Getting to know Bob Pruitt..

Mikey P

Administrator
#1
OK BOb.. Your turn on the MB Hot Seat.


You sort of came out of nowhere and have become a respectable elder here.

There must be more to it than that dashing head of white hair and your good taste in music.

here we go..

  • You started in this racket, how?
  • What is the current state of your business today
  • and it will be where in five years?
  • How did you find MB and what does it do for you?
  • How do you educate your techs?
  • Please describe your average tech
  • and your top dog..
  • SFS, Howard or Joe graduate?
  • Please describe your fleet..
  • What are your day to day duties?
  • Why the three states in your profile?
  • Marital/family status..
  • Second favorite MB'r?
  • Would you offer VLM only in homes?
 

Mikey P

Administrator
#2
Bob sent me this in Word..

Ok Mike, You asked for it…

Born and raised in LA. Worked full time and went to High School 11 and 12th grade. School was 30 hours a week and work a little over 40. So I was being prepared for this crazy business we are in and I love.
Moved to Santa Barbara, did 2 year service in Japan for my Church, got married, got a General Contractors license and started putting up additions and doing remodels in Santa Barbara. Jimmy Carter recession and very little work in construction so I traveled. 1981- Took family, wife and 2 year old son, to Utah to frame a very large house for someone I knew there and when that finished I took the first job I could get. Some bait and switch 8 dollar a room lowlifes that I lasted a week with because it took me that long to figure out it was a scam. Very nice people getting ripped off.
I told my wife that I actually liked carpet cleaning and that if you told people upfront the price they would probably pay it. The phone books were these small things so I had my wife sit at a desk and start with A and go to Z calling everyone and telling them about out 29 dollar special! 3 jobs a day I was making 100 dollars a day… not too bad in 1981. The machine was a rental Rug Doctor small red portable with a detached head that had a brush that moved back and forth. A small drag tool. After a few months I moved us back home to Santa Barbara and I bought 2 of the Vibra Vac portables. Like the little rug doctor but with a 16 inch 40 lb drag tool with the back and forth brushes. I did so much work with those machines. I once did a 25 thousand dollar job in Isla Vista in 1982. 2 -10 story towers, I think it was 300 student rooms in each tower. They gave us 10 days and I did it in 5. I was a kid and crazy strong…until I did a job in Montecito at an estate of a very elderly silent movie star. I remember grabbling the end of the couch with one hand and giving it a flip to move it like I had done hundreds of times before at other homes and furniture but…this one didn’t move. It was a cast iron hide a bed but what did move was my back. I finished the job and went to my next job, a vacant apartment and had trouble unloading my equipment. I got it out and realized I was hurt. Really hurt. I paid a guy walking by 10 dollars to put the machine back in the truck, had a helper come over and do the job.
So… truck mounts. In 1983 or 4 they weren’t too good…the truck mount I bought wasn’t great. Hydramaster Bobcat. Under powered, too small a blower, issues with the propane heaters…blew up a couple from over heating. But it got me out of the portables. Guy named Les Scott left Hydramaster and started Turbo Tech and produced excellent, even by today’s standards, machines. I bought 2 since we were a 2 truck operation with 1 old van that had the portables and the early airmovers in it. Basically converted air conditioner blowers. Our first real blowers and dehumidifiers were purchased from Lloyd Weaver. Everything was made out of steel. Heavy. We were doing almost all of the Farmers and All State Insurance water damage jobs. We were cleaning anything with carpet. Lots of very nice homes, celebrities like Johnathan Winters, Kirk Douglas, Kenny Loggins, Steve Martin and others. Lots of other wealthy people, Colts, Kenmores, etc.
But I would take the same van out at night with different hoses and do the nastiest Chinese and Buffet restaurants around. Big commercial jobs at night and weekends…and then my 8 year old son came home from school with a little fever. We gave hime a child’s aspirin and put him to bed. A couple hours later he was in full on convulsions so we rushed him to the hospital.
Spinal meningitis. They told me he only had a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Devastating to say the least.
So he made it.
Here is the other thing that happened at the same time; I had been so busy making money, we just kept putting it in a saving account. We had health insurance. We had just purchased a policy from a friend at our Church to help him out… he said to over lap his policy with the current policy for 30 days, so that’s what I did. The month before this happened I had paid 2 premiums. So 45 days into the new policy my son gets sick. It turns out the new policy covered accidents for the first 30 days but didn’t cover illnesses for 60 days. I trusted the Broker. I wasn’t covered. I got a very big bill from the hospital and I paid it. Savings went to almost zero. You could say I got a little depressed. Sold the business to a competitor.

Collected my family and moved up to Washington State, bought a junk house and fixed it up…restarted a carpet cleaning business. Just me this time, less stress and water damage for Clients only. Worked there for 5 years until I missed the sun enough to move to Florida the first time…have lived here twice. 5 years here working only for upscale Clients in Naples and on Sanibel. This was 1996 and I began playing around on the Internet since that was the new big thing. I started a niche marketing company for the horse industry…my wife had horse …and did it as a way to pay for the horse expenses. Something for her to do that I could help out with a few minutes a day…maybe an hour a day. We left Florida to be closer to family after 9/11. The marketing company took much more of my time so Carpet cleaning was part time , then very part time. Our InfoHorse.com was making between 300 and 400 thousand a year. Five years later we move to Texas…no Carpet Cleaning at all. I marry off both daughters and my Son moves to Texas. A couple years later I’m back in Florida…not carpet cleaning, housing bubble bursts… people are making less money and our company is making half of what we use to make. Still we are fine. Family drama and 7 grand kids in Texas who need me to take them to ball games and the Florida house is currently on the market. Will be building a legacy business in Texas when the house sells.
25 years in the carpet cleaning business and now 15 years away… I’m going back in. At 61 years old. Physically I’m very strong again, pound 30 year olds on the basketball courts and paddle board, scuba dive, train dogs and horses. I don’t have to go back to carpet cleaning, I want to. I have missed it. I really did love it. If when the grand kids are old enough they want to be involved then great. My name is Pruitt and so is theirs. Pruitt Carpet Care.

So finding the Mikey Board was me doing catch up. I really have watched every Saiger video. I’ve watched every video of yours and the Mikey Board youtube videos. Many other videos as well. Started pouring over supplier websites reading about every product I didn’t know about already. Just took some time to get back up to speed and am more or less there now.

So obviously form the videos I found your board and it seemed like a fit, love the characters there…most of them.
That’s way more about me than you ever wanted to know J

Bob
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#4
Bob sent me this in Word..

Ok Mike, You asked for it…

Born and raised in LA. Worked full time and went to High School 11 and 12th grade. School was 30 hours a week and work a little over 40. So I was being prepared for this crazy business we are in and I love.
Moved to Santa Barbara, did 2 year service in Japan for my Church, got married, got a General Contractors license and started putting up additions and doing remodels in Santa Barbara. Jimmy Carter recession and very little work in construction so I traveled. 1981- Took family, wife and 2 year old son, to Utah to frame a very large house for someone I knew there and when that finished I took the first job I could get. Some bait and switch 8 dollar a room lowlifes that I lasted a week with because it took me that long to figure out it was a scam. Very nice people getting ripped off.
I told my wife that I actually liked carpet cleaning and that if you told people upfront the price they would probably pay it. The phone books were these small things so I had my wife sit at a desk and start with A and go to Z calling everyone and telling them about out 29 dollar special! 3 jobs a day I was making 100 dollars a day… not too bad in 1981. The machine was a rental Rug Doctor small red portable with a detached head that had a brush that moved back and forth. A small drag tool. After a few months I moved us back home to Santa Barbara and I bought 2 of the Vibra Vac portables. Like the little rug doctor but with a 16 inch 40 lb drag tool with the back and forth brushes. I did so much work with those machines. I once did a 25 thousand dollar job in Isla Vista in 1982. 2 -10 story towers, I think it was 300 student rooms in each tower. They gave us 10 days and I did it in 5. I was a kid and crazy strong…until I did a job in Montecito at an estate of a very elderly silent movie star. I remember grabbling the end of the couch with one hand and giving it a flip to move it like I had done hundreds of times before at other homes and furniture but…this one didn’t move. It was a cast iron hide a bed but what did move was my back. I finished the job and went to my next job, a vacant apartment and had trouble unloading my equipment. I got it out and realized I was hurt. Really hurt. I paid a guy walking by 10 dollars to put the machine back in the truck, had a helper come over and do the job.
So… truck mounts. In 1983 or 4 they weren’t too good…the truck mount I bought wasn’t great. Hydramaster Bobcat. Under powered, too small a blower, issues with the propane heaters…blew up a couple from over heating. But it got me out of the portables. Guy named Les Scott left Hydramaster and started Turbo Tech and produced excellent, even by today’s standards, machines. I bought 2 since we were a 2 truck operation with 1 old van that had the portables and the early airmovers in it. Basically converted air conditioner blowers. Our first real blowers and dehumidifiers were purchased from Lloyd Weaver. Everything was made out of steel. Heavy. We were doing almost all of the Farmers and All State Insurance water damage jobs. We were cleaning anything with carpet. Lots of very nice homes, celebrities like Johnathan Winters, Kirk Douglas, Kenny Loggins, Steve Martin and others. Lots of other wealthy people, Colts, Kenmores, etc.
But I would take the same van out at night with different hoses and do the nastiest Chinese and Buffet restaurants around. Big commercial jobs at night and weekends…and then my 8 year old son came home from school with a little fever. We gave hime a child’s aspirin and put him to bed. A couple hours later he was in full on convulsions so we rushed him to the hospital.
Spinal meningitis. They told me he only had a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Devastating to say the least.
So he made it.
Here is the other thing that happened at the same time; I had been so busy making money, we just kept putting it in a saving account. We had health insurance. We had just purchased a policy from a friend at our Church to help him out… he said to over lap his policy with the current policy for 30 days, so that’s what I did. The month before this happened I had paid 2 premiums. So 45 days into the new policy my son gets sick. It turns out the new policy covered accidents for the first 30 days but didn’t cover illnesses for 60 days. I trusted the Broker. I wasn’t covered. I got a very big bill from the hospital and I paid it. Savings went to almost zero. You could say I got a little depressed. Sold the business to a competitor.

Collected my family and moved up to Washington State, bought a junk house and fixed it up…restarted a carpet cleaning business. Just me this time, less stress and water damage for Clients only. Worked there for 5 years until I missed the sun enough to move to Florida the first time…have lived here twice. 5 years here working only for upscale Clients in Naples and on Sanibel. This was 1996 and I began playing around on the Internet since that was the new big thing. I started a niche marketing company for the horse industry…my wife had horse …and did it as a way to pay for the horse expenses. Something for her to do that I could help out with a few minutes a day…maybe an hour a day. We left Florida to be closer to family after 9/11. The marketing company took much more of my time so Carpet cleaning was part time , then very part time. Our InfoHorse.com was making between 300 and 400 thousand a year. Five years later we move to Texas…no Carpet Cleaning at all. I marry off both daughters and my Son moves to Texas. A couple years later I’m back in Florida…not carpet cleaning, housing bubble bursts… people are making less money and our company is making half of what we use to make. Still we are fine. Family drama and 7 grand kids in Texas who need me to take them to ball games and the Florida house is currently on the market. Will be building a legacy business in Texas when the house sells.
25 years in the carpet cleaning business and now 15 years away… I’m going back in. At 61 years old. Physically I’m very strong again, pound 30 year olds on the basketball courts and paddle board, scuba dive, train dogs and horses. I don’t have to go back to carpet cleaning, I want to. I have missed it. I really did love it. If when the grand kids are old enough they want to be involved then great. My name is Pruitt and so is theirs. Pruitt Carpet Care.

So finding the Mikey Board was me doing catch up. I really have watched every Saiger video. I’ve watched every video of yours and the Mikey Board youtube videos. Many other videos as well. Started pouring over supplier websites reading about every product I didn’t know about already. Just took some time to get back up to speed and am more or less there now.

So obviously form the videos I found your board and it seemed like a fit, love the characters there…most of them.
That’s way more about me than you ever wanted to know J

Bob
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Thank you for taking the time to write that and share.

Awesome life events! and Great Story! :rockon:

Best wishes with the new ventures :)
 

Mikey P

Administrator
#5
This is Bob’s wife Ann… Bob takes the Dogs every day to McDonalds for breakfast and I just saw this post…so I hope you don’t mind if I hijack it while Bob is gone.

I wanted you to know that Bob really is incredible and he LOVES Mikey’s board and all you guys here. Bob is truly an remarkable person. To add to his story, when he got his first portable, we were nearly starving to death as a young couple and the bank didn’t want to give us a loan. Bob was only 24 and he yelled at the lending officer and said “You will give me that damn loan and I promise you I’ll starve before I am late on a payment!”. The bank lender’s name was Ann Funk and she said “I believe you” and gave him the loan…true to his word, we were never late.

On the way home from the hospital (to add to the spinal meningitis story he told about our son) with our son in the car, Bob saw and employee with our truck pulled over by a police officer. This employee had come from Germany where there are few speed limits. Bob had lectured him over and over about speed laws. We pulled over and the police were about to impound our only truck. Bob showed the police officer our son (surrounded by flowers as so many people thought he was going to die) and fired the employee on the spot. The police did not impound our truck which was a huge blessing.

Bob’s passion is DIVING. Everywhere he dove, he made clients! I loved to encourage him to dive as it would always result in sales. One such client was Jean Michele Cousteau (Jacque Cousteau’s son). He not only depended on Bob for carpets, but many of Bob’s underwater photos were printed in magazines and Jean Michele would call and borrow Bob’s photos of harbor seals for his lectures.

Bob is a worker the likes of which I have never seen. It took me 3 employees to do equal him on any job. Men would come home crying because they couldn’t keep up.

Bob was also very compassionate. Several times he tore up a payment check when we found the people had just lost jobs… one time he worked for a plate of brownies when the old woman started to cry and said “I thought this bedroom was $4.... not $40”. Bob replied “How about if we just trade for that plate of brownies you just baked and call it even?”.

He once did work for the comedian Jonathan Winters. Jonathan was so thrilled with the job that he gave Bob a new microwave. He told Bob how he had been abused and had a terrible childhood, and how comedy was his therapy, Bob was very touched by his story.

In the 90’s, Naples had a magazine called “Home and Condo Magazine”. The editor did a story on Bob where she said he was the best carpet cleaner she had ever seen. Suddenly Bob was asked to train other carpet cleaners from time to time and he did an excellent job.

After 10 years of semi-retirement— Bob is excited to start his business again. I am excited too— where ever I am with Bob— Adventure is never far behind.

— Ann Pruitt
 
#13
So Mike keeps posting to this from things I posted for my kids on Facebook. Then my wife got involved. :-) : The van is Desk Jocky http://mikeysboard.com/threads/well-shes-big-and-shes-blue.283229/ Van I just used to much up our logo and see how it would look on the Ford Van. Looks good.

' Rent a Rug Doctor?? Screw it , Just cal Pruitt! '
I never rented one but did buy one over 30 years ago. They worked a little better then. The logo was designed by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Neumeier Marty Neumeier early 80's before he became famous designing all the packaging for Apple and other Tech companies. I cleaned his carpet in Santa Barbara and he was a very nice guy, we still email each other, and he had me look at things he was doing. I told him I wanted him to do something for us... My logo then was just my name lettered on the side of the van. He designed a newspaper campaign for the lifestyle section of the Santa Barbara News Press. 5 square silhouettes that each said something different... When Little Tommy Flew It Mommy called Pruitt- then there was this black silhouette image of a bowl of something upside down and ... stuff like that. So when you opened each of the 5 pages there was a ad for us on every page middle right. Was very cool and it was 5000 dollars...so about everything I had but man was it ever worth it! The logo gets me so much work... I had 1 van and people would call and say _ I see your Vans everywhere I go!

So anyway the thing Mike shared is a mock up of our logo on a Ford van, trying to get the colors right because it wasn't suppose to be in color. But we like it with the color and since people were calling our first choice of van a platypus - Nissan Van, and since we think it is uglier than the Ford we are getting the long medium roof Ford or the extended low roof...still working on that.
Damn, everything I post is so long! So Fred can cliff note it I guess...
 
#19
Where are you going to base your new operation ?
As soon as the Florida house sells http://www.realtor.com/realestatean...h-Ave_Cape-Coral_FL_33904_M61678-39746#photo0 I will be purchasing this home or another one in this complex Gated Equestrian Community http://www.realtor.com/realestatean...ch-Ct_Fort-Worth_TX_76108_M88461-91543#photo4 So between Fort Worth and Trophy Club. My kids are in Keller and Southlake and there are thousands of the McMansions there for the residential work. So the market will be everything between those 2 areas. Moving there to be near family...will miss Florida and Coastal California is always going to feel like home. Very nice people in Texas but they can't drive :-) Drive friendly!
 
#20
Bob have you decided on what equipment and methods you'll be stocking up for?
Going to keep it simple until the second van comes online. Carpet, tile and upholstery. Truck mount is Titan 575 by Hydramaster. Tools will be Mk 12 with 2" tube, 15 inch Zipper, ZipperSS, Rotovac with brush head and teflon glides. 2 upholstery tools, one for residential and fine fabrics etc. and another to blow through office chairs and church pews, larger stuff. 15 " CRB. Will determine if I need a portable on the van as well. In Florida with all the beach high rises you do. If I need one then Nautilus 1200 psi. Will need tile spinners and all the other tools that go with cleaning and sealing tile/grout. Will also be sealing new construction grout and granite as well. Texas has a LOT of wood floors so eventually I will have to add that. I see there is a machine for that as well.
When/If needed Cimex encapsulation machine. All the walk off mats, blocks, furniture pads, corner guards...
I have contacted your partner on the Fabric Protection but it seems the areas where I will be operating are already spoken for. Will find something for fabric protection that I believe in because I sell lots of that. Then drying equipment blowers, dry-pods and a couple of Air Paths. Somehow I will organize it into the van.
Cleaning chemicals will be at first... things I already know. Chemspec, Prochem and eventually work in others including Saigers Sauce. Just waiting for this house to sell :-)
 
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#22
Love the Florida home Bob!
Both States are well run and no State Taxes. Texas Property taxes are higher than Florida. I am only 5 minutes to the Intercostal and 20 minutes to the Gulf of Mexico from my dock. Occasionally get dolphin and manatee in the back yard. Nice place and I will miss it. The Texas property will allow us to keep our horses on our own property and they are essentially big pets so that will be nice :-)
 
#24
So I take it you'll be on the truck at first?
Yes. Hopefully I get it rolling quickly so I have a helper with me ASAP. I'm usually on the van until van #3. Then I just show up on jobs... SURPRISE! Check on the work and do more one on one marketing for bigger accounts. We will see what happens :-) There are some very big established players in Texas. Will be learning about rug cleaning beyond the way we have done it in the past...hitting them with the truck mounts. So many rugs because they have so much wood flooring there that I will need to figure this out fairly soon. Exciting stuff!
 
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