Prior to inviting a carpet cleaner into your home or business, please know the answers to each of these questions.
Danny Lockhart and Clark Howard @ Rockdale Home builders & Rockdale Board of Realtors Dinner
Popular consumer advocate Clark Howard recently published a column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about ‘Bait and Switch Scams’ that read:
Your carpets are too expensive to play Russian roulette with someone who might not know what he is doing.
While many carpet cleaners are completely on the level, there are a lot of bait-and-switch scams operating out there.
You can find advertising coupons in your mailbox or in the glossy inserts in the newspaper with “specials” like $5.95 per room or whole house for $49.95.
Proceed with caution! Make sure the company you select is a member of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), a
non-profit organization that promotes high standards, ethics, and technical proficiency within the cleaning industry in order to enhance product quality,
value and service to the customer.
I often get complaints on my show about carpet cleaning. This may be one time that the least expensive offer isn’t necessarily the best deal.
Bait and Switch Practices
by Danny Lockhart
Ask the company if they charge extra to clean berber carpet (We do not). Some companies will lie to you and tell you that it has to be dry cleaned.
Instead of the $6.95 or $12.95 per room that you think it will be, be prepared to pay as much as $25-$35 per room for a service that is not dry cleaning.
If you request a truck contained system, which is far more superior than a portable machine then you will be charged anywhere from $12.95 per room or $25 extra for cleaning.
Some $6.95 per room companies use only portable machines but you will not know if you do not ask. You can rent many of these machines yourself.
If you are told that your berber carpet will be dry foamed with the same type of equipment as portable hot water extraction, or a steam cleaner, then look for more information. They are not telling you the truth.
In most cases a room may be defined as a walk in closet, hallway short or long, bathroom, small foyer. Be prepared to pay the same amount for these small areas as you would your living or dining room.
If your carpet has not been cleaned in a year or more then you will not qualify for their special.
Instead you will be charged the $6.95 for a portable or $12.95 for a truck contained system which gives you the best possible chance of a good job and on top of that price you will be charged anywhere from $19-$35 per room. Go figure, if your carpet wasn’t dirty then you probably would not be trying to have it cleaned.
Now you would like to have your carpets deodorized/sanitized. That will be an extra $10 to $25 per room. We charge you nothing if you only want a light deodorizer.
Now it’s time for protector. This will cost you an additional $19 to $35 per room.
Don’t fall for what is called Dry Vapor Fast Drying. This may be nothing more than having rubbing alcohol applied to the carpet but will cost you an additional $7 per room. (We speed dry your carpet at no additional charge with turbo dryers, it’s part of the job.)
Ask if they use subcontractors and how are they trained? Did you know that subcontractors are not covered under the companies workman comp?
This leaves you liable for any accidents or injuries they may have while at your home.
Ask if they are a ‘Drug Free’ work place. That means all employees are tested from time to time which assures you of having someone in your home that will not rip you off, have an accident or do a poor job.
If these are important issues then rest assured that we are not only a Drug Free work place, but we also do criminal background checks.
If you want to be sure that you are comparing services to services and would like to put a face with the company that you are going to entrust with your most valuable assets, your family and home, then request them to come out and give you a Free Written Quote.
Most furniture can be successfully wet cleaned if tested but if you choose to use a coupon company then be prepared to pay for dry cleaning that is not true dry cleaning but dry foam. You will pay considerable more for this process.
They may tell you if you have a multi colored fabric or solid white it will need to be dry-cleaned. This is not true. It will still need to be tested.
Wet cleaning will do a better job and not cost as much. But understand this; if the technician can not get anymore than $6.95 per room out of the job or $29.75 for a 6 foot sofa then they may go hungry that day.
If you are not willing to pay for quality service then the technician will not spend much time at your house and you will receive $6.95 per room quality service. Either way you lose.
Ask if they have a guarantee on their services. We provide you with a 100% money back guarantee on all carpet cleaning services if you are not totally satisfied.
If you live in a large house, they may call and cancel you after you have prepared for their visit.
Steam Cleaning truck contained system per room.
Price for carpet that needs cleaning (Deep Scrub)
Deodorizer / Sanitizer
Dry Vapor Fast Dry
This is the cheapest scenario if you need all services. It’s a long way from what you might think you get for $6.95 per room.
As Clark Howard, our local consumer advocate says, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”