My family's entrepreneurial journey began in Boise, Idaho in 1964. My father, Jay Taylor, bought a steam cleaner, now known as a power washer, to make some extra money. The first job he had was for one of his friends who owned a drive-in restaurant. He used his power washer to clean out the hood and duct system.
As local businesses began to see the efficiency of my father's method, more restaurants hired him. Jay Taylor Custom Cleaning, as it was known then, was a first-of-its-kind company and "mom and popped" around the Boise Valley for more than a decade.
My brother and I started working for our dad part time while still in school; and when I graduated from Boise High School in 1979, I switched to working full time in the family business. I have never veered away from the service industry or the family business; I have never filled out an application to work elsewhere.
In 1999, my brother and I took over the company and changed the name to Taylor Brothers, Incorporated. In an effort to expand into a national company, we then formed Bare Metal Standard Inc.
A mandatory service in a niche market
In the 1960s, cleaning ducts and hoods wasn't required. There were no regulations that said commercial kitchen owners had to prevent the spread of kitchen fires by eliminating grease and soot buildup. Yet, several hospitals, universities and restaurants thought it was a good idea and hired my father, my brother and me. We followed the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 96 before it even existed.
The NFPA 96 Standard provides codes utilized by fire departments throughout the United States to regulate the grease removal from commercial kitchen exhaust systems. NFPA enforces monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual inspections based on the type or volume of cooking. After each cleaning or inspection is completed, the exhaust cleaning service must provide a written report that details areas that were inaccessible or not cleaned. These noted areas could potentially contain grease and serve as a fire hazard.
Since my father started this business and passed it down to us, it has seen rapid growth. Our cleaning process is specially designed to remove grease from the interior of kitchen exhaust systems. This includes the vent hoods from the filter tray up to the plenum and into the connecting ductwork. We mitigate commercial kitchen hazards through our proprietary service that leaves no flammable grease residue inside commercial kitchen exhaust systems, just bare metal.
Former mom and pop business goes public
Today, the company has two family-owned franchise locations and four additional franchisees, servicing 12 franchise territories reaching customers in 15 states. We recently took our company public to raise additional capital – this transition was the biggest risk and challenge we have faced thus far.
We knew it was time to try a new avenue to reach our goal of having a national brand, but we didn't know how challenging it would. If we didn't have the support of each other as well as the grit and determination to prevail through this rigorous process, we wouldn't have experienced the success that we have so far.
As a team, we knew we wanted to raise money to grow without lowering our standards. We raised the bar to ensure that one day, we wll be industry leaders nationally in kitchen exhaust cleaning services.
About the author: Mike Taylor is the founder and chief technology officer of Bare Metal Standard, Inc. Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Services. In this role, he actively advocates for Bare Metal Standard, Inc. Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Services and the beliefs that come with it – raising awareness about the life and property protection services of kitchen exhaust cleaning and helping to raise the integrity and quality of the industry as a whole.
Mike Taylor has been perfecting the process of cleaning kitchen exhaust systems since before he was old enough to drive. Having never filled out a job application in his life, he has dedicated his entire career to building the family business. He was motivated not only by his desire to be the best in the industry, but to build a business that would provide for many families, including his own.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.