InstructorJoel Craddock
TypeOnline Course
DateDec 1, 2023

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Residential vs Professional Vacuum Cleaners

00:04 – Ray

Our topic today is over-the-counter vacuums versus commercial vacuums. Joel, what can you tell me?


00:15.510] – Joel

Well, one of the things that I see a lot of upstart companies do to try to save costs, or even some mid-range companies do, is buy over-the-counter vacuum cleaners from your local big box store. Or they’ll go on Craigslist or any form of, hey, I’ve got this for sale, and pick up household-type vacuum cleaners to start a business. Although that’s really, in one sense, financially responsible, on the other end, it’s not so much. Because, when you get into commercial venues to do cleaning, you start understanding that people are looking for efficiencies and quality, and they’re looking to spend as little money on the bottom dollar going out to service their business. And initially, a new business owner says, “Oh, great. If I buy a $25 vacuum cleaner that I found on marketplace, this is going to help me cut my costs.”


Well, there’s a big difference between residential type vacuum cleaners that you can buy at these big box stores or ones that you’re buying second-hand as opposed to buying a commercial vacuum. One of the biggest things is the length of the cord. When you have a household type vacuum cleaner, those are roughly somewhere between 12 and 15 feet long.


01:34 – Joel

Commercial vacuum cleaners tend to have a 50-foot cord, and this helps a person to continually to move through a building. As well as when companies grow, they might even look at vacuum cleaners that are battery operated, which then again increases your efficiencies even more. But getting back to a standard upright vacuum cleaner, because most small businesses, that’s how they start out. With a residential vacuum cleaner, you probably We have a beater bar on the bottom that has a combination of a beater and a brush rotating on the carpet, where the beater bangs the carpet, releases the soils, and then they get brushed up into the vacuum. They’re usually made of low-grade plastics. When you buy a commercial one, you can get ones that are plastic, but typically the beater bar itself might be metal. The components are metal. They have better bushings on the edges and a longer-bristled brush that helps broom the carpet as well as sweep up all of the dust that’s brought up. They tend to have better moving parts in the motors, better bushings so that they last longer because commercial vacuum cleaner sometimes might be run hours at a time.


02:41 – Joel

Your standard residential vacuum cleaners can’t be run hours at a time. It’s not good for the motors. It’s not good for the components that they’re made with. They’re expected to be used only short amount of time, maybe 15 minutes to an hour, where a commercial vacuum cleaner might be running from an hour to four hours at a time or longer, depending on the size building. Also, the dirt mechanism on how they remove the soils. Commercial vacuum cleaners since the pandemic, have been built where there’s more HEPA filters involved. Sometimes the casing and where a bag may be stored is a little bit more well put together. You’re not using dust cups that allow the pathogens and things that you collect to reenter into the air. So, there’s a big advantage (to) using a commercial-grade vacuum cleaner in your commercial cleaning company. So, these are the things that I want people to understand and why I’m doing these podcasts is to help get you over that home, particularly if you’re first starting your first janitorial company and going out on your own. And some of the things that you should be looking for. And commercial vacuum cleaner versus a residential vacuum cleaner, in my opinion, is one of the biggest differences that you can make when first starting your company.


03:54 – Ray

Joel, there’s one thing I’d like to return to, and I know it’s something you and I have talked about in the past, and you aptly addressed the commercial (vacuum) is going to be longer standing, more resilient. It’s made to run that long. But one of the things we’ve talked about is not just the cost to the owner, but the cost to physically operate. Let’s say I’m starting out and I can say, “Hey, well, Joe, I get it, but look, I can buy five of these. If I really scour marketplace or somewhere in the place, I’m like, I’m going to get five of these for 150 bucks for 200 bucks. Boom, boom, boom. They wear it. I don’t care. I’m just going to replace it.” And that is true. That is true. But you’re not going to replace not just your time, but one of the things that you and I have talked about was the cost to your body.


04:40 – Joel

There’s right ways to use vacuum cleaners, and we can do that in a future podcast in ergonomics and how to properly vacuum so that you’re not wearing out your wrist, your elbows, your shoulders, your backs of yourself or your staff members. Because then you have long term costs associated with that with workers comp, as opposed to just getting the job done. And even though, yes, you’re replacing these vacuums because they’re cheaper and they don’t hold up. But what happens and what are you going to do at three o’clock in the morning? There’s no store to go to. So having a piece of equipment that’s going to allow you to work a little bit longer, more efficiently, and actually get the jobs done a little quicker. Because you’re not having to unplug that cord two or three times just in one person’s office. You’re able to maybe do several offices all in a because of a 50-foot cord length that’s going to allow you to move through a building a little bit more freely than having to keep trying to find outlets that are behind desks, under desks, behind a credenza… maybe nonexistent in an older building that somebody remodeled.


05:45 – Ray

Down on your hands and needs, trying to find where that outlet is.


05:48 – Joel

Yeah, exactly.


05:50 – Ray

Well, thanks for both framing that in both the equipment as well as what’s your time worth. And that also means that we’re going to have to return and talk about the ergonomics about how equipment affects your day as the owner, especially for a brand new business or in your team’s body. Joel, one more good one for the new business owners. Thank you.


06:13 – Joel

You’re welcome, Ray. And thank So thank you so much for the opportunity.