Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 11, 2009

Why Not Wayne Newton, Indeed? There we were yesterday, minding our own business while engaging in productive economic activity (aka "grocery shopping"), when suddenly, after loading the groceries in the back and getting into the car to go, we were temporarily immobilized because some idiot had stuck a flyer under our driver's side windshield wiper.

We quickly solved the mobility problem (by removing the flyer), but today, we're going to strike back against the idiot responsible for the flyer even existing in the first place, a twit offering to "carpet clean your entire house (ALL ROOMS up to 3000 sq ft.) for $89.95."

Luxury Redefined: The Bissell 9500 ProHeat 2X CleanShot Upright Deep Cleaner Oh, really? You want our cleaning business, do you? After mucking up our car's windshield and wiper assembly with your greasy fingerprints because you *had* to advertise your service by sticking a sheet of paper onto our windshield where we would *have* to deal with it? Guess who's going to have to *really* earn it now....

So here's the deal you paper-hanging carpet-cleaning twit. You're going to compete against *us*. We're going to pit you against us going out and buying a high end carpet cleaner and doing the job ourselves. Specifically, we'll consider buying the snazzy Bissell 9500 ProHeat 2X CleanShot Upright Deep Cleaner from Amazon.

Are you ready? We've adapted our Rent vs Buy Profitability tool to apply to this specific situation. The "rental" price and the purchase price are self-explanatory. For "net rate of inflation," we're using the long-term average rate of inflation for the U.S. and we'll use the featured rate we found for the Discover Card to represent our cost of money for this particular purchase, since Bankrate.com indicates that it falls in the middle for typical credit card interest rates in the U.S. these days.

Rent or Buy Information
Input Data Values
Cost to Rent or Hire a Carpet Cleaner
Cost to Buy a Carpet Cleaner
Net Rate of Inflation [%]
Cost of Money (Credit Card Interest Rate) [%]

Should You Buy or Rent a Carpet Cleaner?
Calculated Results Values
The Bottom Line

Using the default data in the tool above, there's no question that the argument weighs *heavily* in favor of our buying the carpet cleaner and doing the job ourselves, rather than hiring that paper-hanging, carpet-cleaning &%@. But wait a minute - what about the time for our labor? Aren't we forgetting the value of that? If they can do it for less than what our time is worth, shouldn't we hire them to do the job?

Actually, no. The alternative for us doing the job ourselves would be to have to be available for the entire time that we would have the "professional" carpet cleaner at our residence. For us, that's sunk time that we can't get back nor is it time that can we apply to more rewarding activities. We might as well do it ourselves anyway.

Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaners for RentNow, if we wanted to rent a machine to do it ourselves, rather than buy one to do it ourselves, the math might change enough to justify renting rather than buying a machine. Using the $25 rental fee indicated by Rug Doctor, our tool indicates that this might be close to being a better option, although one we would have to weigh against the convenience of having our own in-house carpet cleaner, as opposed to the hassle of having to go somewhere else to get one and then to return later.

No matter what though, at $89.95 per service, that paper-hanging carpet-cleaner just can't compete with us or the alternatives.

Image credit: Family Court Chronicles (Las Vegas)

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