Local man develops mobile mattress cleaning business
Local resident Michael Ingle came up with what could be the next best thing.
The idea for his new business, a mattress cleaning company, came at some point at 3 a.m.
“I don’t really know how it began,” Ingle said. “I enjoy problem-solving, so I identified a problem and wanted to create a solution.”
Before launching Mattress Cleaners Inc., Ingle did his research. He spent the past two years working on his prototype by contacting different firms that developed the equipment he was looking for and also working on the design.
“It was like trial and error, until I got it right,” he said.
His 3,500-square-foot warehouse in north Denton is filled with tools and supplies, as well as frames he needs to create what he calls a “clean sleep machine.” The end result is a business that stays mobile by using a 16-foot truck filled with technology dedicated to removing dust mites, dead skin and bedbugs from mattresses.
“This is something that could impact everybody on a global level,” Ingle said. “In a way, I wanted to create the perfect business model, where your target market is everybody and your competition is nobody.”
Rags to riches
When Ingle was developing his idea, he also consulted one of his longtime teachers from Denton High School, Laurence McClendon, who teaches architecture, construction, engineering and technology.
“He talked to me about this mattress cleaning concept and I helped him with some of the design problems,” McClendon said.
McClendon, who has known Ingle for about 13 years, said Ingle is one of his success stories.
“He came from a broken home and he has done everything on his own. He has also learned from his failures,” McClendon said. “I have been teaching for 21 years. I have about five kids that really stand out, and Michael is one of them.”
Ingle was part of Denton High’s robotic team that won first prize at the state level in 2000, the year he graduated. He was also president of the engineering and technology club during his junior and senior years at Denton High.
“I was part of the geeks,” he said.
He also worked as an engineering intern at Boeing Co. and created a prototype for Raytheon during his early career years. In addition to owning Mattress Cleaners, he also owns Quick Set Concrete Inc., a general construction company.
The case for nanotechnology
Nanotechnology, according to Ingle, helps eradicate fungi, bacteria, algae, staph and other types of organisms.
In Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, a study published last fall by the Royal Society of Chemistry in London, authors concluded that nanomaterials “do clearly display promise as antibiotic agents effective even against MDR [multiple drug resistant] organisms,” they said. However, the authors cautioned that further research was needed, since the potential exists for increased drug resistance.
Part of his challenge, Ingle said, is continuing to educate people on the benefits of what his business has to offer. In his research, he has found that the average mattress contains more than 100,000 dust mites, and bedbugs can live in a mattress up to six months without feeding, according to a company brochure.
“It is for a good cause — we improve air quality and wellness,” Ingle said.
Helping others see a need
Ingle said people’s awareness to become healthier has changed in the past 10 years.
“Think about the hand sanitizer — 10 years ago no one cared about it. Everybody lived their lives without it,” he said. “Now they created a product and people feel they need it and they also know more about why they need it.”
Based on their living style, Ingle said, people should have their home mattresses cleaned every six months to a year. For commercial purposes, such as at hotels or hospitals, companies should consider cleaning the mattresses every three months, he said.
The mattress cleaning process takes six steps.
A mattress of any size is placed inside what Ingle calls a “Clean Sleep Machine” — a truck that has equipment to sanitize a mattress using ultraviolet light, a dry steam process, a vacuum, infrared heat, ozone and antimicrobial nanotechnology. The entire process takes 15 minutes.
Ingle might have started his business at the right time.
Last week, pest control company Terminix released its list of cities experiencing the largest increases in bedbug activity. The Dallas-Fort Worth area came in at No. 13, according to the report.
Sacramento, Calif., took the top spot with a 54 percent jump in customer calls about bedbugs compared to the same time last year, the company said in a news statement.
Since launching his business earlier this month, Ingle has received calls from people around the state and in California.
He also received a call from the folks from the ABC show Shark Tank, in which aspiring entrepreneurs sell their business ideas to a panel of potential investors.
McClendon said Ingle declined that offer.
In the next five years, Ingle hopes his business will reach many people and businesses where he sees a need for his services, including hotels, senior living facilities and hospitals. In the meantime, he will continue to work with his five employees at the warehouse and office to reach out to interested customers.
One of his recent corporate customers is the 69-room Comfort Suites at UNT, off Interstate 35E at McCormick Street.
“Cleaning our mattresses will create a safer environment for our guests, and it will show them that we keep our rooms cleaned at all times,” said Kevin Patel, general manager at the Denton Comfort Suites location. “Not having bedbugs or things of the sort is a big deal for our traveling customers.”
Patel added that his hotel decided to use Ingle’s service because no other business offers anything like it.
While Ingle continues to work on expanding his clientele, he is already working with eight people who are interested in franchising Mattress Cleaners. He is also working on finalizing his second truck.
“We drive to where they need us,” Ingle said.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878 and via Twitter at @KarinaFRamirez.