The thing that really sucks people into the vacuum debates is that there exist almost as many models and brands as there are opinions about which model and brand one should buy. Given the intensity of the debates, it will come as no surprise when someone ultimately disagrees with HCA’s three selections for professional residential home cleaning.
We hope to distill the debates, by:
- Identifying those attributes in a vacuum which are most important for residential house cleaning;
- Explain the basis for those vacuums we have chosen for the House Cleaning Alliance Shop; and
- Defend HCA’s decision to carry only three vacuums in its online Shop.
Important Vacuum Attributes for Residential Home Cleaning One twist to choosing the perfect vacuum for residential home cleaning is that there exist about one million ways to organize a residential home cleaning business, and the vacuum which is best for any particular company depends largely on the company’s operational and marketing choices. Each company differentiates itself by a lot of factors, but two have some bearing on the vacuum issue:
1) how many persons per team; and
2) how it positions itself on the price / quality spectrum. Some cleaning professionals best robot vacuum for hardwood floors clean themselves; other companies manage teams of two to four persons. Some companies sell a quick, dirty and cheap service, while others peddle a thorough and expensive service.
If you’ve read the many Articles included in this site, then you can guess that the House Cleaning Alliance Shop would, of course, be dedicated to providing cleaning equipment and products to those professional home cleaning companies which are intent on elevating the quality of service and the overall profitability of the industry. The products carried by the House Cleaning Alliance Shop are biased to cater to the needs of those companies which offer thorough cleaning. So of course, effectiveness is important. But if you are in business for the long haul, then durability and serviceability are also important factors in selecting a vacuum. And if you are going to remain competitive, then cost is always a consideration. The vacuums we have chosen are proven products with durable designs, have parts which are easily changeable, and won’t cost an arm and a leg to service.
Also, for residential cleaning, filtering is critical. For each of the models we have chosen, there exists a lower priced model by the same manufacturer with inferior filtering. Using vacuums with shake-out bags, dust cups and poor filters for home cleaning won’t make a positive impression on homeowners. The vacuums we have selected rely on micro-filtering and are particularly well-suited for residential use. [Compare to HEPA filters? Click here].
So, if you are comparing prices, please be aware that every manufacturer sells literally dozens of models of each vacuum line and across any given line, the price will vary by as much as 240% from the cheapest model to the most expensive model of the same line of one manufacturer’s vacuums. Differences relate to agitator, bag and filtering system, motor size, and material. If you are careful to compare models, we are confident that you will find our prices are very competitive.
Good Reasons for Choosing a Really Cheap Vacuum We tried to think of good reasons for choosing a cheap vacuum, and were able to come up with just one: you should choose the cheapest vacuum possible, if you have serious doubts that you will be in business next year.
Otherwise, HCA believes that professionals can capture labor efficiencies and enjoy good value by investing in the best quality vacuums suited to the maid service industry. Maintain and operate a high quality vacuum properly, and you’ll benefit from five good years of service. In the process, your vacuums will not fail to make a positive impression on your clients. It makes no sense to dress employees in nice uniforms and have them use shabby equipment. And of all the equipment you use, in your clients’ eyes, your vacuums will make the biggest impression.
Beyond their ability to attract and keep customers, maid service operators’ success or failure depends primarily on the ratio of their prices to their all-in labor costs. Labor costs are huge in comparison to the pennies per day of amortization for a vacuum. Using the Sierra backpack as an example, with a cost of $450 and a useful life exceeding five years, an operator need capture less than $90 per year in labor efficiencies to pay for the vacuum. That breaks down to $1.73 per week or 35 cents per day. That means if the Sierra must save one of your employees just 1.5 minutes per day for five years to pay for itself. Put another way, a vacuum’s cost is minuscule in comparison to labor costs. If you think of break-downs in a similar way, then you’ll quickly appreciate our case for going up-market in choosing quality effective vacuums.
For Thoroughness, One Vacuum Doesn’t Cut It Thorough vacuuming is central to thorough cleaning, and thorough vacuuming involves cleaning a wide range of surfaces, including wall-to-wall carpeting, carpet edges, hard surface floors, oriental carpets, upholstery, curtains, and high ledges. For the past five years, we have searched for the right vacuum to clean such a wide variety of surfaces, and have reached a conclusion that the most effective solution is in using two vacuums: an upright vacuum with an agitator bar for cleaning wall to wall carpet, and a backpack vacuum for cleaning everything else.
If you are cleaning alone, you might survive by using one upright vacuum with on-board tools (though we wouldn’t recommend it, since it is awkward, inefficient and less effective). But if you are cleaning with teams, the couple of hundred dollars per team you save initially will quickly be squandered in comparison to the efficiencies which could have been captured with having two vacuums. Additionally, dividing the cleaning between two vacuums reduces the load of each, thereby stretching the serviceable lives of each. So, if you are long-term serious about thorough and efficient home cleaning, it would be penny wise and pound foolish not to use two good vacuums for each cleaning team. And even if you are cleaning alone, the backpack vacuum makes a positive impression with your clients.