“It’s Never Too Much To Ask”

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III
President, CFI

My mom always said, “It’s never too much to ask”. My ask, to all CFI members, is, do you know what your best referral was for the year 2020? Do you know where your referrals are coming from and are you keeping up with your referral sources?

Twenty-eight years ago, my wife and I started a janitorial business with just a few business cards, business licenses, flyers, and a small ad in the phone book. We quickly added carpet cleaning, and the rest is history. The problem we faced was how do we set ourselves apart from the rest of the cleaners? Angela and I had a lot of hopes and dreams to move our business to the next level, but we always ran into stumbling blocks, very few clients with no way to reach people without the phone book. Angela and I were up against 40 to 50 cleaning companies in Ma Bell shouting, Pick Me, Pick Me.

Angela and I tried all types of different ways of advertising, from flyers to radio with no such luck, not even a call. We spent countless amounts of money and no return on our investment. A wise man once said, to do the same thing over and over again, with the same results is insanity. We came to an understanding if we did not make a positive return on our investment then never do it again. Angela and I were at our wit's end when a business investor invited us to a local business networking group. Within the networking group, there were all types of different businesses, from plumbers, contractors, flooring contractors, to the dentist, lawyers, and doctor. A whole group of business professionals who were willing and ready to give business to one another with the understanding of building relationships first before trusting you with their friends, family, and coworkers.

Once a week as a group we would receive weekly training to better build our group and confidence in our own businesses. Giving the best referral to help our teammates get into the door with two steps ahead of their competitor. One of the best trainings I have received in twenty- eight years of business is what I am going to share with you now. Make sure you take out a pen and paper and write this down.

  • What is your “dream” referral? The referral you always wanted to land; one you would pay out in large sums of money. You have to dream high and go for it and do not settle. You may have had your eye on large retail or a group of designers, or a rug-dealer who works with high-end clients. You might want to be known to them as the expert in your field or for your niche cleaning skills that you may have over your competitors, or even your approach and procedure of cleaning that sets you apart from other cleaners in your area. The goal is to be the go-to guy or gal, the professional that holds the written standard of the industry.
  • What is your “cream” referral? That referral you receive once or twice a year that pays out and gives you more referrals from that one cream referral. You may have been looking at that high end gated community, with very large homes that one job could take you all day or even to come back for a second day or even you may have to come back to pick up all their high-end area rugs that you have to take back to your shop for specialty cleaning. If you do mostly commercial cleaning, you may have your eye on that large Law office of partners with lots of employees that can become a mainstream of referrals just from the employees who work in the office. Like I said a few paragraphs above, dream high and go for it. What do you have to lose? What can they say, NO? I have come to my own conclusion that a simple ask, you can win your way into speaking to the right people that will get you in the door before your competitors.
  • What is your bread-and-butter referral? This referral keeps your doors open, keeps you in business. The referral that you need for everyday cleaning whatever you do.

The referral source keeps your bills paid and your crews working. For example, a large residential community filled with people over 55 years of age. My wife and I work for a large community of mobile homes and every month we are in the park working. Your ask should be, who is the owner, or the name of the property management company that manages the community?

I hope you all have taken what I have given you as a spark and boost to your business. To just go for it, look into a referral group that fits your business. Nowadays groups may be slowing down due to Covid19, however, Zoom Meetings are the way most business meetings are conducted. My goal for all the members of the CFI is simple; To give members the ability to have the resources to be successful through education and camaraderie.

I have an open-door policy. My email is President@cficonnects.org and my cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Roby Harris III
President, CFI

Introducing Roby Harris as Your 2020-2021 CFI President

Roby Harris
CFI President, Roby Harris

To the members of the Carpet and FabriCare Institute, I want to thank you for your vote of confidence by electing me as your President. I was elected to serve and represent the CFI with honesty and integrity, and I am up to the challenge.

On November 14th, 2020 we held our Annual Business Meeting and Award Banquet, at Sequoia Cleaning, In Palo Alto, CA to swear in the new Board of Directors for the upcoming year of 2021. Congratulations team. It is going to be an exciting year working with this dynamic Board.

  • Andrea Varnai, Northern California Director
  • Terry Jones, Southern California Director
  • Jim Morris, Central California Director
  • Jose Solorzano, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Roby Harris, President
  • Charlene Locke, Chairman of the Board

As I begin my term on the Board of Directors, I will be working on our membership growth by continuing to add value to CFI. The new CFI Webinar Series: Success Wisdom, Meet the Experts, and the first-ever Spanish speaking webinar series - Sin Miedo al Exito, are being recognized as great educational webinars for professionals to be a part of.

In addition to the webinars, I'll be working with the Board to enhance the already great membership benefits we have. By collaborating with other organizations, CFI can add and increase discounts, perks, and build on our large group insurance coverage like the CFI Long Term Disability, Basic Life insurance and AD&D coverages we already have. Gather information on plumbers insurance to make sure you are covered. I do believe CFI is the only carpet cleaning association that provides disability insurance to members.

We have reached an exciting new era in CFI and I am proud to be a part of the new generation. With all that has happened in 2020, COVID 19, shutdowns of businesses, and the loss of life, our industry pushes on. Online learning and Zoom meetings are the way of the world. However, we will still be meeting in person on some occasions. Make sure you attend the RED - Regional Education Days, Chapter meetings, and Webinars. Take advantage of all the benefits CFI offers you as a member.

Remember, CFI adds value, we are apart of one of the longest standing associations in the industry, and the best. From our beginning’s in 1954 to 2020, I am very proud to represent you as your new President.

Please take the time to email me or call me. My email is President@cficonnects.org and my cell number is 530-941-7390.

Roby Harris III
President, CFI

The Three R’s for 2020-2021 Rethinking, Reinventing, Restructuring

Some of you might be too young to remember the Three R's. I have vivid memories of being taught Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic. Okay, I am showing my earthy years, but stay with me.

With what our nation is struggling through economically and with no clear end in sight, I have been thinking about the “Three R’s” – not the three I was taught, but three for today’s times. Rethinking, Reinventing, and Restructuring.

We all know adapting is a form of survival. To have a profitable and healthy future, we need to adapt by Rethinking how we do business, then Reinventing and Restructuring our business models. This holds true to both our individual businesses and CFI.

Your CFI Board has embraced and succeeded in Rethinking for the future of our great association. While we bridge the gap between our membership of cleaners and industry leaders, affiliates, distributors, and educators, our vision remains the same. CFI is recognized as "The Association" who is unified and empowers its members.

CFI, clearly acknowledges, a significant part of our Restructuring success is because of your dedication and participation. You have embraced the modernized website where members are accessing their benefits, continuing education, resources, and networking - faster, easier, and safer. Restructuring continues and will bring added value to your membership benefits. We are expanding benefits with new accredited classes, extensive discounts, implementation of the next phase of webinar series, and introduction of a marketing campaign to reach cleaners nationwide.

My Presidential terms have been rewarding. As your President, I am honored to be the architect orchestrating such a monumental restructuring of CFI. As I transition from President to Chairman of the Board, I remain committed to CFI and its Rethinking, Reinventing, and Restructuring.

It takes your participation, it's your association, get involved, nominate and vote. I passionately believe 2020-2021 Membership year will prove to be one of growth, profit, and a healthy future.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2018-2020

Important Links


Newsletter and Presidents Message

CFI Phases Forward Together

I was once told, "If you look forward, you won't stumble on the stones behind you." I find myself referring to this statement now, as I look at what lays ahead, after emerging from a pandemic driven economy. The last few months have been an eyeopener, for all of us, on so many levels. Yet, when I have spoken to CFI colleagues I am comforted in a shared optimism for continued growth and prosperity for our businesses.

The secret to success is adapting and CFI is adapting by looking forward. As we phase through June and July 2020 with on-line meetings at GoToMeeting.com, we plan to continue being on-line while resuming actual social meetings in August 2020.

Your CFI Board continues working on our collective vision; making the CFI brand nationally recognized. We will continue to couple with our longtime supporters, industry leaders, and Associate Members to adapt the groundwork that we have been building to move forward with this vision. We are adapting and phasing CFI to provide cohesive and balanced Chapter meetings membership wide. CFI Directors are working together to create great on-line Chapter meetings for all members while phasing in our Regional Chapter meetings for our members to gather and socialize. All meetings that provide an educational component will continue to be acknowledged by IICRC and receive Continuing Educational Hours ("CEH") as a membership benefit.

CFI and its members are there for each other to share knowledge, offering their skills, and giving support in any way needed. Always building, adapting, and looking forward! As a 2nd generation CFI member, I can truly attest that members are vested in each other's success. I want to personally thank all of you for your support and for being an important part of CFI.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2019-2020

IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Your CFI Board About COVID-19 and Upcoming, First-Ever, On-Line Meeting

Dear CFI Members, Families, Suppliers, and Vendors:

Like you, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our membership and the communities served. In order to provide information to our membership, the CFI Board has been closely following developments concerning the outbreak of COVID-19.

We plan on sharing this information provided from the recommendations and guidelines issued by the CDC and WHO at our upcoming, first-ever, on-line, GoToMeeting.com. This meeting is a FREE benefit and exclusively for current CFI members in good standing. All members will receive a separate email with meeting agenda and login directions.

Click here to register for the meeting.

At this time we know of no confirmed instances of COVID-19 at any facility we are scheduled to visit. However, the Board voted to suspended non-essential travel and scheduling of classes or events out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of all. This includes cancellation of the CFI Fabrica Mill Tour. The Experience Conference and Exhibition in Ohio has been cancelled by their event coordinators. If you have any questions, please reach out and contact me.

We are also encouraging our CFI members, their employees and family members to continue taking preventive measures based on the CDC's guidelines. At this time we all should be focused on preparedness, precaution, and prevention, not panic.

CFI appreciates all your patience during these times. We appreciate your membership, partnership, your business and continued support as we all navigate through this current economic occurrence. We understand this is a tough period for our industry with many challenges.

I look forward to seeing our members at the upcoming GoToMeeting.com where we are planning to provide information from a reliable industry authority, who can answer our questions directed towards our business practices as we move forward. Remember, all members will receive a separate email with meeting agenda and login directions.

We are optimistic the spirit of social distancing will prevail and look forward to a speedy recovery.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2019-2020

Until Further Notice, The Upcoming Events & Classes Are CANCELLED

CFI Fabrica Carpet Mill Tour - CANCELLED

Fabrica Canceled
This event was scheduled for Tuesday March 24, 2020

The Experience - CANCELLED

the-experience canceled
This event was scheduled for April 1, 2, 3, 2020


Announcements regarding Jon-Don will be updated as CFI is notified. Contact Jon-Don directly for further information.

CFI, First-Ever On-Line, GoToMeeting.com Details to Follow Soon

Please keep your eyes open for an email with directions to join our first-ever GoToMeeting.com. This on-line meeting answers as many questions possible during these changing time.

CFI 2019-2020 Board Members

  • Chairman of the Board - Matt Cole, mattcolescarpet@yahoo.com
  • President - Charlene Locke, president@cficonnects.org
  • Secretary-Treasurer - Roby Harris, raharris90c@gmail.com
  • NorCal Director - Open Position
  • Central Coast Director - Jose Solorzano, ejsjanitorial@gmail.com
  • SoCal Director - Terry Jones, tljservice@yahoo.com
  • Emeritus - Ralph Denning, spotlessincrd@gmail.com

We are Off and Running in 2019-2020!

It's official, CFI has a new Board of Directors, sworn in at our 65th Annual Meeting on September 18, 2019 in Las Vegas. We thank Andy Smith and Mark Goodman, our out going Northern and Southern California directors, and welcome back Terry Jones our new CFI Southern California director.

Our annual meeting and award ceremony was well attended by CFI members, Associate members, industry leaders and past CFI Presidents. Attendees were further versed on the added benefits of membership and the CFI vision to once again become a nationally recognized association. Our membership is strong and multi-talented within our own association. Together, we can ensure growth.

I want to personally thank those members who spoke to me directly about becoming involved by offering their time and turning a vision into reality.

The award ceremony that honors those who have given direct support to CFI and to our industry was impact-full, moving, and a surprise to our winners. We would like to extend a hearty congratulations to those deserving winners. In no particular order, here they are:

  • The Dick Mapelsen Award - Jose Solozano
  • The Joe Laurino Award - Greg Millitello
  • The Carl Willmans Award - Ivan Day founder of Procyon and accepted by his family

CFI booth in the exhibit hall was very well attended by members, non members and other exhibitors inquiring on how they can collaborate with CFI to achieve mutual goals. Your board will work within our industry to continue to bring additional value to membership, increase benefits and achieve our vision.

This year brings multiple Meetings, Events, and Education Classes. Please take a moment to read, familiarize, and share some of the great upcoming events already scheduled.


Charlene Locke

CFI President 2019-2020

Carpet and FabriCare Institute turned 65 in February

Longevity … we all want it …. we all strive for it …. but how do you achieve it? I would say the answer lays in looking at those, who have achieved it. CFI has achieved longevity.

One of the ways CFI has achieved longevity is by collaborating with Associate Members and supporting and giving back to Firm Members. CFI is made up of Members, for Members, together we care for one another and together we support each other. Your Board of Directors are industry business men and women who have the same challenges. CFI doesn’t turn a blind eye or deaf ear to our struggles, we look for solutions and resolutions to help members achieve their goals and assure longevity. Each and every one of us has value and can contribute to assure longevity.

In keeping pace with our competitive industry and to provide support to membership, CFI continues to evolve and strives to give value to membership.

I encourage you to get involved in CFI on some level. This can be as simple as attending or hosting Chapter meetings, supporting your Director or attending an event or class. The relationships you build with other members, builds a foundation, money can’t by and will last a life time.

I am proud to serve as CFI’s 65th President and I envision a stronger CFI in the years to come.

Happy anniversary CFI and to all the members who make up the legacy of CFI.



65 years is a testament to CFI’s strength and commitment to its members.