We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Decker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success would have to be compassion. Over my 25-year career in retail and 10 years as an entrepreneur I’ve come to realize that the moments I look back on as the most fulfilling are the ones where I lead with compassion. In those moments I was able to help improve someone’s life, if even in a small way. I wont say that I’m great at being compassionate, though. I can also look back and reflect on stumbling blocks, times where I wasn’t successful, and see that it was my lack of compassion. Life is messy, and life can be complicated and hard sometimes. The ability to see a situation from another person’s perspective and help them to achieve their goals always lead me to a successful deal or relationship. Relationships and business deals that both parties feel like they were listened to and understood have been the most fulfilling, and generally leads to more success.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My family and I started Decker’s Carpet Cleaning in 2011. Our mission at that time was to provide a high level of service for a moderate price in an industry we felt was lacking a trusted, personal level of service. Being dog and cat companions, we understood the need for regular floor and furniture cleaning but had too many bad experiences with in-home service providers. We also fought with those rental machines once or twice a year and felt there must be a better way. Over the last 10 years we’ve become experts at dealing with pet odor issues and improving pet owners’ living situation remains our core reason for being in business. We’ve also been driven to improve the industry by pioneering new hybrid low moisture cleaning methods. Carpet cleaning customers regularly report that the issues they do not like about carpet cleaning are long dry times, returning spots, and the door being open during the cleaning. We took initiative to develop a hybrid cleaning method that uses traditional Hot Water Extraction (Steam Cleaning) ONLY when necessary, but instead focuses on colloidal chemistry and brittle polymers in a low moisture cleaning method that uses approximately 10% of the water, reduces the carbon footprint of our cleaning operation by reducing the use of gas powered truck-mounted cleaning machines, leaves carpets cleaner for a longer period of time by reducing soil attracting residue, and dries in about 2 hours versus 8 to 24 hour dry times. We utilize advanced orbital floor cleaning machines that blot the carpet clean and dry with cotton bonnets, allowing for the doors to be shut during our standard cleaning process. These advances in cleaning allow us to provide outstanding cleaning results, provide a more positive experience for our customers, and keep our prices moderate so that more people can reach more people more often.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is rich in culture, food, and the arts. I would be sure to visit the Museum District and go to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and maybe the Houston Museum of Natural Science. If they have kids we would visit the Children’s Museum Houston. After hitting the Cloud Column (Houston’s Bean sculpture) we would visit some of the many small galleries around Houston and a visit at Sawyer Yards to show the visceral and thriving side of Houston’s working art community. Everyone who visits us in Houston takes a trip to Last Concert Café. Live music is alive and well in Houston and I would hope to catch a show at LCC, Satellite Bar, or Axelrad. There are so many good bands in Houston, but maybe The Suffers are playing? If not I hope to catch Howard and the Nosebleeds or Wax Dream. One of the best things about Houston is the food diversity. We would go to Hobbit Café, maybe Hugo’s or Underbelly. We may also go to Blue Nile for Ethiopian food, some Indian food local in Humble at The Curry House, and of course sample some BBQ and Tex-Mex locally. One of the most informative things we’ve done is take a ghost tour of the city. We were able to learn about the history of the architecture and development of the city on a walking tour with a very knowledgeable historical guide.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I am in life today without my family. I was raised by divorced parents and from my mom I learned to take care of others. No matter the situation, the comfort and wellbeing of those around you should be considered. My dad was also an entrepreneur and I learned that it was necessary to take on risk. He taught me to dream to improve your situation, to put in the hard work, and not to let fear hold you back. When we started Decker’s Carpet Cleaning 10 years ago, I had the full support of my wife, Lissa. Leaving a retail career and starting a business is a scary move. I couldn’t have done it without a strong partner both in business and in life. Not only has she been involved in the daily operations but has been there to lift me up in those moments of doubt and helps to remind me to maintain focused on my values. And finally, since we started the business, my son Quinn has been in the trenches with me. At first it was after school, weekends, and summers – helping on jobs, keeping tools clean, and passing out fliers. Then he came on full time with us leading a cleaning truck, now he manages the office. At the same time, he built a separate career as a musician and studio engineer. His good nature, humor, intellect, and drive have always been inspirational, and I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than working side by side with your son as co-owners of a business that improves people’s living situation.
All Images: Lissa Decker