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Thursday, January 19 2012

Groupon Tile & Grout Cleaning:

Recently one of my local competitors offered his tile & grout cleaning services through Groupon. If you are unfamiliar with Groupon let me give you a bit of background information. Groupon is an internet marketing company. They hook up with a local business and offer something they call "the deal of the day". You the consumer will purchase the deal of the day from Groupon and the profits of the deal are usually split 60/40. The business owner gets 60% of what you paid Groupon and Groupon gets 40%. In order to be considered for Groupon a business owner must offer a discount of at least 50% off their retail price.

Here was my competitor's deal: Save 83% Off Tile & Grout Cleaning. For only $48.00 this company will clean up to 165 square feet of tile & grout - according to the Groupon ad his normal rate would have been $277.00 for 165 square feet. This does not include the mileage fee mentioned on the ad. If you divide $277.00 into 165 square feet you will discover that his normal fee is $1.68 per square foot for tile & grout cleaning. This ad did NOT mention sealing, grout repair, restoration, etc. only cleaning. At those prices he would be the most expensive tile and grout cleaner in town. From the research I have done most companies in the Sacramento area charge from .75 to $1.25 per square foot for tile & grout cleaning. If he is required to give Groupon 40% of the $48.00 you spent this would mean that Groupon would receive approximately $19.00 and he would receive approximately $29.00 for cleaning 165 square feet of tile & grout. It is my understanding that his $29.00 will be spread out over three installments.

Let's assume that it costs him (3) gallons of gasoline to drive over to your place and of course (3) gallons to drive back. He also uses (2) gallons of gas while he is there doing the cleaning. Eight gallons of gas X $3.50 per gallon equals $28.00. Keep in mind that out of the $48.00 you spent on the Groupon he received $29.00. If we subtract $28.00 of gasoline from his Groupon payment of $29.00 this leaves him with $1.00 (that's right ONE DOLLAR). In this illustration we have not yet deducted for Cleaning Solutions, Cleaning Supplies, Insurance, Maintenance & Upkeep of Equipment, Payroll, etc.

I do believe Groupon has a right to operate in the market place but I do not believe that the cleaning industry is a good fit for the consumer or the cleaner. I learned a long time ago that you can ONLY offer your clients THREE THINGS: Price, Quality, & Service but you CAN NOT offer all three. You can successfully offer TWO but never all three and expect to stay in business. My fear with Groupon is that you can only offer one. If you have questions for me please contact me at

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 17 2012

Carpets Smell Like Wet Dog?

Last week I received a telephone call from an existing client whose first name is Wendy. Wendy and her mother have been regular clients for the past (4) years. I have cleaned carpets, rugs, upholstery, and tile & grout for both mom and daughter alike. Wendy called because she was moving into a 2,500 square foot rental home that smelled like wet dogs. She wanted me to come over and take a look and determine how much it would cost to clean.

I thanked her for the call and reminded her that it was the home owner's responsibility to clean up the house before renting it to her and that she should speak to him about it. The home owner went out and hired a local carpet cleaner who advertises weekly in the PennySaver. The fee to clean this house was $130.00. Wendy arrived at the home with the carpets still damp and the smell of "wet dog" was even worse. Because Wendy and her oldest son is allergic to dogs this was a major problem. As I inspected the home (3) days later with Wendy you could definitely smell the dogs. According to the neighbours the previous owners had a bulldog and a rottweiler living indoors. You could also see dog hair in the corners and along the baseboards indicating that the carpets were not vacuum before the first cleaning.

I explained to Wendy what was causing the smell and that I could remove the odours for $250.00. This job was going to take me 3 1/2 hours to complete which it did. Removing the wet dog smell requires that you use special chemicals and procedures. A general cleaning will often times not work. Wendy returned at the end of the cleaning with a friend to inspect the home and they both commented that they only thing that they could smell is the lemon flavored deodorizer that I had used. The carpets not only smelled better but looked brighter as well. I also showed Wendy that by using my HEPA filtration vacuum system I was able to extract over (2) quarts of dog hair and dirt particulates, that my competitors had left behind, before the actual steam cleaning process. Needless to say I completely removed the wet dog smell and Wendy is a client for life.

The home owner hired and cheap carpet cleaner and it wound up costing him more in the long run because he agreed to pay for my services as well. It bears repeating, "Cheap things aren't good & good things aren't cheap." If you have a question about wet dog smell please contact me at

Michael Hull


Posted by: Michael Hull AT 04:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 02 2012

Dog vomit on my travertine floors:

This Christmas season we received multiple inquiries concerning dog vomit and travertine floors. As an owner of a dog, who lives in door with us, I can readily appreciate the question. If you have an indoor dog you know they will put things in their mouths they shouldn't and will eat things they shouldn't. I have cleaned up my share of dog vomit on carpet, tile & grout, and linoleum. No it is not fun but it is one of those things in life we must be willing to put up with if we want an indoor pet.

To begin with a dog's digestive system is not the same as a humans. They do not have digestive enzymes in their saliva and because of this their stomach acid is far more corrosive. The pH level of a dog's stomach is around 1.0 similar to hydrochloric acid. The stomach acid of a dog can burn your skin if you came in contact with it. This is why dogs can eat raw meat and digest bones. The stomach acid pH level of a human is around 5.0. When your dog vomits onto your travertine floor some of the stomach acid is going to be in the puke and you could have a major problem.

Because travertine is a calcium based stone should it come in contact with acid the acid will etch the stone leaving a mark. Even if you have properly sealed your travertine floor the corrosive nature of the dog's stomach acid will eat through the sealer and eventually etch the stone. So what can you do?

First it is important that you properly clean and seal your travertine floors before the mishap takes place. The sealer will give you time to clean up the puke before it reaches the stone. Here at Liberty Floor Solutions we also like to apply a separate coating of protectant called Tile Cover. This special coating will give you even more protection and additional time before the acid breaks through to the stone. Second, clean up the puke using paper towels and a spatula. Get the chunks off the floor NOW. Third, rinse the area with some dish washing liquid and water. Dishwashing liquid is an alkaline and will neutralize the acid. Make sure you DO NOT spread the vomit around making a bigger clean up area. Fourth, rinse with clean water until all residue from the vomit and the soap is off the floor. Finally, test the floor to determine if the sealer is still present on the floor. If you do not know how to do this then contact me at for instructions.

I hope this blog has been helpful to you. Until next time...

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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We provide professional tile, grout, carpet cleaning services for home and businesses in the following California cities: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Wilton, Galt, Lodi, Stockton, Laguna West, Rancho Murieta, Mather, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Rescue, Cool, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Antelope, Roseville, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Natomas, Citrus Heights, and Slough House. We will travel to other areas.


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Providing tile, grout, travertine, carpet cleaning professional services to Sacramento and Elk Grove California : carpet cleaning - grout tile cleaning - travertine tile cleaning - carpet steam cleaning services