No matter the type of carpet cleaning process, having the right equipment is essential to delivering a good outcome. It’s equally critical to regularly inspect and maintain the equipment, says Yeadon.

“For example, when an extractor isn’t extracting effectively the carpet will take longer to dry,” he says. “Dry time is the most important part of cleaning, not just for slip and fall hazards, but for basic problems caused by wicking issues. And the number of vacuums that are missing belts or have an over-filled bag would shock you.”

Getting a handle on dilution rates when it comes to chemicals, and resisting the more-is-better mindset when applying them, will also help prevent a host of issues, including re-soiling.

“The over-dependence on chemicals is a problem,” says Yeadon. “The goal should be to use just enough to suspend or loosen the soil. But the tendency is to use more to speed up the process. The use of agitation, heat or dwell time can make the chemical more effective and, in the long run, will cut down on the labor cost, the most costly part of cleaning.”

Prevention is another smart tactic. Applying a carpet protector can help extend the carpeting’s life by 60 percent, while also helping to keep spills and spots from turning into permanent stains by giving technicians more time to get at them before they set in, says Craddock. Mats are also an effective tool.

A proper matting system should be at least 15 feet in length and involve three types of mats: scraper mats, located outside the building, designed to prevent heavy soils from entering the facility; transition matting that has some scraper qualities but also moisture-absorbing yarns that will start to dry the soles of shoes; and, lastly, absorbent mats that continue drying the footwear.

A quality carpet that has been properly installed, along with a planned and appropriate maintenance program should result in a life-expectancy of 15 to 20 years, says Yeadon.

“Unfortunately, too many carpets are being pulled out in less than five years,” he says. “It’s not the cost of carpet replacement that’s expensive; it’s the dismantling of workstations and cubicles, as well as the removal of computers and communication systems.”

The best tool all building service contractors have at their disposal for warding off this level of disruption to clients? Training.

“Give serious consideration to certifying all your technicians by a third party such as the IICRC or some other agency dedicated to industry professionalism,” says Millsaps. “Always stand behind your work and take pride in it.”

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelancer based in Long Beach, California.