For the past seven years, Robert and Becky Lee of Alamogordo have been using a specialized procedure to clean grout, tile and carpet for both commercial and residential customers in Southern New Mexico.
“Our first customer was White Sands. I just drove in and talked to them. They laughed at me when I told them what I could do,” said Robert Lee describing how his machine, which uses heat and just the right amount of water pressure can remove gum and other tough substances without ruining concrete or other hard surfaces. It also cleans carpets. “They said, ‘OK, show us,’ and I did it. We’ve been doing it about twice a year ever since. They still haven’t found anyone who can do what we can do.”
Double Eagle Restoration, LLC, was Robert Lee’s fifth attempt at building a business after the economy began to tank and his employer at the time began cutting back operations. He started to look for something that could supplement his income. After hearing about a specialized cleaning machine and training to use it from a friend, Robert Lee went to Phoenix to learn more about it. He then leased the equipment when he created his own business and eventually quit his job to grow his company. He now builds the equipment himself through his second business, Gum-B-Gone.
Double Eagle Restoration has contracts with Wal-Mart and Holloman Air Force Base. Robert Lee said PTAP and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) both provided support in both starting and growing his companies from business planning to employee procedures and management. Robert Lee said Senior PTAP Advisor Elke Mosholder has been helpful with recommendations and keeping his business in the loop when bids came out.
For businesses interested in government contracting, Robert Lee says in the beginning it helps to do a few jobs outside your scope of work or do it at cost “just to get your name out there,” recalling a subcontract with one of the largest government contractors in the country, Hensel Phelps.
“We didn’t want to be janitors but we hired a guy to take care of the trailers for the two and half years that we worked with Hensel Phelps,” Robert Lee said. “We don’t normally do that work, we still don’t do it, but then we could get on base (Holloman), move around and show them what we could do.
“I don’t think we would have found those contracts without the help of PTAP,” he said.
In 2009, Double Eagle Restoration was honored as the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. The Lees are embarking on a new business venture with the U.S. manufacturing of a machine that sanitizes and deodorizes water without chemicals.
“Without the help of people at PTAP and SBDC, we probably wouldn’t be here today,” he said.