Member Spotlight: Hydro Clean

in Member Spotlight by
By Jim Jenkins, CECS

1. How and where did your company start?
We started in 2001 and ran the business out of our farm just outside of Springfield, MO for several years. We just recently moved to a new location this year.  We acquired a 11,000 sq ft former retail building that had been vacant for a while. We did a complete remodel on the entire building and added overhead doors in the rear to make drive-thru lanes for the crews to clean out and load up their trucks.

2. What area does your company service?
We currently service most of Missouri, the eastern half of Kansas, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.

3. What does your company stand for?
Do it right or do it somewhere else.  There is no place on a bank deposit slip for excuses. Only results go in the bank.

4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
I had just bought some equipment and was doing a variety of different things with it when one day I was visiting my grandpa in the nursing home. I struck up a conversation with the head of maintenance and he asked if I cleaned hoods. I gave him a bid for a couple of their facilities and he gave me the green light.  At the time I did not have any employees so I kidnapped my 92 year old grandpa from the west wing and put him to work. With my lack of experience and the speed and efficiency of a nursing home refugee, we knocked that puppy out in only 4 hours and 45 minutes. We still have those first two accounts to this day and fond memories from a great learning experience.

5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
We had a Ford dealership in a small town in Southwest Missouri.

6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
When we entered this industry our particular market mainly had a guy or two here and there that were running kind of hit and miss. From the beginning we ran our operation as business and not a side job. That approach helped us get a handle on our market early in the game and it also brought up the level of professionalism for some of our competition.

7. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
We are constantly working with our people to find a more efficient way of doing things. We don’t skimp on equipment. If there is a tool that gets the job done better or quicker we will spend the money. We have a very good maintenance program to help minimize breakdowns and reschedules. We also try keep our vehicles and tools clean to present a positive image. One of my pet peeves is to see someone go into a kitchen with dirty equipment and say we are here to clean your hoods. I am sure the managers first thought is how are you going to clean my stuff when you can’t seem to clean your own.

8. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
It helped us to see the big picture a lot better and how far you could go with this industry.

9. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
For us it has always been networking. There has always been a lot of useful information that we have heard at lunch or during breaks in the hallway. There have been many times that I have been able to make a quick call to a fellow member and resolve a problem from their experiences rather than a trial and error method.

10. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
This is a get what you pay for industry. If someone is cheap there is probably a reason. Is a safety related item the best place to cut expense? In the end, how much could that savings potentially cost if the service is not done properly?

11. What is your favorite hobby?
Family time and restoring old cars.

E-News Edition: September 2015 : Hydro Clean