Scrubbing Tioga County Since 1980
From a one-man operation that started 40 years ago, Mark’s Carpet Cleaning now has eight employees and nearly 50 steady customers.
Owner Mark Parsons credits his success to hard work, good people helping him at the right time, excellent employees and some help from God.
Growing up in Wellsboro was challenging for Parsons. His parents split and his father moved away when he was eight years old; he and his siblings were raised by his mother and grandparents.
“I was ashamed to go into the nurses’s office to get my free lunch ticket, afraid that my friends would see me,” Parsons said. “I said to myself, ‘Someday my kids would never have to do this.’”
After graduation from Wellsboro High School, he moved to Arizona where his father had a carpet cleaning business.
“I knew I was a hard worker, but I had no connections and didn’t know what I wanted to do so after graduation I went out,” he said.
He learned the carpet cleaning business, but missed home. So, he returned. With nothing to his name except a Ford Fiesta, he decided to borrow money to buy a professional carpet cleaner.
“I wanted to start a carpet cleaning business on my own, so my grandma went with me to the bank and signed for me a $500 90-day note to start my own business,” Parsons said. “I remember going around town trying to get business.”
He stopped at Putnam Co. and then president Fred Smith asked him to clean a carpet in an apartment above the natural food store. Do the work “whenever,” Smith told the young entrepreneur; Parsons completed the job the same day.
Actions like that and his work ethic made an impression. He still works for the owners of Putnam Co. and cleaned every Acorn Market on a monthly basis for 15 years.
His promise to himself fueled his drive those early years. He would start to clean the convenience stores at 11 p.m., work all night, grab a couple hours of sleep before going to his day clients.
Private clients also helped him through those early years. Grace Bair hired Parsons to clean her garage every Friday, then added indoor cleaning before introducing him to a new venture: steam cleaning furniture. She also introduced him to others in the community.
“Grace Bair was someone I truly admired and owed a lot to when I started out,” Parsons said.
The business grew slowly. The turning point came when two local banks asked him in the same week to take on big cleaning jobs. His company wasn’t big enough to do both, leaving him with a dilemma.
“Here I am, my golden opportunity, and I didn’t know what to do,” he said.
The answer came through prayer. He accepted the offer from First Citizens Community Bank to clean five banks each week.
Parsons worked alone for several years before hiring his first employee. He now employs eight people, who usually begin the work day around 4 a.m.
His son, Patrick, still works for the company and is planning to take it over some day. Paula, his wife, does book work, orders supplies and provides support. He’s also had his brothers, Lonny and Gary, and two other sons, Tyler and Taylor, work for him.
“I have been so blessed to have great help and my help has been with me a long time. I would not trade any one of them,” he said. “They all have old-school work ethics and take pride in their work and the finished product.”
Having started as a specialist in carpet cleaning, Parsons expanded by branching into janitorial work, which provides a year-round basis of work. He’s also added power washing for the exterior of houses, tile cleaning, window washing, upholstery cleaning and full house cleaning.
“The Lord has definitely blessed our business in abundance,” Parsons said. “I remember the years when I worried about the days when we didn’t have a job to do, but the phone would always ring and God provided.”
Parsons doesn’t see his story as unusual, and offers encouragement to others who may have been dealt a tough hand.
“For everyone out there who has been dealt a bad deck of cards, all you need is the determination and willpower,” he said. “Whatever life gives you, if you want something in life, you can do it.”
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