What distinguishes one company from another? This checklist will ensure that you have asked the right questions.
Do they have good references?
Everybody says that they are really good and that they care about quality and that they are experts and so on. You simply can't rely on what a company says about itself. That's why you have to ask others what their experience was like. We are always happy to provide anyone with a list of people that we have done work for (often in their own neighborhood). Also find out from other professionals in their industry. We are often referred by many of the finest carpet & rug retail stores as well as many of the most seasoned interior designers and realtors.
What kind of experience do they have?
Most cleaning related problems are caused by a lack of experience. Most cleaning related problems are solved because of an abundance of experience. If you want to avoid a bad experience, make sure that the technician coming to your home has at least 1 years experience with cleaning your type of goods in your type of home. But the more experience the better. We are often called by the carpet mill reps in the area to help solve cleaning related challenges for their customers.
Are they well educated in their field?
Sadly most companies in our industry do not invest in educating themselves in their field. we regularly attend education courses, certification schools, conventions, and study trade journals and books related to our work. We require that our technicians are certified by the IICRC and we have them tested and keep up with their education every year.
How will they clean your carpet?
The carpet mills have designed exactly how they want their goods to be cleaned. Many companies try to clean carpet the cheapest and/or easiest way possible. Find out from the carpet mills or the IICRC how your goods should be cleaned then select a company that provides that method.
Are they using the right products?
Many carpet fibers are designed to reflect light and come with a protective coating to retard soiling. Some carpet fibers come with a high performance coating that will block against stains and dramatically reduce soiling and wear and tear. These fibers should only be cleaned with products that are compatible with these high performance coatings. A make sure that the technician is a knowledgeable IICRC certified technician.
Find out what is included in the price you are quoted.
Most residential carpet that is stretched in and installed over padding will be either recommended or required to be cleaned through a process called hot water extraction. This process is also known as "steam cleaning". Make sure that the price you are quoted includes the following:
Application of a preconditioner
Preconditioner worked down to the base of the fiber
Thorough rinsing and extraction
Moving of most furniture
Grooming and re-setting the pile
Drying equipment should be used
A common practice in our industry is to quote a low price on the phone for an inadequate cleaning then charge extra for these steps once in your home. As a certified firm we are bound by a code of ethics to never resort to such unethical practices.
The omission of any of these steps often results in carpet that is unhealthy and inadequately cleaned, and re-soils rapidly.
Find out about their guarantee
Reputable companies always offer a money-back guarantee. Make sure that you can get that in writing from the company you hire. Our guarantee is that you only pay for what you are pleased with. If a particular area did not come as clean as you expected, then you can take it off your bill. Look for a similar guarantee. Also because rapid re-soiling is such a common problem that many people experience, find out how long their guarantee is good for. Our guarantee is good for 6 months. If there is any area that re-soils rapidly within that 6 months call us up and we will re-clean it at no charge. If you are still not pleased when we are done, we will refund your money for that area.
Find out about the technician who will be coming
All the best cleaning products, methods and equipment do not mean a thing if the guy that is coming out to your home is unequipped to use them. Here are some good questions to ask:
Find out if he is certified. Many certified firms have only one certified technician and that is all they need in order to be a certified firm. This can be misleading. Make sure your technician is certified.
Find out how long he has been cleaning carpet. The turnover in our industry is very high. Make sure that they have enough experience to clean your carpet. A minimum of 3 months is reasonable.
Ask for references of those who have had this technician.