Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service in OKC | Citro’s Carpet Cops
Of course, we are more than just a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service. We also clean: Tile and Grout (and all other kinds of hard surface flooring), Area Rugs (on-site or in our shop), we can clean your wood floors with our Dirt Dragon, and we can even resurface your wood floor without sanding (under certain conditions). Do you have a bleach spot on your carpet? If so, we can spot dye your carpet, and in most cases, you will not be able to tell where the spot was. We also clean Mattresses, and of course, we do Water Restoration/Flood Damage Remediation.
I have 0ver 30 years Experience in the Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Industry
Hello, my name is Jeff Citro Sr. Owner of Citro’s Carpet Cops. I think this “About Page” should not be just about what we do as a company but how we got here. So I am going to tell you how I got into the Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Industry, who I’ve worked for, how I came to own a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service and what I expect from my self and those that work for me.
I got out of the Army in 1987, and after a few jobs, I got a job as a barback at The Safari Bar in Omaha, Nebraska. I enjoyed working there and made enough money to survive. But I could not make a living at it so, I wasn’t going to pass on an opportunity if one came up.
In July of 1988, a co-worker approached me with an opportunity. His name was Dan Weaver. Dan had a friend who had purchased a Chem-Dry Profesional Carpet Cleaning franchise. Dan said his friend Don Mangimeli was a successful businessman who had a Merry Maids franchise. He had sold that franchise and bought 3 Chem-Dry Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Franchises, one each in Omaha, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands. He went on to explain the job and pay structure. Everything sounded good to me, so I agreed to meet Don.
I met with Don Mangimeli to talk about the carpet cleaning job
Dan convinced me I could make a good living as a Professional Carpet Cleaner. I met with Don. He wanted me to start right away so I went to work for him. I worked there for about six months, and in that time, I learned several different lessons. First, I found I did not like the method of carpet cleaning we used. Back then, Chem-Dry strictly used the Bonnet Cleaning method for cleaning carpets. Bonnet Cleaning does work well on commercial carpet but not on the residential carpet. That is why (many years after I left Chem-dry Mangiameli) Chem-Dry (the entire franchise operation) switched to Hot Water Extraction as its primary carpet cleaning method. However, they call it “Hot Carbonated Extraction.” So the first lesson was there had to be a better way to clean carpet.
The Big Lesson
As I said, I learned several lessons while working for Don. I think the biggest lesson I learned was how to treat people. Although it’s more accurate to say, I learned how not to treat people from Don Mangimeli.
Here is why I say that: When I went to work for Don, I was to be paid a commission for all the jobs I did. Just in case there was no work, I could take a draw of up to $200 per week. I virtually no bills at the time, so $200 per week would be enough to pay the bills, and I could eat too.
After working for two weeks I asked for a paycheck. Don said, “We are going to pay every two weeks. I expected to get paid weekly and Don never said anything different until I asked for a paycheck. Payday comes, and there had been no work so Don would have to give me a draw. Don asked,” Would $50 get you by?” I sad no, I have no food and my rent, gas, electric is past due so I need the $400 to pay for everything. Don absolutely refused to pay me more than $50. So the lesson here is Don could not care less about the people that work for him. Don’t be like Don.
Don did not have a vehicle to carry the carpet cleaning equipment
When I first started working for Don, he convinced me to buy a truck to transport the equipment. Regarding the truck, our deal was: I pay for the truck, and he pays the insurance. After six months of working for him, I saw a piece of mail with my name on it. It was a cancellation notice for my car insurance. Don had only paid the first month after that he never paid the insurance. Yea, he was a horrible employer. I wised up and left.
A Better Professional Carpet Cleaning
My next Carpet Cleaning Job was with A Better Carpet Cleaning based out of Council Bluffs, Ia. Dave King was the owner there. Dave had his business running for a few years when I got there. I worked there for about nine months and learned a few things while I was there too. As far as the amount of work, there was no problem with that. Dave had me booked full from 8 am to midnight (and sometime later) six days a week. Sunday was supposed to be my day off. However, Dave would schedule a job for himself and then call me and tell me I had to do it. TONS and TONS of work. I was making $1,000 to $1,500+ a week, every week. Sure, I had to work a hundred hours a week (literally), but I finally had some money coming in.
Unfortunately, Dave had a gambling problem. Dave liked to go to Vegas and gamble it all away. Soon my paychecks started to bounce along with all the other checks Dave was writing. Then the FBI got involved because Dave was not allowed to have a checking account per a previous deal. So, from Dave, I learned not to spend all the money; everyone needs a day off, and treat your people better.
FBG Service Corporation
As a result of the FBI arresting Dave, I left A Better Carpet Cleaning (big surprise, right?), It was wintertime, and in Nebraska carpet cleaning pretty much stops in the Winter So, there were no jobs available. Except with a large corporation. So for the next few weeks, I worked at FBG Corporation cleaning carpet.
January 3, 1993
After FBG Corporation I stopped carpet cleaning until January 3, 1993. That’s when I decided I am going to start a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company. I bought a portable carpet cleaning machine and set up shop at my house. As a result, Citro’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service was born. After about a year, I got an office space. However, that was very short-lived. I got in a car accident and was unable to clean carpet for a few months. Since I had just started, I was not in a position to hire someone to do the work. Which meant shuttering the Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Business for a bit.
Jerry’s Floor Fashions wants to add Profesional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning to their business
In August of 1994, I got a call from my accountant saying he knew a guy who had a carpet store that wants to add carpet cleaning to his business, and he wanted to talk to me about working there. By then, the doctor has released me to go back to work, so I called the owner Jerry Gentry. It was between another guy and me. They went with the other guy because he had no experience, and their feeling was they could train him. Sometime later, I got a call from Jerry; the other guy did not work out.
After some pay negotiations, I went to work there. Before I worked there, they had done 14 jobs in 6 months. I quickly got the business up and running. In the first month, we did 50+ jobs. As part of my pay, Jerry was supposed to pay me a $10,000 bonus once I got the business going well. I did my part, but he refused to pay. So I left, and within a year he was out of business.
Nothing is going to stop me now
In April 0f 1996, I decided enough was enough; I am going to re-start my own Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company again. Not having any money didn’t stop me. I started as cheaply as I could. Using stuff we already had and buying used stuff where I could. Again I started out working out of my house, and again after a year, I got an office space, although it was much smaller than before and way cheaper. I was there for about ten years when due to family circumstances, I needed to operate out of my house. So I moved the office to my house again. Everything was going ok for several years but I realized to stay in business, I needed to hire people, and that meant and office space.
Citro’s Carpet Cops gets a permanent home
Along comes the spring of 2012. I took a good look at my business and my health. As far as a carpet and upholstery cleaning service goes, I had a pretty good one. However, if I wanted to keep it going, I would need to hired people to do the work.
My knees were giving out and, if I didn’t hire someone, I would not be able to get the work done. Hiring people meant getting an office space, but do I buy a space or rent one?
I tried renting a space first, and I found one I liked. The Moore Business Park had space available that faced I-35, so I took it. After some negotiating, we had a deal and then nothing, no calls or anything for about a month. So here I am thinking they were busy getting the remodeling done I requested. I called to check-in they said “oh we forgot about you” and gave the spot to someone else. I called them on it, and they admitted they did not forget, but the other guy was a better deal for them. They said they had another spot open if I would like to look at it.
Had they just let me know what they were doing
While I would not have been happy, I would have accepted it and would at least look at the new location. Instead, they just ignored me and left me hanging. I decided I would buy a place instead.
2401 N Janeway Ave Becomes World Headquarters for Citro’s Carpet Cops a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company
Immediately I started looking for a new place to call home. I found a good one on about a half-acre of land with a 2700 sq ft building that has 1,000 sq ft of office space and 1700 sq ft of shop/warehouse. It took me six months to close on the property and a whole lot more money in closing fees than I wanted to pay but, I got it done. We closed on the property in Feb of 2013. Since then I have added one truck so now we have two.
Why have I told you all of this? Sure I wanted to fill in this page for search engine optimization. But also, I want you to know what I learned from my experiences in this industry. More than that, I want you to see how much I am committed to being the High-Quality Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company that you call when you really want it clean. This is just a little bit of the story, to tell it all would take several pages and who wants to read all that? Seem like almost everyone has a horror story about a prior job or two so everyone knows it happens. What’s important is what I learned from my time with those companies. Which of course in a nutshell is how NOT to treat your employees.
That being said here are some other things I’ve learned about this industry:
Owning and running a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company is not easy or cheap so you have to be resilient. Most people who start a Carpet Cleaning Company think all they have to do is buy equipment, get a web site and the clients will flock to their door. Nope, it is not that easy, and because they think that way most go out of business real quick.
Almost every new carpet cleaning company has a price structure based on what everyone else is charging. The thinking is: If they can make money at that rate, I can too. Only I’ll charge a little less than them and people will come to me instead of them. This is called “undercutting” and the problem with undercutting is you do not know what your cost is to perform the work. Being self-employed, profit is where my paycheck comes from. If I don’t make a profit I don’t eat. If I don’t know what it costs how can I know I am making enough to make a profit?
Consider this: Would anyone think to themselves: On average, each job is going to cost me $75.00, so I can charge $50 and make money because that is what xyz company charges. Of course not, but that’s precisely what they are doing if their price for services is not based on what their costs to do business are.
Choosing a Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company that really knows what it’s doing is very difficult.
More difficult than you may think. As you call around if you are looking for a low price and don’t ask some questions about the company and how they conduct business there is a good chance you are not going to get the quality of work you want.
Last Updated 11/04/2020