02.An unregulated industry
Because the industry is unregulated, there is little incentive for carpet cleaners to receive formal training. Most of the time a cleaner will have on-the-job experience and will do a reasonable job - but if they're untrained and inexperienced, problems can occur.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading received around 50 complaints in the last twelve months about carpet cleaners. The majority of complaints were that the job wasn't done satisfactorily; a smaller percentage were allegations of damage caused during the cleaning process.
"A lot of carpet cleaners are unaware because they've never had formal training that you can cause a lot of damage inadvertently," says one expert.
Training is available
For the past 15 years, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) in the US has offered internationally recognised certification for carpet cleaners in Australia.
Recently, here in Australia the Commonwealth Government certification system (Certificates II and III in Asset Maintenance - Carpet Cleaning ) was introduced. These can be completed at registered training organisations and TAFE.
Among other things, a qualified carpet technician has been trained in:
- Occupational health and safety, including appropriate chemical handling.
- Identifying the appropriate chemical for both the type of carpet and the stain.
- How to use their equipment effectively to avoid mishaps like overwetting the carpet.