Solve your vacuum conundrum with these guidelines about uprights, canisters, backpacks and handheld models, PLUS download the 2014 Report on Professional Vacuums for Residential Cleaning Services.

How to Choose the “Almost Perfect” Vacuum

In 13 years as a Proctor & Gamble cleaning products sales rep and director and another almost 7 years owning and growing both residential and commercial cleaning businesses, I’ve learned this: there’s no such thing as the perfect vacuum.” ~Derek Christian, My Maid Service

One of the most frustrating answers any business owner receives in response to a question is “it depends,” but it’s the best answer any consultant or even salesperson can give. At any given time, a business owner has different and changing goals s/he is trying to achieve; this leads to prioritizing different features of a vacuum – or any cleaning product or tool – at different times in the life of the business.

To combat the analysis paralysis, use these steps, originally presented in “Choosing the Right Professional Vacuum”:

– Survey your current and immediate future needs.
– Compare the features and performance differences among upright, canister, backpack, and handheld vacuums to see which type of vacuum is, in general, most suited to meeting your needs.
– Make a decision about filtration and dust containment options.
– Research different brands/models and test for ease of use.
– Investigate warranty and service options.
– Consider other design features relevant to your needs.

Adopting a vacuum replacement or adding a new type of vacuum to your cleaning procedure requires time, patience, and documentation. And once you’ve made your choice, revise your training procedures and ensure that all current staff are re-trained thoroughly on the new equipment.

But before delving into the details of one vacuum versus another, arguably the most important distinction about vacuums that a cleaning service owner can make is the one between a consumer vacuum and a professional vacuum. Professional vacuums are designed to withstand 6-8 hours of daily use in a variety of dirt conditions; consumer vacuums are designed for light use, approximately 30 minutes per week. In addition, professional vacuums typically have much longer warranty periods than consumer vacuums, saving you money in repairs and replacements.

While the consumer vacuum available at your local big box or home store can assist technicians through a surprise contract opportunity or serve as a backup, the professional vacuums available from reputable distributors are the time and money-saving equipment and training investment cleaning business owners need to push through stagnant growth.

Reliable Resources on Professional Vacuum Performance
Beyond the product specifications, business owners and cleaning technicians want to know how different models hold up in the field – how they perform. For verification of specifications by a third party testing organization, turn to the Carpet and Rug Institute, which confers the CRI Seal of Approval for both consumer and professional-grade vacuums. Nearly all of the models presented in our 2014 report and recommended by manufacturers have the CRI Seal.

For efficiency benchmarks, consult the ISSA 540 Cleaning Times Booklet and Calculator, which includes a side-by-side time comparison of upright, canister, and backpack models. This is an especially useful tool for businesses looking to improve net income by reducing labor costs; tools that can help technicians achieve the same level of quality faster are cost savers.

For research studies focused on ways to improve indoor air quality, consult the library at the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI), based in Massachusetts. With over 14,000 studies in its catalogs, this library is an invaluable resource for companies basing their unique selling points on environmental and health benefits of cleaning – and vacuums, in particular – to clients and to the natural environment.

The 2014 Report on Professional Vacuums for Residential Cleaning Services
In this first report on professional vacuums for residential cleaning services, three vacuum manufacturers accepted CBT’s invitation to participate at no charge:

Founded by Anna and Melville Bissell in 1876, Bissell remains a family-owned company passionate about helping you effectively and easily clean your home so you can put down the vacuum, enjoy life and come home to a deeper clean. Bissell is in the fourth generation of family leadership and is currently the seventh oldest privately-held manufacturing company in the United States. Bissell BigGreen Commercial is committed to offering the best in professional deep cleaning equipment, including an extensive product line for all floor care cleaning needs. From carpet to hardwood floors and more our superior product line will have the equipment available for a variety of surfaces. Bissell BigGreen Commercial takes pride in our convenient customer service. We know that equipment down time can cost a cleaning company money, so we pride ourselves on the ability to reduce this problem. With a wide variety of products, Bissell BigGreen Commercial has the experience and attention to customer service to provide your cleaning business with a cost effective and reliable floor care product.

CleanMax is a division of Tacony Corporation which is a 60-year-old, privately-held organization based in Fenton, MO.  We have been manufacturing vacuums for over 30 years and have a track record of providing superior products and service to the consumer and commercial markets. The CleanMax value proposition to the end user is very simple: provide a product with excellent cleaning capabilities, unique features at a fair price; and, a lower cost of ownership.

ProTeam is recognized as the original innovator of lightweight ergonomic backpack vacuum cleaners. Through continued research and development, our mission is to be the premier manufacturer of high performance vacuum cleaners for every commercial cleaner’s need or preference. Today we have 25+ different vacuums for all cleaning applications. Our company was founded in 1987 by experienced cleaning professionals looking for a way to work more productively and sustainably. Worker and building occupant health have been guiding forces that go into every vacuum we make. All ProTeam vacuums have advanced Four Level® Filtration systems and comfortable ergonomic designs. We have directly or indirectly published hundreds of articles and research papers outlining the operational and Cleaning for Health® benefits of our backpack vacuum technology. We continue to market our products through education, and believe in promoting highly productive programs such as Team Cleaning® to help customers do more with less while enhancing health and safety. ProTeam’s success in the commercial cleaning industry, driven largely by our resolve to educate the marketplace, effectively positioned us to expand our product line to embrace a full line of vacuums—including backpack, hipstyle, upright, canister, wet/dry, and battery machines.

More than 20 vacuum manufacturers representing over 40 vacuum brands were invited to participate in our survey at no cost.

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