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Sunday, February 19 2012

Groupon Tile & Grout Cleaning II:

Last month I shared with you an interesting story about a local carpet cleaner, Sacramento area, who was using Groupon to get new business. If you did not read the post or you are unsure what Groupon is please click on the January 2012 section for this article.

This month another Sacramento carpet cleaner has chosen Groupon to introduce his business to the great people of Sacramento. His Ad promises 'up to' 83% Off Carpet Cleaning or Tile & Grout Cleaning. For just $39.00 you can purchase (3) rooms of carpet cleaning - a "$232.50 value". Or you can purchase (4) rooms of carpet cleaning for $69.00 - a "$310.00 value". Finally he is offering to clean up to 175 square feet of tile & grout for only $75.00 - normally priced at $306.25 (this translates to $1.75 per square feet, which would probably make him the MOST EXPENSIVE tile & grout cleaner in the WORLD). The ad was for tile & grout cleaning ONLY. No mention was made concerning sealing, grout repair, tile repair, tile & grout restoration, stone polishing, etch removal, stain removal, etc. The Groupon certificate could only be used on floors NOT showers, vanities, or countertops, and the certificate expires August 22, 2012. In other words if you don't call him by August 22, 2012 and schedule your appointment you will forfeit your money. He sold 700!

Let's assume for just a moment that all of the sales were for tile and grout cleaning. If we divide 700 sales by six months (the time you the buyer has to use the certificate) it averages 116 cleaning jobs per month. Keep in mind that Groupon will keep half of the $75.00 you spent which leaves the carpet cleaner with $37.50. It is my understanding that the carpet cleaner will get his money spread out over a (6) month period. Groupon holds back money in case of complaints & refunds. I have a feeling there is going to be a whole bunch of complaints from this carpet cleaner. If we divide 116 monthly cleaning jobs by 4 weeks in a month this would give our carpet cleaner approximately (30) jobs per week. If he can successfully clean 175 square feet in one hour (Even though I am factory trained and certified I would NEVER try to clean 175 square feet in one hour) and if we assume that it is a 30 minute drive to his destination and then 30 minutes to his next destination this would be 2 hours per job X 30 jobs per week or 60 HOURS. Keep in mind this does not include servicing his equipment, ordering supplies, buying gas, managing payroll, going back to certain homes that were not satisfied the first time, setting appointments, etc.

Let's also assume that he consumes (3) gallons of gas between driving and running his truck mount. Gas prices are currently $4.00 per gallon X (3) gallons = $12.00. Remember his share of the Groupon deal is $37.50. Take $37.50 - $12.00 = $25.50 or $12.75 per hour. Keep in mind that he still needs to deduct insurance, cleaning solutions, cleaning supplies, maintenance, possible truck payment, and payroll. How does he make a profit and stay in business? The answer is he doesn't.

I predict that this is going to be a nightmare for the carpet cleaner and for many people who purchased this Groupon deal. Many people will probably have to wait weeks for an appointment and when the appointment is set there will be a (5) hour window for if and when he will show up. Because he is not going to get paid right away from Groupon I predict some high pressure selling too. There is an old saying "If it sounds to good to be true it probably is."

If you have questions about this blog please contact me at

Michael Hull


Posted by: Michael Hull AT 06:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 03 2012

Renting a Tile & Grout Cleaning Machine

From time to time we receive web searches, emails, and telephone calls from well meaning individuals who want to rent a tile & grout cleaning machine to DIY (Do It Yourself). These well meaning soles are usually trying to save money by NOT hiring a professional cleaning service such as Liberty Floor Solutions. The thought is that since you can rent a Rug Doctor or a Bissell carpet cleaning machine you should be able to rent a tile & grout cleaning machine. As it stands right now that isn't possible.

There are some major differences between cleaning tile & grout versus carpet that you should know about before trying to DIY tile & grout cleaning. 1). Tile & Grout cleaning solutions are 1,000 to 100,000 times higher in pH than your typical carpet cleaning solutions. Do you know what are the consequences if this strong chemical should come in contact with your carpets, wood, or wood laminate. What if this chemical came in contact with your stainless steel appliances would you know what to do? Better yet do you know how to prevent it in the first place? What if a stain won't come out then what? What if some of the grout breaks down and pops out of the floor while you are cleaning what will you do? 2). The black grundgy looking stuff in your grout lines is a combination of grease, oils, dander, odour causing bacteria, food, dust mite feces, dirt, etc., and you will need a very HOT chemical solution to break down the yuk. Typically we clean at a water temperature of 210 degrees fahrenheit. Can a Rug Doctor or a Bissell reach these temperatures and stay that way through out the entire cleaning? The answer is NO. Even if you used the hottest setting from your sink the max temperature from your faucet will probably be around 120 degrees and it will begin cooling immediately. By the time you are actually cleaning the floor they temperature will drop to 110 degrees. Just a short note here and that is bacteria dies when it comes in contact with water that is higher than 140 degrees.

3). When we clean tile & grout we typically use a water pressure of at least 1200 PSI (pounds per square inch). This water pressure insures us that we can clean all of the grout pores and crevices. This water temperature, combined with the high pH chemical solution and water temperature, ensures us that we can remove all of the yuk from your floor not just the top layer. 4). Finally is the vacuum portion of our cleaning. If you can not successfully remove the water, chemicals, and grime from the floor then what good have you done? In no time at all you will be right back to where you were before.

In order to meet or exceed our clients' conditions of satisfaction (this is a fancy way of saying 'WOW' when our clients look at their clean floors) we need to use special tools, a very powerful truckmount engine (much larger than the average carpet cleaning engine), specialized training for the handling of the chemicals, equipment, and truckmount, and finally a specialized knowledge of chemistry and masonry (not all tile & grout are the same).

The next time you want to DIY your tile and grout cleaning let me suggest that you first sit down and count the costs of DIY versus hiring a professional like Liberty Floor Solutions. If you have questions about this email you can reach me at

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 09:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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