In an ideal world, it would be simple to pick the best fit for your carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning needs. Unfortunately, due to how many companies market their services, it can be confusing. So, let’s break it down to the fundamentals.
The most important considerations to understand are:
- Reputation: a reputable company (i.e. an A+ rating with the BBB) that you can trust (i.e. a long and established track record in the community).
- Method: the method of cleaning (i.e. the hot water extraction method which is what carpet manufacturers recommend and in some cases require for warranties).
- Effectiveness: a process that is safe (i.e. family and pet friendly) while also delivering superior cleaning (i.e. offer the ultimate in cleaning power without over wetting the area, and using environmentally safe supplies).
- Health: being conscious of your health concerns (i.e. having a strict policy based on CDC guidelines).
- Upfront Pricing: making it clear what the final service WILL cost (i.e. offering upfront and easy-to-understand free estimate).
Put simply, you want a company that respects your home and treats you fairly. After all, these are people that will be coming directly into your home and moving your belongings. To help you find the best carpet cleaning company, below are key points to understand along with a printable checklist. Let’s start with understanding pricing.
Understanding Hidden Fees to Get a True Cost of Carpet Cleaning
Imagine walking past a restaurant (with safe outdoor seating) while out for lunch and seeing a sign for a delicious-looking hot lunch special for only $2.99. You decide to try it and are shown to a nice looking table. Before you sit down, the manager walks over to ask a few “quick” questions such as:
- Would you like the dish cooked?
- Would you like it served on a plate?
- Would you like to be seated at this table?
- Would you like silverware?
- Would you like the food brought to you when it’s ready?
So, upon answering “of course, I would” to each ridiculous question, you sit down and enjoy your meal. As you finish, a waiter drops off your bill and you are shocked to find that your “$2.99 special” is actually a $13.94 meal once the “extras” are added:
- Would you like the dish cooked? ($1.99 for fuel usage!)
- Would you like it served on a plate? ($1.99 for equipment usage!)
- Would you like to be seated at this table? ($2.99 for expanded room usage!)
- Would you like silverware? ($1.99 for added equipment!)
- Would you like the food brought to you when it’s ready? (only $1.99 for product movement!)
Unfortunately, that is how some carpet cleaning companies approach their pricing. They show you a low “advertised” price, and then you find out that surcharges, extras, and outrageous restrictions apply to get what you really need. Some extra charges include things like:
- Moving tables and sofa, so all of your carpet is cleaned
- Fuel cost surcharges to drive to your location
- An “extra” charge for the cleaning solution needed to clean your carpet
- A closet may not count as part of a bedroom, and you will need to count it as an extra room
- Your master bedroom exceeds the size limit for a room
- An open concept layout counts as two rooms
The key to avoiding nasty surprises is to get an estimate and asking the right questions.
How to avoid costly mistakes when requesting a free estimate
Do you offer free estimates? The question seems simple (and obvious) enough but, unfortunately, some companies will advertise a low “upfront price” that doesn’t include everything you need. Here is a rundown of questions to ask to help you understand what’s in the estimate and ensure you get the best cleaning results.
Does your company charge extra for stain protection?
- Applying stain protection is an important part of carpet cleaning as it repels liquid spills, dust and dirt, allowing carpets to remain cleaner longer. (Extra Effort uses DuPont Teflon to protect all the carpets we clean because it is both safe and effective. We currently offer that as a free part of our service.)
Does your company charge extra for deodorizer?
- Removing stains without also deodorizing leaves your carpet half clean, yet some companies treat this as an “optional” add-on. (Just as with stain protection, we currently offer that as a free part of our service.)
Does your estimate cover the cost of the cleaning chemicals?
- It seems ridiculous to think that an estimate for “cleaning” would not include the needed materials but it happens.
Does your estimate cover the cost of fuel/travel to my location?
- Unbelievably, some companies will add a surcharge for fuel after they show up.
Is your estimate based on square footage and not the number of rooms?
- Beware that companies basing their estimate on rooms may consider a small entry area (or even a closet!) as a room. Estimates based on square footage are more straightforward and help ensure your final bill matches your estimate.
Is moving furniture included in your estimate?
- Dust and dirt accumulate under dressers, tables, and sofas. Not cleaning under those areas means your room is only getting half clean but that doesn’t mean you should pay an “extra” charge to have the job done right. Also, make sure the company will move furniture back into place and put your furniture on pads or blocks.
Does your estimate include an initial vacuuming?
- Vacuuming the carpet edge to edge around the baseboards removes a great deal of dirt, dust, and pet hair and facilitates the efficiency of the cleaning.
How to pick the right carpet cleaning company
Once you understand how to avoid costly mistakes when requesting a free estimate, the next step is to make sure you are hiring a reputable firm that has the experience to do the job right and stands by their work. Here’s a checklist of what to ask and what to look for in their answers.
Is your process safe for pets and children?
- Children and pets spend more time on the floor than anyone so make sure the cleaning process doesn’t use harmful chemicals.
Does your business have a perfect record with the BBB and meet their Accreditation Standards?
- In order to be eligible for BBB Accreditation, businesses must meet, commit to and maintain the BBB Code of Business Practices. Complaints filed with the BBB are usually the result of companies not listening to their customers and responding. (We are proud of our A+ rating with the BBB with NO complaints!)
Is your business IICRC Certified?
- The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is an American National Standards Institute accredited standard development organization that creates certifications and standards for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries.
How long have you been in business?
- Much of the carpet cleaning business is based on repeat customers and word of mouth recommendations. Look for a company with an established track record of successfully cleaning homes and businesses. (Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning has proudly served the Greater Cincinnati area since 1984 from our location in West Chester, OH.)
Does your company use the hot water extraction method for cleaning carpet?
- Hot water extraction is designed to provide the ultimate in cleaning power without over wetting the area. The system is also designed to keep the temperature of the water at a safe level in order to prevent damage to the fibers of the carpet and upholstery being cleaned. (Top carpet manufacturers recommend the hot water extraction method, and in some cases require it maintain your warranty.)
Are you capable of cleaning high-rise apartments?
- A truck-portable system provides both the flexibility to reach everywhere you need and the power to get your carpet and upholstery as clean as it can get.
Do you vacuum the carpet edge to edge and around the baseboards?
- Be wary of anyone who skips this initial step as it removes a great deal of dirt, dust, and pet hair and facilitates the efficiency of the cleaning.
Does your company use DuPont Teflon for added protection?
- As noted above, stain protection is important but you should also ask about the quality. DuPont Teflon is both safe and effective for carpet and upholstery.
Who is responsible for making sure I am satisfied and received personalized service?
- When hiring someone to come into your home, you want to make sure they are willing to provide the extra effort to do the job right. When you call us, you will speak directly to me (or my son) and have my guarantee that you will be satisfied.
Health and Safety Questions
The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to disrupt daily life and your safety should be a top priority. This means different things to different people. Some may have specific considerations that require additional inquiries, but below are 3 questions that should kick off this discussion:
- Do the technicians who will be working in my home implement a daily self-health evaluation?
- Has your company instituted a no handshake/social distancing policy?
- Does your company have a facial covering policy?
Downloadable/Printable Carpet Cleaning Checklist
I founded Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning on the belief that it takes extra effort to make each job a success. Part of that includes straightforward and upfront pricing. We base our price on the total square footage of the area to be cleaned, not the number of rooms, so you pay for exactly the area cleaned. And we tell you the final cost BEFORE we begin, there are no “surprise” charges after the work is completed.
When you call us, you will speak directly with an owner who will answer any questions and even offer to schedule a free, no-obligation visit to provide a fair and accurate estimate.
I invite you to put us to the test. Download the free printable carpet cleaning checklist below and call us at (513) 777-8770 to ask us these questions!
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.