Picking a Pro

If youíre finding that no matter how much you vacuum, your carpet still does not look like it used to, it may be time for a deep cleaning. While there are do-it-yourself cleaning methods on the market, hiring a professional may be the safest, fastest and easiest option. Becketts can give you some advice on selecting the right professional to take on the task. People donít always realize the value of a sound, knowledgeable carpet-cleaning professional. Itís very important to ask the right questions and do the research to save yourself from future headaches.

Perhaps the best way to select a carpet-cleaning professional is through references from friends and family. A glowing endorsement can provide great peace of mind. But, if you donít know anyone with recommendations, request references from the company. A reputable cleaning professional should have available a list of satisfied clients or businesses that use their services. Also, the local Better Business Bureau can act as a reliable source of information on the cleaning companyís history.

Be cautious of any company contacting you over the phone or one that is canvassing your neighborhood. Also, be wary of any company that advertises a cleaning price by the room, as room sizes vary and charges should be based on the total area cleaned. Some companies advertise the use of brand name cleaning products or chemicals; however, it should be noted that this does not necessarily suggest an affiliation with those companies or added credibility for the cleaning service.

In order to determine the amount and type of cleaning services needed, have the carpet cleaning representative come to your home for a visual inspection. Do not accept quotes over the phone. He or she can check the carpet for problem stains or excessively soiled areas that require additional attention. Obtain a written agreement for all work to be performed. Under normal circumstances, there should be no extra charge for moving furniture, preconditioning, and routine spot and stain removal.

Beware of pricing that is "too good to be true." Professionals should charge only for services that are authorized in writing before cleaning begins. Most cleaning is based on the total number of square feet to be cleaned. Many firms have cleaning specials; however, pricing by the room or low prices quoted over the phone may have hidden restrictions or additional cost add-ons. A reliable firm will tell you the steps needed to clean your carpet and provide a written agreement before work begins. Contact the carpet manufacturer before allowing treatments to prevent voiding warranties.

The Interview

Once you have identified one or two companies, Beckett's suggests conducting an informal interview to make sure you are dealing with a qualified, professional cleaner. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • How long has the company been in business or a part of its current community? The answer can speak volumes about its reputation and experience.
  • What formal training is required for the companyís management and cleaning technicians? A reputable company should require that employees receive training certification from recognized national companies or organizations and participate in continuing education programs.
  • What are the basic services offered and what constitutes an extra charge? What are the prices for each?
  • What type of cleaning method should be used? Discuss with the professional the best cleaning method for your carpet, as there are a variety of methods to suit different carpet types and installations.
  • Who will move the furniture, and is there an extra charge for doing so?

Remember, before hiring carpet cleaning professionals, have a representative come to your home and determine the type of cleaning method that is most suitable, as well as inspect your carpet for problem spots or extremely soiled areas. Discuss in detail the exact services that are needed. To prevent voiding warranties, contact the carpet manufacturer before allowing additional treatments, such as re-applying stain treatments or anti-static treatments.

Signing the Contract

After youíve finally made your decision, but before work begins, Beckett's recommends that you secure a written contract or invoice that confirms the total price, as well as statements of guarantees that the cleaning company offers. Carefully scrutinize the laundry list of services to be performed. Make sure that you are not charged for any "extras," such as removal of spots, preconditioning, deep cleaning, triple processes, pile setting, vacuuming prior to cleaning, or color brightening, as these services are usually included as part of normal cleaning.

While there are more than 35,000 reputable, ethical and good carpet cleaning professionals in the United States, it is helpful to arm yourself with these tips to ensure a quality job. Although it may be tempting to base your decision on price alone, it is not advisable. Consider all aspects of the company to get the full picture.