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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning CATEGORY

Dave Steely is a 22-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry and owner of Maximum Carpet Cleaning, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 526-5930 or by email.

Dave Steely

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dave Steely: Maximum Integrity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

CONCORD — Dave Steely started cleaning carpets right out of high school, but it took him a while to find businesses that shared his personal values and professional integrity. “Back then, the bait-and-switch tactic was very prominent, with fly-by-night companies closing as fast as they were opening,” he recalls. “One time, I showed up to work to find the door padlocked because the IRS had seized the property. Another time, I showed up to an empty building—the company owner had skipped town without paying us. It wasn’t long before I decided this was no way to make a living.”

Fortunately, rather than giving up, Dave started doing some research and found that even though there were less-than-virtuous carpet cleaning companies out there, there were also many legitimate businesses that held a high regard for customer satisfaction. “Once I realized I could actually earn a living doing quality work with a reputable company, I began to see more of a future in the industry,” he says. “I spent some time working for a couple of the major carpet cleaning companies, but eventually I decided I could do even better on my own and started my own business.”

Today, as owner of Maximum Carpet Cleaning, Dave says his favorite part of his job is the instant gratification it provides. “Since carpet cleaning provides immediate results, I get to see my hard work pay off right away. Even better, I get to see my clients’ reactions when they see how I’ve transformed their dirty carpets, so that’s very satisfying.”

Having migrated from San Mateo to Concord in 2005 (where he lives with his wife, Michelle, and their sons, Brandon and Anthony), Dave says he appreciates the area’s comparatively slow-paced character. “We moved to Concord when our boys were young because we wanted to give them more opportunities to be outdoors. Ten years later, we continue to enjoy its quiet, small-town atmosphere.”

Outside of work, Dave likes spending time with his family, especially on outdoor excursions. “We have a motor home, so we like to take road trips and go camping,” he affirms. “Michelle and I enjoy taking short trips to the coast when we get a chance, and the boys and I like going go to campgrounds and areas where we can ride our dirt bikes.”

In his professional career, Dave espouses the importance of designating enough time to ensure customer satisfaction. “One of the best parts of working for myself is I’m able to make my own schedule,” he says. “Since I don’t have that pressure to hurry from one job to the next, I can devote as much time as necessary to ensure a quality job for each client. I understand that time equals money, but in the end, customer satisfaction is the most important thing.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dave says he’d hit the open road. “The first thing I’d do is pack up the motor home and take off on a cross-country trip with my family. Maybe we’d head north toward the Oregon Coast and just see where we end up.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: It’s a tie between summer and winter. During the summer, we spend a lot of time at the beach and barbecuing, whereas in the winter, we do more camping and dirt bike riding.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: La Veranda Cafe in Clayton.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: A couple of egg whites with half a chicken breast or some ground turkey—lean proteins, mainly.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My bicycle.

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A Thorough Procedure for Preventing Carpet Stains

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CONCORD — Spills on the carpet are never anticipated, but knowing what to do in the event of one can help you prevent a permanent stain. Follow this thorough stain prevention procedure: 1. With a tightly folded, 100 percent cotton… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Cleaning Spills on Your Carpet

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CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: When a spill occurs on your carpet, knowing how to deal with it properly can make all the difference in preventing a… Read more

Curt Holman is a 20-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry and owner of Precision Cleaning Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (925) 318-1290 or by email.

Curt Holman

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Curt Holman: A Grounded Profession

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DUBLIN — After several years working in aviation, Curt Holman decided to switch to a more grounded profession. “I was an aircraft mechanic in general aviation, but eventually I decided it wasn’t my calling,” he explains. “I wanted to do something that would allow me to be mobile, interact with people and be more independent. I knew a professional carpet cleaner, and his vocation seemed to meet the criteria I was looking for, so I started working with him. After learning everything I could from him, I struck out on my own and started Precision Cleaning Services.”

Today, Curt says he enjoys the continual variety his job entails. “I like being out and about, meeting new people, and working in different homes. Of course, at the end of the day, I get the greatest satisfaction from making my customers happy with my work.”

A lifetime Bay Area resident, Curt lives in Dublin, which he considers a perfect place for someone in his line of work. “The people in this area are willing to invest in their homes and care about getting a good service provider. For those reasons, I get a lot of quality-conscious customers, which I really appreciate.”

Outside of work, Curt spends his free time on a variety of pastimes, from playing music to exploring nature. “I play guitar in the worship team at my church and enjoy backpacking and fishing, especially up in the Sierras,” he affirms. “I also like to relax at home with my cat and watch sports, whether it’s the Warriors, the A’s or the 49ers.”

In regard to his professional career, Curt espouses the importance of honest service. “I believe in giving my customers quality work for an honest price,” he says. “In the end, I just want my customers to be happy, with the hope that they’ll call me again in the future and possibly refer me to their friends and family.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Curt says he’d head for the hills. “I might move to a more rural location, maybe in the Sierra foothills. It’d be nice to be closer to the mountains and do more fishing and backpacking. I wouldn’t even mind if it got a little snow—it’d be nice to see the changing of the seasons.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: Bass guitar.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Tea.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Alaska—they have some great fishing.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Scrambled.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas.

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Determining Carpet Cleaning Intervals

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DUBLIN — As a professional carpet cleaner, one of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How often should I have my carpet cleaned?” While it would be easy to give a general answer, the reality is it depends on your… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Determining Appropriate Cleaning Intervals

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DUBLIN —  Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to maintaining the carpet, tile and upholstery in your home, you’ll need to determine appropriate intervals for… Read more

Rodrigo Bejar is co-owner of Heavenly Touch, a Diamond Certified company since 2003. He can be reached at (408) 782-4978 or by email.

Rodrigo Bejar

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Rodrigo Bejar: An Exceptional Touch

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — Rodrigo Bejar never planned to go into the carpet cleaning trade, but when an unexpected need arose at his family’s business, what started as a temporary fill-in led to a permanent profession. “My dad and brother-in-law started Heavenly Touch in 1995,” he recounts. “In 2004, while I was attending college, my brother-in-law was in a motorcycle accident. Besides being a family emergency, it left an immediate need for someone to cover his absence at the business. So, he went into the hospital on Sunday and I started on Monday.”

Having little prior experience in the industry, Rodrigo says the transition was intimidating, to say the least. “I had helped my brother-in-law here and there in the past, but it wasn’t anything that could prepare me for cleaning four or five houses a day.” As time went on, however, he started to get the hang of things and eventually found himself enjoying the work. When his brother-in-law made a full recovery and returned to work six months later, Rodrigo had already made up his mind to stay.

Today, as co-owner of Heavenly Touch, Rodrigo says he has no regrets about his decision to become a carpet cleaning professional. “It wasn’t something I was aiming for, but I like it! I particularly enjoy the face-to-face interaction I get with our clients. We have a very loyal customer base, so I see a lot of familiar faces, which makes my job all the more rewarding.”

Born in Santiago, Chile, Rodrigo came to the United States with his parents at the age of three and has lived in San Jose ever since. Today, he says he appreciates the harmony between his profession and the local weather conditions. “In this industry, nice weather is a big plus. Not only do we get more business, but warmer temperatures actually help dry carpets quicker, which is always a good thing.”

Outside of work, Rodrigo likes to keep himself physically active, whether by snowboarding at Lake Tahoe or working out at the gym. “I like to stay in shape because the better shape I’m in, the better I feel,” he says. “I do a lot of running and weightlifting, and in the winter, I do a lot of snowboarding, which is also good exercise. Since our business tends to slow down in the winter, it gives me plenty of opportunities to get up to Tahoe and hit the slopes.”

In regard to his career, Rodrigo espouses the importance of straightforward honesty. “Unlike carpet cleaning companies that make outrageous promises, we’re honest about what’s going to come out of our customers’ carpets. I never tell a customer I’m going to make their carpets look like new again, because it’s just not reality. Not only does this establish realistic expectations, but if I happen to achieve a better result than anticipated, it makes the customer even happier.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Rodrigo says he’d take his love of snowboarding to a new setting. “I would probably take a trip to the Swiss Alps and go snowboarding for the winter. That would be a dream come true.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Taking a 40-foot jump while snowboarding.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: High Five Pizza Company in San Jose.

Q: If you were a professional athlete, what number would you wear on your jersey?
A: 45, which was my high school basketball number.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
Oreos.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My basketball hoop.

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Correct Techniques for Removing a Carpet Stain

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SAN JOSE — If you find a stain on your carpet, your first inclination might be to apply a stain removal product. However, when attempting to remove a carpet stain, it’s more important to use the correct technique—if you don’t,… Read more

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Video: Do It Yourself Carpet Care

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SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: When a spill occurs on your home's carpet, you can often prevent a stain by using basic household materials. Today,… Read more

Jeff Yamaoka is a 25-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry and owner of Advanced Cleaning Systems Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (415) 938-3420 or by email.

Jeff Yamaoka

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Jeff Yamaoka: Advanced Expertise

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Yamaoka always figured he’d take over his father’s business one day, but rather than adopt a complacent mindset, he took the initiative to further advance his industry expertise. “My dad started Advanced Cleaning Systems Inc. in 1989 to provide janitorial services for office buildings, banks and other commercial locations,” he says. “We did some small-scale carpet cleaning, and as time went on, I became more interested in that aspect of the trade. To gain more experience, I spent five years working for a major carpet cleaning company before returning to the family business.”

Since assuming ownership of Advanced Cleaning Systems in 2005, Jeff has employed his accumulated expertise in the carpet cleaning trade to expand the company’s capabilities. “We still offer janitorial services, but we’ve also been able to branch out and provide our customers with a full range of carpet and upholstery cleaning services,” he says.

A lifetime resident of San Francisco, Jeff expresses his appreciation for living and working in the City by the Bay. “I love the diversity of the population here,” he says. “I get to meet people from all different backgrounds, and regardless of who I do business with, it’s almost always a pleasant experience. Plus, it’s pretty cool to drive around and get to know different areas of the city.”

Outside of work, Jeff spends much of his time in another professional capacity. “I’m a basketball referee,” he explains. “I’ve been officiating since high school—I started out with youth leagues and worked my way up to the college level, where I currently officiate both upper and lower divisions. During the season, I typically work 25 to 30 games, so it definitely takes up most of my time outside of the business.”

In regard to his professional career, Jeff draws a parallel between his dual occupations as a referee and a business owner. “One thing I’ve learned through officiating is the importance of maintaining a high level of professionalism,” he explains. “As you advance into the upper divisions, the standards and expectations become much higher. I think this definitely translates to my business—as with sports officiating, there’s a lot of competition in the cleaning business, so if you want to be successful, you have to maintain a high level of professionalism and be at the top of your game.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jeff says he’d head out to see the world. “I would certainly like to do some traveling, which is something I haven’t had many opportunities to do. I’m part Japanese and part Filipino, and I’ve never been to either Japan or the Philippines, so it’d be neat to visit those countries and get in touch with my heritage.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Golden State Warriors.

Q: Do you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person. I have a Staffordshire terrier named Dakota.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Sol Food in San Rafael.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Curl up on the couch and watch TV.

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The Benefits of Steam Cleaning Carpet

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SAN FRANCISCO — Most homeowners don’t realize the abundance of bacteria, germs and other contaminants a carpet can harbor. After making their way into the home (whether by air or being tracked in by people and pets), most of these contaminants end… Read more

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Video: The Truth about Chemical Carpet Cleaners

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: While many people are concerned about the health effects of chemical carpet cleaning products, this has as much to do with… Read more

Scott Sunkel is owner of Start Fresh Restoration, a Diamond Certified company since 2009. He can be reached at (925) 934-5577 or by email.

Scott Sunkel

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Scott Sunkel: A Fresh Start

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

WALNUT CREEK — For Scott Sunkel, getting into the carpet cleaning business may have been an unanticipated move, but it provided him with the fresh start he’d been looking for. “I managed a furniture store for three years, during which time I basically worked seven days a week and had no life,” he recounts. “In the course of looking for a different career, I started cleaning carpets. Even though I fell into it by happenstance, it wasn’t long before I realized that I really enjoyed it.”

Today, as owner of Start Fresh Restoration, Scott says he’s found a sense of balance and fulfillment that had been missing from his prior career. “Running my own business has created a really good balance in my life, and I get a lot of satisfaction from making people happy with the results of my work. When my customers smile, it makes me smile, so everybody’s happy.”

A lifetime resident of Walnut Creek (where he lives with his wife, Tammy), Scott appreciates the close-knit character of his community. “In addition to growing up here myself, this is where my kids grew up, and it was a very positive experience for all of us,” he says. “I feel fortunate to be part of such a conscientious, family-oriented community.”

Outside of work, Scott engages in a variety of active pastimes. “My wife and I do CrossFit, and I’ve recently taken up archery,” he says. “We also like to visit local wilderness areas and go exploring.” Additionally, Scott makes an effort to keep up with his two grown children, Cody and Shauna. “My son is in Denver and my daughter is in Argentina, so we don’t see a whole lot of each other, but we stay close by talking on the phone regularly and visiting at least a couple times a year.”

In regard to his professional career, Scott espouses the virtues of complete transparency. “I make it a point to be open and honest about the way I do business,” he explains. “There’s a lot of deceit in the marketplace, so my customers appreciate the fact that I’m an open book, which has resulted in a lot of repeat business and long-term relationships.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Scott says he would simplify. “I’m a big proponent of simple living, and I believe you don’t need a lot of money to enjoy life, so I’d like to be a little more intentional about that. Another thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time is get more involved with charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.

Q: Who’s your favorite superhero?
A: Spider-Man.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Apples.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: A gorilla.

Q: What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
A: When I was in Belize, I had iguana. The people there consider it a delicacy.

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How to Remove a Recurring Carpet Spot

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WALNUT CREEK — A common phenomenon experienced by those with carpet in their homes is a spot that continues to reappear, even after repeated cleanings. Fortunately, this isn’t a hopeless situation: by using the correct technique, you can eliminate a… Read more

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