A year ago, I said there would be no more criticism from me on the Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval program. Too many of you had indicated that you were not interested in CRI and asked (some in a crude way) that I stop writing about CRI and concentrate on more important matters that pertain to our business.
I'm obliged to report that the SOA program for cleaners has ground to a halt and is indeed shrinking. It took several years to get a significant number of cleaners signed on as CSP's (Certified Service Providers) and last year CRI proudly announced that the 1,000th CSP had signed onto the program. The other day I looked and there were only 946.
Out of nearly 40,000 cleaning firms in America that's not a very good percentage. About 70% of the CSP's are franchises which means that independent cleaners are not interested. There was some fear that CRI was attempting to take over the cleaning business, but 946 firms are not able to service carpet warranties, let alone normal customer needs.
CRI has fallen on hard times like many in this economic environment. They're vacating the beautiful building on the hill in Dalton and moving into rented space downtown. Members are closing plants and laying off employees. CRI has re-organized its board, the technical committees and reduced its management staff.
This rough patch will pass and hopefully CRI will survive and come back strong. When that time comes, I sincerely hope they'll tend to carpet business and leave cleaning to the people who know about it.
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