Low Moisture Cleaning: The Core of Commercial Carpet Care Programs

Low Moisture Cleaning: The Core of Commercial Carpet Care Programs


Randall Linton

For over 45 years, the company that I own with my two brothers has been offering its commercial clients carpet care programs with low moisture systems. In fact, low moisture cleaning is the core of our commercial carpet care business. Without them, we would not have over 700 clients who use our services on an ongoing basis.

The fact is, without low moisture cleaning systems my company’s business model would change. Over ninety percent of our business consists of providing low moisture carpet care programs to commercial clients on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. We add an average of four carpet care programs to our list of active clients each month, each containing low moisture cleaning systems.

This is an important detail because it gives my company consistent cash flow. Not only does this take the stress out of having to find work each and every day, it also makes it far easier to create a realistic annual budget. In addition, it keeps my technical staff busy and the vehicles and equipment we invest in, operating. We don’t make money when our technicians are sitting at home or our trucks are parked in our parking lot.

Indeed, much of our success would not be possible without low moisture cleaning systems.

Even in poor economic times, we are able to retain the clients we have due to the low cost nature of carpet maintenance using low moisture systems. In fact, some of our most significant growth has taken place during the recessionary times of the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Companies would rather spend money on caring for their carpet than the tens of thousands to have them replaced.

Unfortunately, the carpet cleaning industry seems to be moving away from some low moisture cleaning techniques. For a number of years, carpet manufacturers have prohibited the use of any carpet cleaning system that has “spinning action” where the equipment touches the surface of the carpet. In fact, many have gone as far as to say their appearance warranties will be voided if a bonnet process is used. Their main argument is that the spinning action causes permanent damage to the fibers.

This, of course, is their right. And you can’t blame them. There are many operators of carpet cleaning equipment that are not trained nor experienced in their use. I’m sure many of you have seen cut pile carpet installations damaged by inexperienced technicians using bonnet systems. However, I have yet to see a low level loop nylon carpet installation damaged by bonnet cleaning.

It has meant that commercial carpet care companies like mine and yours have had to seek alternatives for the care of carpet. This includes using dual motor power pile lifters, powder cleaning, and low moisture surface steam cleaning. The carpet manufacturing industry appears to be split on encapsulation, another possible “spinning” technique, which is drawing the ire of some carpet mills. While some mills still accept spinning techniques many are in favor of counter rotating brush machines.

Whatever system you use in your commercial carpet maintenance programs, ensure your equipment operators are qualified to clean the carpet. Make sure they have IICRC training and certification. Make it a policy in your company. Regardless of what systems you use, you will not have any credibility without IICRC certification.

My hope is that low moisture carpet cleaning systems will be around for many years to come. Not only does our company depend on them, but so do our clients. They are the ones who have made significant investments in the carpet on their floors, and must have them maintained in an effective and cost efficient manner.

Next time: A few tips on how to build your commercial database.

Randall Linton is co-owner of Interior Care, a commercial specialty cleaning company, and The Excelerator Mentoring Group, a company that helps service business owners reap optimum results from their efforts. He is also creator of “The Commercial Carpet Care Solution TM”, a system for marketing and managing specialty cleaning services to corporate facilities. He has an Economics degree from York University.

Randall lives with his wife and their three children in Toronto, Canada.

If you would like to comment on his article, please e-mail him at randall@interiorcare.com or visit www.exceleratormentoring.com