Regular carpet cleaning is the most recommended solution when it comes to having spotless carpets that are free from dust, bacteria, and mites. It allows people to breathe better and avoid any respiratory health issues. In addition, it may prevent mold growth and remove pollutants, contributing to the overall health of the occupants and the cleanliness of a property.
Although customers could clean their dirty carpets on their own, professional carpet cleaners may deliver the best results possible. If you’re planning to start a carpet cleaning business, you may want to know how to make sure that your services are top-notch. You could start with keeping equipment downtime in check as it’s one of the factors that’d greatly affect your business productivity. Keep reading to find out how you can do just that.
The Effects Of Equipment Downtime
Equipment downtime is the period when a machine or device isn’t working or has poor performance. Although it could be an effect of maintenance runs, it’s still usually associated with defective or problematic equipment.
While this may not happen too often for many businesses, it still comes with a wide range of adverse effects. Here are some of them:
- Late Delivery Of Services
If equipment downtime becomes frequent and lasts too long, the cleaning process may be slowed down because of unplanned stops. Because of this, the carpets’ time of pickup or delivery may exceed what’s expected, leading to customer dissatisfaction.
- Low Productivity
If the low time continues for days or weeks, the production may fall behind the target numbers. Hence, the company’s sales may drop while the operation and maintenance costs remain the same.
- Workers’ Burnout
Carpet cleaners may suffer from burnout because of non-continuous operation. They may need to work double time to make up for the time lost due to malfunctioning equipment.
- Decrease Of Returning Customers
As a result of persistent or frequent downtime, the number of loyal customers you have may decrease because of dissatisfaction.
Steps To Minimize Downtime
To prevent any of those possible effects from happening to your business, you may consider doing the following to maximize your equipment’s performance and the productivity of your business:
1. Use High-Quality Carpet Cleaning Equipment
Carpet cleaning equipment is the heart and soul of carpet washing services. With high-performing tools and machines, you can wash and rinse carpets and rugs alike with ease, which would help you achieve more of your business goals. If you don’t know what features to look for in equipment, check out this list:
- Auto-Mix Function: The equipment would have an automatic mixing capability for water and detergent.
- Crevice Tool: This component is used in cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of thick carpets.
- Detergent Spray: This allows for pre-wash soaking to remove stains quickly.
- Dry Vacuuming: This has dry-cleaning attributes perfect for water-sensitive materials.
- Turbo Function: The equipment would have rotating brushes that deep-clean rugs.
- Water Heating Capability: Warm water increases the efficiency of the cleaning process.
Apart from having high-end features, the equipment you get should be durable and can withstand prolonged use. It has to be easy to clean and maintain as well. Furthermore, it needs to be simple to repair or rewire whenever it encounters certain issues.
To deliver excellent services, you need to have a complete set of top-quality carpet cleaning equipment and components, such as positive displacement blowers. If you want to learn more about those machines, you may visit websites such as https://www.nwflowtech.com/products/positive-displacement-blowers/.
2. Upskill Workers Regularly
The perfect partner for any reliable equipment is a well-trained and skilled operator. Entry-level workers tend to start with limited knowledge and skills, but with enough experience and training, they can be adept at their jobs. Seasoned and highly trained staff know what to do to keep equipment downtime to a minimum.
If a machine isn’t working because of minor damage, skilled operators may troubleshoot it to restore the equipment. Apart from that, upskilled workers could detect early signs of damage that could be prevented. This way, they can suggest when a piece of equipment should undergo a maintenance checkup.
To create a team of expert workers, prioritize hiring experienced carpet cleaners right from the start. Alternatively, you could provide a series of training sessions to the inexperienced workers. This can be scheduled every three to six months, depending on your employees’ current skill level. The upskilling may continue even after workers become familiar with the ins and outs of carpet cleaning.
Apart from skills training, the following are some of the areas that business owners should help their employees improve in:
- Basic maintenance
- Workplace safety
- Productivity courses
You may implement cross-skilling training for workers who are assigned to menial cleaning operations. These employees could learn the more complex skills necessary to fix more serious problems. This way, they’d know when and how to replace essential parts. In addition, cross-skilled workers could do emergency repairs if required so they don’t have to wait for anyone else to carry out fixes for them.
3. Listen To Your Workers’ Input And Feedback
Many of your staff members may have something to share and suggest whenever there’s trouble with a particular piece of equipment.
To make the most of this, listen to their input and feedback regarding any difficulty they encounter when they’re operating a specific machine. You may also conduct a survey among your workers to get ideas on how to cope with downtime issues. Those gestures would provide you with a new perspective on the situation and empower the workers by making them feel that they’re truly part of the organization.
Aside from that, you could increase worker’s productivity by providing incentives. This could be based on their general performance, attendance and punctuality, and the actions or measures they take every time a machine malfunctions or breaks down.
4. Improve Maintenance Runs
Conducting maintenance runs is essential in a carpet cleaning business. This involves inspecting the overall condition of the machine and its parts. You may need to schedule your maintenance activities for better results, especially since they may also cause downtime. The timetable may depend on the following factors:
- Number and availability of carpet cleaning equipment
- Availability of maintenance team
- Current season, whether it’s high or low
- Frequency of downtime
For better scheduling, you may install and use schedule management software. With this, you can take note of the different parts of the machine that have already been cleaned, monitored, and fixed. This application could also help in automating small tasks that may consume more time if manually done. Some examples of these are the manual recording of dates of repair as well as maintenance and repair remarks.
If the equipment and its parts are well maintained, operators could use them repeatedly without any hassle. Of course, it’d be better if the machines have scheduled maintenance checkups whether they show signs of damage or not. If you want to be familiar with the early indications of equipment trouble, here are some of them:
- Non-working brushes
- Low functioning blowers
- Low suction
- Low solution flow
- Non-working heating function
- Overproduction of water
5. Set Specific And Attainable Targets
Setting goals for a carpet cleaning business provides direction and focus to the entire team. When workers are given proper guidance, they’ll know what to do when something goes wrong instead of panicking or becoming idle.
For example, workers may do alternative cleaning processes such as manual washing when the equipment they need doesn’t work all of a sudden and there are many customers to deal with. They’ll still be able to do the carpet cleaning job, albeit slowly.
To set specific and attainable targets, the business owner must craft a realistic plan. They could set a particular time for a particular task. For instance, a worker should rinse a Kashmir rug within an hour or two. A Berber carpet may take a longer time because of its delicate material.
Furthermore, the targets should be disseminated to every member of the business. This way, there are common goals that every employee can concentrate on and adhere to. Also, there has to be a contingency plan whenever targets aren’t met so that every employee would know the next step to take when something problematic happens.
6. Document Staff And Equipment Performance
Performance reviews for workers and equipment would allow you to monitor the frequency and length of non-productivity and downtime. You could regularly record the performance of staff members and the machines they use. The reviews should cover both new employees and seasoned ones so you can see who needs assistance and performance-enhancing training.
You may create a presentation based on the high turnaround time and low sales as a result of the equipment downtime and show it to the team or your core group. In the process of gathering such data, you could identify which workers are resourceful and productive even with downtime and which ones fall behind with low-performing equipment.
7. Incorporate Productivity Methods
Introducing productivity methods for your business is one dependable step in speeding up your team’s production, especially when there’s equipment downtime. These techniques may not work for all setups, but it’s worth giving one or all of them a try to determine if they’re suitable for your carpet cleaning company. Some of those techniques are the following:
- Eat The Frog
This refers to accomplishing the most challenging task first at the start of the day. In the context of carpet cleaning, you may want to begin with stain removal by soaking the rugs in an appropriate solution first when the washer isn’t functioning well. Or you could start with repairs as getting your equipment fixed would pave the way for the completion of more tasks.
- Time Blocking
This entails dividing the entire work time into chunks. You may box each task of carpet cleaning into an hour or a 30-minute period. For example, power washing could take an hour while rinsing may be an hour and a half.
- Must, Should, Want
When using this method, you should put tasks in order depending on how essential they are to your overall goal. For example, you may use the alternative means of carpet cleaning when your most important equipment requires an in-depth checkup from a mechanic. On the other hand, if a less serious matter causes downtime, you could apply your troubleshooting skills first before cleaning.
The decision would ultimately depend on the condition of the equipment and the number of carpets to attend to.
8. Conduct An Equipment Efficiency Audit
Through this, you’ll be able to see whether or not the supplier was true to their word regarding the functionality of the equipment in the long run. It provides insights about the performance of the machine from the time it’s first used up to the present.
To gather the information you need for the audit, use a spreadsheet to record the highs and lows of the equipment. Take note that this practice requires a longer time to accomplish compared to other solutions.
9. Prepare A Backup
Having backup equipment is an excellent solution to downtime. This way, tasks can continue even if the main machine required for them is out of order. Backups could speed up cleaning processes or at least keep them moving. Although buying extra equipment may be a costly solution for startups, it’ll improve the efficiency of operations, especially when the downtime is scheduled and meant for maintenance runs.
In some cases, carpet cleaning companies could make the most of two pieces of the same type of equipment by letting workers use them on a regular basis. However, this may increase the possibility that both would have simultaneous downtime caused by operational issues. To avoid this, you may use one piece of equipment for a specific period and use the other to let the first tool or machine rest.
In carpet cleaning companies, their employees and equipment affect the satisfaction of their clients. If either of the two isn’t working correctly, the business could face all sorts of issues. And when that goes on for a long time, the company may lose sales and customers.
That’s why it’s a must for owners to address problems as soon as possible. If downtime is a hurdle you can’t seem to overcome, return to this article and follow the methods discussed. You may also ask your colleagues and other business owners how they increase productivity in their establishments despite equipment downtime. When you take the right steps, your workers can finish their tasks on time and customers will have more reason to keep supporting your business.