We spent last week in Atlanta, Georgia participating in The Experience Conference & Exhibition! The three-day show is billed as a major event for cleaning and restoration companies, with numerous classes and hands-on demonstrations, as well as a large exhibition area for businesses related to the industry (like tool and equipment manufacturers, software providers [ServiceMonster!]), and more.
After a long flight east to ATL, we were immediately reminded of home: we ran into HydraMaster’s Doyle Bloss on the airport train, and realized we had been on the same flight!
We began the day by helping people set up outside in the equipment demo area. It involved lots of lifting and moving of heavy machinery, and, in 80-degree weather, definitely qualified as our workout of the day!
We got all set up and settled in the ServiceMonster booth.
Our salesman who attended, Sam, was not only there to absorb all things Experience-related… but also to get his ICRA certification for carpet cleaning! ‘Why,’ you ask?
“ServiceMonster was built around the carpet cleaning industry,” says Sam. “From a sales perspective, I’m always looking for better ways to convey to potential customers that our software is specific to the cleaning industry. ICRA certification definitely accomplishes that. Having the hands-on experience to go along with my existing industry knowledge has given me a much better understanding on everything from what kind of equipment to use for different situations, to common pitfalls cleaners deal with, and more.”
The first day of ICRA training primarily covered carpet and fabric identification. Sam enjoyed the lesson, noting, “…the ICRA actually gave me a lighter and let me set things on fire. That’s right, I got to burn carpets. I’d come here again just for that.”
Chatted with new and existing customers about ServiceMonster Mobile 3.
The second day of ICRA training was extremely informative, with all the students doing hands-on demos with different vacuums, pile setters, a CRB, and some rotaries. They also set up and used a Cimex, and did some encapsulation training as well.
Mark Saiger did some free cleaning in the hotel lobby (because the demo rugs outside weren’t dirty enough), which Sam said was fun to watch.
Here is Mike Pailliotet destroying a carpet with ketchup and BBQ sauce so Mark can demonstrate the power of the Zipper:
The final day of ICRA training: Barry Costa led a thorough, hands-on demo of pet urine treatment. Students learned how to correctly remove carpet without damaging it, removed and replaced the carpet padding and tack strips, treated and sanitized everything, and learned some veteran tips and tricks to make the whole process as efficient as possible. Bill Yeadon taught a course centered around stain removal using various chemicals and solvents.
Here’s Sam learning in the class right along with the crew from The Best Restoration (who use ServiceMonster for their business!).
“What impressed me most about these classes is the amount of hands-on experience we got,” mentioned Sam. “I’ve studied all this stuff online, read the books, watched videos, attended webinars… but even something as simple as correctly setting the pins on a knee-kicker… until you’ve physically done it, no amount of bookwork can prepare you to do it correctly.”
“These classes are made up of all skill levels, from brand new cleaners to veterans of 30+ years, but it’s a fun and relaxed atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable trying things and getting involved. Based on the feedback from everyone in class… we really hope this is the direction the industry heads in,” said Sam. “The ICRA guys put a lot of work into these sessions, hauled massive amounts of tools and equipment in, and did an incredible amount of setup and preparation. It was worth the effort. Every one of us walked out of there having learned something new and practical.”
Was it worth going?
According to Sam: “It was the single best week of hands-on education that I’ve ever been through. I’m proud to be one of the first people to go through the performance assessment, and I hope the program continues and grows in the years to come.”
Would you recommend the ICRA training and performance assessment to professionals in the industry?
“Absolutely — whether you do carpet cleaning and restoration, or if you provide equipment or services to the cleaners themselves. The networking and specific knowledge is invaluable. Now I feel much more confident about giving advice when customers ask for it. I’ve come out of this training not only with a valuable certification, but also with a much deeper appreciation for what these guys in the field go through, what they’re up against, and how they can better prepare to be successful.”
Sam’s pro tip: When you go next year, be sure to get chicken at Gus’ World Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken.
Thanks for a great time, and we’ll see you in September at The Experience Convention & Trade Show!