A reader writes: “We have VIP customers who demand an upright vacuum cleaner with a beater bar since they claim that a backpack unit does not remove the soil and only cleans the surface. How do I deal with this?”

We have dealt with this issue before but let’s take another look. My short answer is that so long as a customer is willing to pay for the additional time to use an upright vacuum cleaner then they certainly should get what they want. Please understand that perception of clean is as important as true clean in many customer’s minds. Upon inspection of the area under consideration, they have a point in that the cut pile carpet shows the beater bar pattern whereas the backpack simply pulls up soil without leaving brush marks. When we tested the upright you use with a clean liner, it demonstrated good pick up overall and left the requisite brush marks in an attractive herringbone pattern that certainly looked clean. When we followed up with a backpack unit and inspected the clean liner, we found that it picked up a lot of fine grit and soils that the upright missed.

Upon further study, we determined that the upright took five times as long to cover the same area as the backpack with worse results. We also determined that when we needed to clean along edges, vents, blinds and other areas, we had to put the upright unit aside and use a canister or guess what, a backpack unit thereby dictating that two separate tools had to be dedicated to the same job.

My recommendation is that you test other upright units with attached hoses so that you can use the same tool for all the required tasks. Be careful of getting a unit too heavy or awkward that it puts a strain on the user’s wrists, elbows, etc.

If the customer wants something and is willing to pay, by all means provide it while using best practices and taking into account safety concerns.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net