Stephen Marinucci has years of experience in the cleaning industry, and has worked with Whittaker Systems in multiple capacities. We talked with Stephen about his experiences using Whittaker in a management company and as a business owner, and the advantages of the low moisture encapsulation system for commercial properties and hospitality facilities.
Tell us about your history with Whittaker.
I have been working with Whittaker since 1993. My experience with Whittaker over the years has been mostly with commercial buildings and big box retailers, and I made the switch recently to hospitality. My current company services mostly hospitality, like hotels and condominiums.
What originally attracted you to Whittaker products?
The management company I worked for had a contract with Circuit City. They had been hot water extracting the carpet for years, and they were starting to notice a lot of tearing in the carpets and wear that shouldn’t have been there. I found out that through bonnet cleaning and hot water extraction, way too much water was being left behind. I was challenged with the task of figuring out what we should do to stop it. Being from Philadelphia, I had heard of the low moisture system, and that’s when I started with Whittaker. They came to do the demonstration at one of the Circuit City locations in King of Prussia, PA. I was literally floored with how the system raised the pile of the carpet and actually cleaned it, and then how fast it dried after that, which was so critical for Circuit City at the time.
How have you used Whittaker Systems in your organizations?
In the past, I worked for a management company. We would get national or regional contracts, and I would write the Whittaker encapsulation systems into the specifications so that I could control the quality of cleaning that was being done on site. I would talk to the guys at Whittaker and they would provide me with vendors who used that system, and then I would hire them in different states throughout the U.S. to do the carpet cleaning for me.
Then I opened my own company in the early 2000s. I moved to Florida and got big contracts such as the Office Depot Corporate Center, which is massive, along with other commercial buildings. I used only Whittaker with multiple crews. I must have had 8-10 Whittaker machines, and they would be a staple in my office buildings. Whenever we would have to do spot cleaning, we wouldn’t do just spot cleaning. We could do full carpet cleans for what clients were paying others to do spot cleaning because of the efficiency of the machines.
What is the biggest benefit the Whittaker Systems provide?
Without a doubt, it’s the speed in which work can be accomplished. There is also the fact that the low moisture method dries very fast, and you’re lowering your liability in buildings for slips and falls. Even though people don’t generally slip on carpet, if they track water from carpet to a VCT floor, there’s a slip. With Whittaker Systems, you can do the work at night and be assured that it’s dry the next morning. With extraction, you could do carpet cleaning at midnight and it could still be wet at 10:00 a.m. the next day.
Is there a time when Whittaker products helped you out of a tight spot?
I was a young business owner, and I had started a contract with Office Depot in Boca Raton, which was a 715,000 square foot building. This was a massive contract for me at the time. I had not used Whittaker for a few years at that point. One of my employees had taken a bonnet machine and cleaned 3 floors of one of the buildings at Office Depot with it. They put the wrong chemical in, and the carpets looked awful. They looked brown, and it was a mess. I called Whittaker, and they said he could save my carpets. It was probably the scariest moment of a young owner’s career. He came to Boca Raton with a Whittaker machine, did the job, and corrected the entire thing before the Office Depot staff got back the next day. I dodged that bullet. That right there is when I decided to go 100% with Whittaker for everything.
Now, I have a new business partner in my new venture, and he saw first hand from people that he knew and seeing the equipment himself that Whittaker was the right choice. We’ve totally built our new business model around nothing but carpet cleaning in hospitality with Whittaker.
What benefits does Whittaker offer specifically for the hospitality industry?
In hospitality, there are people in the facilities 24/7. They have to block off sections of hotel rooms so you can clean them. When you’re able to get in there, clean them, and have them dry within 30-40 minutes, hotels don’t have to lose a day of booking. When you do hot water extraction, it takes 8-12 hours to dry with poor circulation in those rooms. Those carpets are wet; the hotel cannot sell that room that day. With the Whittaker system, we’re in there early between checkout and check in, and they don’t have to miss a day.