Whether you’re starting a new carpet care business, expanding your portfolio to include carpet cleaning services or simply want to refresh your fleet of machines, you’ll need to carefully consider the proper type and size when selecting a carpet care system. Many building service contractors (BSCs), carpet cleaning companies and facility managers opt for systems that utilize low-moisture encapsulation to minimize the amount of moisture added to carpet and enhance stain removal. This blog will help you in choosing a carpet cleaning machine that is properly sized to address your needs.
Selecting your Carpet Care Machine(s)
Consider the following when choosing carpet cleaning machine sizes to find one or several that work best for your operations:
- The size of the facility – Labor is your biggest expense, so you must aim for maximum productivity. Your team may be better suited with a wider width machine if you’re dealing with a facility that has substantial square footage, like an airport. In comparison, a smaller office building or a school with fewer carpeted areas can likely get by with a machine with a smaller working width.
Whittaker’s Smart Care® machines offer the following productivity rates:
- 12-inch TRIO: up to 9,000 square feet per hour
- 15-inch TRIO: up to 11,700 square feet per hour
- 20-inch TRIO: up to 18,229 square feet per hour
- 25-inch TRIO: up to 20,640 square feet per hour
- Facility type and anticipated foot traffic – In addition to how expansive the facility is, it’s also important to note its purpose and foot traffic patterns. For example, a convention center that welcomes thousands of visitors in the span of several days who are walking, drinking and eating in carpeted areas will likely need a large machine. A retail store with steady but lighter daily foot traffic than an airport, convention center or stadium may be better suited for a 12- or 15-inch machine. Hotels and long-term care facilities typically opt for a 12-inch machine to navigate tight spaces in guest and resident rooms and a larger machine for event and other public spaces.
- Obstructions present in carpeted areas – To maximize productivity, take a closer look at any potential obstacles present within the facility. These may include permanent obstructions like cubicles, furniture and partitions or temporary ones like interior construction. Working around confined spaces may require a smaller, more maneuverable machine to clean the carpet. If the facility is mostly comprised of wide-open areas like hallways and large rooms, you’ll want a larger 20- or 25-inch machine.
It’s also important to note that larger machines typically offer larger solution tanks. For example, Whittaker’s 25-inch TRIO has a four-gallon tank, which only needs filling every 4,000 square feet. Meanwhile, the 12-, 15- and 20-inch machines have a two-gallon tank.
Building your Fleet of Carpet Care Machines
In addition to carpet cleaning machine size, you may also be wondering how many machines you will need to clean carpet efficiently. The following factors can impact whether you purchase one machine or create a fleet with various sizes.
- Budget – Many facilities are increasingly being asked to do more with less. If your cleaning program is working around a smaller budget, and you fit the profile of a small to mid-sized facility, such as a long-term care facility or a school, consider starting with one 15-inch machine. It is small enough to maneuver around furniture and wide enough to make quick work of hallways. If you service multiple facilities and have the ability to invest in numerous machines, it can help you complete carpet care more quickly and also potentially expand your business over time.
- The size of your carpet care team – In some cases, BSCs assign numerous employees to manage carpet care in large facilities to enhance productivity. This will require multiple machines, and a variety of sizes can help you cover a lot of ground while also fitting into hard-to-reach areas. Meanwhile, a one- or two-person team may opt for just one machine. As a rule of thumb, consider the number of vacuums you have, and then purchase as many carpet care machines.
- Where the machine is stored – Determine whether or not the machine will reside on-site. If the equipment has to remain on-site and there is limited storage available, you’ll have to be careful in planning out how many machines you can realistically fit in this space. Large college campuses typically designate one machine per building so they don’t have to transporting them between locations. BSCs typically have the freedom to bring several machines to job sites, but be mindful that employees will need to be able to unload and load them back onto trucks multiple times per day.
Achieving Clean Carpet
One of the costliest mistakes a facility manager can make with regard to carpet care is failing to purchase a machine that is sized appropriately for the job at hand. Selecting a machine that is too small or too large will impact how efficiently and profitably employees can complete carpet cleaning. To ensure you find the right machine for your facility, it is recommended that you speak with the manufacturer first so they can help guide you during this process.
No matter which size machine you select, it is important to train employees on proper operation. Determine the soil load and adjust the cleaning process accordingly. For instance, operate the machine like a lawn mower for light soil situation and use a zig-zag pattern for heavy soil, just as you would with a vacuum.
Additionally, maintain your equipment to keep it in good working order. This includes wiping down the machine, rinsing the spray pump and emptying the collection tray after each use, rotating the brushes regularly and replacing them as they wear out over time.
There are many types of carpet cleaning machines, but only Whittaker’s Smart Care® TWIN and TRIO machines will achieve the wow effect. Complete your system with our CRYSTAL® chemistry to tackle even the toughest stains.