In this current economic climate, it’s important to not be wasteful with financial endeavors of any kind.
That means carefully evaluating spending and investing the proper upkeep needed to maintain the investment.
Property managers are attempting to save as much money as humanly possible — sometimes asking for the impossible — and it is our responsibility as building service contractors (BSCs) to provide our clients with not only the best service but also high-quality advice.
One vital area that can certainly assist not only you, but the building owner as well, is a sensible, well-thought-out carpet care program.
This area is often overlooked and can cost the building owner thousands of dollars in replacement and repair costs which, more importantly, could actually cause the loss of the building services contract.
Prior to discussing the actual methods involved in a carpet care program, let’s briefly touch upon the subject of vacuums.
Vacuums will, after all, hit your carpet before any process and are your first line of defense.
It really does surprise us in this day and age how many BSCs still insist on a substandard vacuum cleaner.
For the most effective clean, contractors should only use a high-quality backpack or upright vacuum fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system.
In addition to removing the dirt, bacteria, etc., from the carpet, it will also improve the indoor air quality of a facility, benefiting occupants long after the process is finished.
As with any well-planned program, there are specific steps that need to be followed to ensure that constant quality is met.
Below are the basic steps that, if followed correctly, will provide both you and your clients an extremely solid and effective carpet care program.
Before any dirt even enters the building, there are opportunities to control it before it spreads through the facility.
First and foremost, it is beneficial to have a landscaping program in place.
Besides providing a lasting first impression of your business, proper precautionary lawn care controls excess amounts of dirt and debris around your facility.
Now that outside rubbish is under control, walk-off mats at your entrance and throughout your facility can capture 70 percent to 80 percent of all outside dust and dirt before it even gets to the carpeting.
Size and quality are major factors when determining effectiveness.
If the rug is too small, the building will not get the correct soil removal; poor mat quality can cause the building owner to incur unnecessary costs in constant replacement cycles.
This is a great opportunity to establish yourself as the confident professional they have entrusted to give them honest recommendations and advice.
Recommending to the property owner the best mats to suit their facility’s needs in regards to the what, where, when, size and type offers the provider the opportunity to demonstrate expertise, which gives the client peace of mind knowing they are working with a competent authority on the subject.
Next, a solid spot removal program is vital in the overall upkeep of any carpet — whether new or old.
This is when a solid training program, including not only how to remove the spot but, more importantly, how to recognize what the spot actually is so you can treat it and avoid overuse of chemical comes in handy.
Neglecting this simple and effective method can result in damaging the carpet further, which drives up your client’s costs and, even worse, possibly causes them to view you as incapable or unprofessional.
Spot removal hosts one of the largest advancements in the green cleaning movement by introducing a non-harmful peroxide-based carpet cleaner.
Not only do these solutions work at a high level of efficiency, but they have no way of actually damaging the carpet due to their chemical makeup.
This will be an area of high interest for the environmentally-conscious crowd.
As we move deeper into the building, there may be light soiling or high-traffic dirt depending on the level of activity in the facility.
This level of the carpet care program is referred to as the interim phase.
Bonnet cleaning used to dominate this phase and is still the preferred choice with many BSCs due to its ease of use and general effectiveness.
However, there has been a gradual shift over the years away from interim cleaning methods mainly due to some carpet manufacturers no longer recommending bonnet cleaning as an approved method, even going as far as voiding the guarantee in some instances.
The modern technique being utilized is the encapsulation method.
This process actually encapsulates the soil and contaminants in microcrystals and, once dried, these crystals can be easily removed via vacuum cleaner.
It is a technique that continues to work with outstanding results.
Not only does this produce a surface that dries within 20 minutes — which is a crucial advantage over the prior method — but, due to the nonstick nature of the crystals, it will not attract new dirt.
This results in a carpet that stays cleaner for a longer period of time, maximizing your carpet care program.
Lastly, the final restorative steps of the carpet care system have also shown great technological advancement over the years.
Both prominent methods, dry clean and deep extraction, have earned the distinction as top processes with proven and measurable results.
The dry cleaning method weighs in as the most popular due to the quick drying time and ease of use.
For companies like ours who support sustainable practices, the lack of water and chemicals are an added benefit.
There are many steps to providing an exceptional carpet care system that is effective and profitable.
Following as many of the practices mentioned as possible will enhance the life of the building, whether initiating a carpet care program or expanding on what is currently in place.
Ultimately, the facility will be cleaner, the customer happier and the process easier.
Marvin Ashton is the master development director and David Farrell is the executive vice president for Stratus Building Solutions. Stratus is the industry leader in facility services, using their own line of Green Seal-certified chemicals, Stratus Private Label HEPA vacuums and other proprietary products that fall in line with the company’s strong emphasis on environmental stewardship. Please visit www.stratusbuildingsolutions.com or call (877) 731-2020 for more information regarding facility services or franchising opportunities.