Since you are reading this you are at a point where many people have found themselves, you have decided to you need to have your carpet cleaned and want to hire a professional. But like almost everyone else the only thing you can think to ask is "How Much is it?" Of course everyone knows to ask that and if all you are looking for is the cheapest job you can get that is all you need to know.
But if you are wanting to get the job done right you need to know more than that because Carpet Cleaning is one of those professions that anyone can do. All they have to do is wake up one morning and decide they are a carpet cleaner and BAM! They are a Professional Carpet Cleaner. No training, no testing, No licenses or anything else and the big problem with that is while it isn't rocket science you do need training if you are going to do it right. People that start cleaning carpet under that type of situation generally are just doing it in between jobs until they find a job the want to do.
Fortunately almost all carpet cleaners that go into business for themselves have either had a job cleaning carpet or have had some training from the company they bought their equipment from. However even in those situations they don't always get the proper training. So if you want a good job done you need to now what to ask.
So here is a list of questions to ask, the answers you should get, and the "Why" behind the question:
Do you vacuum first? - Yes. A truly Professional Carpet Cleaner will always vacuum with a good high quality vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming removes the non-soluble dirt and helps stand the fibers up, preparing them for cleaning. Some Carpet Cleaners will say their extraction machine uses a vacuum and while that is true it is not like using a vacuum cleaner. You may have noticed you vacuum make your floor vibrate (if it doesn't get a new one). That vibration causes the non soluble particulates matter to bounce into the air where the vacuum can suck it up into it's bag. No carpet cleaning machines have that beater bar. Still other Carpet Cleaners will say you need to do it before they get there. Well I think if you are paying some one to do it then they should be the one to do it.
Do you charge extra for stain removal? - No and YES. Stain removal is a normal part of the cleaning process and you should not pay extra for it under most circumstances. What I mean by that is, if, when the Technician arrives and walks thought the house. If he starts saying each little stain is going to be $2 or $5 and they are just typical kinds of stains then that person is just trying to pad the bill. Probably because he wasn't charging enough in the first place.
However, there are some types of stains that require additional labor to remove and it is normal to charge extra to remove these stains. Some examples are: Kool-aid, any dye type stain, mustard, furniture stains. It used to be typical to charge extra for Pet Stain removal but the Stain remover we have now works so well that only the most serve cases would need to be charged more for.
A Little More About Pet Stains
Because of recent advances in chemical technology it is now possible remove almost all pet stains with a spot cleaner that is readily available it is simply sprayed on the stain and left there. As it dries the stain will disappear. However, sometimes they can still be very difficult to get out because when an animal urinates on the carpet the urine is very high in alkaline, that's why it smells like ammonia but as it sits, there is a chemical change and it turns acidic. That chemical change can distort or destroy the pigment in dye of the carpet. So while it is possible to get out the urine and the stain that it caused, it may still look like there is a stain there because the carpet has changed color. The good news is that too can be fixed by spot dying the carpet back to the original color. Of course it is normal to charge for the spot dye service. So it just depends on how bad you want the stain out.
Are you licensed? - The answer to this can tell you a lot about how a company operates. It is a natural thing to want to get some one who is "licensed " to do a certain thing versus someone who is not. In some states in order to be in business you have to have a license that you get by registering with a state agency. However, in the state of Oklahoma there is NO licensed required in order to clean carpet. Yet, some carpet cleaners will say they are licensed in order to lend themselves a little more credibility.
Are you bonded? - Most people know that this is a question they should ask but they don't know what "bonding " actually is. Being "Bonded" means that the owner of the business paid for insurance, that insurance covers the owner of the business against his employees going in to some ones house and stealing something. It does not cover the owner of the business if he were to steal something. So, if the company you use has an employee of the company do the cleaning, then they should be bonded.
Do you Pre-treat the carpet?- Yes. As far as I know (and I have been in this industry for 30 years) there is not method of carpet cleaning where pretreating the carpet is not required. If the carpet is not pretreated is simply will not get as clean as it should. Pretreating is applying a chemical and allowing it to dwell on the carpet for 5 to 10 minutes or so. More dirt will be removed during cleaning, using less water. So your carpet will be cleaner and dry faster. However, this is one of those things that an unscrupulous person will use as a means to scam the consumer. See our Scam Alert page for what to look out for.
Where can I find reviews on your business?
Knowing what other people have to say about a company one of the best ways to know if they are a good company or one to avoid. But not everyone uses the same review sites. Also keep in mind some companies have fake good reviews and others have disgruntled employees or those that with them ill who put bad reviews up.
How Long will it take my carpets to dry?
Any good company will be able to give you and approximate time frame for the carpets to dry. There are several things that will affect dry time like the weather, carpet type, fiber type and what method of cleaning is used. We tell our clients typically the carpets will be dry in 6 to 8 hours but if we have to use the Rotovac it will take a day to dry.
What method of cleaning do you use?
There are a bunch of different ways to clean carpet. By a large margin Hot Water Extraction is recommend by more carpet manufacturers than any other method.
How Long should it Take?
This is of course where you just have to use your judgment to tell if they are being accurate. The length of time they spend on the job is indicative of the quality of work. The longer they are willing to spend on the job the more likely it is you'll get a good job.
Do you guarantee stain removal?
The answer should be no. There is no way to guarantee stain removal, there is just too many different ways a carpet can be stained. Sure almost all stains come out. As a matter of fact the only type of stain that I have never gotten out is Mustard and there is a way to get that out but it is expensive. As far as all other stains at one point or another I have gotten them out just not ALL the time. so you really can't guarantee it.