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DKC Sparklean Group: An Industry Leader in Cleaning and Restoration
DKC Sparklean Group (Sparklean) is an association of professionals in Edmonton, Alberta, committed to quality cleaning and restorative services. Sparklean celebrates its 20-year anniversary in September 2012 with a reputation for efficiency and fair pricing. Mike Howes, owner of Sparklean, is also a vice chairperson of the Disaster Kleenup Canada board, showcasing his commitment to cleanup efforts.
Initially a carpet cleaning company that did some flood work, Sparklean is now a full-service clean trust-certified fire and flood restoration company. The company is additionally certified for mold and asbestos removal. “If we’re cutting the drywall out because a sewer backs up into your basement, and we find asbestos in the drywall compound, we don’t want to have to sub that out,” Howes explains. “The same goes for mold.” These certifications allow Sparklean to self-perform all aspects of the restoration process, and self-performing saves money for both the company and its well-deserving customers.
Quality Cleanup Crew
When flood damage occurs, the first step is to remove water from the flood site. Sparklean is equipped with truck-mounted and portable extraction units that can get water out of hard-to-reach places. After standing water is gone, remaining moisture must be removed before further damage can occur. The Sparklean team uses standard dehumidifiers and blowers, or dry heat, a technology gaining popularity in the industry that raises heat levels evenly throughout surfaces affected by water damage. This minimizes the amount of demolition required, therefore greatly reduces the amount of reconstruction, saving both time and money.
Damaged contents ranging from furniture to laundry are treated through cleaning processes in the plant. This includes a soft content wash system, Esporta, which uses controlled pressure and green cleaning solutions to restore clothing, leather and other soft items that can’t be scrubbed.
“Esporta was originally designed to clean hockey equipment,” muses Howes. “Now it helps us clean homes.” These systems can salvage 85-percent more soft content than other cleaning methods.
Fire and smoke damage restoration is another staple of Sparklean’s business. Disastrous smoke and fire leave odors that need to be chemically removed, and different fire sources require different cleaning agents to get rid of the burn smell. Sparklean uses an ultrasonic cleaning system for the hard contents of clients' homes, along with the Esporta system for soft contents.
Sparklean then employs an electronic inventory system to track these contents from pick up to redelivery, rounding out Sparklean’s total contents solutions. Soot and smoke stains also need to be removed from structure surfaces like studs, joists and rafters, so the team treats these areas with dry-ice blasters, which are similar to sandblasters without the mess. Ozone generators and fog machines are used to purify the air in affected spaces as well, ensuring each customer is always satisfied.
A Clean Record
Sparklean has had very little trouble due to the economic slowdowns, but intense weather patterns in recent years have slowed down business. “The biggest challenge for us is weather-based,” says Howes. “Revenue is down for the last five months because we had such a warm winter.”
With recent record-high temperatures in many areas, seasonal water and fire problems were far fewer over the past year. “This winter we saw a lot fewer frozen pipes, and a lot less flooding,” he elaborates. Weather patterns are hard to anticipate far in advance, and many restoration contractors struggle with appropriating staff and resources months ahead of time. Slow months make it harder to keep quality, certified employees around, but luckily Sparklean has a dedicated team of professionals ready to weather the storm together.
The collaborative team has managed to absorb most of the negative effects of a hard, warm winter through branching out. In addition to restoration services, Sparklean manages a carpet-cleaning business and a janitorial service in addition to utilizing a climate-controlled storage warehouse to protect valuables and displaced personal items for customers. The group has also started teaming up with insurance companies to increase exposure and expand its market. Individuals and insurance companies alike save money by using Sparklean services because of the breadth of systems the company utilizes in its many divisions.
Over the next couple of years, Howes’ team at Sparklean is looking to double and possibly triple in size. The company has already seen enormous growth over the past decade and in its history has grown from a one-man operation to a company that regularly employs up to 90 people.
In addition to gaining personnel, Sparklean’s geographic footprint is spreading like wildfire. Howes also plans to invest in more machinery down the road, especially the newer technological components that bring the best of services to Sparklean’s clientele.
Client satisfaction is a key performance indicator for the company. A flood or fire can be traumatic, and Sparklean is available 24 hours a day with a guaranteed one-hour response time. The company is committed to being ahead of the curve in technology, especially when it comes to restoring personal belongings and homes.
Sparklean’s reviews and testimonies make up what really sells this brand. Customers of Sparklean report saving as much as $60,000 by using the service, and many are repeat customers. DKC Sparklean Group stands by each customer, every step of the way, until a restoration site – be it a home or business – is a good as new.