Interview With Mike Decker of Decker's Carpet Cleaning - The Woodlands
Interview With Mike Decker of Decker's Carpet Cleaning - The Woodlands
Published: Apr 06, 2022, 1:50pm
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As part of our ongoing "Getting to Know Your Local Businesses"
series, we sat down this week with Mike Decker, owner of Decker's Carpet Cleaning.
Tell us a bit about your business: What does your business offer, and how long have you been around?
family and I started Decker’s Carpet Cleaning in April of 2011. Our
Kingwood based business started with and continues to operate with the
mission of helping our neighbors improve and maintain their homes and
workplaces, so they can live a healthier and more comfortable life. We
strive to excel in service, deliver over the top results, create
enthusiastic fans, and maintain our values and ethics.
carpet cleaning and repair, area rug cleaning and repair, tile cleaning,
grout re-coloring and repair, upholstery cleaning and repair, stone
floor and countertop cleaning and polishing, shower cleaning, strip and
wax service, wood and vinyl floor cleaning, deodorization, pet odor
remediation, and emergency water extraction and damage mitigation.
How did you decide to get involved in this line of work? How did the business get started?
have always been dog and cat lovers and we understood the need for
regular floor and furniture cleaning but had too many bad experiences
with in-home service providers. We also fought with those rental
machines once or twice a year and felt there must be a better way.
worked for a carpet cleaner in the Northwest Indiana Region in the
1990’s and learned a lot of the ins and outs of basic carpet cleaning.
The carpet cleaning method was primitive and left carpets soaking wet
and full of soap, but we worked on mansions and section 8 rentals, so I
saw a wide variety of carpet situations.
After cleaning carpets
for a few years, I went on to manage big box bookstores for 17 years. I
worked in the Chicago, Dayton and L.A. area, as well as managing a few
stores here in Houston. Over my career I became a Field Training Store
Manager and managed over a dozen different stores, ranging in volume
from $2.5 million to $11 million. I’ve had breakfast meetings with Jack
Welch and dinner with Jim Collins, sold books to handfuls of Hollywood
celebrities. I became an operations and loss prevention expert and
learned to manage teams from a dozen booksellers to well over 100.
During my retail career, I honed my service skills as well as learned to
operate a business under varied economic climates and regions.
After a few years in Houston, my family and I decided to take my 401K from my retail job and start Decker’s Carpet
Cleaning. In December of 2010 I bought my first carpet cleaning machine
and started to develop our system. On April 1st of 2011, we officially
opened for business and launched our Carpet Cleaning Google profile. It
was only a day or so until we had our first customer. In June 2011 I
left my retail job and began cleaning full time. My son Quinn was 14
years old and a junior at Kingwood High School at the time, and he spent
most of his after school and weekends helping with cleaning jobs and
delivering flyers when he wasn’t skating at Dylan Duncan Skate Park or
playing drums or guitar in one of his bands.
At 16, Quinn was
IICRC certified as a carpet cleaning technician and started overseeing
his own crew. He now handles phones and dispatch as well as our web
design and IT needs.
Since 2011, I’ve achieved IICRC
certifications in Carpet Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning, and Water Damage
Restoration. I’ve also been certified by the Global Biorisk Assessment
Council for SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 response and remediation.
Tell us a couple things you are proud of about your business. What are you known for? What separates you from the competition?
proud of the fact that our business has survived 10 years and counting.
If I REALLY knew the statistics and likelihood of a small shoestring
startup making it past the first year, let alone 10 years, I may not
have started this business. It has given me a new level of respect for
other local small businesses.
During that time, I’ve seen a
technician pay their way through college and go on to be accepted into a
doctorate program – debt free! I’ve helped half a dozen young musicians
hold a job while having the flexibility to “gig” on weeknights and
weekends. I’ve helped young men develop job skills and strength of
character. I’ve seen my son develop into a leader and learn skills
related to business, music production, and computer programming.
developed our process over the years to become the go to experts when
it comes to pet stain and odor treatment. Pet issues make up the
majority of our business and improving pet owners’ living situations
remains our core reason for being in business.
are driven to improve the in-home experience for our customers and
deliver a thorough and long lasting clean. In that effort we have
streamlined our process and have found ways to counter or eliminate many
of the negative experiences associated with a carpet cleaner visiting
For example, we generally offer half hour arrival
windows and try to be as accurate about estimating arrival times as we
can. I get annoyed by companies 4 hour arrival windows because I don’t
have the time to wait around to get a job started – I would imagine many
of our customers feel the same. From our inception, being on time and
good communication (if we are running late) has been a priority.
cleaning customers do not enjoy their door being opened, even a crack,
for hours on end while loud and smelly gas powered engines rage in the
driveway. We’ve developed a system to clean light to medium soiled
carpets (carpets that are well maintained) with the door closed and
using machines that are quiet and not gasoline powered. This low
moisture system utilizes advanced orbital floor cleaning machines that
blot the carpet clean and dry with cotton bonnets, and is dry in a few
hours as opposed to 8 to 24 hours for hot water extraction (Steam
Cleaning), eliminating one of the biggest complaints about the carpet
cleaning experience – long dry times.
Carpet cleaning customers
regularly report that the issues they do not like about carpet cleaning
are long dry times, returning spots, and the door being open during the
cleaning. We took initiative to develop a hybrid cleaning method that
uses traditional Hot Water Extraction (Steam Cleaning) ONLY when
necessary, but instead focuses on colloidal chemistry and brittle
polymers in a low moisture cleaning method that uses approximately 10%
of the water, reduces the carbon footprint of our cleaning operation by
reducing the use of gas powered truck-mounted cleaning machines. This
method leaves carpets cleaner for a longer period of time by reducing
soil attracting residue.
We are the only carpet cleaning company we know about that has a multiple step dry soil removal process that lifts and
separates the carpet pile before cleaning. We are the only floor care
company in Houston we are aware of using a Low Moisture/Hot Water
extraction hybrid method. We basically carry two cleaning trucks in one
and combine both methods to eliminate the negative effects associated
with either and provide an unparalleled cleaning result.
What is your favorite part of running this business?
absolutely love the experience of seeing a floor or piece of furniture
go from dirty to clean. It’s a zen feeling - part personal
accomplishment, part wonder of the science, part reward for your effort.
only thing that improves on that experience is sharing it with our
customers. When a young mom has her carpet cleaned for the first time in
her life and is visibly overjoyed by the experience and knowledge that
her kids will play on clean, healthy carpet - and she won’t be
embarrassed by her floors – that’s rewarding! When a person is
distressed over issues their dog or cat has created, whether it’s a new
puppy, pet accident, or a beloved pet that is part of the family
reaching the end of their life – we’re there to help.
enjoy knowing we help customers maintain the value of their homes.
Flooring such as carpet, stone, or tile is a major investment. We hope
to reduce waste going into landfills and extend the life of whatever
floor is installed. By keeping the floor clean it will last longer, be
healthier, look better, and help the entire home maintain value.
only does cleaning help to maintain value of the floor, but it also
helps the mindset of the people living or working in the environment.
Spending time in a dirty environment can be depressing and demoralizing
and leads to further decay.
Who is your ideal customer/client? Who do you serve best?
find that our ideal customers are people who want a high level of
service and quality results from a company that is straightforward and
stands behind their work. Our customers understand the value of our
hybrid methods, respect our efforts to give their floors the best
possible care we can, and know that the investment they make in their
flooring and home requires regular maintenance. Our customers understand
that they can find cheaper alternatives but will sacrifice quality. Our
best customers let us evaluate their needs and develop a plan to bring
their floor back to its best presentation, and then discuss the plan and
find the best solution for their budget – understanding that there is
no “one size fits all” method to cleaning an individual home.
We even have a program developed for our Very Best Customers. We call it the Stay Beautiful Club.
These customers receive priority treatment and discounts because they
are committed to keeping their floors as clean as possible by cleaning
on a regular rotation.
Is there any other information you'd like your potential customers/clients to know about your business?
of our name, Decker’s CARPET CLEANING, many customers do not realize we
clean tile and stone, as well as upholstery. Our residential and
commercial services include Carpet Cleaning, Pet Stain and Odor Removal,
Carpet Stretching, Carpet Repair, Area Rug Cleaning, Tile & Grout
Cleaning, Grout Sealing, Grout Recoloring, Grout Repair, Upholstery
Cleaning, Upholstery Protector and Stain Blocker, Upholstery Pet Stain
and Odor Removal, Leather Cleaning and Protector, Car, Truck, SUV, and
RV Interior Cleaning, Stone Floor Cleaning, Stone Honing, Stone
Polishing, Stone Restoration, Stone Sealers, Stone Countertops Cleaning
and Polishing, Stone Repair, VCT Strip and Wax, LVT and LVP Cleaning,
Wood Floor Cleaning, Shower Cleaning, and Outdoor Surface Cleaning.
How do you see your business growing and improving over the next couple of years?
currently (April 2022) have the capacity to run 3 trucks and cover most
of the greater Houston area. We will continue to recruit and develop
new technicians in order to reach our capacity. As many small businesses
are experiencing, staffing has been an issue for us. We are in the
process of opening our floor care training center which will be located
in Kingwood and will allow us a laboratory environment to train new
We are always accepting applications for new
technicians. We generally have job openings posted on this community
board and you can apply online here.
will use our training center to build and develop our staff to reach
our expansion goals and expect to have multiple locations operating by
late 2022 or early 2023. We are currently (April 2022) expanding our
shop area to include a 1470 square foot area rug cleaning plant to clean
all of our area rugs in house. In the past, we have subcontracted much
of our area rug cleaning to at least four different rug cleaners in
Houston and found that we have much better quality control when we keep
the cleaning in-house. This area rug and oriental rug cleaning facility
will be located at our office/shop on Northpark Dr. in Kingwood and is
expected to open to the public in late May/early June of 2022.
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