Bait and Switch in the Carpet Cleaning Business

How To Recognize Bait ± Switch Carpet Cleaning Tactics

Article from the Wm. F. Bane Carpet Cleaning Company

“Bait and switch” definition-
Bait and Switch” is a sales tactic in which a bargain-priced item is used to attract customers who are then encouraged to purchase a more expensive similar item or service.

Bait and Switch” is used in many aspects of the service and sales industry. Whether it’s automobile commercials or sales ads for your local appliance stores, it’s a practice the public deals with daily. Many unethical carpet cleaning companies would have you believe that carpet cleaning is cheap. Although having your carpets professionally maintained on a regular basis can save you money over time, the process of professional carpet cleaning itself requires very expensive equipment used by certified and experienced personnel. Below we have listed a few tactics that are commonly used in the carpet cleaning industry in order to get a foot in your door.

1. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons…

We see them in our newspapers and mailboxes every single day. Although coupons are a great marketing tool, watch out for those that seem too good to be true. If a coupon is offering to clean your whole house or several rooms for one low price, beware. The price usually represents the minimum amount they will charge for undersized rooms. Sometimes it doesn’t even include the detergent. Have a large room or a carpet that’s actually dirty? Well, that will cost you more!

2. Dual Process Cleaning

Many carpet cleaning companies will bait consumers with a low price over the phone, only to try and sell them on a more expensive dual process cleaning when they arrive to your home. The ploy is: you can get their basic cleaning for the price quoted on the phone, or you can get their “Super Duper Deluxe Cleaning” for a price that is probably nowhere near the original estimate. When calling for estimates, be sure to ask if they offer different cleaning packages and the prices of each. They’ll often be called something like “Our Clean, Cleaner, and Cleanest Packages”. I guess the idea is, if you don’t pay them what they want, they’re only going to, “kind of” clean your carpet. A good carpet cleaner will do a deluxe job for every customer, not just those that give in to pressure tactics.

3. “Free” Carpet Protector

Stain resistors and fabric protectors such as Scotchgard™ are a great way to be sure your carpets maintain their appearance after a professional cleaning. However, they are not cheap. Beware when a carpet cleaner is trying to bait you with a promise of free Scotchgard. It’s very unlikely they would just give it away, which means they’re probably just spraying water. Some cleaners will even try to convince you that the Scotchgard is in their cleaning solution. Protectors can only be effective if applied after the cleaning. Fabric protectors should cost anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per square foot. If a carpet cleaner insists he is giving it to you for free, ask them to let you watch them mix it and see what their reaction is.

4. Charging by the room

Although there are many carpet cleaning companies that use this method of charging, some of them have ill intent. Here’s how it works: a consumer calls to get an estimate for a living room, dining room and a hall. The company tells them about a special they have for (3) rooms for $69.95. That sounds like a good price, right? It is … until they get into your home. What they fail to tell you on the phone is a room is any area under 200 square foot. Since your living room is 250, they’ll have to charge for another room. Oh, and since your hall is “L” shaped, that’s going to count as (2) areas as well. And by the way, that coffee spot you have in the dining room, that’s going to require a pre-spotter to get that out and that’s going to be an additional cost too. Do you see where this is leading? Always insist on an estimate based on the total square footage you want cleaned. It is the most accurate method in the industry. Obtaining the square footage of your rooms is really quite easy and a good company will be able to help you with it right over the phone. Not to mention, you will only be charged for the areas of the room you want cleaned. If you don’t want your bed moved, why should you have to pay for the whole room? If you do decide to use a company that charges by the area, be sure to ask what the maximum is for one area and if there are any additional charges for extras such as spot removal or heavy traffic areas.

Fortunately, there are honest, professional carpet cleaners around to choose from, such as the Bane-Clene Systems. All businesses need to turn a profit to operate, so consider that when you’re being sold on an unrealistic price. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true … it is!

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Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: November 20, 2019

Date Published: September 14, 2010