What types of benefits does Whittaker offer to Franchised Businesses? We talked to Mark Searcy, Divisional Business Development Manager for Coverall North America, Inc., to find out how Whittaker helps business owners make the most of their time and investments in their carpet cleaning businesses.
Mark Searcy: My title is Divisional Business Development Manager for Coverall North America, and I provide technical support and guidance to our East Coast regions. My role is to assist in training program development, training other trainers, and evaluating new technology and chemistry to develop best practices for our Franchised Businesses.
I’ve been in the industry for 28 years, the last 16 years with Coverall, and I’ve had a large role in spreading the news about Whittaker to our Regional Support Centers.
W: What attracted you to the Whittaker System?
M: I was sold from the first time I saw the results at a Whittaker demonstration in Columbus, Ohio. Since then I’ve been a very big advocate of the Whittaker System. We were using the TWIN, and the results were exceptional.
The biggest thing for me is how it helps our Franchised Businesses provide value-added services to their customers. It is a good fit for them because it’s very portable — one person can handle it easily. You don’t need two people to lug around a big heavy box and wand extraction system. You can fit it in the front seat of a car. It’s easy to use. You don’t have to spend a lot of time filling it up with water and then dumping it out.
It’s also green friendly. The chemicals have no VOCs and that’s a very important selling point to customers who are concerned with indoor air quality.
W: How does Whittaker help Coverall’s Franchised Businesses?
M: With the Whittaker System they can provide their customers with a cost-effective alternative to hot water extraction and offer a carpet cleaning method that is very effective at getting spots out.
When we teach carpet classes, we teach two methods: hot water extraction and soil encapsulation with the Whittaker System. We’ve found through experience that the Whittaker System does a great job getting spots out of carpet and you don’t get the wick back effect. I know this personally, because I’ve used it in some pretty difficult circumstances and have gotten great results. Because it doesn’t attract soil and dries quickly, there is no wick back.
W: Can you share one of those difficult carpet cleaning circumstances?
M: One of our Franchised Businesses had a situation a couple years ago in Philadelphia. It was a pediatric office, and they had a bio-stain in the waiting room and a huge coffee spill. They were getting ready to replace the carpet because they had already tried to extract it numerous times. We asked them, “How did you treat it initially?” Of course, they had sprayed it with a spot cleaner and scrubbed it. Well, that just forced the soil into the carpet. I said, “Before you replace your carpet, let our Franchised Business use the Whittaker System and spot cleaning chemicals.” I explained the process to them, and they were a little skeptical because the spots had been there a long time, and frankly, I wasn’t sure if they had turned into stains. But the customer agreed to give it a shot. The Franchised Business went in there with great success using the TWIN at that time, and the pediatric office was very pleased they didn’t have to replace the carpet. Both the coffee spot and the bio-stain were gone.
W: Have you found Whittaker is a good value for the money it costs?
M: Absolutely. It’s one of the best values we recommend in terms of a business investment. And with the advent of the TRIO, it’s even better. I love the additional brush and the whole kickstand system. It’s a better design than the TWIN. The TWIN works beautifully, but as far as ease of use, the TWIN was easy and the TRIO is easier. Whittaker placed the tank on top of the housing instead of on a handle, so that lightens the load for the user. The kickstand and the catch in the back for debris were great additions. It’s been a big winner for our Franchised Businesses throughout the country.
W: Have you found some customers are skeptical of encapsulation cleaning?
M: For some customers it’s a bit of a sell, because they don’t understand the process. The typical question is, “Where does the dirt go?” and you have to explain it. The Whittaker website has great support, and you can download white papers and information about where the dirt goes – it’s encapsulated and you just vacuum it out. Our Franchised Businesses like to use the “wow” factor. If a customer is a little skeptical, they’ll say, “Let us come out and do a small section as a side-by-side comparison, because seeing is believing.”
W: Do you recommend Whittaker to help protect carpet warranties?
M: That’s a big selling tool. Mohawk and Mannington recommend the Whittaker System for carpet cleaning because it doesn’t void the warranty. One of the industry standards for years has been bonneting carpet, but it does void carpet warranties. The Whittaker System actually lifts the pile and that’s something that makes it easier and more effective to vacuum.
And Whittaker is WoolSafe® approved – you can’t hot water extract wool carpet or natural fiber, so Woolsafe is another benefit.
W: How does the Whittaker System compare to other cleaning technologies?
M: I continue to look for the latest, greatest technology for floor and carpet care, and I haven’t seen anything that equals the Whittaker System. Our Franchised Businesses have had great results with the CRYSTAL® QUICK RESTORE – they absolutely love that product because it just gets the job done and gets spots out that no one expected would come out.
With other manufacturers, sometimes we have problems with getting deliveries in a timely manner. It might be ten days, two weeks, or longer to get a piece of equipment. But Whittaker is exceptional with delivery. I continue to hear, “Wow, I ordered this on Friday and got it here on Monday or Tuesday!”
Steve Pridon has been supporting our regions for many years – what a great guy. He offers training and hands-on demonstrations to our Franchised Businesses and is a huge value-add to the entire Coverall® System.