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March 2013

The official journal of the National Carpet Cleaners Association


Extraction Optimisation The Cleaning of Upholstery

Contents 03 From the editor From the President 06 Intellectual property rights 07 Write for Newslink

Published monthly by: The National Carpet Cleaners Association 62c London Road, Oadby, Leicestershire, LE2 5DH. Tel: 0116 271 9550 E-mail: Website: Editor Nikki Law

08 Stoneman’s corner

Editor in Chief Keith Robertson

10 Extraction optimisation

Design Editor Nikki Law

13 Extended drying times Commercial carpet maintenance How to build client trust 14 How to use your NCCA membership to your advantage in marketing your business 16 The cleaning of soft furnishings 18 Do something now before it’s too late 21 Poor workmanship 22 National Trust tour 23 Competition - excellent prize to be won!

President/Technical Director Paul Pearce Vice President/Marketing Director Keith Robertson Vice President/Events Director Nigel Lay Member Liaison Director Glyn Charnock Assistant Membership Director Martin Johns Franchise Liaison Director Denise Pitt

24 Unconverted customer leads

Corporate Liaison Director Rob Whitbread

26 Getting the best out of private medical health

Training Director Christian Ramsey

27 Excellent NCCA member benefit 28 Problematic employees

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.

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From the editor


our renewal documents will be with you very shortly and need your careful attention. The subscription fees have been held at the same level as last year, and the new membership structure will take effect from 1st April. With the introduction of the New Membership Structure there are a few changes to the documents being requested. Please read your renewal letters carefully to ensure that the correct information is supplied when you renew. The letters will explain the new forms and changes in more detail, but if you have any questions, please contact the office. Once again this year there is an option to split the annual subscription fee over four months using your credit/debit card on a recurring payment scheme, should you be interested. Details can be obtained from the NCCA office.

From the President


Important Notice: All members who have not yet completed a full year of membership will still be receiving a subscription Nicky Law invoice due on May 1st. The fee will have been reduced in respect of how long you have been a member. Payment of this invoice will bring your renewal in line with the rest of the membership and your renewal year will run from April to April from then on. The notification period for resigning membership for this coming year has now passed and any member who has resigned from membership will have received a confirmation letter by recorded delivery. If you believe you have sent notification of your intent to resign, but have not received a confirmation letter, you will need to contact the office to ensure this information has been received and recorded.

Paul Pearce

or a long time now we have been seeing a lot of fabrics that change colour when you clean them. Well perhaps not as you clean them, but by the time they are dry. I have dealt with around fifty calls from carpet and upholstery cleaners across the country regarding this issue. I've even had consumers call me because they have also experienced the same problem whilst spot cleaning their own fabrics. Of course the first thing most people do is panic and believe their upholstery is ruined and ready for the skip. Now, this is obviously not good for the carpet cleaner, because if you have been involved in one of these situations you are ultimately responsible and will be expected to rectify the problem. So what causes this? Well there are at least two reasons. The first is cellulosic browning; I think most are

familiar with this type of colour change. It is caused by excess water, too high an alkalinity cleaning product, slow or prolonged drying and technician error. It would need to be a plant type fibre for this to happen, such as linen, cotton, bamboo, viscose/rayon and jute. You can find all these fibres in today's fabrics; most won't cause you a problem if you follow the rules, such as using upholstery cleaning products as opposed to carpet cleaning products when cleaning upholstery. Of course there are many products out there that will do both. You will need to rinse these products out so that you don't leave residues within the fibres and then you must make enough drying strokes to remove the moisture. Use towels also and wherever possible use an air mover to speed up the drying. All these Continued on next page Page 3

Continued from previous page items should enable you to create the perfect clean for your client. If you are faced with a cellulosic browning issue on the above fabrics it is usually possible to reverse it by using de-browning products, but it is difficult and may take two or three attempts to remove and I am sorry to say that sometimes it is permanent. The second reason is that the fabrics may have been dyed using a 'Direct Dye' process. This dyeing process is different from the normal acid dyed fabrics that we are used to, but this particular process has been around for a long time. This type of dye does not usually have a mordant or fixing finish to bind the colour to the fabric, although some may go through an after-dye fixing process. The dye is applied to the fabric within a neutral or alkaline bath. The fibres this is used on are cotton, linen, viscose/rayon and sometimes wool and silk. They also use direct dyes as pH indicators. Now that should help you start to understand the issues we are facing. The problems I have seen, and have been told about, are white fabrics going pink, green going orange, blue going purple and many more. It can be quite frightening to some when they are faced with this sort of scenario. So what can be done, what causes it, and how can we avoid it? Well first of all, if you are faced with the problem, can it be reversed? The answer is, yes it can. You will first need to explain to your client what has happened; this is to reassure them that you understand the situation and why it has occurred. To fix the problem you will need some bicarbonate of soda, which you can buy from all supermarkets (look in the baking isle). You will need to boil up some water on site, your client I am sure will oblige you here. You then need to equip yourself with a 500ml hand-spray container, or similar, and a teaspoon measure. Put a one-teaspoon scoop in the container and pour the boiling water on top, shake it up and carry out a test in a small area. If this is going to rectify the problem then it will happen immediately. If it works then go ahead and spray the whole area that is affected. You may have to make a little more

solution depending on how much of the fabric is affected. Once applied just leave it to dry, don't rinse it out. I have seen some fabrics that need two teaspoons of the powder but don't start off with two. You may be tempted to apply ammonia or another alkaline product you have in the vehicle. The problem with using ammonia is that once the fabric is dry the ammonia self-neutralises and can sometimes brings the colour change back. If you use an alkaline product from your vehicle, it is more than likely going to be a surfactant, which will need to be rinsed out after application, which prolongs the whole process. So, what actually causes this problem in the first place? As I've already stated, the fabric is finished or dyed in an alkaline bath, and the way most of us clean upholstery - by applying a mild alkaline or neutral upholstery cleaner, agitating it and then rinsing it out using an acidic rinse - will cause the reaction. The acidity creates a pH indicator situation and changes the colour of the dye. Now these colour changes rarely cover the entire fabric and I have my own theory on the reason for this. Most of the colour changes are in contact areas where it is possible that body soils may be more prevalent, so when adding more acidity it is more likely to change. So what can you do to avoid the situation in the first place? Well the answer is simple, you need to TEST your cleaning solutions on the fabric prior to use. Buy yourself some plastic clamps, some kitchen towels, make up your normal upholstery solutions at the recommended strength and apply some to the zip end, place the piece of kitchen towel and clamp it. Leave for ten to fifteen minutes. If the colour is going to change it will normally do it here, now if it does you will need to change one or both products. If you have a direct dye fabric you will more than likely have to rinse with a neutral or alkaline rinsing product, sometimes rinsing with water is enough but test water as well if that is what you are going to use. I hope the above information will enable you to carry out a happy clean for you and your client. Good luck. page 4

Our intellectual property rights


ollowing the recent Summit Day attended by Board members past and present, and a selection of members, the issue of logo misuse was again on the agenda. It has been frustrating to see that unscrupulous companies still attempt to gain a financial leverage with the general public by using the NCCA logo in flyers and advertisements in both printed and electronic formats. Lewis, in the NCCA office, does a great job liaising with Trading Standards and following any logo misuse through to a legal conclusion where appropriate. However this is both laborious and time consuming and relies on our own members submitting cases where they believe that the use of our Intellectual Property Rights (the name and logo) is being misused. Publications such as Yellow Pages, BT and the Thomson Directory have until now taken the word of the advertiser that they have the right to use the logo, this is also the case in parish magazines etc. With the development of the Association and new initiatives, such as Trustmark, our Intellectual Property Rights will become even more sought after by companies wishing to have the legal right to display and use the logo as part of their own marketing toolkit. Unfortunately this will also increase the number of unscrupulous companies that want recognition, but are maybe untrained or sometimes have attended an NCCA training course but never joined the Association, but still promote

Nigel Lay

their business as being NCCA trained. After lengthy consultations with our new legal advisors we have drawn up a letter that will go directly to Hibu (Yellow Pages), Thomson Directory etc stating that we will defend our Intellectual Property Rights and will take legal action against any company that publishes our logo without checking the validity of the advertisers right to use our IP before going to print. This will be a fairly simple task with Hibu, Thomsons, BT etc as they have a central point of contact along with a legal department. We cannot issue this letter to all parish magazines, printers etc so I am looking for your help in checking your locality for competitors advertisements, whether published in hard copy or on a website, that they are not fraudulently using the NCCA logo. We can then address these local issues more readily with an initial warning letter that we hope, in the case of small local directories, will nip this problem in the bud. Finally all members who own multi-site operations, that trade under different trading names, must have each business (in which the NCCA logo and membership is used to market/advertise their business) registered with the office. If you are in doubt as to the validity of your membership for separate companies then please call the NCCA office where we can help to clarify the position for you. page 6

NEW NCCA MEMBERS FULL MEMBERS A Star Service (Trowbridge, Wiltshire) Derby Carpet Cleaners (Derby, Derbyshire) 1st Class Cleaning (Coventry, West Midlands) Delcare (Axminster, Devon) London Clean Company (London, W10) Spring Fresh (Ilkeston, Derbyshire)

CORPORATE MEMBERS Robert Saunders Marketing Mentor (Royston, Hertfordshire)

Diary Dates 2013 NCCA COURSES Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning 24th - 25th May 5th - 6th July 27th - 28th September 22nd -23rd November Spot & Stain Removal 21st June 25th October An Introduction to Hard Floor Cleaning 18th - 19th April Carpet Cleaners Carnival 14th September (Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire) NCCA courses held at NSPCC Training Centre, Leicester unless otherwise stated. Visit: for booking forms and further details.

Why not write for Newslink? Newslink is the official journal of the NCCA and the only publication in the UK solely dedicated to the cleaning, care and restoration of soft furnishings and hard flooring. Contributions from Members are always welcome, as are suggestions and new ideas. So.... if you fancy expanding your repertoire, why not put 'pen to paper' and add 'author of published article' to your skill set. Don't worry if you feel your writing skills are not up to the job, as all articles undergo an editing process before they are included. What we need from YOU is the knowledge and stories you undoubtedly have. If you think you'd like to contribute but don't know where to start, here are some suggestions: ! Narrative of events experienced within a particular job undertaken - this could include humorous incidents, disasters, successes, problems you have experienced and possibly how you managed to put things right. ! Advice to other members in a particular area of work based on your experience. If you feel you'd like to send something in, or have an idea, don't be shy, just give Nikki in the office a ring on 0116 271 9550 or email: We look forward to hearing from you.

THE NATURAL STONE SHOW 30th April - 2nd May (ExCel, London) IICRC COURSES (HERTFORDSHIRE) Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician with Paul Pearce 9th May Carpet Cleaning Technician with Paul Pearce 18th - 19th June Held at Alltec Network, Royston, Hertfordshire. Tel: 01763 208222 IICRC COURSES (SURREY) Stone, Masonry & Ceramic Tile Cleaning Technician with Keith Robertson 9th - 10th April Carpet Cleaning Technician with Adam Jankowski 4th - 5th June Held at National Flood School, Surrey. Tel: 01252 82118 Or visit: for further details on IICRC Training Courses.

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Keith Robertson

Stoneman’s Corner

Somerset Blue Lias stone flooring


fascinating aspect of stone floor care in the UK is the regional variation of stones that you can come across. To the uninitiated, limestone flooring conjures up a mental picture of fawn or honey coloured honed or polished floors, whereas the word flagstone evokes an image of sandstone. This is all seemingly straightforward until someone says "What about Blue or White Lias?" Most of us may wonder what on earth they are talking about. On the other hand if you live in a Somerset village you certainly won't be stranger to this type of limestone. Back in the late Triassic and early Jurassic times which we are told was around 195 to 200 million years ago - in an area in southern England from Somerset up to south Wales and parts of Gloucestershire, stretching across north east

towards Leicester, a geological formation sequence of limestone and shale layers were formed. It is this layering of the rock that may have led to the name Lias, as this is the early quarrymen's dialect for layers. The stone is a blue-grey colour because of its high iron content and is generally recognised by geologists as a source of fossils, particularly ammonites and even dinosaurs. There are some areas where the exposed rock can be seen such as in cliffs around Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset. There are not many quarries producing Blue Lias so its use as a building material tends to be close to these quarries. A good example would be the town of Street not far from Glastonbury. As well as being used for building, Blue Lias is used for cobbles, paving, flagstones and even cemetery tombstones. page 8

In addition, and certainly of interest to us, is that Blue Lias can be, and is, used for flooring. Where, or when, reclaimed flagstones are available they can be laid to provide an exceptional floor. If it is not possible to find pre-used original slabs, newly cut flagstones are available. To create an elegant flagstone effect, choose a 20mm thick stone cut 400mm wide or larger by random lengths. If you would like something that is distinct, at least one quarry will supply them with a tumbled finish which they describe as similar to the effect of the sea on beach pebbles. The surface grain of the material is exposed and the edges are gently rounded. In addition to Blue Lias limestone there is a similar limestone known as White Lias. Found in Warwickshire and part of Somerset. When quarried, like Blue Lias, it is found in layers. It is a fine textured white-cream or beige-grey stone, which is ideal for tiled or flagstone indoor flooring, although it is also used for building and can be seen in a number of places in Somerset including Langport, Sparkford and Wincanton and further north in Midsomer Norton and Radstock. Finally, there is a third type of Lias which is Grey Lias. Formed between the layers of Blue and White Lias, it can be used to blend in with either white or blue Lias particularly if you were replacing a flagstone in an old floor. Flagstones are a pleasure to restore so I am sure working on Blue or White Lias will be equally fulfilling. If the stones simply require deep cleaning, apply the cleaning product and use a stiff scrubbing brush on a standard speed machine, clear the slurry with a water vacuum and high pressure rinse extract with your 1200 psi machine or truckmount.

Carefully remove any paint spots with a solvent. It is not unusual that grease or oil stains will require poulticing, and sometimes more than once, so be careful how you price these jobs even if there are no sealants to remove. Rule of thumb should be at least a carpet cleaning price times three. Stones should be protected with a quality impregnator. A solvent based enhancing impregnator will darken and bring out the intensity of the natural grain and provides several years protection. Don't fall into the trap of assuming a single coat is ever sufficient. It will need at least two or maybe three coats and even then there will be occasions that particularly porous sections may require further attention. Good quality products can cost between ÂŁ140.00 and ÂŁ180.00 for 5 litres so make sure you charge sufficient to cover the product and your visits and make a profit. If the Lias has been supplied as a new finished tile, use a soft brush-head or appropriate rotary pad to clean the surface. If preparing a new floor use a neutral detergent. Never, ever use an acid cleaner. Some argue that new tiles should be left natural without any protection. If you accept that, simply clean, rinse and buff but remember the floor will stain very quickly so discuss this carefully with your customer. Stone care and restoration is work for a craftsman, not a novice, so make sure you have the right training and build up some experience before attempting to carry out deep cleaning or restoration on this stone. page 9

Extraction optimisation


am definitely getting a bit sad these days, but I have recently been considering ways to improve both the cleaning results and drying times when Hot Water Extracting carpets and I have come up with some interesting findings. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy with the high powered portable machine I use, my cleaning results seem to impress my clients and I keep drying times down to a minimum. I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do differently to improve things further, so here is the result of my fevered imaginings. As far as drying times go, I ruled out trying to get more airflow or vacuum from my machine, to pull more water out of the carpet, as this would require some form of modification to the machine, would cost money and to be perfectly honest I think the

Glyn Charnock people who manufacture this type of equipment have a much better grasp of how they work best than I do. With three vacuum motors and two inch hoses kept as short as possible I think the airflow and vacuum on my machine is about as good as I will get from a portable. The available airflow and vacuum will always only remove a percentage of the water we put down. Obviously I use a number of drying strokes of the wand following each wet rinse stroke to remove as much water as practical, but there is a limit to how long can be spent performing drying strokes - time is money after all. So what else affects drying times? Well, the obvious one is how much water goes in to the carpet in the first place. We all put two separate 'doses' of water in to carpets when cleaning them, page 10

firstly the pre-spray, then the rinse. With pre-spray, the volumes are fairly low compared to the amount of water used for the rinse process, but there is a much longer contact time for the solution to be absorbed by the fibres and to work its way down to the base of the pile or in to the backing, making it more difficult to remove with suction. Keeping pre-spray volume down whilst allowing sufficient product for it be effective is the challenge. I looked for advice on manufacturers' product labels and soon found that there was little information. Dilution rates are given, but very rarely are application rates provided. It was fairly obvious why this is. Huge variations in pile depth and soiling levels between different carpets mean that some carpets require much more pre-spray than others to achieve an even application of solution sufficient to coat the carpet fibres with enough product for it to work effectively. Monitoring how much pre-spray I was using revealed that I was sometimes applying up to 200ml per metre² - probably too much for most carpets.

I suspect that I am not alone in tending to put down more pre-spray in traffic lanes and heavily soiled areas than normal and I don't think this is necessarily wrong. However, I noticed I do not to put down less pre-spray than normal in very lightly soiled areas such as under furniture. Doing this can reduce the amount of pre-spray used by up to 20% on every clean, leaving the carpets that little bit dryer, but also using less product and reducing costs. So what about the rinse water? We put down much more water to rinse than we do to pre-spray, but the vast majority is sucked straight out again so there is little chance of this water getting down to the base of the pile or backing. Or is there? Many of us use machines capable of firing this rinse water in to the carpet at 300, 400, 600 psi or even more. At these kinds of pressures the water is simply blasted down to the base of the pile. So why do we need these high pressures? The simple answer is that we don't. It is perfectly possible to achieve great results with 100psi rinse solution. It just takes a little more time and effort Continued on next page

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Continued from previous page with possibly some extra agitation, so obviously it is harder work to get great results at low pressures. At lower pressure, the rinse possibly doesn't penetrate quite as deep in to the pile, so more of it is removed leaving the carpet dryer than when using higher pressures. However, at lower pressures there is only limited physical action by the water, so the rinse is less effective at removing the pre-spray and suspended soils. This can often result in multiple rinse passes being required, putting yet more water in to the carpet, leaving the carpet wetter unless extra drying passes are made, slowing the rinse process down even further. Higher rinse pressures put more water in to the carpet and force it deeper in to the pile making it more difficult to remove, but it also has greater physical action, helping remove suspended soils. The problem is, I know I tend to do two or three wet passes over the more heavily soiled areas (which also have more pre-spray on them), just as I would have to if I were using lower rinse solution pressure. Controlling this urge to over-rinse can greatly improve drying times. So the question is; Where to strike the balance? I have found the best approach to be the higher the level of soiling and the shorter the pile length of the carpet, the higher the pressure can be in order to get the best results with minimum water use (and hence dryer carpets). Shorter piles allow better removal of the rinse water by the available suction. With longer pile and lower soil levels, reduce the pressure to keep the carpet dryer and use less water - less filling and emptying of the machine saving time. If you find you need more than one wet pass to effectively rinse the pre-spray and soil from the carpet or are doing extra drying passes, then look at the pressure you are using, it may need to be higher or lower. On heavily soiled areas, if the rinse isn't quite as effective as you would like, instead of doing a second wet pass, slowing the wand down a little to

put just a little extra water down may do the trick, but don't forget an extra drying stroke or two to compensate. Don't forget those bits of carpet which always get two wet passes as well - the overlap. By being a bit more precise with your wand strokes and minimising overlap you use less water and fewer wand strokes, reducing time on the job. But this isn't the whole story. We aren't just looking to keep the carpets as dry as possible. We are also looking for the best results, the least amount of soil left in the carpet. So, how do we achieve both these aims? When we make a wet pass to rinse out the prespray and suspended soil, we are effectively diluting the soil and pre-spray mixture and removing most (but not all of it) using suction. So how do we get more of the soil out of the carpet without putting more water in? Have you ever thought of making a dry pass of the wand BEFORE making the wet pass? This will remove a substantial amount of the concentrated pre-spray and suspended soil before you apply the rinse solution. This means there is less soil in the carpet for the rinse solution to dilute, meaning the rinse solution left in the carpet after your drying strokes contains less soil, so the carpet is actually cleaner. It may also mean you only need a single wet pass on the more heavily soiled areas, so less water is left in the carpet for the same (or better) results as multiple wet passes. I have found by not using a 'one size fits all' approach and adjusting the volume of pre-spray applied and the rinse pressure I use, making dry passes before wet passes, varying wet pass speed and controlling overlap, I am getting better results, using less product and less water, leaving carpets cleaner and dryer, completing jobs to a higher standard and in less time. This approach takes a little more thought and concentration whilst rinsing but I think it is paying dividends I call this approach 'Extraction Optimisation'. Try it and see if it works for you too. page 12

Extended drying times Some people are reluctant to have their carpets cleaned as they have heard that they may take up to a week to dry. As you will already know, this is definitely not the case. Extended drying times can have a number of causes such as underperforming equipment, inappropriate cleaning systems, poor technique or in many cases simply under-drying. Good drying is very important and is dependent upon the specification of the equipment, the skill of the technician and the environment post-clean. Depending upon the many variables involved, a correctly cleaned carpet will dry within hours, not days. As a professional cleaning technician you will be able to assure your client that this is the case.

Commercial carpet maintenance Commercial carpet maintenance programs are often reactive, not proactive. Because carpet does a superior job of trapping and hiding dirt, maintenance programs are seldom initiated until after the carpet is overflowing with soil. Unfortunately, by the time carpet looks dirty it is usually in serious need of restoration cleaning. The built-up soil can abrade the fibres in the traffic areas, and abrasion causes irreversible damage that will leave walkways looking ugly regardless of whether or not they are clean. The most successful carpet maintenance program is comprehensive and proactive and will start when the carpet is installed. It will include walk-off matting, effective vacuuming, spot removal, interim maintenance and periodic restorative cleaning. By following this simple routine carpet will not only be kept clean, but its life will also be extended, which can only be good for you and, most importantly, your client.

How to build client trust It can't be denied that the lack of trust many consumers feel has had a significant impact on the declining markets. As with any sort of relationship, when the trust is lost, the connection is dead. Many believe that trust in brands is at its lowest ever. Despite all this doom and gloom, there are still consumers out there who want to trust brands, primarily because they make buying decisions easy. So, how can businesses ensure that trust is established and maintained? 1. Tell it like it is: Be completely honest and transparent in all your dealings with clients. Don't use spin to give a false impression sincerity is vital. 2. Admit and correct mistakes: Mistakes are sometimes unavoidable, the important thing is to admit when the fault is your own and make amends. 3. Constantly make improvements: Provide your clients with plenty of opportunities to give feedback and, where possible, make

improvements. Clients will feel more confident that you have the ability to meet their changing needs. 4. Keep your promises: Make sure that you deliver the results you have promised, which will gain brand credibility. Once again, if mistakes happen, be accountable. 5. Treat everyone equally: Treat all your clients with genuine respect and consideration, regardless of who they are or how much money they spend. If you put into practice some of the things above, you will find that you also become more efficient, saving yourself and your clients more time and money. This will further ensure that consumers come to know your business as trustworthy. The fact is that trust, when gained, is priceless to a business. You need to be at the stage where your clients can't afford to lose you.

How to use your NCCA membership to your advantage in marketing your business Keith Robertson


rom time to time I meet members who tell me that being a member of the NCCA has not done anything to progress their business. They usually say, "I have asked hundreds of customers and not one has ever heard of the NCCA." I don't disbelieve them as the public are notorious for not remembering the names of associations or whether they have ever heard of them. Should that put us off? Of course not, because the other side of the coin is that generally people feel reassured to deal with tradesmen who are part of an association. Although, as with everything, there will of course be a few exceptions such as my own where I refuse to deal with anyone who is a member of Fare Trades. If each of us got the Association message to only one hundred customers a year we would be educating in excess of 50,000 every year. Will they all remember? Of course not, but it may help them to remember our company when we have done

our job. There is a statistic that says 10% of people forget who cleaned their carpets as each month passes. This obviously places a responsibility on us to communicate more with our customers. The question is, do you keep reminding them that you are a member of the only national professional association of carpet and soft furnishing experts. The answer is 'yes'. How do you do this? No doubt you have stickers on your van. Do you also use the logo or make mention of the Association on your adverts, business card, survey forms, invoices and every other piece of paper that ends up in the hands of your prospective customer? You really should. Now note that I said ‘use the logo' or 'make mention' of the Association. Words are extremely important and allow you to say not only that are you a member of the NCCA but why you are. Rather than presuming that there is no advantage, consider the situation where a customer is weighing-up which company to choose. Is it better page 14

to market yourself as the cheapest or the most professional? Producing client literature used to be hugely time consuming and costly, but the advent of desktop computing changed all that and now things are so much easier. In 1984 when I purchased my first computer, which was not only pre-windows but also pre-Dos, things started to improve. No more typing multiple page estimates trying to correct mistakes by over-typing the errors through tiny Tippex sheets. For a number of years, until Windows became the standard, there were limitations but now it is a breeze to produce documents in Word. In addition there are publishing packages which allow you to design professional looking company literature. In my own case my carpet cleaning customers in the main are high end domestic. Surveys or audits are made before jobs and the results are put in writing. A minimum ten-page document is sent to the prospect. Can I suggest that when you design or write a new letter format or document you get someone else to read it? First of all, print the document and read from the printout rather than from your computer screen. Unless you are very skilled at writing you will almost certainly pick up on a number of minor errors. Don't assume that the built-in spelling and grammar checker in your computer corrects all mistakes. In addition, once you have written something there is a tendency that your brain fools your eyes and fills in missing words as you read through. In my own case I have suffered from ME for more than twenty years which not only means I feel extraordinarily tired and irritable I appear to suffer from mild dyslexia and either miss or jumble words. Because of this my wife is my rock and reads and edits whatever I write. In the case of Newslink, our editor Nicky does this so if there is something relevant to the industry that you would like to appear in print she has the

ability to turn a jumble of words into an acceptable article. Just think how this could help your business. Not only are you a member of the NCCA but a writer for them too! Can you see yourself demonstrating your superiority to the other local cleaners by showing a copy of Newslink to your prospects or sending a typed copy with your own Newsletter to your clients? What a way to promote yourself and all because of the NCCA. So, what should you write with regard to the Association when constructing your marketing literature? It is not up to me to tell you what to say but, as an example, one of the leaflets I send to prospects enumerates fifteen benefits they will receive if they decide to use us and one of these simply states: "We are members of the National Carpet Cleaners Association - This assures you that we abide by a strict code of ethics which results in the highest level of customer satisfaction. Our code of conduct is based upon the published Publicly Accepted Standard PAS86:2008 - Professional Inspection, Maintenance, Cleaning and Restoration of Textile Floor Coverings, which is obtainable from the British Standards Institution." Are these the words you would choose to use? Probably not. Does that statement guarantee that my company gets the job? No, but along with the other fourteen benefits it certainly helps. I try to use different statements in every document I produce rather than finding a single formula and repeating it like some type of mantra. So why not try it. Being a member of the NCCA in itself will not necessarily promote your business. It is how you use your membership that will promote it. Certainly display the logo on whatever advertising, publicity or educational material you produce and send out, but also put into words what it is all about and the two together will have a positive effect on your progress. page 15

Derek Bolton (Honorary Member)

The cleaning of soft furnishings


any carpet cleaning technicians still tend to steer clear of cleaning soft furnishing fabrics which, to my mind, is a missed opportunity for increasing revenue. In fact some carpet cleaning jobs may well be lost too if the technician cannot, or will not, undertake 'all' of the client's soft furnishing care requirements. I can fully understand why some cleaners refuse to take on this work for fear of damaging a 'delicate' piece of fabric. However, with a degree of care and a good dollop of common sense soft furnishing fabrics actually respond very well to cleaning. Of course you could always do what some socalled upholstery cleaners seem to be doing these days…. half a job. You think I'm joking?! Over the last year I have been intrigued by just how many of my potential customers have asked,

during the initial enquiry, ''do you clean the whole suite?'' I have always replied “yes of course I do” while wondering why on earth they would be asking me this question. Well, I have now come to realise that many 'cleaners' only clean the main body contact areas on upholstery and just 'wipe' over the rest with a damp terry towel. Surely there must be an obvious difference in appearance between the cleaned and neglected areas. This might not be apparent when the fabric is still wet, but will almost definitely be noticeable once the suite has dried. Another area of cleaning, which is often ignored, is curtain and mattress cleaning. With the hand tools now available to us, coupled with the 'new generation' of chemicals now on the market, this is a field that can also be embraced for potential revenue growth. page 16

The cleaning of any of these items does undeniably involve an element of risk, I would not pretend otherwise, but then so does carpet cleaning. It is our job as professionals to identify these risks - as you would with any type of cleaning - and eliminate them. It is imperative that you think things through carefully before embarking on the work to be done. It's no good using the same cleaning agents and processes that you used to clean those dirty carpet tiles in the offices you cleaned last night‌ you may well be asking for trouble. If you should decide to take on the cleaning of curtains they should be thoroughly inspected for wear, weakness, staining, and the integrity of the fittings. One useful selling point is that curtains can easily be cleaned in situ, which saves the customer the bother of taking them down, transferring them to a dry cleaner and then being without them for a week or so. You could of course, as an alternative to cleaning in situ, and with your customer's permission, take the curtains to a dry cleaners yourself, working on a commission basis and making a charge for the handling service.

Not many of us seem to undertake mattress cleaning either, so there must be huge untapped potential for extra revenue if you choose to pursue this type of work. Once again with a little 'thinking things through', and selecting the right chemical and hand tool, potential problem areas can be identified and eliminated. Perspiration contamination and staining has to be the biggest problem you are likely to encounter, that and residual body odours. You should be able to make a significant improvement to this staining plus you will be able to leave your customer with a hygienically clean mattress. As with any type of cleaning, undertaking work on any of these soft furnishings requires a good deal of time and patience in order to clean safely and effectively and the prices you charge should reflect this. You will almost definitely find that expanding the areas in which you work will significantly extend your revenue stream. So, if you aren't already cleaning these types of soft furnishing fabrics maybe now is the time to consider it‌ you know it makes good business sense.

page 17

Do something now before it’s too late


hat a year 2012 was on the high street. Early on in the year Pumpkin Patch shut their retail shops. Fashion retailer Peacocks, who had six hundred and twelve shops, collapsed although in their case Scottish Woollen Mill used the opportunity to take over three hundred and eighty eight outlets. Past Times shut forty six of their ninety seven shops before going into administration. The new owners of La Senza, which went into administration at the end of 2011, announced in January 2012 they would retain sixty of the one hundred and forty six stores. Barratts the shoe retailer also had to restructure for a second time. Back in March administrators moved into games retailer Game which led to two hundred and seventy seven shops closing. In April gents outfitters Aquascutum went into administration and this was followed in May by Clinton Cards. Croydon retailer Allders were at one time the second largest

Keith Robertson

department store in the UK. Administrators were brought in during June and the store shut in September. Administrators were also called into Ethel Austin, Julian Graves, JJB Sports and the year ended with the close of Comet. Already this year, Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster have all go into administration. So has any of this economic turmoil impacted on our businesses? When the current recession started the word on the street was that it would be a good thing for the carpet cleaner, as those who could no longer afford the cost of replacement would opt to have their carpets cleaned instead. Did that happen for you? If it did, you were probably one of the fortunate few. Although this may have happened to some extent, for most carpet cleaners it was offset by those customers who had previously had regular cleans who then stopped, or postponed, them. Fortunately 2012, for many, was a better year, as page 18

more customers, realising they were still in work, decided they could once again open their wallets, but what is going on in the floor covering marketplace? Palmer Market Research have for thirty years been monitoring the flooring industry and in a recent report had both good and bad news. The good news is that there has been an upturn in the last two years with the market growing by 5%. This, however, needs to been seen in context as the current figure of a market size of 66.1 million sq. m. compares less favourably to that of 2007 which was then 78.50 million sq. m. The forecast report for the next four years is varied as Palmer reports that there is to be a fall away in 2014 followed by a slow growth through 2016 ending up with a slightly smaller market than quoted in the 2012 report. It may now be time to reconsider your future plans, particularly if you specialise largely in domestic carpet cleaning. Now might be the time to redouble any effort you are putting into

commercial carpet cleaning. There has been a reasonably strong growth in carpet tiles in offices, so marketing to Facility Managers might be something to consider and there has also been a growth in the sales of fitted carpets to the leisure industry where, as you know, they are likely to be subject to heavy use and require regular cleaning. Going back to the subject of high street shops, we see that not all retail store chains are suffering, so is there anything we can we learn from the more successful companies? On the one hand there are the discount shops like the pound shops and my personal favourite, TK Maxx and supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi. However, others such as Halfords and John Lewis are also clearly prospering. So is there anything we can emulate? Certainly, some of these retailers represent the perceived saving of money when shopping, which Continued on next page

page 19

Continued from previous page will always entice customers, but there is more to it than simply the prices charged and John Lewis have demonstrated this. I am sure you are all aware of the John Lewis slogan, 'Never Knowingly Undersold' which relates to their promise to match rival retailers prices. This has, over the years, built a platform of trust for a considerable number of customers. Work is required to maintain trust. There are three specifics required, good pricing, good guarantees and first class customer service. Good pricing doesn't mean cheap, rather it means good value. As cleaning contractors we need to create an 'experience' rather than simply performing a job of work and an experience which is backed by an absolute guarantee. Doing this gradually builds a loyal following of customers who not only use your services but who also recommend you. Embracing change is also important. In addition to their High Street presence John Lewis conduct 25% of their business online. We may not be able to clean carpets online but that doesn't mean that we cannot embrace change. There are a number of ways this could be done. For instance it might be the time to seriously consider adding hard floor cleaning to our business or, if you already do so, to plan to market more vigorously. Why? Well, 26% of the total marketplace is now resilient flooring. Vinyl tile sales have grown by 10% with luxury vinyl tiles the star performer with growth forecast to keep increasing through to 2016. If you are not sure how to start cleaning hard floor surfaces why not set aside two days in April as the NCCA is running the Hard Floor Course at the NSPCC in Leicester on the 18th and 19th. The course will cover a range of hard floor surfaces including vinyl, wood and ceramic care. Another interesting factor to consider is the way that John Lewis is owned. It is the biggest employee-owned company in the UK where all the permanent staff are partners. If you are an established business with staff you may not want to

share ownership with your employees, but you could build cohesion through a profit sharing scheme where you and your employees follow John Lewis' example and all receive a similar bonus. This could be used to assist in improving staff motivation and in turn customer service. Another major reason that companies go under is that their banks are unwilling to allow them to increase their indebtedness. With small companies, like most of ours, it is important to appreciate we are running a business and the money we take in isn't in the first instance to fund our lifestyle but to run the business. The biggest mistake that many small businessmen make is to rush to improve their lifestyle, whether purchasing a house or car, which then becomes difficult to fund. If you can run your business without an overdraft and are careful about the level of hire purchase you agree to, or the leases or lease purchases you sign, the more likely you are to survive. There is nothing wrong in becoming leaner and meaner as there should be more to spend later. An example of how easy it is to move towards insolvency during an economic downturn is demonstrated by some retailers who have failed largely because of the long leases and high paid-inadvance rents required for the premises they operated from. Some retailers such as Jessops and HMV complained not only about the move, in the last few years, towards purchasing goods online but also about supermarkets muscling into their markets. Well, most of us understand the problems of cheap or unfair competitors so it is imperative that if we are currently hurting that we pick up our game. Cutting prices is not the answer, rather improving what we offer and the procedure of how we go about our jobs so that there are clear distinctions between what we do and the value and experience we offer against our competitors. Oh yes, and by increasing the range of services we offer. Will you be at Leicester on the 18th April? I will be there to welcome you. page 20

Poor workmanship


Martin Johns

ince entering into my role as Assistant Membership Director I have spoken to a number of newly appointed NCCA members and have been inspired by their commitment to producing quality service. However it is sad to say, but not all carpet cleaners are as conscientious. I will share with you a horror story I experienced recently. I was asked to undertake some work following the endeavours of another carpet cleaner three months previously. The job was to clean the carpets - which were beige and 100% manmade fibre/manmade backing - at an end-of-tenancy in a three-bed house. On initial inspection I noticed that all the carpets displayed some dark grey patches. My first thoughts were that these might be urine or drink spillages, but on closer examination I noticed there were also distinct traffic lines, again all grey. At first the tenant seemed to find my inspection routine rather amusing - apparently he'd had his carpets cleaned a number of times before and nobody had ever conducted a written survey - but he started to take me seriously when I pointed out the grey patches and asked him about them. He told me that they were there when he moved in and that a previous cleaner had taken three attempts to clean all the carpets, over a period of two days, and had left them soaking wet. He claimed it had taken a week for them to dry and they had smelt horrible (mind you, his landlady had only paid ÂŁ70 to have all the carpets

cleaned!). I gave him my written quotation and he asked me why I was charging almost three times the amount. He then promptly phoned his landlady and said, within listening distance, that he had a right 'rip-off merchant' in the house and requested that I wait for her arrive to discuss the matter. When the landlady arrived she questioned me intently and seemed very protective of the previous cleaner and the work he had carried out. I alerted her to the numerous grey streaks and patches and, much to my astonishment, she said that the preceding cleaner had told her that it was quite normal when cleaning carpets not to remove all the stains and that, in this case, it was due to the poor quality of her underlay! Well, I was speechless. She then informed me that I was to clean the lounge first and prove why her tenant should be charged such a ridiculous amount of money and added that if the quality of my work was no improvement on the previous cleaner's I had better match the price or go. What she didn't realise was that I like a challenge and when I had finished cleaning the lounge she was visibly stunned by how clean the carpet was and also how dry, considering hot water extraction had been used. It led her to question why the other cleaner had been unable to remove the stains. After I cleaned all the carpets the tenant and landlady told me how pleased they were with my service and happily paid my quoted price without further question. I have since been to clean the landlady's own residence and unsurprisingly have been informed that she will not be employing the original cleaner again. On a final note, I know that we have to be competitively priced and its tough out there, but we should all charge a reasonable amount to do a first-class job. Lowering prices and standards to match is not an option. If you do this will inevitably lose out in the end. page 21

NCCA Tour of The National Trust's Textile Conservation Studio and Blickling Hall & Gardens in Norfolk Glyn Charnock


e have managed to secure one of the very few tours of the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio exclusively for NCCA members. Working to preserve some of the most historic fabrics in the country this is a unique opportunity to see their work and they have kindly agreed to allow access to their laboratory and wet cleaning area, as these would be of particular interest to our members. The tour is one hour long and is limited to only twenty five places. The tour is booked for 2.30pm on Friday 28th June 2013. Because of the tours short timescale I have also booked two, one hour guided tours of Blickling Hall approximately three miles away (limited to twelve to thirteen people per tour) starting promptly at 11.00am and 11.20am. These pre-booked tours are conducted before the Hall is opened to the public at 12noon. Parking is free to National Trust members (windscreen sticker required). Others, £2.50 payable on the day. The ticket is split in half, one to be displayed in your vehicle and one that can be used against purchases in the shop or café. There are two places serving food at Blickling Hall, the Muddy Boots Café serving snacks, drinks and light refreshments, or the Hobart Restaurant offering a variety of meals using local seasonal produce. Prices start from around £8 for a main course. If friends or family wish to look round the hall and gardens while members are on the tours, they can pay on the day and meet up for lunch. For more information about Blickling Hall, including prices, please see their website: The price for entry to Blickling Hall house and gardens, guided tour of the Hall and Textile Studio tour is £25 per person. For National Trust members it will be £15 as they will not be charged an

entrance fee to Blickling Hall. Payment is required on booking and as spaces are strictly limited they will be allocated on a 'First Come First Served' basis. We will assemble in the car park at 2pm and drive the short distance to the Textile Conservation Studio for the tour. Once the tour is over we will return to Blickling Hall to pick up any family/friends not on the Studio tour. If you are a National Trust Member please put your Membership number on the booking form enclosed with Newslink this month, as any tickets will need to be bought in advance to get the reduced entrance fee for the Hall. ITINERARY Friday 28th June 2013 ¨ 10.15am - Blickling Gardens open. ¨ 10.30am - Meet in Blickling Hall car park - collect Entrance and Guided Tour tickets. ¨ 11.00am - First tour of Blickling Hall starts. ¨ 11.20am - Second tour of Blickling Hall starts. ¨ 12.15pm - Meet for lunch and time to explore the garden and shops, etc. ¨ 2.00pm - Those booked on the Studio Tour assemble in car park/leave for Conservation Studio. ¨ 2.30pm - Tour starts at Studio. ¨ 3.30pm - Tour finishes - return to Blickling Hall to pick up family and friends. If you wish to make it a weekend break, Blickling is not far from the lovely market town of Aylsham and close to the Norfolk coast, with the popular beach resort of Cromer. A few miles along the coast road is Sherringham, where you can ride on a steam train to Holt station. Holt can then be reached via an open top bus through the scenic grounds of Gresham School or if you feel energetic, walk the mile by road to Holt from the station. Wells has a lovely sandy beach and a woodland walk. At Blakeney, with its narrow streets and pretty harbour, you can take a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point. page 22

COMPETITION YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PLACE ON OUR TRAINING COURSE! Would you like to train as a floor sanding professional? Well... this is your chance! Simply identify what you think caused the stain (left) on an oak kitchen work top and, on a less serious note, what you think it resembles, AND YOU COULD WIN A PLACE ON OUR FLOOR SANDING COURSE WORTH ÂŁ395 + VAT! For your chance to win email your answers to Terry Guilford at:


Unconverted customer leads


n the December/January Newslink I noted my experience that the conversion rate of customers requiring an urgent estimate is extremely low. In the February Newslink, Cecil Aigin expressed an interest in my observations and wondered how this trend could be reversed. Firstly, for those who did not see the original article, here are the main paragraphs: “I've recently checked my database of unconverted leads for the past few months. That is, prospects who have asked for an in-home quotation but have not gone ahead. It's brought up an unusual principle that I've called The Principle of the Inverse Appointment Time”. I discovered that in the last few months I have only eight in-home quotes that have not turned into jobs. Of those eight, I noticed a similarity that I've turned into this rule: “The more impatient they are to get a quote, the least intention they have of getting the job done.” Of those eight quotes, SIX told me they were in a

David Coker

hurry to have the work done and I needed to provide a quote as soon as possible. In nearly all of these cases, I changed my schedule to provide a quote quickly. Once in the home, it seemed that the urgency had dissipated. I may have given the impression that every last minute enquiry is a waste of time and, if I did, I apologise. This is not the case. I was merely commenting on a 'principle' I seemed to have found whilst analysing my database. A 'principle' that in general alerts me to ask further questions. So let me explain. There are two very good points that Cecil makes: 1) It could be that the prospective client has previously accepted an estimate and, at the last moment, wants to make certain that a competitive price has been previously agreed. Should the next estimate appear to be similar, the clients will not have a change of mind, unless they are given good reason to do so. 2) An imminent and important event might be page 24

about to take place in their home/place of work and there is a last minute panic regarding the condition of the carpets. Subsequent to receiving a quotation, the event might be cancelled or the thought of spending money reduces the degree of anxiety with regard to the appearance of the carpet. So how can these be addressed? Firstly, my company is not in the business of confirming that the price from a rival company price is competitive (I leave that to those who quote for the local council). We are a premium priced cleaning service and do not work with the low end of the market. They wouldn't use us. Our prices are too high for them. So if a prospect is a 'price shopper' for example, we don't want to waste time with them. Of course, if there is a last minute panic because of an upcoming event, we try and ascertain that on the phone before we visit (the prospects I was referring to did not have any immediate upcoming events). However, if it is a last minute panic we still make sure that we are the right cleaning service for them.

Member referral report Since publishing a referral statistics report in last month's Newslink there have been 49 recommendations for full members provided by the NCCA. This number is made up of referrals from the NCCA office, as well as potential customers contacting members direct through the website.

Right at the end of the article I made this point: I only want to visit homeowners who are preinterested, pre-qualified, pre-educated and predisposed to using me. If they're NOT, I spend time to make sure they are… Before I visit. And that really is what I was trying to say, not that all late enquiries are a waste of time but simply that my database showed an interesting trend that warranted further probing. Even the 80/20 rule has exceptions. The key word is probably 'qualification'. We make prospects jump through hoops to qualify themselves before we allocate time to giving an inhome quotation. We want to make sure that we are quoting for 'high probability' prospects. And yes, as Cecil suggested, this includes giving a detailed account of our cleaning process and a good 'Unique Selling Proposition' (USP) so as Jay Abraham says “they will positively discriminate in our favour”. While I'm at it, I'm starting to formulate another principle based on this month's experience: 'The harder it is to get hold of the prospect, the less likely that they will go ahead with the cleaning’.

Getting the best out of private medical health


he majority of NCCA members will be aware of private health plans, and will more often than not question if they really need it when they receive their annual renewal every year. In most cases, the answer will be no, but the knowledge that it provides you with peace of mind when faced with a medical problem will encourage you to keep it. The next question you ask yourself is can you get it cheaper, and then you start to hunt out other providers on comparison sites and trawl through adverts, which in all probability will make you wish you had not started. The truth is that trying to compare medical plans is nigh on impossible because of the various clauses, jargon and rules that apply to different providers and plans. Do you want in-hospital and overnight stays, or inhospital outpatient cover and choice of hospital? You will be inundated with moratoriums (a period of time during which a certain activity is not allowed or required), excess, and so the list goes on. You want simplicity and a full understanding of what you are buying. In order to try and simplify the process for you, the first step towards getting a plan is to make a list of what YOU want from your plan and what best suits you, your state of health, lifestyle and cost. If you spend a lot of time abroad or have sporting hobbies, you may want to consider a plan that covers you for travel and interests. What if you want to change from your current plan, does your potential provider offer you a free Transfer facility which has no breaks in your cover? Once you have made your list, you can start to research and

compare the various providers and plans. A good tip is to balance what you need with the amount you want to pay. One of the key factors of taking out a private medical health plan is to give you peace of mind when faced with the prospect of surgery or a medical condition. We interpret peace of mind as being able to talk to your provider about any concerns you have and being treated in a personal, sympathetic and professional manner. The last thing you want is to be connected to an automated service and pushing buttons to get through to someone. Ok, so you have done your research and are now deciding who to choose. Quite simply, pick up the phone and call each provider. Speak to their Claims Department and assess their handling of your enquiry. Having to claim on your health plan is the reason for joining. You need to know how their system works, including how approachable the staff are, how the claims procedure works and how quickly your claim will be settled. These few simple steps can help ease the stress of taking out a private medical health plan, and bring you the peace of mind that prompted you to provide it for yourself in the first case. You can call HMCA on 01423 866985 for further advice and information or visit us at page 26

Excellent NCCA member benefit


MCA are delighted to offer NCCA members and their families our range of medical health cover and related products. Hospital and Medical Care Association are specialists in offering voluntary benefits exclusively to members of professional and trades associations and membership groups. We have over thirty years' experience dealing with over seven hundred associations in delivering first class service at highly competitive rates.

We do not deal with the general public and do not advertise nationally. This simply means that we can continue to offer reduced costs coupled with first class service. Once members subscribe to any of our plans you automatically qualify for further discounts from our range of Loyalty Benefits. These include leisure, hotels and magazine subscriptions. Details will be given upon joining and enclosed in our Welcome Packs. For further information you can visit our website at or telephone 01423 866985 for an informal chat and details.

Problematic employees


ealing with problematic employees and staying within the confines of the law can be a time-consuming and stressful process for business owners. There are many reasons why employees become difficult or disruptive, but often it's because a person was difficult in their last job and were allowed to get away with it. Once this happens it's difficult to get them back on track. However, it is important to understand some employees may be disruptive without intending to be, and are completely unaware their behaviour is unacceptable and causing problems

Robert Downes (FPB) The Forum of Private Business is a not-forprofit business support organisation focussed on the growth and profitability of small businesses. It offers a comprehensive package of member services to help firms make money and save money. Visit for fellow workers. It's therefore important to look at each situation individually and to handle it in a way that best fits the circumstances. Employees who don't fully understand their job are the ones more likely to become disruptive. This page 28

could be for a variety of reasons, such as they may be so de-motivated by this that they start to refuse to do certain tasks that are part of their responsibilities. In these cases providing refresher training could be the key to changing their attitude. Being able to do their job efficiently and correctly, their confidence will increase and they become less likely to refuse to work. A good induction process for new starters can help avoid these situations in the first place. Bullying in the workplace creates a bad atmosphere which can affect other employees working with them. It is important any cases of bullying are identified at an early stage. Once a grievance has been raised, it is imperative to fully investigate what's happened - usually by interviewing the alleged bully, the victim or victims, and any colleagues who may have witnessed incidents also need to be spoken to. Employers have to remember that cases of bullying can land them in a tribunal if they fail to address the issue, and this will require legal assistance. After investigation, if a complaint is upheld, and depending on the severity of the case, the bully should either be given a formal disciplinary warning or be dismissed. All conversations need to be logged and recorded. In such instances it may be well worth seeking professional advice, such as the Forum's legal helpline which is free to members, and offers unlimited advice to help employers deal with such situations. Persistent absence is an issue the Forum's member helpline frequently takes calls on. Workers who take days off sick cost the UK economy ÂŁ6.5 billion a year, and is a massive problem for businesses with a small staff. All employees should understand that attendance is important, will be monitored, and that lengthy periods of ill health or persistent absenteeism can result in disciplinary action. The correct way for an employer to handle the

situation will depend largely on whether the absence is long-term or has an underlying cause in which case capability and potentially disability discrimination are the issues - or just the more common, persistent short-term 'sicky'. The latter can amount to misconduct or give the employer some other substantial reason to dismiss. An increasing headache for management nowadays is employees misusing social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook. Employees badmouthing their boss or complaining about how much they hate their job - for all the world to see - can damage a company's reputation hugely. Blocking social networking sites, or restricting the use of social media during working hours are usually insufficient safeguards on their own, particularly with the rise of smart phones meaning staff don't have to use office equipment to engage. A properly formulated social media policy, containing clear user guidelines, will help to protect the company from misuse both inside and outside of work. This kind of rule needs to be added in to staff handbooks - again, the Forum's legal helpline can assist with how this can be implemented. Employment law is a minefield, and is not for the office's armchair lawyer to have a stab at, or indeed for anyone who's not suitably trained. The main issue is that laws can be complex and are changing all the time, so it's hard to keep up to speed with what's new. And 2013 will see more changes than ever as the government makes sweeping reforms to employment legislation as part of its Red Tape Challenge exercise. While this initiative is supposed to cut down on rules and regulations for employers, the changes still need to be adhered to, and not all the changes will benefit employers. If you need any help on employment law, or would like to purchase our employment law guide, telephone the Forum on 0845 130 1722. page 29

Items for sale 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. EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Prochem 250 ft vacuum hoses for truck mount £150.00. Chemspec hose reel for truck mount plastic - £200. Prochem sadle tank for truckmount 227 litre/60 gallons - £300.00. Contact for further information or contact andy on: 07970 544806. VAN AND TRUCKM0UNT FOR SALE - £4500 IVECO van, 2001, very good condition, 2800 cc engine size, 124,000 miles, fitted with shelving, all the necessary hoses, 2 wands go with it + Steam Way Sidekick 6100 truckmount, very good condition with 2165 hours on the clock. As an extra goodwill gesture we will include a rotary jet extractor R X 20, which is worth more than £2000 to buy brand new! Selling price is NON NOGOTIABLE because this very good price for someone maybe looking at starting up in the industry. Interested buyers are more than welcome to come to Market Harborough and test drive the van and truckmount. MOT until end of Feb 2014 and Tax until end of Feb 2013. Call Angelo on 07949 214588.

VACANCY & BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Experienced full time Carpet and Floor Care Technician required. Own van and equipment would be an advantage but not essential. Good business incentive package (profit share or buy in). Area coverage M4 corridor from Bristol to London. Apply by email to with full CV, etc.) or telephone: 01672 871882 or mobile: 07831 172743. BUSINESS FOR SALE Small, well established carpet, hard floor and upholstery cleaning business based on the London and Kent borders. The package includes a 57 plate Vauxhall Vivaro LWB Van with 53k miles on the clock, Prochem Blazer GT Truck Mount machine with only 270hrs on the clock, established interactive website (which had SEO programme last year), chemicals, turbo drier, 250 feet of solution and suction hose and van mounted hose reels, together with a property maintenance company name, website and promotional materials. Contact telephone number 020 8309 6517. Sale price: £18,000 O.N.O.

CITROEN RELAY HDi LWB HR + TRUCK MOUNTED CARPET CLEANING MACHINE VAN: Year-56plate. Miles-38453. TAX-End March 2013. MOT Due-August 2013. Serviced March 2012. TRUCK MOUNT: Chemspec 860 High Heat. Hours2537.5hrs. This was Chemspec's largest and most powerful petrol truck mount. The same was used as their demonstrator mounted on a trailer. It is designed as a dual wand system so a 2man team can work continuously at impressive distances if required, but equally can be run as a simple wand system. The machine is mounted on the vehicle complete with: large waste tank, large capacity clean water tank, retractable hose reel for easy filling, fuel tank, chemical shelf, 5 x 50' extraction hoses on van mounted reel for easy set up, 5 x 50' solution hoses on van mounted reel for easy set up, 3 x large carpet wands, 1 x Hand Tool, 2 x yellow/black hose pavement ramps, chemical tanks. We have it set up so you can have up to 4 different chemicals ready to go and can simply be switched from one to the other without moving/switching tanks. We have also invested and have installed an Eberspacher cab heater ( which allows the back of the vehicle to be kept warm overnight during the winter months if the vehicle can't be garaged. This runs independently from the engine. Cost: £10,750+VAT. Contact Peter Booth on: 01553 762762. TRUCKMOUNT Banclene truck mount complete with base unit, stainless steel 80 gallon recovery tank, 100 gallon solution tank, 150 feet of Vaccuum/solution hoses, floor, stair and various upholstery hand tools, inline heater and misc parts etc..The van has been sold seperately. Selling due to retirement and will consider the highest offer. Call Derek at Aquamaster on 01845 537640 - mobile 07976 218304 or email derek CLEANING AND RESTORATION MACHINERY EQUIPMENT - ACCESSORIES Dri-Eaz Dehumidifier 1200 as New Boxed £450.00. DriEaz Sahara Pro TurboDryer - New Boxed £150.00. DriEaz Dri X Airchanger Dehumidifier New Boxed. Normal Price £1900.00. Our Price £500.00. Plus much more. For a complete list please telephone: 07580 182 325 or E-mail:

MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT 3 Ozone plates 4'' x 6'' to fit Jetazone 600 ozone generator - £15.00 for the 3, plus £5.00 p & p. Chemspec stainless steel 4 jet floor wand in good condition - £100.00 plus delivery charge if applicable. Please phone Pete Collins on 07885 804560. page 30

EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Mobile container/bin (red) - comes with lid. Heavy duty container on wheels. L55” x W32” x H31”, ideal hose and other carpet clng equipment storage. List price: £199 - selling for £95. Whole room drier/air mover. List price: £534 - selling for £250 (no VAT). Professional spot carpet cleaning machine, one year old, includes vacuum hose plus product cleaning hose - selling for £250 (no VAT). 6 Litre spray bottle (comes with nozzle) - selling for £40. Contact: Chis on: 02380 898 212 or or phone Chris on: 07970 040729. EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Prochem bazooka plus citrus gel Good condition £20.00. Extracta electric power sprayer. Excellent condition £40.00. Contact Lester Gale 07949 207777 based in Oxfordshire. 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.

NCCA Corporate Members + Allied Insurance Services Ltd: 0844 8156211 (I) + Alltec Network: 01763 208222 (C/M/F/T) + Amtech UK: 01444 232211 (C/M) + Ashby's Cleaning Equipment: 01322 227806 (C/M/E) + Asset Finance Solutions UK Ltd: 01254 584404 (FI) + Bio Productions Ltd (inc. Stapro): 01444 244000 (C) + Camberford Law (insurance brokers): 0208 315 5000 (I) + Chemdry Franchising Ltd: 01482 872770 (C/M/Fr) + Chemspec Europe Ltd: 01274 597333 (C/M/T/D/F) + Cleanerswarehouse Ltd: 01772 434333 (T/C/R/M) + Cleaning Systems UK: 01334 656787 (C/M/T/F) + Cleanpro Software Solutions Ltd: 01582 518467 + Cleansmart Ltd: 0115 8240034 (T/C/R/M/K) + Cleantec Innovation Ltd: 0870 733 7733 (T/C/W/M) + Columbus Cleaning Machines Ltd: 01772 426527 (M) + Dri-Eaz Products Ltd: 01908 611211 (C/M/T) + Dry Fusion UK Ltd: 01772 433711 (C/M/T/W/Fr) + Forum of Private Business: 01565 634467 + Get Booked Up Software: 01405 813665 + 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) + Hydro Dynamix: 01622 664993 (Fr)T) + Mailboxes Etc: 01628 633336

NCCA Member Benefits

+ McGregor Lloyd (insurance brokers): 0121 706 0616 (I) + NSL Restormate: 01670 590099: (M/C/Tr)

+ HMCA (free legal and councelling helpline): 0117 934 2600

+ Nu Life Stone Care Ltd: 0161 480 7284 (M/C)

+ SiteWizard (website creation): 08450 608860

+ Prochem Europe Ltd: 0208 974 1515 (C/F/M/T)

+ EMJ Management Ltd (workwear clothing and accessories): 02392 434650

+ Restoration Express: 01252 726106 (M/C/T/A)

+ Thompson Local - ask for Corporate Advertsing Department: 01252 390385

+ ServiceMaster Ltd: 0116 275 9000 (M/C/Fr)

+ Hibu (previously Yell) - ask for Corporate Advertising Department: 0808 100 7890

+ The Big Clean: 0208 3934778 (M,C,W,K)

+ Adalante Merchant Services: 01628 820500 + Payatrader: 01296 660177 + Control Account PLC: 01527 882901 + TrustMark (Diversity): 0115 9673767

+ Oates Laboratories (Europe): 01772 433711 (C) + Rainbow International: 01623 422488 (M/C/Fr) + Robert Saunders Marketing Mentor: 08450 537129 (K) + Sebo UK Ltd: 01494 465533 (M) + Stainshield Ltd: 01372 841467 (C) + Textile Cleaning Solutions: 01934 521155 (M/C) + The Ultimate Floor Sanding Co.: 00353 91846488 (M/C/Fr) + The Woolsafe Organisation: 01943 850817 + Truvox International Ltd: 02380 702200 (M) + 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 / Fi - Finance / Tr - Training.

page 31

Going Going - Gone Dye Gone offers a unique new package and application device to remove the severest of dye stains including: coffee, tea, wine, hair dyes, paints, candle colours etc.

e dby goo n Say ake ta to f ains! st

No need to mix - just spray wait and the stain is gone.* *pre-test carefully and rinse out after stain is removed with cold water after use.

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

March 2013  
March 2013