A-1 Carpet Cleaning
A-1 Carpet Cleaning
My minimum charge simply refers to the smallest your bill can possibly be.
Some people get confused, thinking this is something that gets added to the bill; it is not. Understand that if you only have $5 worth of work for me, it still takes me just as long to set the appointment, set up the equipment before I can clean, and re-load everything into my van before I can go to the next job as if I had done $500 worth of work.
Generally my minimum charge is $50
so if you only give me $5 worth of work, I'm still going to charge you $60. Most people would rather get $60 worth of cleaning!
If you are outside of Waukesha County my minimum charge will be $60, (more if you're farther away from the County line)
If you're more than 2 hours away
I calculate my minimum charge as $100 for every hour of driving time, one-way. So if you think it's worth $300 and you're 2 or 3 hours away, you're within my extended service area. Then it's just a question of setting a feasible time. If you're getting estimates of $800 - $1200, I'll probably only charge $400 - $800, and do better work. In a case like that it would be worth it to me to clean that "cabin up North."
If you're fairly far and not sure if it's worth it for me to come to your location, there are a few other possibilities
look over my price list and have me do everything you need in one trip; or line up other locations and/or customers for me in the same trip.
Of course you should contact me to discuss your needs in detail.
Stairs are $2.00 each.
This includes 2 separate processes to thoroughly clean even the most ground-in dirt from heavy traffic. Also, just about every kind of spot is removed by this level of cleaning. On flat carpet, i.e., anything that's not stairs, I charge 23 cents per square foot for these 2 processes.
23 cents per square foot
My first step I call a preconditioner, because it gets the dirt ready to come out before actually removing it. I formulate a cleaning solution to cut through the dirt in the worst of your carpet, scrub it in, and let it sit as long as it takes to loosen the dirt so it can be removed without over-wetting your carpet. process.
The next step is included in the same price
The next step is a completely different process, requiring completely separate equipment. Much like the rinse cycle in your washing machine, I use this to rinse everything out with fresh water and extract over 94% of not only the moisture I've added and the dirt that's been loosened, but dust mites and their by-products, residue from past cleaning attempts, bacteria, fungus, pollen, air pollution including cigarette smoke, and all the other irritants that carpet filters out of the air and collects. Nationwide, anyone else offering this level of quality charges twice what I do! Now you understand why. I can give you this unbeatable value because I've "built a better mousetrap."
Usually, the only other aspect of cleaning is to replace the original carpet protector your carpet was made with.
I charge 10 cents per square foot for this process as well, and apply it the same way your carpet was made! Again, I normally don't charge wall-to-wall for this. The real benefit of this is in the high traffic areas. This is specifically intended for Nylon carpet, but the advanced product I now use will also adhere to other types of carpet including olefin and even wool!
What might not budge, even with the thoroughness of my cleaning?
About the only types of stain that aren't removed by this are bleach, dye, and fully cured paint. Heavy build-up of wax, rust, coffee or tea, nail polish, pet stains etc. might incur an additional fee for treatment more effective than general cleaning can achieve.
Area Rugs are usually 30 cents per square foot to clean in your location.
This includes fine oriental rugs, which normally cost anywhere from $1 - $5 per square foot to clean! The only disadvantage to cleaning these in your home is the fringe cannot be cleaned effectively, but that rarely needs it.
2 Distinct Approaches
A 'facelift,' which concentrates only on those areas visibly affected by traffic.
This is needed more frequently, to remove the abrasive soil that destroys the beauty of your carpet, shortening it's useful life. This is done for the 'health' of your carpet.
Cleaning for health.
This means cleaning wall-to-wall throughout the ENTIRE house at the same time, since carpet filters air throughout your whole house as a system. Indoor air becomes more polluted than outdoor air, and carpet can both be the solution to this (when properly maintained) as well as a source of indoor pollution if let go too long. This approach does cost more, but mostly only because I'm cleaning more carpet. It isn't needed as often, but should still be done periodically to remove the unhealthy irritants that build up in carpet. The ways and means that I use for this are THE most effective available, anywhere in the world today! Despite how well-known these facts are within the industry, most people still mix these 2 approaches, never receiving the full benefit of either. So I urge you to pick one or the other, and prepare for that.
Preparation for Cleaning
I do charge for vacuuming if you don't want to, or can't.
3 cents a square foot. I'd prefer you do it; I just don't see the sense of all my training and equipment sitting idle so I can push a vacuum; neither do you want a low-paid worker in your home doing things like that.
First Price Break
Carpet protector will be 10 cents per square foot, just like the bulk discount.
This basically gives it to you at my cost. I do this because I know you'll be happier with my service in the long run if you use this every time.
Stairs are $1.50 each.
Again, no difference there.
Cleaning is 20 cents per square foot.
If you're just having me clean high traffic pathways, which is what you should be doing most of the time, this is still the same rate as my bulk discount.
Area Rugs are usually 20 cents per square foot to clean in your location.
This includes fine oriental rugs, which normally cost $1 - $1.25 per square foot to clean. The only disadvantage to cleaning these in your home is the fringe cannot be cleaned effectively, but that rarely needs it.
Creative ways to give me $100 worth of work in one trip (without having me clean things that don't need it)
include entryways into bedrooms, area rugs, that favorite recliner you never thought needed cleaning, dining room chairs, vehicle interiors, boat cushions, stuffed animals, carpet re-stretching and repair, cleaning your hard floors.
Once you've already become my customer I can maintain your carpet more efficiently, and this prolongs it's useful life.
So when you follow my maintenance plan I 'lock you into' my best value, giving you the bulk discount rate even if you give me a smaller job. I realize the most frequent need for cleaning is touching up high traffic areas, and I don't want to penalize people who don't have huge amounts of carpeting.
To participate, just schedule your next cleaning while I'm still there.
I'll call you a month or so before to make an appointment, and you don't have to keep track of these mundane details. Other than meeting the minimum charge, you're not committed to spending any certain amount, or cleaning any specific part of your house. We'll simply review your needs and do what makes sense.
Pet Odors and Stains
If you're main reason for cleaning is to remove pet odors, there are several things I can do that help a lot more than just cleaning, without having to cost a fortune.
If you need a serious cleaning as well as odor removal, this limits the options a little.
If you have pet stains that you want to try to remove
as well as odors, there's usually one treatment that makes the most sense, and this is perfectly compatible with cleaning even in the most serious situations. The one treatment to remove pet stains AND odors that's far better than anything else available costs $100.00 per gallon. I'm working with other manufacturers to try to bring this cost down, but in the meantime the smallest application I can do is a $25.00 treatment, and while this doesn't cover a huge area, I only use it directly on the stain. I can go up in $25.00 increments, and this is in addition to the cost of cleaning. Understand that with pet STAINS, there are two distinct possibilities: 1) Carpet has been bleached, color has been removed, and even removing offensive substances 100% will not completely remove the visible spot; 2) There's simply substance in the carpet that's NOT carpet, and removing it WILL remove any visible trace.
Often, pet stains have some of both.
In these cases, treatment will improve appearance, but not remove stains 100%. To further complicate things, staining material can lurk under the carpet fiber, so that even after complete removal the stain may return. This is called "wicking," and some companies call these ghost stains - as if a ghost went behind you, putting it back.
Pet ODORS can also be affected by wicking, but odors CAN be removed 100% completely.
Assuming you have no need for cleaning, odor treatment can be applied for less than the minimum charge, since cleaning equipment doesn't need to be hooked up. Usually, there will at least be a light need for cleaning, and odor treatment will be at LEAST $10.00 over and above the cost of cleaning; treating more area will cost more, but $35.00 can cover a large house with a light odor treatment, often appropriate as a first attempt.
Realize that treating odors can be like opening a combination lock.
The first attempt may not meet with complete success, but that doesn't mean it was wrong; the process just isn't complete yet. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, but the other option is to detach the carpet, remove/replace and treat anything and everything that's been affected, and re-install it one layer at a time, giving each layer sufficient time to dry thoroughly. Some severe cases might warrant starting with this approach, which can rarely be completed for less than $300.00, but this is usually unnecessary. Treating odors is usually most effective when I start with stain removal, proceed through odor treatments in a logical sequence, and investigate under the carpet only in areas too stubborn to respond to treatment from the top of the carpet. Even problems lurking underneath the carpet can be addressed from above. This way the expensive and very inconvenient process of detaching and re-installing your carpet is kept to a bare minimum. If odor persists after everything else I've described here has been done, we'll be able to pinpoint the problem area to a much smaller area to be treated underneath the carpet as compared to starting by tearing your whole floor apart!
This can be difficult to price, even in person.
There are many variables. To break it down, most furniture is made of synthetic material and can be "steam cleaned", just like carpet. In this case: Standard length, 7 foot sofa, $53 worst-case, $25 minimum. Loveseat, $42 worst-case, $22 minimum. Full-size chair, $27 worst-case, $15 minimum. CHAISE LOUNGE is 5 feet long, priced like a loveseat. Ottoman: $18, $10 minimum.
These price ranges reflect the combination of level of soiling, and what needs to be done to get it clean.
Dining room chairs can be anywhere from $3 to $15 each, varying mainly on the amount of fabric.
Fabric protector is $2 per linear foot or $14 for a sofa, $10 for a loveseat, $6 for a chair.
There is also a lot of furniture sold that's been upholstered with natural fabric.
Don't look at the tag, it won't tell you! Cleaning this is not as scientific; it's more of an art. This is my specialty, and I'm on a par with virtually anyone on the field, but I don't charge like it. Dry cleaning natural fabric has no worst-case scenario, or maximum charge., but rarely do I ever charge more than $12 per linear foot. Minimum is 6 per linear foot, which is also rare. The variable is not limited to degree of soiling, but also the difficulty in handling the particular fabric. Material that is extremely delicate, requiring extraordinary care, AND heavily soiled may cost $15 per linear foot to clean.
Throw pillows are usually at least $2, not more than $8, each.
Size is not the main variable, but soiling. A small pillow that's heavily soiled is harder to clean than a large one. This is still in the category of dry cleaning; I rarely charge anything for throw pillows that can be steam cleaned if they're part of the furniture you're having me clean.
Fabric protection is also different for natural fabric.
I use the world's best solvent sealer. With it I can make a paper towel impervious to water; good stuff! This is a very valid measure of performance because natural fabric is absorbent like a paper towel. I charge $4 per linear foot for this protection. A furniture store normally charges $60 or more for a chair: I charge $28 for a sofa. And at that price, they use a less effective treatment!
This can be applied without paying me to clean.
It's best to treat fabric that's just been cleaned, or is new. Even a couple weeks of normal use will reduce the effectiveness of treating recently purchased furniture, which brings up the point that frequent vacuuming of upholstery is helpful and normally overlooked. I will protect fabric without cleaning for the same rates as if I were cleaning the upholstery first. There is still the issue that synthetic fabric should be treated differently than natural fabric. On synthetic fabric, protection is $2 per linear foot or $14 for a standard length sofa, $10 for a loveseat, and $6 for a chair. Natural fabric requires a solvent base, but I also use a superior protector. Most companies just use the same protector designed for synthetic fabric, in a solvent base.
I use the world's best solvent sealer.
With it I can make a paper towel impervious to water; good stuff! This is a very valid measure of performance because natural fabric is absorbent like a paper towel. It can also do some light cleaning during the application, and remove some light spots! I charge $4 per linear foot for this protection; a little more if I'm cleaning with it. A furniture store normally charges $60 or more for a chair, and at that price, they use a less effective treatment! I charge $28 for a standard length 7 foot sofa, $20 for a loveseat and $12 for a chair. Again, a chaise lounge is 5 feet, and priced just like a loveseat.
Other A-1 Pricing
Kool-Aid & Other Tough (dye) Stains
Yes, I'm at the forefront of my industry on this subject as well, as long as you realize that the two step process of removing all color first and then blending in the right color is NOT carpet cleaning! That process does no good unless you've got one solid color, whereas many carpets today have a color pattern. Usually the process I'm describing has a minimum charge of $250.00, and no, I don't offer this service. People often ask about stains, but all they have is dirt. Stain is a technical term, meaning the original color of the carpet itself has been altered. A spot is simply a concentration of dirt in one small area. A stain has done one of two things: removed color, or added color. Sometimes both! If color has been removed, adding color back is the only thing that will correct it. Attempting this without first removing ALL color is guaranteed not to blend correctly. Again, I don't offer this service. Cleaning should still be done first, to help determine what you've really got. When color has been added to the carpet, it is usually not as permanently set as the original color of the carpet, and may respond to a number of different treatments. Cleaning should be done first, and although I always try my best to make you happy with just that, some things just defy cleaning. Tackling a situation like this and going beyond cleaning, the process of attempting to remove dye carries with it a minimum charge of $40.00. This is more cost-effective when you have more spots, because I don't need to charge anywhere near $40.00 per small spot. This is a very slow process, and sometimes it's best to quit while you're ahead. It can be like sawing legs off a table. Keep going too long, and in rare cases you may start to remove some of the original color, making the area lighter. Situations like this call for judgement and a fresh pair of eyes, so I only do this with the customer present. The important point here is that the $40.00 minimum charge for this process can not guarantee that the spot will disappear entirely. I carry at least 3 different solutions for any problem I can encounter, and I guarantee I can do as well as anything short of removing all the color and re-dying your carpet to match. It's quite cost-effective to have me work on a spot before you go to that extreme!
Blinds/Drapes - Cleaning Fabric of All Kinds
Vertical blinds can usually be steam cleaned like carpet, and while the price varies depending on soiling and height or length of the blind, it shouldn't be more than $15 a piece or less than $5 each. Drapes are much more complex. Many are best being dry cleaned, the way it's done in a traditional dry-cleaners. If I ever don't have the best possible way to do something I tell you, and try to give you some idea of what that would cost. Many such situations will turn out just fine having me do it even so, and the compromise may save enough money to be a good idea in your opinion. I can effectively clean fabric of every kind. The biggest problem with drapes is once you disturb them, you may never get them to hang exactly the same way again. This is even more true if you take them down for cleaning, so each case needs special attention.
Many people are surprised to learn that the fabric in all types of vehicles (cars, boats, RVs, planes, etc.) can be cleaned at your location, just like any carpet. You get the greatest value when you have me do this in one trip when I'm already there doing other work. Empty and accessible garage space should be prepared in case of inclement weather. Alternately, cushions/mats can be brought into the home for cleaning. These items are always priced on an individual basis, but you should expect a 2 door car to be no less than $25.00. This would include all fabric in the vehicle, except the headliner; I have enough suction to rip it right out. They're usually not dirty, and are best left alone.
Cleaning Hard Floors - Strip Wax
I offer care for various types of hard floors. Ordinarily this starts at 20 cents per square foot, as long as you meet a minimum charge of $50.00 to make it worth starting the process. I have cleaned wood floors, but I do not strip/refinish these. I know how, but the dirt involved just doesn't mix with the other services I offer!
Carpet Re-stretching - Repairs & Installation
CARPET REPAIRS & RE-STRETCHING Whether you just need a stair stapled back in place, a "buckle" removed, or carpet replaced entirely I can not only meet your needs, but also put you in touch with the area's most reputable carpet retailers. Installing new carpet throughout an entire home is not my specialty, and if a job is too big I would defer that work to someone else - but when you're getting your carpet cleaned is the perfect time for small repairs! Most work of this nature has a $50 minimum fee, except stapling stairs back in place, which starts at $10. Re-stretching is as much work as installing new carpet, and costs $3.50 per square yard.
AREA RUGS These are usually 20 cents per square foot to clean in your location. This includes fine oriental rugs, which normally cost $1 - $1.25 per square foot when you have it done the "traditional" way. The only disadvantage to cleaning these in your home is the fringe cannot be cleaned effectively, but that rarely needs it.
Extended Service Area
My extended service area is designed for those times of year when the extra driving time will not force me to turn away business closer to me, in my standard (year-round) service area.
My peak season does vary and of course every case is unique, but in general peak cleaning seasons are: July 6th - Labor Day, and Holiday cleaning, which may start as early as mid-October and ends by Christmas Eve..
This is not to say that every day within these periods of peak demand is unavailable to my extended service area
but you should try to plan around these times of year. Also, some "off-peak" days and weeks fill up. Planning ahead is the key to good service!
Basically anywhere in southeastern Wisconsin is included in my extended service area.
To see if your needs will be served well, please read my pricing info.
My Guarantee and What it Means
Most Thorough Cleaning EVER or it's FREE!!
That's my guarantee. And it's the best in the industry. I simply can't find a better way to convey the idea that with me, you have nothing to lose if you want your carpet clean. In recent years, carpet manufacturers finally got around to doing their own research. After spending millions of dollars, do you know what they found? What I do works best! Now you can see it for yourself, and I've removed all risk for you. And after the job is done, I don't just wait around, hoping no one complains. I try to call you back, ideally 24 hours after completion, to enforce my guarantee! I want everything to look just as good after it's dry as it does when I last see it, while it's still wet. I also try to contact you by mail, ideally 2 weeks later, reminding you to check things over again. Monitoring these two "follow-up" time intervals, I can better fix any problems that might arise by getting to the bottom of them.
The way I see it, if your check is good, the dirt should be gone - period.
No excuses, no passing the buck, no hype, no nonsense. I run my business from the customer's point of view, constantly asking myself "if I were paying for this, what would I want?" And of all my sources of training, the best is listening to you, my customers! So thank you for your honesty.
To me, undoubtedly the biggest advantage of doing all the work myself is that common sense can always prevail, and I'm never stuck to some policy that violates it.
I make sure things get done right, and I take the necessary time to do that. I also "put my best foot forward" when it comes to both price and quality. I do my best to make the best possible care for your carpet affordable; and I present that first. Some people get irritated with me because they expect me to pad my price with unnecessary things like mark-up and overhead, so I could reduce my price at any time. The first price I give you is my best price. If it's too much, we can look at reducing what's being done to make it fit your budget.
I know very well how much companies that offer the quality I do charge, and I have no intention of ever charging that much!
40 cents per square foot to clean, and 20 cents (or more) per square foot to protect is simply cost-prohibitive for most people. I'm very proud of my rates, AND the fact that I don't pass any overhead on to my customers. I charge for what you need to have done, and temper that with your best judgement; and there is never any pressure to add cost to your bill.
People often ask about availability, and how far ahead they need to schedule.
My policy is first-come, first served, so schedule as soon as you know what time frame works best for you. Leaving your name, number and the desired appointment date and time, along with an alternate on my answering machine guarantees you your request if it's available at the time you make it. If you have a deadline to meet, let me know. I'll call you back to confirm ASAP, but I only make phone calls between the hours of 9 AM and 9 PM, unless given specific permission to call earlier or later. Even that is too early for some, and too late for others. There are times I work both earlier and later than this, so please be patient with me for a response and realize I'm doing the best I can. I don't pay someone to answer my phone, (that's part of not charging you for overhead!) neither do I try to schedule other people's jobs while you expect me to be working in your home. So please talk to my answering machine just like it was me, and you'll get great service!
Hours are flexible.
I'd prefer meeting you before you leave for work to agree on work to be done, price, etc. and get paperwork signed rather than you just leaving a key under the mat and a blank check on the counter like so many people ask me to do. Cleaning can also be done after you get home from work, which works much better than most people give it credit for. Family members are aware of the cleaning process, and careful without having to be reminded. Then there's no traffic while you sleep. In the morning there's usually a brief burst of traffic, but then it has all day to dry and then you're back to normal, and the only time period with any interruption is while the work is actually being done. That's hard to beat! I do work weekends but Saturdays usually fill up first, so if this is what works best for you, try to plan in advance.
After working for everybody else that was worthwhile
I saw what they have to offer and where they fall short, and realized that if I want any job stability at all, I'd have to be self-employed. No one else will let me do things right, and then they wonder why they go out of business. The prevailing wisdom of the industry is to try and do a good job 80% of the time; the other 20% just aren't worth the effort. This lacks the foresight to recognize that everyone will be part of that 20% that aren't happy, after you clean for them 5 times.
So in 1991 I formed "Your Carpet Care Co."
I set about finding out what it would really cost, JUST to clean your carpet. No built-in advertising expense, overhead, or anything else. I stayed abreast of all the technical advances in my industry, and in August of 1999 made a switch that was a bold move at the time. It made sense to me and all my experience agreed, but there was no research to support it " yet. Since then carpet manufacturers have finally gotten around to doing their own research, and spent millions. Do you know what they found? What I do works best! And they endorse the equipment I use. It's inventor was so impressed with the advances I had already made and the cleaning results I get that he wanted me to have a prototype of his new, improved version. So there's a small but significant piece of history at work in your home. Not only did my own experience tell me immediately that this switch in August of 1999 was a good thing, but I also started getting more referrals, so I know my long-term clients liked it better, too.
By 2002 I found I had the only service record of straight A's with Angie's List of any carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, or company that offers both, with no negative reports!
And I also have a perfect record with the BBB. In October 2003, I began operating in Wisconsin as "A-1 Carpet Cleaning," where I continue applying my old-world values in an industry that's increasingly high-tech. And I'm earning a spotless record with an online service called Service Magic, as well as with the areas finest and most reputable carpet retailers.