Over the past 10 or so years, I’ve met a lot of great people in the carpet cleaning business. I’ve also met a lot of shady folks. One issue with our industry is the low barrier to entry. Anyone can be a carpet cleaner. Just get a truck (or even a car) buy a carpet cleaning machine, and presto! You are a carpet cleaner. This opens the industry up to all sorts of people, in a good and bad way.
Just a friendly tip: before you go firing off questions to your neighborhood carpet cleaner, take a moment to make some friendly banter and ask how they are doing. A lot of carpet cleaners are owner operators, so they are busy, respect their time but be civil.
Now for the questions!
Question #1: How do you charge?
The answer should be very straightforward, usually it should be 1 of 2 answers: either by the room, or by hour.
Look for companies that charge by the room. I’ve seen carpet cleaning companies charge as low as $20 per room and as high as $100 per room. It really all depends.
Question 2: What are your rates?
Once you find out how they charge, figure out what they charge. Write this number down, and make a note of it.
One of the biggest reasons for people getting into arguments about rates is miscommunication. A carpet cleaner will ask “how many rooms?” You tell them “3” and they show up and find 2 of those rooms are actually 2 room in 1.
Question 3: Are there any special fees?
Did you know that a lot carpet cleaners charge special fees for 2nd story rooms, and for condos multiple stories up? The reason for this is that some companies don’t have hoses long enough to reach that high.
Other companies will charge special fees if there is furniture that needs to be moved, or if they have to clean up the area before working.
Question 4: Do you have a truck mounted machine?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the carpet cleaning industry: only the high end companies have truck mounted machines. These machines are typically $5,000+ (or more) and require a much larger initial investment. The pumps / motors are way stronger, and they generally do a much better job. They also heat the water up much faster and hotter.
It really isn’t a make it or break it situation if they don’t have a truck mounted machine. There are lots of carpet cleaning companies that don’t use truck mounted machines. I know several Boca carpet cleaners that have truck mounted machines, but also carry several portable machines with them to take care of jobs on higher floors, or for small jobs.
Question 5: Are you bonded and insured?
Since there really isn’t any licensing involved, it is a really good idea for a carpet cleaner to be bonded and insured. Many things can happen:
- you can break something
- your machine can get “guck” on a carpet
- you damage the home in some sort of way
It might seem like a red flag to ask something like that, but I assure you it is a normal question.
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions let us know!