Tips N Chat Throwback #26: “Our Profession Is an Honorable One”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the second quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

Never in the history of our industry has the need for a Code of Ethics been so apparent as NOW. The BLITZ of newspaper advertising that is appearing in the nation’s newspapers is horrible. A local firm has advertised a certain area for $19.95. He has been doing this for over a year. I don’t object to unit pricing, but I do object to the newspaper allowing the words THIS WEEK ONLY, to be included every week. In 1969 I tossed out thousands of dollars worth of sales aids that had the words OLD method over a picture of a shampooer with a large X marked on it. The flyers were reprinted without the X and the words conventional method. The shampoo method is still a very acceptable method of carpet cleaning.

Ads designed to confuse the consumer as to methods used are wrong. Our profession is an HONORABLE one. Ads designed to downgrade a competitor utilizing deceiving wording or false facts are without HONOR. Not only is the carpet cleaner wrong in using these tactics but even more so is the newspaper that sells the space with no concern as the validity of the ad. These same publishers are the ones you will find giving lip service on local consumer protection boards and naturally the good old Better Business Bureau.

The worst offenders in the industry are the Von Schrader people. A sample of one of their latest publications is a good example. This is outright FABRICATION of legitimate facts put together to create an impression that can not be substantiated. They WON the respect of the “prestigious Nationwide Consumer Testing Institute.”

They BOUGHT it. The NCTI was simply doing a job they were paid to do and the Director is highly qualified and was able to deliver what Von Schrader had to have. A copy of this ad is being forwarded to every carpet manufacturer listed in the Carpet & Rug Institute 1977 Directory, to find out if, in fact, they tested all methods and selected the Von Schroder method as the outstanding, premium, highest rated, or whatever you called it, over other forms of cleaning, such as shampoo or steam extraction.

I have three suggestions at the present time. (1) Don’t stoop to their tactics and fight them with paid ads. This only gives them free newspaper space and supports the newspaper who is also at fault and doesn’t deserve extra profits from his deeds. (2) Offer to your customer a dry foam method. I have been doing this for ten years. To date, I have found THREE occasions where it was requested and in two of the cases, it was the proper method. It is offered at about 50% of the cost of steam cleaning and 75% of the price of rotary shampoo. (3) The most important duty you can do is to write a letter to every Trade Association you belong to and urge them to join in a current attempt to obtain a Code of Ethics with the blessing of the Professional Carpet Cleaners through their Associations. We will then be able to put a stop to these highly unethical practices. Until then, keep your ads full of consumer education and awareness. Yours is an HONORABLE profession. Don’t cheapen it by joining the hucksters.

-Ed York

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the second quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! Never in the history of our industry has the need for a Code of Ethics been so apparent as NOW. The […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #25: “Don’t Keep Them Waiting”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the second quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

Guinness Book of Records may not have the results of a recent straw poll listed, but the fact still remains that customers are now paying more per square foot than ever recorded previously. This may come as a shock to many doubting Thomases, who will show numerous advertising specials at a ridiculously low price. Strange as it may seem, they are also correct. The question then arises, as to how can this be?

How is it that some customers are paying record low prices, while others are paying higher total costs than ever? The obvious answer comes swiftly when you look at the big picture. More homeowners than ever are having their carpets cleaned. The prestige cleaners selling quality at a premium price are ADVERTISING their services more than their predecessors ever did. The price merchandisers are placing LARGE display ads in their newspapers. Stop by your local paper someday and check out papers ten years ago, or longer. Try to find an advertisement telling the home-owners that their carpets are dirty.

Hallelujah… The Pied Piper has been shouting this theme for the past decade to assembled cleaners. All we have to do is make the public AWARE that having clean carpets are the IN thing. Yes, clean carpets should be made socially acceptable all over our land. When this is done, then and only then will carpet cleaners be able to take their proper place in our society. Can you imagine, carpet cleaners are actually taking VACATIONS with their families? They are talking: Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico and all sorts of attractive vacation spots, formerly only discussed as where their customers went.

Now once again what determines the prices paid for carpet cleaning. It is not determined by the customer. It is determined by the carpet cleaner. He can be the cheapest in town or the most expensive. He only has to let the consumer know what he is offering. There are folks that want the economy of a Datsun or Pinto, and those that want the Lincolns and the Cadillacs. People who are now paying three times as much for their homes as they did a few short years ago, can and WILL pay for quality work if they know where to obtain it. They still won’t, and for this, I’m most thankful, pay premium prices for natty, non-informed, non-professional appearing WORKERS, that have a HIPPY-like-van parked in front. They will pay the professional, that not only does professional work, but most important, looks professional.

So, fellow carpet cleaners, stop complaining about today’s customers. If you are not getting your share of this Bonanza Market, then take a look at the home base. Today’s consumer are beautiful people willing to purchase your service and pay the price. If you want to offer “price” carpet cleaning then there are those that will want your services. If you prefer to upgrade your package and do prestige work, then charge 22 cents or 28 cents or 30 cents. There is a good market and plenty of takers. DON’T make the mistake of most, however, by offering and pushing prestige cleaning at cheapie prices. The folks who can afford it, won’t buy it. They know more than the average carpet cleaner. They know you can’t buy quality diamonds at the variety store. So more customers than ever are waiting for your services. Figure out what type of service you want to offer. Price it accordingly. Go to the marketplace and shout your wares. Don’t keep them waiting.

-Ed York

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the second quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! Guinness Book of Records may not have the results of a recent straw poll listed, but the fact still remains that […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #24: “You’re Your Own Worst Enemy”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the July-August 1975 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

Haven’t made anyone or any group mad at me this month, so guess I’ll stir up the pot some more. After an extremely active summer, meeting with several thousand carpet cleaners throughout the nation at work clinics, conventions and personal visits, I come once again to the conclusion that Carpet Cleaners are still their own worst enemy. Progress has been made, but, unfortunately, it is still at a snail’s pace. Before the carpet cleaning industry can take its rightful place of leadership and obtain a true profit picture, changes must be made. 

ORGANIZATIONS…

Since our industry is so widespread and loosely knit, better lines of communication must be established. Recently, a Board of Director member of one of the older statewide associations on the West Coast told me his group should give me a trophy. Their group had suffered a decrease of members. Their meetings were irregular, with little new blood showing up. In fact, they were torn with internal strife. SCT, on the other hand, was moving forward. In order to combat SCT’s growth, the group’s members had some emergency meetings and started to roll forward. Because they started to put something into their program, besides “lip service”, their group once again started to function. They now are most active and truly serving their members. They are all working to “out-class” SCT. Guess SCT has served as a most useful catalyst! Funny or tragically, it is a fact that in order to act, we must have a common enemy. I’m positive this same group could have obtained their present status and probably even more so, if they had applied the same effort towards a different goal, such as the 86% of dirty carpets now installed in America. This time our industry lucked out but unfortunately most of the time it has been the other way around.

PRICES…

Traditionally, carpet cleaners have received from 10 cents to 15 cents per square foot for their work. Along came a new method which was dubbed “steam.” The old-timers wouldn’t accept it, so non-professionals entered the market, and with some advertising, were not only able to sell it to the consumer but able to obtain from 20 cents to 30 cents per square foot. In their enthusiasm, however, they kept pushing the old-pro to try it. They finally succeeded, and the first thing that happened was the old-pro dropped his prices. The more old-pros that entered the “steam” field, the more the prices dropped until the old time standard was once again reached.

In 1969, I introduced “method” selling. This was geared to offer a variety of methods, instead of discounting or “panning” all other methods available. The significant difference was that each method carried a different price. The consumer loved it and was happy to pay more for “steam” than rotary. She paid more for the combination than one method. In fact, she was happy to pay additional for our “premium” service. Wasn’t long, however, until the old-pro figured out how to do the same thing, but since it cost very little if any more, to charge the same price. In fact, rather than keep the methods different; in order to have a different price structure, it was now standard to do it all for the old traditional price. In 1974, “Package” selling was introduced but lay dormant until Blue Ribbon Carpet Service of San Diego put it to work. It was immediately effective and pushed their average job from 12 cents to 22 cents. Rather than keep his success a secret, this on-location carpet cleaner freely distributed the facts and know-how to all who would listen. It is not only working in San Diego but all over America where the bold new breed is presenting it. The tragedy lies in the fact that the subject is now being “poo-pooed” by the old-pro. In fact, a recent circular was distributed to members of an association advising them of an upcoming meeting regarding the “CONTROVERSIAL PACKAGE” selling method.

ADVERTISING…

In some areas, carpet cleaners have joined to promote CLEAN CARPETS. Once again the old-pro has risen to the occasion. He has doubled his Yellow Pages advertising. If a person would check their local telephone Yellow Pages, and count up how much money is being spent in the quest to snare this estimated 14% of the market rather than devote this money to 86% of the market untouched by Yellow Pages, they should hang their heads. Oh yes, the Yellow Page salesman comes by once a year and makes a hero out of you, but try to find him 60 days later when the first bill becomes due. They don’t have to be available, they have a 100% mortgage on YOUR BUSINESS. The biggest advertising program I have ever seen was in Santa Barbara, California. There TWO old-pros spent hundreds of dollars every week telling the consumer how horrible the other one was. They managed to destroy a very lucrative market. Sure, folks in Santa Barbara are still having their carpets cleaned, but what would have happened if these two GIANTS had advertised Constructively rather than Destructively.

“STEAM”…

Rather than devote our efforts to creating standards, our industry is still being torn apart by our industry on the position of whether steam is “Steam.” Instead of performance bond issues and quality standards, a Carpet Cleaning non-steam equipment manufacturer in Wisconsin caused so much pressure on the Milwaukee Better Business Bureau to try and outlaw steam that the Attorney General has been brought into the Act. A test suit will take place in September. The Wisconsin Attorney General will tackle a small Independent Carpet Cleaner on the horrible crime of offering “steam” cleaning to his customers. At the same time, the old-pro firm is flooding the nation with flyers on how a person can enter the carpet industry with nothing more than a DRY FOAMER and make a bundle. I’m confident if the Attorney General of Wisconsin was hit in the face with a handful of DRY FOAM, he would find it quite WET. Too bad their legal arm isn’t aimed at requiring the firms at least to have a business license and a small consumer protection bond. My hat is off to a small group of Professional Carpet Cleaners who make up a Wisconsin Association who have hired an attorney to make sure “steam” is at least represented fairly. SCT has offered to help with legal costs. I wonder where’n’ell are AIDS. RCI. CCI. OHIO ASSOCIATION, and the other big guns during this time of put up or shut up. The way this case turns out will have a powerful effect on all CARPET CLEANERS.

EFFORTS…

Our efforts of today will set the pace for tomorrow’s future. Do we have to continue to fight among ourselves? Regardless of our names, type of equipment we use, and supplies we like, we have a common enemy– consumer apathy toward clean carpets. Dirty Carpets should be our enemy and not a method, or type of tool or personality.

I am firmly convinced that while I am one, the only thing wrong with the Carpet Cleaning Industry, is Carpet Cleaners.

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the July-August 1975 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! Haven’t made anyone or any group mad at me this month, so guess I’ll stir up the pot some more. After an […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #23: “Sneaky People”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the October 1971 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

Correspondence from a man in Denver, wanting information about steam cleaning and what it costs, how it works etc. Plain stationery, with typing as bad as mine. I sent what I could from time to time and decided to stop by last week while in Denver. The Yellow Pages told me that he had been the leader in STEAM since 1965, looked like a big company, with my mans name as the PRESIDENT. Evidently, he is a sneaky Pete that is afraid to come out from under the rocks.

I have many competitors that correspond with their own names. My friend, Gene Bates of Steam Genie always takes time to have long talks on the pros and cons. We respect each other, and I’m sure would help each other if the need arrives. I often wonder who these weasels think they are fooling. If their product was half what they claim, it would stand up to discussion. I’m trying to get the carpet cleaners to establish friendly relationships with each other to improve the overall image and uplift the entire industry. Then, to discover that manufacturers are some of the worse offenders. The carpet cleaning industry needs and must have LEADERS, not sneaky petes.

CALL YOUR COMPETITOR…

Rather than spend frustrating minutes trying to check out your competitor with phony calls for pricing etc., give him a call. Introduce yourself, and your company. Tell him what you are charging. Tell him honestly that you do not want to obtain jobs by cutting his price, and that you AREN’T doing so. You are trying to do a good professional job. It is a proven fact there are more dirty carpets in your town than you and he can both do, working full time. You will be surprised that in most cases, your competitor is just as worried about your attitude and price cutting as you are of his.

I lose all respect for the cleaner that calls his competitor out to FREE estimate his mother-in-law’s carpets just to find out how cheap she can get it done. Don’t wait for him to start upgrading his profession… You start it! I challenge you to call your most miserable competitor and take him to lunch. You will find some interest in common, and both discover the other guy isn’t as bad as you had built him up to be. He will think twice the next time you run head-on in the field because he remembers your good points. Plus, he has to see you over lunch next Wednesday, when he repays your hospitality.

We have two SSA members in a smaller town. They fight like cats and dogs, with me in the middle. I can’t seem to get through to them that they are both doing better business and better work than ever. With their effort to outdo each other, they are waking up the customers to the fact they are living on dirty rugs, and need them cleaned. Let’s stop trying to beat our competitor’s price and start cleaning up our own towns dirty carpets.

-Ed York

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the October 1971 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! Correspondence from a man in Denver, wanting information about steam cleaning and what it costs, how it works etc. Plain stationery, with […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #22: “The Elements of a Successful Business”

The Elements of a Successful Business

Lewis Migliore of Magic Steam Cleaning in Rochester, New York has been a part of the cleaning industry since 1973. He is currently a Regional Supervisor for IICUC, a Regional Coordinator for SCT and a member of Ed York’s Consultant Sales Team.

Magic Steam Carpet Cleaning, Inc., owned by Lewis and Bruce Migliore, was started in March of 1973 with the philosophy of delivering quality service at a fair price as well as becoming the biggest and best in its field. This was quite a task, but not impossible for two brothers who have been successful and determined since boyhood days. The organization has grown, in this short period, to cover an area of 10,000 square feet and employs five full-time people plus a number of sub-contractors and agents. The plan we follow is not without pitfalls and problems and certainly should not be considered perfect, for we continually investigate and improve each aspect of the business. As we grow, we learn and as we learn, we change things to be more profitable, easier, more efficient and less costly, regardless of what it takes. One thing we are not afraid to do is change when it is necessary. All these statements are generalizations, but our business functions on a careful balance which no one is exempt from adhering to. This is the most important reason for our success.

From point one, our exposure to the public maintains an important image whether it be yellow pages, newspaper, T.V., or radio. Our business tie-ins with the largest and most recognized carpet and furniture retailers, the Hoover Co., Welcome Wagon, beauty salons, auto dealers, realtors, contractors, etc., keep our name in front of the public. But the only reason they do this is because they are dealt with sincerely by business people, not people in business for themselves.

When our phones ring they are answered by a pleasant voice which smiles and is nothing but cheerful, courteous, and can sell! Our girl’s job is to get us in the home or business for a written estimate, or if that is not possible, which is relatively rare, they sell over the phone and sell our best package besides, with very little trouble. All work is written up on job sheets specifically by our girls or by inspectors making calls. Any agent who works with us must supply the same information for his jobs or they are “No-Go’s”.

Our men are prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, neat, skilled and well-equipped. We treat them well and pay them well and they deliver for us. They are “the company” in many cases. We have very little turnover of personnel, but we demand they produce! We do not skimp by on “cheap” chemicals or equipment. If it is evaluated as being
better but costing more, and yet can justify our use of it, we buy. If not, it doesn’t get in. Our men also leave our customers with evaluation sheets to critique our business and a carpet care guide. We know how long each job takes, who did it, when it was done, where, how, where they got our name, why they purchased their service from us, etc., etc., etc. We take cash, check, Master Charge, VISA, and if they qualify they can charge for seven days.

Follow-up is imperative! Each customer gets a thank you from us at the end of each month. We keep a separate folder on each job. We make call-backs on all pending, previous, and lead jobs, and it pays. We produce approximately $2000.00 extra per month because we are consistent at follow-up and everybody works at it. It’s called paying attention to detail. Our furniture cleaning operation is handled a little differently. We feel it is one of the best in the country and getting better every day. Everything comes to our shop for cleaning and is picked up and delivered in a large truck purchased especially for the furniture operation. All furniture is cleaned by women. Total time from pickup to delivery is 4 days. Our furniture business grows daily as does our entire operation.

We are heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce, registered with the Better Business Bureau, registered with Dunn and Bradstreet, belong to a neighborhood business group, and are constantly investigating areas to make money. There is much strategy involved in the way our business is run. One point I can give you and it is the most important part of our business. We sell and market SERVICE not cleaning, and that’s something that doesn’t come cheap. We aren’t the first to do it and we won’t be the last. There is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be doing the same. It’s probably the best thing our industry can do. It’s a little slower and demands more from everyone, but when it starts to pay off — it comes in bushels. I’m sure that all of us would rather have it that way!

The Elements of a Successful Business Lewis Migliore of Magic Steam Cleaning in Rochester, New York has been a part of the cleaning industry since 1973. He is currently a Regional Supervisor for IICUC, a Regional Coordinator for SCT and a member of Ed York’s Consultant Sales Team. Magic Steam Carpet Cleaning, Inc., owned by […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #21: “Bait and Switch Firm Fined $30,000”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from the July-August 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

A Phoenix, Arizona firm advertised their carpet cleaning special of $11.95 prior to doing the job. The firm would then make disparaging comments about the special and sell a more expensive service. The firm also offered a customer satisfaction guarantee. According to a suit filed by the Arizona Attorney General’s office, the firm wouldn’t correct any reported problems or take care of shoddy work.

Wayne K. Brown and Jacqueline Aguayo, operators of Springtime Fresh Carpet Cleaners of Phoenix, Arizona admitted the charges, as well as admitting they would sell their clients a protective coating for the fibers, but would actually spray on a solution containing water.

Along with the other charges, Brown and Ms. Aguayo also admitted to misrepresenting their company as Sunshine House Carpet Cleaning. Sunshine is owned by Donald Kristofferson, long time SCT member who operates a known and respected cleaning company based in Mesa, Arizona.

Brown formerly operated the defunct Anderson Carpet Cleaning and Dyeing Co., located at the same address. This firm ran into trouble earlier for the same illegal practices. $15,000 of the total fine represented costs and fines from a preliminary injunction order in 1979.

This firm is no stranger to Tips N Chat or to SCT with their tactics being the subject of previous complaints. Their misleading advertising has been discussed in Chapter meetings, and Kristofferson had reported the misrepresentation of his firm by Springtime Fresh telephone solicitors who also reportedly claimed SCT membership as well as IICUC Certification.

Prior to Anderson Carpet Cleaning settling in Phoenix, they operated a company in Hawaii. Their advertising and work habits caused a good deal of trouble to SCT members Leith and Jean Anderson, who founded Deep Steam Carpet Cleaning in Hawaii. With Leith being a fourth-generation Hawaiian, and the Anderson family being so well known, it was easy for a potential customer to be confused and call Anderson Carpet Cleaning when they wanted Leith Anderson.

Tips N Chat is happy to report that after almost ten years of misrepresentations, the State of Arizona was able to take punitive action against this operation. In addition, a word of encouragement to the Leith Anderson’s o’ Hawaii and all the other legitimate carpet cleaners whose integrity and professional image was tainted along the way by the shoddy ethics of Brown and Aguayo.

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from the July-August 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! A Phoenix, Arizona firm advertised their carpet cleaning special of $11.95 prior to doing the job. The firm would then make disparaging comments about the special […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #20: “Three People Hurt, One Customer Dead”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from an editorial response written by Ed York and published in the January-February 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

THREE PEOPLE HURT, ONE CUSTOMER DEAD

“Chemical blast likely cause of fatal blaze” was the headline that recently screamed across the page of a Denver, Colorado newspaper. A two-column picture showed a firefighter helping a lady tenant, of the Cherry Condominiums, to safety after a two-alarm fire gutted the third floor, and caused heavy smoke damage to the remaining eight-story structure. Denver newspapers, radio, and TV reported the fatal fire was contributed to a workman who was cleaning a chair in the customer’s living room with a flammable solvent.

The employee who was identified as Wayne Eddy, of Colt Cleaners, tried to rescue the victim. When the fire broke out, Eddy is said to have taken the lady by the hand and tried to lead her to safety. All the exits were blocked. Mr. Eddy reported he urged the customer, Mrs. Gladys Nelson, age 68 to follow him. The last thing he heard, as he jumped to safety, was Mrs. Nelson’s screams for help. She did not jump. She perished. A later story published in a Denver newspaper identified the chemical used as one formulated by Professional Chemicals of Tempe, Arizona.

EDITORIAL RESPONSE
BY ED YORK

As Editor of a major trade publication, I attempted to clarify some of the facts given to the Colorado consumers during various news releases. I found a blanket of secrecy around every aspect. I was hung up on, threatened with lawsuits, and cussed out. THIS STORY MUST BE REPORTED. THE FACTS MUST BE CLEARED.

The entire cleaning industry is being held neglectful, to the point of causing the death of a customer. Pro Chem is left accused without any type of clarification. Actually, this company is standing behind a security shield. In all probability, they have nothing to hide. I, personally, have researched their dry solvents, and have found them safe when used as directed.

The news articles fail to tell if dry cleaning equipment was being used. If so, was the room ventilated, and exhaust hose utilized? Why was the customer in the condominium during the cleaning process? And the most important question I would like answered is regarding the chemical formula being used. While I find most of today’s chemicals are perfectly safe, they can be turned into a “tragedy waiting to happen”, when mixed by some of our “barnyard” chemists.

It is mandatory that every cleaner give immediate thought to the procedures and formulas they are now using. For example, a solvent with an extraordinary high flash point can be reduced to UNSAFE when mixed with a second. A solvent vapor aerated and spread over a large surface is certainly different than a volume of the same substance in a cup.

While it is past press time, and this issue is off to the printer, Tips N Chat will devote much of their next issue to SOLVENTS and FORMULAS now in use. We have discovered an early SCT bulletin referring to a questionable formula that has to be withdrawn from use. We are not assuming that anyone connected with the Cherry Condominium tragedy was doing anything wrong.

We do say that we must have some answers. So we can address ourselves to the areas that need concern. This could be equipment failure, but it could just as easily be operator training.

In the meantime let us make sure they are using their products as directed by the manufacturer. Don’t rely on the same “barnyard” formula, that someone says does a super job. Don’t take chances with the untested and unknown. A few degrees cleaner sofa will never take away the sound of your customer screaming for help as you jump for safety.

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from an editorial response written by Ed York and published in the January-February 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! THREE PEOPLE HURT, ONE CUSTOMER DEAD “Chemical blast likely cause of fatal blaze” was the headline […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #19: Are You Too Busy Earning a Living to Make Money?

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from a Pied Piper column written by Ed York and published in the First Quarter 1976 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

When I’m not traveling around this nation of ours talking or preaching carpet cleaning to whoever will listen, I’m conducting a class or on the phone. If I have a “gift” it must be that people do talk honestly and freely with me. Many’s the time that a simple question has turned into a deep and soul-searching verbal encounter into why a person is not succeeding. Each month SCT forwards a Pro-Pak with bulletins on new ideas and programs, as well as Technical Information. The same packet goes to all members. Within a few short weeks I receive a call or letter from someone exclaiming how terrific the idea is and how it is working. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern as to who obtains benefit and profit from these tips and who receives little, if anything, from them. I have turned and tossed many a night worrying about a friend who can’t seem to get ahead and is stagnant. He can’t afford to attend meetings, register for conventions, or even take a vacation.

At the same time, there is many a night I go to sleep practically smothered from the many praises received during the day. The question as to why some people find it so easy to adopt new ideas and programs that are proven winners, while others simply can’t grasp the simplest one, has plagued me. Last week in Salt Lake City, while waiting for a meeting to begin with the area’s Vapor-Vac dealers, I read the Holiday Inn magazine. It carried a copy of an advertisement that I have noticed many times. It was the one where the man offers a booklet on how to be lazy and get rich. Even has his CPA testify that his statements on how he became rich in a short time are true. One phrase that had been there before, leaped out at me…

MOST PEOPLE ARE TOO BUSY EARNING A LIVING TO MAKE ANY MONEY.

The problem for me was solved. It was not that the ideas and assistance we mailed out each month were wrong. It was not that they wouldn’t work. It was simply that “Most people were too busy making a living to make any money”. If you are not MAKING IT, take a look at yourself. Are you doing the LABOR while your business runs itself? Are you SAVING money by cutting out a $3.00 per hour employee and helping pull the tool during the daytime, and being too tired to SELL your services? Are you too busy earning a living to make any money?

Money is like an arm or leg – use it or lose it.

-Henry Ford

 ~ Ed York (1976)

 

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from a Pied Piper column written by Ed York and published in the First Quarter 1976 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! When I’m not traveling around this nation of ours talking or preaching carpet cleaning […]

Tips N Chat Throwback #18: It Can Be a Van or a Coffin

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from an Ed Sez column written by Ed York and published in the July-August 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

For some unexplained reason, owners of cleaning firms are reluctant to report or talk about accidents that happen to them. It may be the fear of liability, but I suspect it is the fear of being talked about by their peers. This is most unfortunate as nothing should stand in the way of cleaning up any problems that lead to unsafe conditions.

I can never forget the story told by a Colorado SCT member about how he entered the business. He inherited it from his father, who in trying to clean a customer’s oily rug, used a flammable solvent in his shampooer. Standing in the middle, he turned on his wet-dry to finish it off. Our member’s mother tells about hearing a loud noise and then seeing her husband running off the burning carpet – a human torch. How horrible.

But is it any worse than a few years ago when I sold 24 “sniffers” to carpet cleaners who used propane? When installed, it would set off a buzzer if the propane developed a leak in the lines or was left open. The problem was that “carbon monoxide” also set it off. SEVENTEEN of the buyers demanded their money back because their’s didn’t work properly. It kept buzzing after every job for at least 30 minutes, even if they didn’t use the propane. There was no way they would accept the fact that it was dangerous for their employees to ride in the van with this amount of “carbon monoxide”. Recently during the Cal/OSHA test, we could only find one van that didn’t have a lethal amount of carbon monoxide present after the unit had run five minutes. This cleaner placed a blower behind the driver which cleared the collected bad air.

This occurred several months ago and I have yet to hear of one person adding this safety feature to their van. It does not require an expensive blower. Pep Boys has a caged fan with brackets for sale at $18.75, that could be hung from the roof of the van, and blow the fumes out the open door while the equipment is working. It is hard to believe a firm will pay from $15,000 to $20,000 for carbon monoxide-producing equipment, and not an additional $18.75 to protect their operators, or themselves. Forgetting the physical liability and only considering the possible financial liability is enough to scare me into action. 

Now I hear by the grapevine of another truck explosion. I have to consider it as non-confirmed because the principal won’t answer my calls, and others say they would rather not be quoted. According to hear-say, this cleaner had a propane powered truck mount unit in the back of a fiberglass body that replaced the pickup bed. Rather than have the propane tank on the outside, it was attached to the inside wall. Evidently, the bottle came loose and fell over. This ruptured the copper line, which allowed the fumes to reach the water heater’s pilot light. One source says that flames went 80 feet into the air. Evidently, the cab of the pickup saved the operator from being a fatality, but what if it had been in a van? Not only are there lots of carpet cleaners driving around with a liquid petroleum tank inside their van, but many of them leave the manufacturer or installer’s place of business with this temporary connection that becomes permanent.

Let me ask you carpet cleaners this question. “Why do you think safety is for the other guy? Wives, please tell me why your husbands insist upon taking chances? Children, why does your daddy tell you it’s not safe to play with matches or loaded guns? I don’t care what state you live in, there are ample places where you can have your van checked FREE of charge without worrying about getting a fine. If you know it’s safe, then why be scared to have it checked?

If you own the company, then it’s up to you. It’s your choice whether you want to work in a van or a coffin.

~ Ed York (1981)

Below is the original article. 

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from an Ed Sez column written by Ed York and published in the July-August 1981 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! For some unexplained reason, owners of cleaning firms are reluctant to report or talk about […]

Tips N Chat Throwback # 17: Your Service Is Worth the Price

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from one of Ed York’s Pied Piper columns published in the Third Quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

June was a month of mixed emotions… A mailing to the south to 5,000 firms listed in last year’s yellow pages brought back over 1,200 marked “Moved, Address Unknown”. It is indeed a sad time when you think of so many dreams that probably became nightmares. These, for the most part, were good people; they did something wrong.

The SCT convention was exceptional and everyone attending had an excellent time, and reportedly gained much in knowledge and a better understanding of the business. This naturally was a good feeling. But, unfortunately, my mind was on good friends who couldn’t make the trip because they couldn’t get away from their business that long.

Some days were exceptional when we visited with those whose business was climbing every day. One bright experience was talking to a former furniture store owner, who several years ago, attended my 4/M class and was hot on price merchandising. Following the class and a year of SCT membership, he changed his operation to one of PRESTIGE. His shop was a testimonial to a good book operation. His office walls were decorated proudly with association material. He says he has doubled his prices and then some. He also says he is now booked a week ahead and has gained a reputation that unless you have a recommendation, his firm won’t even accept you for a client. His wife told Wanda that they had made more PROFIT the last year than the previous three put together. All they did was to seek direction and follow the advice of winners. Formerly he said, “maybe in your area it will work, but not in MINE”. Something caused him to change and say, “I’m just as good as the next man, and if he can do it, so can I”. He tried it. Not just once, but again and again, until it was his way. Carpet Cleaners have a hard time seeing it in their own profession, so let me tell you a story that happened here in Fresno to folks that I know.

Our former answering service had become lax. They used to give service, but they changed this to excuses. Our people investigated the others. One was high on three different reports. An interview with the owners was most pleasant. They were excited and determined to give the best service. I agreed to switch to their firm. I had expected to pay $35 to $45 per month. I was surprised to find that they only charged $22 per month. I figured it was a mistake, but the six months that followed proved the figure was correct. Our calls were never handled any better. They cared, they gave service, they were the best. Last month our phones were silent after-hours. The phone company had shut off our answering service’s equipment for lack of payment. The young couple had gone BROKE. I was stunned and called some of the other subscribers. They all agreed this firm was the best and also stated they would have been tickled to pay 50% more each month, rather than 50% less because of the great service they received. Pathetically, they were never given the opportunity. They naturally only paid what was asked.

~ Ed York (1977)

Below is the original article. 

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from one of Ed York’s Pied Piper columns published in the Third Quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! June was a month of mixed emotions… A mailing to the south to 5,000 firms listed in […]