Mike Amundson was introduced to the ServiceMaster business more than 30 years ago when he offered to help a member of his congregation.
The man had a ServiceMaster franchise in the Whitewater, Wis. where Amundson was the minister of a church. When Amundson heard the man needed help, he offered to step in and went to work for ServiceMaster.
A lifetime later, Amundson was in living in the Phoenix area and teaching a Bible study class. One of the participants was John Chikie, owner of ServiceMaster Architerra (Latin for "from the ground up), the largest franchise of the company in Arizona.
"He had bought the franchise up here about a year ago and couldn't find anyone to run it," Amundson said. Because we were friends, he asked me if I'd take over its management. It then became a partnership in about 30 days."
He explained the partnership arose because the business started doing well.
"Back in January, when things were slow, I just went door to door and every fourth door I knocked on turned into a job," Amundson said.
With the 50-50 partnership in place, the ServiceMaster In The Pines, can operate on a shoestring, or if a big job comes along, it can be a big corporation, calling on the resources of its sister company in the Valley.
The main thrust of the business is fire and water damage restoration, but the steady work is carpet and upholstery cleaning, Amundson said.
Besides being an aggressive marketer when he has to, Amundson brings a special philosophy about helping people into the business.
"My real heart is for helping people," he said. "(I look at a job as) if it were my house I'm not going to quit until the carpet's clean. I work until I get the carpet clean."
Amundson joined ServiceMaster In The Pines in January, then moved to Payson in February. While he has not been in town very long, he has had an opportunity to see some challenges for business in the community.
"(It's a challenge) having enough time to meet the people," he said.
On the other side of the coin, one of the biggest benefits of doing business in Payson for Amundson is Payson.
"I love Payson. I love the people. I love the traffic -- or non-traffic. I love the weather and scenery. The church I go to, First Church of the Nazarene, is wonderful. I just love everything about Payson."
Outside of the business, Amundson teaches a Bible study class on Thursday nights, sings in his church's choir and goes fishing. He also is a Diamondbacks fan.
The cost of work by ServiceMaster In The Pines depends on the size of a project and the condition. Amundson said he has done work for as little as $35 and for as much as $12,000.
For more information, call 928-474-0610 or 928-503-0498. Amundson said he is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week because of the disaster restoration service work provided by ServiceMaster In The Pines.