December 2018

Lowcountry Clean Care, LLC: Cleaning is what they do — Caring is who they are!

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” While often cited in the context of getting ahead in life, it also applies to finding the right person to get a job done. You don’t necessarily need to understand the process, but you need to know the person who does.

Over a cup of coffee at the Corner Perk in Bluffton, Gerald Brant gave me a thorough rundown on his rug washing business among many other cleaning services his company offers. His eyes danced as he explained in detail what he cleans and how. (The depth of his knowledge is mindboggling.) He’s cleaned everything from rugs to antique dolls, applying knowledge he’s picked up over the years. He knows about natural dyes, hand-spun wool, and rayon. He knows what to do to prevent colors from bleeding and how to fix it if someone else got it wrong. He knows what cleansers and pre-treatments to use, how to remove pet stains, and how to repair side cords and fringes. His attitude? “Can do.”

But setting him apart beyond his experience and expertise is the satisfaction he gets from providing exceptional customer service. “Obviously, I want to make money,” he said. “But in the same sense, you’ve got to feel good about your work. If I can’t feel good about what I’ve done for you, I don’t feel good about charging you. In short, we try to treat people like we would like to be treated.”

Knowledge + Integrity + Teamwork
Brant started his cleaning business in 1979, when he purchased a franchise, Guaranteed Systems Carpet Cleaning and Dye, with a focus on wall-to-wall carpet. But as the business grew, he became a sponge, attending seminars and classes all over the Southeast and as far west as Denver, soaking up knowledge about fabrics, chemicals, and the science of cleaning. He gradually transitioned away from the franchise and began offering a diverse set of cleaning services including rug washing and repair, upholstery, draperies, tile and grouting, water damage/structural drying, and more. “What I tell people is I have a lot of tools in my tool box,” he said.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have, according to Brant, is the amount of time and energy that goes into his rug cleaning process. “This is not a glamorous business, and sometimes it’s a thankless business, because people don’t always realize what we actually do,” he said. “It’s not a matter of just running a vacuum and throwing it in the washer.” Cleansing sprays and pre-spotting treatments are carefully selected for each rug and every row of knots or fringe, depending on the level of soil, the source or the stains, the material composition, and the color.

While Brant is a walking encyclopedia with 40 years’ experience in the cleaning business, he is quick to praise his support staff—a tight-knit, like-minded group, always willing to go the extra mile for the customer.

“Sometimes you look at other companies and they are big, but they don’t have what I call quality control,” he said. “I started this thing so long ago, and I had always been sort of a perfectionist. That’s trickled down to everyone who works with me. They know the importance of quality work and doing what you say you’re going to—including being on time, being responsible.”

Although rug cleaning and repair is Brant’s primary business, the array of cleaning services he offers today is astounding, especially considering he has only four employees. “People are amazed that we process as much as we do with the number of employees. It’s because of the planning. I’ve already got my plan before I’m there, and then I oversee the execution of it. I’m not going to go on a job unprepared,” he said.

Preparation begins with meticulous scheduling, which starts with office manager Jessi Ohl. Employed by the company four years, her responsibilities include answering the phone, scheduling jobs, communicating with customers, preparing gift bags for customers, bill paying, payroll, running errands, etc. “Pretty much I do everything, and on top of that, I do some of the rug repairs,” she said—a skill she learned from Brant.

What Ohl believes sets the company apart, in addition to the quality of service they provide, is their customer relations. “We’re more down to earth,” she said. “At the bigger companies, you don’t get to know the people you work with or the customer. We’ll take the time to get to know our customers, and we show them we appreciate their business.”

Ohl, who has worked in the childcare industry and still does on Sundays, is hands-on and self-taught. She enjoys interacting with people on the phone, and most people remember her by name. On a rare occasion when a customer is unhappy, she is the calm voice with the level head who does what it takes to fix it, she said. “That comes from working with kids, you know.”

While Ohl is behind the scenes running the office, it’s John Moseley who is in the field with Brant doing the physical labor. Employed by the company 11 years and skilled in multiple trades, he said, “Mr. Gerald has taught me everything I know about the business. He’s good to me and takes care of me, and I return the favor.”

Brant is also grooming a young man, Nathan Owens, who is still in high school but working for Lowcountry Clean Care on weekends and in the summer. “He’s a big boy. He’s my muscle,” Brant said. In addition, new hire Justin Crews is working part-time. “He’s worked for me before, and I can see that he’s grown and matured. He brings a good work ethic,” Brant said.

Moseley said he particularly enjoys meeting the customers and the variety of tasks he performs. “When I go to work, I’m doing something different every day. It’s a steady challenge of what’s coming up next. Every job is different. You have to pay attention and proceed as you would want it done and make sure it’s right,” he said.

He also appreciates the close connections within the company. “We’re not kin, but it’s family oriented. We put more effort to do it right, and we’re going to make sure we do whatever it takes to please the customer,” he said. “People love it that we do extras that other companies don’t do.”

For superior rug cleaning, repair, and much more, get to know Brant and his crew at Lowcountry Clean Care. Experience the difference in quality and service that comes from a company that cares.

Lowcountry Clean Care is Master Rug Cleaner Certified. They are located at 27 Cemetery Rd. in Hampton, S.C. They pick up and deliver to all areas of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort, Fripp, Bray’s and Dataw Islands. For more information, visit lowcountrycleancare.com or call (803) 943-4416 to arrange pickup. Gilman Floors, Door to Door Dry Cleaners & The Clothes Press also accept rugs for Lowcountry Clean Care.


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