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June 2016 CF Spotlight

IICRC Spotlight

John Howell, Owner Manager
Grogan Clean Care, LLC, Nacogdoches, Texas

  1. How did you land in this industry?
    After graduating college, I could not find a job that I really wanted and needed a temporary position until my wife finished her last semester of school.  I happened to find what I thought might be a temporary job.  A man from my church called me about a guy who needed someone to clean carpet for him. Strangely enough, I truly enjoyed the work!
  2. How are you involved with the IICRC?  
    The man that owned the company understood how important an educated technician was and impressed upon me that it was important to always learn.  As my company has grown, I have continued to take courses to further my education and my company.  In 2011, when I purchased the company, I became a Certified Firm because I feel that the IICRC stands for bringing out the best in cleaning and restoration firms everywhere.  I have a small company and haven’t found a long-term employee at this point, but when I do, I will send them through the IICRC course work.  
  3. What do you do to market your business? 
    My business is built mostly on relationships and word-of-mouth recommendations from past clients.  
  4. What's one unique thing about cleaning and restoration in your area?  
    The company I run was one of the first carpet cleaning and restoration firms in my area.
  5. Any specific challenges you face due to your location? 
    I’m located in east Texas, about halfway between Dallas and Houston.  Nacogdoches has a population of about 34,000, and the next closest city has 36,000, so I have a small customer base compared to someone that operates in a larger city.
  6. You specialize in Oriental rug and fine upholstery care. How did you end up in this particular area of the industry? 
    The company was started for carpet cleaning and restoration. The previous owner was always looking for something to set his company apart from the competition, and I think he thought he could slow down a little bit and clean a few rugs.  But as it turned out, it looks like that’s what I’ll get to do some day!
  7. If you could give one piece of advice to a young professional starting out in the business, what would it be? 
    If I had to do it again, I would learn more about business in general.  I have a degree in Environmental Science and Communication. I have no problem cleaning carpet or building relationships with customers. My biggest challenge has been, and one I’m gradually overcoming, is running the business – dealing with employees, payroll, taxes, budgeting, advertising, etc.
  8. What do you like best about your job? 
    That I get to help others, and that I never really know what I might find myself doing next.  My company can do so many different things.  We clean carpet, upholstery, hard surfaces and fine oriental rugs.  Any of these things can have their own challenges.  It’s rewarding to remedy anything from a simple spot on a customer’s carpet to bringing the life back to a family’s heirloom oriental rug(s).
  9. What is the most rewarding thing about owning a cleaning and restoration business? 
    The most rewarding part about owning my business is that I get to do something that I truly love and help others at the same time!

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