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May 2014 Single Truck Success

How Do High-Priced Companies Do It? Part 3

They have greater knowledge and expertise.

May 1, 2014

Consumers who are willing to pay higher prices expect the best. They want to feel confident that their home is in good hands and that the cleaning experience will go smoothly.

Professionalism, knowledge and expertise are worth paying extra for. It is not worth saving a few dollars if it increases the risk that something could go wrong.

These people use service companies frequently and know how to recognize one that is knowledgeable and professional. It is important for companies that cater to this consumer market to convey that they possess the knowledge and expertise these consumers seek.

Levels of knowledge and expertise

Most technicians care about the quality of work they provide. Many have taken classes and passed the certification exams for the services they offer. Yet companies fall into two distinct categories of knowledge and expertise.

Basic level

A vast majority of service techs possess a level of knowledge and experience that falls into this category. They are thoroughly familiar with the procedures and cleaning solutions needed to attain good, consistent results. They know their equipment well and many have state-of-the-art tools. This level of training is sufficient for typical cleaning situations.

What is lacking is the know-how and experience to handle unusual cleaning situations and tackle common problems that arise after a cleaning. Few techs can identify the textiles and materials being cleaned or explain the related characteristics. They have little understanding about why the traditional cleaning solutions are effective.

Expert level

Only a few cleaners invest the additional effort to attain this higher level of expertise. This information is taught during standard certification classes, but only a few take the time to learn and understand its relevance beyond passing the course exam. 

Higher prices are achievable for those who can identify the specifics of the carpet and fabric they work on. Knowing fiber characteristics can influence the procedures a technician will choose and allow cleaners to anticipate the end results.

Understanding the categories of soil and the chemistry of the solutions enables the cleaner to safely deal with unusual situations. Familiarity with carpet manufacturing and proper installation techniques makes it easier to provide professional explanations when carpets respond in unexpected ways.

Letting consumers know

Companies possessing this higher level of knowledge need to inform their target market of this special expertise. They convey this by referring to it in their marketing message and by proudly proclaiming the certifications that support this claim.

Marketing message

Target consumers will catch on that the company is different if the marketing message refers to details that imply greater knowledge. Good marketing materials convey specifics such as identifying fiber content during the pre-inspection, advising the most appropriate cleaning procedures and discussing the anticipated end results prior to the start of cleaning.

Superior skill in upholstery cleaning might be established by mentioning names of delicate fabrics such as linen, rayon, silk and raw cotton that the company commonly cleans. Less-skilled companies would never mention the more complicated fabrics.

Typically companies emphasize their 10-step processes and their powerful equipment. While these are relevant, what is far more important is the knowledge of the person who is putting these tools to use. It is this person doing the work that is worth the higher price — not the tools or the process.

Confirming the message

Highlighting the credentials of the company and individual cleaners reinforces a higher level of training. These can be clearly displayed on the website, company brochure, presentation materials and marketing pieces of the company.

This practice is commonly seen as you walk into a doctor’s office. A number of glorious degrees and certificates cover the walls of the office and exam rooms. This display of training and experience is powerful in building the confidence necessary for a patient to trust the advice and service of a doctor. 

Important credentials for a cleaning company to display include IICRC/The Clean Trust firm certification, Better Business Bureau membership, Senior Carpet Inspector certification, individual certification categories, journeyman and master cleaner status, industry related awards and trade association affiliations. It is worth highlighting if the company or cleaners have several years of experience.

Consumers looking for the best service provider are not going to take the word of a cleaner. They want to see evidence confirming specialized knowledge along with the credentials to back it up.

Top charging companies use these techniques to set themselves apart from the crowd of competitors. Those who can stand out as able to meet the higher expectations of this consumer market will be rewarded.

Steve Marsh is the creator of the Be Competition Free Marketing Program. He is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor, and a Senior Carpet Inspector. Marsh is a marketing and business consultant who helps owners build their companies to attract higher quality customers. For more information, visit www.BeCompetitionFree.com.