Wow time flies when you’re having fun, right?! I cannot believe today, November 1st 2021, marks 15 years in business. 15 years since my Mom and I had our business formation paperwork strewn across the Living Room floor of my childhood home. I remember the evening so vividly. It was a blustery Fall night, we had the fire going and stacks of paper among us to complete. We had our black file box we had purchased with several labeled manila folders for every category of paperwork we thought we may need in the years to come.
Today is our official business anniversary, and this feels like such a big one. There’s something about a full 15 years that sounds SO MUCH LONGER than 11 years, or 12 years. 15 is a milestone that isn’t achieved by many when they set out to start a business. In fact, would you believe over 50% of all small businesses end up failing in their first 5 years? We are fortunate to have escaped that statistic and I chalk it up to our persistence and grit. Starting a business is portrayed as such a glamorous thing anymore. With professionally edited images splashed across social media pages, being a business owner looks almost like a vacation thru some lenses. I am here to tell you, it is no cake walk 😊 I don’t think of days working 20 hours cleaning homes and offices (yes I have actually done this on more than one occasion in the beginning) when I think of my ideal vacation. But maybe that’s just me.
When we first started our business we set out with the intention to clean commercial spaces in the Evenings. Just my Mom and I, cleaning a few office buildings, we’d keep our day jobs and that would be that. Fast forward to now, we clean no commercial spaces, we don’t work nights, we don’t work weekends, this is our “day job” and we only clean residential homes. The best laid plans, right?
I still remember the excitement I would feel when the phone would ring with a prospective client on the other line. Like first date jitters type of excitement.
Our very first job that we received was a move out cleaning about an hour away. At that point we probably would’ve driven cross country! We scheduled the job for that upcoming weekend, Saturday morning to be exact. My little brother was only 11 or 12 years old so my Mom told him he would be coming with us but we’d be paying him so I think that softened the blow. Waking up that Saturday morning was like Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to get the car all packed up with our shiny new supplies and equipment and show this client what we were made of! We all put on our matching shirts and hopped in the car to make the hour drive. We arrived to the house and the property manager was there to let us in and show us around. Once the tour was complete, we were ready to get started. We started unloading our supplies and it dawned on us something was missing. We got everything unpacked, proudly laid out in the home, and realized it was our extension cord. We had a brand-new backpack vacuum, like the professionals use, all the attachments and forgot the dang cord. Back in the car we go and made a trip to the local Home Depot to purchase an extension cord. Finally, we got back to the house and were able to get started. It was a BIG job and it’s no wonder they chose us and our bid because, as with most first jobs for new businesses, we way under bid it. But we kept our word and held our price. And proceeded to spend the entire day in that house. By the end of the day we were tired and thinking about how we were going to refine our processes going forward. But in that moment, it was dark outside and we were starving so went to a Chinese food restaurant down the road. Between the extension cord, the meal out and underbidding the job so much it probably ended up costing us money in the end. But our first job was complete.
We’d go on to do many more move in/move out cleanings over the years. The first few years of our business we worked for a lot of property managers and were completing cleanings up to 2 hours away. Our first few “employees” were Family members that would help us on weekends as they were able. Aside from the weekends, my Mom and I would go on cleaning jobs at night when we got off work.
As things started to pick up we decided to add residential house cleaning and I left my day job. I started cleaning the occupied homes we received during the day and then my Mom and I would go clean vacant homes or offices at night. We began hiring our first employees in 2008. To start, they would go on jobs either with me during the day or with my Mom and I at night. I think it was 2009-2010 when we sent our employees to clean at jobs without us for the first time.
After years of Employee’s driving their own vehicles we purchased our first company vehicles in 2016.
Probably the most unique thing about our business is the fact that my Mom and I work together every day. And actually, enjoy it 😊 We each handle different aspects of the business but are constantly bouncing ideas off one another. And despite the two of us being actual Family, our team members are also like Family. We have a Family atmosphere at work and like everyone to feel a part of that.
We feel very fortunate to be at this 15 year anniversary and look forward to what the next 15 years has in store for us.
Cheers to a clean home!