History of Rental Carpet Cleaners.
My name is Bill Kent, founder of Purent and the co-founder of the “rental steam carpet cleaning industry”.
I had wanted to have my own business for many years, I was 42 years old when I finally got my opportunity. I started Kent Carpet Cleaning, a part time professional carpet cleaning business in the Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Until the late 1960’s, wall-to-wall carpet was mostly cleaned by shampooing both professionally and with rental equipment. When I started, I used the shampoo system. I was very successful because I was good at promoting and networking to obtain new customers; so my business steadily grew. I took part in big changes in the carpet cleaning industry.
I remember when I first felt successful. Before I stared my own business I never had much disposable income. Occasionally I would drive my family from Los Angeles to the Palm Springs-Indio Desert area for a day of recreation because it did not cost much. On our days out my wife would ask “How much can we spend?”, I would check my wallet and she would check her purse and between us we’d come up with $10 or $12 at the most.That was all we could spend for a family our size.The first desert trip after I became a part-time carpet cleaner my wife again asked, “How much can we spend?”, Without checking my wallet I knew it was bulging with the proceeds of those $40, $80 and even $120 jobs we had been doing. I still had my regular job to pay our regular household bills. So I replied, “Spend as much as you like.” She countered “But how much?”, I said, “Buy what you want for the family.” It was a good feeling to be able to provide for my family in this way and we all enjoyed the fruits of our success.
I soon became a full time professional carpet cleaner and quit my day job. I made four times the income working for myself. In the late 1960’s “steam” carpet cleaning began to appear in the professional field. I soon switched to the so called “steam carpet cleaning system”, which is actually a hot water extraction system. This was my first big step forward. The new “steam carpet cleaning system” really caught on with the consumers. These professional machines were very large and heavy, requiring two people to move and operate. Soon I was making over $2,500 a month which would be the equivalent of over $7,500 in today’s money. I was so successful that eventually I wrote a book entitled, “How to Clean Carpets for Dollars and Independence”, now out of print. I received many letters and visits from people who said reading and following the system outlined in the book changed their lives. They made more money than they ever thought possible and felt great about owning their own business.
I thought, what other business could bring rewarding profit quickly with minimal labor? The answer, carpet cleaning rentals. This was my second big step forward.In those days, I knew a young man who told me how his father-in-law created his wealth. He built small carpet shampoo machines and rented them to the public through retail stores. Do-it-yourself customers could clean their own carpet and save money. I conceived the idea to use steam carpet cleaners for rental carpet cleaning instead of shampoo. I had been thinking for some time a lighter, smaller, simpler, less expensive “steam carpet cleaning machine” could be rented in grocery and hardware stores and clean much better than the smaller shampoo machines. At that time, “steam” machines were heavy, large, complex and very expensive; usually requiring two persons to operate. By this time, I had partnered with my brother Rodger Kent and he suggested a simpler “dolly” design that would allow one person to operate the machine easily.
One night after dinner I sat at the dining table and in a couple of hours designed a lighter, smaller, simpler, ‘dolly’ type tank machine that became the Rug Doctor model R-40 “steam” carpet cleaning rental machine. This was one of the very first, if not the first “steam carpet cleaning machines” the consumers ever used, and to my knowledge the first at the national level. I estimate at the retail level in rentals and cleaning solution sales, this machine had brought in over a billion dollars during the following 17 years. The machine became famous in its day and changed the carpet cleaning rental field forever. I loved the rental business my brother and I owned because we made money from carpet cleaning while we slept or I spent time with my family.
The History and Birth of the R-40 Rental Carpet Cleaner
- My brother named it Rug Doctor and suggested its red color.
- I suggested that we create an animated, talking character based on the machine—a doctor with a stethoscope.
- My son William, who was very artistic, first drew the machine as a doctor.
- Charlie Fall, the head of Vantage Advertising, gave him the catchy slogan, “Rug Doctor, Steaming Mad at Dirt”.Charlie got Thurl Ravenscroft the famous voice of Tony the Tiger, to bellow our slogan endlessly over television.
Of course, imitators followed our example and the “steam” or hot water extraction carpet cleaning rental business was a great success, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in retail revenue each year. I am no longer half owner of Rug Doctor and have not been for many years. My immediate family and I started and own Kent Investment Corporation in 1992. We are manufacturers of machines and supplies for the rental carpet cleaning industry. We have sold over 30,000 rental machines (model C-4) to one customer alone. Our factory is in Ash Flat, Arkansas (my home town). Purent and 7IN1 are two of our trademarks.
Timing is important in business.
- When I started Kent Carpet Cleaning in Los Angeles back in the late 1960’s, the time was right for that service.
- When we started Rug Doctor Rents in the early 1970’s, the time was right for home rentals of “steam” carpet cleaners through grocery and hardware stores. Shampoo rentals faded away.
- Today, a new era is rising in “steam” or hot water extraction carpet cleaning rentals. Now, is the time for home delivery and pick up of carpet cleaning rental machines. The Purent system offers the best products, service and convenience.
I enjoyed being a small business owner, and cleaning carpets, operating out of my home and garage. I loved the freedom, greater security, and being able to collect money day after day to provide for my family. Working on a small business, making it successful and being your own boss is about as good as it gets. Later I loved innovating and growing the rental carpet cleaning business. I really liked teaching customers how to clean their own carpets, and helping them save money with our system. It was a joy to see the pride they had in their accomplishments. Now we have developed our latest carpet cleaning system receiving a Platinum rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute. Our system is easy to use and is eco-friendly. This new innovative system has great potential for someone who wants to operate their own dealership. The Kent family has over 40 years of experience in carpet cleaning, innovation, marketing, product development and manufacturing. And now we have developed the purent system based on our experience in this industry. The purent system can supply the tools, knowledge, products, and communication for you to operate your dealership. As a dealer you can benefit from the collective knowledge and ideas of other purent dealers. Take pride in your accomplishments and innovate like I did to make yourself and the organization more successful.
Purent is offering a time tested quality cleaning system through a new marketing system. Why a new system? Small business can no longer rely on big business as an outlet for good products or profitable income. Many full and part time workers can no longer rely on the business world alone for good or well-paying jobs. And many retired or stay at home parents need more income to make it. The purent marketing system takes these situations into account and offers the products and services outside the tightly controlled big business retail and rental channel. I also wanted a system that gives people who want to start their own business the opportunity to do so like I did. The purent system has a low start-up cost and overhead, making it realistic for people to start. I want everyone to feel successful like I did and provide for their families and themselves a better standard of living.