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in Blog
on 21 September 2018

180921aOk I am no professional writer or novelist, but I thought I’ve been on such a journey lately why not share it?  Most of the ideas we have, or should I say I have, come in the early hours of the morning believe it or not!

So, having grown our family business over the last 18 years we decided at the start of the year it would be a good idea to sell this and move on.  After a lot of failed employees and disappointments over previous years we felt compelled to work only with others that are supervised directly by us.

We had planned earlier this year to sell the business but unfortunately things didn’t work out the way we wanted so we thought “okay let’s grow our business a little more”.  So now months later we have employed extra staff, carried out training and now providing our staff courses and materials to gain knowledge and perform the job just as good as we can.  With knowledge comes the experience.  This doesn’t happen overnight as you can appreciate, but with a lot of positivity, management and delegation staff feel motivated and empowered and most of all appreciated.

As part of our expansion plans, we have incorporated a marketing plan to see us right up until January 2019. We have revamped our website with the inclusion of a “pay online” facility where customers can make a payment from the comfort of their own home at a time convenient to them with absolutely no charges and get an instant receipt, just as you would as if you were buying any other product off the internet.  We believe this is the way forward and with Stripe technology we can do this. In addition, we have incorporated additional phone lines covering a broad spectrum of areas in Kent that we cover.  Many of our customers are still not aware that we cover parts of Surrey, Sussex, South East London and have been known to cross over to the Essex border!  We have revamped our van and stationery and have become members of Trustatrader.  We are even introducing a VOIP telephone system! This will enable us to take internet-based calls and have extra calls answered at the same time!  Gary is still scratching his head.

MOVING HOME AND SETTING UP OFFICE

To say this has been an experience is an understatement! I think it would be fair to say that moving home is one of the most stressful things in life you can experience besides a divorce and bereavement. I would describe my experience like a tornado spinning you around and then throwing you out when it finished the impact.

We were very prepared and fairly organized and even did our own cleaning (as you would expect!). The removal was carried out in two stages over two days and we had help in packing! Having to put our belongings into storage a little worrying too. Then comes the animals. They can’t quite work out what has gone on and the cat has managed to escape twice! Having set up a temporary office amid moving home too was a little daunting let me tell you. If you see Gary shortly and his hair has receded more, you will know why!

WHAT’S AHEAD?

Charity Donations & Community

We would like to work more with charity organisations. We already do collections and donations for Demelza House Hospice for Children and have raised money for Alzheimer’s Society and the British Heart Foundation. We would like to extend on this and our next collection for our charity will be for Demelza House Christmas Collection. We collect unused and unwanted toys and selection boxes and wrap these and deliver them to the hospice with coded paper for girls and boys. If you have any items around the home, you would be happy to donate let us know and we can arrange to collect these from you!

Recruitment

We plan to expand on this further in 2019 and are looking for enthusiastic and self-motivated individuals who can join our family team. We don’t want our staff to be just a number we want them to feel valued and know that they have room to grow and not going to feel that they are just stuck in a rut. Part of this process will also involve us in giving apprenticeship opportunities to the right candidates. We are really looking forward to interviewing and expanding our team. We do not believe in using agency staff, each candidate is interviewed by us and employed by us. Our motto is work hard play hard.

Social Media & Mobile Apps

We now have an Instagram page and regularly post updates social and work related. In addition to which we have now have over 1,400 followers on Facebook, profile page on Linked In business and Google Business Page for regular updates, offers and work experience. WhatsApp is also an effective tool which we are happy to share with our clients if they wanted to contact us personally for some help and advice. Whether we like it or not social media is now part of our daily lives and if used correctly, it is an effective method of communication in this modern society where we all seem to be so busy we don’t seem to find time to have an actual conversation on the telephone!

New Business

We plan to open another business later in 2019 but not UK based! Check our website and Facebook pages for further updates on this.

NCCA Training

As an Advanced Member of the National Carpet Cleaning Association, Gary, in his senior years lol, would like to move towards business mentoring and training. He would like to share his experience and knowledge and help those just starting out or that need some technical help and business advice. We appreciate that everyone has to start somewhere and this is a good way of actively helping our fellow members set up and grow their company. Who knows? He may even start taking training courses!

in Blog
on 28 August 2018

180828aAmong children, pets, and all things in between, your carpets endure a beating. If you are waiting for pay day to get your carpets cleaned professionally, there are some naturally based alternatives to freshen up in between to combat those lingering odours.  Try to avoid some DIY quite fixes, because these actually can not only damage or stain your sofas, carpets, or curtains, but they could potentially harm the environment, as well as your health.

HOT WATER EXTRACTION CLEANING NOT ONLY REACHES DEEP INTO THE FIBRES BUT ALSO EXTRACTS OUT EVERYTHING PUT IN TO CLEAN, FROM PRE SPRAY APPLICATION TO SHAMPOO.

SO WHAT CAN I USE ON MY CARPET IN BETWEEN?

  1. Baking Soda Treatment Make a deodorizing carpet shampoo by combining baking soda with water. For light cleaning, adjust the solution consistency, such that it can be easily squirted from a plastic dispenser bottle. For spot treatments, make a thicker paste and pat it onto the region you wish to clean. Vacuum the area after it dries up completely. Alternatively, to freshen up the carpet without mixing water, you can simply sprinkle the baking soda on the carpet or indeed mattress, like a powder, leave for an hour then vacuum straight off.

  2. image.pngSoda Water One of the most effective ways to tackle stains of blood and chocolate is soda water treatment. Repeatedly dampen stains with a wet cloth drenched in club soda. This is particularly good with clothing.

  3. Essential Oil Treatment The essential oils including tea tree, lavender, and lemon contain antifungal and antibacterial properties. Combine them with some water and spot test on an unnoticeable part of your carpet to make sure the oils won’t stain. This is particularly useful as a freshner or deodouriser if you have pets and they have urinated and there is nasty odour. Then of course, you can call in the professionals!!

 

in Blog
on 09 August 2018

With the market ever increasing with new businesses and the time of year where you get cold callers at your door step, it’s really important to select wisely on any trade person you employ.  With people sometimes opting for a cheaper job, sometimes this can actually work out more expensive in the long run.

You cannot solely rely on tradesman referral sites (as sometimes feedback is not 100% accurate and their standard of work may not always be checked thoroughly) or indeed newspaper advertisements, social media etc. It’s always wise to obtain referrals from individuals or companies that have used a service provider before and have had a good experience. Referrals always speak volumes.

There are many schemes which are marketed out there and in our industry of cleaning, there is competition of course, but the consumer is quite often unaware of the standards that should be provided when having carpets or furnishings cleaned.  As North Star are an advanced member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association, we have attained accreditation to meet certain service standards.  Therefore, we are trained to BSI PAS86 Standards and we put this training into practice as a standard level of cleaning service.  Other companies may not work to this standard and will offer a much lower price to attract the consumer and if you’re lucky, may at best only provide one or two elements of the code of practice PAS86. They would then look to upsell other elements.  There is a term called “Bait and Switch” which is illegal, whereby you may get an offer of an extremely low price and then they start adding add-ons to this which puts the price up.  Sometimes you will not even be aware of this fact until they arrive on your door step and you feel under pressure to turn them away or say no!

Some of the key things to look for are:

  • Is the company certified by a reliable organization such as TACCA, IICRC or NCCA or an equally reliable accreditation? If the answer is no, then they may not have sufficient knowledge and training to do the job.
  • Are they fully insured and licensed? You can request to see their insurance if you are in doubt.
  • Do they use non toxic and environmentally friendly products? Are their products BS rated or equivalent?
  • What do consumers say about them? Check customer feedback on review sites such as one of the trade bodies in the cleaning industry (as above).
  • Does the company upsell any unnecessary services? Do they come across as pushy? Some companies will offer you services that you do not need.
  • If it’s too good to be true (i.e. really cheap) then that’s a red flag!
  • Test their knowledge. Observe their suggestions, timing and their confidence in their response.

Bait and Switch Advertising and Consumer Laws can be explained more in this link:- https://consumer.laws.com/deceptive-advertising/bait-and-switch-advertising

If you have been a victim of Bait and Switch in the cleaning sector, we would be keen to hear of your experience. You can message us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us directly on any of the following numbers:

  • 01795 511945 Main Office
  • 01795 602 322 Swale
  • 01634 926 322 Medway
  • 01622 962 322 Maidstone
  • 01322 686 322 Dartford & Bexley