Stanley Steemer International, Inc.
Stanley Steemer is a US-based company that primarily offers cleaning services. It specializes in carpet cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, upholstery cleaning, hardwood floor cleaning, and air duct cleaning. On top of this, Stanley Steemer also offers water damage restoration, helping to clean and repair homes that have been damaged by flooding or internal leaks. Finally, it also offers its own line of cleaning products.
Number of Locations
Stanley Steemer has a presence in 49 states, with over 280 branches, split between independent franchises and company-owned locations.
Most of Stanley Steemer’s competitors offer cleaning as a secondary service, with restoration being the primary offering. However, for Stanley Steemer, cleaning is the core focus of its offerings, and it has a range of services centered on this. Most of its competitors, for example, have emergency hotlines that customers can call 24/7, designed specifically to capture those who require urgent remediation services. However, since Stanley Steemer is more concerned with the cleanup effort, there is less of a need for emergency provisions.
As such, the primary focus of its listings are niche cleaning services:
Stanley Steemer offers a number of specialist cleaning services, much of which centers on different types of flooring. It offers these to both commercial and residential customers.
In addition to flooring cleaning, Stanley Steemers has more ‘deep clean’ services, which are likely to be major one-off options for clients, such as boat or air duct cleaning.
The full list of specialist cleaning services is as follows:
As well as cleaning services for surfaces, Stanley Steemer also offers deep cleaning for fabrics. Mostly this centers on deep cleaning of carpets; however, Stanley Steemer can also bring its equipment to bear on other types of fabric. The three main offerings are:
❏ Carpet cleaning
❏ Upholstery cleaning
❏ Oriental rug cleaning
WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION
As mentioned above, water damage restoration is not one of the primary offerings in the Stanley Steemer catalog, although it is listed as a service on its website.
However, unlike specialist water restoration companies, which offer things like odor removal, contracting services, and mold remediation, Stanley Steemer focuses almost exclusively on cleaning.
Its service page for water damage restoration centers on the different types of surfaces from which it can remove water:
Other than this, however, Stanley Steemer doesn’t have the range of services that a specialist water restoration company may offer.
RATINGS AND REVIEWS
BBB RATING: A
Stanley Steemer got an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
PROS AND CONS OF USING STANLEY STEEMER
Although Stanley Steemer offers a different focus of services than many of its competitors, the overall range of services it offers can be sourced elsewhere. That means that is possible (and necessary) to directly compare what Stanley Steemers offers from its competitors. Since most of its customers do not require emergency cleaning, there is more opportunity to consider the strengths and weaknesses of using Stanley Steemer.
There are two main reasons why Stanley Steemer is worthy of a customer’s business. Both of these center on the more homespun elements of the business. The fact that it is still run by the same family gives it a local, small-town feel, which feeds into the overall customer experience.
Stanley Steemer runs an extremely tight business operation, meaning there is very little scope for finding problems. However, there are a couple of areas in which their approach is slightly limited:
On our five-point scale, we rank Stanley Steemer to be ‘Excellent.’
This comes from the professionalism the company brings and the positive reviews it has online. We think they are the best residential water damage restoration service.
STANLEY STEEMER HISTORY
Stanley Steemer was founded in Dublin, Ohio, in 1947 by Jack A. Bates. Like many of its current national rivals, it operated as a small, single shop business for a number of years, focused on a small niche – in Stanley Steemer’s case, it was carpet cleaning. In the 1960s, Wesley Bates (Jack’s son) began experimenting with a new type of carpet cleaning machine. This work in progress took nearly a decade to come to fruition.
In 1976, however, Stanley Steemer had developed a proprietary truck-mounted, dual-wand cleaning system. This technology helped Stanley Steemer to gain a considerable market advantage and helped propel it to national success. The existence of a proprietary technology demonstrated that Stanley Steemer was an innovative and expert cleaning company, thus providing both commercial and marketing success.
The company began a combination of franchising and centrally owned branches, although the corporate management of the company remains in the hands of the Bates family. Stanley Steemer also operates exclusively in the United States and uses only American-made equipment, which it manufactures itself in a factory in Dublin.
Stanley Steemer also uses the truck-based cleaning method that helped to develop it as a national service provider. Although now using vans rather than trucks, Stanley Steemer takes great pride in the standardization of its equipment, and the uniformity of its vans is central to this.
In many respects, the vans are the Stanley Steemer brand, which shows a direct historical connection with the innovations made in the 1960s and 1970s by Wesley Bates.
Stanley Steemer is proud of its 70-year heritage, and it forms a central part of its overall brand identity. Although it (arguably) has failed to continue in its innovations, Stanley Steemer has leveraged its initial success and driven that home. As a key point of difference, the heritage element is echoed in the fact that the company remains family-run and operates in the same town that the initial shop existed in. This makes trumpeting the history of the company even more valid.
HOW STANLEY STEEMER OPERATES
Central to Stanley Steemer’s branding is the nature of the people selected to be franchisees. On its website, it states: “Our franchisees consider themselves part of an elite group of individuals who have built their businesses on the strength of the Stanley Steemer brand.”
This shows that Stanley Steemer values the entrepreneurial nature of its franchisees. On top of this, Stanley Steemer also prides itself on the uniformity of its service. As mentioned above, this is intimately connected with the standardized design of much of its equipment.
This seeming duality – between independent entrepreneurs and the standardized operations and processes – is combined by virtue of the ‘family’ element of the brand. This provides a loose enough connection to hold everyone together while also accepting separate personalities.
Although not explicitly stated in the branding, it is this idea, connected together by the heritage of Stanley Steemer, which allows it to craft a comprehensive brand from relatively disparate elements. Unlike many of its competitors, it retains a fairly homespun image, showing it is true to its 1940s roots in small-town Ohio.
As mentioned above, Stanley Steemer owns its own factory, where it produces all of the core materials. It also owns some of its local branches.
It franchises others out, providing a real mix of owner-operators and franchisees.
ULTIMATE SELLING POINT
No other company can truly compete when it comes to heritage, expertise, and simply doing a great cleaning job. The ‘family’ element of Stanley Steemer is very much secondary to the overall core competence of the company. This is what marks it as unique.
It is really remarkable that Stanley Steemer hasn’t broadened its services out, although this is a testament to the fact that it wants to remain providing excellence in what it does.
When it comes to cleaning, it’s hard to think of a company that plays it simpler than Stanley Steemer.
For 70 years, it has developed a set of excellent processes that improve the overall value of the company to the consumer. It may not be glamorous and there may be other companies that do more innovative work, but overall Stanley Steemer sticks in its lane and does an excellent job.