Holland, Inc. Building Services is a fourth generation family-owned company. They have been in business for 85 years, and are now the largest building service contractor in Northwest Ohio, servicing 10 million square feet of building space daily. Productivity and efficiency are essential for Holland’s operations. They incorporate Whittaker System machines and chemicals in their interim carpet maintenance programs, and have seen great results.
We talked with Operations Manager Dan Terry to find out how Whittaker helps Holland meet the unique cleaning needs of businesses in the Toledo area. Keep reading to find out about a big “Carpet Clean Off” and how he became a believer in encapsulation cleaning.
Whittaker: Tell us a bit about the business and your role at Holland.
Dan Terry: I’m an Operations Manager for Holland, and I’ve been here seven years, thirty years in the industry. We service an oil refinery, a solar panel manufacturer, probably 40-50 separate medical offices and treatment centers, Fortune 500 companies, Class A office buildings in the downtown Toledo area – our clients have a little bit of everything.
Ninety-five percent of our cleaning is done after 5:00 p.m. We do have some companies and job sites that we service 24/7, and we have others that we clean strictly during the day, but most of our cleaning happens in the evenings.
W: What was your introduction to Whittaker products?
D: They were using Whittaker products when I started at Holland seven years ago. I was actually a little bit skeptical. I had seen encapsulation before and wasn’t completely sold on it, but after seeing the results myself, I bought into it 100%.
W: What type of employee feedback have you received about Whittaker Systems?
D: My employees enjoy using the Whittaker machines. I think that using the Whittaker System can even prevent workers’ compensation injuries. Carpet extraction is a much more difficult and laborious process; using a wand for 6-8 hours a day is a tough job, and it can create back problems for some people. The Whittaker machines are very lightweight in most cases, and they’re very easy to operate. They offer little resistance on the carpet. We have some smaller women on job sites who use the machines, and they don’t have any difficulty operating them.
W: Has Whittaker helped improve efficiency at Holland?
D: Whittaker has not only helped improve our efficiency, but it’s actually brought us new business.
About two years ago, we were asked by a Fortune 500 company to offer them some advice on a carpet cleaning problem they were having in their buildings. Their current cleaning contractor, who was a competitor of ours, was using primarily just extraction, and the customer was not happy with the carpet cleaning. They decided that they were going to have a “Carpet Clean Off.” They took a large area, probably about 6,000 square feet of what had been office cubicle space, and they pulled all the cubicles out. They were getting ready to remodel, and they had a lot of dark areas right around where people’s chairs had been in front of their desks. They took masking tape and they split this area into three sections, and they called in two other companies. They let the incumbent use whatever method they wanted, and they called in another company who was well known for carpet cleaning, and then they called us. The company who did the best job and got the best results would get the carpet cleaning contract.
So we went ahead and did it. The other two competitors used truck-mounted extraction systems, and those are often touted in the industry as being the best of the best. We came in with the Whittaker system, and first we did a really vigorous vacuuming and pile lifting. Then we treated all the spots in front of the desks with CRYSTAL® OIL & GREASE, because my carpet guy realized that the dark spots were asphalt tracking from the parking lots. It was coming off of people’s shoes on the carpet. We treated those spots and used the Whittaker System machines, and then we followed that with hot water extraction. Our carpet was much brighter and much cleaner than the other two samples.
We not only got the contract to clean the carpeting, which was about $50,000 a year, but a year later they gave us the contract for the daily cleaning service.
W: How does Whittaker chemistry do on snow and salt residue?
D: The salt here is horrendous. We have entranceway rugs and carpet that will turn into the consistency of cardboard, where you can actually knock on it with your knuckles and it sounds like you’re knocking on a cardboard box. That’s from the salt on people’s shoes that runs down in there and solidifies, and we have to get that out. One of the greatest things that we found is the TRIO machine. The TRIO machine is very successful when it comes to entranceways and salt stains.
W: What is the biggest benefit that Whittaker provides for the business?
D: I think it gives us an edge in productivity, which for an in-house operator may not be the biggest factor, but for us as a contractor trying to be competitive it gives us an edge in terms of productivity. It’s faster than any of the other methods, and the appearance levels are as good or better than any of the other methods. We get a better end result at a lower cost, and you can’t lose with that.
W: Do you have any other Whittaker stories you’d like to share?
D: What really proved it to me was when I took one of the machines home to clean some carpeting in my basement. We moved into a house, and the basement carpeting was hideous. My wife said, “That carpet has to go, we have to tear that up.” I said, “Let me take a shot at this – we have this new system at work that does a really good job. Let me try it.” I had just started here at Holland. I took it down there, pre-treated and sprayed, and then ran the machine. We used the carpet for another three years. It was a night and day difference.
It works because of the aggressiveness of the brushes. The counter-rotating brushes are very aggressive with dirt and massaging the dirt out of the carpet, but not so aggressive that they’re destroying the carpet.
It’s just a good system, good products. When you look at the cost factor and the little bottles, you may think it’s a little bit pricey, and you could probably find a cheaper method. But you can’t find a cheaper method that’s as productive and just as good. You really do get what you pay for.