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  • M. Villarreal

Cost vs. Value - Cheap Can Cost You More!

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Can you imagine going to get your oil changed, but they don’t change your oil filter?

Maybe having a painter come paint your home only to paint over dust, dirt, or debris because they didn't clean it first? Or they only paint the areas you can easily see and leave the rest unpainted hoping you don’t ever move furniture or look in hard to see places at the incomplete job? It happens all the time.

Neither of these makes sense, but all too often something similar is happening when you have your hood vent and exhaust system cleaned in your commercial kitchen.

It’s the “dirty little secret” (pun intended) of the hood vent system and kitchen cleaning industry. Cleaning companies like this cast a bad shadow on good companies. It’s certainly not ethical, but more importantly it’s dangerous. The average cleaning company PRIORITIZES SPEED OVER DETAIL AND EFFECTIVENESS and leaves you vulnerable.

So here's what happens- you decide to clean your vent hood system- and it could be for numerous reasons. It may be due to an inspection coming soon and you need to pass. Or possibly EVEN WORSE, you have ALREADY FAILED AN INSPECTION and now you need to get your system cleaned in order to reopen and get the cash flowing again.)

So here are a couple of scenarios that we see happen all the time with new clients.

Situation 1: “I already have a sticker and cleaning company so I guess I'm good”.

You look to see if there is a sticker on your hood and think, “…they were nice last time, gave me a CHEAP PRICE and got in and out super fast”. This situation is what we hear many times and can sometimes be the most damaging.

Getting the best rate and getting the job done quickly doesn’t mean it was done right, nor does it mean you are protected! It’s what you can’t see that creates the problem. All too often companies become complacent and just do the minimum to clean. They make the hood shine, but don’t fully clean the system. The areas that the owner/kitchen manager will see will look great – but what about the areas that you can’t easily see??? A fire hazard, fine, or worse could still jeopardize your business and livelihood!

Situation 2: “I’ll jump online, check out a couple of companies, and make a few calls to get quotes.”

So, you go online, look at all the options, and throw darts to see which one you will call. Then you jump on the phone, make several calls and ask each one for a quote saying “I have an average hood vent and range - how much would it cost to come clean it?” This is where you are creating your own problems and may not even realize it. If you have a hood vent cleaning or kitchen cleaning company that is willing to give you a quote over the phone and not look at your system, YOU NEED TO HANG UP and RUN AWAY!!

Why, you ask? Let’s use this comparison. Let’s say you need a car inspection, but you don’t think your car would pass because of the brakes. Would you call a mechanic and say, “I have a mid-sized car and it’s making a noise and I think it’s the brake pads. How much would you charge to fix it?” They will certainly quote you the entry level price to get you in there, but after that all bets are off.

What is you were quoted $99 for the brake pads, but there is no way to know what you need to be safe or pass your inspection. Guess what… now they have you in their shop and you no longer get the same opportunity to shop around – AND THEY KNOW THAT. Unfortunately, the same happens in the hood vent and kitchen cleaning industry.

Once you say “yes” over the phone without them being onsite, when they come out often, we hear horror stories of how they changed everything they needed to do and the owner/kitchen manager/chef felt like they were being held hostage.

There is an old saying - “sometimes the cheapest price can end up costing you the most!”

Obviously, it’s not always this way. Are there times when doing a lighter cleaning is ok? SURE, but have you discussed it and talked about the impact to your system and business? Do you know why they are recommending a lighter cleaning? Or are they just trying to get in and out to save themselves time and money to get to the next job since they low-ball bid jobs and can’t always do the same level of cleaning?

An ONSITE CONVERSATION AND SYSTEM REVIEW is the best way to understand what you really need.

Now, all that said, IT’S NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM OUT THERE. There are reputable companies out there who do an AMAZING job staying consistent and detailed with their cleaning and business practices.

That said, YOU have to be the one to INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT or have absolute trust in your commercial services team - your business depends on it!

Here are 7 things you can do to protect yourself, your business, and your money:

1- Only work with companies who give an “onsite” estimate. (It can cost you so much more in the long run like additional hidden costs once onsite, failed inspections, higher insurance costs/loss of insurance, and equipment repair costs to name a few.)

2- Ensure you have a clear understanding of what is and is not being cleaned. (When cleaning a hood vent, it should be EVERYTHING from the hood vent to the exhaust fan and trap – EVERYTIME!)

3- Only work with a bonded and insured company! (Be sure to CHECK the documentation.)

4- Ask if each person who will be doing the work is actually certified to do so. (Ask what school and when they received their training and certification.)

5- Find out exactly what their guarantee is, and what is included. (Also be sure to ask WHEN they would guarantee a fix if anything occurs - you may be surprised by the answer.)

6- Take the time to learn what type of equipment they use and the age of that equipment.

7- Lastly, cost SHOULD be part of the decision, but not the only factor! Find a balance and gain peace-of-mind.

One final thought. The true hallmark of a professional kitchen exhaust hood cleaning company is the availability provide comprehensive service focused on a 15 point evaluation for your entire air/exhaust control system. This shows that the company truly understands where you are, what needs to be done and how the cleaning they’re performing affects the rest of your system.

Call Cornerstone Commercial Services today and get the Peace-of-Mind and Freedom you deserve so you can focus on your customers and your business.

We look forward to working with you.

Call Us Today. 1-800-274-3905

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