One-On-One with Richard Grindland
By Courtney Sherwood for the Columbian
So you own Mountain View Carpet Care. Do you have any employees?
It’s mostly me although sometimes my fiancee helps.
How did you get into this line of work?
Years ago, I did part-time work as a carpet cleaner. Then I started taking classes through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. I got multiple certifications in carpet cleaning and saved up so I could buy the truck-mounted equipment and start my own business.
What did you do before this?
I was an industrial painter at the Portland Shipyard.
So what is a typical day like at your job?
Today I did two houses, and I’ll go to the Waterford Retirement Center in the evening. First I slide on some booties, introduce myself and do a walkthrough to look for areas of concern. If Fido had an accident in the corner, for example, I have a black light that shows where the pet has gone. Then I go in, move furniture, pre-spray, do the hot water extract. That’s pretty much it. A typical ranch house might take an hour to an hour and a half, more if I have to move furniture, if there are coffee stains, cooking stains, wine stains and so on. Days vary. In the summer time I’m busier because the wheather is nicier. I also get a lot of calls right before the holidays. I work anywhere from 40 to 60 hours a week. I do have to work evenings and holidays.
Do you have a lot of control over your hours?
Yes, I have total control. But as a business owner I’m always working, even when I’m not. I spend a lot of time researching, marketing, networking and so on.
What’s the challenging aspect of your job?
Getting in the van after the machine has been running with no air conditioning in the summer. It was 135 degress in it the other day.
What are your reading for fun and leisure?
I like to read about business marketing. I go to the carpet cleaning web forums where some of the top carpet cleaners in the nation talk. My life is pretty much carpet.
That counts as fun. I do a lot of marketing. I do a lot of networking meetings. I’m active in the Chamber and I don’t watch TV because I’m always focused on business. When I’m not doing that, I have a 7-year old son I like to spend time with. My girlfriend has couple of kids, I like to spend time with them. We are a family.
What’s been the biggest career break you’ve gotten so far?
The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce has been a huge benefit to me. I’ve gotten a ton of leads and referrals. There’s a ton of loyalty in the group.
How about your biggest career mistake?
Biggest mistake? Gosh. Not joining the Chamber soon enough. Not knowing the marketing right away. I would have been ahead from the beginning if I would have known about marketing.
How did you learn that lesson?
I went and bought the best equipment the prettiest van, went and bought the prettiest wrap on the van. I thought here we go the phone’s gonna ring. I learned pretty soon that there’s a lot more to it than that. Being the best businessman is not just being the world’s best carpet cleaner. You have to know the marketing to get a customer, then do a good job when you get the customer and build a customer base by word of mouth.