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Hard Floor Care

Rental mats are hidden treasures

September 19, 2010
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BSCs are always looking for ways to add additional revenue to their service invoice.

Some BSCs choose to supply towels, tissue and soaps for the restroom; others provide add-on services, such as stripping, waxing or carpet cleaning.

What about mats?

One idea that is gaining popularity is renting your customers entrance mats.

"Many of our customers were renting mats from rental companies," says Carl Probasco of Malvina Diversified Services, Beecher Falls, VT. "We were vacuuming these mats daily so that we always put our best foot forward with our client [and] one day we thought, ‘Why are we cleaning someone else''s mats? Why don''t we just rent these mats to our customer?''"

Renting entrance mats to a customer presents a great opportunity for the BSC as rental mat companies typically provide ineffective mating.

"Effective entrance mats need to perform four very important steps," says Scott Andersen, vice president of sales for The Andersen Company, Dalton, GA.

These steps include:

  1. Stop soil and water
  2. Store soil and water
  3. Minimize tracking of soil and water
  4. Provide a safe surface.

"Entrance mats provided by rental companies do not do any of these four steps very effectively," says Andersen.

Shortcoming of typical rentals

The typical rental mat has a nylon carpet top and provides very little in the way of holding and trapping soil and moisture.

In fact, this type of mat actually migrates soil and water further into the building, making more work for the BSC.

Entrance mats provided by rental companies are also typically only available in one or two colors and are almost always the wrong size for the specified area.

Rental mats are usually changed out once per week.

During the winter months, in such areas as the Northeast, this frequency is often not enough.

Therefore, we typically see BSCs vacuuming or even water-extracting these rental mats for clients between change outs.

The better way

Often, a better solution is to present your client with a more effective and better performing entrance mat.

Mats that feature a bi-level surface that will effectively perform the four important steps previously noted and that will capture 85-90 percent of the soil and moisture at the door are ideal.

You can also present your client a mat in a variety of colors and styles that will better complement the facility''s décor.

In fact, BSCs can often offer clients a mat with a logo on it.

The benefit of a more effective mat not only helps keep the facility''s appearance up, but also ultimately makes your cleaning job easier throughout the entire building.

The easiest way to conduct such a program is by the BSC conducting a mat survey partnering with a preferred distributor.

Following these steps, BSCs can better select the appropriate number of mats in the appropriate lengths and sizes for each unique facility.

After the mats are in place, BSCs should clean them daily and can charge the client an agreed upon weekly rental fee.

With an average service life of three to five years, we find the payback to the BSC can, in most instances, be in as little as three to six months.

So you can very quickly see that this can become a profitable opportunity once the mats are paid for.

One question that always comes up is, "How do I clean these rental mats?"

Probasco says cleaning mats can be easily done by vacuuming daily, hosing off or using a carpet extractor periodically to renovate.

Best of all, these practices can all be done right on the client''s premise and often while still in place.

Fitting in green

Almost everywhere we turn today we hear about green cleaning.

Many BSCs promote green cleaning to clients by using green chemicals, green equipment and green cleaning practices.

Well now you can promote environmentally friendly mats.

Some mats on the market today feature 100 percent PET polyester fiber reclaimed from drink bottles and a rubber backing manufactured of 15 percent rubber backing reclaimed from used car tires.

These practices reduce landfill waste by over 400 tons annually and also conserve the natural resources and energy that would normally be required for their production.

Obviously, entrances are the first place to start when presenting your client with using a high performance rental mat from your company; however, it''s not the only place since facilities use mats in a variety of other areas as well.

We often see mats rented for spill control, wear control in high traffic areas as well as mats used for anti-fatigue purposes.

All of these mats can be combined and rented through the BSC.

Invariably the biggest reason why a BSC''s client uses rental mats is convenience.

Make it convenient and easy for your customer by offering to consolidate invoices and provide them a better high-performance mat that is more effective at the entrance.

You will do yourself a favor by making your job easier and saving labor for other areas of the building.

The opportunities are unlimited as to what you can offer your customer.

Sometimes you just need to think outside the box.


Mike Sharlow is region manager for The Andersen Company, manufacturer of high-performance matting. Their newest product, Waterhog Eco, features a 100 percent recycled PET Polyester carpet top reclaimed from plastic drink bottles and a rubber backing of 15 percent recycled rubber reclaimed from used car tires. Mike has 25 years of experience in the cleaning industry, 12 years as a BSC, and can be reached at msharlow@andersenco.com.

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