Watchdog conducted a report on a rogue trading carpet cleaning company in the U.K a few years back, this cowboy operation was closed down and as far as I’m aware they ceased trading.
However while this company, and I use the term company loosely, has stopped conning the general public, I am in no doubt that dozens more have popped up since then to take their place. Whilst it would be impossible for me to identify each and every one of them, I do have the perfect advantage of having spent years in the trade and knowing what to look out for.
So with that in mind, I will be going over the top 7 things to keep an eye out for before hiring a carpet cleaning company. Some of these can even be used when choosing other types of tradesman, but in this article I will just be covering some of the lies and nonsense carpet cleaners will tell you to get your booking.
1) Bait and Switch
The classic go in low, get the booking, then once they’re in your home and set up you find out what was meant to be a £19.99 carpet clean, turns out to be £99 a carpet! This is of course illegal, aside from the fact it’s unethical, some carpet cleaners use this to get bookings. I even saw one on Facebook recently offering carpet cleans for £20 each, the actual cost of the lounge that needed cleaning was £90 and it was £20 for a tiny box room. It just goes to show that this kind of selling technique stills goes on to this day, so whenever making a booking ALWAYS ask if there’s any hidden costs, because the last thing I would want is someone being taken advantage of.
2) High prices mean high quality:
This is of course nonsense, while the term buy cheap buy twice does apply to a lot of things in life like, just because something costs a lot does not in anyway mean it is best, there are some guys out there like me that charge middle of the road prices and do a really good job. Because someone says carpet cleaning has to cost a lot of money does mean it’s true. with us at Evergreen Clean, because we use Eco chemicals which cost more than detergents our prices cost more, but you get some companies claiming to be green but using detergents and charge as much as 50% MORE than us which is quiet frankly extortion, so If you get quoted around £100 a carpet politely say good day and put the phone down.
3) We’re green and safe for the environment and we don’t use harmful chemicals:
This has to be the most annoying one for me because I am a green company, I will be completely honest with you, back when I used to do this as a contractor for another company we didn’t use Eco-Friendly products, but then we never claimed to. When I started Evergreen Clean and came up with the name my USP was that I was going to be green and I’m proud to advertise that fact knowing that I am as green a company as I can be. However while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, when it comes to the safety of people and pets having other carpet cleaning companies try and emulate my success as a green company and copy my credentials it really annoying, not only that it’s dangerous.
I won’t say who it was, but I was doing a job for a women back in November last year and when she answered the door she seemed really nervous, I asked her what was wrong but she seemed hesitant to say, after 5 minutes of me being me and her opening up she told me why she was so nervous, the story goes she had a radiator leak on the upstairs bedroom carpet and her insurance company had called out someone from Google to remove the rusty water marks.
The guy turns up with his gear and goes upstairs and begins to spray the carpet with the pre-treatment solution and after about 10 minutes the customer hears someone rushing down the stairs, and as she goes out to ask what was going on, the carpet cleaner gets in his van and drives off, not knowing why he had left so quickly the women heads upstairs opens the bedroom door and there in front of her, her once new cream wool bedroom carpet was now black, not only that it was hard to the touch.
To cut a long story short what had transpired is the pre-treatment that had been sprayed down, and I would like to add was meant to be safe, had ignited, the cause is still unknown how, but the whole carpet had gone up in flames.
Thank fully the carpet cleaner in question was insured and they paid for them to have a new carpet, but you can see from that story that saying something is safe when it clearly isn’t can not only damage property but put peoples lives as risk, so if you’re unsure about the chemicals someones using, even ours just ask and I’ll be happy to show you.
Confusing you with technical terms in order to charge more or up sell you services that you don’t need, this can come in all shapes and sizes from marketing ploys such as a company offering a 10 stage cleaning process ( 10 stages really? ) from doing on site assessments on your carpets to determine the cost, and you know what surprise surprise it’s going to cost more than you thought, why ? because your carpets backing is a low moisture absorbing polypropylene mix and well you get the gist.
The thing is any good carpet cleaner doesn’t have to resort to those tactics to make a booking, and personally I think it’s really low trying to squeeze a few more quid out of someone knowing full well you’re blowing smoke up their (EDIT). If you’ve ever experienced this you know what to do, thanks but no thanks and find someone else.
5) Hire Machines:
You know the ones you can rent out from your local supermarket, well If you haven’t read my article on them yet, I did an exposé on them listing 4 reasons why you should never use them. However an increasing trick cowboy carpet cleaners use is to advertise a powerful machine in their marketing ( stolen photos from Google ), leading the consumer to believe the company have invested heavily in their equipment, when in fact they are either A) hiring a carpet cleaning such as a Rug Doctor to do the work, or they have bought one off of Gumtree or Ebay for a hundred pound or so and are using that to cash in on a half arsed job.
Because believe me the difference between a clean from a hire machine and something like we use is night and day. personally I don’t know how these people can walk into someones house with a machine like that and call themselves a professional carpet cleaner, but they do, so with that in mind if your carpet cleaner turns up with a Rug Doctor tell them to sling their hook, because if you let them do the work I can guarantee it’s going to do more harm than good.
6) Fully Qualified:
This is a good one, you would think that this would mean someone who knows the trade inside and out, they are of course claiming to be FULLY qualified, in reality a lot of carpet cleaners claiming this have only spent a morning at a seminar watching a real carpet cleaner use a machine to clean a carpet and to remove some stains, and all for the sum of £60, yes for as little as £60 you can go to a carpet cleaning seminar and leave with a certificate saying you’re a professional.
Amazing isn’t it ? Aside from the fact a morning sitting round a desk is as useful as watching a Youtube video, these people actually believe they’re now a professional.
I know we all have to start somewhere, but people need to be honest about it, cleaning carpets may seem insignificant, but you hire a bad carpet cleaner and you could end up in tens of thousands of debt, and your pets or children suffering serious problems because of it.
Prochem Citra-boost for example, this is used for cleaning heavily soiled traffic lanes usually in pubs or restaurants, the thing is this chemical is being used in peoples home by inexperienced cleaners, and Prochem Citra-Boost can not only cause skin irritation and respiratory problems, it can cause blindness and if ingested can lead to death, it sounds overly dramatic but I want to highlight the dangers in this article, you have to be really careful.
7) Fake reviews & Fake Photos:
You may of noticed our photos are all watermarked, this is because when I first started out someone was stealing my photos and using them as their own, on this website I think there’s only around 20 photos of my work, but on our Facebook page I have around 500 examples of my work, with each and every photo taken of my work done by me and photographed ( with permission ) by me.
The trouble is these cowboys don’t have the equipment, training, expertise or know how for achieving that level of cleaning so what do they do, they go to Google, type in ” carpet cleaning ” and just steal the photos. Not only that they create fake reviews to go with them giving the illusion they’re a legitimate business, to someone on the outside they look the part, but what happens is you let these dishonest people into your home, a home that may have children, a mother alone, I think you get the picture, so be careful.
I would say 95% of my customers are women, most of which have children with them, is your safety worth compromising by having Joe Blogs out because he only charged £10 a carpet ?