There's nothing like a reality check to give you a fresh perspective, or maybe even a kick in the pants. With that in mind, a few of us on staff at Rental Product News rented carpet cleaners to evaluate not only the real-world performance of these machines, but also to rate the entire rental experience in terms of customer service.
Jenny: Hardware store staff helpful
I chose to rent a carpet cleaner from the rental department of my local hardware store, which is part of national chain. I'm a regular customer at this store, however, I rarely rent from them. The store is beautifully organized and clean, and the employees are always friendly and extremely helpful.
I approached the rental counter and asked if there were any carpet cleaners available for rent. I was told there were several Rug Doctors available but the two commercial cleaners were out on rent. I asked what the difference was and the staffperson explained the commercial models have superior suction power and a rotating brush, whereas the Rug Doctor machines use a vibrating bar. She said some customers insist on the commercial machines. I expressed some concern over whether the Rug Doctor was what I wanted to use, since my carpets were severely stained.
The staffperson then went in back to the shop and pulled out a commercial carpet cleaner. She said she doesn't like this particular brand because they aren't reliable. In fact, the one she showed me was broken. She also pointed out they weigh about 20 pounds more than the Rug Doctor, which she added is very easy to use and reliable. I was then convinced that this would work for my needs.
The staffperson walked me over to the Rug Doctor machines and asked if I needed help choosing a detergent and pointed out the different sizes available. I mentioned I needed a good spot remover and she outlined the differences between all the various kinds. I was given a quick overview of the how the equipment works and then was given assistance getting the unit into my car.
The Rug Doctor performed very well. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised at the difference it made in my carpet.
Overall, this rental experience was positive. The most interesting aspect of this transaction was hearing the staffperson's opinion of the commercial machines. The only suggestion I can make to the staff of this hardware store rental department is to remember to find opportunities to upsell. At a couple of points during the transaction, there were opportunities to add some weight to the bottom line - such as promoting the 24-hour rental for a few dollars more or explaining the superior efficacy of the premium spot remover, but they were not acted upon.
Eric: Big box chain lacks follow-through
My portion of this tale comes from a sunny Saturday afternoon in the wide aisles of a big box store, although my first impression was anything but roomy. When I entered the rental area from the parking lot, it was through a small single door where I immediately had to step over and weave around a pressure washer, tiller and customers hanging off the end of the counter. That said, the shop was clean and well staffed and I was helped immediately by a well-attired young gent who knew his stuff. When I explained that I needed a carpet cleaner, he walked me right over to where they were, asked several relevant questions and suggested what he thought would be the most appropriate model. He proceeded to explain how the unit worked and made sure I had enough solution before heading back to the counter.
I have two large, mud-loving dogs and beige carpet with stains they are responsible for. I asked about spot cleaner. So far, this employee had been very knowledgeable, and I was ready to buy whatever he said would work. When we returned to the aisle, however, he really knew nothing about any of the spot removal products they carried and didn't think they would be necessary.