What went into the decision to develop and apply the technology that powers the CDS XDrive Truckmount?

As we previously discussed, none of the new unibody construction vans can work with theZiggy 1 present drive shaft technology of the HydraMaster CDS Truckmount, nor any of the designs of our competitors. Thus a new power transfer process had to be developed to have a van powered truckmount in the new unibody vans.

The future of power take off and/or direct drive units installed in some of the new vehicle designs could have potentially taken on a number of forms: tailshaft power take offs; transmission power take offs,; water and oil hydraulics, pneumatic power: direct driving the blower from the engine within the engine compartment; and alternative fuels are all ideas that we evaluated.

As many long time cleaners can testify to, the use of Hydraulic power transfer in our industry does not have a very successful track record. Though the technology associated with hydraulic power has improved, one thing that kept pushing us away from hydraulics is the fact when you have hydraulic power, you have hydraulic oil leaks. Just look at the tarmac the next time you are on an airplane. Carpet cleaners who spend hours cleaning up the carpet and hard surface floors inside their customer’s home or business would not look too positively on a truckmount that dripped hydraulic oil on their customer’s driveway or parking lot. .Squirrel on a hamster wheel

We even considered the fact that California may eventually require high powered squirrels running on hamster wheels to power green reduced-emission truckmounts.

In the end, our research kept taking us to one place – the hybrid and pure use of electronic power generation at kilowatt levels that were now achievable to power a truckmount. Our next update (#3)  will explain how the power delivery system does work on this amazing new truckmount.

XDRIVE Power System

Why did HydraMaster choose the Ford Transit as the initial host vehicle for their new truckmount technology?

The first step was the XDRIVE power transfer technology as the driver. None of the new unibody construction vans can work with the drive shaft technology of the HydraMaster CDS Truckmount, nor any of the designs of our competitors. Thus, a new power transfer system needed to be created.

HydraMaster did a significant amount of research in the industry on where cleaning and DSCF0434retrestoration companies planned to go in the future when it came to the purchase of their next work vehicle. With the long term viability of standard cargo vans being brought into question by increasingly stringent EPA fuel efficiency and emissions regulations, we wanted to know what cleaners and restorers were thinking about when it came to their future vehicle purchases. The Ford Transit was the dominant choice amongst companies who planned to purchase one of the new unibody construction vans. In addition, the inverse mounted engine on the Dodge Promaster makes any power take off hook-up extremely difficult, and would add a great deal of expense to the product. Clearly, the first place to start on the design and engineering of the new XDRIVE hybrid technology turned out to be the Ford Transit, especially since HydraMaster already manufactures the industry’s leading direct drive unit –the CDS, which goes exclusively into Chevy or Ford cargo vans.

IMG_9851retIn our investigations, The Ford Transit offered the most efficient platform for our new CDS XDRIVE Direct Drive truckmount. The lightweight, unibody construction is built with high strength steel as well as boron steel in select areas. The medium and high roof options to the Transit offer cleaning and restoration companies something they have long asked for in a van – you can stand up in the back of the van. In addition, the extra cargo space can be used to carry more gear. Owners of the Ford Transit who were already using the van in their cleaning and restoration business identified several other distinct advantages:

  • The lightweight construction and V6 engine provided them with $600-$1,000 in annual fuel cost savings versus a Chevy or Ford cargo van
  • They love the excellent turning radius.
  • They like the modern look and sleek appearance
  • They love the power, smooth ride, and low deck of the Transit
  • The LED package lights light up the entire interior
  • And of course, they love being able to stand up and all of the extra space!

So after careful consideration, the Ford Transit became the obvious choice for the new CDS XDRIVE Direct Drive Truckmount. Through our vehicle partner, Hudiburg Fleet Services we have already secured a continuing line of Ford Transit’s for when the XDRIVE is released. Best of all, they will be at prices there is no way you can get in your local market.

 

The Last Job of the Day: Caring for Your Truckmounted Equipment, Hose, and Cleaning Tools

If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know the last chore of the night is always cleaning up the kitchen. That’s because it’s important for the kitchen to be fresh, clean, and of course healthy at the start of each new day.

The same can be said when it comes to caring for truckmounts. While many carpet cleaning technicians and cleaning professionals may believe their day should be “over and out” when they finish cleaning the carpets, it’s actually smart to make cleaning and caring for the machine itself the last job of the day. Always remember that customers will surely notice the machine you use. What kind of impression will it give them if your truckmount is soiled and dirty?

Before adding this step to your daily routine, however, be sure to review the manufacturer’s instructions as to how to care for your truckmount. Some machines may require specific maintenance on a set or regular schedule.

For most truckmounts, the following maintenance steps should be taken at the end of the work day:

  • Check fluid levels – it is always a great idea to do a quick check of your engine oil, blower oil, and solution pump oil. Many vacuum blowers are equipped with “sight” tubes to make part of this job easier. Always follow the recommendations of your machine’s manual.
  • Lubricate your vacuum blower with a quick squirt of lubricating oil. HydraMaster recommends TKX by LPS lubricating oil for the vacuum blowers used on its truckmounts. About a 5 second squirt works ideally. Many HydraMaster Truckmounts are quipped with a lubricating port on the front of the machine to assist with this.
  • When cleaning your truckmount at the end of the day, be sure the tank is clean and fresh by flushing it with pure water.  Leave the tank empty and prop the lid open to allow it to air dry. It is always a good idea to rinse out and clean your vacuum recovery tank, your vacuum tank drain, filter, and lint basket. It your machine is equipped with an automatic pump-out system for wastewater, don’t forget to clean and rinse it out too.
  • You may also find it necessary to occasionally run a little deodorizer (CleanMaster OdorMate Tropical Breeze works great!) through the vacuum hoses along with some CleanMaster DeFoam.  Be sure and rinse thoroughly. This keeps the hoses clean and sanitary and helps make sure air can move freely through the hose.
  • You should also de-scale the unit occasionally. We recommend the safer to use CleanMaster TM DeScaler throughout  the system. Make sure you follow the specific instructions from your machine manual to properly descale your machine.  Also rinse the chemical jug to clean out any residue and flush the chemical system with white vinegar to neutralize the system and clean out any residue.  Again, check the owner’s manual for information about if and how you should perform this task on your particular machine.
  • Rinse the machine’s wands and make sure they and all brushes are lint and hair free. It is easiest to clean these while they are still wet.  Use a wire comb to pull lint, hair, and other debris from brushes. Also, make sure there is no fraying or cracks on the hoses, wiring and cords on rotary extractors. These invariably become worse over time.
  • A soft toothbrush may be used to clean the jets on the wand to remove mineral deposits.
  • Wipe the machine down from top to bottom, and don’t forget the wheels on rotary extractors. This will ensure that you don’t roll any soil from yesterday’s job into the first job tomorrow morning.
  • The end of the day is also a good time to inspect and listen to the machine. Investigate anything unusual, including any unusual sounds you might hear when the machine is operating. If something sounds different than normal, check it out. We have found that sound changes or unusual noises are very often the most effective way for a “not mechanically inclined” cleaning technician to save the day when it comes to maintenance. “If you hear something, say something!”
  • Finally, it’s a good idea to check your chemicals at the end of the day as well. Make sure they are secured and the tops are tight, and wipe the containers down. This is also a great time to replenish your chemical inventory for tomorrow’s jobs.

HydraMaster Truckmounts include maintenance and lubricating schedule decal that is mounted right onto the visible area of KMBT_C654e-20151006075237the waste tank to help you remember many of these steps. But it is also a good idea to include this list on a checklist that the technicians who brought the truck back to the shop are required to sign off on. Remember the old Fram oil filter commercial – “You can pay now, or you can pay big time later.”

Remember, keeping your equipment and chemicals clean and well maintained ensures worker safety, enhances professionalism, and ultimately makes your next job a lot easier, faster, and more productive.

What kinds of odors do professional carpet cleaners encounter in their daily cleaning operations?

OdorsDuring a typical day, professional carpet cleaners may encounter a wide variety of odor problems that their customer needs assistance dealing with – pet urine, body odors, Cooking odors, tobacco odors, general odors, water intrusion and water damage, bacterial based odors, moisture based odors, and mold, mildew and mustiness.  CleanMaster, the chemical division of HydraMaster, is pleased to provide three deodorization and remediation chemical solutions which effectively eliminate these and many other odors, and turn your customers into raving fans!

BotaniPhase – for water intrusion and water damage related odors, bacterial and moisture based odors, and mold, mildew, and mustiness

CleanMaster BotaniPhase  from HydraMaster represents the newest renewable and sustainable natural deodorizing Botani_Phase Hi Restechnology as it derives its odor eliminating and decontamination capabilities directly from plant extracts. Whenever you have a carpet, textile or hard surface that has been impacted by water intrusion or moisture exposure to the point it has developed odors related to mold, mildew, and mustiness, BotaniPhase works to effectively clean and deodorize that surface. BotaniPhase also works effectively to counteract and eliminate odors resulting from bacterial based sources. Botani-Phase is the ideal deodorizer for restoration and remediation sites, contents cleaning and deodorization, carpet and upholstery cleaning, decontamination and odor control jobs, and more . BotaniPhase is mixed from 1:4 to straight depending upon the severity and intensity of the contamination and odor.

MultiPhase – for pet urine and tobacco odors

Professional Cleaners and Restorers worldwide sign the praises of MultiPhase for two reasons: 1) It is highly effective in less multiphasetime; and 2) Customers love the scent. It is a bonding, encapsulating, pairing, and absorbing deodorizer that will safely and effectively eliminate odors most commonly encountered by the professional carpet cleaner, including pet urine, tobacco smoke, and vomit. It grabs onto the odor producing cell and bonds with it. Because MultiPhase is a contact deodorizer,  it needs to come in contact with all odor molecules – so it is perfect for saturation spraying and injecting. It does all this with without using harsh metallic salts or zincs like some products use. MultiPhase can be used straight or diluted up to 8:1 and can be fogged, sprayed, injected or used as an additive to your cleaning solution. Best of all, it is 1/3 the price of the “cide” based deodorizers in our industry with superior effectiveness

OdorMate Tropical Breeze – general odors, cooking odors, body odors, and general environment refreshing

 OdorMate Tropical Breeze is a general purpose odor eliminator, deodorizer, and cleaning additive designed for use on odormate-web-largecarpet, upholstery, laundry. It also works extremely well in general space deodorizing. The versatility of  OdorMate Tropical Breeze allows it to be effectively used as a direct spray pairing agent heavy duty deodorizer;  it can be added to most any cleaning solution; and can be applied through a wet fogging machine  Don’t let the light tropical breeze fragrance trick you. Utilizing OdorMate Tropical Breeze will leave any carpet or room smelling clean and refreshed, but it is also a pairing deodorant powerful enough to counteract severe malodors such as cooking odor and body odors. We know these malodor counteractants work by binding to the same odor receptors in the nose as malodors, thereby counteracting the perception of malodors by making those receptors unavailable.

Consumer Series #1 – How to Care for Your Carpet

Soil Tracking Control

Place walk-off mats or grids at the entry points to your home or business. This will help prevent soil from being tracked from the outside onto the inside carpeting. Vacuum and/or clean these mats frequently. Once they become loaded with soil, their effectiveness is greatly reduced.

Vacuuming

Vacuum your carpet frequently using a vacuum with a high efficiency collection bag or system. In high traffic areas, carpet manufacturers recommend you vacuum at least once or twice a week.  Vacuuming removes the sharp and abrasive soil that can cut, scratch, and abrade the fiber causing premature wear. Particulate soiling left in your carpet has sandpaper like effect on the carpet. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Keep your vacuum in good working condition – check the belts and change the collection bag frequently. Confused about which vacuum to buy? One good source of information is the Carpet and Rug Institute. Click here for more information about the Carpet & Rug Institute’s testing program for commercial and residential vacuums. Another great resource is your local trained and certified carpet cleaning professional. They can provide you with clear recommendations based upon the carpet installed in your home or business the next time they clean your carpet.

Spot and Spill Treatments

Immediate spot removal is the key to a clean carpet. Great care also must be taken in how spot cleaning is performed. When a carpet is new, or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However for those spots that will not move easily with water, you should use a spotting solution specifically designed for carpeting. We recommend getting your carpet spotting solution from your local cleaning professional. They have access to spotting solutions which have been formulated by the same companies who make their professional cleaning solutions. These types of spotters have been demonstrated to be more effective, as well as not to leave sticky residue which can cause your carpet to re-soil rapidly.

Most spot removers that are purchased over the counter at your grocery store or home improvement center leave too much sticky residue and can cause rapid re-soiling or yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product that is not made specifically made for carpet. The longer the spot is allowed to dwell on the carpet, the more chance there is of permanent discoloration.

Blot up any excess spill. Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white cotton towel and gently massage spot causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. Blot area with water. If the spot persists, consult your professional carpet cleaner. Some spots and spills require the professional equipment, cleaning solutions, and skills of a professional. Repeated attempts to remove the spot may set the stain or cause permanent damage.

Professional Cleaning

As a general rule for residential carpeting, cleaning by a professional, trained, certified firm should take place about once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, homes with pets, and homes with people with allergic sensitivities and immune-compromised individuals, more frequent cleaning is often required. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed. Professional cleaning with truckmounted or high performance portable hot water extraction cleaning is the method most often recommended by cleaning industry experts and carpet manufacturers. Professional cleaning removes the damaging abrasive soil, along with sticky and oil based soil that vacuuming can not remove.

For commercial carpeting, periodic professional cleaning with hot water extraction may need to be combined with interim encapsulation low moisture encapsulation cleaning for maximum carpet appearance and performance. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the amount and types of soiling, the traffic load on the carpeting, carpet owner considerations, budget considerations and other indoor and outdoor environmental conditions.

Protective Treatments                                                      

 Residential carpets are treated with stain and soil resistant treatments when they are manufactured.  These protective treatments will wear and traffic off over a period of time. After a period of 1 to 3 years, carpet manufacturers recommend the re-application of a protective treatment such as HydraMaster Complete Guard Carpet Protector to enhance the performance of your carpet. Your carpet protector should provide your carpet with additional soil resistance for water and oil based spills and soiling, as well as protective barriers which prevent spilled liquids from staining your carpet. The soil resistance will help the soil slide off the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.

Warranties

Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase may be available from your carpet retailer. Your carpet’s stain and soil resistant warranty, wear warranty, and texture retention warranty most likely requires periodic (at least every 12-18 months) professional hot water extraction cleaning by a trained, certified professional cleaner. Many warranties on your carpet provide coverage for five years or longer if your carpet is maintained according to the manufacturer’s directions.

 

 

 

 

How much should I charge?

By Doyle Bloss    Marketing and Brand Manager

HydraMaster/US Products Pro

Probably the most commonly asked question we hear from professional cleaners is “how much should I charge?” While the often quoted answer is “whatever the market will bear” may sound cute, it does not really answer the question. Why? Because within every market; within every service offering; there are several different “markets.” A lot of what your price should be is determined by the type of market you are going after. The biggest mistake that many new professional cleaners make is using the local competition to set up their price – either being slightly cheaper or slightly more expensive. So what are the most important factors that determine what to charge?

Your cost of doing business

The most important consideration is your cost of doing the service. You may be saying “duh” right now, but it continues to amaze me how many professional cleaners have no clue what their actual costs are. Charging 28 cents a square foot can launch one guy into retirement and send another to the unemployment line! – Everyone’s costs are different. Home based vs. facility, single vs. multi-truck, regional costs, etc.

A reasonable profit margin

If you can not make enough money to stay in business, you are doing your customers a big disservice. You have to be able to make money in order to provide the service that your customer wants and needs. If your customers are not willing to pay a price that allows you to make a reasonable profit, you have one of two choices – get new customers or get a new business.

Your competition

There is something to be said for what your competition is priced at – but not much. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Do they offer the same services you do? Really? Are you sure? What is your service level and how does it differentiate you from other cleaners? The value of your service as determined by your customers is more important than what the competition is charging. Why? Because there are different markets

Determining your market

Your market and the clientele you are directing your service at will greatly influence your price. There are at least three distinctive categories of residential customers who have their carpets professionally cleaned. Howard Partridge calls them KIA customers, Chevy customers, and Mercedes customers. The Mercedes Client (high end) is primarily concerned with your reputation and experience, and is looking for a client experience that goes well beyond having a clean carpet. The Chevy customer is concerned with the value they will get for their investment. The KIA customer is looking for the lowest price .In our industry they have also been defined as “bait and switch” customers, value customers, and high end customers. The wants, needs, and motivations of these three markets are decidedly different.

Reinvesting Strategies

Most people would say that reinvesting strategies would be the same as a “reasonable profit margin,” but not necessarily. This really relates to what type of business you are desiring to build long term. Are you looking to stay an owner operator or become multi-truck? Are you going to expand into restoration? Do you want to have a building dedicated to your business or are you happy with operating out of your home. Wanting your business to become something is not good enough. Planning for it to be something requires that you build in a profit margin to allow you to reinvest in the company toward that goal from day one. This does not preclude you from taking whatever job you can get when you are new or cash-starved. There are plenty of pricing and marketing strategies available to you that can be designed to build your price toward a stronger future and still get the business you need now to make the lease payment or put food on the table.

Your degree of professionalism

In order to reach high end clients, you have to be willing to “play the part.” This does not necessarily mean you have to wear a tuxedo as your company uniform. It does mean you have to make your client comfortable with how you dress, talk, walk, and even letter your van. Have you every heard the term “birds of a feather flock together?” People associate with people who are like them and make them comfortable. It comes down to conformity. If you pride yourself on being a “non-conformist,” that may limit what kind of clientele you seek and what kind of “mark-up” you can put on your services.

Business author Lawrence Steinmetz has defined nine reasons you do not want to deal with a customer who only buys on price. You will have to decide whether you are willing to make the steps in your business that allow you to move your price beyond the latest set of coupons in the local “Val-Pak.”

  • They take all of your time
  • They do all the complaining
  • They forget to pay you
  • They tell other customers how little they paid
  • They drive off good customers
  • They’re not going to buy from you again
  • They’ll require you to “invest up” to supply their needs – and then they’ll blackmail you for yet a lower price.\
  • They destroy the credibility of your price and your product (service) in the eyes of your consumers
  • They will steal any knowledge they can get their hands on so they can do the work themselves

Getting the right kind of advice

If you are relatively new to the cleaning business, you won’t find a shortage of strong opinions about how much to charge and the way to do it. You will find a whole slew of folks talking about how high a price they can get for their cleaning services and a whole other set complaining no one will pay those prices in “their town.” Just be careful about whose advice you listen to. If you determine your price by an unemotional, strategic evaluation like the one above, that needs to be your price. Spend less time asking how much to charge and more time getting advice on how to market your business to get the price you determined you must have to accomplish your personal and business goals.

Leave No Stain Behind

By Doyle Bloss
CleanMaster Solutions

In a study a few years back conducted with consumers who have had their carpet professionally cleaned, the interviewer asked them why they hired a professional carpet cleaner. One of the top THREE reasons provided by the respondents is because they believed that a professional could do a better job removing spots and stains. There is little doubt of the importance that carpet cleaning consumers place upon your ability to remove difficult spots and treat difficult stains.

If you have targeted a high-end clientele and priced your services appropriately, then you certainly are trying to live by the mantra of “Leave no stain behind.” So if the expectation is with time and the proper equipment and chemicals that you as a professional cleaner can remove just about everything, you had better make sure you are adequately equipped to accomplish the task. That is where the specialized spot and stain treatments contained within the CleanMaster Pro Spotting Kit come into play.

Due to space limitations, we are going to assume that you are encountering a stain that was not removed by basic cleaning procedures and general spotting. At this point, it is more accurately described as a stain rather than a spot or spill. Let’s start with this basic premise. The first thing you always want to do if you can is to identify the source of the stain. Then you can start with your advanced treatment procedures.

If the stain was caused by the natural color of the spilled material (for instance, mustard, wine, coffee, urine) you will want to knockout-1-quartapply CleanMaster KnockOut 1, a one part oxidizing stain treatment. Simply apply the solution, agitate the stain from the outside toward the center, and allow adequate dwell time. The stain will usually disappear. In the case of problematic mustard, you may want to reflect a high intensity ultraviolet light at the treated stain while you are on the job. Unlike most oxidizing stain removers. KnockOut 1 contains special additives that allow it to penetrate and deal with solvent based stains such as shoe polish and wood stain. In addition, KnockOut 1 also contains special additives which help keep the area from rapid re-soiling.

If the stain was caused by a color that was most likely added to the spilled material (for instance, Kool-Aid®, sports drinks, frozen children’s treats) you will want to apply CleanMaster RedBreak 1. Simply apply the solution, agitate the stain from the outside toward the center, and allow adequate dwell time. In most cases, RedBreak 1 will immediately make the stain disappear. On problematic stains, simply apply heat from a wallpaper steamer or steam iron to accelerate the reaction and make the stain invisible.RedBreak 1 hi res

Stains caused by ink spills have always been a challenge for professional cleaners. While traditional solvent spotters, (PIG, POG, VDS, NVDS) have proven to be effective on some types of inks, there was always the problem of the time they took to work, making sure you had the right solution for that specific ink, and the number of spotting towels you used up blotting the ink. CleanMaster SpotMaster Gel XP eliminated the need for all of those different solvent spotters. This specially formulated solvent gel spotter has been demonstrated to be effective on a wide variety of ink spots and spills – ballpoint, magic marker, inkjet printer ink and more.

All of these solutions and more are are available in the CleanMaster Pro Spotting Kit.