Googling “the Trump effect”—which is the effect that this new administration may have on a number of issues and industries—produces more than 20 million results. Narrowing these results down a bit to how the Trump effect might impact carpet cleaning yields more than 1 million results. While this narrowed search reduces the number of hits quite a bit, it’s still a very large number.
To be clear, these results cover a very wide range of issues and topics, with every possible slant: pro, con, and indifferent. And I should add here:
I never take a political stand in my professional career.
I remain an advocate for healthier environments and Greener cleaning—whether in professional cleaning or carpet cleaning—as well as a proponent of sustainability, regardless of politics.
However, it cannot be denied that an entirely new set of cards may be on the table now for many industries as a result of the past election. This makes it hard to believe that the Trump effect will not have at least some impact on the carpet care industry.
What Might Change?
Just recently, the new administration removed the climate change page on the White House website. With these changes happening, where does this leave carpet cleaning technicians and, most specifically, those who have embraced Green carpet cleaning strategies for their own businesses and for their clients’ facilities? And, taking this a step further, what about those who incorporated sustainability initiatives for their own companies as well? What will change for them?
The answer is simple: nothing and everything.
For now, nothing will be changing, at least not in the next 6 to 12 months. In fact, when it comes to the selection of environmentally preferable cleaning solutions and other products now required on the federal level—which impacts government and business purchasing decisions in this country and around the world—it may actually take a couple of years before anything changes, if it does at all.
This is because the federal government, which has been required to select Green Cleaning products ever since President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12873 in 1993 has signed purchasing contracts with many jansan/carpet cleaning chemical manufacturers and distributors that continue for another one, two, or more years.
So even if the new administration were to revoke this executive order, as well as similar ones signed by presidents Bush and Obama, it would not necessarily stop the flow of environmentally preferable cleaning products to the more than 376 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings and in more than 2,200 communities nationwide that the federal government owns or leases.
But What if Things Do Change?
My suggestion is for technicians to remind, and perhaps reeducate, their clients about the many benefits of using environmentally preferable cleaning solutions for carpet cleaning. One way to do this—and one that may be required when responding to a request for proposal from a major corporate center, college, university, or school district—is to put together a simple, brief, but educational presentation.
Your presentation should include the following:
- Information on how allergic and asthmatic reactions among children decline once Green Cleaning solutions are used
- How,10 years ago, many Green carpet cleaning solutions were more costly than traditional cleaning solutions but that this is no longer the case
- That school attendance goes up when environmentally preferable cleaning products are used, which has been shown to translate into a better education for our kids
- Studies showing the same positive results of using environmentally preferable cleaning products on office workers and staff employed in all kinds of settings
Overall, the professional carpet and cleaning industries should be proud of the Green Cleaning and sustainability movements they have helped to promote. Over the years, we have helped to remove some of the most toxic ingredients found in cleaning solutions, become much more conscious of reducing waste, and promoted reuse and recycling initiatives.
Also, don’t forget to discuss the steps your company has taken in the name of sustainability—for instance, paying workers competitive wages and providing healthcare insurance and even retirement plans. Over the years, many segments of the professional cleaning industry have overlooked the necessity of taking these steps. But doing so benefits everyone, including the employer. It’s easier to attract and retain good workers when these benefits are offered.
And the Green and sustainability initiatives you have implemented also give you and your firm the opportunity to stand out among your peers. Those technicians that put most of their marketing focus on how cost-effective their service is may be left in the dust, excuse the expression, of the technician who puts his or her marketing emphasis on the health of building users and our planet.
If we want the Green movement to endure whatever the political climate may be, we need more representatives from the carpet cleaning industry to step forward and promote the value of environmentally preferable cleaning and sustainability. Whether or not there is a Trump effect on our industry, it is the people who see change as an opportunity who are most likely to become the carpet cleaning industry’s leaders of tomorrow.