Getting to know Barry O'Connell

Mikey P

Administrator
#1
I freely admit I never heard of him prior to the Dusty indecent a week or so ago. Now I see him on here most everyday.
I asked Barry if he was game for a hot seat and low and behold...



-When and how did you get interested in oriental carpets?

-How do you actually earn your living?

-Who cleans your rugs and if they quit who would be your top five choices? Please list in order of results given and not of knowledge of whats being cleaned.

-Have you ever been fooled by a tufted rug? In other words, you had to flip it to know?

-A seemingly normal guy with zero cleaning or rug knowledge walks up to you and wants to know all the proper steps to become a Rug Fag (think Randy Hyde) Where do you recommend he start and how long would it take before you add him to your preferred cleaner list?
-What tools of the trade would you demand as necessary for him to be considered a professional?
-What schools should he not waste his time on?
-What area in this country could support AND use another rug care studio?

-What population is needed in a city to keep a Studio/Plant busy and profitable full time just cleaning rugs, assuming they market themselves efficiently?

-What is the least a cleaner should charge to had wash a rug?

-..and to butcher it with a Moore Machine?

-How did we ever get rugs cleaned before the Rug Badger came along?

-Can we see a picture of the rug you will be wrapped up in your coffin with?






BTW,

Nice web site sir!

http://www.spongobongo.com/

I would recommend that you add these two fine rug restorers to your list in California.

http://www.talismanrestoration.com

http://www.rugcarestudio.com/



Artisan was opened by Aaron Kinda and his mother Margret.
Aaron worked for David Walker (Talisman) for many years before heading out on his own.

Both do incredible work.




and if you toss my company on there I'll give you 5% for every rug we hack out in the home.. :mrgreen:

http://www.santacruzclean.com


Thanks Barry!!!
 
G

Guest

Guest
#2
Thanks for the oppertunity to get to know all of you as you get to know me. Here is the first cut. I am glad to answer whatever you folks want to know.
-When and how did you get interested in oriental carpets.
I grew up with Oriental Carpets that my grandfather bought in the 1930s and 40s so I was familiar with good rugs. Inn the 1990 I stopped to take a leak at a Rug store on route 15 in Pa and I saw an Afghan War Rug. It cracked me up because I knew how it would offend my liberal friends. I had gotten sucked in by the Reagan White House in a non-government effort to help the Contras and overthrow the Communist Government in Nicaragua. So knock around the far right whacko circuit in DC I go to know the guys helping the Mujahidin fight the Soviets so I bought some rugs. Then I bought more and started studying. By 1996 I was associate editor of Oriental Rug Review. It just grew because I wanted to know everything. I won’t ever reach my goal but I got to do something until I die.

-How do you actually earn your living?

I do performance tuning of high speed databases for major companies. My wife and I also run our websites and do a little marketing and seo on the side.

-Who cleans your rugs and if they quit who would be your top five choices? Please list in order of results given and not of knowledge of whats being cleaned.

I clean my own rugs now. If I had someone else do it I would use Keshishian in Chevy Chase MD. Then Wade Shehady in Pittsburgh. Rug Renovating in New Jersey. If it was a special problem I would send it to Nathan Koets in Michigan or Thea Sand in Seattle.

-Have you ever been fooled by a tufted rug? In other words, you had to flip it to know?

Not in a long time.

-A seemingly normal guy with zero cleaning or rug knowledge walks up to you and wants to know all the proper steps to become a Rug Fag (think Randy Hyde) Where do you recommend he start and how long would it take before you add him to your preferred cleaner list?

I would recommend that he get a job in the best shop he could get to. I think even the new guys on my list have got 10 years in the biz. If someone had the money and time training could short cut that. My advice to guys who can is to mix something like Carpet Cleaning and begin to take the easier work and lay the tough jobs off on someone else. Then expand the business as they get the hang of it.

-What tools of the trade would you demand as necessary for him to be considered a professional?
-What schools should he not waste his time on?

At the low-end a guy with knowledge could go into business with a vacuum and a garden hose and a few scrub brushes (This is what I use on my rugs). Knowledge is key. You don’t need a Rug Badger to be a pro but if you are any good you will quickly be so busy that you need something like a Rug Badger to save you time. You can do the job with a scrub brush and I do. But I wish I had a Cimex when the sun is baking my poor old head and my back is killing me from stooping over. Proper application of the chemicals is getting to be the name of the game. The tools are just a way to save time. But time is money.

-What population is needed in a city to keep a Studio/Plant busy and profitable full time just cleaning rugs, assuming they market themselves efficiently?
My buddy Kim did well in town with a population of 42,000. He did travel to pick up rugs. He sold rugs but I am pretty sure it was the cleaning he made his money on.

-What area in this country could support AND use another rug care studio?

As for areas to set up I would look for population amd money. I know one washer who was small time in a major east coast market. He stopped selling rugs and focused on cleaning. Now he has over 100 employees and is doing a million a month. Does that mean that market is locked up? No, I know someone else who is looking to buy an established wash Co. in the same market because he thinks the market is still ripe. The million a month guy did it on aggressive marketing, I think that is the key.

-What is the least a cleaner should charge to hand wash a rug?

The least I know of is $1 – 1.75 but he makes his money on repairs. Most places $3 a square foot is the lower end. I guess there are some small markets where people charge less but $3 seems doable as a low-end.

-..and to butcher it with a Moore Machine?

No clue. I don’t know anyone who still uses one.

-How did we ever get rugs cleaned before the Rug Badger came along?
Same way I do it now. Upright beater bar vacuum. It just takes longer and I don’t think it is effective. A standard beater bar rotates 3,000 times per minute. A Rug Badger strikes/vibrates 47,000 times a minute so there is a big difference. But I use the vac because Dusty never gave me a Rug Badger and with a wife and 3 boys under 16 my household budget does not stretch that far. But I clean a few rugs a year.

-Can we see a picture of the rug you will be wrapped up in your coffin with?

I never even thought about that I will have to give that some thought.
 
#3
Thanks Barry. I was pleased to finally meet Nathan Koets, his dad, and his brother almost 14 years ago at the first Summerfest in Columbus. I was happy to see him near the top of your list.

It's great to have you here!
 
G

Guest

Guest
#4
Glad to be here. As far as Nathan goes he is one of the best cleaners I ever met. I have been out to Grand Rapids to visit and see his studio. The energy passion and knowledge that he brings to washing rugs is second to none. That plus he is a really nice guy who carries his personal faith and integrity into everything he does.
Barry
 

Mikey P

Administrator
#5
lets hear more about the million a month guy.

I'll assume the clean any rug that comes in and prices accordingly.

Many rug studios like to chase off the turfteds and synthetics due to some sort off weird snobbery. Like the rUgurus would think less of them if they wanded a Home Depot Olefin.


I dont see any reason to turn away user/beater/ghetto floor covers. Just have a method and price that suits the job..

I would say there is more profit in wanding a Synthetic @ .75 to 1.00 a foot in plan than hand washing a hand tied @ $4.00


I'd like to see their marketing pieces, would you mind sharing some with us?
 
#7
What questions are you looking to be asked by us Mike? Seems it would be more likely rug neophites that would be asking questions. I am not avoiding Barry at all and in fact sent him all our info to list on his site last week and he already has it up on it.
 
#9
We run dozens of tufteds through our Moore every day- sadly they and machine mades are what are selling much more than hand knotted/woven rugs.
 
#10
I first heard about Barry from Phil Auserehl and learned a lot just from his web-site - thank you Barry.

RinseCleanRugs1.jpg


That Nate guy is a bit of a shady character you know - he uses child labor in his rug plant -

Nates4.jpg


Retired now and so have a good Rug Badger for sale.
 
G

Guest

Guest
#13
lets hear more about the million a month guy.

BOC: Around 2000 this guy had a small family rug store that took in cleaning and repair. Then he shifted his focus to cleaning and repair and marketed the business aggressively. The big cleaner in the area was getting old and slowing down. The big guys advertising dropped and they left themselves open to competition. So the little guy made his move. He added many drop off locations and he also added truck mount carpet cleaning units. The marketing is radio TV and Internet. It has gotten to the point that when I turn on the radio I hear his ads. It must be expensive but with over 100 employees you have to keep marketing.

I'll assume the clean any rug that comes in and prices accordingly.

BOC: My understanding is that they price by the type and they do everything from Wall to Wall to the finest Oriental Rugs.


Many rug studios like to chase off the turfteds and synthetics due to some sort off weird snobbery. Like the rUgurus would think less of them if they wanded a Home Depot Olefin.

BOC: I have worked in two rug washing companies. In one I never remember anyone even asking about Tufted or Olefin. It was a prestigious old-line rug company. I am sure they would clean all types but I just don’t remember anyone asking. The other was in Seattle and we regularly did all types. They had a great plant and a small fleet of truck mounts.

I dont see any reason to turn away user/beater/ghetto floor covers. Just have a method and price that suits the job..

BOC: I agree
 
G

Guest

Guest
#14
Hello.
Thanks everybody! I really somewhat amus appreciate the kind questions and comments. I half expected a setup when I said yes to this. I thought I would get questions like, “If you were trapped in a cabin in the rockies during a blizzard with wolves howling outside who would you rather have with you, Ellen, Ruth, or Lisa?” :-)

Seriously it is good to catch up and make new friends. I just added ken Snow to our cleaners list. I had Hagopians on the dealer and Appraiser list on the basis of the old man Mr. Hagopian. He was one of the grand old men of Rugs and we lost him last year so it is nice to meet the next generation.

As for DA Burns and their Moore machine I feel kind of stupid. I spent 7 months on the waterfront in Ballard Wa. And everyday I would take the bus home to where I as staying and I passed by DA Burns and never stopped in. My loss. It is great to see harry Myers on here.

Thanks to harryhides fror bringing up Phil Auserehl. Phil is a wonderful gentleman and incredibly generous. He makes a very good line of products including dusting equipment. Rather than seeing the Rug Badger as a threat he called Dusty up one day and told him how to drastically improve the Badger. Not a thing in it for him but Phil did it because he is a decent and honorable person. Phil’s suggestion was so important that every Rug Badger incorporates it and Dusty went back and fixed all the Badgers he sold to include it.

What I see in this business is a lot of decent honorable people doing the best they can. I do the Cleaners list and the Dealers list to pay back the good guys for being who they are. I do not decide who is on the list I just manage it. The members select and vet the list so that it becomes more of an industry list rather than a list of Barry’s friends. Heck, I know for a fact that some of the guys on the list can’t stand me.
I am in the process of designing a new type of website to use as a Best Carpet Cleaners list. I think it will work and if it does it will be very powerful. The web is changing and we need to adapt to where it is going not what it has been. 20 years ago you needed the yellow pages, then you needed a website now we are seeing a shift to localized search that will make neighborhood search a bigger and bigger part of marketing. I actually have over 15 million unique web pages on my sites but all but 20,000 of them are worthless as far as Google is concerned Now I am going to make what I hope is the next big breakthrough.
Barry
 
G

Guest

Guest
#16
:-) A gentleman never tells and besides my wife keeps me on a pretty short leash. The howling wolves would be more forgiving.
 

Art Kelley

Supportive Member
#19
BarryOC said:
Hello.
Thanks everybody! I do the Cleaners list and the Dealers list to pay back the good guys for being who they are. I do not decide who is on the list I just manage it. The members select and vet the list so that it becomes more of an industry list rather than a list of Barry’s friends. Heck, I know for a fact that some of the guys on the list can’t stand me.
I am in the process of designing a new type of website to use as a Best Carpet Cleaners list. I think it will work and if it does it will be very powerful.
That someone thinks they could "vet" the 45 or 50 thousand carpet cleaning companies in the USA with any semblance of legitimacy is both absurd and laughable.
 
#20
The rug cleaner's list doesn't include everyone, so the carpet cleaner's list probably won't either.

I asked to be on his rug cleaner's list. Since Barry didn't know us, he didn't just do a web search, he talked with people he trusted before adding our company. From my perspective he's not being exclusive, just making sure he doesn't put his name behind a company that might embarrass him.

By the way, he doesn't charge anything for the listing. Real endorsements only.
 
G

Guest

Guest
#21
Hi Art,
I sure would not try, it would never work. So here is how it will go. Take a guy on the list, someone like Ken Snow. If Ken will vouch for someone there is a damn good chance that he will be good. The guys are very straight on who gets on because this list means money in their pocket. So good guys recommend good guys. Plus my rug washers generally know the carpet guys. It takes time but it grows. My washers list is just starting to really work but my dealers list is very profitable for some of the members. One guy told me it is his single larget source of Internet referrals. Another dealer/washer told me 80% of his new business last year came through my list, site, or videos.
So some guys will jump on this and make it work and other guys will blow it off. Either way I still make out fine. After all I do it for free.
Barry
 
#22
Mikey P said:
I'm also wondering why all the MB rug folk are avoiding Barry.


sort of surprised to not see a question or two from the likes of Ken, Lisa, Oz, Randy and George..

How am i avoiding Barry?

Barry and I go back to his first message board some 15 years ago!

Over the last few years with the Badger and such you'd know if I've got something to say i'll say it.
 

Mikey P

Administrator
#23
put your purse away Hyde, I was trying to get you Fags talking


FYI, If'n I was going to become one of yuoz again.


I'd go with the Hagopian moto of 10 minutes or less or screw it.
 
#24
Why? this isn't a rug "fag" oriented web site plus you're a rug fag hater..?


The purple warriors have been around for nearly 75 years like most big plants. If you where to go that way you'd be out of business before you know it

..lets take a walk down memory lane!


 
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