There are a number of carpet cleaning companies, and all of them claim to be the best.
In this article, I will attempt to help identify the true professionals from the pretenders. Why might you ask should it matter? Aren’t they all the same? Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you don’t do a small amount of homework you may have a technician show up at your house in a hatchback with a Rug Doctor and wearing an FBI (female body inspector) hat.
How to find reputable carpet cleaning companies?
First, you should consider the method you will use to find a reputable cleaner. The best way to find a good cleaner is to ask family and friends. Good cleaners will take care of their customers because they know referrals can make or break their business.
If you are new to an area and don’t have many friends or you have been ostracized, you can always call the local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau. However, you have to realize these are organizations that have paid memberships. So, they are going to recommend members first, regardless of whether they think they are the best or not.
Lastly, you can go to the yellow pages of the local phone directory. Scan the ads for companies that list the services offered and what makes them different from all the others. Stay away from companies that have a picture of their nice vans or their family. Usually, these companies have nothing that sets them apart from the competition.
Calling carpet cleaning companies
After you have a couple of good referrals or five or six companies from other sources, you should start calling.
You should be aware that many bigger companies have customer service reps that will answer your call live; however, many carpet cleaners are owner-operators that have to do everything themselves. It may take them a couple of hours to get back to you.
If you call a company and they answer “hello”, it may be a sign that they are not very professional. A cleaning company should answer with the name of the business and give you their name.
What questions to ask the cleaning companies?
Now that you have a live person on the phone I will give you some questions to ask to narrow your search.
Ask if the technician will be using a self-contained truck mount. If they say no they will be using a portable, move on to the next company. Almost all portables will not produce the heat or vacuum to properly clean your carpet.
Next, ask if they price by the square foot or by the room. Square foot pricing is preferable, that way you only pay for the area cleaned. Room or area pricing is very popular, but you are charged for the entire room, even if you have furniture that can’t be moved.
Also, there is usually a maximum size of a room to be considered an area. So, if your living room is 300 sq. ft. and the max is 250 sq. ft., you will be charged for two rooms. Also, a hall may be considered an area, even if it is 50 sq. ft.
Next, ask if the owner will be performing the work. Owners generally take much more pride in their work. Having the owner there is a definite plus. Ask if they are a low-moisture cleaner. Low-moisture cleaners use significantly less water than traditional steam cleaning. They specialize in cleaning to the base of the fiber without getting the pad or subfloor wet.
As a side note, steam cleaning is a misnomer. Most cleaning methods are hot water extraction, but steam cleaning gets its name from the steam coming off the floor as the super hot water is applied. They do not actually use steam.
We recommend low-moisture cleaning because typical steam cleaning uses high-pressure water to blow dirt off the fiber and try to suck it back out. The problem is that it blows the dirt into the backing where it is next to impossible to get it back out.
Also, you want to ask if the price quoted includes items such as vacuuming, pre-spraying, and furniture moving. Most reputable companies can answer these questions with little trouble. If you get someone on the phone that hesitates or fumbles their words, then that could be a warning.
So again, seek referrals from trusted friends or neighbors to find a good cleaner in your area. If that fails, test the waters of the Chamber, BBB, or yellow pages.
Most likely, not all cleaners will meet all the requirements mentioned above; however, you can create a score card and go with the cleaner that scores the highest, good luck.