PDF copy of the report (click here)
Have a good day,
Jeff Cross | Executive Editor | Cleanfax
Here is a copy of the report, I hope it is helpful with your company and your own technical education.
PDF copy of the report (click here)
Have a good day,
Jeff Cross | Executive Editor | Cleanfax
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, you never sleep alone.
But don’t panic…those sleeping with you are somewhat peaceful. And not really that noticeable, until the “Welcome” sign goes up and they start inviting a bunch of guests over. Once the invitation goes out, there can be millions that end up in one mattress alone!
Yes, we are speaking of dust mites, those super-tiny eight-legged creatures that live in every house and take up residence in virtually every pillow, mattress and other comfortable abodes in the world.
Commonly called the “house dust mite,” (there are a couple of different types known to inhabit various parts of the world) this little creature feeds on flakes of shed human and animal skin and known to be a cause of asthma and allergic reactions.
Dust mite feces contain a powerful digestive enzyme that causes all kinds of breathing problems — if there are enough of the creatures in your home.
Some people are highly sensitive to dust mites, while others never have a reaction.
What can you do?
First of all, like we already said, don’t panic. Dust mites are everywhere, and there’s nothing you can do about that.
What you can do is keep things clean. Dust mites reproduce quickly in mattresses, beddings, pillows and other areas because these absorbent items take up moisture, such as saliva, perspiration and blood, from body contact. Dust mites prefer those warm, moist environments created by sleeping bodies.
Besides moisture, they need food. Dust mites are like any living creature. They need to eat. The skin flakes, dander and other protein sources are food for dust mites, so regular vacuuming is smart, especially using one with HEPA filtering. And running an air cleaner in your home with HEPA filtering will help, too.
Professional cleaning is a good investment for your home. Deep cleaning all fabrics on a regular basis means you are taking food away from these unwanted tenants. Logically, this equates to fewer dust mites coming over to party at your house.
So be a smart homeowner. Keep things clean and keep some of the pests away! Call your cleaning pro today.
You read about this last week, how a popular restaurant chain decided to cut carpet cleaning in order to increase profits.
I would like to hear from you on how you deal with commercial prospects like a restaurant or office building when they start talking budgets, etc. What do you do to convince them they need to have their cleaning services on a regular (and logical) schedule?
Or do you avoid these types of jobs (such as restaurants) altogether?
Share your negotiation best practices.
(and if you missed that article from last week, here's the link below)
Click here to read the Olive Garden story about carpet cleaning.
by Jeff Cross, executive editor, Cleanfax
Carpet and furniture cleaners need the best in tools and chemistry, and this is especially true when it comes to the stain removal kit.
With the chemicals available today, you can be successful in removing what used to be the "unremovable" stain.
Most stain kits include the following:
Today's manufacturers concentrate on building stain kits that have everything you need.
They also include complete directions on how to use the tools and chemicals to better remove stubborn spots and stains.
Dry solvents contain almost no water — although some do have trace amounts of water-based chemicals — and come in many forms. There is no pH factor for true dry solvents.
Dry solvents are used to remove spots such as gum, ink, grease, tar, etc., that are not affected by water-based products.
A volatile dry solvent evaporates completely on its own, while some non-volatile solvents, typically "paint, oil and grease" removers (POG), may need to be rinsed with a volatile dry solvent to remove remaining residue.
Some POGs today are citrus-based and can be rinsed with hot water and detergent.
Remember that dry solvents can quickly penetrate deep into the carpet and can cause delamination of the primary and secondary backings. Because of this, gel-type solvents are safer for carpet because they typically remain in the face fibers.
Ingredients in many types of solvents can also include a variety of alcohols and petroleum products.
On the pH scale, these can be alkaline (such as ammonia), acid (such as acetic or citric) or completely neutral.
These are used to remove a variety of water-based spots and stains, such as those from food, beverages, tannins, urine, etc. Your stain kit directions will help determine the best application.
Enzyme digesters fall in the wet solvent category, although they react with spot and stain material in a unique way. They break down specific types of spotting material, such as blood and tough protein matter.
Rust removers are strong acids and should be used with caution.
More recently, manufacturers are adding special classifications of bleaching agents for removing stains that do not respond to typical chemicals.
Although most formulations are safe for carpet fibers and dyes, always test in an inconspicuous area before proceeding.
Due to their bleaching action, the following wet solvents solve many stain removal challenges.
Professionally-formulated reducing agents remove oxygen (a bleaching action) from stains and work best on synthetic-type stains — artificially colored beverages, many food colorings and medicine dyes, etc.
These reducing agents typically contain the classes of chemistry such as sodium bisulfite, metabisulfite and others.
Acids and heat will act as a catalyst to a reducing agent.
Professionally-formulated oxidizing agents add oxygen (a bleaching action) to stains and work best on organic-type stains — mustard, coffee, tea, condiments, etc.
Liquid hydrogen peroxide-based products that are stronger than the three-percent drug store variety are commonly used by professional carpet cleaners. Powdered sodium percarbonate-based products also work well.
Alkalines and heat will act as a catalyst to an oxidizing agent.
Stain identification is vital for matching chemistry to specific stains. Sometimes, your customer will know what caused the stain.
Despite stain identification efforts, it can often be difficult to identify certain types of stains.
If one type of chemistry doesn't work for the stain you are trying to remove, neutralize and rinse, and then try another chemical.
Don't overdo it
Remember, the customer owns the stain … and you can become the unhappy "owner" of any damage to the carpet if you use overly-aggressive cleaning techniques.
Smart business owners are those who realize they will never know it all, will never experience it all, but need to continue in their quest to do both.
So as you read this and prepare for 2015, consider some of these solid business building principles. Just a few thoughts that won’t take long to read but will take a year to implement. The reward will be worth it.
The edge of education
Yes, you have been to a zillion seminars and workshops, but think of the little “take-aways” you benefitted from each time you sacrificed a bit of your time to attend.
And education isn’t always about the classroom. Here comes a blatant advertisement: Be sure to read each issue of Cleanfax. Yes, even you veterans. You will find something in the pages to use to build your business.
You find tons of information online as well, at www.Cleanfax.com and on various forums and social media sites. Join groups, exchange information and keep education at the top of your priority list.
Define your target market
I’ve seen too many carpet cleaning companies engage in shotgun marketing (you know, shoot out tons of ads trying to hit everyone) and then find they aren’t really that profitable. Yes, they may be busy, but that’s a different story.
If you are targeting high-end homes, then your message has to fit that demographic. You want to do apartments? Thousands of companies earn a high profit margin with cleaning rental units. How do they do it? They master a system. They define their target.
For restoration, one thing I have heard from some companies is they don’t want the small water damage jobs. That is mind boggling to me. Those small jobs can be great referral or testimonial sources. They lead to bigger and better things. Don’t ignore them.
Do something every day
So you hear of some good marketing ideas and you want to implement them. You are excited. You know it will work. You rub your hands together in anticipation of reaping the rewards.
But then you get busy doing something else. You are dealing with actual jobs, or with staffing issues, or you find yourself stuck in a mind-numbing project that never seems to end.
Schedule a little time each day to do some marketing. Put it on your calendar and train yourself to get it done — or have someone on your staff do it. A little bit each day goes a long way.
I remember asking some people at a Totally Booked University session (I believe it was a restoration marketing workshop) what was some of their best ideas for getting more jobs.
Some good ideas were generated. The most popular and the one that made sense was getting referrals, which meant doing great work but that wasn't enough.
One attendee said he made it really easy for his customers to tell others about him. He would leave pre-stamped post cards with the message like, "XYZ just did a great job for us. We highly recommend them!" and asked his happy customer to send out a few to their local friends and family.
It all went downhill from there. Another company said they just entered a year-long contract to have their company name and phone number (along with a photo) put on the child's seat of every shopping cart at a local grocery story.
Silence. I guess the other attendees didn't agree that this was a smart way to spend marketing dollars.
What are some marketing strategies that you have tried (or heard of) that utterly bombed?
Some cleaning companies say that they are told by customers they want to wait until "after Election Day" before booking a cleaning.
You might have experienced this. Does it make much sense? Could there be that much uncertainty with potential election results?
If all this is really true, that means tomorrow you will be BUSY!
If a customer uses this logic, what do you say? Share your thoughts.
I'm hanging out with a small group of cleaners and restorers today and I had a conversation with one of them about how there is often a disconnect between our industry and the actual consumer.
It could be a real problem when you think of how your company looks to those you wish to work for... what does your van look like? Your postcards? Your techs?
Have you ever put on your "consumer hat" and thought about the image your company presents to the general public, and especially those you wish to market to?
Share your ideas and thoughts. What do YOU do build trust and gain the confidence of your customers or clients?
Recently, I wrote about something a few of you considered a bit controversial… firing a customer.
How crazy is that, to get rid of someone willing to pay you money for your services? We spend time, money and much effort to build a client base, and then we think of getting rid of a few? Truth be told, we all have a few customers on our list we wish we had never met; people who may pay our price but, at the end of the day, we know we would have been better off staying home or at the office.
It is one thing to have a customer who has a legitimate complaint (a better word might be “concern”) that we can analyze and work with; it’s another thing altogether when a customer complains for the sake of complaining. You know the type — the customer whom you can’t make happy no matter what you do.
I don’t want you anymore…
Let’s face it. Some customers are more trouble than they are worth. We all have them, the type who finds the smallest thing to complain about and make your life miserable.
One time, a customer followed me around the house, removing the blocks and tabs as I placed them under legs of furniture. I didn’t really see her doing this until I looked down the hallway and saw them piled up. I tried to reason with her about how these blocks and tabs protect the furniture and the carpet, but alas, to no avail. The inevitable occurred… a furniture stain. I got blamed for it, of course.
I fired her. Life was good again.
Do you have customers like that? I bet you do.
… but I don’t want you to tell anyone.
Those were the old days. You could fire a customer without worrying too much about backlash. Yes, those fired customers could tell a few friends, but it didn’t get very far. You were safe.
Times have changed. Now, when you upset (fire) someone, word can spread like butter on hot toast.
I will say that this issue of firing a customer should be very rare. It shouldn’t happen that often. But when it does happen, you have to handle it delicately.
We live in a social age. Social media, that is. If you aren’t careful about how you handle your customers, their thoughts, concerns and complaints can go viral, and pretty soon, you find yourself the target in a firestorm of negativity.
So when you have to face the inevitable, think carefully about how you will handle the situation. Thinking of sending a text message about how you don’t want someone’s business any longer? Think again. What about an email? Don’t push that send button too quickly.
Your customers are people, too. Pick up the telephone, meet them in person, explain your concerns and if you have to fire one of them, do it delicately.
By Jeff Cross, Executive Editor, Cleanfax
I think most of us have played or heard of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game where one is challenged to find the shortest path from any Hollywood actor to Kevin Bacon within six steps. I’ve tried it. It’s impossible to find someone more than six actors away from good old Kevin.
If you are confused because you have never played, let me simplify. Your goal is to name a string of actors from the first one that starts the game, all the way to Kevin Bacon. Each actor must have worked in a movie with another to move forward.
Stop scratching your head, wondering where I’m getting at. I think you see the angle… each one of your customers knows someone else, who knows someone else… basically, you can reach a lot of people from just one contact, one happy customer.
But it shouldn’t happen by default.
While the old six degree game might be interesting, it seems that with communications the way they are today, it is outdated data.
I found one source that indicates it might be closer to five degrees of separation, the number of links from one random person to another. Wait a second. I just Googled it. I found another source that says it is really closer to four degrees of separation. Here’s a quote from an article by The New York Times: “Using data on the links among 721 million Facebook users, a team of scientists discovered that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the United States was 4.37.”
I imagine if you went to Google you would find even a smaller degree of separation number, by another team of analytical scientists, but we better just go with four to make it simple and get this article over with before you fall any more asleep than you already have.
In your local marketplace, this number is probably even smaller. It has to be. People know other people. They connect easily on social media. If you have a customer who works at an office, and let’s say there are 50 employees, your customer will be connected to a handful of them, and the spider web just grows from there.
So are you using social media to take advantage of these shrinking degrees of separation?
Many wonder what they can do with their favorite social media platform in order to get more customers. Don’t make the mistake of just posting stuff. Be engaging.
Try just this one thing: Create a Facebook contest. Take a picture of a neat building, or a nice lobby in a local hotel, something you can post and people can identify the location. Make a nice, worthwhile prize package for the winner.
What will be the result? People love contests. They will talk about it, especially the winner — that is, if the prize is worth talking about. And since your customer knows someone else, who knows someone else… well, you get the picture.
This blog is dedicated to providing the cleaning and restoration industries with practical marketing and customer acquisition tips.