Before the wand and glide came calling, a “hoover” was something that was quickly thrown around the house once or twice a week, usually by my better half Jayne, but sometimes by me if I was feeling a little helpful or if I was on thin ice with my recent social antics i.e. playing too much golf or going to one to many Crystal Palace matches with my eldest son. You’ve got to keep the wife onside as much as possible and its surprise house cleaning sessions that really aid men in getting a little more leeway at the weekends. You can have that tip for free lads!
We weren’t “hoover” snobs really, anything that appeared to do the job was sufficient for us although we did end up with a more “up market” model eventually, one of those popular household “hoovers” with a roller ball swivel and looks like something out of an alien spaceship. “Look at our swanky and expensive, state of the art hoover” we’ve peaked in life! Yay!
That was until we decided to set up our cleaning business and did some serious research into the “hoover” market. We’d been approached by one of our very first domestic cleaning customers who said that despite the place being cleaned to a very high standard, he wasn’t hugely impressed with our vacuuming efforts. We didn’t have a huge amount of money to spend on assets as we’d recently setup, so were just using our vacuum from home, it made economic sense for us until we got some money in the account and could splash out on something specifically for the cleaning business. Unfortunately, it became very apparent to us, very quickly, that our home vacuum just wasn’t cutting the mustard and we needed an upgrade if we wanted to be the best cleaning company in Tiptree and Essex.
I eventually agreed to get on a carpet cleaning course, something my wife had been practically begging me to do for a few months as she was losing end of tenancy cleans because we didn’t offer carpet cleaning. I packed my bag and headed down to Cornwall to train with Ken Wainwright at Kendry and Solutions, our current main provider for carpet cleaning products, for a week’s intensive carpet and upholstery cleaning training. I’d been on another day long course but was left with more questions than answers so was pointed in the direction of Indian Queens in Cornwall. I took the long journey, on a Sunday in the middle of February, from a cold, wet and dark Tiptree in Essex to a cold, wet and dark Indian Queens in Cornwall. I can’t stand winter but Cornwall was and is lovely pretty much any time of the year.
Anyway, the training began bright and early on the Monday morning with Mr Ken Wainwright, one of the industry’s leading trainers and one of the most successful carpet cleaners in the UK stood there with a Sebo “hoover”, the BS36. I’d never really heard of Sebo, it looked heavy, old fashioned and didn’t look like my spaceship endorsed “hoover” that I had at home. Surely it can’t be any good, it doesn’t have any lights on it and you still have to use a bag in it! It was at this precise moment in time that my thoughts on “hoovers” were changed forever.
First thing’s first I learned that the term “hoover” isn’t factually correct, that’s a brand name who seemingly got very lucky with the vast majority of modern society calling it a “hoover” but in actual fact, it’s a vacuum cleaner made by Hoover and thus should be called a “Vacuum” and not a “Hoover”…..still with me? Great!
I then learned a lot about air flow, vacuum cleaner power and what all the little handheld tools were for, but most importantly I learned how to vacuum properly, which was very handy as I wanted my carpet cleaning business to be the best! I wanted to do everything by the book and to the highest level so learning to vacuum properly was imperative and having a decent vacuum cleaner was now at the top of my new business shopping list. What surprised me most was that if you vacuum prior to a job, and vacuum properly, it will remove up to 85% of the dry soiling in the carpet and is the most important part of cleaning a carpet properly! I’d have never thought that in the slightest but I guess that’s why I was on a training course!
So, this is my question, and something that really grates on me with my “competitors”. Why do some carpet cleaners ask their clients to vacuum before they arrive? It’s so common in my area and I just don’t understand how a client can be expected to vacuum properly and with a good enough vacuum cleaner to get the job done properly? If excessive amounts of dry soil are left in the carpet and not extracted then when the dry soil becomes wet, it turns to mud! In the carpet! Yuk! It’s another example of cheap “splash n dash” carpet cleaners bringing the standard of the industry down but we’ll save that rant for another blog. They want to get in and out, they don’t care about doing a proper job, they want to get paid because their cheap rates mean that for them to put a meal on the table and a roof over their heads, they need to clean about 4 or 5 carpets a day so they want to be as quick as possible at each property.
The course finished, my brain was packed full of new information that Ken assured me would make me more confident in being a professional carpet cleaner and that if I stuck to his methods, I would have a successful business and make money. Well, two and a half years later, I’m still in business and I’m still pottering about the villages and towns of North Essex and beyond with my work horse Sebo BS36 (I brought a backup as well when the EU decided to restrict the power of our vacuum cleaners a while back) and assuring every one of my lovely clients that they don’t need to do any vacuuming prior to me arriving and that I have the best commercial vacuum cleaner that money can buy and I’ll make sure that the service and product I provide to them will be the very best and not a quick in and out for £20.
To be the best, you need to have the best equipment and my Sebo isn’t going anywhere for a very long time, I’ve even managed to convince some of my clients to invest in a Sebo. I have a couple of regular clients who were very keen to show me that they already had a Sebo and another few who dragged out their Kirby (another very good brand of Vacuum) from the 70’s that was still going strong and outperforming modern vacuum cleaners! Moral of the story, if you want to keep your carpets looking their best or if you want to offer the very best professional carpet cleaning service, don’t scrimp on your vacuum but make sure you do your research before parting with your hard earned dosh!
Until next time! Happy Vacuuming.
Thanks for reading.
Chris – Head Technician at Powerdean Floor Maintenance.