Educational Consumer Tips


Author: Better Business Bureau

Maintaining a home with clean carpeting involves so many choices and advertised prices, it's important to find a trustworthy carpet-cleaning service to work with.

Family, friends and neighbors are good sources for references. Ask who they use and who they would recommend. A reputable cleaning professional should have available a list of satisfied clients or businesses who use their services.

Before you get started, know what you want done so you don't get pressured into purchasing services you do not want or need.

If your carpet is new, read the warranty and find out if any special cleaning methods are recommended by the manufacturer. Some carpets must be professionally cleaned on a regular basis to maintain their warranty.

You should obtain estimates from at least three companies, but you shouldn't base your choice solely on who's offering the best price. While no one wants to be overcharged, extremely low prices should set off warning signals. Companies that advertise very low prices may be practicing what is called “bait” advertising. Once the workers arrive in your home, they quickly suggest a more expensive treatment for the cleaning.

Find out what you get for your money. Just as pricing can differ from company to company, so can the services included in the price and what the company considers “extras.” Ask for a copy of the contract and read it carefully. Understand all terms, such as room size limitation, and costs of the work. Be sure to get everything in writing before any work begins. This includes warranties and guarantees.

Texas doesn't require carpet-cleaning companies to be licensed, but you should ensure that the company is insured and bonded. Ask for proof.

Inquire about the company's employees. After all, these are the people who will be coming to your home. Find out if the company uses its own employees or do they subcontract the job to other companies?

Who is responsible if the crew damages the carpet or other items in your home?

Whether it is dry foam, powder or shampoo, all cleaning products have a pH factor that is generally measured on a scale of one to 14.

The cleaner's pH factor should be higher than 7, but anything over 10 may affect delicate colors. Before beginning any work, ask the company to test the cleaning method on an unseen section of carpet. Once cleaning is complete, find out what care is required afterward. How long will it take to dry? What kind of ventilation is needed?

Take a little time to do some research. You'll find that professional maintenance by the right company not only will improve the appearance and feel of your home, it also will help extend the life of your carpet and save you money in the long run.