Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wood and Laminate Floor Care and Restoration Class

October 17, 2014 (8am - approximately 5pm)...........Wood and Laminate Floor Care and Restoration Class at the Indianapolis Bane-Clene® Training Center

Wood flooring is becoming more popular.

Some of your customers are even removing their carpets from their old wood floors and wanting them refinished!

Why get all upset about this?

Why not take advantage of this trend?

Get on the ground floor and learn how to make more money with Wood-Solv™

Only $199 per person - includes handbook and hands-on training.

Pre-paid reservations required!

IICRC Continuing Education Credits
This class has been approved for IICRC Continuing Education Credits
and is registered as IICRC Event 1883.

IICRC will assign 1 credit to IICRC registrants in the cleaning/restoration,
or inspection or master categories.

To register..
Call Toll-Free
800 428 9512


Just Some of the Topics Covered:
  • Get the homeowner to say yes!
  • Key Wood-Solv
    Product Benefits.
  • Key Wood Floor Preservation System Product Benefits.
  • How to make more money!
  • Inspect and estimate the job.
  • Comprehensive marketing tools.
  • Cleaning & finishing procedures.
  • Hands-On repairing scratches & gouges.
  • Hands-On refinishing wood floors.
  • Pricing of your services.
  • Maintenance programs.
  • Equipment & Chemicals needed.

If you are interested in registering for a Bane-Clene event, we ask that you contact us via telephone AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE!
Please call if you have any questions regarding these events, as each is unique!
Our toll-free telephone number is (800) 428 9512 (U.S. ONLY!).

Our local number is (317) 546-5448.
Our fax number is (317) 543-2222.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

October 16, 2014 Stone, Marble, Ceramic Tile and Grout Class

Stone, Marble, Ceramic Tile and Grout Class at the Indianapolis Bane-Clene® Training Center is scheduled for October 16, 2014.

There is a shifting trend toward using more natural stone in both interior and exterior installations. Why not take advantage of this trend?/

Comprehensive hands-on training session in cleaning, sealing, polishing and restoring marble, natural stone,ceramic tile and grout.

Only $199 per person - includes hands-on training.

Pre-paid reservations are required!

This class has been approved for IICRC Continuing Education Credit and is registered as IICRC Event 1884.

IICRC will assign 1 credit to IICRC registrants in the cleaning/restoration, or inspection or master categories.

To register..Call Toll-Free 800 428 9512 AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE!

Just Some of the Topics Covered:
  • What is ceramic tile.
  • What is porcelain tile?
  • What is natural stone?
  • Different types of grout.
  • Chemistry of cleaning and sealing.
  • Cleaning & sealing procedures.
  • Pre-inspection.
  • Pricing of your services.
  • Maintenance programs.
  • Equipment & chemicals needed.
  • Honing and polishing of marble.
  • Determining type of stone.
  • Hands-on cleaning of tile.
  • Hands-on honing/polishing of marble.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Bane-Clene® Management Training Schools

Management Training Schools for the Carpet, Rug and Upholstery Cleaning Business
schedule for Indianapolis, Indiana:

Monday - Wednesday July 21 - 23, 2014

Monday - Wednesday October 13 - 15, 2014

Classes are 8 am - 5 pm Eastern Time.

More information and fees

July/August 2014 Clene-Times

The July/August 2014 Clene-Times issue is available on-line. Just click on the link.
Due to increased postal regulations regarding bulk mail and a looming
postage increase, future issues of the Clene-Times will be available
in digital format only at www.baneclene.com/clenetimes.html.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The Mini-Mount® carpet cleaning equipment is the first truck-mounted system designed especially for fuel-efficient mini-vans, which will fit into almost any garage or tight area. This carpet cleaning system is ideal for areas where extreme distance between jobs is a concern. It has the storage capacity, in many instances, to perform a full day's work. The Base Unit can be portable in less than one minute.

Triple heating system: Wasted engine heat automatically heats your cleaning solution to the right temperature and an auxiliary electric heater is used for water temperature control. The large insulated tanks enable you to clean all day without having to refill or dump water. The system is totally electric, with no dangerous or expensive fuels required. It is not  necessary to operate truck engine while cleaning.

Showroom 3D
Accessories including hoses and cleaning heads as shown in the catalog.
Does not include loading ramp. FULL FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY
Regular Price: $13,995.00
Special Price: $12,900.00

Customer Service

A quick and effective resolution of any conflict with a customer can actually increase their loyalty to your company.  A majority of customers will continue doing business with you if they feel you have corrected the problem that instigated the complaint.
Here are some suggestions:
Empathize with their emotions. Listen carefully and let them blow off some anger or frustration. Get as many "specifics" as possible and then clearly restate the problem. Confirm that both parties agree on the details.  Offer as many alternatives as possible and then allow the customer to decide on which alternative to use.
The most important part of creating a customer advocate for your company is after agreeing on a solution and solving the problem, be sure you do more than you promised.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Showroom 3-D Base Units Available at a special price

Now is a good time to upgrade to a Bane-Clene® 3-D base unit. Three showroom models available at a reduced price. The dual electric motor direct drive promotes 30% more vacuum. Plus an inline 1500 watt heater keeps your solution at a constant temperature at 180 degrees while you're in operation. Regular price 7495. Special price 6950 + s & h. Call your sales rep for complete details. Units will carry a five-year conditional warranty as always.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

William Francis Bane

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we at Bane-Clene® Corp. regret to inform you that our Chairman, Wm. F. Bane, has passed away after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Please read a brief synopsis of his life below. Thank you.

William Francis Bane passed away February 20th, 2014 at 9:40 PM
surrounded by his devoted family. A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Bill led a noteworthy and successful life both privately and publicly. He was a loving
and devoted husband to his wife, a caring and nurturing father to his sons and Pawpaw to his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Bill was also an admired community leader and entrepreneur who led a successful business for over half his life, and who rose to a position of prominence within his industry.

Born June 25, 1927 and orphaned as a child, he was raised by his maternal grandparents Erven and Frances Ryle. Growing up in the Depression, he learned the value of hard work and the importance of self-reliance, innovation and motivation. His many positive qualities were further enhanced by his Catholic upbringing and education at Holy Cross Grade School and Cathedral High School. After graduation, Bill bravely embraced his love of country and enlisted in the Marine Corps to help defend his nation during World War II.

A true member of the ‘Greatest Generation’, he also volunteered and participated in the Korean conflict. While stationed in Philadelphia, PA after World War II, he met his bride to be Elizabeth Ann on a blind date. They were married on April 26th 1947 and the couple would have celebrated a happy and blessed 67th year of marriage.

In 1950, Bill and wife Elizabeth returned to Indianapolis as proud parents of their first son, Bill, Jr. Their second son Donald was born shortly thereafter, and the family has continued to call Indianapolis home since that time.

Following the return to Indianapolis, Bill helped to care for his ailing grandmother and began a career as a tanker truck driver for Gaseteria, a petroleum company. He later worked for Brink’s armored car service where he rose in ranks to the management level at the Indianapolis branch. With heavy heart, he resigned from Brink’s in late 1961 as further advancement meant moving his family to another part of the country and away from the city that his family called home.

Shortly after leaving Brink’s, Bill explored business opportunities that would allow him to create his own success and that might allow his family to become part of his endeavors. Seeing a need for janitorial services, he started The Wm. F. Bane Company on February 4th, 1962. The company grew and in 1967 added a commercial and residential carpet cleaning division. Recognizing the success of this aspect of his business, he divested the janitorial service division and focused the fledgling firm entirely on carpet cleaning.
While operating the carpet cleaning service, Bill recognized that improvements to the efficiency and quality of the cleaning process could propel the industry forward. His entrepreneurial spirit and innovation led him to produce the first “Truck Mounted” carpet cleaning machine in 1970, for which he later received a patent for the unique design and application.

Dedicated to his vision, in 1974 Bill launched Bane-Clene® Systems, focused on the production and sale of Carpet Cleaning Equipment, Chemicals and Supplies. The service and supply divisions were incorporated into one entity, Bane-Clene® Corporation in 1980. The successful firm that Bill began in 1962 celebrated its 52nd anniversary this year, with Bill still active as Board Chairman.
Under his guidance and charismatic leadership, the growing business attained worldwide recognition in the Carpet Cleaning Industry and Bill was an active speaker and evangelist for the cleaning methods he developed. His leadership and business acumen helped launch thousands of independent networked affiliates worldwide, and true to his original vision his wife and sons have remained active participants in the company, still managing its day-to-day operation.

In addition to his business success, Bill was an active civic leader, serving as President of the Meadows/Fall Creek Civic League. He worked tirelessly to promote the area and later achieved an Enterprise Zone designation which opened up business opportunities for others in the area. He was also an active member of American Legion Post #3 where he served as Commander.

Outside his professional and civic endeavors, Bill loved the game of baseball. As a noteworthy young ballplayer, he had been scouted by several major league teams. As a father, he coached his sons in Little League® baseball, where he taught them the attributes of sportsmanship and teamwork. Organizationally, Bill developed and managed multiple Championship teams in American Legion Baseball, Connie Mack and Junior Baseball.

Later in life, his competitive nature turned to golf. He enjoyed his time on the links with family, friends and associates at Hillcrest Country Club. His golfing buddies at Hillcrest were affectionately known as the R.O.B.’s and they enjoyed many great times together. Bill won more than one Club Tournament and realized the dream of every golfer, a “hole in one”.

Later in life, Bill and Elizabeth enjoyed wintering at their second home in St. Pete, FL. From there, they loved to visit nearby Disney World in Orlando, a special place where they enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

Their love for the ‘Fort Wilderness’ area of the resort inspired Bill to develop and personally execute a grand vision of his own nature park at their home in Indianapolis. Now successfully transformed into a beautiful five-acre nature sanctuary, this park, complete with paths, bridges, lakes and landscaping is a beautiful reminder of the man who created it. Even in late 2013 and toward the end of his life, Bill could be found creating pathways and clearing land on his trusty tractor, his vision always expanding. Over the years, they cared for dozens of pets on the property and loved observing the wildlife attracted to the beautiful grounds.

Bill left an amazing legacy for those that follow him. Whether in private, professional, or civic endeavors, he
was a successful leader with vision and motivation to follow through on his dreams. He will be greatly missed by the thousands of friends, associates and acquaintances he leaves behind, but most of all by his dedicated family who has remained with him throughout his prominent life.

He is survived by his spouse of 67 years (Elizabeth), sons Wm. F. Bane, Jr. (significant other Denise Pettigrew), Donald Allen (Linda Faye) several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Special mention is made for loyal caregiver and family friend, retired RN Lynn Kinz who was able to manage in-home hospice care at the end of his life.

In accordance with his final wishes, a private service is planned with interment in the family mausoleum at Crown Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Augustine’s Little Sisters of the Poor.Contact them at (2345 West 86th Street Indpls., IN 46260, Phone 317-415-5767, www.littlesistersofthepoorindianapolis.org) which was the favorite charity of his and his grandmother.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stainmaster® one more time

Ads about Invista's new Stainmaster "PetProtect" were out as early as last November. The new product is durable, easy-to-clean and resists most pet stains according to the publicity releases. They claim pet hair lets go easier when vacuumed. That reminded me that it's time to do my annual puff-piece on the Stainmaster we bought for our family room in January of 1987. Actually it's the truth, but it sounds like a PR rep has played spin doctor on it.

DuPont spent $50,000,000.00, a lot of money in 1986, introducing Stainmaster with little Ricky throwing his food on the carpet. The commercials said it was easy to clean, but apparently they couldn't afford maintenance literature and wouldn't answer my inquiries about cleaning the new product. As cleaning professionals we needed to know if there were special requirements, so I started a testing program to see for myself how to clean it and how it would perform.

L. S. Ayres & Co., installed a champaign-colored cut-pile, by WestPoint Pepperell in our family room which is adjacent to a blacktop driveway and garage. Foot traffic funnels through the center of the room, so it was a poor choice of color and pile texture. The salesman never questioned my selection and when I asked about cleaning he said, "Don't worry about it, it hardly ever needs cleaning." No cleaning or warranty information was delivered by the installers.

For the next five years that Stainmaster was cleaned monthly and a variety of topical treatments (some later not recommended by DuPont) were applied to monitor the effects. In May of 1991, DuPont sent Cy Gantt to look at the carpet. The entry he made in our guest book reads, "The carpet is beautiful. It is difficult to put into words what it means to have Bane-Clene as a friend." Cy brought an artificial tree for our pool as a gift, which we cherish to this day.

In June of 1991, DuPont dispatched Caren McCabe to our home. Her entry in our guest book says, "Thanks for a wonderful two days. It was a pleasure meeting the folks at Bane-Clene and seeing the results of your testing program. It really looks great." Caren wasn't as kind to me as she was with her approval of our carpet tests. She beat me in golf at my club and again the next year when I was her guest at DuPont Country Club.

DuPont has sold the Stainmaster brand name, but twenty-seven years later, that carpet is still here. It has survived all of our early rigorous testing along with normal wear and tear like grandchildren, pizza, and pets. The traffic lane is not apparent, the tip definition is excellent and the fibers demonstrate remarkable resilience. If the new Invista product is half as good as our old Stainmaster it's a winner.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Missed 52nd Anniversary

On the 4th of February in 1962, my thirteen year old son, Bill Bane, Jr., cleaned the offices of Doctor James P. Leeds' in Indianapolis for the princely sum of $10. I usually mention the anniversary of our business on this BLOG site but medical problems got in the way this year.

The little weekly part-time venture was meant to supplement my income and help pay Bill's tuition to an expensive prep school he wanted to attend. Never in my wildest imagination could I have dreamed of the vast number of lives this little business would touch over the years.

Today, our service company has more than 60,000 central Indiana customers in its files and Bane-Clene ships merchandise to more than 9,000 professional carpet, upholstery and janitorial cleaners in 50 states and 15 foreign countries on 5 continents.

And it all began with that little $10 job ...... Is America great, or what!

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Yogi" logic

"This game is 90% mental. The other half is physical." Yogi Berra, the famous Yankee catcher, said that and was talking about baseball, but his famous quote can be used in almost any endeavor. The Mini-Clinic tours back in the '70s and '80s gave me the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people who were thinking about going into the carpet cleaning business.

These folks didn't have a clue about how to advertise to get the business. Worst of all, they had to commit to buying equipment and chemicals before they could even clean their first carpet. It was interesting to watch their faces as I talked about buying equipment, especially when Yogi's logic was applied to the difference between "buying" or being "sold."

To "buy" or to be "sold" may sound like the transaction has the same result but there is a huge difference. If a person is "sold," their chances of success are far less than those of a person who "buys" equipment. After being "sold" there is a period of doubt or buyer's remorse and that short hesitation may prevent the total commitment that it takes to succeed in a new business.

In a new business there is no room for error and just a short period of buyer's remorse may cause delaying an important decision. But someone who "sells" himself that he has made the right decision on equipment has a far greater chance to succeed because he is already committed and uses critical decision time with a clear head and to its fullest advantage.

Friday, January 17, 2014

More on bananas

The expression "Going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy and can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent illnesses and conditions such as nerves. Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

A banana is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. Bananas might be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Astonishing comparison

During World War II, the U.S. built 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter planes, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 pieces of artillery, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 trucks.

Nearly 20 million military were trained and uniformed, we invaded Africa, Sicily, Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, took Europe, defeated Hitler and Mussolini, marched across the Pacific islands, won the Battle of Midway and built two atomic bombs and delivered them to Japan. All of this was accomplished in less than four years.

Obama took about the same amount of time to build a web site for Obamacare and it doesn't even work very well. The hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money that went to these "experts" is the epitome of "Crony Capitalism." Could it be true that the prime contract went to a foreign company owned by a college friend of Ms. O?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Low Fuel

When a car's low-fuel light comes on, there may be as little as one gallon of gasoline left, depending on the car model. Don't keep driving with the light on. In addition to running out of gas, driving with low fuel increases the risk of clogging fuel injectors with sediment that builds up in the bottom of the tank. That can reduce performance and fuel economy. The current cold weather compounds the problems.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Tell ya what I'm gonna' do!"

"You say you're not satisfied! You say you want more for your money! Tell you what I'm gonna' do!" When pitchmen first shouted that line on TV, a Madison Avenue advertising executive said, "Television will change the advertising business forever." He was right!

Are you ready for more radical change? A New York shopping "expert" on national TV recently suggested shopping at Macy's or Bloomingdale's where someone will courteously demonstrate a product. Then she advised, "Go on-line and find that product at the best price."

J. C. Penney was in the news last year for flubbing their marketing program. They quit offering sales and discounts and tried honest, "everyday low prices." The CEO, Ron Johnson, lost his job, their stock plummeted and they even ran "apology" commercials to shareholders.

FTC rules and standards are long gone. The advertising guy was right 60 years ago about TV. But I doubt he could have foreseen dealing with people where everything has to be virtually free or absurdly discounted. The internet has turned the merchandising world upside down.

Examples: Suits, "Buy one, get three free." Carpet, "70% off." Is the consumer really stupid enough to fall for the old "Mark 'em up so you can mark 'em down" game? The majority of retailers must think so. The sad tale of J. C. Penney more or less confirms it.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

One more comment on Christmas

Listening to a former editor of a big liberal magazine that folded recently describe the reasons for the event was interesting. In the interview he may have divulged the problem that really caused their demise without even knowing it. At one point he said, "The elite of the east and west coasts just weren't enough to keep it going."

That gives you some idea of what he thinks of the rest of us in fly-over country. Since the media in general has the "elite" mind-set it becomes obvious to connect that mentality to the effort to eliminate God from our country. Elitists in congress carry the water for the elite media (not the other way around) and are hard at work to make us a God-less nation.

Meanwhile archaeologists (remember most of them have been educated by an elite academia) are busy at work in the middle east trying to tear down the traditional views of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Christians are being killed in the middle east just as they were 2,000 years ago. And every year we see the same effort to remove Christ from Christmas.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Measuring ad results

Most people who advertise, especially those who write the check, want measurable results from their advertising dollars and in the near-term. Experience shows that advertising generates some immediate business but most benefits are measured in long-term value. An increased customer base and better profit margins are benefits from a consistent advertising program.

Certain fundamentals determine the success of an ad program. Be sure to target the right market and make sure an ad reaches it. Don't use too many different ads or try to mimic the "clever" ads used by big companies. It takes a budget outside the realm of small business to make them work. Most important, keep an ad program consistent.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Good advice from Cleanfax

Cleanfax published an article recently that goes to the heart of the training program at Bane- Clene Institute. Following are excerpts from the well-written article:

"The U.S. Department of Commerce claims that only one in five businesses will survive to celebrate its fifth anniversary. What is your biggest challenge? Rarely does one hear about a company failing because equipment could not do a good cleaning job. The real challenge is finding customers. Thousands of well-trained companies with state-of-the-art equipment fail each year. The predominant reason for their failure is the inability to create an ongoing flow of profitable work. Being the best carpet cleaner has little value if no one knows you exist. Yet for most start-ups, marketing is only an afterthought.

"Acquiring customers should be important from the beginning, and it will continually demand your attention and resources. Your success depends on your ability to accomplish this through effective marketing. Who or what is your competition? Many excuses have been given for why companies struggle. Some blame “price-shoppers” for forcing down prices. Others point to bait-and-switch companies as the reason for their hard times. National franchises or cheap budget companies are also good scapegoats.

"And when all else fails, blame the economy. These excuses are not the true reasons for failure. To succeed in business, you must know your real competition. If you do not know who or what that is, it will clobber you hard before you know what hit you. Your true competition is time.
Each company starts with a limited amount of cash and credit. Every month you and your business require a certain amount of that money to pay the bills. Your company is successful when it can produce more revenue than these bills consume. Until then, you are using up the limited financial resources with which you started.

"New owners often look around to see what other companies are doing and use them as role models. Unfortunately, according to the statistics, four out of five of your competitors are going to fail. If you follow their lead, you will experience the same failure that awaits them. Be selective about whose advice and habits you follow. You want to imitate businesses that are succeeding. Choose companies that are profitable, growing, and healthy. Look for mentors and teachers who have a proven track record."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

Best wishes for health, wealth and prosperity in 2014 from all of us at Bane-Clene.
May you be blessed with a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Clene Times change

For more than 40 years we used the Cleaning Digest, Clene Times and brochures to advertise Bane-Clene Systems and our other products via direct mail. The upward price spiral of paper, ink and postage along with constantly changing postal regulations has made the current format of the Clene Times impractical to use.

For the last five years we have published an electronic version of Clene Times on our web site on the internet. All reader comments have been positive so far and have encouraged us to use the web site. The next issue will be printed and mailed as usual but future issues will only be available on our web site.

Note: The EDD (Every Door Direct) mail service offered by the post office is suggested to Bane-Clene Operators in the USA as the best and least expensive way to target specific residential and commercial markets for cleaning prospects.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New boss at Federal Reserve Board

The big meeting of the Fed last Week formally introduced Janet Yellin as their new boss. Her well-known position on Quantative Easing promises pumping Billions more into the QE pit. Wall Streeters are ecstatic because their bloated incomes will continue to rise.

Banks are happy because they get virtually free money to lend. The carrot on that stick is that when banks submit to buying their share of government bonds they get on a "good guys" list of being "too big to fail" in case of another banking industry collapse.

Yellin's appointment also means continued stalling on a program to audit the Fed. They simply don't want strangers rummaging through their secrets which date back a hundred years. Can you imagine the "deals" that are buried in those files?

Normal politics calls for acceptance or resistance to her appointment across party lines until there is an agreement to give in to an audit. Don't hold your breath. Establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle are in the Fed's pocket and she'll probably fly right through.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

May you and yours have a happy and blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The "closer"

Mariano Rivera retired recently from the New York Yankees. He has an impeccable personal character that is unmatched in this age of sometimes criminal sports figure behavior. At 44 years of age and after 19 major league seasons his ERA was a sterling 2.21 and he was showered with more accolades from competitors than any sports personality I can remember.

When Mariano arrived at the mound in the 9th inning announcers introduced him as a "closer." This made me think of the sales end of our business. How often have we been told about the importance of "closing" the sale? Writers and teachers usually infer that once a sale has been "closed" all is well. But in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

In Mariano's case he had to face at least three major league hitters. "Closing" a sale is no easier. We still have to do the job. Everything to this point has been promises. The "closing" of a cleaning job is, in fact, just the "opening" or the "beginning" of what should be a satisfied customer and a long business relationship. Our careers demand it!

When we "close" the sale, we feel good about getting the job, but customers may actually feel a degree of anxiety or have a touch of "buyer's remorse" since they have yet to see our finished products or services. Now is the time to step up to the plate and deliver a memorable, long lasting performance. Our customers deserve it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

More paper than taper

Wall Streeters and investment bankers have been waiting for the meeting of the Fed Chieftains to decide if they will continue to be blessed with $85 Billion every month, or begin the awful "tapering" process. The general public has been waiting to see if the fleecing of our savings accounts would continue. Wednesday afternoon Bernanke finally made the difficult decision to lower the fleecing to only $75 Billion a month beginning in January.

The stock market went wild in celebration with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing that afternoon on the upside at $292.71, even though $10 Billion is hardly a blip on the economic radar scope. The way I figure it, that might take care of broker's commissions and holiday bonuses for December. Meanwhile easy credit for Government Motors and the rest of the auto industry will continue, but small business will continue to suffer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We need the Judge

The Fed pumps $85 Billion into the banking system and Wall Street every month. Our savings, which are the heart of the middle class, are being decimated by inflation that the government says does not exist. Every day congressional representatives appear with stories of corruption, crony capitalism, malfeasance and lying. When administration people are asked about a mistake their answer is, "We're going to fix it."

There are charges of unconstitutionally circumventing laws passed by congress. When asked what can be done about it the answer is much the same. "We'll have to be more careful the next time to write something into the law to take care of that." Government is out of control and until there are term limits and the ruling class lives by the same rules as our citizens, it's going to get worse.

Remember the legend of Judge Roy Bean, "The only law west of the Pecos?" If the Judge was alive and in authority today in Washington, more than half of the population would be in jail and at least a third of those would have already been hung.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Phone hints

Speak with enthusiasm and communicate in a clear voice. Do not talk fast or as if you're reading a script, even if you are reading. During telephone conversations our voices takes on a greater significance since only a part of the message is conveyed with words. The remainder is carried by vocal qualities and it's especially important to have a note of sincerity.

Voice volume makes it easy or difficult for others to hear us. Nervousness can be reflected through lower volume and hesitation. Hold the hand set near your mouth or you won't sound loud enough but not too close to pick up the sound of breathing. Avoid a monotonous tone of voice by varying the delivery of words and sentences.

For example, emphasize our qualifications by saying confidently, "We have the experience, education and equipment to do the job right." Some callers may equate confidence with competence. Conversely, too much confidence may come across as being arrogant, egotistical or unrealistic. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, temper self-confidence with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is a quality communicated through our voice. A good method of relaying this quality is to smile as we speak on the phone. A smile can be "felt" and adds a pleasant, friendly quality to voice patterns. Elizabeth Bane put a little heart-shaped mirror at each of our phone stations in 1978 so the operators could see their own smile as they talked.

Speed in the rate of speech can interfere with effective communication. If we talk too fast, pronunciation and enunciation will suffer. If we talk too slow the caller may lose interest. When hiring someone to answer the phone, make sure you can understand them when they speak. Three things make us successful in our phone procedures. They are "Practice!" "Practice!" "Practice!"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poor timing

Having worked in advertising for more than 50 years, it always amazes me to see some of the oldest and dumbest mistakes repeated again and again. For example, taking advantage of the current popularity of a word or phrase in an ad is something that can be a risk and usually proves to be a poor strategy. Sure enough, the other day a television commercial actually ended with this statement: "You won't find a better value.... Period."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You can learn something anywhere

Back in the '90s, Ron VanGelderen of the CRI asked me to go to Washington to make a presentation on behalf of our cleaning method about a new labeling law*. Bureaucrats had decided that every piece of carpet needed to be labeled with cleaning instructions. The fact that the label would be on the underside of installed carpeting didn't make any difference to them.

My flight was delayed and as I arrived at the meeting facility the doorman asked if I was there for the big meeting and I said yes. He said, "It's in the main section of those meeting rooms right over there. I slipped in and took a seat in the back row so as not to cause a disturbance. There was a panel discussion in progress that drew my immediate attention.

A gentlemen on the panel said, "Take the carpet cleaning industry for example. They have the opportunity to work for a customer many times during the anticipated life of that carpet. This represents a long profit stream. That's not the case in our business. We can only do it to a customer one time." The room errupted in laughter.

That made me suspicious as did the large number of people in attendance. As I looked around the room I didn't recognize anyone and began to feel as if I were in the wrong meeting. I stepped out in the lobby to check and sure enough there was a sign I hadn't seen when I came in the other door. They were funeral directors from DC, Maryland and Virginia.

The guy on the panel was right. We are so blessed that we can work for a client many times during our careers. If we're careful and treat the customer right we can even work for their descendants. Some cleaning businesses started in the '70s are now in their third generation. That's exciting.

*The bill never made it through congress.

Monday, December 09, 2013

A friend of our industry retires

The other day Carey Mitchell sent an e-mail saying he had retired from Shaw Industries, the largest carpet maker in the world. There was an attachment with some hand-written speeches that he had given at Bane-Clene conventions and he asked if we would want them. It was very thoughtful of Carey and of course they will be put in a prominent place in our company archives.

Many famous people have been invited to speak at Bane-Clene meetings. Some were celebrities and many were hard-working people from inside and outside our industry who had an effect on our customers' businesses. Carpet industry people like Carey Mitchell, Ron VanGelderen, Bill Doan, Cy Gantt, Jim Keener, Irv Shaw, Don Mercer, Walt Lipscomb, Jon Trivers and Don Barrett, Jr. helped us build an image of credibility.

Carey was presented with our "Jimmie Award" for having a profound affect on our company and our customers. Shaw maintained a state-of-the-art laboratory to test and study the effects of cleaning on their products and over the years he sent members of his technical staff to Bane-Clene Institute. This commitment by Shaw Industries to work with cleaners demonstrated an understanding of where the rubber meets the road.

On behalf of all of us at Bane-Clene, may we wish you a blessed, healthy and happy retirement Carey. Thank you for your many years of service to our industry.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Remember Pearl Harbor

That was the battle cry of WWII. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "Sunday, December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy..." Not many are alive who remember that fateful Sunday morning when the dastardly attack took place on our Pacific Fleet. Those who were, will never forget.

"Remember the Alamo" and "Remember the Maine" are slogans that would never be forgotten...but now they are relegated to the pages of tattered history books that are routinely ignored by many teachers. "Remember September 11" is the latest of infamous events that unfortunately will soon be just a faded memory.

Thank God for the brave troops who protect our freedom and for the first responders who protect us in this land of plenty. With all of our problems, people still want to come here legally or illegally. But remember this, too. Freedom is not free!

Friday, December 06, 2013

A new era in prudence

Twitter hit the market with a noisy IPO that started at $26 and after a short "delay" traded in the mid $40 range. I wonder who bought all the stock in the initial (delay) blip at $26? One thing is for sure. It wasn't anyone you or I know. The "back-room" boys made a killing and then they put lipstick on the pig and let the suckers in hoping the oinker can make it on its own.

An executive with Twitter was questioned about how they expected to monetize the company and become profitable. He said they intended to figure that out as they went along. That's the same mentality that prompted the famous congressional leader's remark about national healthcare when she said, "We'll just have to pass the law to find out what's in it."

That seems to be the way things are done today. Janet Yellin, the new Fed head honcho, is apparently going to continue printing money and buying junk bonds. Wall Street tycoons are inebriated by the good fortune coming their way. I was pretty young in '29 and don't remember events leading up to the great market crash, but I'll bet there was comparable confusion as it headed down the nearest sewer.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Where have all the Gurus gone?

Since 1978, Bane-Clene Institute has been conducting classes in the same building for nominal fees and in many cases there is no fee at all. Thousands have attended our "Course to Success," but it amazes me at the number in our industry who have spent vast sums of scarce capital on "get-rich-quick" or "guaranteed-to-succeed" scams conducted by so-called "Gurus."

About 15 years ago a strutting little example of such a "Guru," accompanied by two body guards, came up to my booth at the big Surfaces Show in Las Vegas. He introduced himself in an almost defiant manner as the one who could save and promote my company if we used his training and coaching programs. The names he dropped as associates and clients were like a "Who's Who."

This little braggart was only one of many making a pitch for the few educational dollars available in our industry. Fifteen years later most of the Gurus have either gone or have taken cover in their failure to keep the many wild promises they made to the struggling cleaners they fleeced. With apologies to Peter, Paul & Mary here's a parody:

Where have all the Gurus gone, long time passing?
Where have all the Gurus gone, long time ago?
Where have all the Gurus gone?
Gone too, are the exploited ones.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Monday, December 02, 2013

A lesson in longevity

The other day I got this note from Dan Willis, manager of our service company:

"In 2011, Jasper Dividal came in to have his equipment switched to a new van. I was looking at his old van when I realized that it was the one I started on in 1984. He bought it in 1985 and I just couldn't believe it was my old truck and equipment. He came in the other day for a weld repair on his old 1984 fresh water tank. That old equipment is still out there every day making money in his new truck."

When he bought our used van in 1985 it had approximately 25,000 miles on the odometer and the equipment about 2,000 hours. In those days we sold our rolling stock every year so we always had new trucks on the streets. The last few years the cost of vans has jumped so radically that we have to keep them longer now.

When Jasper switched vans in 2011, Dan's old van had 510,000 miles on the odometer and there is no telling how many hours on the old cleaning equipment because the clock was broken. The 1984 base unit had a motor replaced in 2005. The vacuum pump, winch, gear motors and all other major components are original and operational.

Many years ago we made the decision to build equipment that would have no built-in obsolescence and last a long time, but this is ridiculous.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Keeping commitments

Our Yellow Pages Representative asked me to come and "say a few words" at the kick off of their annual canvas in the late '80s. Their meeting was on Monday, the day after our convention ended and after three days of meetings and talking, I was hoarse and tired. Monday morning I said to my wife, "I think I'll skip that Yellow Pages luncheon. I don't feel very well." Elizabeth said, "Now you promised Bill Dorrell you'd go, so you'd better go."

The luncheon was a huge event. When I arrived I was handed an engraved program and I was scheduled to speak between Gene Cernan, the Astronaut, and Ameritech's Chairman and CEO, Richard Notebaert. I had nothing prepared so I borrowed a 3 x 5 card from the registration desk and slipped into the restroom to make notes for my speech. Lee Holst, Ameritech's state manager, said it was the best speech I ever gave.

Fortunately, I knew quite a few Yellow Pages people, could personalize the remarks and they enjoyed that. Since Yellow Pages were in my department at work, I also knew a lot about that end of our business so it wasn't difficult to flatter my friends at Ameritech with numbers and statistics. It would have been embarrassing for my company and a disgrace if I had not gone. And I wouldn't have had the privilege of meeting Gene Cernan.

All of the top executives with Ameritech were there along with the Mayor of Indianapolis. I'll never forgive Bill for asking me to stop by and just "say a few words."

PS... This is the anniversary month of Lee Holst's passing in 2010. Hardly a day goes by that something doesn't remind me of him.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shaw joins the exhibitors

Mohawk has been demonstrating fibers that are friendly to animals. Beaulieu is on the animal theme, too. Ads about Invista's new Stainmaster "PetProtect" appeared in early November. The new product is durable, easy-to-clean and resists most difficult pet stains according to publicity releases. They claim pet hair lets go easier when vacuumed.

Shaw Floors restored the Grand Central Terminal in New York City with more than 14,000 square feet of carpet, hardwood and resilient floors. It's estimated that a million people pass through Grand Central Terminal each day, totaling tens of millions of footsteps. This will no doubt be the ultimate test for any floor covering material.

“Just like our homes, the floors of Grand Central Terminal are put to the test each day with kids, messes and weather,” said Randy Merritt, president of Shaw Floors. “Design and durability have been at the core of Shaw Floors and Grand Central Terminal for decades, setting a strong foundation for this year’s partnership in one of the busiest rooms in the world.”

I wonder if Shaw gave any thought to cleaning the carpet? I don't think maintenance was mentioned in the press release but I'm sure the public would be interested. The January Clene Times will have a column about exhibit-type advertising. I'm going to put this Shaw press release in that same issue since it is so interesting.

Monday, November 25, 2013

CRI's Braun to retire

The Carpet and Rug Institute's Werner Braun announced that he will retire at the end of March, 2014. Mr. Braun made the announcement at the CRI's annual meeting held November 13 in Dalton, Georgia.

CRI Board Chairman, David Jolly of J & J Industries, said, "Werner has been a stalwart defender and promoter of the carpet industry throughout his time at the Carpet and Rug Institute. His depth of knowledge on technical issues, combined with his strengths at issues management and consensus-building, have made him an extremely effective leader for the CRI. Werner has set a high bar for his successor."

Braun and his wife Mary and their children Marylyn, 18, and Werner "Bay" Braun, 16, plan to remain in Dalton. "We love it here," Braun said, adding he will continue to be an active community volunteer.

On a personal note, I've had the pleasure of playing golf with Werner on several occasions and having dinner with his wonderful family. Throughout his tenure with CRI, he has always been available and open to any suggestion. Whether he agreed or not, he has always been more than gracious. All of us at Bane-Clene wish Werner a wonderful retirement.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Today is another of those days in our history that we "shall never forget." On this 50th anniversary there are many alive who will never forget where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that our president had been shot.

The motive and perpetrators are still a subject of debate. Union bosses, Mafia members, CIA officials, political opponents and foreign spies have all been juxtaposed along with Communists and others as possible suspects.

One thing is for sure. That day in Dallas changed the direction of our politics and ultimately changed our lives and the world forever. The rest of the '60s were mired in the mud of the cultural revolution and the divisive war in Viet Nam.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tax hint

Check this out with your accountant. The total write-off for new equipment up to $500,000.00 ends with this fiscal year. If you're thinking about buying a new truck, computer, new cleaning equipment or any major capital improvement for your business, do it now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Memoriam

Oka Thompson Negley
February 26, 1926 - November 1, 2013

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of the grand lady who ran my office so efficiently for 35 years. Oka retired in 2010. She was married to Robert H. (Pete) Negley for 60 years. Pete passed away in 2007. Oka is survived by her sister Vivian, children, Dana and Diane, a grandson David, a great granddaughter Kaityln and Tammy, her favorite niece.

In 1975 I hired several secretaries only to find they used white out by the barrel or couldn't spell. In despair my wife Elizabeth said, "You need Oka." They were long-time friends and sorority sisters. Oka was a church secretary when Elizabeth invited her to lunch and asked her to join our company. She did and there is no doubt that she had a strong influence in our company's success over the years through her hard work and dedication to her job.

Oka was perfect. She was prim and proper and always there when needed. When necessary she would work twelve hours without a question. She took short hand as fast as I could talk and typed 90 words-per-minute flawlessly. Oka didn't say much, but when she did it was meaningful and I learned to listen. At Mini-Clinics she kept me on track with Que cards and at every convention she was the official greeter with the beautiful smile. Thousands of our customers from around the world considered Oka a friend.

Over the years she developed a vast knowledge of intellectual property law and worked closely with our lawyers to protect the rights of our customers and our company in the use of our copyrighted ads and trademarks that have proved to be so valuable.

Dr. Herb True, PhD, speaking at our 1976 convention pointed to Oka as a person we should all imitate. He said, "Oka has a smile that would ripen a banana."

That's how I will always remember her.

Friday, November 15, 2013


John Wooden, the legendary coach, had a unique skill enabling him to impart
his philosophies and wisdom to his teams which were exceptional. Wooden was
a fierce competitor but when he lost a game he never blamed officials or his
players. When his team won he didn't brag about his coaching skills and generally
found room for a compliment to the other team in his analysis of the game. Today,
this formula is used by most successful after-game speakers and analysts.

In the carpet cleaning business, it's rare to hear a colleague in the industry
say anything complimentary about a peer. Usually, if given half a chance, the
opposite is true. Even if an insulting comment is true, the criticism casts
a pall over the entire industry. My dear grandmother always said, "If you
can't say anything good about a person, don't say anything." Think about
that the next time you're tempted to knock a competitor.

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at wfbane@baneclene.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Last summer IICRC announced a "new" mission statement to advance
globally recognized standards and certifications for the cleaning, inspection,
restoration and installation industries. The plan includes setting goals all
through their operations including administration, governance, communication,
standards, education, certification, examinations, instructors, schools, marketing,
international activity and especially their "new" affiliated trade
association, the International Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Council
of Associations (IICRCA). That lofty statement can be summed up in one word.

As a died-in-the-wool conservative I have a built-in mechanism that automatically
questions anything that even hints at control. And IICRC's "new" mission
statement reminds me of our bureaucrats in Washington hard at work to make us
believe that bigger is better. But this "new" plan is not really new.
Ed York, the founder of the predecessor, IICUC, was a deep thinker, innovator,
and probably started more enterprises connected with our industry than any person
I knew. Ed saw the potential of controlling the industry through IICUC and set
the wheels in motion for what has become IICRC.

Control was definitely on his mind the day he called me to recruit the PCA,
a private association of Bane-Clene owners, to support IICUC back in the '80s.
In our discussion he told me in no uncertain words that control was the key
objective and listed the advantages of such power. Ed said he admired the way
I controlled PCA. His idea was that in order to control the industry the first
requisite was control of the small associations that represented local cleaners.
While his plan had a certain intrigue, I thanked him for inviting me to participate
but declined because he was wrong. The sixty people who started PCA in 1980
were adamant when they organized it. They wanted an association that was totally
independent of the rest of the industry.

In the mid 1990s, my friend Herb Harpham of Certified Chemical Company was
program chairman for a convention in Toledo, Ohio and asked me to speak. Lee
Zimmermann, president of the association, and his wife Kathy introduced me to
exhibitors and many of their members and made me feel quite welcome. But, just
as I was introduced to speak, a strong advocate of IICRC said loud enough for
everyone in the audience to hear, "Who the hell invited Bane to speak here?"
Herb was embarrassed, but I got a nice hand at the end.

After my speech, I was taken to a private luncheon hosted by IICRC. At that
time they were promoting ICRA, an umbrella spin-off that would essentially mean
the end of any influence by local associations. The movement was unpopular and
was overwhelmingly rejected. Before the principals realized I was in the dining
room, one of them began to outline the same basic plan that I suspect they have
today. About that time I was recognized and informed that the luncheon was a
confidential board meeting and was politely asked to leave. An insider filled
me in later.

The acronym has grown by a few initials (IICRCA) but I'd bet it still promotes
the fundamental ideas that were proposed that day in Toledo. Just like the big
government bureaucrats they emulate, IICRC is beating the same drum. Their intention
is simply to control the cleaning, restoration and installation industries.
The progressive movement in politics started more than a hundred years ago and
just like their models in Washington, they don't give up. They failed in '95,
but to paraphrase the Terminator, "They'll be back".

IICRC has recently purchased a former bank property in Las Vegas that will
serve as its new Global Resource Center. The property has approximately 2,500
square feet of warehouse and 17,500 square feet of office space. My prediction
is that this time they may "get 'er done."

They even own a bank building to hold all of their money.

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at wfbane@baneclene.com.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans day tribute

L to R: Jim McDonough Owner (US Army Ret), Brandon
Senior Tech, Trainer and Dothan Truck Leader (Veteran Carpet Cleaner ) Garrett
Truck Leader Enterprise ( USMC ), Jordan Carpet and Lawn Technician (Eagle Scout),
Joel Lawn Technician ( Army Infantry ), Michael Lawn Technician ( Ships to Ft
Benning, 5 Nov, Army ), Todd Senior Lawn Tech and Trainer (Navy) & John
Cappadoro Owner (US Army Ret)

Veterans Carpet Cleaning and Lawn Service, LLC, Enterprise,* Alabama

I couldn't think of a better way to recognize Veterans Day than to
feature a group of young warriors who have made the transition from military
life into a successful business. Three years ago in October 2010, two active-duty
army officers took leave, came to Indianapolis and attended Bane-Clene Institute
to investigate the carpet cleaning business.

Six months later, with a combined 42 years of service to their Nation,
Jim McDonough and John Cappadoro purchased their first Bane-Clene system on
their retirement from the Army. The two aviators said their ambitious undertaking
was: "The desire to be small business owners
who could not only be successful but who could take ownership of their future."

Last month as I entered our classroom to address the students, there
were John and Jim in the front row again with two new members of their team.
In just two and a half years they established a good reputation with Angie's
List and built a solid customer base. They're expanding to Dothan, AL., and
brought Brandon Wilder and Garrett Eichorn to school. Their company name reflects
the character of these men. Hiring veterans whenever they can is helping solve
the economic dilemma facing members of our armed forces as the military downsizes.
To Jim and John and all of your people: Good luck and thanks to all of you for
your service. May God bless you and the country you defended so well.

PS: This old Jarhead was touched when Garrett Eichorn, obviously USMC bred,
greeted me with "Semper Fi" and told me Parris Island hasn't changed
much since I was there nearly 69 years ago. I respectfully disagree. I believe
today's warriors are stronger, tougher, better equipped, better trained and
just as dedicated as those who served before them.

* What a great name for a city in which to start a new business!

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at wfbane@baneclene.com.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A good sign

Brintons Carpets in Kidderminster, England serves the casino, cruise line, hotel and luxury real estate markets and have the honor of being a "Royal Warrant Holder" for providing carpets to Britain’s Royal residences. In 1982 our distributor in the UK and I demonstrated the Bane-Clene Way® to some of their technical and sales staff. I have a cherished letter thanking us for the visit and stating that they would be pleased to recommend us.

Brintons announced recently that the high-end healthcare market is moving from a clinical environment to rooms and suites similar to 5 star hotels. Brinton's is using anti-microbial technology and new carpet designs to enter the healthcare market. The announcement is exciting for another reason, too. The move shows a trend in high-end medical facilities going back to carpet. It's soft, quiet and safe compared to hard, slick and dangerous for falls.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Quote on O'care

John McAfee, founder of the internet security system bearing his name was interviewed on FNC about the new healthcare law. I don't take shorthand and got as much of the interview as I could. This is the essence of the statement:

"It’s seriously bad. Somebody made a grave error, not in designing the program but in implementing the web aspect of it. Anybody can put up a web page and claim to be a broker for this system. I will predict the loss of income for millions of Americans who are going to lose their identities. You can imagine a retired lady who has $75,000 in the bank, her whole life savings, having it wiped out in one day because she signed up. And believe me, this is going to happen millions of times. This is a hacker’s wet dream."

Monday, November 04, 2013

CNG (compressed natural gas)

An advertisement in a trade magazine by HydraMaster introduced a new direct-drive unit that uses CNG. That really makes sense and they are applauded for the move. Hopefully one day CNG will become popular because I believe it's the best alternative fuel. It costs less and burns cleaner. Engines run cooler, last longer, and get better MPG than with gasoline.

In 1991 our service company trucks were rigged for CNG. We stopped using it the next year for two reasons. There was only one CNG filling station in our area and it always had long lines. Our Techs didn't like the usual 45 minute to an hour wait-time. Citizens Gas Co., never followed through with their promise of in-house compressors.

I imagine the government wouldn't allow in-house compressors hooked to the company gas line because they couldn't figure out how to collect the taxes they get at the pump. Like everything else they touch, government slows or stops progress in dealing with foreign oil dependency. If they ever allow in-house compressors we'll convert to CNG again.

Friday, November 01, 2013

More e-mails on "CRI"

Remember a few years ago when CRI was such a hot issue? In researching an article recently I came across more than 200 e-mails that were sent to me at the time and in re-reading them I found them interesting and still pertinent in some cases. There were so many I'll just publish a few of them occasionally. Here's today's batch:

"CRI withdrew its XRF test from ASTM standard consideration when the ASTM scientists submitted a list of written questions. CRI chose to withdraw rather than answer the
technical questions at the ASTM meeting in April, '08."

"The vast majority of carpet warranties have already been VOIDED long before we showed up. The main reason ? The carpet was never correctly installed as per CRI installation standard 104/105. In the last 15 years I have never had anyone ever ask me about their warranty."

"What you have is Green Seal backing away from CRI because CRI wants to distance itself from Green Seal so they can come up with their own standard and shut Green Seal out. Gee would you think the troops at CRI would ever do something to be so self serving? AT the same time Green Seal is no better in its hopes to dominate the Green Market. In the end they each will have to Kiss up to USGBC (United States Green Building Council) because the LEED program drives Green, not one industry like carpet makers or Juice Producers."

"I remain troubled by the "Certified Space Technology" position that is achieved by paying for the "top position", which is not explained in the rankings. It's of interest that this "top billing" was only paid for by franchise organizations."

"When independents get wise to CRI and IICRC plans for dominance, the whole picture will change. Remember the DuPont Stainmaster debacle with Stanley Steemer? When the word gets out us grunts will boycott them. Let the frannies do the work if they can and I know they can't."

"Platinum rating sounds like something the government would invent. Instead of what comes after a trillion, the CRI will be asking, what comes after platinum?"

"Nice to see the CRI and Shaw raising the bar. Mighty Pack by Rug Doctor. Wow, I didn't see that coming and ChemWhoo, too. There is nothing like a little cash to move things along."

PS: It took ten years to sign up the first 1,000 CSPs (Certified Service Providers). In just two years that number shrank to 809. Most CSPs are franchises because independent professional cleaners have resoundingly rejected the program. Even the supporting franchise operators are reluctant to advertise the CRI/SOA, probably because of its love affair with DIY.

PPS: I don't know what the guy who wrote the second from last e-mail knew about our current healthcare situation, but did you notice the comment about "Platinum?" Maybe he's clairvoyant because that e-mail was written several years ago. Or maybe the bureaucrats in Dalton are ahead of those in Washington. Notice the ratings ... Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

About 25 years ago a man from Cincinnati came to Indianapolis for the installation of a truck mounted cleaning unit. His new van was professionally lettered and in a prominent place on both sides it said, "Award Winning Service." I asked him what award he had won and he replied, "Oh! It's one I gave myself. It sounds good and nobody will know the difference."

This man was a PR machine. He had done his homework on the cleaning business before he got into it and could talk intelligently about it. During class at Bane-Clene Institute he often took the floor and indulged us in speculation about his plans for success. In advertising class he gave his ideas freely and appeared to have some knowledge in the subject.

His business card said he was "bonded, insured, guaranteed," and that he had "10 years experience." In class he went into great detail about the importance of "blowing one's own horn." Before he advertised "Bonded" he should have talked to his insurance company and understood what it means because in his first year he was sued by a customer and lost.

It's not easy to tell someone who is spending money with us that they're wrong. But I tried to explain the "bonded" issue and to delicately point out that he was new in the business and advertising "10 years experience" and "Award winning service" was false advertising. The sad end to this story is that he didn't make it to his first anniversary.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bane-Clene® unit for sale

About once a month I look at web sites that advertise used Truck-Mounts for sale. It helps me stay abreast of our market and to clarify current economic trends. Ever since fuel prices went berserk a few years ago hundreds of gasoline and diesel powered units from well-known manufacturers began appearing for sale on these sites.

Besides confirming high fuel prices and a bad economy, there is a rewarding aspect for Bane- Clene. Our used systems are in high demand and requests for them have increased. Bane-Clene units 10, 20 and even 30 years old are snapped up and put into service. Recognizing this trend, Don Bane began buying and refurbishing our used systems several years ago.

I've never advertised anything for anyone on this Blog. But Lo and behold! The other day when I looked at one popular used equipment site there was one of ours, all alone with page after page of those petroleum-guzzlers and I felt sorry for it. Here's the ad. Please call the owner direct. Don't call us. We're NOT responsible for the condition of the unit or any provisions of the sale.

Beautiful blue one ton 350 engine Chevy van (1997) with 1997 Bane permamount deluxe Electric truckmount in EXCELLENT shape. Built-in aluminum cleaning & storage racks. 120 gallon Stainless steel solution & waste tanks. 3 Electric reels. Great starter or second van, ready to go. In my 28 years in the business I've used it "all" and I MUCH prefer this electric unit and lower maintenance costs. One owner, one driver, garaged at night. Plenty of power for large homes and commercial work. * Location Ocoee, Tennessee * Call Bob at 423-322-8583. $6,500.
P. S. Happy Birthday to a very special little person, on her very special day!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A numbers game

A mailing list company claims there are 44,532 carpet cleaners in the United States. They also sell a list with 7,105 suppliers to the carpet cleaning trade. That means if the market were divided evenly every supplier would have six or seven customers.

More than 50 years in the cleaning business has taught us what works. Example: By having our own service operation we know that there is nothing better than old fashioned direct (junk) mail to reach a specific market.

Some don't understand what makes direct mail work. A select mailing list, a good mailing piece sent to the same address as often as budget will allow and someone who knows the business to answer the phone when a prospect calls to inquire... That's what it takes.

We have a complete line of reasonably priced brochures that are designed, tested and proven to target the specific market for the services we offer. Call our toll-free number, check out our catalog or look on-line for details. They really work.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cold weather ahead

A full or nearly-full gas tank reduces the odds that you will need expensive fuel system service on your truck. A partially empty fuel tank may result in rust particles flaking off and clogging fuel filters, lines and injectors. Keep your gas tank as full as possible at all times. Never let it get lower than half a tank, especially in the winter.

Don't forget to keep heat in your truck if you park outside. If you take your base unit to a heated area be sure to remember pressure sprayers and other equipment that may contain water. Brass parts will distort when they're allowed to freeze. Don't leave your cleaning heads unprotected in freezing weather. Chemicals may separate when allowed to freeze.

And don't forget to keep emergency gear like a snow shovel, newspapers, flares and a flashlight on board in case you get stuck in a snow drift. That snow shovel can be a public relations bonanza, too, if you use it to shovel a path at a customer's home.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The "new economy"

The Federal Reserve is pumping $85 Billion a month into government bonds and has really inflated things around the Big Apple. A NYC realtor is advertising a one bedroom apartment in Harlem for rent at $28,000 a month. Facebook and Twitter are going public. Investment banks, Wall Street brokers and their employees are loving it. The companies that make "smart" phones, high-tech hardware and software are flourishing. Lawyers are giddy.

But let's take a look at the root of this economic boom. The "free" money from the Fed really only benefits those who are "connected" to government or Wall Street. Naturally, peripheral vendors do well, too. The DC area for example, even with the so-called government shut-down, has the highest income per capita in the nation. What is the economic engine that drives DC? Lobbyists, lawyers, accountants, and government taxing, borrowing and spending!

For consumers this exciting "new economy" means we can watch football in our car, at work or anywhere and we can play video games all day long with people working in other offices. We can read tweets about someone we don't know dining in a restaurant we never heard of. We can make reservations for our vacations or dinner while at work or even as we drive home. All this activity is guaranteed to keep us occupied and oblivious to what is really happening.

I have qualms about all of this. Who besides Wall Street, lawyers, devise makers, big carriers, politicians, government employees and tax collectors are making money from this "new economy?" Can walking around looking at a hand-held devise all day make a living? Will playing games on company time make an employer prosperous? Is the inflationary influence affecting NYC and DC contained? If the answers are "yes" then I'm all for it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

100 years old this month

The federal income tax has a birthday this month. It began as an innocuous 1% tax on income of more than $20,000.00. The form was three pages long with only a one page instruction sheet. Five years later, at the end of WWI, it had a top rate of 77% and has been a political football and hot potato ever since.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Be Alert

Scammers are already taking advantage of Obamacare. Watch out for fake phone calls and e-mails asking for employees' social security identification numbers. The callers sound official. Fake e-mails are easier to spot. In any event hang up or delete.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

The "Gunny" said it

There was an old Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps in World War II who taught this philosophy for survival. "If you ain't shootin', you better be loadin'. If you ain't loadin', you better be movin'. If you ain't movin', you're gonna get dead."

The old Gunny's ideology could be applied to business today. When things are slow and you're not shootin', clean up your equipment and stock your trucks. That's loadin'. Then make courtesy calls, plan ads and get out your brochures that tell about your service. That's movin'.

Too many people in the cleaning industry are hunkered down waiting for their competition* or the government** to do something.

*Congratulations to Stanley Steemer® on their latest TV ad campaign. They're movin'!

** They're gonna get dead!

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Stock answers

Lately a lot of e-mails have asked where I get the information I write about. Most of the comments along with that question are complimentary, but a few are not so much. I usually answer the e-mail with a few lines of prepared text like this:

Thanks for reading the stuff I write. Most of the info I get is from guys like you who are really in the business, plus some golf buddies who are attorneys, accountants and successful business people. Over the years, I've learned to trust what they have to say. About 30 of us are in regular e mail contact. I even have a few politician friends, believe it or not.

To close, I address the individual question about business. The point is that I trust the core of people with whom I regularly correspond and I don't usually write about something without the benefit of asking some of them for advice or knowing the answer from first-hand experience.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

More on government healthcare

At the end of WWII, I spent two weeks in a Naval Hospital with pneumonia complicated by malaria. The head nurse, Lt. Helen Heffentrager, must have been jilted by a Marine because anyone who wore our dogtags became the object of her irritation. Every morning she would scream, "Get up out of that sack you lazy, (bleeping), good for nothing Jarhead, and swab the deck." She was a foul-mouthed, red-headed hellion.

I remember a Navy Dentist who wouldn't give me Novocain. He said, "Marines are supposed to be tough." Probably these events are the reasons I chose a civilian doctor and hospital in Philadelphia rather than use the "free" government health care when my wife was expecting our first child. I was in the Marine Corps when she was expecting our second son in 1951, and I chose a civilian doctor and St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Sidebar: Elizabeth had a Cesarean Section and a private room at Episcopal Hospital in Philly for seven days. The total cost for the hospital room, operating room, surgeon and doctor for pre-natal and post-natal care was $402.00. The hospital used four pints of blood in the surgery and we were not charged for it. They just asked us to donate eight pints to their blood bank and my Marine buddies took care of that. BTW... Navy Corpsmen were exceptional.

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Monday, October 07, 2013

Healthcare and inflation

Talking heads on TV say government healthcare will cost more and be less efficient. Radicals on both sides seem to agree on that. Don't forget that all the big insurance companies met with politicians before the plan became law and you can bet they played CYA.

Meanwhile the Fed is printing $85B a month but contends inflation is only 2%. Last week I listed real inflationary increases for things that we use in business. They ranged from 3% to 30% and most people I've talked with say their healthcare rates are increasing from 10% to 40%.

Today I got a 90 day supply of arthritis pills for Tramp, my old hound dog, and they cost 50% more than the last batch. And here's something else for you animal lovers to think about. Some insurance companies are offering insurance plans for animals.

Be careful. When we didn't have health insurance for humans, a hospital room was $10 a night and a doctor made house calls for $8. Insurance is a form of socialism and anything with that label makes everything cost more.

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Friday, October 04, 2013

More on "QE"

Here's a quote on the subject by a prominent author that was sent to me after my comments last week about the irrational behavior of the Federal Reserve Board:

"As government printing presses and central banks inundate the marketplace with ever expanding supplies of money and credit, the tragic consequences are becoming much easier to see. It is increasingly difficult for politicians to explain away the economic upheaval, social disorder and general erosion of the moral and social fabric attendant on their policies. "

No, that wasn't written this year. That quote is from a book titled "Age of Inflation" by Dr. Hans Sennholz, circa 1979. The book should be required reading for everyone, especially idiots in government who spend taxpayers' money.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Information on a fast track

Watching the news it was interesting to hear a reporter talking about how the news business has changed because of instant communications. As a low-tech person who still doesn't even have a smart phone, I began to think about the old days of slow-flow information. Whenever we discovered something helpful, it would take weeks or even months for it to filter down to our customers. Today a few key strokes on a special e-mail list and every customer gets the latest information almost immediately.

More important, the information flow phenomenon has become a two-way conduit. People who are not even customers comment on things I write about in my blog or in the company newsletter. Thanks to e-mail, even a low-tech person like me can stay in the loop as to what is on the collective minds of my colleagues in the business and what's happening out on the firing line.

The statistic that really boggles a low-techie like me is the report Google sent recently that said there were 42,859 views of my blog since I started writing it. Wow!

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Shaw® & Mohawk® to invest $280 million in Northwest Georgia

Shaw plans to spend $85 million on a carpet tile manufacturing plant in Adairsville that will employee 500 people. The company also plans to upgrade its distribution system with an additional 535,000 square feet of warehouse space in Dalton. Over the next five years, Shaw said it expects to add 110 employees in Northwest Georgia.

Mohawk is spending 180 million that will add 500 more jobs. They're also into a new ad campaign titled, "License to Spill." If ever an ad campaign suggested the need for professional cleaning service this is it. Mohawk is promoting their SmartStrand® brand by pouring chocolate, fondue and chili dog sauce on a sample carpet and then cleaning it with just plain water.

Recognize the script? It reminds me of Amoco's big roll-out for Marquesa Lana in the '90s. Don Barrett, who was in charge, went far beyond what Mohawk dared to do. He poured bowl cleaner, battery acid, shoe polish, hair dye, mustard, ketchup, red wine and anything else the audience wanted to bring on the sample carpet before it was cleaned by a Bane-Clene® operator. More than a hundred of you were involved in these shows nationwide and prospered.

The demos were intended to show that the carpet didn't need a professional to clean it, but just calling attention to the mess brought instant business to most of you who did those demonstrations. Carpet still needs to be cleaned and so will the new miracle fibers. And Beaulieu® has been advertising their Bliss Brand heavily. These are all signs that the carpet industry is on the rebound and we wish them well. The health and welfare of the cleaning business is directly related to that of the carpet industry. Pent up demand definitely means more business in 2014.

Better be ready!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Inflation only 2%

The Fed says we shouldn't worry about hyper-inflation. Yeah...Right! Here are some "real inflation" increases forecast for next year that contradict everything the Fed says:

  • Rent 3%
  • On-line ads 3%
  • Travel 4%
  • Overnight mail 5%
  • Natural gas 5%
  • Freight cost 5%
  • Hotels 5%
  • Car rental 5%
  • Healthcare 6%
  • Prescriptions 6%
  • Postal cost 7%
  • Insurance 10%
  • Floodplain insurance 25%

The payroll tax base will be increased $2,700.00. Gas & Diesel will range from $3.45 to $4.10. Electricity will go up about 10¢ per KWH. And on top of all of that, I've talked to some folks around the country who say their health insurance has already gone up 30% to 40%.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Fed is 100 this month

They were authorized by Congress in 1913 and they're among the smartest people in the world. But there is another layer of intellectual gelatin above them calling the shots. Take " Quantitative Easing" for an example. "QE" was supposed to taper off when the economy started to pick up. Just the other day I heard the president say that he's creating lots of jobs and the economy is getting better. Then why doesn't the Fed back off on "QE?"

They keep up "QE" because of their big money interests. The Council on Foreign Relations, World Bank, World Trade Organization and other world trade enthusiasts haven't extracted enough of our savings yet to bring up living standards in 3rd world nations. This elite group smells massive sales of all the stuff that people would use if they just had some money. The problem is right now they don't have any money.....and we have so much!

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Monday, September 23, 2013


"Quantitative Easing" was the con game that saved big investment banks and insurance companies five years ago. The Federal Reserve has been making noises about bringing the speed of the printing presses down a notch or tapering off for months. "QE" really means they've been easing money out of the pockets and bank accounts of anyone who tries to save money and pay their bills on time. Predictions are that it will lead to hyper-inflation.

Does anyone besides me remember the double digit inflation and turmoil of the Carter years? Price lists were obsolete before the ink was dry. I fear we're heading into another of those periods, hastened by such debacles as tax refunds for those who don't pay taxes. Have you noticed derivatives are gaining in popularity again? Shrill TV commercials say that if you owe $300,000 and your house is worth only $150,000 you can refinance it. Isn't this how we got into the financial mess of '07?

The Fed has been pumping $85 Billion a month into investment banks and Wall Street to buy worthless bonds. Brokers love the commissions. Last week Bernanke and Co., decided to keep up the "Artificial Insemination." The stock market went silly over the news. In fact "AI" may better describe the activity than "QE." Mr. Bernanke said the Fed has two goals. The first is to create employment for the middle and lower classes and the second is to keep inflation in check. I don't know how you score his success, but I give him an F in both.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Hurry, hurry, hurry

Everything is fast today. Car commercials show speed and quick handling. Moms race their kids to school. Cadillac started it a few years ago with their "controlled aggression" ads. Now cars race down Manhattan streets at very high speed. Only cabbies can do that in New York. The erratic driving on our streets and highways reflects this car commercial mentality.

AT&T commercials show fast as being better. They contend that it's important for every friend to know instantly of our choice of a restaurant for dinner or other mundane bits of useless information. Have you noticed people looking at their hand a lot lately? Must be some kind of illness. Reminds me of an old schoolboy joke from the 1930s.

At my golf club, a new Pro put a clock at each Tee so players could see if they were on pace to play a four-hour round. The PGA has TV commercials promoting fast play for all of us amateurs. Never mind that Pros take five hours to play eighteen holes. Did anyone ever think that Pros might be better because they take a little longer?

Baseball is a unique game with no clock, yet there is talk about speeding it up. Next season we'll have the replay option, as in football, which may make it even slower. Getting rid of batting gloves and all the Velcro stuff would speed up play if they were really serious. On the other hand, why is everybody in such a hurry?

In the cleaning industry fast is conceived to be better. "Get the job done quicker and make more money" is the mantra of instructors peddling products throughout the industry that clean faster. Here's some advice! Spend a little more time on each job, give it your undivided attention and your customers will appreciate it and become valid third-party advocates.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thoughtful e-mail

Subject: The Clene-Times® commentary

I love receiving the Clene-Times publication and appreciate the quality of product and service we have received from Bane-Clene® over the years. I truly respect Bill Bane and the ‘person’ he is, sadly a fading breed of gentle person who conducts themselves in a way we could all be proud to emulate. But I just have to make a comment on the most recent September issue I received. In his column “Noise, energy dependence and pollution” ...he says, “Let them know we are environmentally friendly. Bane-Clene systems use electricity and not fossil fuels to power our cleaning systems. This puts us out front in the fight against air pollution and our nation’s dependence upon foreign oil that we buy from governments that really hate us.”

I believe this is wrong because electric plants are a MAJOR polluter of our environment, most being coal powered. And, even those that are converting to natural gas could be considered polluters if you consider the fracking issues in this country that produce natural gas. So I don’t think I would be using this argument to persuade clients that electricity is environmentally friendly. I don’t think it is any more or less friendly than anything else used to create energy. It seems that even wind power has issues in other ways damaging to the environment.

I don’t know why this struck me but it did so thought I would share my thought. I do appreciate the quality company you run and hope you are there for many years to come.


Dianne Humphrey

Hi Diane,

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you read what I write and that you take your valuable time to comment. And you're right! As I wrote that article I thought about the things you're saying and about including a mention of coal and oil fired energy plant pollution but decided to keep it on an equipment to equipment comparison. After all, we do sell against that competition and I guess I could blame the economic devil for making me do it.

In defense, we do eliminate a great deal of air and noise pollution at each customer location and that is really what I intended to point out. Thanks again for your very thoughtful and respectful comments.


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Monday, September 16, 2013

New products enhance Seal of Approval logo

"The Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning supplies and equipment welcomes a group of new products and participants. With both newcomers and some familiar names represented in the group, the SOA program now stands at 376 solutions, 444 vacuums, 94 deep cleaning extractors and 104 systems for a total 1018."

This announcement was meant to demonstrate the importance of being part of the CRI/SOA program. But why are so very few CRI approved products advertised by their manufacturers or distributors as having the Seal? Sears® is using the Seal, but it's advertising for in-home carpet cleaning service. Very few professional cleaning companies advertise the SOA.

In our own service company ads, we use the limited space where it will do the most good. For example, we don't feature the SOA because of its lack of consumer recognition We use Angie's List and Better Business Bureau Logos because many millions of consumers recognize them as a symbol of high quality.

The SOA program began in 1996 but didn't come on line until 2002. It took ten more years for CRI to sign up 1,000 Certified Service Providers (CSPs). A look at their web site now shows that number has shrunk from 1,000 to 822. Many carpet cleaners see little value and are not renewing their annual membership. The other note of interest is that CRI touts 1,018 products approved for use on carpets. Ironically, CRI has more approved products than it does CSPs to use them.

Vacuum cleaner Infomercials are another story. The thing they all have in common is that they demonstrate how much dust and dirty air are spewed from their competitors' machines. This has been going on for years and the overriding message to consumers is that carpet is the source of filthy, germ-laden dust particles that are blown into the air we breath from a simple chore like running the household vacuum cleaner.

CRI's own technical spokesman, Dr. Michael Berry, described carpet as a "sink" or a collection place for filth. Cleaning industry teachers (many with no credentials) travel the land and espouse the message "Clean that Sink" in an effort to sell their miracle cleaning stuff. Well-meaning carpet cleaners parrot this information in their advertising and the public is inundated with the idea that carpet is the source of dirt, dust and grime.

Watch those Informercials and especially those for rental extraction machines that have the highest CRI rating and advertise the SOA. Consumer appetites are guaranteed to suffer if they watch these poorly produced shows during meal-time. The brains in the carpet industry haven't figured this out yet as they scratch their heads and wonder why sales suffer.

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