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Monday, January 24 2011

DIY Carpet Cleaning;

The other day I was in a local pharmacy buying some school supplies for my son Jordan. Across the isle from the school supplies was the Rug Doctor rental machines and their cleaning solutions. I am often asked by friends 'why' someone would want to rent a Rug Doctor and go thru the hassle of cleaning their own carpets. This is a great question that I believe has two possible answers.

The first answer deals with a bad experience from using a so called professional carpet cleaning who was nothing more than a hack who used high pressure sales tactics and did a crummy job. The carpets stayed wet for days, the spots all returned, and the 'professional cleaner' did not live up to their promises. We have a name for these types of people - "Splash & Dash". They splash some water around and dash out the door as soon as they get paid never to be seen again.

The second answer is about saving money. Most people probably believe they can save money if they do it themselves. This got me to thinking - is it really cost effective to clean your own carpets? Here is the breakdown for renting a rug doctor: 1) Machine Rental - $26.99; 2). Cleaning Solution - $13.99; 3). De-foamer - $4.99; 4). Hi traffic pre-spray - $13.99; 5). Pet Urine treatment - $8.99. If you add all these up and include sales taxes the total amount would be $74.81 to clean your carpets assuming of course that you had enough cleaning solutions to complete the task. There are other costs that you should also include - Your TIME. Let's assume that you average $25.00 per hour at your job and we will make the following assumptions:

1). To drive to the store, rent, read all instructions, and bring rug doctor and unload from your car is 1.5 hours or $37.50;

2). You will also need to move furniture, pre-inspect, and prevacuum the carpets. Time 45 minutes or $18.75;

3). Apply spot removers, pet urine chemicals, and clean the carpets using the machine 1.0 hour or $25.00;

4). Clean the machine and return to store 1.0 hour or $25.00.

The TRUE COST OF Do It Yourself Carpet Cleaning: $74.81 + $37.50 + $18.75 + $25.00 + $25.00 = $181.06. How much would a job like this cost if you used a true professional somewhere between $200.00 - $250.00.

A true carpet cleaning professional would have also set the carpet knap, applied carpet deodorizer, applied carpet protectant, and provided a post inspection. Here at Liberty Floor Solutions we also use blow dryers to speed up the drying process. One of the points I think should also be made is that the rug doctor's brochure never mentions the words sanitize or disinfect. If you could hire a quality professional would it be worth the extra $19.00 to $69.00 dollars, which is the difference between do it yourself and hiring a professional? You should expect to have your carpets cleaned & sanitized.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to discredit the rug doctor. I am confident that they meet a need in the market place and the provide a valuable service. One of the advantages of the rug doctor is that you can rent it late at night when most carpet cleaners are done for the day.  If I had a carpet emergency and could not get a carpet cleaner out right away I would certainly consider the rug doctor. The purpose of this blog is to demonstrate that your time is valuable and you need to consider your time when you take on such projects. If you have questions about this email you can reach me at

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 10:34 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
I tried to tell my husband he wouldn't listen and now our carpets are worse than ever. I wish you had published this information before Thanksgiving.
Posted by Patty on 01/26/2011 - 06:22 AM
If I had a dollar for everytime I heard your story I would already be retired. Have a great day.
Posted by Mike Hull on 01/26/2011 - 07:06 AM
I looked at your numbers for Elk Grove residents. The average household income, I am told is $65K per year, or about $33.00 per hour. I make a little more than that but according to my calculations it would cost an Elk Grove resident a minimum of $215.06 to clean their own carpets. I would rather hire you and go have a Starbucks.
Posted by Cathy on 01/29/2011 - 08:20 AM

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