Category Archives for "Guest Blog Spot"

“Under Pressure” by John Kelly of Restormate…

Welcome to another guest blog spot, this time from John Kelly of Restormate.  John and Lynn’s business  supplies virtually ANYTHING you need to run a cleaning or restoration business, including training courses too.  Their knowledge has helped us in our carpet cleaning business more than once and they were one of the first to supply my favourite Sticky-Tabs for use under furniture feet.  I love them because they stick to the foot and slide over the carpet, making it so much easier to replace items against a wall or into alcoves where sliders won’t work.  I highly recommend you get some Sticky-Tabs here>>.  More recently Lynn spotted a post I’d put on the TACCA Facebook page saying I urgently needed a crevice spray tool/detailing wand.  Within 20 minutes Lynn put up a reply with a link to exactly what we needed and their price was very competitive too.  The wand was received the next day and we had one very happy client, thanks Lynn.  So, I’ll hand over to John and his informative article about jet sizes and pressure, with some great tips too…

15094-29287_hA lot of cleaners get confused when it comes to what size jet to use on their wand and what pressure to clean at.

Personally I believe the optimum pressure to clean with is 300-400psi. The higher pressure the water the longer the water will hold heat so increased pressure means increased heat. So you have the benefit of the water hitting the carpet fibres harder and also the water being hotter as it hits the fibres, all leading to greater cleaning power.

It has been calculated that over a 100’ foot of hose run you can lose around 180psi between the pump and the wand jet. Consequently if you want 300psi at the cleaning head then your pressure regulator needs to set at 450-500.

Wand jets are graded by output and angle. Most carpet cleaning jets are 110 degrees. On a twin jet wand this ensures that the water is spread across the full length of the wand head. On 3 or 4 jet wands smaller angles are used such as 85 or even 65 degrees.

The second number on the jet is the output.  Let’s say an 01 jet will put out 1 litre per minute therefore an 04 will put out 4 litres and so on.

In view of this have you ever considered using different wands for different situations. For severely soiled carpets heavy pre-sprays are often required along with adequate flushing to remove the suspended dirt. In this situation a wand jetted with 04 jets would be ideal and provide enough water flow to give a good clean. A wand with 01 jets may struggle and you may have to make more cleaning passes to achieve the same results.

However in a different scenario, say when the carpet is very worn and there is a chance of cellulosic browning or there are seams which don’t look that clever, then using a wand with a lower flow rate may be a better option.

Don’t forget the greater the flow, the lower the temperature of the water so adjust this as well if possible.

The orifice on brass spray tips will wear through time. The wear will depend on use, hardness of the water and harshness of any chemicals which go through them. This wear is hard to detect but can lead to over application of water and chemical. In view of this it is recommended to change brass jets every 3 months. Stainless steel ones will last about 3 times longer but do have a higher purchase cost.

Most wands have filters behind the jet, often a combined filter/anti drip valve. These often get clogged with chemical residue or scale. Scale is the dissolved minerals (stone) in the water which reconstitute themselves due to heat and pressure. This scale often looks like rust and people often confuse the two, especially truckmount users.

It is recommended that these filters are cleaned at least monthly if not more frequently. This will ensure the correct flow through the jets and also relieve pressure on pumps and other components.  The best way to clean these filters, and also jets, is to soak them overnight in a product such as Chemspec’s DFC Calcium Lime & Rust Remover (further info available here>>).

John Kelly.

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Some great advice and I’m sure we’ll be ordering some of the Calcium Remover and probably rescuing some of the tips we’ve replaced due to poor flow rate.

Take a look at John & Lynn’s website, if they don’t have it you probably don’t need it, or they will ‘know a man who does’.

Thanks again to John.

 

Allan.

 

 

The Greatest Commercial Carpet Cleaning Challenge, by Richard Sudall of Chemspec Europe

I’ve known Richard for many years through our own carpet cleaning business and have used many of Chemspec Europe’s products, including their Fire and Flood range.   The commercial carpet cleaning side of our business was ‘revolutionised’ after attending a TACCA day and then following that up with the Commercial Carpet Maintenance course that Chemspec run.  If you’ve never done that course I highly recommend it, you’ll look at commercial carpeting and it’s maintenance in a much more profitable way.  In my experience you’ll win more commercial work, and give your clients a maintenance schedule that shows you know your stuff.  They’ll look on you as their expert, even when others try to get in using low price, they’ll remain loyal to you and your planned maintenance schedule.  Over to Richard, who shares some great advice…

Reception _ striped carpet  Boardroom  Hotel Corridor carpet cleaning

Carpets are now installed across a much wider range of buildings than ever before and are even being laid on top of the recent trend towards wood or laminate flooring.  Years ago carpets were laid like rugs with floorboards visible around the edges, often painted black, until, with the advent of Broadloom, wall-to-wall carpeting became the norm.   I’m guessing that most of us who spend large parts of our working day in an office will have noticed that it’s carpeted; mine is.  Where carpets are laid in commercial premises like theatres, hospitals, hotels and offices, the challenge to keep them clean is greater than it is in domestic situations.  So what are the challenges we face in keeping these carpets looking great?

Larger areas and higher footfall are obvious factors but logistics can play a part in adding to the difficulties of cleaning.  In airports, for example, clearing security can take longer than actually doing the job and some premises have strict rules about access through doors that are normally securely locked.  Sometimes there can be problems with access to clean water and often the waste water has to be carried large distances for disposal.  Some premises, like Casinos, Hotels, Hospitals and Nursing Homes are occupied 24 hours a day and noise can be an issue; just ask an Airline pilot who has tried to sleep in the daytime in a noisy Hotel.

The practical aspects of commercial carpet cleaning are largely the same as domestic, just on a larger scale.  Clearly soil is THE major factor; not just the amount, but also where it is and its type.  If we consider the amount first, the majority of soil found in carpet is dry particulate soil.  In fact, Chemspec teach that 79% of the total soil mass in the average carpet is dry.  That’s why it’s critical to vacuum carpet regularly and thoroughly, even immediately before periodic cleaning.  Failure to remove sufficient dry soil prior to wet cleaning will make the cleaning task harder as the soil combines with the water to form a type of mud, which is then more difficult to extract.  This can cause Wicking problems as the residues ‘wick’ to the surface of the fibres in the drying process, leaving the grey shading that appears in the heavy traffic areas soon after drying.  Avoiding it is simple; always vacuum thoroughly, use a low moisture carpet cleaning method such as rotary bonnet cleaning, use encapsulating solutions or ‘dry’ compound cleaning and force dry the carpet after cleaning with a high moisture method.  The 79% figure quoted applies to carpets fitted in the vast majority of areas; not just in high traffic locations.

ribbedentranceIn terms of where the soil is mainly located, think of barrier matting, which is designed to remove soil from feet and keep it near the doorways.  Barrier matting is fantastic at doing so, especially if it extends further than just the first one or two footfalls.  Typical commercial carpet, rather than being fantastic at it, is simply very good at cleaning shoes.  85% of soil enters the typical building on footwear and, after 7 steps the soles of our shoes are cleaned.  If no barrier mat is fitted, then the entry carpet holds onto the soil acting like a reservoir and keeps hold of it until the carpet is vacuumed.  If the carpet is not vacuumed sufficiently well, or frequently enough, it will become saturated with soil and subsequent foot traffic will begin to transport soil from the reservoir further and further into the building creating what carpet cleaners call Traffic Lanes.  Eventually, if the carpet continues to be neglected, these traffic lanes will spread throughout the building.  We have all seen them and our carpet-cleaning customers love them.  Obviously it is equally important to vacuum the barrier mat, as that reservoir, similarly, will become saturated if neglected.

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Having discussed the amount and location of what is thought of as typical soil, now we will discuss some of the different types of soil that might make the carpet-cleaning task more challenging in a commercial environment.

Carpet soil is defined as anything that is foreign to the construction of the carpet.  We are not just faced with the fine, so called typical, carpet soil that drops deep in the pile.  It can be physical soil such as chewing gum or food particles or the carpet can be discoloured with stains of the liquid dyes contained in such items as coffee, tea, energy drinks, fake tan solutions and a wide variety of natural and artificial dyes within spices and other food additives.  These are most likely to be found in public areas; chewing gum and drink stains in cinemas, food and drink stains in food service areas and food dye stains in restaurants and roadside service stations.  Notice the carpet discoloration that is often apparent near the kitchen access of a restaurant.  Fake tan is common in hotel rooms as well as domestic carpets.  These types of soil are a serious concern to building owners and contractors due to the high concentration of soil and the resulting contrast in colour.  If 200ml of dark coloured coffee is spilled in a 10cm x 10cm area of a light coloured carpet it’s likely to be noticeable from several Metres away and so too is a piece of gum or the orange dye from a can of Fanta, for example.

Even colourless clean oils will darken as other soils stick to them, over time.  A single stain can make the difference between a carpeted area looking good or bad.  These types of stains can all be removed from the majority of carpet but contractors need to select specialist products and perhaps take on additional training from specialist manufacturers such as Chemspec to achieve the best results.

24 7Some types of cleaning tasks are tricky by their very nature; casinos are open 24 hours per day so when do you clean the carpets and can you guarantee high speed drying?  Many carpet cleaning systems are noisy, even the self contained Truck mounted type, that remain outside the building whilst simply running hoses inside, produce lots of noise outside, certainly too much if guests are trying to sleep during the day in a hotel room.  Even using a portable machine outside a hotel room would be too noisy.  Elderly and Mentally Infirm units pose access difficulties, not just security but access to rooms where residents may be bed bound.  Not only is the soil a challenge but also there is the deodorisation task, often made worse by the constant re-contamination of areas by residents.  Many commercial premises add automatic perfume dispensers but these only tend to mask malodours; the professional cleaner needs to remove the source of the problem to fully eliminate the unpleasant and potentially harmful odours.  Fortunately, a number of very effective deodorising cleaning solutions are available, some containing enzymes that will digest the residual bacteria that can remain in the fibres of the carpet after thorough conventional cleaning.

Stairs can be thought of as a challenge but, with the right equipment and technique, they are not really a major problem, simply taking more time and effort, and therefore more cost, to maintain them in good condition.

Formula429web(2)Of the wide variety of commercial premises with carpet cleaning needs it is probably the Nursing Home and Dementia Units that pose the greatest challenge.  There are inevitable spills of brightly coloured medication, slip risk from damp carpet, odour control, constant recontamination, health and safety risk from body fluid spills with hepatitis and other virulent microbial hazards.  Almost every type of soil, hot & cold foods, hot and cold drinks, medicines, body liquids and solids, sweets, lubricant from wheelchairs, in fact an endless list of contaminants can affect the appearance of carpeting in these environments.

Keeping commercial carpets looking good is a budgetary decision for management.  The cleaning task is straightforward for professional carpet cleaners but is made more difficult and, in the long term, more expensive if the carpet gets too heavily soiled, when cleaning becomes the more difficult task of restoration.

Perhaps building owners and facility managers need to think about carpet maintenance in the same way that they think about the security alarm maintenance, plan it, schedule it and get it done before it is noticeable that work needs doing.

Whilst certain commercial premises, like the Nursing and Dementia Care homes mentioned above, are more difficult to keep clean than others, it follows that, ideally, they should all have a proper cleaning regime where specific tasks are performed to a well-documented schedule of routine maintenance.  Where such a regime is implemented, as with a growing number of enterprises, this planned maintenance will not only create a cleaner and healthier environment for the occupants but also will prove cost effective.  The life of the carpets will be extended considerably when compared with that of buildings where cleaning only takes place when the need is glaringly obvious.

Richard Sudall

Chemspec Europe

 

Thanks again to Richard.  So, take a look at Chemspec’s Website here>>

Sign up to their great Newsletter full of loads more advice here>>

View previous articles and news here>>

Remember that we’re carpet cleaners too.  So last, but not least, find out more about a Chemspec Europe product which JUST THE MENTION OF has won us more commercial carpet cleaning work in the Health Care Sector than anything else we have ever included in a tender document for such work!  See the article here>>

Naturally Spotless Wool & a FREE App from Steve Bakker of WoolSafe.

The second of our Guest Blog Posts is from Steve Bakker of The WoolSafe Organisation.

To quote their website…

The WoolSafe Organisation is a resource for information and advice about carpet and rug care and a range of carpet care services to carpet owners, carpet suppliers and the providers of carpet care products.”

They provide:

Accredited Carpet Cleaning Companies

networks of accredited carpet cleaning companies (more)

Registered Carpet Inspectors

networks of registered carpet inspectors (more)

Carpet and Rug Cleaning Advice

advice on how to care for carpets and rugs (more)

Testing and Accreditation of Carpet Cleaning Products

testing and accreditation of wool carpet cleaning and maintenance products (more)

 

I have known Steve for some time now, both through our own carpet cleaning business and also as a fellow exhibitor at cleaning related events.  When I asked Steve if he would like to write a guest blog he replied almost immediately and what you read here is the first of Steve’s contributions.  With fibre technology changing, and buyers wanting different things, it makes for interesting reading and possibly even something you could pass on to your clients as there’s some great tips.  I’ll hand over to Steve…

I was at a summit meeting of carpet manufacturers held at the British Wool Marketing Board recently.  The wool carpet manufacturers are facing a tough challenge in competing against the new wave of ‘bleach cleanable’ polypropylene fibre carpet. With a combination of slick marketing and stretching the truth polypropylene is winning an increasing share of the market.

After years of ignoring carpet after care because it isn’t as glamorous and easy to sell as design, colour and texture, manufacturers have finally woken up to the fact that consumers do care about cleaning and maintenance, and are making their purchasing decisions based upon it!

It was with this challenge in mind that I was asked to attend the meeting and kindly given the opportunity to promote WoolSafe Approved Products and Services to those present.

There is a false perception amongst consumers that wool fibre carpets are problematic to maintain and that spot cleaning is difficult. There is a belief; especially amongst the older generation that once you have your wool carpet cleaned you will be caught in a cycle of cleaning/rapid soiling/re-cleaning.

Although this may have been true in the past it isn’t true any longer, well not if you use WoolSafe Approved Products. You see, all Approved products have undergone soiling tests and have been found not to cause soiling any quicker than plain water.

When it comes to removing spillages from wool carpet, the sooner the spot can be treated the better the chances of successful removal. In the last couple of weeks I have successfully removed half a pint of Guinness (which my 2 year old spilt) and a glass of red wine from a cream loop pile wool carpet with no specialist cleaning equipment, just kitchen roll and a consumer spotter. The reason I was able to get the spillages completely out is because I know what to do, immediately. Unfortunately many carpet owners, retailers and manufacturers don’t.

iPhone_5_Vertical_mapIt was to address this issue that we developed the WoolSafe Carpet Stain Cleaning Guide App. Always at hand and free for everyone to download it is hoped that this excellent tool will assist carpet owners in tackling spills quickly and save them hundreds of pounds in replacement costs while improving their perception of the easy clean properties of wool.

The App gives step by step, easy to follow advice on how to remove most common household spills. At the end of each piece of advice, if consumers are unsuccessful in removing the stain, they are directed to the search for an approved cleaner facility.

Along with approved cleaning products WoolSafe Service Providers are also on the App with those nearest to the App user’s location displayed on a map with one touch to call, email or visit member’s websites. It is hoped that the App will work as a vehicle to channel consumers with carpet care issues directly to WoolSafe member products and services at the time they need them most!

Although the majority of the carpet manufacturers who were present at the meeting already recommend WoolSafe member products and services to their customers those that don’t have indicated they would in the future. Links to the App have also been established since the meeting so let’s hope this drives more carpet owners towards our approved professional carpet cleaners.

No fibre is stain proof and that includes man-made fibres, although polypropylene is hydrophobic it doesn’t release oil based stains well at all. It is much easier to remove oily spots from wool fibre than synthetics.

Incidentally, who in their right mind would pour bleach on their carpet?!  Not only is it a health hazard for children and pets crawling around (and anyone else for that matter) but also potentially damaging to the carpet backing and sub-floor, incredibly bad for the environment and stinks!

Have you come across customers bleach cleaning? Were there any adverse effects?

For more information about WoolSafe or becoming a member please contact me steve@woolsafe.org

Steve Bakker

WoolSafe Marketing Manager

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Thanks Steve, a great article and some links to some great resources too.  If you’re not already a member of The WoolSafe Organisation, or not using their Approved products, perhaps now’s the time to take a look, after all, the whole wool industry is getting behind the scheme.

Allan.

 

Making the most of marketing – Ashley White, PageCrest

Let Me introduce you to Ashley White…

Ashley White Pagecrest

I thought I’d ask some of the people we work with and recommend to contribute Blog articles on their ‘specialised subject’ – a sort of Mastermind of our contacts.  The first contribution, and the first of two articles, is from Ashley White who runs Pagecrest.  Ashley is a fully trained  “Google Adwords Qualified Individual”, which means he’s been trained by Google and knows his stuff.  Not only that Ashley also knows our industry as he also runs his own successful carpet cleaning business.  This gives him a unique insight into what is needed in Google Ad campaigns and keywords.  He’s not a huge call centre with dozens of just out of college IT bods, he really understands our industry and what we need.  So if you need a campaign setting up from scratch or just need him to give you an opinion on your existing setup I’m sure he can help.  I’ll hand over to Ashley now and let him talk about how the world has changed and the impact it has on our business marketing…

 

The world has changed…

The world has changed over the last 6 years. The days of frivolous spending have faded to a distant memory – replaced by price shopping, belt-tightening, and general frugality!

What does this mean for us as business owners?

It means that we can no longer rely on customers calling to book our services or buy our products on the spur of the moment. While they certainly serve a purpose, we can no longer expect a substantial return from leaflet drops, newspaper ads, or items in the parish magazine. In fact, for many businesses, this type of advertising has become more of a way of increasing brand awareness, as opposed to generating business in the short term.

How do we survive?

If being pro-active has become so inefficient, what can we do? Develop some focus on being reactive – instead of using our marketing budgets as a way of throwing enough mud to hope some of it will stick, wouldn’t it make more sense to concentrate on a market where customers are looking for your services? Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that when a customer is looking for what we’re offering, our company is one of the first that they find. Isn’t it easier to convince a customer that you’re the one to deal with, as opposed to first having to sell the service, then your company?

Where do customers search?

In the last few years, there has been a marked increase in consumers using the internet to find what they are looking for. In 2012, 85% of consumers used the internet to search for local businesses. 34% use the internet at least once a month to find local companies which offer the services or products they need. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this equates to a lot of enquiries, even for sparsely populated areas. And what method do they use to search the internet? At this moment in time, Google accounts for 2/3rds of all internet searches in Europe. That’s a LOT of people actively looking to spend a LOT of money!

How can we get a slice of this pie?

If we could make sure that our business website listing was one of the very first seen by the customer when they searched for our services, it’s easy to see how this could have a definate impact on our incoming enquiries. In fact, if your listing was in first position (very top of Google search result page), you could expect almost 8% of users to visit your website (where you can then proceed to show them why your company is the one to do business with!). In fact, for search queries that have ‘high commercial intent’ (what you and I might call ‘hot leads’), the top 3 listings take 40% of all the clicks on the page! So I’m sure you can see the benefit of making sure that your business listing is as close to the top as possible!

So, just to recap:

  1. Old tried & trusted marketing methods are not as reliable as they once were.
  2. It’s important to make ourselves known to customers who are actively looking for our service.
  3. The vast majority of the population use the internet to find local companies offering the services they need.
  4. Google has the lions share of internet users using its search engines, far more than any other company.
  5. Being at the top of Google’s search results gives us a strong chance of getting the ‘hot leads’ to visit our website (where we can then proceed to show them why we’re the company to deal with!)

 

In the next post, I’ll be explaining how you can get your company to this much-coveted position, and how to make the most of it.  If you can’t wait, and just want someone to do it for you, just click through to my page and give me a call, I’ll help you get going in the right direction.

 

 

Ashley White

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