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Why Should I Vacuum? Hard Floor Dirt Transfer ŠPicture: Majestic by Brintons

June 2011

The official journal of the National Carpet Cleaners Association


Published monthly by:

03 From the editor

The National Carpet Cleaners Association

03 Protection from spam emails

62c London Road, Oadby, Leicestershire, LE2 5DH Tel: 0116 271 9550 Fax: 0116 271 9588 E-mail: Website:

06 Ceramic of Porcelain? 08 Why should I use a vacuum? 10 Successful estimating 12 Hard floor dirt transfer

Editor Nikki Law

14 Viscose Rayon (part 2)

Editor in Chief Keith Robertson

16 Quoting for commercial carpet Cleaning

Design Editor Nikki Law

20 It’s all in the detail

Company Secretary/ Technical Director Paul Pearce

22 Seven powerful strategies to

Training Director Pawlo Woloszyn

19 A web of deceit

increase sales 24 Search engine optimisation

Marketing Director Keith Robertson

26 The daily wear and tear of carpets

Member Liaison Director Glyn Charnock

28 Cutting red tape for SME’s

Associate Liaison Director Denise Pitt Events Director Nigel Lay

Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Association or it’s officers or members. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the statements within this publication, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors, or omissions, or matters arising from any clerical or printing errors, and whilst every care is taken of manuscripts and photographs submitted to us, we can accept no responsibility for any loss or damage.

©Carpet Cleaners Association Ltd 1994 (Trading as the National Carpet Cleaners Association). No part of this Newsletter may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Carpet Cleaners Association Ltd.

page 2

From the editor


e sometimes receive comments from members who say they don’t receive many referrals from the NCCA office. However, there are many ways in which work will filter through to you from us and it may not always obvious to you. For example, if you have an advanced web listing - a link from our site to yours it is likely that people visiting the NCCA website will click directly through to your site when viewing your details. Our site appears on the first page of Google listings for ‘carpet cleaners’ and is viewed during many of the searches made by more discerning members of the public. It is easy to navigate and provides help and advice for people who have no idea where to begin looking for a carpet cleaner. It’s a great place to do their research and find a reputable company. What you must bear in mind is that a visitor to our site will only be seen by you if they choose to fill in the member contact form in relation to your company, which not everyone will feel the need to do. Displaying the NCCA logo on your advertising will also help to draw in the customers. Professionalism is extremely important to many people, and those who don’t already realise what our logo stands for

will very often investigate. We have received many calls in the NCCA office from members of the public Nikki Law who are interested to know who we are and what it means to be an NCCA member, together with frequent calls from people looking to confirm validity of a company’s membership status before making contact with them. So, if you don’t already do so, always ask your customer why he/she has chosen you. On to a different subject entirely, all members are invited to the Carpet Cleaners Carnival (CCC), an NCCA organised event to be held on September 17th at the historical and beautiful Wicksteed Park in Kettering, Northamptonshire. CCC is an exciting new event for carpet cleaners and their families. Included will be an exhibition and demonstrations of the latest industry products, together with various activities to run throughout the day. Attendees will receive tickets for reduced price entry to the fairground and access to all areas/attractions within the Park. To register your interest and receive FREE entry to the event, FREE parking and discounted entry to the fair, please call the NCCA office on 0116 271 9550.

Protection from spam emails


ince the revamp of the NCCA website and the introduction of the new GoogleMaps search engine, some members may have experienced problems with spam emails being sent through the online enquiry system. These problems arise when 'bot' programs (software designed by illegal 'spammers' to automatically send emails and fill in website forms) were misusing the system to forward unsolicited mail and other unwanted messages to members. We are pleased to report that NCCA Website Administrator, Cliff Taylor of AnnWebCom, has now introduced a security feature which will prevent automatic spam messages from reaching members.

Lewis Scroby

CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. For example, in the case of our website the system will request that two words are entered at the end of the enquiry form before it can be submitted to a member. The words, which will be displayed on the form, can be read and entered by a genuine user, but will be distorted enough that a bot program could not read and recreate the text. We hope that the introduction of CAPTCHA will protect members from any further spam problems and only genuine enquiries will be received through the NCCA site from now on. page 3

Social Media Marketing The NCCA now have a presence on both Facebook and Twitter. We welcome anyone within the industry to join us in our sharing of news, views and information. We can be found on Facebook at: and Twitter at:

Newslink via email We would like to remind you that you now have the option to receive Newslink via email, at your request. You may receive this in addition to, or to replace, the hard-copy version you receive each month. If you would like to receive Newslink via email please ring Nikki on: 0116 271 9550, or email: and request it as an addition or replacement to your existing hard-copy.

NCCA member referral results Since publishing a referral statistics report in last month's Newslink there have been 95 recommendations for full members provided by the NCCA. This number is made up of 44 referrals from the NCCA office, 47 potential customers contacting members direct through the website and 4 referrals to members without an email address, which we have tracked using the office database. If you have not yet supplied us with an email address, but would like to receive notification when your details have been given out, please contact the NCCA office on: 0116 271 9550.

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Keith Robertson

Stoneman’s Corner

Ceramic or Porcelain?


n nearly every tile training course I conduct I am asked the question, “What is the difference between Ceramic and Porcelain tiles?” Well, first of all let's see what the professionals say. If we turn to the Tile Council of America they give us a definition that Porcelain tiles are tiles with a water absorption of less than 0.5%, which can be compared to the other end of the spectrum where some Terracotta and Saltillo tiles have an absorbency of as much as 30%. You won't be surprised to learn that the European Union have got in on the act and so I can quote what they say about ceramic from information in Cerame Unie - European Ceramic Industry Association - (2009b). The European Standard, EN 14411 defines Ceramic tiles as: Thin slabs made from clays and/or other inorganic raw materials, generally used as coverings for floor and walls, usually shaped by extruding (A) or pressing (B) at

room temperature but may be formed by other processes (C), then dried and subsequently fired at temperatures sufficient to develop the required properties, tiles can be glazed (GL) or unglazed (UGL) and are incombustible and unaffected by light. All Ceramic tiles, including porcelain, are made from a mixture of clay, sand and other natural materials before being shaped into pieces that are fired in a kiln at a temperature of up to 1250°C. This composition is broadly the same as that of all ceramic materials, from roofing tiles or sanitary ware to china and tableware. Ceramic tile as a floor covering has to fulfil two roles, first as building material which has to be able to withstand a range of environmental stresses, but also as a design component. In general Ceramic tiles have a great deal to offer as a flooring product, as they provide a rigid surface which is durable, fire-resistant, hygienic, and page 6

generally easier to maintain than most other surfaces. They are not only practical but are finished in many attractive colours and designs. Back to the original question “What is the difference between Ceramic and Porcelain tiles?�, the short answer is that although Porcelain tiles are

equivalent natural stone. If, as in most cases, the Porcelain tile is glazed then the surface is impenetrable to water and is unlikely to require additional sealing. The weak point for soiling and potential damage, as with all tiled surfaces, is always the grout lines unless the tiler has

Porcelain flooring can take many forms

part of the Ceramic tile fraternity, as are Terracotta, Quarry and Victorian tiles, not all Ceramic tiles are Porcelain. The biggest difference between Porcelain and other Ceramics is the high quality clays used in its manufacture. That is why Porcelain represents the ultimate in both ceramic quality and beauty. Thicker more earthy ceramics, such as Victorian, can be extremely practical and decorative but lack the fine texture of Porcelain. When glazed, Porcelain can produce an amazing luminosity that further enhances its natural translucence. Porcelain is also a versatile material, allowing manufacturers to produce tiles which can impersonate just about any other flooring materials, so if you would like to have wood in the bathroom but feel it is impractical you could choose a porcelain tile instead; if you want a limestone floor, but would prefer to have minimal maintenance, you can choose a porcelain tile; even if you would prefer a metallic appearance there will be a porcelain tile to suit. Porcelain tiles are expensive and the stone effect porcelain may cost double, or more, than some

used an epoxy grout. So, for example, with tiles in a shower room or bathroom, applied directly to a plasterboard wall, no matter how resilient the tile is to water the cementious grout will remain to some extent porous and there is always the possibility of a future problem. In contrast to the normal glazed tile, some porcelain is specifically manufactured unglazed and then diamond polished to achieve an amazing high shine. There is great scope for developing a profitable niche in maintaining and restoring tiles whether natural, porcelain or more general ceramic. In some cases you may be able to charge three to five times your normal carpet cleaning rates and, as more of your customers are fitting natural or man-made tiles, it is surely logical to get ready to look after them. One thing to remember if you do maintenance work is the importance of testing to determine whether the tile requires protection. Porcelain tiles generally don't require sealing whereas most natural stone and other ceramic tiles, if unglazed, may need protection as well as most types of grout. page 7

Why should I use a vacuum?


irt is a four letter word to our customers and a blessing to us. Your customer will often develop some creative words for describing the dirt in their carpet such filth, grime, crud, or just 'yuk'. Question - What should you call the dirt in your customer's home? The response of some 'professionals' when they see the carpet might be “Woah this carpet is dirty!” Perhaps a more professional approach would be “Mrs. Brown, your family obviously enjoys this room. Based upon the heavy SOILING in your traffic areas, I would recommend our Deluxe Clean Method.” Always refer to your customer's dirt, filth, grime, and crud as SOIL. Be gentle. Soil wears out a carpet prematurely. Next to a car or a home, the investment in the carpet and upholstery is the highest that a consumer will make.

Paul Pearce

Excess soil will destroy that investment. While today's better nylons will resist heavy wear they are still exposed to soil that, if not removed on a periodic basis, will cause them to take on a worn appearance. Most soil, whether it is tracked in, atmosphere pollution or food spills, is acid based. The oxidised oils and the resins they form will begin to yellow and eventually weaken the carpet fibre. Abrasive Soil, the sand and grit that is tracked in on a daily basis, will cause the fibres to be scratched and abraded. This wear on the fibres will reflect light differently and therefore give the carpet a worn look. Another problem caused by soil is aesthetic. Soiled carpet looks bad. People are embarrassed if their friends or customers see it. Soiled carpets are also unsanitary, a perfect breeding ground for any number of bacteria and pathogens. page 8

Your customer needs to know the problems associated with letting the carpet become overly soiled. It is no longer a good idea to let the carpet go as long as possible between cleanings, because the carpet acts as a filter for all types of soil and indoor pollutants such as animal dander, dust, pollen, and even some gases. This is a benefit as long as the filter is cleaned regularly. Soil comes from two places: 1. Tracked into the home - Shoes and animals will bring in a high degree of soil from cars that drip grease and oil, factories that emit pollution, soil from gardens, asphalt, which will turn carpet yellow, and many other sources. Thus, the reasoning behind the fact that most dry soil in the home is found at the main entries. This can be reduced by the use of a doormat, the removal of shoes, etc. 2. Inside the home - The inside soil comes from many sources: human and animal hair, clothes, lint and fibres, skin (yes, we do shed), body oils from humans and animals and even cooking oils - it would surprise you to know how much oil is actually deposited in the air when you fry your sausage, egg and bacon on the cooker. The better the cook, the quicker the soil builds up in the home. As for the food spots, people can be very creative with food spills. Soil is anything that is foreign to the carpet. For simplification we will divide soil into three types: ! Water Soluble - These soils usually consist of sugars, starches, salt, and residues of water soluble foods and fluids. ! Solvent Soluble - Asphalt, tar, grease, cooking oils, many cosmetics, ink, etc. ! Insoluble - This division of soil, which is normally the largest concentration of soil in the carpet,

consist of items such as clay, sand, carbon, quartz, limestone, vegetable fibre, and animal hair. This type dissolves in neither water nor solvent. The type of soil in the carpet will play just as important a part as the amount of soil, when considering the cleaning process. Different types or combinations of chemicals are necessary to clean grease laden carpet as opposed to heavy dry soil content. Procter and Gamble conducted a study on the content of carpet soil. The interesting part of this study concluded that seventy nine percent of the carpet soil consisted of non-soluble soil such as minerals (dirt), animal hair and vegetable fibres. It also concluded that only sixteen percent of the soil was soluble in either water or solvent solutions. This would seem to indicate that if our customers were more consistent with their vacuuming, they would have to see us, the professional cleaner, less often. Imagine the dust that will collect on a coffee table in just a few days. Add to this the dry soil that is tracked in on the soles of shoes and by the family dog. Now, rather than vacuuming this soil, fry up a few good meals letting the cooking oils drift through the house, and give the kids some peanut butter and jam to spread where they may. If customers would remove the particulate soil before it is bound to the carpet by the other soils, we would have less cleaning to do. But gratefully, most people do not vacuum as often as they should and the greasy and sticky soils combine to hold the other soil to the carpet fibre. You, as the professional, should also keep in mind that the best time to remove soil is when it is dry! This is why we vacuum first. page 9

Successful estimating


Cecil Aigin (Honorary Member)

e probably provide estimates every day of our working life but how often, if ever, do we review our routine. Because we carry out estimating so frequently, we may well ignore all the good intentions we once had to use the opportunity to secure the work in hand and to generate extra business. Providing an estimate serves many purposes. In the first place, it serves to obtain the immediate work. It is also an opportunity to sell ourselves to our clients and secure an ongoing relationship which will draw the client back to us in the future. A hurriedly provided estimate over the phone is a lost opportunity to add to our client base. A personal contact enables us to impress on the client our expertise and integrity. However, inevitably, we will be required to provide a quotation over the phone. In most cases the caller is looking for an immediate price to compare with another estimate. If the only information that is given is a price based on the callers dimensions, it is unlikely that our estimate will be accepted.

Before quoting a price on the phone, ask for details of the item to be cleaned. Obtain information with regard to the age of the carpet, where in the home or office it is situated, the carpet type and the degree of soiling and staining. Having gathered all the above information, describe your intended process:- i.e. “We will inspect your carpet and its installation for possible defects and staining and, if necessary, carry out prespotting. This will be followed by careful vacuuming and, subsequently, we will clean the carpet using a selected system from our range of equipment. Finally we will condition the pile surface and reinspect it for any residual staining. We are members of the National Carpet Cleaners Association and work to a strict code of practice”, etc. Following a full description of your intended processing provide your charges:- i.e. “Our charge for carrying out all the work described is £???” This routine will inevitably cause the client to reconsider having the work carried out by a cleaner who simply quoted a price. page 10

When calling on a client, we have the opportunity to make a personal inspection of the items to be cleaned, discuss their condition and the work required. Most important of all, a personal call enables us to sell ourselves by our appearance, approach and expertise. In addition, a visit to the site provides an opportunity to discuss the immediate or future cleaning of other items of furniture, curtains, carpets and rugs. Needless to say, there will occasionally be a resistance to our prices. A popular obstacle I used to encounter was, “I've just had this pamphlet through my letter box offering to clean all the carpets for a much lower price than you have just quoted me”. I always had in my briefcase a selection of very cheap pamphlets and I would produce one that was lower than the client's pamphlet and say “don't use that firm, take this pamphlet, it's even cheaper”. Very often, the client would get the message and reply, “well I wasn't looking for the cheapest job, I'll accept your price”. There are always the prospective DIY clients. “I could rent a machine from the local hardware shop that claims it will do a job like a professional”. I once had such an occasion and, fortunately, there was a carpenter in the room chiselling out a hinge recess in a door. I asked the client if he considered I could do as good a job as the skilled carpenter if I borrowed his chisel. The point was well made and I got the work. In carrying out an estimate it is essential to make a careful inspection of the items of furniture and carpets. Identify damage that might deteriorate further during a cleaning process and areas of soiling and staining that may not respond satisfactorily. Make special mention of these conditions on the estimate form and draw the client's attention to them. Be prepared to 'walk away' from inevitable problems. We are always tempted to be competitive in our price structure, but it is poor practice to undercut an alternative quotation from a firm who are not carrying out the level of service and quality of work provided by us.

Our price structure must reflect our overhead expenses and the level of income that we require for all our hard work. Don't settle for less. When providing an estimate by phone, be certain to obtain the caller’s name, address and telephone number. Confirm in writing, all the details provided as soon as possible and make it clear that the charge is based on their dimensions and description. When an estimate, either verbal or by personal call, is not immediately accepted, allow a day or so to pass by and then phone to see if they require further information with regard to the details you provided. Carrying out an estimate, either by phone or by a visit is, in many cases, our first contact with a client. It is essential that we respond to an enquiry promptly and are punctual in our timekeeping. We will be judged on 'first impressions'.

New NCCA Members FULL MEMBERS Edinburgh Deep Clean (Edinburgh, Lothian) Prestigious Property Solutions Ltd (Cardiff, Glamorgan) D S Cleaning Services (London, SE12) Supremoclean (Grangemouth, Stirlingshire) Maxymus Carpet Care (Iselworth, Middlesex) Cleaner Homes (Grays, Essex) Complete Surface Care (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Gleaming Insurance (Wigan, Lancashire)

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©Picture from: Fired Earth: 0845 293 8798 /

Hard floor dirt transfer


apid resoiling can occur when hard floor surfaces are laid adjacent to carpeted areas. This is now a fairly common occurrence due to the trend of fitting hard floor surfaces in the hallway of the property. The most popular surfaces within the home at the present time are wood effect, closely followed by 'real' wood or Amtico style flooring materials. The first nine to fifteen feet into the home is something that we, in the cleaning industry, refer to as the ‘doormat’. Take this section of carpet away and the ‘doormat’ is subsequently extended into side rooms or stair treads. Popular colour choices for carpeting are light subtle colours and pastel shades. With such colours the owners naturally want to preserve appearances

Derek Bolton and therefore use soft shoes within the home or very often go bare foot. One of the problems with hard floors is that dust collects on the surface, is picked up by foot traffic and deposited onto the next available carpeted area; this effectively wipes the soil from a person's feet or shoes. The area that seems to attract this soiling the most are the lower stair treads, in particular the leading edges. Within a matter of weeks from being laid an unsightly soiled appearance begins to show and many customers complain to their retailer. A suitable cleaning process can correct the premature soiling but unless the source of the problem is identified and dealt with the soiling will reoccur very quickly. Ideally the customer should be informed of the potential problem at the point of sale. page 12

Viscose Rayon (part 2)


ollowing on from the previous article in this series, rayon is a versatile fabric with many uses, not only for the soft furnishings industry but also for the commercial industry as a whole. There are four major types or modifications of rayon and understanding each type should help clarify differences in product performance. 'Regular rayon' has the largest market share, typically found in apparel, home furnishings and identified on labels by the term 'viscose' (try finding

Peter Collins that on upholstery). The distinguishing property of regular rayon is its low wet strength. As a result, it becomes unstable and may stretch or shrink when wet. Dry cleaning is usually recommended to preserve the appearance of fabrics made from this fibre. If machine washed, untreated regular rayon can shrink as much as ten percent. High Wet Modulus (HWM) rayon is a modified viscose that has virtually the same properties as regular rayon, plus high wet strength. HWM rayon can be machine washed and tumble dried, plus can perform much like page 14

cotton in similar end uses. HWM rayon can also be mercerised like cotton for increased strength and lustre. The terms frequently used to describe HWM rayon in apparel include 'polynosic' rayon or the trade name MODAL™. High Tenacity Rayon (HTR) is a modification of 'regular rayon' to provide exceptional strength (twice as much as HWM rayon). High tenacity rayon is primarily found in the structure of tyres and industrial end uses. It may be finished, chemically coated, or rubberised for protection from moisture and potential loss of dimensional stability and strength in use. Cuprammonium Rayon is another type with properties similar to those of viscose or regular rayon. The manufacturing process differs somewhat from that of regular rayon and is less

environmentally friendly. As a result, cuprammonium rayon is no longer produced. Other types of rayon have been developed for many industry specialised end uses. These include disposable, non woven, high absorption rayon fibres with moisture holding properties for disposable nappies, hygiene and incontinence pads, as well as medical products. Microfibres are not a type of rayon but rather a very fine fibre that can be manufactured from either regular or HWM rayon. Microfibres are generally less than one denier diameter. Rayon microfibres have been successfully produced at 0.9 denier. Fabrics from microfibres are drapable and silk-like in hand and appearance. Next in the series: processability, fibre production and structure.

page 15

Quoting for commercial carpet cleaning


f you are working in the commercial carpet cleaning sector or maybe diversifying into this area here are some things for you to consider. Are you looking to quote for a one-off clean, possibly several cleans over a period of time or a full cleaning and maintenance contract? There are several ways you can gain commercial work: A) There is the 'traditional' quotation where you are invited to view the client's premises and present your prices/recommendations in a typed form and in a manner that is free for you to choose. You have the opportunity to tailor the quotation to the requirements of your client. Your personality, dare I

Derek Bolton

say ‘charm’ and expertise has an opportunity to shine. B) There is the invitation to ‘tender’ for work where you have a client driven structured list of the clients expectations and specifications. This option does restrict your opportunity to be unique as a good invitation to tender is designed to do precisely that. It structures your replies so that the client forces you to answer questions their way so that they are comparing what you are offering on a 'like for like' basis with other companies. Often the down side to this system is that the 'lowest price gets the job' principle is applied. C) There is also the excellent option to extend the page 16

range of services that you offer to a regular client. There may well be a good rapport between you, they may be one of the companies who take a pride in their premises and therefore require it to 'look good' all of the time. This is where you can build in a regular maintenance programme to supplement the periodic cleans. Choosing a method purely based on price, without considering the carpet replacement factor, can be a costly mistake. A method should be evaluated based on its ability to prolong the life of the carpet whilst enhancing the appearance. What to look for: Check the type of carpet you are being asked to deal with and find out the recommendations of the manufacturer, they may have developed an analysis

system that can determine the 'life cycle' or total cost of carpet ownership based on maintenance methods. Remember that all carpet care methods are not the same, whilst one procedure may appear to cost less, it could in fact cost your client a lot more money over a period of time. In developing a carpet management programme the first thing is to determine what is unique about the facility. A copy of the floor layout is useful as doorways and other heavy traffic areas can be noted. The areas should be checked, noting the degree of soiling. When bidding for medium to large commercial contracts you can be sure that you will be expected to meet certain minimum criteria. Health and safety Continued on next page

page 17

Continued from previous page compliance will be one primary consideration. If you have no idea what a method statement is or you cannot provide a risk assessment then you are unlikely to get a commercial job irrespective of the price submitted. If you are one of several competitors submitting tenders and you feel that the prices are going to be pretty much the same then you need to make yours appear different in some way. Without being boring you could include: 1) A brief outline of your company, including years in the industry, the quality and qualifications of your technicians plus your quality of service statement. 2) A brief outline of the services that your company provides. 3) The methods and systems that you use and which you consider relevant to the client and why

you favour one and not others for that particular bid. 4) Your health and safety record and list of procedures you have implemented to ensure the safety of your personnel and those of the client whilst working on site. 5) Detail of the work you are going to provide, before you provide the price for the job. 6) An appendix, which contains the documentary proof of any claims that you have made, e.g.: ! Method statements and risk assessment. ! Example copies of certificates of your technicians. ! Photographs of your technicians working on sites where they are using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). ! Commercial references. Lastly, don't forget to include your trading terms and conditions.

page 18

Article provided by Flexpress

The web of deceit


he web was once seen as the place a small company could play on the same level playing field as a larger one because who can really tell how many employees you have, or how large your premises are by looking at a website? Whilst this still holds true to a certain extent, it has led to a tendency for certain unscrupulous companies to exaggerate about their size and capabilities; often making it difficult for consumers to make a sound decision based on fact. Now, however, that's all changed. From 1st March 2011, any marketing communication you do through

websites and social networking sites will be regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority. This means you will need to comply with the Committee of Advertising Practice Code which governs and controls misleading adverts. Quite simply, you have to tell the truth. Simply pretending you manufacture in-house, when you don't, or exaggerating claims about your products or services could, if reported by one of your competitors, get you into serious trouble. For more information see where you can also get fast and free copy advice. page 19

ŠPicture from: Ken Wainwright

Fibrous soiling deep in the carpet can be removed with a spotting spatula

It’s all in the detail


Ken Wainwright

t is so easy for any tradesman to fall into 'Automatic Mode' and treat every job the same as the last. It can be like being on a production line, churning out clean carpet after clean carpet. Sometimes it can be a bit monotonous. It doesn't have to be like that. Every job is different, sometimes with unique challenges. Upon arrival, place a barrier mat at the doorway and change from your shoes to your indoor working footwear. During your pre-cleaning inspection, you will sometimes notice an excess of fluff and other fibrous soiling deep into the carpet around the perimeter/skirting board gully. When you vacuum the carpet your crevice nozzle may not be enough to remove all of this fibrous soil. To remove this quickly and easily use your spotting spatula, the

pointed end, to agitate and lift it out, then just vacuum it up afterwards. When you are agitating your pre-spray, there are two different approaches to the task. Some technicians will agitate to evenly distribute the prespray, dwell then rinse. Another approach is to repeatedly agitate until all of the soil has been sheared from the carpets yarn, leaving the carpet looking almost evenly 'clean'. Remember not to allow the carpet to become too dry. When you come to rinse/extract, not only will maximum soil be recovered, but it will be easier to do and you will probably do it in less time. You will almost certainly use less water which will in turn mean that the carpet will dry more quickly. An added bonus is that the less water you use, the less you need to fetch and carry to fill a portable machine. page 20

And 'ditto' for the recovered, soiled water. What about reducing the drying time? It is not uncommon for technicians to rinse a carpet well, but fail to carry out any extra drying passes. There is an industry saying that each extra dry pass with the wand reduces the drying time by one hour. I don't believe that this is accurate, but there are significant drying benefits. Another option is to use a textile bonnet on a rotary or oscillating pad machine to absorb excess moisture from suitable carpets. It can also remove a little more residual soiling - another detail that improves the overall quality of your work. And don't forget forced drying using fans, but be careful where you point them. Do you groom your carpets on completion? It's an important process to be completed. I have often

heard the argument that the customer thinks that the carpet hasn't been cleaned if they can't see the zigzags from the wand. Finally, a customer may call you in because a particular stain is really irritating him/her. They may not appreciate that the rest of the carpet is really heavily soiled as well. You can achieve the highest standards possible cleaning the carpet, but in the customer's eyes, if you haven't removed that little stain, you've done a poor job. So it's important to give your customer realistic expectations BEFORE you carry out the work. Anything explained to a customer beforehand is a 'reason'. An explanation after the event sounds more like an excuse. By paying attention to the details, a good job becomes a great job. And we all know that great jobs lead to more work and greater profit.

page 21

Seven powerful strategies to increase sales


f you want to increase your sales, read and put into action these seven powerful sales strategies. Strategy 1: stop ‘selling’ Stop trying to convince or persuade people to buy your solution. Stop trying to get a sale. Instead, focus on how you can help the person you are talking to get what they want - whether it's your solution or not. Focus on how you can give them value. Amazing as it may seem, with this approach, over time people will be interested in you and in what you have to offer. Even if they don't need it themselves, they will refer others to you. Strategy 2: throw away sales gimmicks There are lots of sales gimmicks to attract attention or increase appeal. You can learn fifty ways to close. You can learn how to overcome objections. You can learn how to give the best and most persuasive presentation. The problem with most of these approaches is that they are focused on persuading

Tessa Stowe

and convincing and getting the sale. Your prospects sense that it's all about you - you getting the sale. They feel that you don't really care about them. They pick up that you are trying to persuade and convince them and their automatic protective reaction is to get away fast - and they do. Strategy 3: qualify, qualify, qualify If someone does not have a problem that they want you to solve now, they are not a prospect. So it is a waste of your time and theirs if you spend time trying to help them buy your solution. Spend your time helping those that want to benefit from what you have to offer now. Put in place a qualification process and only sell to those who qualify. Then you will have more time for those that are ready to buy, and this will increase the probability of them buying from you. Strategy 4: answer two questions Prospects want to know the answer to two questions: "Why should I be interested in your type page 22

of solution?" and “Assuming I am interested, why should I buy it from you?". Can you answer both these questions in thirty seconds? If you can't, how can you expect your prospect to want your help? Make it a priority to give clear and concise answers to these two questions fast. Strategy 5: increase your price If you always use strategies 1 and 2, trust will be present. Since trust is there, your prospect will feel more comfortable about committing to a longer term relationship with you. So you should offer them a longer term commitment option that is in their best interests and clearly benefits them now. Strategy 6: appreciate your customers The easiest, fastest sales are to your current customers if - and this is most important - you have consistently shown that you appreciate and care about them. Just ‘doing a great job’ is always expected, and you can't anticipate repeat sales and referrals from this alone. If you conscientiously recognise and are grateful to your customers, they will buy more from you and also become loyal fans

and refer others to you. What you appreciate will show gratitude in return, so appreciate your customers. Strategy 7: build a TRAC record If someone does not need or want your solution now but it is likely they will in the future, put in place a system. You need to build Trust, Relationship, Awareness, and Credibility (TRAC) so that they will remember you and contact you when the time is right. Do this consistently over time and your pipeline will overflow with people contacting you who want what you have and already know, trust, and like you. All these seven sales strategies are easy to do. They are also easy not to do. So if you commit yourself and consistently use them, you will make significantly more sales faster. THEY WORK! ©Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2010 Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy.

Search Engine Optimisation: what is it and why do we need it?


any people now have a website for their business. If you do have a website then you probably already know that the old Teddy Roosevelt expression “Build it and they will come” doesn't work on the internet. To get traffic (visitors) to your website you need to advertise it well in conventional media like magazines and television which is incredibly cost prohibitive for an SME (small to medium enterprise - i.e. you). Alternatively, for a fraction of the cost (thank goodness), you can exploit a process called Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) to make your website appear more attractive to Google and the other search engines. An expert in the field of SEO will be required as it is a tricky process of what is known as 'on page optimization' and 'off page optimization'. In a nutshell, this is the tweaking of the text content of your website (on page) and getting a number of good quality links from other websites (off page). The good news is that whilst SEO is not a very


cheap process, if it is carried out by a suitable expert they will ensure that they only work on phrases and search terms that will generate you more business rather than just visitors. An SEO campaign is time consuming and will last for many months. It should be part of your ongoing advertising budget. A good SEO campaign will pay for itself many times over. If you are looking for instant traffic to your website (and hopefully leads from your website) then you are looking for a slightly different thing to SEO called Pay Per Click. SEO takes a good few months to see results, whereas a Pay Per Click campaign can get your website found in the search engines and get additional, highly targeted, visitors within hours. Pay Per Click is a lot more expensive than SEO but does give instant results. There are many, MANY charlatans out there selling SEO solutions, so “caveat emptor” is the order of the day (“let the buyer beware” as the Latin geeks out there already knew). Always find out how long the company has been trading, and ensure they have a proven track record. Some of the more page 24

reputable companies will offer a money back guarantee but it only has any value if the company has been around a long time and has a good reputation. Beware of the wording of money back guarantees. Some do not make it clear which search engines are being referred to (ensure 100% that it is Google) and some do not make the search phrases obvious either. Anyone can guarantee to get you to the top of google - if the search phrase in question is your company name for instance. If you are going to dramatically increase the number of visitors to your website then you should spend a little time asking yourself what is it that you want your website to do? That may sound like a stupid question, but it isn't. Most people just throw information onto their website without any real thought about what they want the visitor to do. If you want your website to make the telephone ring with an enquiry then you need to ensure your telephone number is prominently displayed on every page and the wording and images of each page convey a call to action that suggests to the visitor that they pick up the telephone and make an enquiry. Since the internet is open twenty four hours a day and you probably need to sleep at some point, you might decide that you want your website to persuade visitors to complete an online contact form which will allow you to collect leads from your site twenty four hours a day. These are not the only two options available remember. A lot of success on the internet has been gained by giving something away. You could offer to send a free DVD of your service or product (for instance) and then use the captive audience of your website to convince people to ask for a copy of the DVD. Then let the DVD sell your product or service. Each business is different but 99% fail to have a clear action requirement written in to their website. Don't waste those visitors! Visit or call 08450 60 88 60 for more information.

Diary Dates 2011 NCCA COURSES Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning 17th - 18th June 23rd - 24th September 25th - 26th November Health and Safety For The Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner (NCCA members only) 15th September 17th November Spot and Stain Removal 18th November Hard Floor Cleaning 3rd - 4th November Leather Identification and Cleaning 14th September 24th November (date has been changed from 14th July) NCCA courses held at NSPCC Training Centre, Leicester unless otherwise stated. Visit: for booking forms and further details.

IICRC COURSES (SURREY) Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician 29th - 30th June with Adam Jankowski Odour Control Technician 6th July with Adam Jankowski Held at National Flood School, Farnham, Surrey. Tel: 01252 821185

IICRC COURSES (HERTS) Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician 21st - 22 June with Paul Pearce Stone, Masonry and Ceramic Tile Cleaning Technician 5th - 6th September with Keith Robertson Held at Alltec Network, Royston, Hertfordshire. Tel: 01763 208222

Visit: for further details on IICRC Training Courses page 25

ŠPicture: Majestic by Brintons

The daily wear and tear of carpets


ne common 'moan' you probably hear from customers is that they think there carpet is wearing out quickly. More often than not it materialises that they have purchased a budget carpet with pile that flattens easily or have purchased a good carpet but have tried to save money on the underlay. Poor quality underlay will do nothing for the appearance or performance of the carpet. Another common complaint is abrasion damage in front of seating units which, according to the customer, just shouldn't happen. The continual scuffing of the carpet fibres by the customers will abrade the carpet in those areas and can often distort the pile too. This will cause less light reflection in the affected areas giving the carpet a distinctly soiled appearance. This complaint is closely followed by the indentation

Derek Bolton

marks made by furniture being placed onto the carpet surface. Where there is a three dimensional surface of fibres, they are bound to suffer some compression damage when heavy furniture is placed upon them. Sometimes a cheaper underlay, which may have been fitted, doesn't help with regard to the 'crushability' of the carpet fibres. Yet another complaint, often made to a professional cleaning technician, is that the protection treatment is not working. The customer may have either purchased a mill treated product or paid for a post treatment. Protection treatments do work (with the exception of a high polypropylene fibre content carpet, where a treatment is not required), providing the application has been done correctly. Many of the adverse comments arise because the page 26

protection treatment has been oversold at the point of sale. Incorrect attempts at stain removal by the customer can also lead to some moans and groans about the protection treatment. The customer's first reaction is to delve under the kitchen sink for any stain removal treatment they can lay their hands on and use. More often than not a simple

initial blotting action with some paper kitchen roll followed by a gentle application of cold water then blotted with more kitchen roll will do the trick. Customers' expectations of a carpet in their home can often be far too high, especially when the family may consist of two or more adults, several children, a dog, three cats and a budgie. Expectations should equal reality, but rarely do.

Items for sale BUSINESS FOR SALE Carpet and Upholstery cleaning services business for sale, established in 2001. Includes Renault Master van (2006) with bespoke fittings for chemical storage. Premium interactive website with online survey/quotation facility which can be viewed at The domain names www.spotlesscleaningproducts and also www.spotlessnetwork domain names included, and online shop facility. Steempro 2000 with all extras, Sebo Vacuum cleaner, karcher hot water extraction stainbuster, orbis cyclical cleaner, chemicals, etc. Leather restoration kit. Regular customer base. Reason for sale: Allergy to chemical products. Sale price £20,000 O.N.O. Tel: 0141 941 2510. Email: BUSINESS FOR SALE Small, long-established, reputable NCCA Registered, working carpet, upholstery and soft furnishings cleaning company. Essex based. Owner Operator retiring. To be sold as a complete package only. Mobile HWE and dry cleaning system. Domestic and commercial clients. Genuine interested parties only please to call 07903 497298 and leave details.

MACHINERY FOR SALE Swan neck twin jet Prochem carpet wand (recently serviced): £75.00. Gloria 5 litre stainless steal pump-up sprayer: £67.50. No VAT.Please call Steve on 07973-264783 or alternatively email : BUSINESS FOR SALE URGENT SALE! Due to the owners moving away! Carpet, upholstery and stone floor cleaning company - 50% OFF the valued price to the first person who offers the sale price of only £75K. Fully Automated business system in place. Full training and consultation will be provided, if needed, for a limited time only. Contact Andrew Sacker on: 07711 454402 or email: MACHINERY FOR SALE Numatic 17" Rotary Deck Machine with new 40ft cable, Driveboard. Shampoo Brush and 10 Bonnet Mops. All in perfect working order. Genuine reason for sale. £350.00 (complete package £800 when new). Please call Tony on 07951 413815 or 0118 3779149.

VAN & TRUCKMOUNT Blue Line ThermalWave HP II - 50hp and Citroen Relay LWB Van. True Twin Wand Operation Truck Mount Cleaning. Asking Price: £17,995 + VAT. Call 0118 931 0516 for more details. Or Visit:

CLEANING EQUIPMENT AND VAN 2 Dryfusion carpet cleaning machines, 2 Drizair 110 dehumidifiers, 2 turbo dryers, 1 Dri-eaz fogging machine, 2 Dryfusion stair tools with pads, 1 Advance Dryfoam rotary upholstery cleaner, plus 1 large sign-written white Fiat Ducato Turbo Diesel van (less than 5 years old - mileage 41,000). Total cost: £13,500 ONO. Phone Mike on: 01443 492455 or mob: 07881 807436.

VAN & TRUCKMOUNT Hydramaster Boxxer 318 with only 600 hours on the clock, in excellent condition comes with all attachments and chemicals and Ford Transit 51 reg service history and 60,000 miles ply lined and racking for chemical storage in excellent condition. £9000 + vat call 07970 835686 for more details.

CURTAIN CLEANING MACHINE Prochem 20A Curtain Cleaning Machine. In perfect working order, tidy for its age. Comes complete with trolley, stainless steel hand tool, various hoses, holdall. Pat tested. Can email picture if interested. £400 ono. Price new: £3000. Tel 01749 671016 or

BUSINESS FOR SALE Small carpet and upholstery cleaning business for sale due to imminent retirement. Established over 31 years in North Yorkshire and Cleveland areas. Business complete with Bane Clene truck mount and Ford Transit Van or will sell individually. Phone Derek of Aquamaster to chat on 01845 537640 or email

The Association advises that all goods are checked to be in a satisfactory condition, and comply to electrical and health and safety standards, etc. It is recommended that equipment serial numbers should be checked to ensure the seller is the legitimate owner. The Association accepts no responsibility or liability arising from any transaction or dispute between the buyer and seller.

page 27

Cutting red tape for SME’s


n order to be able to thrive and win new work as the economy recovers, small carpet cleaning companies need the freedom to mould their workforce in order to prepare for success. To a large extent, the prospect for sustainable recovery and growth in the wider economy also depends on this. There is perhaps a misconception that business owners routinely ride roughshod over their workers' rights. Nothing could be further from the truth without a motivated, productive and committed staff entrepreneurs have no business at all. However, it is certainly true that many employment laws designed to benefit workers act as a significant red tape barrier to job creation in small firms. Equally, the balance of legal protection is often

Phil McCabe (FPB) weighted in favour of employees with axes to grind at the expense of business owners. While workers should be protected against instances of mistreatment at the hands of unscrupulous bosses, all too often the present system plays into the hands of 'vexatious claimants' seeking to unfairly exploit their manager. As part of its new Get Britain Trading campaign the Forum of Private Business is calling for more flexibility for smaller employers in order to free them to create jobs and drive economic growth. Recently, the Forum provided the results of its Employment Panel research as part of its response to the Government's 'Resolving Workplace Disputes' consultation, which proposes a number of measures to reduce the number of tribunals in the UK. page 28

According to the Forum's research, 92% of members support giving judges greater powers to 'strike out' weak cases, 86% back doubling the deposit and costs limits for vexatious claims and 73% encouraging settlements via greater transparency in revealing compensation sought and details of rejected settlements. In addition, 62% support increasing employee claims eligibility from one to two years, 51% removing expenses payments to witnesses and 41% increasing opportunities for judges to sit alone and introduce legal officers to make the tribunals process more efficient. Further, almost a third of respondents (32%) actually welcome a proposal to introduce financial penalties for employers who wilfully do not comply with employment law, suggesting smaller employers are more fair-minded than many critics argue. However, some members surveyed feel that this enforcement would be better managed outside the tribunal system, while others would prefer employment law to be made more manageable before introducing fines. The Forum is arguing that the greater use of mediation would benefit employers and the public purse. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, dispute resolution costs the economy ÂŁ24 billion per year - or approximately ÂŁ12,000 per case. While 76% of Employment Panel respondents prefer mediation to tribunals, one fifth (20%) have no preference. One of the major reasons given was that when a workplace dispute has escalated to the tribunal stage the relationship is already broken beyond repair and employers fear they will inevitably lose out.

Another was the effect the disproportionate amount of time managing individual employees and mediation or tribunal claims - has on the rest of the workforce. Many small business owners surveyed are concerned that, coupled with the inflexibility of the tribunal system, increasingly complex employment law could make it more difficult to resolve disputes early. Another significant issue is the belief that tribunals are biased against employers because the burden of proof is on them to prove compliance with employment law. In the light of the Chancellor's promise of greater scrutiny of the use of 'no win, no fee' lawyers, some business owners pointed out that using these lawyers encourages employees to take what they believe is 'revenge' on their former employer. According to respondents, the benefits of mediation as opposed to tribunals include that a third party can help deal effectively with internal communication problems, and generally that it achieves conflict resolution rather than producing a winner and loser, which has been a criticism of the tribunal system. However, 67% of small business owners resolve the 'overwhelming majority' of workplace disputes internally. Just 5% said they resolve less than half within the workplace while 3% resolve none internally. A consultation is one thing, real measures to rebalance employment law so that it is conducive to job creation is another. Business owners will reserve judgement and wait - most likely with a degree of scepticism - to see what happens on the ground. page 29

NCCA Associate Members NCCA Shop The NCCA has a number of items to order by members. Below are some of the more popular items purchased. For a full list of merchandise please visit the website on: Orders may be placed online, or you can contact the NCCA office on: 0116 271 9550. + PAS86 Code of Practice £40.00 each + Carpet Care Survey Forms (Pad of 100) £19.50 each or £50 for 3 + NCCA Lapel Pin Badge £3.00 each

+ Alltec Network: 01763 208222 (C/M/F/T) + Amtech UK: 0845 130 4755 (C/M) + Ashby's Cleaning Equipment: 01322 227806 (C/M/E) + Bio Productions Ltd (inc. Stapro): 01444 244000 (C) + Camberford Law (insurance brokers): 0208 315 5000 (I) + Chemdry UK: 01482 872770 (C/M/Fr) + Chemspec Europe Ltd: 01274 597333 (C/M/T/D/F) + Cleanerswarehouse Ltd: 01772 434333 (T/C/R/M) + Cleaning Support Ltd: 0844 8482371 (C/M/W) + Cleaning Systems UK: 01334 656787 (C/M/T/F)

+ Large NCCA Van Sticker (21x7 inches approx) Pack of 2 for £17.63

+ Cleansmart Ltd: 0115 8240034 (T/C/R/M/K)

+ Small NCCA Van/Machine Sticker (12x3 inches approx) £2.50 each

+ Dri-Eaz: 01908 611211 (C/M/T)

+ Promotional Leaflet 10p each (under 500), 8.5p each (500 and over) + NCCA Tie £12.93 each All prices include VAT and Postage and packaging. A receipt invoice will be sent by the office. Please allow 21 days for delivery. Goods will not be sent until payment is received.

+ Cleantec Innovation Ltd: 0870 733 7733 (T/C/W/M)

+ Dry Fusion UK Ltd: 01772 433711 (C/M/T/W/Fr) + Forum of Private Business: 01565 634467 + Gleaming Insurance (insurance brokers): 0845 4740068 (I) + Hi-Tec Cleaning Group: 02866 341416 (C/E/F/M/T) + Host Von Schrader Ltd: 0151 347 1900 (M/C) + Homeserve at Home: 0870 320 3333 + Hydro Dynamix: 01622 664993 (Fr) + LTT Leathercare: 01423 881027 (T) + McGregor Lloyd (insurance brokers): 0121 706 0616 (I) + Nu Life Stone Care Ltd: 0161 480 7284 (M/C)

NCCA Member Benefits + Amicus Legal Ltd (free legal helpline): 01206 366500 + SiteWizard (website creation) 08450 608860 + EMJ Management Ltd (workwear clothing and accessories): 02392 434650 + Brian James (Marketing Consultant): 08450 608860 + Thompson Local (Ask for Corporate Advertsing Department) 01252 390385 + Yellow Pages (Ask for Corporate Advertising Department) 0808 100 7890 + Adalante Merchant Services 01628 820500

+ Prochem Europe Ltd: 0208 974 1515 (C/F/M/T) + Rainbow International: 01623 422488 (M/C/Fr) + Restoration Express: 01252 726106 (M/C/T/A) + ServiceMaster Ltd: 0116 275 9000 (M/C/Fr) + Sebo UK Ltd: 01494 465533 (M) + Stainshield Ltd: 01372 841467 (C) + Textile Cleaning Solutions: 01934 521155 (M/C) + The Big Clean: 0208 3934778 (M,C,W,K) + Truvox International Ltd: 02380 702200 (M) + Vitec Global: 02392 666053 (C) + Woodbridge Comercial Ltd: 01279 422220 (C/M) C - Chemicals / M - Machinery / W - Wholesalers / Fr Franchises / I - Insurance / K - Marketing / T - Technical Services / F - Fire Retardents / A - Auxiliary Services (Restoration Cleaners) / E - Supply/Repair of Curtains and Blinds

For the most excellent choice of fabric and carpet protectors Chemspec were the first ever company in the world to use protectors on fabrics, so we know a thing or two about them. All NCCA Members* who purchase carpet and upholstery protector get a FREE how-to guide on carpet and upholstery protectors. Tips on perfect applications, coverages, dilution issues, chemistry options, perfect preparation, sales, plus marketing your protector business and much more. ASK FOR YOUR FREE GUIDE WHEN PLACING YOUR ORDER - Available from May 4th 2011 onwards *NCCA Members only - quote membership number to qualify

Chemspec Europe, Tong Park, Otley Road, Baildon, West Yorkshire, BD17 7QD. Tel: 01274 597333 Fax: 01274 597444 E-mail: Website:

June 2011