A passion for serving others and making sure the customer is treated right led Ken Moncebaiz to start K&M Steam Cleaning 25 years ago.
“I’m here to serve the mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers—the women of the planet so I can create a loving, free and clean environment,” Moncebaiz said. “It’s a new sense of passion when it comes to making sure the client is safe in their environment. [They] have fun watching us do what we do and get an instantaneous result by a professional company that trains and retrains its teams consistently.”
Moncebaiz’s journey began when he branched off from working for a large company in 1996 and started K&M Steam Cleaning from his garage after trading his truck for a van. He began knocking on doors, creating his own ads, and handing them out by going door-to-door to find customers.
“Once I could create enough income, I bought a couple real ads and it snowballed from there,” he said. “After three years I had three vans.”
Over the years, K&M Steam Cleaning has grown to 17 employees, including two of Moncebaiz’s sons and his daughter. The business now serves Travis and Williamson counties, including a mix of residential and commercial clients. Services include carpet repair and cleaning, air duct cleaning, tile and grout, tile and stone cleaning and upholstery. Additionally, the team is all trained to be pet odor specialists.
“Anything you can sit on or stand on in your home, I can clean,” Moncebaiz said. “All the flooring: carpet, tile or wood.”
But one of the best parts of the job for Moncebaiz is working with granite.
“When I walk into a home, if I see granite, my heart goes out like a magnet,” he said. “God created these things. That’s why I have so much passion in cleaning it.”
The business has adapted over the years, expanding from residential clients to offering pressure cleaning as well on large buildings, such as a recent job in South Austin that included 21 buildings. Navigating through the pandemic last year was no exception to change either, as K&M Steam Cleaning had to rethink its business model to sustain the company during the stay-at-home orders.
“Everyone wanted to be clean, but they didn’t want to let anyone in to do it,” Moncebaiz said. “It went really stagnant. But the money still wants to be taken out because advertising and rent doesn’t stop.”
The business was able to win several contracts with the city of Austin in 2020 to help sustain income, turning from steam cleaning in residential areas to going to downtown Austin to disinfect buildings.
“We got some contracts that really sustained the company for about three months,” Moncebaiz said. “We sat on that until we gradually pushed enough ads out there to capture the businesses.”
Eighteen months later, Moncebaiz said he is busier than he was before the pandemic began, but he is also focused on giving back to his community following a car accident his 19-year-old son Jody was in last summer.
“He’s beautiful and loving, tall and handsome,” Moncebaiz said. “He’s everything I ever dreamed of in a son. But he hasn’t spoken [since the accident].”
Following the accident, after thinking about the first responders who rescued his son, Moncebaiz made the decision to start supporting the First Responders Children Foundation, which helps children and families of first responders who are killed or injured in the line of duty. Anyone who donates to the cause is offered a 15% discount on services offered by K&M Steam Cleaning.
“One of the reasons it’s so important to me is it gives them money into a fund so they can get an education,” he said. “That’s what the main purpose of this is.”
At the end of the day, part of why Moncebaiz started his company 25 years ago was to ensure his customers get a fair price at the best quality, telling all his teams to treat everyone like they would his mother, who is a stickler for perfection and cleanliness.
“That’s what I care most about. They work hard for their money and so do we,” Moncebaiz said. “We want to make sure we give the full dollar and a little more to keep earning their business.”
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