Commercial Cleaning

Apartments: Observations & Tips On Vendor Relations

For the multifamily housing market (apartments) there are a lot of considerations that need to be taken into account with carpeting, specifically. Especially when it comes to replacement or restoration.
1st – Because property managers need to deal with drywall and paint issues, fixtures, cabinets, appliances, and so many other things, it is difficult to become as knowledgeable about a given trade as a high quality vendor.
2nd – Because of #1, a property manager needs to do some serious research into the vendors hired to make sure they are, in fact, a knowledgeable vendor.
3rd – Is the focus on cash flow for the property owners, or is the focus on asset development for a future sale? If the first, then restoration is probably worth serious consideration at 30-50% of replacement costs. If the latter, then new carpet which can be depreciated over a nominal life of 3-7 years depending on the class of the property and historical trends at the property may be the best choice even if the carpet looks good (assuming it has already been depreciated out).

In a thread on this topic on another website, someone suggest that if property managers want to learn about customer service, check out the Ritz-Carlton. Unfortunately, investment properties with a primary focus of earning profits is not likely to (and probably shouldn’t) look for the equivalent when it comes to service providers. Why not? Because that level of service comes with a price. Granted the quality is great and the experience is great, but a management company running a portfolio of properties looking to put some managers up for a 2 day training session in Memphis is probably not going to put everyone up in the Peabody for a couple of reasons. Business lodging is expected, not luxury lodging, in the same way that most business class passengers aren’t carted around the country with 1st class air fair, but instead fly business class. It’s a waste of money for what they’re trying to do. Keep things efficient, cost effective, and either meet or, in some few cases with some restrictions, exceed expectations.

Find the expert, listen to them, when something seems ridiculous in terms of price, ask them and if you don’t believe them, you hired the wrong company. If you understand everything just as well as the contractor you’ve hired and you don’t have a background in the field, then you’ve probably hired a contractor with little more experience than you have in the field. Look around, but understand that just because something has the appearance of being a commodity, like oranges or beef, some segments of the market are worth more than others (when you can compare two samples side by side). Even commodities of the same type can and will vary in value.

Always compare the benefits. Everything in the multifamily housing/investment property world has to be put through at least a rudimentary cost vs. benefit analysis. Keep a trusted vendor in the loop and make sure they know where you’re trying to go, how you would like to get there, and use them as a consultant.

Three Tips For Property Managers:

1 – Get them on the same page. They need to know what your specific requirements and desires are when it comes to their level of service. Every property and property manager will be a little different and you can’t expect that your property needs the same level of service as the Ritz-Carlton does, or the same level of service requested by the low-end “slum-lord” type of rental unit.

2 – Make sure that the vendor will document their particular processes/procedures for addressing your specific needs and requirements. If you need to be notified that a given apartment will need $X in services to get rentable based on the vendor’s pricing structure, so you can re-evaluate, they have to know that. When you say, “do whatever it takes,” they might take you at your word and if they do, it really is YOUR fault that you told them to go all-out, so don’t be upset at their bill.

3 – Deal with all the problems you know could come up (because they likely have in the past) on the front end, and in writing. The company that will put it ALL in writing will cost you more $, but they’ll save you time and headaches in the long run. This can only be done through serious, mutually beneficial negotiation on the front end.

By the way, Professional Carpet Systems of Memphis WILL work with you to customize just the right plan for your property/properties, and PUT IT IN WRITING.

Just my 2 cents after spending over 25 years serving the multifamily market as a carpet cleaning and restoration contractor.

Demonstrate – Demonstrate – Demonstrate! Did I mention demonstrate?

Okay, it seems like every time we are allowed to perform a demonstration cleaning for a prospective client, we get hired.  Now to formulate a plan that can get us the opportunity to demonstrate our carpet cleaning quality more often.  Two to four demonstrations per week just isn’t nearly enough.

Here’s a picture of our most recent demonstration cleaning done at Performance Toyota from last Friday.  They hired us and loved the work.

Performance Toyota Deomonstration of Carpet Cleaning

Performance Toyota Demo: Yeah, they hired us…they loved the work!

And…the finished Product

Performance Toyota Deomonstration of Carpet Cleaning

Performance Toyota Demo: Yeah, they hired us…they loved the work!

Technology, Marketing, and Creating a Buzz Without Hyperbole – How is it done?

It looks like I didn’t set up the Google+ page right the first time.  I created a “business” gmail account and apparently treated that as if it were a G+ business page.  OOPS!

I should have just left that account alone and created a Google+ business page from there instead, or just used my original, personal gmail account.  Anyway, I’m still trying to get it all figured out.

I’m starting to get the hang of working with our carpet cleaning and restoration website.  I’m also doing pretty good at maintaining the facebook company page, but that can probably be attributed to the fact that I’m a facebook junkie anyway.

The Spotterdog linkedin page is a little more cumbersome as far as navigation goes, but I’m beginning to think it’s just that linkedin isn’t really designed for promotions, blogging, company updates, etc, in the same way some other social media platforms are.  If I’m wrong about that I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

The twitter account for Professional Carpet Systems will probably not see a whole lot of use.  I can’t really see how I can leverage the power of 140 characters in any way that I, if I were a follower, would actually care about.  Maybe it’s lack of imagination on my part or a particular cynicism I have, and a bias against traditional “marketing strategies.”

Marketing…I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.  I hate *selling*!  I love talking about what we do and how we might be able to help, but that isn’t selling, it isn’t “closing” and it isn’t fast, but even as aggressive as I am when it comes to normal conversation, I don’t like being pushy to get into people’s pockets.  Either there’s an honest need for service that I can help with (Ideally better than our competition, which I think we do) or there isn’t, in which case I’ll see what I can do to find someone who CAN solve the particular problem.

After over 25 years of training, field experience, and experimentation with chemicals, equipment, processes, etc, I’m confident that as far as carpet cleaning and restoration goes, we ARE the best in the area (or at least tied with 2 other companies that are one man operations and HIGH priced compared to us) and have a boutique style operation in a market segment that perceives our services as a commodity.  However, being the best (or tied for it) does not generate calls, does not let people know about us, and that’s where marketing and advertising come into play.  And with a gazillion different companies all trying to generate calls and prospects, and all claiming to be the best, or the cheapest, or the whatever, a successful message that isn’t loaded with hyperbole or rhetoric is hard to come up with.  So, instead of hyperbole, we added services based on customer service areas, like before and after job documentation and address tracking for the multifamily (apartment) market, a 200% guarantee to help with a prospective client’s peace of mind, a 7 day spot and spill warranty…etc.

Unfortunately, just adding those things doesn’t get the phone to ring either.  They need to be communicated, and that communication costs money and goes up against a wall of skepticism because we’re so bombarded with marketing messages 24/7 anyway, and we’ve all become at least a little jaded toward marketing messages…at least that’s my thought.

So, any suggestions on how to cut through the hype with an honest message that will work?  I’m all ears, friends.


Recommendations – 1 For Us & 1 From Us…

We would like to give a HUGE thank you to Mr. Garen Haddad, president of Gateway Group Personnel, for the awesome recommendation he sent us this morning.  We performed some cleaning service for him at his office Friday.

A little about Mr. Haddad’s company: Gateway Group

Also, we’ve updated our website, yet again, by adding a page about our “charity of choice” – CASA of Memphis.  While there are many awesome charities out there that need help and support, I’ve always felt that building better communities starts with the most disadvantaged youth among us.  You can’t get much more disadvantaged than being a foster child and being the victim of abuse and/or neglect.  Helping give these children a voice within the juvenile system, and helping them see that they are worthwhile human beings who, regardless of their current sad situations, do have a hopeful future filled with love and care.  Please check out “Our Charity” and if you can find it in your heart to give a little or give a lot, I strongly urge you to please do what you can.

Our Charity: CASA of Memphis


Thank you!


Tips For Longer Carpet Life

A fellow Professional Carpet Systems owner in Nashville, Jamie O’Connor, sent this out just today and I think it bears repeating.

Your carpets and rugs represent a sizable investment.  So why don’t they stay looking like new after a few years?

Most carpet is made of synthetic fibers such as: nylon, olefin, polyester, and some acrylic. These synthetic fibers rarely wear out (except on stairs), instead they ugly out. What I mean by that is, the fibers crush, or mat down, or flatten out.

They also abrade or get scratched. You see, your carpets are made up of thousands upon thousands of very small thread-like fibers that are twisted together. These fibers are basically translucent pieces of plastic. That means that light can pass through them, like a colored Plexiglas. You know how Plexiglas looks after it gets scratched, dull and dirty.

What scratches carpet is gritty soil and sand that is left in the carpet and when it is walked on it rubs against the fibers and scratches them.

After so much of this scratching, you can clean the soil and sand out but the damage already done is irreversible and you get is what we call in the carpet cleaning industry …

traffic lane gray. This is where the fibers are clean, but since they are so scratched up they do not reflect the light back to the eyes and now take on a dull appearance which is commonly mistaken for soiled carpets.

Here are some tips that will help extend the life of your carpets and rugs.

1. Use walk off mats.

2. Vacuum your carpets regularly.

3. Have your carpets professionally ‘Steam Cleaned’ a minimum of once per year, more often if you have pets or children.

4. Maintain your vacuum cleaner.

5. Have your carpets retreated with stain and soil resistant products regularly after a through, deep cleaning.

6. Remove spots quickly

If you’re in Nashville, he’s got a great special going for new clients right now: $50 off, so give him a call at


Their website address is

If you’re in the Memphis area check out our various specials HERE, then give us a call at


Memphis Apartment & Real Estate Professionals – Win a Kindle Fire!
Kindle Fire - Memphis Apartment Contest

Win a Kindly Fire!

We are going to give away a Kindle Fire after we’ve reached 100 subscribers to Spotter’s News & Views newsletter.  Our first issue will be sent out to the real estate & apartment industry professionals in July (those who have subscribed, that is).  So, if you are in the Memphis, Tennessee area and you’re actively employed in the Memphis apartment or real estate industry in any way; real estate agent, real estate broker, apartment manager, assistant manager, leasing agent, maintenance supervisor, maintenance staff, or property manager, then you should subscribe to the newsletter.  Who knows, you could be the lucky winner!

Good Luck!

Subscribe at our website or Click on Spotter to subscribe:  Don’t wait too long.