There are always a variety of factors to consider when it comes to which type of cleaning equipment is needed for your business. Focusing on your target market is important since the type of equipment you choose will play a vital part on the type of customers you can service.
Generally, truckmount carpet cleaning equipment is best suited to residential carpet cleaning in suburban areas – cleaning homes, low-rise apartment complexes, and shopping centre style commercial/retail spaces. Portable units are more commonly used to clean spaces like larger commercial offices, industrial facilities, or high-rise apartments where hoses might not reach, as well as within urban areas where parking near the space may be an issue.
If you are looking to serve both commercial and residential customers the ideal solution is to acquire both types of equipment, allowing for maximum flexibility. Of course, not all techs have that kind of budget, or storage space in their vehicle for that matter, in which case you will have to choose one or the other.
When it comes to costs, truckmounts are going to be significantly more expensive to own and operate. The upfront cost for a truckmount unit runs above $10,000 at the entry level, while a good quality portable unit should cost less than half of that. A truckmount unit also requires a larger van to transport it than a portable would. Operating costs also run higher for truckmounts, since they either run on their own engine or use the van’s – in either case, the fuel costs are on you. Portables use the customer’s power.
Portable units generally offer much greater flexibility in terms of the jobs they can tackle. Truckmount hoses simply cannot reach into twenty story buildings, or maintain adequate power and pressure if they have to extend too far into a space. The main area where portable units suffer is in residential applications where small doors and rooms, furniture, and especially stairs, make cleaning difficult.
Truckmounts typically offer higher levels of worker productivity due to larger storage tanks for water and cleaning solution. Filling, emptying, and refilling portable extractors can sometimes take 15 minutes, time that could be used to complete more cleaning work. Recycling portable extractors cut out quite a bit of that downtime, but still probably can’t compete when it comes to cleaning homes. Recycling extractors do, however, provide major productivity gains compared with traditional extractors for jobs that would require a portable unit.
Security is one point that is often overlooked in this type of comparison. Doors must be left ajar to accommodate truckmount hoses and cords and some customers may be uncomfortable with that. Secure facilities, whether government or corporate, may not allow that at all. Some customers may also have safety concerns about hoses crossing halls and walkways. In cases like that, portable units may be the only viable option.
Portable units generally have the lead when it comes to environmental impact these days. Truckmounts have certainly become more fuel efficient, whether they run on their own or use a vehicle’s engine, but portables still use less energy to run and do not release any exhaust fumes into the air. Furthermore, low-moisture and recycling extractors use significantly less water during operation than truckmounts and traditional extractors, conserving a resource that is becoming more limited in certain regions (and therefore more expensive as well).
Ability to effectively clean is, of course, a major consideration. If a machine can’t do an adequate job of cleaning, it isn’t really worth the investment. As a shorthand for cleaning effectiveness, buyers typically look at the psi the machine can produce. Most portables can generate up to 500 psi, while truckmounts can typically reach 1,200 psi or more. That might make truckmounts seem more appealing, but 500 psi is typically enough pressure to effectively deal with most situations. Unless you are frequently dealing with particularly difficult conditions, the cost to obtain that added power may not be worth it.
The question of heat runs along similar lines as psi. Truckmounts can generate much higher heat than portables. However, there are portable units available that will generate temperatures of 200 °F or more, and that is usually hot enough to achieve the benefits of heated cleaning. Unless high heat is a major factor in the cleaning service you provide, it may not be a huge differentiator here.
No matter what type of equipment you buy, professional-level carpet cleaning machines represent a significant investment in terms of cost as well as future business impact, so it pays to take a carefully reasoned approach to the decision. Hopefully this article will help you make the best choice for your business.
You can check out the CFR Carpet Cleaning Recycling machines here.