Choosing the right vacuum for the job can save you time and money…

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by Tom Watson on August 31, 2014

When you are just getting started in the cleaning business the vast majority of jobs you’ll be hired for will be small. This fact makes choosing a vacuum pretty easy.

Most people just go for a stock model and don’t think much about the choice. But when you get into larger and larger cleaning accounts choosing a vacuum becomes a bigger deal.

This is because a small difference in size of the unit can make huge differences in how much carpet you can vacuum per hour. When I first saw HOW BIG of a difference I was really amazed. I’ll highlight the differences below…

  • 12 inch vacuum – About 2,500 square feet per hour.
  • 16 inch vacuum – About 4,500 square feet per hour.
  • 24 inch vacuum – About 7,500 square feet per hour.
  • 30 inch wide area vacuum – About 12,000 square feet per hour.

As you can see from the production estimates above, a vacuum with a slightly larger cleaning path can make quite a difference in how much carpet you can vacuum in a given time frame.

So as you grow the business over the years and bid larger jobs that are more complicated, knowing how to get the job done FASTER will help you give a more budget friendly quote to the customer.

The flip side is you don’t necessary have to pass those savings along to the customer. If you get the job done faster that is money you can put right in your back pocket. You’ll have to decide that on a case by case basis.

The increased production rates aren’t free however as the larger the vacuum, the larger the cost. In some cases a larger vacuum can cost many hundreds more than a smaller sized unit.

When you are new the smaller units will be your best bet because of their lower cost per unit. But as you grow you will probably want to think about the larger models, provided the job supports it.

If I had to take a guess, I would say about 85% of my vacuums were of the smaller variety. The larger ones were specialty models for a specific customer group.

For instance I cleaned a lot of large apartment complexes, and the larger units made a big difference in how fast I was able to get the job done, so I invested in them whenever I could.

So I’ll wrap this up by just reminding you to start factoring in the possible savings you can reap by buying a larger vacuum. After all, if you can get the job done faster you’ll save tons of money on labor, which is your biggest expense in the cleaning business.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jim Bulkowski August 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Thanks for the great information. Can you reccommend a brand of vacume that is durable an reliable for a home and small office cleaner company. We currently use Dyson’s and they are very good and somewhat pricy but do brake down if you are using them a lot.

2 Tom Watson August 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Hi Jim! I’m a fan of Sanitaire (commercial division). I’ve bought tons of them.

3 Jim Bulkowski August 31, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Thanks Tom! I’ll have a look!

4 Maryann Holder August 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Do you have any experience with backpack vacuums? I have been doing a little research and the Sanitaire brand is in my top three.

5 Francisco August 31, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I have never realized the big difference in production the size of the vacuum can make. I personally like to use ProTeam Super CoachVac with HEPA filter, It’s grate for office cleaning and houses. The only down side is that it kills your back.

Thank you for the grate info TOM!

6 Tom Watson September 1, 2014 at 9:30 am

Hi Francisco! I have one of those units too. THANKS for commenting!

7 Tom Watson September 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

Hi Maryann! I have some experience. Not as much with the upright units though. The Sanitaire is my choice for uprights. I have no clear favorite on the back packs. I have a few Pro team models that never gave me any issues. They are rather big however. I’ve also bought some off brand models that were much smaller and lighter but the downside is they have smaller bags which need to be changed more often.

8 Keshia September 12, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Hey Tom! What is a good carpet cleaner? And what type of carpet cleaning equipment do most companies have in those big work vans? Can that type of equipment be purchased and if so from where? Thanks.

9 Tom Watson September 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Hi Keishia! Carpet cleaning machines come in all shapes and sizes. I like Powr-Flite brand for portables. For the van setup, they are called TRUCK MOUNTS and there are tons of options. A company called JonDon is where I bought mine, WONDERFUL company, check them out!

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