Mike Palmer is the founder of HydraMaster, having started the company unofficially out of his garage in 1969. He’s recognized as one of the first to manufacture and sell truckmounts nationwide.
How would you best sum up the last 50 years (or the time that you’ve been a part) of the carpet cleaning/restoration industry?
I got to fulfill the American dream – I started a business in my garage and ended up a national and worldwide company with a lot of great people. I was really privileged to help pioneer an industry of cleaning equipment. The people I sold to were also fulfilling the American dream – they were small business people, they were growing – and I think the truckmount gave them some new energy, that they could work better and make more profit. I felt great that I was contributing to other people’s fortune also. I’m glad I could add some value to the industry.
In your opinion, what have been some of the most significant events and milestones to impact the industry over the past 50 years? What about some of the most significant people?
(In terms of significant tools) the RX-20, developed by Cliff Munson. We had a great 20 years of sales with that cleaning head.
(In terms of people) Steve Brandt, my partner who brought some new life to HydraMaster. Mike Roden brought a lot to the industry with great innovation. Lloyd Weaver and Claude Blackburn, too. A lot of innovation also came from the cleaners themselves.
What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?
All the people that I met in the industry that became good friends.
Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?
Government regulations. A poor economy for awhile. I feel for the folks that are having the struggle too – this has been a tough time for them and I feel for them. I’ve been through some tough times myself.