Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Are You Missing by Not Networking?

So as you may have noticed, we have been straying slightly from the cleaning topics usually covered in this blog and going in a more business oriented direction. This article as well as some future articles will be part of a series that will focus on: business networking, social media for businesses, and perhaps some marketing as part of the Venango Chamber Newsletter.

Networking is a term you may have heard being tossed around in the business world before, but have never put much thought or effort toward. Whether you realize it or not, many of us network daily in our interactions with others. Merriam-Webster defines networking as, "the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business." If you have "rubbed some elbows", as they say, with other business peoples throughout your week, you have networked. You probably didn't even know that when you talked to Joe the plumber on Monday about your business, and exchanged some information, that you were networking. 

Now here's the neat part: Joe the plumber likes you and what your business does. He then tells a buddy of his about your services and your phone starts ringing. That is a referral, and the new lead you have is a result of the power of referrals. So look at that one instance and ask yourself: "What if I do this type of thing all the time?" If you make networking a part of your day to day business operations, you will be blown away with the results. There is one catch: You have to be sold on networking to be an effective networker. This is the same as promoting your business. Very few people, if any, will buy in to a pitch from a business person who is not confident and sold on what they are promoting. 

Going back to our friend Joe the plumber, we can also return the favor of the referral and let Joe experience the power of referrals. Say your neighbor has a leaky sink and you pass on Joe the plumber's info. That, again, is networking! So now you're growing your network, and seeing the power of referrals in action. You are on your way to becoming a master of business networking. 

As you climb your way up the business networking ladder, you can become a very influential individual. When you pass a referral or network with others, people will notice. People’s perception of you will change, and your status will be elevated. This is all made possible through your efforts in networking and passing referrals. Keep your ear to the ground as we will be expanding on the idea of “perception” in the future, and how it can affect you and your business.

Thanks for reading!

Kurtis Bell
ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.
877-214-1664   814-764-3232

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is Your Carpet Covered Under Warranty?

Lately I've been fielding questions from customers about maintaing the warranty on their carpet. This is often an overlooked subject and deserves some attention. If you have priced new flooring for your home or have recently had new flooring installed, I'm sure you know that carpet is not cheap. As with any major product purchase, you can expect your carpet to come with a warranty. Just as with any other product, there are certain conditions that must be met to uphold the warranty of your new carpet. Let's take a look at some of the steps you must take to ensure you do not void the warranty on that lovely, new carpet you just had installed.

There is some preventative maintenance that must be done to uphold your carpet's warranty. Just like you have to regularly change the oil in your car, you must have regular maintenance performed to keep up the warranty on your carpet. Most carpet manufacturers require periodic professional hot water extraction or steam cleaning of the carpet to uphold the warranty. For example, Shaw Industries Group specifies that "Professional cleaning of your carpet is required at least once every 24 months if not more frequently depending on conditions and use." Note how the term "professional" is used. Professional carpet cleaning companies will use a process that may sound similar to DIY carpet cleaning machines, but the professional's process often removes much more water than retail carpet cleaning units. If too much moisture is left in the carpet, it could cause premature breakdown of the carpet backing. Also, for DIY jobs,  it can be a common mistake to mix the cleaning solution at a stronger ratio for heavier soiling. While this may seem like sound logic, it can often leave behind a residue that will attract more dirt and cause more soiling of the carpet. For the DIY-er, this can be the root of much frustration.

Some carpet warranties state that to uphold the warranty, spills must be cleaned up immediately. Time is everything when dealing with spills on your carpets. The more time that passes, the more likely a spot is to turn in to a permanent stain. When cleaning up spills, remember to blot the spot. Scrubbing, wiping, or any other technique other than blotting is not recommended as it is not as effective and may even have adverse effects on your carpet.

When spot cleaning, the choice of cleaning agents is also a very important topic. Too often, I see carpets where the customer has used a harsh chemical product in an attempt to remove a spot. The result is a discoloration where the chemical has contacted the carpet fibers. Unfortunately, the discoloration is often permanent. and serves a nice reminder of what harsh chemicals can do to your flooring. The recommended cleaning chemical for spotting carpets on your own is a mild dishwashing detergent. A light amount applied with a clean, damp cloth and worked in to the carpet will often do wonders for stains. To rinse the detergent from the spot, use another clean, wet cloth to blot the spot. Frequently turn the cloth to a clean side and continue blotting until there is no transfer from the spot to the cloth. Once thoroughly rinsed, the carpet should be back to looking fantastic.

Hopefully these tips can help you maintain your carpeted flooring and keep it looking its best for years to come. If you have questions regarding the warranty on your carpet, it would be best to contact your flooring installer, the store you purchased the carpet from, or the manufacturer. As always, if you have any questions regarding this post, please feel free to call or email me.

Here's a quick summary of some key points for you:

  • Most carpet warranties require professional cleaning at least every 24 months.
  • If cleaning your carpets yourself, be sure to mix chemicals properly and rinse the carpet thoroughly.
  • The quicker you can clean a spill on your carpet, the better chance you have of removing the spot. 
  • Blot the spot! 
  • Only use water or a mild dishwashing detergent to spot clean carpets on your own.
  • After cleaning your own carpets be sure to rinse them well to remove the detergent.

Thanks for reading!

ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.
877-214-1664   814-764-3232

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Happenings, and a Disclaimer

Bloggers, welcome to 2013! We had a great 2012 at ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc. and are looking forward to what 2013 holds for us. Just a short recap of our 2012: we survived the end of the world...twice, helped people get back on their feet after a disaster at their home, expanded our disaster restoration services and service area, and have made strides toward a more "green" approach to cleaning.

In 2013 we are excited to announce that we are now members of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce. We are thrilled to be affiliated with such an awesome group and can't wait to see what the Chamber has to offer, as well as informing the members and others in the Oil City are what we can offer to them. 

We hope to push forward with developing our presence online. In 2012 we developed our social media outlets via Facebook and Twitter. With your help, we can continue to push forward on the web. Let us know what you want to see and interact with us online. Believe it or not, we are pretty exciting people!

Going along with our membership to the Venango Chamber, I have been given the opportunity to author a small column in their monthly newsletter. I'm thrilled to be given this chance to put some great information out for local business owners. So move to the edge of your seat, keep your eyes peeled, and burn your mouse out* clicking the refresh button on your browser while you wait patiently for the next edition of the newsletter. You can download it here!

As always, thanks for reading and a Happy New Year to all our readers!

Kurtis Bell
ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.
877-214-1664   814-764-3232

*ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc. and the author may not be held responsible for damages caused to your computer mouse, tablet screen, phone screen, or any other device which you may click feverishly.