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Look down — it's not always carpet

October 13, 2010
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Opportunities may knock softly — or break down the door to get noticed.

The hard surface opportunity in the professional cleaning industry is getting ready to knock the door down.

In case you haven''t noticed, carpet manufacturers are becoming big players in the hard surface flooring industry.

Like a pond''s ripple…

About two and a half years ago, Mohawk purchased one of the largest manufacturers of ceramic tile in the United States: Daltile.

And it recently completed a purchase of a Belgian laminate flooring manufacturer.

Shaw Industries is the largest producer of carpet in the world.

It is also the world''s largest producer of laminate flooring.

We may know Mannington as a producer of sheet vinyl and vinyl composition tile, but they also produce a multitude of solid and engineered wood flooring.

The companies that have manufactured all the carpets we have serviced for all these years can see the future of the flooring industry.

And right now the future looks very bright for hard surface flooring.

Keep with the trends

Since we are the "Mr. Goodwrench" for the flooring industry, it is time to get some training on what we will be asked to service in the future.

Our customers are buying these hard surface floors in record numbers, and placing them in areas of the home traditionally covered by carpeting.

They are at a loss on how to produce good cleaning results after the flooring has been installed.

The flooring sales person has told them that the new hard surface flooring is "maintenance free". "Just a quick wipe is all it needs."

In many cases, this could not be farther from the truth.

Put together a package

Hard surface flooring gives us a better opportunity to sell maintenance packages.

If we follow an initial/preventative, routine, interim/periodic, and restorative procedures model, we can easily convince our customers that the flooring they purchased for a "lifetime" needs a professional care program to ensure a long service tenure.

They understand the asset management of hard surface care much easier than that of carpeting.

Usually, hard surface flooring has a higher initial cost, but can bring more lasting value, and in some cases add a great amount of value to the building where the flooring has been installed.

Don''t be an ostrich

Many cleaning professionals have walked over, dragged hoses past, and pretended not to notice hard surfaces.

Don''t be like an ostrich — maybe you don''t pay attention or see the hard floors, but they are there. They are real.

Cleaner''s may have had a bad experience with a hard floor, or they have heard of someone else''s bad experience.

Do not fear.

Proper training can give you the confidence and technical skill you need.

Dane Gregory is a cleaning veteran with more than 20 year''s experience. An industry speaker and trainer, he started his career in hard surface maintenance, mainly stone, terrazzo and VCT. He currently co-chairs the Hard Surface/Commercial Division of the IICRC Certification Council and is chair of the SMT Technical Advisory Committee. He can be contacted at

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