Hiring a good upholstery cleaner can pose a difficult choice, to say the least. Since upholstery cleaning is something most people only do when the need arises because of stains, it can be hard to maintain a relationship with your upholstery cleaner like you do with a mechanic or lawn care service. And with so many options on the market, it’s hard to know what type of service to go with.
To make matters worse, many upholstery cleaners make it nearly impossible to find out basic information through their website or promotional materials, such as whether they use bleach or soap products in their cleaning solutions. And then there are always those horror stories about perfectly good pieces of furniture getting completely ruined by incompetent cleaners—or, even worse, a child or pet becoming ill from exposure to the upholstery fabric after cleaning.
Thankfully, there are ways to limit the possibility of something going horribly wrong when you are hiring a upholstery cleaner. It’s a fairly simple matter of doing a small amount of homework before making your decision. Here’s a quick list of items to check up on for each company you consider.
- Find out how long the company has been in business. While a shorter length of time in business shouldn’t necessarily disqualify an upholstery cleaning service (everyone has to start somewhere), it is important to determine how much experience the company has. You don’t want to be taken in by a fly-by-night company that will clean your armchair today and go out of business next week. If the company you’re considering has been around for less than a year or two, find out what experience the owner and employees had prior to the company’s opening, and check online for reviews and testimonials.
- Learn what type of equipment and cleaning solutions they use. There are all types of upholstery cleaning systems and equipment. You should be able to fairly easily determine what kind your prospective carpet cleaner uses by looking on their website. If they don’t have a website, that might be a warning sign. If the information you’re looking for isn’t readily available on the website, the owner or representative should answer your question when you ask without hesitation.
- Pricing considerations. There are a lot of things in life that you can skimp on, trying to get the absolute lowest price. But upholstery cleaning is not one of them. An incredibly low price usually means incredible incompetence. On the other hand, if the price seems way too expensive, you would probably do well to keep shopping. Do the math. Does it seem reasonable that a company could stay in business charging the price that you were quoted, without cutting corners?
- Make sure the company is bonded and insured. No matter how good an upholstery cleaning service is, no one is immune to accidents. As with any service provider doing work in your home, make absolutely sure the service you choose is bonded and insured…just in case.
- Check Reviews. It’s the age of information! If you can’t find reviews of a service company online, chances are they’re either brand-spanking new, or they are going to great lengths to keep reviews off the internet. Good, honest businesses LOVE reviews. Even if there’s an occasional nasty one, the good ones more than make up for it by bringing new and repeat clients to their door. Free sites like Yelp! and membership sites like Angie’s List will show you reviews of all the relevant service providers in your area. But Googling the name of the company you’re researching is also an effective way to find reviews.
- How do the company representatives treat you? Even if a company passes all five of the tests above, you want to make sure they’re going to treat you with respect and consideration. When you call or email the company, do they get back to you within a reasonable time frame? Are they friendly and courteous? Do they answer your questions honestly? If the company passes this final test, you’ve probably found yourself a keeper.
We hope this list helps you through the sometimes frustrating task of choosing an upholstery care company. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, you are welcome to put us to the test! Peruse our blog and website, and feel free to call us at 828.237.3237 or get in touch through the contact form with any additional questions you might have.