Years ago, a different kind of Carpet Cleaning era!

John Rockwood

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2012
2,374
497
83
66
Oregon
Real Name
John Rockwood
Thought it would be nice to educate the newer ones on how us old timers used to do it. I began 30 years ago, thought this would be a good place to start.
With all your technology this might give you pause.
Trying to cover all the bases. The new guys will say WHAT, and the old timers will say "Those were the Days".
The phones ringing,hope my answering machine isn't hungry and eats the tape again.
I wish I knew who was calling, it would be nice. "caller id, what's that ?"
Credit Cards, yes I take Visa & Master card. Get your weekly posting booklet and hope their card # is not there. Carry the imprinter into the house, load the transaction paper & card, pull and swipe, be sure the carbon paper did not move. Have her sign it, make sure she gets the right copy. Gatta hold the copy for MC/Visa for a one week mailing(called a Batch). Can't send in more than once a week or you get fined and the process takes about a week more. Oh yea if the imprinter did not make a good impression then in about 5-7 days later you get it back. You had to apply to the card companies to accept their card. Excellent credit you better have it or the answer is no. Big time change now you had a phone number to call and get an approval #. Better hope that they didn't tell you to cut the card in half because of not paying their bill. The approval phone # wasn't toll free.
You were now covering you incoming calls with a beeper. Get a beep then ask your client if you could use their phone, there were still about half that were rotary dial. You could wait until you left their house and find the closest phone booth. You always knew where they were and you always carried a bunch of change. Then it happened, the cell phone arrived at an astonishing weight of about 1 lb. With measurements like 2" square and 7" long how could you say no to a price tag (on sale) of only 499.00. Just think it was normal to open the door of your van step out standing on the step, old on and stretch tall just to get that call.
You were an advertising guru, Newspaper ads were great, Maybe direct mail when they had a special on the mailing price, Billboard now were talking and yes who could resit an offer of 5 rooms & hall for $69 and that includes moving all the furniture. Don't forget to use those wood blocks (try caring a bunch into the house and hoping the sap has dried since they were cut. Foam blocks, they won't last long at the price they are selling for. You need to add $1 for every piece of furniture that will need them, just to cover your cost. Protection, what a selection, Scotchguard & Teflon. That pesky kool-aid stain, a neat silver foiled wrapped 12"x 12" cloth soaked in some kind of special solution and be sure to have the iron on steam. With a cost of 9.99 if you bought a case 48 you made a killing, charging $25 per spot. Just had to remember 1 cloth only treated a stain of about 4". Didn't know what this stuff was but look out kool-aid & red wine.
Reminder cards, that's what you got from the Dentist. Door knocking & Door Hangers, the Life Insurance salesman had that covered.
Repeat client (back then it was customer) was someone that rescheduled because you had another special going on. Water extractions were just sucking the water out then using fans, coming back a few days later collect the fans and tell the homeowner to call a carpet retailer or their ins. agent to send over a installer and when they were done you came back clean the carpet and collect your money. It was a rumor that there were a few companies that did it all( sheet rock, electrical, plumbing, etc). Sorry, never saw them. LOL Drying times that only took 12-24hrs who could resist. That new direct drive, what a fine heat exchanger (tube & shell) don't touch it, go over one to many pot holes and it would start leaking. No fix here just fork out another 1,000. With heat of almost 185 degrees now were cooking. The blower exhaust just needed a muffler and hose it through the floor, no problem here just don't forget to soak down any grass or weeks before you crank it up, Don't need a nice burn here. Customer cleaning= Ajax, Dawn and soap powders. Defoamer in the tank not on the carpet. Sure wish it came in a powder one day you will be able to put it on the carpet. I know if GE capital & Interlink financial were around back then it would have been a lot easier than taking a second on your house. That local banker sure didn't understand why I needed a loan to buy some equipment. That first Prochem Cub XL with a nice 3'' blower was only $6999. Sure wished the truckmounts were cheaper. But with a side in you could heat it up to 200 degrees with out a oil fired unit. HOT... LOL I'm sure we all remember BIG RED, what a monster truck mount. Couldn't fit much else in the van but what a unit. I guess that's about all so next time you see a old timer out there go ahead and say " if you have a minute, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the old days" I'm sure you will have more respect for what they had to deal with over the years.
As for the old timers out there. Keep on keeping it clean.
 

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
38,561
19,905
113
Va.
www.drynclean.com
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
Great post. I also remember using a map instead of a GPS. Driving and reading a map was so dangerous. Miracle never had an accident.
 

2clean

Well-Known Member
Jan 14, 2010
2,153
103
63
Kentucky
Real Name
Ed Coons
Business Location
United States
Nice post. I remember answering machines and beepers.

I remember my first cell phone for business too, I still have it somewhere.

It's huge- I will try to post a pic of it later, it's pretty funny.

It was a phone but could also be used as a weapon if needed, lol...


Sent from my iPhone using TMF Forums mobile app
 

Johnny Bravo

Hacking my way though life, one room at a time.
Apr 25, 2011
24,188
8,737
113
San Pedro, Ca
TheJohnnyOnTheSpot.Com
Real Name
John Sheridan
Business Location
United States
Thomas Guides instead of GPS, Yellow Page Ads instead of Google, Pay Phones or Customer's phones instead of Cell Phones, and it was Car Phones before the cell phones. My first car phone was a Mitsubishi Crystal One. Cost me $2,500 in the mid 80's. .50 cents a minute air time, plus toll. First phone bill was over a grand. :eek: Got a beeper the next day.:)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ECOPRO

John Rockwood

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2012
2,374
497
83
66
Oregon
Real Name
John Rockwood
Thomas Guides instead of GPS, Yellow Page Ads instead of Google, Pay Phones or Customer's phones instead of Cell Phones, and it was Car Phones before the cell phones. My first car phone was a Mitsubishi Crystal One. Cost me $2,500 in the mid 80's. .50 cents a minute air time, plus toll. First phone bill was over a grand. :eek: Got a beeper the next day.:)
Never tried a car phone but tried a CB set up. My wife killed that one after about 2 weeks of having to say "over" when she was finished with what she was saying. I didn't argue with her about it.... I knew she was right.
 

RoboShark

Moderator
Nov 14, 2011
4,077
924
113
CA
Real Name
robert harrington
Business Location
United States
Actually it wasn't that bad. You worked with what you had, like cutting up a good supply of blocks with your table saw on a slow day. Never was able to get all of them to be the same size. lol
I just read the post and I want to tip my hat to you sir. When I started 8 yrs ago you couldn't even find a pay phone.

I want to ask you how did you use to dump your waste tank?
 

John Rockwood

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2012
2,374
497
83
66
Oregon
Real Name
John Rockwood
I just read the post and I want to tip my hat to you sir. When I started 8 yrs ago you couldn't even find a pay phone.

I want to ask you how did you use to dump your waste tank?
Most of the time in front yard. Back then when someone said OSHA , your response was can't go yet I'm working. LOL We did care about what was being dumped and big brother didn't have to be standing over our shoulder.
 

Tron

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2010
14,886
47
113
Business Location
United States
Great post. I also remember using a map instead of a GPS. Driving and reading a map was so dangerous. Miracle never had an accident.
What's weird to me is even at 29 I remember that.
The company I worked for used radios instead of cell phones, no GPS just maps.
I bet I would have been at least 20% more efficient if I had GPS.
 

Tron

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2010
14,886
47
113
Business Location
United States
And to think, in 30 years I'm gonna be able to say "back in day we had to fuel our TMs with gasoline, and guys were buying diesel/propane heaters and carrying them in the trucks"!