When the time comes to have your carpet professionally steam cleaned, your first impulse will probably be to choose to hire the cleaner with the lowest prices. Be careful! The majority of these companies have cut corners somewhere! When businesses like these advertise ‘unbeatable prices,’ you need to ask yourself three important questions.
Have they cut extremely vital operating costs, such as insurance?
An adequate level of business insurance coverage is not cheap. Consequently, this is commonly one of the first things to get cut if a business is struggling. If this business cannot afford insurance to cover them if an unfortunate accident should occur on your property, can they afford to pay for any damage to your home or your loved ones if they should have an accident? Business insurance is not required by law; any person with a legitimate business license can legally do business without insurance. Always ask your carpet cleaner for proof of insurance!
Is this company using substandard equipment?
Anything other than steam cleaning is not going to do an adequate job of cleaning your carpet, upholstery or area rugs. Dry carpet cleaning such as encapsulation cleaning, dry foam cleaning, and bonnet cleaning will only disguise the dirt in your textiles. In addition, these sub-par cleaning systems do not kill germs, viruses, or diseases because they use only small amounts of warm water. These dry cleaning methods are designed for use on commercial carpeting in commercial establishments such as stores, schools, and churches. Steam cleaning on the other hand is considered the gold standard for textile cleaning. Most steam cleaners produce water above 180+ degrees F for superior cleaning and germ killing capability. Steam cleaning equipment is extremely costly and in order for companies employing steam cleaners to stay in business, they have to charge more than the commonly advertised ‘Whole House For $99’ special. Before hiring any carpet cleaner, ask if they do steam cleaning. If their answer is “no” then you’re better off finding a different company.
Will this company use bait and switch tactics on me?
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Unfortunately, homeowners are still swindled out of hundreds of dollars every day. What happens is, the customer falls for the attractive pricing and decides to hire the carpet cleaner. Then, when the technicians are done cleaning, they spring a bunch of hidden charges on the homeowner resulting in a much larger bill than originally agreed upon. Then, since the work has already been completed, the homeowner feels pressured to pay the price even though they feel taken advantage of. Another position that these companies use is intimidation. As soon as they walk in the door, they start with their extremely high-pressured sales and suggestions for the homeowner. They start adding on service after service and are very pushy with their suggestions until before you know it, the price is three times higher than originally agreed upon. Always demand a written quote before any (not just carpet cleaning) technician does any work in your home. This way, if the company tries to increase the price on you after the work is completed, you have physical evidence that would hold up in a court of law suggesting that they are using bait and switch tactics. A legitimate carpet cleaning company should be able to give you a fairly accurate estimate over the phone and should be able to provide you with an exact price, prior to beginning cleaning.
Choosing a carpet cleaner may seem a bit scary to you at this point. Relax; as long as you follow the above guidelines, you will be thrilled with whichever cleaner you choose.