My name is David Bergman and I am the President and owner of Mobile Janitorial Supply located in Placentia, California.
Q: How long have you been in business?
Along with my sons Nick and Zack, we have owned Mobile Janitorial Supply since 1998; however I have been in the Janitorial Supply business for over 23 years with my family, and after my sons were of proper age I decided to start my own supply business with them.
Q: How did you get started in the janitorial supply industry?
My start in the Jan San industry came from National Sanitary Supply back in 1989 along with many members of my family. After a couple extremely successful years of working for National, my family felt that we could do the same thing and be our own bosses. That is when we decided to go into business for ourselves.
Q: When did you start to see results?
In a very short time we had become successful in the Janitorial, Packaging and Safety industries. As of today Mobile Janitorial Supply still has customers that have been with us since day one. Now my customers that I have had since 1989 are seeing their service provided by a third generation.
Q: How do you stay on top of new products and trends and cater to an expanding client base? And how does being a family-run operation affect your relationship with your sons?
We have expanded into importing our own products to better serve our customers with the best pricing and quality in our industry.
As I was growing up in Van Nuys California the son of a successful father who was in the scrap metal business and a mother who owned her own flower shop. All I cared to do as a child was play baseball. As a child growing up in Van Nuys, one of my best friends was Olympic Gold Medalist Mitch Gaylord. Several years later, my family moved to Orange County.
Moving ahead years later and finding me in business with two of my three sons is more than I ever could have hoped or dreamed of. Since I worked for my own family I am aware of the family pitfalls and successes that come with working with each other. I take things slower and allow my sons to succeed on their own and interject their own philosophies and fresh ideas with being put down. I am a firm believer that with today’s youth and their use technology along with my years of marketing experiencing in our industry that we can achieve success while running our family business.
Q: Your logo was definitely a risk, and it’s not something that a lot of business owners would approve. How important has it been for branding?
I have always been a believer in marketing myself and my brands like I was a gigantic company. When I first started Mobile Janitorial Supply I knew I wanted something much different for a company logo. I wanted something to go against the grain that would make people say “oh my gosh” when they saw it. The idea of a guy sitting on a toilet and running out of toilet paper popped into my mind with the slogan, “When supplies are running low… Call.” That is how our character Tommy Two Ply was born.
To this day our logo is our most popular thing in our company. People see it and always laugh. It’s funny to see drivers looking at our truck with an 8 foot logo on the side and smile or laugh at what they see. It always brings a smile to their face and I truly believe they will always remember seeing it and associate it with our company.
Q: What obstacles have been in your way with running your business, especially in terms of running it with your two sons?
As you know some people find it hard to become a salesperson. Some are just plain scared to talk to people at first. My son Nick was one of them. My son Nick has been working for me on and off since the age of 14. At the age of 16 I was trying to get him to work more hours for me and he did not like the idea of selling toilet paper. He just did not think it was prestigious enough and that it would be embarrassing when he told people what he did.
After getting additional experience working at a great company called Costco and working several holidays and every weekend and every night, I had convinced him that if he came and worked for me he would be off early every day, never work nights or weekends,and have most holidays off. It still involved SELLING and he said he would not do it. I told him that he will naturally sell without even knowing it and he will not be embarrassed about it any longer.
Needless to say, he is now 25 years old and sells every day with confidence. He visits customers from a one-man operation all the way up to companies with thousands of employees.
Funny thing is he is so confident now that his first question is: Are you a folder or crumple, and do you use one ply or two? I guess he is not embarrassed any longer!
Q: You’re a very passionate person and have been successful in part because that shows in your everyday operations. What makes you love what you do so much?
As a father who works with his sons and as a business owner, I am grateful for everyday that I have and as a company we truly appreciate every single customer that we have. Being a family business, it takes quite a bit to compete with the big companies on a daily basis.
We are successful at what we do and knowing that our customers also appreciate us as a vendor, which makes all of it worthwhile.