The best carpet cleaner is not necessarily the first one!
Most people go straight to the internet when looking for service people in their local area. You spill something on the carpet or you have family coming over for the holidays. Suddenly you are in desperate need of the best carpet cleaner you can find.
Naturally, the first thing you do is a search online. You are then confronted with an often confusing array of businesses all vying for your attention. We have all been there, right? How do you choose? There are some simple questions you can ask to find the best carpet cleaner for your needs and budget.
Who do I call and what do I ask them?
There are two main considerations when looking for the best carpet cleaner. Firstly when confronted with the search results, you need to ask yourself some questions to determine which businesses to call for a quote. Secondly when calling the chosen businesses, you need to have a list of questions ready to ask so as to determine who is best qualified to fix the problem.
Search Results: Who do I call to get the best carpet cleaner?
Your first instinct is probably to go with the first three businesses listed in the search results. However, it may not give you the quality results you are looking for. Usually in the search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, the first 3-4 listings are paid advertising. This does not mean these businesses are not worth considering, but just keep in mind that it may mean that they are paid listings and they will therefore have a large marketing budget and usually these costs are passed on to the consumer through carpet cleaning pricing.
Many of these paid listings offer heavily discounted prices, to attract new customers, however they ultimately end up costing more. They need to cover their marketing costs through pricing so they always find a way to add on “extras”.
Next there are the local search results that take into consideration your search location. These results will usually give you the contact details for carpet cleaners in your local area. This is great because often local businesses can come at short notice or even often a local discount as they do not have to factor in travel costs. However make sure you verify where they are based. Some of the larger carpet cleaning businesses claim to be from every suburb in a wide area, meaning they probably sub contract out to cleaners in many different areas. This means you may not get the business you thought you were hiring.
Finally there are pages and pages of free or organic listings. This is were you can usually find the good, the bad and the ugly! I would recommend considering the businesses listed on the first page and narrow your search down the three or four of these listings to call for a quote. Keep in mind however that in larger cities where there is a lot of competition, the top three are not necessarily the best carpet cleaners. They may be on top because they are the best at marketing and SEO rather than carpet cleaning!
Compare their website’s, pricing, location and importantly their reviews! Just as a final note, while pricing is very important, don’t be swayed by offers of ridiculously cheap deals. Like all things in life, if it seems too good to be true it probably is!
Top 5 questions to ask when looking for the best carpet cleaner
So now that you have narrowed down the search results to your top 3 -5 businesses, you need to pick up the phone or send an email. Most people are not sure what questions they should ask, other than “How much?”
Pricing is important but so are these other questions below. To ask the right questions, you need some knowledge or experience. This list is a good starter guide to give you information on what questions to ask and why they are important.
1. Are you owner operated or do you sub contact?
You want to be sure that the business you have chosen from the search results is the actual business who will be turning up on the day. There is nothing wrong with sub contracting, however there are cost and quality issues that can affect the end results and price.
2. Are you a member of an industry association or have training certification by a recognised industry organisation?
Most professional carpet cleaning businesses will be a member of an industry association such as SCRIA or have training certificates from organisations such as IICRC. This is important as membership or certification means that the business has agreed to abide by standards set by these organisations. They must continually retrain to maintain their certification and be up to date with the latest techniques and equipment.
What this ultimately means, is that you can be sure that the business will provide service that is of a high standard and using chemicals and equipment that are the best available. These businesses also have to agree to a code of ethics, have public liability insurance and will always guarantee their work. This is important for your peace of mind!
3. What method and equipment do you use?
There are several different methods of carpet cleaning. Professional carpet cleaners will usually offer a few different methods depending on the situation. Steam Cleaning (Hot Water Extraction) is the method most recommended by the carpet cleaning associations and carpet manufacturers.
Portable Machines and Truck Mounted Systems
Portable steam cleaning machines are great for tight spaces or apartments above ground floor. Truck mounted systems can produce more heat and suction that portable machines. However as the cords and hoses have to be run from outside the premises, through open doorways, they do require driveway access and cannot be used on higher level apartments. They also pose a security issue for some businesses as they do require open door access. Whereas a portable machine can be taken inside and doors locked.
Dry Cleaning and Low Moisture
Dry cleaning is an alternative method of cleaning. There are several different types of dry cleaning – most are low moisture cleaning rather than completely dry. Dry cleaning is useful in commercial properties, where it is not possible to wait for carpet to dry, or noise is an issue. Usually dry cleaning is used as a maintenance clean between steam cleans, rather than as a complete replacement method.
Professional carpet cleaners will also use high quality cleaning products. They need to have an array of different products to use on different types of stains. Most will try to use environmentally friendly products and will know which products work best on different carpet fibres and stains.
Pricing is a big factor when choosing a carpet cleaner. it is important however to consider price as just one factor, not THE factor.
A professional carpet cleaner will be very transparent with their pricing. However, this does not necessarily mean they will display a price list on their website. There is no “one price fits all” in carpet cleaning. Each job will have its own unique criteria – the age and type of carpet, the amount of foot traffic, staining, maintenance of the carpet, etc.
Price based on size of area
A good carpet cleaner will ask you about your carpet and it’s history to determine a price. Most carpet cleaners will start with a set rate for a room, based on a set size in square meters. Then the age and the condition is taken into consideration, along with travel costs. The end price should be all inclusive.
Stain removal, fabric protection, deodourising and sanitising may be additional costs. Some companies also charge extra for paid parking or carrying equipment up stairs (usually a charge per floor when there is not lift) Always ask what is included in the price.
Beware! Some deals are just too good to be true!
Finally beware of companies selling “3 rooms for $66” or similar carpet cleaning deals. While some offer genuine value, you do need to ask what is a “room” to them.
A business may offer low prices but set a very small room size. Therefore you will never just pay the base rate and the additional square meter charges can be very high.
This is known in the industry as “Bait & Switch”. Bait the customer with a cheap price then switch to higher pricing once you are onsite by adding in “extras”.
Even the best carpet cleaner in the world can have trouble removing stains the first time. Some stains appear or reappear a day or so after cleaning, as they are underneath the carpet.
A professional carpet cleaner will always come back and re clean at no additional charge, should this happen. In fact a good carpet cleaner will always be glad of the opportunity to fix issues you are not happy with, after all they will want your repeat business and your referral to family and friends.
While no carpet cleaner can guarantee to restore your carpet to new, they can guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. They will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of the end result and make sure you are happy before they leave. A guarantee is vital for end of lease carpet cleaning if you want your bond returned
It is as easy as choosing which flavour of ice cream! Now you are armed with all the right questions to ask, you should have no trouble finding the best carpet cleaner for your budget. Just bear in mind, some of those businesses high up in the search spend a small fortune on marketing and advertising as they need to keep renewing their customer base.
The best carpet cleaners will have well established repeat business base. Therefore they have less reliance on the search engines.
Sometimes your family and friends are a more reliable source than Google and the best question to ask is “who do you recommend?” Another good option is to check places like Google and Facebook for online reviews. And once you find a good carpet cleaner, make sure you leave a review for them online so others can benefit from your experience.
Please contact us for all your carpet cleaning inquiries or call us on 0403 254 080.
Have you got your own list of questions you like to ask? Please add your questions to the comments section below.