Doing Windows

Nobody likes doing windows. That’s no secret. And I’m not referring to the operating system (though it may even apply in some circles). No, nobody in their right mind likes to get outside with a bucket and sponges to wet down windows and try to get the nasty streaks out. Others will use a Windex(r) type spray and even newspapers to clean the wetness off. Not sure exactly where the newspaper idea came into being but I’ve always had print on the windows after I was finished using that method!

NOTE: using a cleaner such as Windex will ultimately be more hassle for you in the long run because it contains a chemical (?glyceride?) that will leave a slight film after a few cleanings. Just so you’ve been forewarned.

It’s really not a complicated process to get your windows looking crystal clean. On a recent forum I visit, someone suggested you toss the bucket through the window and clear out the shards for an absolutely clean and clear view of the inside or outside, but I digress.

First, it takes a customer. That person could be a friend or relative or even an actual paying customer, someone willing to fork over hard earned cash to have you clean their windows.

Next, you need to have some basic equipment. Throw away the spray bottle. That’s old hat and isn’t very effective. It will leave more streaks on the window than you want. You will need some cleaner. Strong dish detergent works (think Dawn) but there are other products on the market.

Another basic piece of equipment you’ll need is a soaker or something to transfer the soapy water to the window. Some call it a mop; some just a soaker. This piece of equipment wets the window down with the soap and water from the bucket. Simple.

Thirdly you’ll need a good squeegee and rubber to go into the squeegee. You’ll need professional grade rubber and a decent T-squeegee.

Of course you’ll need some decent rags to wipe off excess water with each full stroke.

And last, you’ll need some warm water to pour some detergent in. Many professionals do not recommend using too much detergent as that causes too many suds for the average cleaner.

You may need a ladder to reach some out of the way places.

And that about does it. You can probably pick up most of the tools listed above for less than $250 at a Home Depot or Lowes.

The main thing you’ll need when starting out is the drive to get a few customers.

It’s been said that getting customers is easy in this business; it’s the fulfillment that makes it a little difficult. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Carpets and Stuff

I’m starting this blog because I need somewhere to vent and write down my thoughts about cleaning carpets. I”m not sure how much I want to be in the industry but I think that perhaps this is what I was mean to do. No, I mean really. I’m learning all I can about the industry from methods and equipment and training to – ugh – marketing. Blech! Who needs it? Well, if I wanted a go at this, I’ll need it, and I’ll need a tactic or twelve to make that happen. More on that later.

There are a few blogs and forums (probably hundreds but I only know a few) that directly relate to the carpet cleaning industry. I find that amazing. Blogs that talk only about equipment and techniques and methods. Bitches and gripes. Moans and customer heartaches. All of these issues (and a ton more) are being aired online in relatively obscure posts and forums. Some of those posts, however, can reach epic proportions. Thousands and thousands of words. Graphics after graphic. Who would have ever considered that cleaning a twenty year old rug could be so time consuming and technically advanced? Rug. Oops, I’ve identified myself as a newb with that faux pas.

cimex_cleaning_machineAnd now more than ever the chemicals these cleaners use are worth every penny you pay for it – and then some. They really do what they’re intended to do. It gives new meaning to manufacturing great quality products. The Before and After shots of some of these places is astounding. What’s more is that now the methods they use are almost effortless. In most cases when people say “specially formulated…” they mean something very different than what customers hear. “Specially Formulated” brings up an image of winging it and an opportunity to jack up the prices. Why? Because they have the product and you have the need to use it. Simple supply and demand.

I’m referring to Very Low Moisture solutions or Counter Rotating Brush (CRB). With low moisture solutions, you can be out of the apartment or office and the solution in the carpet is almost dry. Many cleaners have never tried a low moisture solution because they’ve never had to use them. As long as someone is willing to dump hot water on your living room floor and vacuum it up (essentially what you’re doing with a steam cleaner or hot water extraction technique), that segment of society will always use the extraction method. Perhaps it’s old school or just what you’re used to doing.  It’s not right or wrong; just a whole lot more work to haul all that machinery around like the truck mount guys do.

From what I can tell having a low moisture solution changes the cleaning game entirely. VLM methods and machinery are affordable, easily maneuverable, and they just work great on pretty much any carpet. I’ll go into what is called “encapsulation” later as even that is a step up from the basic VLM techniques.