Business in Dire Need

I have created this on behalf of my friend Eric Ho and his business partner Roger Surita because they are frantically busy right now trying to save their business and serve their clients as best as they can. They both own and operate a steam cleaning business, SpotBeGone, out of Cedar Park, TX. 

They do not have a full blown website yet. But they do have a Facebook page:

Eric Ho and his wife of 8 years, Judy. They have two dogs, Yoshi and Tipsy, whom they love dearly. They plan on having kids soon.

Roger and his wife of 9 years, Adrianna. They also have 4 kids, Rey Rey, Sochi, Diamond, and Corvina (ages 14-19)

This is Eric Ho's story.

My best friend, Roger Surita, was working for a surface, floor and carpet cleaning and steaming company that did not respect or treat their employees fairly. Being yelled at and belittled became a daily occurrence. After two years of this, Roger couldn't take it anymore and we discussed starting a new business venture. Roger brought 10 years of experience and many loyal clients to the table. I had the capital it would take to procure the vehicle and equipment we would need to get started.

I was laid off from Sprint as an Assistant Manager in April 2014 after 10 years of dedicated service just one week after Roger and I started our business. My wife, a Lead Technical Consultant, also an employee of Sprint for 7 years, was also laid off at the same time. It was a very uneasy time for us but I kept my head up, we had a good savings set aside to keep us affloat, we had just started this very viable business that started generating revenue, basically over night due to Rogers reputation and client base. 

Roger and I financed a 2012 ford van for around $15,000. The reason we decided to go with a newer van versus an older, smaller or cheaper one was that we had so much business right out of the gate that we needed reliable equipment to ensure customers would be serviced well. Additionally we sourced new or completely refurbished equipment that included: a Carpet cleaning machine, liquid tanks, hoses, reels, tools, chemicals, etc. In addition to the equipment costs, we also had to get it all professionally installed and mounted in the van. All of this totalled around 15k in cash. It was a lot of cash and ate up a good chunk of my wife and I's savings and 401k's, but everything was coming together quickly and efficiently. 

Thats when things started to go wrong. The van we financed started having issues. 3 months in, the engine spun a bearing. For those of you not familiar with this condition, it basically means the engine needed to be replaced or rebuilt. In the essence of time and with our entire business hinging on this van, we found a used cleaning van with equipment that was functional, but old an worn (vintage 1996) for around $5,000. This was enough to keep us going during the slow season while the other van was down.

Ford would not honor the engine failure under warranty as it was out of the warranty period on mileage (88k miles) so we had a choice of either buying a used low mileage (36k miles) motor for $2,200 or having the existing motor rebuilt for $4,500. We decided to go with purchasing the used motor becuase the time it would take to swap a motor was about 2 weeks less than rebuilding one.

Unfortunately, the used motor we purchased turned out to be bad. So then we had to have the existing motor rebuilt for another $4,500.00 and it meant even more down time on our main van. We are still in dispute with the company we purchased the used motor from to get our money back. The $4,500.00 it cost us to rebuild the motor ate up the last bit of available cash we had. But having two vans would allow us to expand our business and serve more clients. After 3 long weeks, we finally had our main van back in service.

As soon as I picked up the van, we had a healthy backlog of clients to serve so I went straight to a job to get work done. 

Then 5 hours into the job, this happened.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed that it originated from the carpet cleaning unit shown in the last photo. The van and 90% of the equipment is a total loss. What wasn't destroyed by the fire and smoke, was ruined by the water used to extinguish the fire.

We are going to get some amount of compensation from our insurance company, but when and how much we will get is still unknown. The issues we are facing now is our busy season is coming up and all we have today is the old 1996 van and equipment to keep our business going. We have little confidence in the old equipment's ability to keep up with the work load.

We have very little to no cash remaining to purchase new equipment. Financing another van, hopefully won't be an issue, but typically no one will finance the carpet cleaning machine, liquid tanks, hoses, tools, reels and all the other equipment we need to do the actual work, much less cover the additional cost to install and mount the equipment in the van.

The business is all that Roger and I have to feed our families. We are deeply greatful and apprecitive for any donation, no matter how small. All proceeds will go directly to getting a new van and equipment to keep our business going. 

Any funds remaining from this campaign after we get a new van, equipment, and installation we will use on coupons for free steam cleaning to anyone who donates within our service area/range (includes: austin, round rock, cedar park, plugerville, hutto, georgetown, buda, and kyle).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story. Again, anything you may be willing to donate, no matter how small, means we can continue to feed our families and keep our business going. Even if all you can do is share this on your facebook wall, twitter or with friends, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you wish to donate through paypal, please use the link at the top to their facebook business page, it will contain the paypal link, as gofundme will not allow paypal links to be posted here.

If you leave your name and a message, we will be sure to add it to the goal on gofundme. Thank you.

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Zach Venable 
Cedar Park, TX
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