Before I update you on Carfagno Cleaning and how I got caught red-handed, I need to share a lesson I learned in New York. It's called "Get Your Chad". Chad is the owner of Elite Vacuum in Clifton Park, NY. I purchased 2 backpack vacuums from Chad over a 6 year period and bought vacuum bags too. I used Chad's services for vacuum tune-ups. I partnered with this store to keep my machines running effectively. I wanted to avoid the curse of MDT (Machine Down Time). It's horrible and you lose so much money when your machine stops functioning. I invested into Chad and he invested into me. Because of my loyalty, I could call Chad anytime I had a vacuum question and he would help me think through it. If my machine needed quick service, I could stop by and Chad would drop what he was doing, throw it on the bench, and fix it for me. I was so thankful to have this working relationship with Chad that I taught it to solo cleaners in my early days of coaching.
You probably guessed where this is going! I moved away from New York and away from Chad. I never got a new Chad. It's dumb, but easily explained. I didn't want to grow another cleaning business in PA. Plus, I bought a brand new Mosquito Carbon Lite backpack in April 2018 that would last forever. If you haven't guessed, do you know now? Due to the nature of my work, house cleaning requires me to run the vacuum for an hour 3 times per day on house cleaning days. This does not tax the machine. When I clean offices with my kids, we clean 5 offices back-to-back and I'm vacuuming most of the day. That machine runs for at least 8 hours! After cleaning the last vet on Saturday, I noticed that the power switch stuck a bit. I also noticed it was very warm. This triggered memories. First of all, my wire has been very hot after long use and especially the metal prongs. Secondly, I remember past backpack power switches sticking a few times before it failed. A power switch failure means MDT and hello Chad. I was nervous and then forgot about it since I wasn't cleaning again for 5 days. At my first home, the vacuum power switch stuck and was warm. I remembered the vet from Saturday. At the second house, the switch stuck bad and I almost lost power completely. It was hot. Then I frantically looked for my new Chad between house #2 and #3. I found one. His name is Clint from CJ Miller Vacuum. Clint and I had a great conversation and I felt encouraged to visit their store with my vacuum. Ultimately, I decided not to risk overheating my vacuum or worse, seizing up my motor. I rescheduled the third house and went to meet Clint.
I was so impressed with the store and the service. They are a christian owned company, so that made me feel better to support them as well. I left the machine with only 2 hours left in the day and needing my vacuum for 2 houses on Friday. I called a few local friends with cleaning businesses and arranged to borrow one of their machines if I needed one. I went home and our family took advantage of the extra dad-time and went for a family bike ride. I got a call from Kevin from the vacuum store. "Your machine is fixed." I was thrilled. They got it done for a first-time client with a cleaning company in 2 hours last-minute! Kevin also talked tech with me for a while as he explained what he looked into. Heat in the machine is a sure symptom of impending doom (those are my words). Here are the more technical answers as Kevin and I talked. The hot wire and power switch are initial symptoms. The switch takes too much heat and starts to warp and stick. This is the second, more serious symptom. Kevin said that the switch would have failed very soon. Here's what could be happening. I could be running too much amperage through a small wire. This would cause the wire to heat up and tax the machine. This would cause the machine to fail and the wire to burn up. Kevin confirmed that my wire was the correct gauge, so that wasn't the issue. Kevin did replace my power switch. The second possibility is the vacuum needed to be serviced and all filters replaced. Fine dust particles can clog up the filters making it harder to push the air through. This makes the machine work harder and overheats it. I used to replace all my filters with Chad every 2 years and obviously did nothing with this vacuum in 3! Kevin noticed that my main HEPA filter was getting pretty clogged with fine particles. I had used it for post-construction a few times and that kills a filter. Heads up to all cleaners out there. Use a backup vacuum or industrial machine for post-construction! Kevin replaced my filters. The third option is the motor itself. The armature and the brushes in the motor could be going bad causing the motor to work harder for the same results. This would overheat the motor sending heat into all the other components. Kevin pulled out the motor and examined it. He told me that the motor looked great. I'm not surprised since it has less than 10,000 hours on it. In my experience with backpack vacuums, the motors last about 20,000 - 30,000 hours. They are not expensive to replace either. Kevin put my machine back together and we tested the suction. He had this gauge for measuring suction in inches of water, the standard unit for vacuums. My machine with the new filters sucked 105 in H20. That's really good! We tested a popular ProTeam vac in the store and it registered 93 in H2O. Crisis averted! I was caught red-handed without a backup machine and without proper care and maintenance for this one. Clint and Kevin rescued me. I got my new Chad. His name is Clint! Get your Clint!
Here's what I'm doing next. I am buying a second Mosquito Carbon Lite as a backup unit. It will insure me against MDT and allow me to start the process of building the equipment needed to delegate my office cleaning business.
Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available at the Smart Cleaning School website. Also, do you have questions for me? Book a free coaching call on my website!
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.