Why Allen Texas?
I live in Allen Texas.
Most people outside of Texas have never heard of Allen, and that’s fine. I’ve only lived here for four years now but have taken a liking to it. It has a lot of class for a city of only 100,000 people. For those outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Allen is located about 20 miles north of Dallas along highway 75. Its claim to fame is, of course, its high school sports program, namely football. Actually, up until two years ago it was noted for its expensive high school football stadium, which came in about $73 million.
The suburb to the north, McKinney, decided that little ol’ Allen could not have the most expensive high school stadium in the United States so they spent more money for their structure using the same builders.
The story goes that when Allen built its stadium, some of the foundation started cracking so the builder was on the hook to fix it. Knowing that, why did McKinney use the same builders? You can almost guess what happened. Yes, their stadium started seeing cracks too. But they still had the most expensive.
Unfortunately, McKinney’s football program, while laudable, isn’t nearly as strong and robust as Allen’s. McKinney has three high schools to divide their talent among; Allen has one high school. Period.
A Tale of Two Allen Boys
Actually Allen has two recent “claims to fame,” one great and one notorious. Two years ago, Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy as the Best College Football Player in America. He hailed from Allen and enjoyed an undefeated record in the expensive stadium. A point in fact is that nobody has beaten Allen in its own stadium since it was erected. Murray was a standout in baseball and football. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 for more money than a hundred of us ever see in a lifetime.
The second individual is Patrick Crusius, who is known as the El Paso shooter. In 2019 Crusius shot and killed 23 people in El Paso Texas. He was about the same age as Murray and was from Allen, though he did not go to Allen High School. He was raised on the other side of the tracks in Allen and went to a Plano high school, which would have been closer to where he lived.
Two boys about the same age from the same town, but very different choices and outcomes in life.
Technical Writer Turned Carpet Cleaner
I got here from Minnesota by way of a few other states. Long story short was that we were following an under 3 niece and we just stayed. Actually the niece and her family stayed here too. I had been working as a technical writer for a contracting company in the East. Mostly my clients were in the Washington DC metro area. It was a nice gig to have and maintain for quite a few years.
That’s what I’ve been for more than 15 years, a technical writer. When asked what I do, I respond, “I write technical things.” Diagrams, user manuals, help guides, frequently asked questions, processes and procedures, business documents, that type of thing. I started doing it as a contractor for Motorola and now have been writing proposals for small defense contractors.
For the past several years, however, I’ve been engaged in what is called “proposal writing.” It’s an interesting subset of technical writing.
You get requests from the government and write to their requirements. Often the requirements are tedious, convoluted, and detailed. They never get their requirements just right so you have to ask them a ton of questions for them to clarify. Even then, there’s no guarantee that loser bidders won’t decide to contest the winner. It happens more often than you think and it can tie up resources for weeks and months. On larger bids (think Billions), it can tie up valuable resources for years. The government wants you to be very specific about your methodology and give you about one quarter the space you need to do it justice.
There is technical writing involved, but with proposals, you often do not know how successful you were. That’s a few notches above my pay grade. Occasionally, someone will spill the beans and announce a win, but for the most part, I wouldn’t have a clue about my win/loss ratio. There are just too many factors out of my control to be keeping tabs on those things.
So, how did I end up starting a carpet cleaning company in Allen Texas?
Let me take you back to my pre-technical writing days. I was working as a maintenance guy and janitor for a condo building in Chicago, named the Eliot House. There were a series of very similar looking buildings named after a variety of writers including Lowell, Faulkner, Dickinson, James/Kilmer, Alcott, Bryant, Cummings, and Eliot. They were all a part of Sandburg Village. Most of the residents probably wouldn’t have a clue why their buildings were named like they were but there they were, and there I was, pushing out trash dumpsters, cleaning hallways, throwing garbage down 33-floor chutes, sifting through discarded neckties and clothing, vacuuming, and pushing large metal q-tips through huge boilers. We rodded toilets, drains, tubs, and fixed faucets and leaky toilets. Happiness was rodding a sink and watching the filthy water swirl down the drain. There was something just so satisfying about that kind of work.
When I got the opportunity to work in an office environment, I said good bye to the physical labor and instead settled for the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome from typing day after day. That also meant putting on an extra 50-75 additional pounds because of the lack of activity. The sedentary life hasn’t agreed with me that well. Not only that, but I don’t like sitting all day because of my lack of movement.
I thought the office environment would give me an opportunity to make decent money. That it did, but at what cost?
So when I began watching videos about my former life as a maintenance guy, something rang true with me. I remember how thin I was and how much fun I had doing physical labor. Sure, the pay wasn’t nearly that great, but I got out and about every day and had a ton of fun while providing a valuable but distasteful service. There was always work for me to do and I got to meet some very interesting people (and some very outrageous ones too).
A Business is Born
I said to myself, “Self, you’ve got to get back into that game. Who cares what others think of it? You need to make a go of it.”
I watched video after video after video of these carpet cleaning guys and it just struck me as a great thing to start, even while I was employed doing non-physical labor.
So for the next three months I studied methods, stains, blotches, chemicals, pH, vacuum and carpet cleaning equipment, techniques, costs, marketing, and anything having to do with this fascinating but hidden industry. No, I wasn’t obsessed by the idea, but I ran my share of experiments in my own home. I settled on what I believe was the best and most effective methodology today for low moisture carpet cleaning. Home owners want quick-drying but clean carpets. Most of the home owners I’ve read do not care how it’s done, just so long as it’s done with little disruption to their already hectic days.
The Chemistry and Equipment are More Superior
The chemistry for getting your carpeting clean has improved dramatically over the past twenty years. Entrepreneurs no longer need to purchase expensive and intrusive truck-mount steam cleaning equipment to accomplish the very basic cleaning task of wetting down your floors and vacuuming the excess water up. Many still do out of habit and because they are tied to the methodology, but it’s not necessary.
If you’ve ever had to keep your door open in the summer (in the South) or in the winter for Northerners, then you know how intrusive and costly it can be. Hoses running up the stairs, around corners, and tripping over the same?
That is so yesterday.
If you had a conscientious cleaner, he may have put in little corner and wall protectors prior to running 150 feet of hoses through your house. Most of the time, they aren’t conscience of those corners and will chip off the paint in a heart beat (and say it was there before he came).
That’s why very low moisture cleaning is becoming the go-to method for homeowners and technicians alike.
You heard it here first.
Now, I realize I’m the new kid on the block, a bit wet behind the ears, so to speak. I’m telling you that up front so there is no misunderstanding about who I am and what I bring to the table.
‘Established in 2020’ or ‘Serving home owners since 2020’ doesn’t exactly exude confidence, but it is honest. That means my service must meet or exceed those of my competitors. If you’re a dyed in-the-wool (no pun intended) truck mount steam cleaning only home owner, I wish you well in finding a great carpet cleaning company. (Good luck also in getting that dye out of the wool).
If, however, it doesn’t matter to you the methodology just as long as your carpets are clean when the technician leaves or if you’re open to trying a low moisture cleaning method, then I encourage you to give me a call. Because I am relatively new to the industry, my work must speak for itself.
As with any new opportunity, I had to narrow my list of services I am providing. In the near future I will be adding tile and grout cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and mattress cleaning. Those are not in my tool box yet, so to speak, but as soon as I experiment sufficiently with my own furniture and mattresses, I’ll open it up for others. I don’t know if you know this or not, but that’s how most of the floor cleaners I’m aware of expand their services. They’re not experts until they work on something they already own.
I plan to focus my services primarily in Allen and will consider expanding to McKinney, Fairview, Frisco, Plano, and Richardson as the need arises. Very low moisture carpet cleaning is ideal for mid-rise and hi-rise apartment and condo dwellers so those two will be a target customer. However, I realize that in Allen, not many mid-rise buildings exist in the residential market so I’ll do what I can.
I also am hoping to expand in cleaning commercial floors, activities which are mainly done after normal working hours.
One mile surrounding the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital are a lot of health-related offices, such as doctors, dentists, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc., with more offices going up even as I write this. The growth in this area alone could keep me in business (and your floors cleaned) for years to come. I am excited about the opportunities in the Allen region both in the residential and commercial markets.
You see, I am just an average Joe at heart. I had dreams of making it in the corporate world, and to a large extent, I did. But there was a complete lack of satisfaction in getting a proposal out the door on time or drawing a systems networking diagram. While valuable those were to my clients, at the end of the day, it wasn’t where my passions lay.
Now, getting me in front of the latest and greatest machinery with the best chemicals and cleaning a moderately soiled carpet, you see progress when the finished product is something your kids can play on. It’s something you can be proud to show your mother-in-law when she comes over and some we can be proud about when we’re packing up our equipment for the afternoon. Us helping you look good and keeping you healthy in the process is what this business is all about.
It has been said that if you do what you love to do it isn’t work. However, there is a stigma in the career I’ve chosen to pursue. The stigma goes something like this: he cleans carpets for a living so he must not be the sharpest tool in the shed. Of course it’s an unfair judgement because these service workers work hard for their pay and they provide a valuable service to their clients. Running a business, however, is much more difficult than just pushing a vacuum or running a oscillating pad machine over a floor. Running the business and keeping it alive indefinitely and profitable is a skill that relatively few have mastered.
I plan to be one of those few.
Thank you for your support and confidence in my abilities and skills.