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mike720 10-17-2012 03:52 AM

Opinions please (Not DIY Related)

I know there are a lot of tradespeople as well as non-traespeople who come to this forum.

I'd be interested to know what tradespeople and non-tradespeople alike think of this experience.

We needed a couch and a chair cleaned. The material is not leather, microfiber or anything exotic. I think it's a wool blend of some sort, kinda heavy, scratchy material that you see on a lot of couches.

Here's what happened. Some friends of ours are moving from a 3800sq ft home to an 1800ft condo and they need to get rid of some of their things. They knew my wife always liked this couch and chair set and they gave it to us. I offered to pay them and they flat refised. We settled on cooking them a fine dinner at a later date.

The chair and sofa are clean to begin with but my wife thought it would be a good idea to have it steam cleaned. I don't know why. These things are cleans as a whistle.

Anway, I get on the phone to find someone and a guy tells me $85 to steam clean both the chair and sofa. I say ok and he comes by the house.

And then the BS starts.

"How do you want me to do this? You want me to use the "portable" which is kind of messy and I have to use your electricity and water and the cushions will probably take a couple of days to dry" and on and on and on and on. I'm thinking "Oh boy, here it comes"

"Or we can used my truck based steamer. The steam is a lot hotter and does a better job cleaning and the suction to remove the water from the cushions is a lot more powerful than the portable hand held unit and the cushions will dry in a couple of hours if I work from the truck" and on and on and on.

I asked him the price difference. "My using the portable unit is $85 like I told you on the phone and using the truck will run you $195."

He never mentioned the portable unit or the truck on the phone. He just gave me the $85 quote.

I overreacted, called him some nasty names and threw him out of the house.

But still, what a set up. "Do you want a crappy job for $85 or do you want it done right for $195," is in essence what he was saying.

Anyone care to offer comment on his marketing technique?


oh'mike 10-17-2012 04:39 AM

I would have used a nasty word or two and then thrown the lying sack of ---out of the house---

But I am a nice guy and that would have been as far as I went---Hanging him by his feet from a tree came to mind---tar and feathers is messy---

oh'mike 10-17-2012 04:51 AM

In all seriousness---there are 2 jerks per 100 people in this world----

You met one of them----call another company----

If this is your first ever experience with scoundrels,you have lived a charmed life and count yourself lucky.

Move on --there are a lot of truly nice people out there---don't let the jerks occupy space in your head-----Mike----

user1007 10-17-2012 05:46 AM

The upholstery and carpet cleaning business is highly competitive and it must be insanely difficult to get a foot in the door with most seeming to advertise cleaning five rooms of 80,000sf each and all furniture for $100. I would just assume there must be a long list of add ons like pre-treating, various cleaning options, post cleaning spot prevention, etc.

The fact of the matter is cleaners have no idea of what they are in for until they see your material and the dirt and stains part of it. Here we have to be extremely careful of taking in used furniture because of the bed bug crisis and some cleaning companies offer high heat and crygenic treatment for them.

I would be leary of any phone quote for this very reason. And while you say the fabric is nothing exotic this does not mean it is of an upholstery grade that will stand up to moisture from steam cleaning, has guaranteed colorfastness against solvent cleaners, or that it will release stains and spots easily. There may be a layer of coating like Scotchguard that has to be dealt with before cleaning. And some cleaning methods can suck stains in the cushioning into the top fabric as it dries. The only way to get an accurate estimate of cost is to have REPUTABLE cleaning companies out for a look.

As with anything else, looking in the phone book or doing a quick search online, is probably the worst way to find a carpert or upholstery cleaner. A better approach is word of mouth. If you do not know people with previous experience? Stop by and chat with the maintenance person for a major hotel in your area or visit a high end furniture store for their recommendations. Interior designers turned me on to FibreSeal ages ago to protect high end furniture and carpeting and their dealers will know who is doing quality and safe cleaning work.

ddawg16 10-17-2012 06:36 AM

Spend $200 and buy a good home steam cleaner.....we have the laws have the hoover....a good one will have a heater to heat up the water....

Use it more than once...pays for itself.....

Yea...the professional is 'maybe' a little better....but when you have your own, you can do it more often.....

At the end of the day....I prefer leather seats and hardwood floors.....

gma2rjc 10-17-2012 05:21 PM

I had something similar happen years ago. I called a company that advertised a lot around here and they always had a full page ad on the back of a local small-town newspaper.

When they got to the house both of the salesmen tried to sell me a $26 bottle of some kind of cleaner. This was around 1985, so that was pretty expensive. I didn't buy it and I never called them back.

If you have a company named Stanley Steamer in your area, I had them out to clean carpet once and was happy with their work and with the 2 employees. I was pretty sure they weren't going to get some of the stains out, but they did.

Having said that, I think you would be much wiser to take ddawg's advice and buy a good carpet cleaner.

ToolSeeker 10-25-2012 12:48 PM

Around here it's painters signs all over paint 3 rooms $99. Gets them in the door then it's prep work $200 Move furniture $200 Masking $150 Use drop cloths $150 Prime $200 and so on.

oh'mike 10-25-2012 04:06 PM

Sucker bait---that's what those 'give away' prices are called around here---

beenthere 10-27-2012 08:11 AM


Originally Posted by ToolSeeker (Post 1037737)
Around here it's painters signs all over paint 3 rooms $99. Gets them in the door then it's prep work $200 Move furniture $200 Masking $150 Use drop cloths $150 Prime $200 and so on.

Tell them you don't care if they don't use a drop cloth. You already have a lawyer on retainer if they get one drop of paint on your carpet or floor.

Duckweather 10-27-2012 08:27 AM

Have you checked the statistics lately Mike? I think it is up to about 14 per 100 and getting larger. I'm beginning to wonder if it hasn't become a course taught in school. I am not sure why this doesn't fall into the category of the Bait and Switch laws.

gma2rjc 10-27-2012 10:27 AM

Hey, would any of you like to buy some magazine subscriptions from me? I'm working my way through college. :whistling2:

rusty baker 10-27-2012 12:49 PM


Originally Posted by ToolSeeker (Post 1037737)
Around here it's painters signs all over paint 3 rooms $99. Gets them in the door then it's prep work $200 Move furniture $200 Masking $150 Use drop cloths $150 Prime $200 and so on.

Same kinda deal as the $99 carpet installation from the big boxes. . When they add all the extras, it costs you more than having a carpet store install it.

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