chemicals are usually some type of surfactant or solvent. The theory is that these dry cleaning compounds, once worked into the carpet, attract the dirt which is then sucked, vacuumed or absorbed off. The main benefit when cleaning with dry compounds is that the carpet is not wet. The main drawback is that for moderately to heavily soiled carpets, this method does not clean thoroughly, and if you are not using an organic product you are sometimes left with chemicals in your carpet that later attract dirt.

Encapsulation was developed as an option for cleaning with no moisture, but a deeper more thorough cleaning job than the dry compound methods mentioned above. Encapsulation carpet cleaning uses polymers that literally encapsulate (crystallizing) dirt and soil particles into a dry residue that can be extracted or vacuumed off the carpet. The encapsulating solution is sprayed onto the carpet, brushed in, then vacuumed out immediately along with the dirty particles. Some cleaning machines do all this at one time while others have different machines to do each individual step. This method is very dry and you also avoid all the pitfalls of other wet cleaning methods. More and more companies are using this type of carpet cleaning technology as it is becoming more perfected.

Carpet Shampooing

shampooOne of the oldest and most common methods of carpet cleaning is shampooing. Usually brushes work the shampoo into the carpet, and after a few minutes the excess moisture and dirt are absorbed or suctioned away. After the carpet has dried it may need to be vacuumed again. Drying may take several hours to 1-2 days.

Although there are different variations of the type of extraction method involved, they all use the same type of cleaning agents in the shampoo called surfactants. Surfactants work well because they attract dirt and are inexpensive to mass produce.

Carpet shampooing, however, has many disadvantages compared to other types of carpet cleaning. It is very easy to over wet the carpet and padding and it takes longer to dry. When the carpet stays wet for too long, it can create mold and also damage the flooring underneath. Also, it is very difficult to remove the shampoo out of the carpet completely. This means that the carpet may attract dirt and stains faster (which will adhere to the leftover shampoo), requiring the carpets to be cleaned more frequently.

Carpet cleaning companies using the shampooing method usually have a very high re-clean rate (over 20-30%) and often have a higher dissatisfaction rate with clients because the shampoo left in the carpet attracts more dirt quickly after the fabric is cleaned. Many companies that use the shampoo method are low end companies competing on price and volume, and are not concerned with utilizing newer technologies such as green and organic cleaning methods primarily because these better methods are more expensive.

Customer Service

DVCC (Delaware Valley Carpet Cleaning) began in 1987 as a family owned business in the heart of South Jersey. After expanding the company with many employees and multiple trucks on the road, I realized it was difficult to stay with original mission of:

  • Personalized customer service
  • Hassle-free cleaning services
  • Competitive prices
  • Organic and green cleaning products
  • “Cleaning your carpets more effectively, utilizing safer greener technology with personal service”

In the early 1990’s I decided to downsize the company so every client could have the benefit of personalized service with the owner of the company. So since 1994, I, Joe Stark (the owner) have done all the cleaning myself, and have not outsourced any cleaning to subcontractors or employees since then.

My goal is to utilize my 20+ years of cleaning and practical knowledge with newer updated state-of-the-art technology to bring to the customer the most informed carpet cleaning company and to ensure clear and precise communication with the client.

With all clients I perform a free no-charge carpet evaluation and an estimate. This is done to ensure that there is clear communication between the customer and me to provide the optimum personalized attention to detail and complete satisfaction for the customer.

All the work I perform is completely 100% guaranteed for the client’s satisfaction.

Once a client uses my company I consider them a client for life, making myself available to all my clients for free advice on cleaning and fabric care for the future.

You can always contact me by phone or text at 609-458-1973, through our website at http://www.delawarevalleycarpetcleaning.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DelawareValleyCarpetCleaning (please be sure to like our page), or by email.

Carpet Spot Cleaning Tips

Carpet Spot CleaningCarpet Spot CleaningMost carpets today have been treated with some type of fabric protectant or sealant, but that does not mean your carpet is completely dirt or spill proof. You will have better results removing the stain if you attempt to remove it when it happens, rather than waiting. The longer you wait, the higher the possibility that the stain will become permanent.

  1. Always pre-test the fabric you are cleaning to ensure that it is colorfast. Pre-testing can be done simply by applying the cleaning agent to a part of the carpet where you can’t see it, and blot for 30 seconds. Make sure there is no damage to the yarn, loss of color, or color transfer.
  2. You should always use a dry white terry cloth towel or plain white paper towel to remove stains (never use a colored towel or printed paper towels as the color from the towel can seep into the carpet).
  3. Start by blotting up the wet stain carefully until almost dry. If it is a dry spill or if the liquid spill has some solids to it, gently scrape off the carpet and vacuum any amount you can with a Shop-Vac or a dry/wet vac.
  4. Don’t be aggressive and never scrub the carpet, as you risk distorting the yarn permanently which will create a wear mark where you are cleaning.
  5. Put some of the cleaning agent on the white towel and work it in onto the stain.
  6. Repeat continuously but gently until the stain has been removed. You need to be patient, as it could take several minutes or longer to remove the stain.
  7. Once the stain has been removed, lightly rinse the spot with cold water to remove as much as the cleaning agent as possible.
  8. Please note that although many cleaning chemicals may be safe for carpets, if they are not completely removed they will attract dirt very quickly to the spot.

Marketing 101 – Part 2

After 20 years of owning a successful business, I thought I was doing everything correctly with my marketing. But one day I had a realization that I never had before – I was becoming stale, stagnate, over-confident and rigid with my business decisions. I have spent my entire adult life taking a lot of time, effort, and money to create and grow my business, and now it is time to reap the rewards of all that hard work.

What was left to do or left to try that I haven’t done or tried before? Probably nothing. Wow, I was so wrong! I was making the same mistakes most companies make when finally reaching the top of their industry… continuing to do the same things as always. Eastman-Kodak used this strategy. They were slow to the digital market and slow to change and were banking on their previous success. They created many production facilities to produce and sell small cheap film cameras to people in developing countries. What they failed to realized is that because the digital technology became cheaper and cheaper, the people in these countries chose digital cameras instead of film. This failure to change their strategy was a huge mistake from which Kodak has never recovered.

You need to look at your relationship with your business as parenting to a child. You parent differently when your child is 12 than you did when he or she was 2. Your child is growing up and maturing, and so are you with how you need to parent to that child. Your company is the same. The strategies I used for my business in 2012 or 1993 were different from those I used in 1987. Change is good for a company; it allows you to remain competitive in the market and grow with the changing times.

Green Carpet Care

Here are some tips to a greener and healthier method of cleaning your carpets.

  • Vacuum your carpet thoroughly and frequently. Cross vacuuming is important (vacuuming in different directions to ensure all sides of the yarn is vacuumed correctly).
  • Make sure the vacuum is on the proper height setting.
  • Change the vacuum cleaner bag when it is no more than 75% full.
  • Always use a vacuum cleaner with a multi filter and/or HEPA filtration bag and/or filters.
  • Always use Green cleaning products when spot cleaning the carpet and never use any sprays or powders on carpet or upholstery. Many of these products can break down and attract more dirt and dust in the future.
  • All cleaning solutions used on your carpet should be neutral based pH (not alkaline or acidic).
  • Spot clean spots as soon as you can to prevent the spots from attracting dirt.
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned on a consistent schedule every 6-12 months. Choose a carpet cleaning company that uses a low moisture cleaning system and that utilizes green and or organic cleaning products. If you’re in the Southern New Jersey area, visit our website at http://www.delawarevalleycarpetcleaning.com for information about our organic carpet cleaning services.
  • Never over wet the carpets when cleaning. Make sure the carpets are dry within 4-6 hours to avoid any problems such as mold growth and floor damage.

A carpet filled with dirt and dust can have a negative health effect in your home or office. Keeping your carpets as clean as possible will add to a healthier environment.

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