Selling Aftermarket Carpet Protectors

Added value for your customers means added profit for you.

by Rick L. Raessler, former manager sales and marketing of carpet protection chemicals to the carpet mill and aftercare market segments for DuPont Chemical.

Who needs an aftermarket carpet protector? If you are not currently selling a carpet protector as a part of your residential carpet cleaning business (or are only offering them when requested), this question may seem irrelevant.

However, it is an important one for your customers and the profitability of your business. To help answer the question, here are three excellent reasons why carpet protection is important:

(1) Help customers protect their investment.

Your customers want carpet protection. If your customers care enough about the appearance of their carpets to go to the expense and effort to have them professionally cleaned, they are going to want their carpets to stay that way for as long as possible.

Your challenge is that some of your customers might not realize they want carpet protection applied, or they might not believe that carpet protectors really work.

It is your responsibility and opportunity to educate them, because, after all, newer - and cleaner-looking carpet is the reason you are there in the first place.

(2) Longer carpet life

Carpet protectors work and extend the life of your customers' carpets. A good aftermarket carpet protector can dramatically improve the soil resistance, stain resistance and repellency of your customers' carpets and extend the carpet's life. In reality, carpets seldom wear out, they ugly out.

(3) Added value = added profit

Added value for your customers means added profit for you.

Aftermarket carpet protectors should and can be an important contributor to the overall profitability of your carpet cleaning business.

;By applying an aftermarket carpet protector, you are providing your customer with a valuable service, and you should be appropriately compensated for this value.

Aftermarket carpet protection is a very significant profit generator in most successful residential carpet cleaning companies. Consider this chart that shows the additional sale of a carpet protector on a single job can almost triple the profit from that job.

Add-On Protector Sales Graph

This chart assumes a charge of $0.25/sq. ft. to clean with an average gross profit margin of 15 percent. The impact of the carpet protection is calculated by using a very modest charge of $0.12/sq.ft. for the carpet protection with a gross profit margin of 60 percent.

Understanding carpet protector performance

To be successful, you need to know how to overcome the challenge of getting your customers to realize they want a carpet protector and convincing skeptical customers that carpet protectors really work.

In order to do this effectively, consistently and convincingly, you and your technicians need to have a basic understanding of what aftercare carpet protectors do and how they work.

Aftermarket carpet protectors can enhance carpet soil resistance, stain resistance and repellency. While this sounds relatively simple, there is actually a great deal of confusion around the differences between each of these separate and distinct attributes.

Aftermarket carpet protectors currently on the market may provide one or two or all three of these attributes.

;Because it is important for you and your technicians to understand these differences and how different carpet protectors work, let's review each in more detail.

Soil resistance

Soil resistance is simply the ability of a carpet protector to help carpets resist dry or wet soils and dirt. A good soil resist will help prevent carpets from getting dirtier from the tracking in of dirt and will allow easier cleaning and vacuuming.

Fluoro-based aftercare carpet protectors resist these soils by reducing the surface tension of the carpet, which means the soil will preferentially stick to the shoe rather than the carpet fiber. This reduced critical surface tension of the fiber created by the fluoro-based carpet protector will also aid in the removal of soils through vacuuming. This keeps treated carpets looking cleaner longer.

In addition to fluoro-based carpet protectors, silica-based soil-resist protectors are also on the market. Silica-based carpet protectors work by filling spaces so that soils and dirt can not adhere to the fiber. This makes vacuuming away soils easier.

Generally, silica-based protectors do not contribute to stain resistance or repellency or offer the durability of a fluoro-based carpet protector.

Stain resistance

;A stain is an unintentional, localized change in the color of a carpet. Most stains are caused by food and drink spills or pet and human accidents.

A fluoro-based aftercare carpet protector can help prevent and/or minimize staining by providing oil and water repellency, which gives time to treat the stain before it sinks into the carpet.

Additionally, there are fluoro-based aftercare protectors on the market that have acid dye resistors or blockers formulated into the protector.

In addition to providing soil resistance, these types of carpet protectors help to refresh the stain resistance of nylon carpets. To conceptualize how the acid dye blocker works, consider it as a colorless stain that ties up the dye sites on the carpet fiber, thus making these sites unavailable for later staining.

Fluoro-based aftercare protectors with acid dye blockers generally provide no oil or water repellency.

Repellency

Repellency is the measure of the contact angle of an oil or water drop on a surface of the fiber. This is the most demonstrable attribute of an aftermarket carpet protector and the attribute most customers look for after you leave the job.

Fluoro-based aftercare protectors can provide outstanding oil and water repellency on carpet.

"But my carpet already has built-in soil and stain protection"

The most common objection you or your technician will hear from your customers when offering aftermarket carpet protection is that their carpets were protected when they were manufactured.

This is frequently true, but a good-quality aftermarket carpet protector can enhance the performance of the mill protection, adding life to the carpet.

Almost all residential carpets manufactured today are treated at the mill with a fluoro-based protector for soil resistance and an acid dye blocker for stain resistance. The carpet mill has the capability to heat-set the fluoro-based protector and steam in the stainblocker.

This provides more durable protection than an aftermarket carpet protector that must cure at ambient temperatures. Even so, mill treatments will diminish over time through abrasion and cleaning.

While the rate of this decline will depend on the initial quality of the carpet, it only makes sense to supplement this protection with an aftermarket carpet protector. This will extend the life and performance of your customer's carpet.

Use the carpet protector manufacturer's "Point of Purchase" materials to highlight the benefits of an aftermarket carpet protector and to reinforce the explanation.

Don't be shy in asking for the sale and being rewarded for adding value to your offering. By selling and promoting aftermarket carpet protectors as a key part of your carpet cleaning business, you are providing true value to your customers and your business.


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