01.Professional carpet cleaning
- The carpet-cleaning industry is unregulated and only a small percentage of carpet cleaners receive formal training.
- If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- There are carpet cleaners out there who are members of an association, which have a code of practice - look for one of these when choosing a cleaner.
While you're more likely to wait until your carpets are covered in muddy paw prints and unidentifiable splodges before hiring a carpet cleaner, the Australian standard recommends having your carpets cleaned at least once a year to prolong their life.
Carpeting your home is no small investment, costing, on average, between $3,000 and $6,000 - so you want to make sure your carpet cleaner knows what they're doing.
Avoid the temptation to choose a carpet cleaner solely on price. Take into consideration their qualifications, experience and whether they have insurance to cover the cost of any damages done to your home.
Please note: this information was current as of April 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
Checklist - Choosing the right company
Ring at least three companies and ask them these questions to make sure you're getting a professional.
Are you a member of an association?
National trade associations provide training for their members and have a voluntary code of practice. If you're not getting the desired result from your carpet cleaner, you can contact the association that they are a member of for their help. Associations include:
What do you charge?
Price should never be the deciding factor in choosing a carpet cleaner, but generally if they are charging a very low price, be cautious. If you want a high-quality level of service, you must be expected to pay for it.
- The carpet cleaner should give you an estimate over the phone, but may need to inspect your carpet first. Make sure that you give an adequate description of your entire home, including whether you have pets and if your carpets are stained.
- Most cleaners charge by the 'standard' room, which can be as low as $25. Others charge by the square meter, starting at around $4 per m2. But as every job is different, there is no one-size-fits-all price.
- Included in the price should be basic spot removal, pre-vacuuming and moving furniture (with the exception of large or delicate items). The company may offer extras such as deodorising, sanitising (meant to kill bacteria) and carpet protection (which forms a protective but not impenetrable layer on your carpet).
Trap: You'll almost certainly come across the old 'bait and switch' technique in the carpet cleaning industry. It happens when a company will charge a low price - as low as $5 a room - just to get their foot in the door. Then once they are there, they try and convince you that you need extras, such as spot removal or sanitising until you are paying well over the original quote.
What guarantees do you offer?
Companies should offer workmanship guarantees in writing so if you are not satisfied with their work, or they damage your carpets, they will be more likely to correct their mistakes.
Do you have insurance?
The company should have public liability insurance to cover the cost of any damage done.
How long will it take?
- This will depend on the size of your home, the method used and how much furniture needs to be moved, but allow at least three hours.
- Carpet drying time will also vary but for hot water extraction (also known as steam cleaning) it shouldn't take longer than six to eight hours with proper ventilation. If it takes longer than 24 hours to dry, too much water has been left in your carpet.