Ray Pillar’s career took a turn in the late ‘90s when the dot-com bubble burst and left him ready to make a major change. He took his time deciding what to do next, spending a year and a half studying his options and talking to many different types of franchises. When he met with the people at a large national maid service franchise, he made up his mind almost instantly.
“I felt at home as soon as I walked in,” said Pillar who is now a longtime franchise owner under his business Pillar Enterprises, Inc., in the Aurora-Naperville Area of Northern Illinois. “They brought the entire office out to greet us. It was a very friendly environment.”
Pillar received his starter kit for his franchise with two upright vacuums and two shoulder vacuums, but he found the uprights to be cumbersome and heavy. When he met ProTeam® Sales Manager Mike Harrington at a trade show six months later, Harrington introduced him to the Sierra® backpack vacuum.
“We began using the Sierra with the electric power head on carpet and the floor brush for hard flooring,” said Pillar. “The efficiency of using one backpack vacuum was so much greater than using two vacuums for carpet and hard floors, and the weight was only 10 pounds.”
Today Pillar employs a staff of 45 who clean residences for a flock of loyal clientele. He maintains and repairs his fleet of 22 Sierra backpack vacuums himself.
“The backpacks don’t really break down. The first ones I bought 12 years ago are still out in the field cleaning today,” said Pillar. “I’ve replaced brushes, hoses, and a few motors. The motors last a long time. Even when we did have a problem with a defective harness, ProTeam® was on top of it and took care of it right away.”
Clients have remarked on the cleanliness of the carpets and the nice lines the powerhead leaves behind. His employees like the backpacks, finding them easier to use. When he receives the occasional complaint about wearing the vacuum, he immediately addresses the fit of the harness.
“If I hear a complaint about the backpack being uncomfortable, I know that they are not buckling and tightening the straps,” said Pillar. “The waist belt is where the weight of the vacuum rides. Once they adjust the fit, the complaints go away.”