Rambo’s Ramblings: Would You Believe Twenty-Six To One?

Getting New Clients NOW !!

Alright, here is a plan of action for everyone who needs new clients now.

1. Put out 1000 of your most productive flyers every week per tech.

2. Mail 100 sales letters to commercial prospects per week. Restaurants, lawyers, doctors. Whatever, your choice, but do it once a week.

3. Follow up the mailing 7-10 days with a phone call.

4. Contact other business owners. Swap customer lists. Contact 100 new prospects from each list every week. Send a sales letter first. Then follow up with a phone call.

5. Offer these same business owners gift certificates to give away as premiums to their clients.

6. Give gift certificates away at every Real Estate Office in town for every Realtor working in that office every week.

7. Contact 15 prior clients every day. Let them know you are still alive.

8. Contact 30 cold prospects every day in the market area you want to work in.

9. When completing a job, go to the neighbor and knock on the door, introduce yourself. Give them a business card. Give them a flyer. Tell then you want to be their cleaner of choice as well and hope they will consider you when they need the work.

10. Offer a cash reward or cleaning credit to anyone that gives you a referral now.

11. Offer a strong incentive to use your services now ( a discount, a contest, whatever, be creative).

12. Join a service club or your local chamber of commerce. Attend the meetings, do the service and volunteer work. Great networking opportunity.

13. Whatever other great idea that might come to your head.

Now here is the biggest key.

Don’t do one at a time. Don’t just do the ones you like and ignore the rest. Do them all right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, NOW. This is the success law of taking massive action. It doesn’t matter which success guru you subscribe to, they all tell you to take action. Massive action yields massive results. Don’t think about it, DO IT NOW!

Use your mouse, left click and drag this entire message. Go to Edit on your tool menu at the top of the page, and click it. Select copy and click. Now open your word processing program and click on edit and select paste.

This posting will magically appear on paper.

Print it and post it where you will see it daily.

A little bit of inspiration again from The Industry Giant Two years ago, on the other message board, I posted a 13 step plan of action. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the notoriety. Nor did I expect it to be reposted and reposted and reposted and reposted… Thanks to those who endorsed and complimented it.

It even led to some exchanged emails with Ron “crocodile bait” Curtis. I have found that Ron and I have traveled a similar path. Particularly the slow, tough start we had building our businesses one cheerleader at a time. Like Ron, I had also declared personal bankruptcy, lost my home because I could no longer afford it, and moved back into my Mother’s home (scary). Meanwhile, my business was growing consistently from repeat and referred business. I knew that with patience, persistence, and a lot of years, I would have a large and profitable business.

In my first four years:

I had to rely on Social Assistance (welfare) once, delivering pizzas twice, and preparing tax returns once, to get through the winter months. And personally, I wouldn’t recommend them. But at the time, I really didn’t have any idea what to do.

My fifth year was dedicated to my personal growth and education.

Everything I had experienced up to that point had prepared me for this new growth.

I became even more of a craftsman, due in large part to networking with other carpet cleaners. I had actually developed and implemented a Marketing plan (what a novel idea that was!). I became a voracious reader. I devoured a number of books either recommended by or given to me by mentors. And my mindset changed.

One of the books that comes to mind is The Ultimate Success Secret, by Dan Kennedy. I highly recommend it. It was a gift from Joe Polish for being a client. In it, Dan outlined a 10 step action plan for a woman who needed to secure financing for her manufacturing company to allow for growth. He also stated that all ten needed to be implemented all at once, not one at a time. By doing so you invoke the “law of massive action”.

And that is…

Massive action produces massive results.

That was the basis from which my plan was born. Now to be honest, I did not implement all 13 steps. I didn’t have to. By getting started, a magical thing happened.

My phone rang and rang. I got busy. And I have stayed busy since. My business turned around. And it became fun again.

That is the lesson I wish to convey. Sitting around wondering why your phone doesn’t seem to work won’t change anything. Go out and make things happen. Take action, preferably massive action. It takes an incredible amount of energy to develop momentum, but very little to maintain it. By taking action now, you will get the ball rolling and then you will be able to cruise through your winter months.

Remember, take what you need, and discard the rest.

Paul Douglas

Copyright 2003 Paul Douglas. All rights reserved.

November 30, 2005 / by / in
From Start to Finish: Turbo-Charging Your Dry Foam Cleaning In Restaurants

Thought I’d just sit down tonight and send you a few words.

I have cleaned my share of restaurants, so, by now I have figured out what not to do! Lets get you up to speed. It sounds like some of you out there may be 10 years behind the rest of us! Hang on! I will pull you a little closer to the 21st century! :o)

Right off the bat, I will say you are going to have to spend a few bucks! No huge amount, though, but still enough money to buy the necessary stuff to make your life much easier.

The Shopping List:

1. Super Wash Soda is found in the laundry soap department of your local grocery store. It is in a yellow box with an Arm and Hammer logo on it. It costs about $2.50 +/-. See? That’s not so bad! Get a quart freezer jar to use as a container for it. Cost: less then a buck. Your wife can help you on this step! :o)

2. Buy a good plastic 10-Quart Bucket. Rubbermaid makes good ones; Hesco carries a good one at reasonable cost. (com-2963, currently on sale for $3.98) Their phone number is 1-800-822-7467.

3. To go with the bucket, you will need an Immersion Heater. Jon-Don sells a good one. The “donut” type is the quicker of the two types I have used and is safe to use with only 1 gallon of water in the bucket. Always, always, always keep the donut in the water when plugged in! (Product # CA-3150-EA. $42.26 at Jon-Don)

4. You have a choice of presprays depending on the fiber type you will be cleaning. My favorite prespray for Nylon carpets is SPC by Just Rite. On a polypropylene (olefin) carpet, I have been using a Fabpro product
called “Hard Surface Cleaner”.

I mix it at 2 to 4 oz. per gallon as a carpet prespray.
(Hesco FAB-058 $10 a gallon case lot) You might want to buy a separate pump-up sprayer for $20 at Wal-Mart or Ace Hardware. Get the kind that has two fan nossels and use the big one.

5. Restaurant Power Foam from Just Rite. It is the only one there is! Accept no substitutes! I usually mix mine a little more diluted with water than what it recommends on the label. I personally feel that RPF is the only grease stable product to run in this equipment.

6. Some black brushes are just way too stiff. I feel that the Braun Brush is the only way to fly! It is the only brush I use on my machine and it has given me 8 years of good service. Check www.foamerscorner.com for the latest information about it. I paid $50 for mine, but I know they must have gone up in price to over $100 by now. This is a very worth while investment, though. Don’t skimp on this one!

That didn’t bust your bank account up too badly, did it?

Ok, let’s go to work!

1. Put about a tablespoon or so of Super Wash Soda in the bucket.

2. Add 8 quarts of hot tap water to it.

3. Stick in the heater and plug it in.

4. Go do something like move chairs and tables for your first run.

5. Apply your prespray and allow 15-20 minutes to elapse before you begin cleaning. Sometimes a recoat of prespray just prior to cleaning is appropriate. Back at the bucket, the water should be boiling. Yep, a big rolling boil!

6. Unplug the heater and leave it in the bucket while it cools down.

7. Add your detergent.

8. Remove the bucket heater.

9. Pour this solution into your VS-1 and go kick some butt!
(To facilitate pouring very hot solution, I have enlarged the hole in my VS-1’s shampoo tank to 3″x5″ or something like that. You MUST be very careful when pouring because this stuff is HOT!)

10. Redo steps 1 through 3 so you will be heating up the water for your next batch of shampoo while you are cleaning.

A few more tips are in order:

>> Take a 5-gallon pail in with you and keep it in the area you are cleaning.

>> When the recovery tank is full, dump it into this 5-gallon pail. (If you have to carry the recovery tank across the restaurant every time you empty it, you are losing time better spent cleaning and the evening gets a little longer each trip!)

>> Buy a cheap or used portable extractor. (Wendy’s may not warrant this one except if they have the salad bar. The carpet out of the pantry area or around a salad bar is always the worst! Do all the above steps with extra scrubs on these two areas.

>> Rinse the traffic path using an “All Fiber Rinse” in the extractor.

This procedure could save you 20 passes using the VS-1 alone. An extractor is also handy to use cleaning under booth areas where the tables do not come out.

Do not worry about damage to the machine. It loves it, in fact. I have not heard one report of machine problems, not one! I have been doing this for over nine years with absolutely no problems!

If you do the above simple steps on every job, you will be able to kick some serious butt and make some real money! Oh! and remember to have fun too!

George Hagele


[ Editor’s Note: The information contained in George’s article above is for educational purposes only. If you (the viewer) decide to try any of the suggested “tips” or “modifications”, you do so at your own risk and you are solely responsible for your own actions and their result.

VLM Central E-zine assumes no liability for physical injury, death, property damage, or voiding of any warranty brought about by the useage, misuseage, application, or misapplication of any of the information contained here within.

Protect yourself! Don’t pretend to be an electrician or a plumber if you are not. Call a certified professional when you need help with something you are unsure of, or unqualified to do. ]

November 30, 2005 / by / in
From Start to Finish: Good Operating Procedures: In 7 Easy Steps

I have been asked to explain how I operate and my procedures. Simply put, I first sell myself and then I sell the job. I do the job right and I make a friend and customer for life. It goes something like this:

Step 1) My phone rings and I answer, “Good evening, this is George.” Then the conversation is usually a question/ answer session. When the price issue arises, as it must, my line goes something like this, “It’s best if I could come over to measure and then we’ll both know what we are getting into.” Their response is always very positive. They are now getting special service and I am sure they would also like to see who the voice on their telephone is. While I can comfortably converse on the telephone, many potential clients cannot and much prefer to visit eyeball to eyeball and in their home.

Step 2) Set up a time that is convenient for them. If possible, show up fresh, first thing out. You will be much sharper and present yourself better. Some times, it is hard to judge when you will be done with a job and if it was a “dog”, you will look and act like…. and be late on top of it.

Step 3) Show up on time, a few minutes sharp. Introduce yourself. You are now a guest in their home, act like it. Ask permission, ask to be shown etc. I have been told some real horror stories about “bulls in china shops”. Visit with the customer as you measure, encourage questions. Try to educate, but resist overselling, which is a turn-off. You are trying to build confidence while selling yourself.

Step 4) You figure your arithmetic, lay the price on them, going over what exactly what you will be doing for them. This is where you ask for the job. Pause to allow a little silence, if do-able, offer to do the job right then. If not, offer to do it at a time more convenient to them. Now you are selling the job, get your commitment.

Step 5) Do the job as best you can. You are still a guest in their home. Be on time and look sharp. Phrases such as: “Please”, “Thank you”,”Yes ma’am”, “Excuse me, please”, must be part of your vocabulary when speaking to the lady of the house. This is the way girls like to be spoken to, get used to it (This works at home too.
On the other hand, “smooches” work only at home!). :o)

Step 6) Upon finishing, walk the job and check for missed spots, etc. Fuss a little if need be. Assure them that if they have any concerns, after you have gone, they are welcome to call you. You would be very happy to do a “touch-up” if needed. Here are a few lines I use: “My work is guaranteed.” or “You’ve spent good money and you should expect good work. It’s only fair!” That brings it down to a matter of fact, a no-brainer, and not just hype. I can see the client’s face relax; you have sold yourself again. Thank them for having you as their carpet cleaner.

Step 7) Go home, clean everything for the next gig and give your wife the check before you loose it. When the phone rings go to step one. If it is a customer with a problem, take care of it ASAP and smile because now you have another chance to resell the job and yourself. Since working the Village last March, I have had only two callbacks. I have received more referrals from those folks then you would ever believe!

Do I get every job I run after? Of course not, but 95% is good! You are doing something-bad wrong if you get them all, or even worst none at all. In summery First, you need to sell yourself, then the job. Do the job right and you now have a friend as well as a customer. If you have been paying attention, you will notice this is the third time I have said this. Learn it; it works.

Have fun! George Hagele

November 30, 2005 / by / in
From Start to Finish: Effective Pet Odor Removal ( Part Three – “Controlled Environment Testing” )

[ The following is Part Three of a 3-part series. ]

If you do decide to offer or specialize in pet odor removal there are some things that you need to do.

The first thing is to do a little research on some of the odor removal products currently on the market for carpet professionals.

The second thing is to familiarize your self with some odor removal procedures. You can do this in a few different ways:

– Read manufacturer’s technical manuals

– Take a pet odor removal class

– Perform “in home” experiments

– Utilize controlled environment testing

Manufacturer’s technical manuals can be a great source of information, but keep in mind that they will focus on the products that they sell. One of the best manuals that I have seen is produced by Unsmoke Systems, available at any Unsmoke distributor. The cost is about $30.00.

Classes are great things; they give you a good foundation on which to build. The down side to classes is that they take away your time and they cost money. Sometimes they cost allot of money!

After the class you often have to move on to the in home experiments process. In home experiments are, for me, scary things. They involve going to some one else’s home and doing a limited or total treatment for pet odor removal. This process scares me because I do not like to go into any one’s home, have them looking over my shoulder, and have the possibility of no success.

I personally prefer the controlled environment testing process. The controlled environment testing process is cheaper than classes, gives you the benefit of testing your product, while viewing first hand the results without the chance of disappointing a client in the event of failure.

The controlled environment testing process is just what it sounds like; you are testing your odor removal chemicals, and refining your application technique in a controlled environment. You do this by setting up a sample area where you can contaminate with, and remove, odor caused by urine.

For the controlled environment testing process you will need:

– one 2′ by 2′ piece of 7/16″ OSB or plywood

– one 2 ounce syringe, one 2′ by 2′ piece of carpeting

– one 2′ by 2′ piece of carpet padding

– and finally, you guessed it, urine.

This process at first my be a “turn off” for some but, this process will give you the ability to perfect your technique, evaluate chemicals, and observe the characteristics of urine spots on carpeting. I can assure you that storing, handling, and the dispensing of my own bodily fluids on a carpet remnant has never been the high point of my day! But, I have found no better way to perfect the process that I currently use in my day-to-day operations. You can use this process to apply different amounts of urine to your test area, observe how far it spreads under the pad, how fast it penetrates.

Test different application techniques, different amounts of chemicals, and always record the results that you monitor. If you use this testing process, you will soon find it a very valuable tool for perfecting your technique and testing new products.

Pet odor removal can be a very effective way to please your clients while putting a little extra money in your pocket. I encourage you to give this add-on service a try, you may be surprised at the number people out there who need this service. It is a market with very little competition, take a look at the phone book and you will see what I mean. You have the advantage of already knowing the ins and outs of carpet cleaning, and it’s just a small step further to get into pet odor removal.

Dave Roderick

November 30, 2005 / by / in
From Start to Finish: Effective Pet Odor Removal ( Part One – “Application” )

[ The follwing is Part Two of a 3-part series. ]

Here is the typical Pet Odor Removal job for me:

When I receive a call to perform pet odor removal, I try to gather as much information as possible pertaining to the current situation. Here some of the questions I ask the client:

#1) How many pets were involved?

#2) What is the pet’s sex?

#3) How old is the pet?

#4) Weight ? and so on.

I inform the client of my minimum charge and the fact that we usually like to schedule a carpet cleaning two weeks after the treatment. I generally schedule “the inspection” at night, so I can turn off all of the lights in the house and use a black light to locate the potential trouble spots.

I have what I call an “odor work sheet” that I fill out with the client. This work sheet is already partially filled out with the information that I have taken from them (over the phone).

At this time, I try to estimate the potential amount of urine that has been deposited in the carpeting. To do this, I use a chart that was provided to me by a urine treatment product manufacturer. This chart gives me estimates on volumes of urine typical per pet. My local veterinarian concurred with the chart’s figures. Such charts can be provided by the manufacturers of urine treatment products.

Additionally, you may check with your local cleaning supply distributor for a chart. They usually have good information provided to them in written form from the companies whose products they distribute.

After I have assessed the “usual” items:

– degree of staining
– degree of dye loss
– estimated the amount of urine deposited
– gathered all of the additional information that I could,

I determine if this is a “treatable” problem. I follow the 20% rule of thumb, which states:

– if there is more than 20% of the total area containing visible contamination, replacement is recommended.

I should also mention that if the problem has been caused by a male pet, this could mean that the walls could have some contamination, as well. Males tend to spray vertical surfaces; this would include furniture and walls. The walls could cause a problem for the homeowner, especially if they have baseboards (most homes do).

The urine usually runs down behind the baseboards where it is nearly impossible to apply the enzyme. The black light will help you determine if this is the case (you will see the marks on the walls where the animal has urinated). If this is the case, I inform the customer that this could be a potential source of odor, and cannot be corrected with a normal odor treatment.

[ You may contact me on the treatment of baseboards if you like, which is beyond the scope of this article. ]

The pricing of each odor treatment job beaks down this way: The total price for the job is the amount of time you expect to spend multiplied by your hourly labor rate. This figure is then added to the cost of product used (after markup). Some may choose to break down their charges by the square foot (which works equally
well). You may find that the “charging per square foot method” suits you better, once you know how much time you could expect to spend on a certain size area. I, however, still just “pull a price out of my ear”! – not very scientific, I know. :o) Once the client is agreeable to my fee, all that is left to do is perform the odor treatment.

As I identify each effected area, I mark it by placing a quarter in the center of the spot. I have also used “tailor’s chalk” to mark the outside edges of the visible stain. I usually look at each urine spot before treatment and decide to go one of two ways in dealing with it.

#1) For the spots that are not that large, I will usually use an “acidic rinse agent” applied via a spray bottle and work it into the carpet with a brush, leaving the carpet fairly damp.

#2) For those spots where the contamination is very extensive (e.g. the pet has frequented that area repeatedly when nature called), I perform a complete acid-side rinse.

As I mentioned earlier, urine becomes alkaline over time, and such an environment can slow the enzymatic digestion process so important for successful decontamination. By flooding the area with an acid rinse and extracting, I am doing three things:

#1) lowering the pH of the area

#2) flushing out some of the urine salts.

#3) creating a damp environment which is very conducive to bacterial growth (which is a good thing, in this case).

I use a spot extractor to extract the acid rinse. I have also used a good commercial-grade Shop Vac. Both the acid rinse and the enzyme product are applied with a pump up sprayer. Once I have done the acid rinse or “topical treatment”, I apply the enzyme product to the urine spot. I take the sprayer and push it into the carpet in the center of the spot. I start by applying the enzyme in the center and working in a circular motion to the out side edge of the treatment area. Remember, should treat an area at least twice the size
of the visible stain that you saw under the black light. – It’s ok to turn the lights off again and double check if you have to.

After I have saturated the treatment area, I use “compression” to force the enzyme deep into the stain. The treatment area will now be very “squishy”. Compression is a fancy word for stepping on it with my foot! However, this is an important part of the process as you don’t want to rely solely on gravity to pull the enzyme down to the sub floor. After I have compressed the entire treatment area, I make sure that the area is
still very wet and squishy. If it is not, I will re-apply the enzyme.

Next, I take a white towel that is soaking wet and lay it over the treatment area. This will keep the spot damp longer. The wet towel is very important, as the bacteria will only thrive in a damp environment. I instruct the client to remove the towel after 24 hours. This will prevent any urine salts, that have absorbed into the towel, from tracking back into the carpet. The bacteria will continue to feed and multiply under the carpet and pad as long as it remains damp or the food source (urine) is available for consumption.

Two weeks after this odor treatment, I return and clean the treated rooms with my normal carpet cleaning process. Before cleaning, I check each treated spot to see if there is any urine odor remaining. If I missed some of the urine, I will re-treat those areas, carefully skirting around them during the cleaning process. Keep in mind that this odor treatment process often causes “wicking”. Waiting two weeks before performing the cleaning gives the wicked area adaquit time to dry before cleaning.

There is an alternate treatment method that I sometimes use, called “the topical treatment method”.

The topical treatment method is a service I offer those clients who either:

– don’t have the money for complete treatment
– have a situation where the contamination is too extensive to be treated economically.

This method is performed using the same enzyme product as is used in the complete treatment process. However, it is applied topically (to the surface) after carpet cleaning. When I perform this method of odor treatment, I usually mix up a little acid-side rinse in my pump up sprayer and mist it on the carpet after cleaning. Then, I rake (groom) the acid rinse into the carpet, then apply the enzyme product to the carpet with the sprayer, raking it in, as well.

This process will give the client temporary relief from the urine odor. One thing to keep in mind is that this process will often more than double your drying time. Furthermore, I never apply a water-based carpet protector when I am performing a topical treatment, as this could over-wet the carpet.

Dave Roderick

[ Stay tuned for Part Three: “Effective Pet Odor Removal – Controlled Environment

Testing”

November 30, 2005 / by / in
The Art and Science of Spot Removal

Successful spot removal does not mean dumping everything in your spotting kit on a spot, and hoping it will go away. The Science

Anything that will dissolve needs the correct solvent to wet out the solids, and dissolve the soluble fractions. This means to determine whether the cause of the spot is based on water, or on petroleum or animal fats.

Most spots found in a home will be water based. This means that there was originally water as a carrier, with something else in the water. This covers all foodstuffs, and earth dirt, all sugars, starches, carbohydrates, etc., all protein matter. I recommend using a “digesting agent” for protein or albuminous spots or stains. I use Bi-O-Kleen’s Bac-Out Digester.

Applying a petroleum-based solvent to protein matter, or earth, will not dissolve it. Applying water based spotters to petroleum based spots will not dissolve it, either. Think of sugar in gasoline. The sugar does not dissolve in the gasoline, which is why it causes a problem in a gasoline engine. You must have water to dissolve sugar, and a petroleum solvent to dissolve oils. It is that simple.

Thinking along these lines, if you take a water based spotter, and the spot does not dissolve, do not keep working on the spot with the same formula, as it will never come out. By the same token, applying a petroleum based spotter, and the spot does not dissolve, do not keep working with it, as it will never dissolve. You must have the same base as the origins of the spot to remove it.

I have seen many cases of people trying unsuccessfully to remove a series of the same spots, and leaving a few in disgust. Using the correct spot remover on the ones not touched, these come out easily, but the ones worked on incorrectly, possibly might come out with great difficulty, or not at all.

For a given spot that is of an unknown substance, here is a tip to determine if the spot is organic, or petroleum based. Scratch it with your fingernail. If it turns “white”, the substance is protein. If the spot remains “black”, it is petroleum based. Now you know which type of solution to begin with.

The Art

Law #1. Do not spend more than thirty seconds working on any spot with any spot remover, without results.

If you have the correct base, it will come right out. If you have not removed the spot in thirty seconds, you will never do it in an hour. After one or two tries with the same chemical, and it is not out completely, go to a different base.

Law #2. Do not apply the chemical to the spot.

Apply the chemical to a towel, and blot onto the spot.

If you have the correct formula, the spot will dissolve, and absorb by capillary action up into the towel. If the formula is not correct, you will not have left a lot of incorrect chemical on the fabric. Go to the opposite based formula. If you apply the chemical to the fabric, it may leave a ring, that is harder to remove than the original spot. It may also spread the original cause of the spot, making it harder to remove. Ink is a good example. If the chemical is applied to a spot, it may set the spot, or, there may be residue from the spot remover remaining, to re-soil, and cause the spot to “come back”.

Law #3. Use the weakest formula first.

Do not apply the strongest formula that you own to every spot first. This is like using an elephant gun to swat flies. Refer to spotting chart, and usually a General Spotter will remove most water-based spots and stains.

For petroleum based spots, begin with a pure solvent, then go to a mild but formulated solvent such as Pre-Oil Break, then proceed to Paint, Oil, Grease Remover. Everything other than plain water, or solvent must be rinsed out, to make sure there is no residue to cause re-soiling. These two will evaporate completely, leaving no residue.

Law #4. Blot, do not rub.

Wipe if you must, tamp with a spotting brush if you need, but if you rub the spot, it may spread, or it may fray the fabric. For this reason, do not use the bristles of a spotting brush to scrub with. Only tamp with the bristles. Place a towel on the spot, tamp the towel over the spot. The object in spot removal is to absorb it up, and leave no remaining residue. If not cleaning over the spotted area, blow dry with a hair dryer.

Law #5. Liquid spill neutralizing.

It does not matter if it is wine, pet urine, coffee, whatever. Begin with a digesting agent such as Bi-O-kleen’s Bac-Out. If a stain remains, use a Tannin Stain Remover. This will get most spill stains. This must be rinsed out, to avoid leaving a potential problem causing residue, or a chemical reaction with the fabric dyes. If the stain remains following a treatment, remember that it is the customer’s stain. The hole or the worse discoloration is yours.

Law #6. Removing crusty spots.

Blood, chocolate, mud, anything that is hard or crusty should be removed dry. Do not apply anything to a crusty spot until you have removed by scraping as much as possible off the fibers. Most of these spots, even if they look terrible, will come off completely, just with dry scraping.

Use your fingernail, a bone scraper, the handle of a spotting brush, furniture cleaning tool, the back of a knife blade, etc. Then when all has been removed that will come off dry, vacuum away dust, small crumbs, etc., then apply the appropriate spotter, beginning with a General Spotter.

The volume left to remove is so much smaller than the original spot, there is little danger that the large spot will spread, and become more difficult to remove. This law also covers candle wax, tracked grease, tar, etc.- remove dry, by wiping with a towel, or scraping with a knife blade or back, as much as possible, before applying solvent, Pre- Oil Break, or P.O.G.

Law #7. Removing facial makeup.

All facial makeup is based on lanolin, which is an animal fat from the processing of sheep’s wool, and dry powdered pigments. If you apply water, it will dissolve only the powdered pigments, and may dye the fabric, and you will never get the dyed spot out. If you apply a solvent it will dissolve the lanolin, and leave the pigments, which are water soluble, and stain the fabric. A few are solvent soluble, and will dye the fabric.

To correctly remove makeup, apply Pre-Oil Break to a towel. Blot onto the spot, then blot with a dry section of the towel. The Pre-Oil Break only partially dissolves the lanolin, and has no effect on the pigments. It will all come up into the towel. Repeat if needed. Do not apply anything else, without potential problems. Rinse out the affected area when all the makeup is removed.

Law #8. Removing rust.

Rust is ferric oxide. Applying rust removers such as “Erusticator”, or other hydrofluoric acid formulas can cause problems, such as affecting the color of the dyes. If not adequately rinsed out, it can cause skin burns. Oxalic acid, another common rust remover is also hazardous.

If it is rinsed out, the wastewater now has a very potent chemical in it. What are you going to do with it? Think about it. Most acids will remove rust. I recommend a Tannin Stain Remover as a safer chemical. Rinse out with water, use a mild alkali to neutralize as much as possible. Do not use ammonia. Ammonia can cause problems with dyes, and can weaken many fabrics. It can also bring back the rust, as well as cause health problems.

Law #9. Absorbent media.

When a customer calls in a panic, and has spilled a quantity of any liquid, or where a pet has wet, tell her do not apply any chemicals or soaps, etc. until you get there. She should blot up as much as possible with a folded towel, and turning it until no more is absorbed. Then pour on salt, talcum powder, sawdust, or anything absorbent until there is a layer about an inch deep on top of the carpet or furniture. Then just leave it alone until you get there.

The object of course is that the liquid will travel by capillary action to whatever is the most absorbent. The media is more absorbent than the carpet pile and backing, and the liquid will tend to rise into the media, leaving little, or nothing. The next day it can be vacuumed away, and you can do minor spot removal if necessary.

Law #10. Removing urine, vomit, feces, etc.

In the last several years, I have tried a number of bacteria and enzyme digester cultures for this purpose, instead of bacteria killers. Generally, the more powerful bacteria enzyme types are very successful, such as Bi-O-Kleen’s Bac-Out. As you have by now probably noticed, I am a huge fan of Bi-O-Kleen’s Bac-Out! It does not matter whether a digesting agent is used immediately after the accident, or a year later. They all seem to work very well. Some remove the stain, some do not. Some remove the odor completely, some do not. You must use enough, though, to be successful. The rule of thumb on quantities to use is the same amount of the original deposit. Sometimes this can mean as much as a quart or a gallon in one location, to be 100% removed. Usually, the area will need to be cleaned again, to avoid leaving a soil-attracting residue.

Gary Heacock
-The Interstellar Crossroads of The Universe-
http://www.heacocks.com

November 30, 2005 / by / in ,
Super Companies

Every industry has them: “Super Companies”. They seem to do everything right and grow faster and out of proportion to their industry and competitors.

Yes, these super carpet cleaning companies are courteous and helpful. Their advertising and promotions are interesting, engaging, and successful. They are physically attractive, neat, and business like. They have a positive view on events. They grow and prosper in good times and don’t seem to suffer in downturns.

The Question Is… How do they do that?

Here Is The Answer: Most of these super companies have someone with a vision leading the way.

This vision includes:

#1) How the company treats people (customers & staff).

#2) How the company positions itself in the marketplace.

#3) How the company identifies itself with logos, style, media usage.

#4) How the company “expresses” quality and guarantees.

#5) How the company implements customer service policies.

#6) Drafting and carefully following a Vision Statement that not only describes what the company can become, but also maps the way to get there.

These Super Companies also know they must prove their commitment and quality every day to every person (customers, prospects, and staff alike). Super Companies have the vision and the drive to follow through. They get the job done.

That’s how they do it!

Bill Scheuneman
Copyright 2002 CleanCraft Products, Inc. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of CleanCraft Products, Inc.

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Strategies for Success: Small is Beautiful

It may be a bit premature to say that today’s huge corporations are dead, however, many of them could be considered to be on “life support”.

Here, we are not even considering Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and others ruled by the bad boy CEO’s. The Wall Street Journal just announced that the prototype franchise, McDonalds, just announced its first loss in history. If United Airlines survives bankruptcy, it will be greatly diminished from its former size. General Motors and Ford may be following the slippery slope of Chrysler. The large corporation is not the business model for the 21st century.

Even before the recent spate of corporate disasters, small business fueled America’s economic engine. Consider these facts:

– Nearly ¾ of all U.S. businesses are self-employed individuals with no one else on payroll and are responsible for $580 billion in sales.

– Between 1992-1998, small firms created nearly all of the 12 million net new jobs.

– Another 7 million people are currently considering starting a new business. (Swell, just what we needed – more competition!)

What are the reasons small businesses are thriving while large corporations are barely surviving?

One of my favorite book titles is “It’s not the Big that eat the Small, but the Fast that eat the Slow”. This title sums up what it will take to be successful in the future.

Speed
Small companies response time is faster because the distance between the idea and the implementation is quicker.

Creativity
Small companies can be more creative. If you look at the cleaning and restoration industry, the best products have not come from the large manufacturers but from individuals intimately familiar with our problems and needs.

Personalization (1:1 Marketing)
Small firms can offer a more personalized service. Business is personal. Creating the individual relationships with our customers distinguishes us from the larger firms. Large firms must rely on standard processes and cannot deviate from its guidelines. How often has a service person with a large firm said, “I’m sorry! That’s the company policy!”

Risk Takers
Small enterprises are normally more willing to take risks or deviate from the business plan. Large corporations must answer to its investors. At the same time independent owners are totally accountable for their actions. This forces the owner to handle any problems immediately. The owner of a small business is so personally invested that failure is not an option. The small business is more about the idea or vision, which continues to exist regardless of market cycles, infrastructure shifts, or even individual failures.

Aside from the four elements listed above, the most important factor to an independent owner is the idea that you are in control. You decide how large your company will become. The vision of your company does not need to be one of “growth at all costs”. Your small company can be the vehicle to achieve the quality of life you and your family deserve.

Small is beautiful!

Bill Yeadon
Copyright 2002 Bill Yeadon. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of Bill Yeadon.

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Strategies for Success: Keeping an Eye on the Future

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 Posted by BillYeadon

I think it was that great American bard, Yogi Berra that said,… “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Yogi was certainly prophetic in his statement. With that being said, where is the cleaning industry headed? Less than a decade ago our industry was under siege from a variety of companies. Vertical integration in the carpet industry had many small carpet cleaners taking a doomsday approach. Fortune 500 companies such as Dupont and Shaw Industries would roll across our industry like the blitzkrieg through Europe.

Giant carpet retailers including Carpet One, Carpet Max, Abbey Carpets and Sears projected a quick dominance in the fragmented cleaning industry. I sat in a meeting in which the CEO of Carpet Max proclaimed they would have 500 cleaning trucks on the road in 24 months. Actually, in 24 months Carpet Max was bankrupt and all those little “mom and pop” companies were just rolling along.

A decade later as Yogi would exclaim “déjà vu all over again”, we had a new and much larger threat, Home Depot partnering with ServiceMaster. While on paper and in the boardrooms in Atlanta and Chicago it was a marriage made in heaven, the marriage was dissolved quicker than a rust spot treated with Erusticator! :o)

When will all these conglomerates learn this is not a business for mergers and acquisitions? One truck or 500 trucks, we still clean one room at a time. Owner-operator companies will always dominate this industry. Each customer gets our individual attention. If there is a problem, we hear about it and handle it.

So, why is it that I think smaller companies will continue to be successful in a service market?

In a world of ATM’s, voice mail, and the Internet, we have become a “faceless society”. If you want to talk to a bank teller or an airline ticket agent in person, it will cost extra. Our business is dependent upon and prospers when we understand the need for personal relationships.

The average consumer is overwhelmed by demands on their time. In 1999 a married couple with children worked a combined 3,918 hours. This is about seven weeks more than a decade earlier! Do you really think they want to run down to the store and pick up a Rug Doctor to clean their carpets on Saturday? Do you think they want to call every ad in the phone book before they talk to a live knowledgeable person?

Consumers are actually looking for less.

Our clients want less hassle, less work, less time out of their frantic schedules, and less
anxiety about who is coming into their homes to clean for them. This means that we can
charge more by giving less (in a manner of speaking). Demographics are in our favor over the next few decades.

The age group from which we draw many of our employees, 20-29 will finally increase dramatically by 2010. In that same year, over 1/3 of the population will have passed the
magic age of 50. This age group is pushing the last of their children out of the nest.
Once the kids are gone, the first thing this group does is remodel. This means any item
that is not replaced will be cleaned. As these people remodel, the carpet may be
replaced with alternative flooring such as wood, ceramic, linoleum or laminate.

This also means that if you have not yet expanded your service beyond carpet cleaning,
you are in trouble. Remember you are not in the carpet cleaning business; you are in
the service business. What you are offering to your customer is a chance for them to
buy back their leisure time. And, as the MasterCard commercials state, “that is
priceless”. Sounds like our future looks pretty good. If that is the case, why do so many companies in our industry fail each year? This does not happen because they cannot clean carpet.

Furthermore (regardless of the continual banter we all read on the industry bulletin
boards), it has nothing to do with a company’s cleaning method, either.

In most cases, the primary reason that a carpet cleaning companies fail is because they
lack good management principles and a basic understanding of cash flow. They do know
how to clean, but not how to get the phone to ring!

How do you prevent this situation?

While this may be a blatant commercial for my employer, I would highly recommend Strategies For Success. SFS is a five-day program that has nothing to do with pH or saponification. In fact, urine removal isn’t even brought up until dinnertime! :o)

Chuck Violand focuses on Management and Hiring as well as Employee Retention. Steve
Toburen spends three days on developing Customer Cheerleaders. Home Depot, Sears, Dupont, and anyone else who cares to try, will never bring us down!

The future looks great as long as we know where our real problems lie.

The cartoon character Pogo summed it up best when he said: “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Bill Yeadon

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Rambo’s Ramblings: Would You Believe Twenty-Six To One?

An in-depth study conducted by Technical Assistance Research Programs of Washington, D.C., uncovered some things I think you should know:

1) On average, 26 unhappy customers won’t complain for every 1 who will.

2) Yet, each of these 27 unhappy customers will tell an average of 16 other people about their bad experience with your company.

3) This means, every complaint you hear could represent 432 negative impressions! How many clients should have to complain to you before you take action to permanently remedy a problem?

By the time you hear a particular complaint 3 times, it is possible that the problem may have been mentioned to an average of 1296 people!

4) It costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer as it costs to keep an old one.

5) 91% of your unhappy customers will never use your service again.

6) However, if you make a focused effort to remedy your customer’s complaints, 82% will stay with you.

What should you do when people complain? Above all, don’t become defensive! You need to communicate with an attitude that says, “I want to understand the problem so I can fix it and make you happy.”

Here are 3 questions to ask the client that will bail you out every time:

1) “What has happened?” Ask this question calmly and with genuine concern.

2) “What should have happened?” You must clearly understand the customer’s expectations before you can attempt to correct the problem.

3) “What can I do to make it right?”

This will calm even the angriest customer.

Now go find an unhappy customer and turn their day around!

The First Step In Business Growth Is To Keep The Customers You’ve Already Got. Eight years ago, I was cleaning the carpet in a doctor’s office and the receptionist came over from across the hall to tell me about the bad experience they just had with another carpet cleaner. She said, they could not get him to come back and fix the problem, either. I told her to check with the doctor to see if I could correct the problem for them next week at no cost.

They called me the first thing on Monday morning and I re-cleaned several offices for
them that I normally would have charged $129.00 for. Long story – short… I now clean
5 different locations for them as well as those of 7 other doctors they recommended me
to, and have been doing this now for 8 years!

Happy Holidays!
Ray “Rambo” Moody

Copyright 2002 Ray Moody. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of Ray Moody.

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Your Shopping Cart
Subtotal: $0.00  (0 items)
Your shopping cart is empty
Start Shopping!