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Marketing & Advertising / Carpet Care / Disaster Restoration

Certification by the Numbers

December 13, 2013
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What is it that the best in our industry do better than the rest of us? And what can we learn from that?

In a recent issue of Cleanfax, a graphic summarized some key differences between top-performing carpet cleaners, those companies that had significantly increased business in 2012 and expected to close out 2013 with significantly increased business as well. It’s an interesting read because, while increased business may not be the only metric for success, most of us are trying to grow, something that can be challenging as the economy continues to sputter.

The differences can be striking at times and cover a broad swath of practices. From marketing tactics to profitability, top-performing firms are eight percent more profitable than their peers and their owners are a whopping 41 percent more likely to earn in excess of $100,000 per year.

And those top performing firms understand the value of certification as well:

  • Overwhelmingly, the top carpet cleaners are likely to be certified or to have a certified employee on board.More than three-quarters (77 percent) of top carpet cleaners have someone certified within their organization.
  • Nearly seven out of 10 top-performing carpet cleaners have participated in training within the past year. This is up significantly compared to the overall pool of respondents, at 68 percent for top performers versus 60 percent overall.

Whatever else may be surprising in the survey data, I’m not surprised, and you shouldn’t be either, that the top carpet cleaners have a deep and consistent commitment to certification. After all, everything we do, all the marketing, the expense management and the countless other things that go into running a business, starts and ends with a satisfied customer.

And getting to customer satisfaction? That starts with knowing the most technically correct approach to every job, every time, a challenge that IICRC certification delivers on across eight standards, 27 certification courses and six certification tracks.

Does certification alone make you an outstanding carpet cleaner? Absolutely not, any more than an MBA makes you a top-flight business person. But, like a degree, certification gives you proven tools and knowledge.

Technically proficient carpet cleaning — the kind that leads to repeat customers and great word-of-mouth marketing — is a business of discovery, every day. What type of carpet are we dealing with? What kind of stains? Is anyone in house hypersensitive to cleaning agents? Finding the answers to all of that requires technical knowledge, the kind of base that comes with IICRC certification.

If you’ve been thinking about IICRC certification for yourself or someone in your shop, I encourage you to take the next step and visit, where you can find a full listing of classes and schedules. And if you’re already individually certified, make 2014 the year to expand your knowledge with additional certifications. You may even want to take the leap and become an IICRC Certified Firm, which comes with additional marketing benefits for your business.

The numbers don’t lie: Our most successful carpet cleaners have a strong commitment to certification. Do you?

Tony Wheelwright is the new chairman of the IICRC. He can be reached via e-mail at