For Davidsonville’s Tommy Terry, fighting fires and responding to emergencies wasn’t enough to prevent him from getting bored.
A seven-year veteran of the Annapolis Fire Department, Terry said working 24 hours straight, battling flames and rushing to emergency situations is great and all, but he still felt lazy.
That’s why in February, Terry and his wife Stacy decided to start a business, All Hands Carpet Cleaning.
“I was sitting around and wasn’t really doing anything. I just realized I needed to get up and go do something,” Terry said.
The 35-year-old lifelong area resident has made a habit of taking jobs other people might hate doing. Before he began in the risky business of fighting fires and serving as a paramedic, Terry spent 10 years cleaning carpets for a regional restoration company and fixing flooded buildings—experience he specifically drew from when deciding to start his new business.
“Most people don’t want to do this type of work. You’re dealing with tough work, like pet urine. People get grossed out by that stuff,” Terry said. “It’s very physically demanding. You’re pushing the wand, carrying the hose, removing foreign substances in the carpet—people can have really, really dirty carpets.”
Now, Terry and his wife together own and operate All Hands Carpet Cleaning out of their home in Davidsonville. Tommy does the cleaning—his wife handles the finances and administrative tasks.
“[Stacy] answers the phones and handles finances. I consider myself a blue-collar worker, I don’t do desk work or anything like that,” Terry said with a smile.
The business also focuses on protecting the environment.
“We use only environmentally friendly cleaning solutions with our mixtures and with our pre-spray and our rinse. We also use halogen free rinse and pre-spray if people are allergic to perfumes,” Terry said. “We really cater to healthy and environment.”
Terry’s life as a firefighter and his responsibilities as co-owner of All Hands Carpet Cleaning are remarkably similar. Both require him to be prepared any hour of the day (All Hands is open 24/7), both allow him to stay extremely busy and both are jobs he actually enjoys. Terry admitted it might be strange to enjoy cleaning carpets, but said it’s just something he doesn’t mind.
“I kind of find a sense of joy when [a carpet] is black and disgusting and then, once you’re done, the customer comes back in and you almost bring it back to the original color,” Terry said.
In just seven months of operation, Terry and his wife have gained approximately 150 clients, both commercial and residential. The husband and wife duo are the only employees, but Stacy Terry said they hope to purchase a new van and bring on a new cleaner “in the very near future.” The couple has even solidified contracts with two apartment complexes and a few restaurants, Stacy Terry said.
Making themselves available for business all day every day can take its toll, but Terry said he just loves helping people, whether it’s cleaning a carpet or preventing flames from destroying a home.
Between fighting fires, raising two children and running a rapidly expanding business, Terry just laughed when asked, “When do you sleep?”