Four years ago, we started a company. While we knew that we were not the only cleaning company out there, we were mostly blind to the others. We knew the big ones by name; Merry Maids, Molly Maids and some other forms of Maids. We also knew there were others that had no real names, per se. They were the people who cleaned homes for a living but didn’t get insurance, weren’t registered with the state, didn’t pay sales tax. Surely, there must be others, though. Those cleaning companies who were just like us. Small, “mom and pop” companies struggling to last through a recession.
It wasn’t until we joined Facebook and Twitter that we began to really put a face to those other companies. Cleaning companies from all over the country began to surface through mutual contacts, primarily Steve Hanson of The Janitorial Store and his wife Jean Hanson of My House Cleaning Biz. Because of these two people, the others like us began to come into focus.
We began to collaborate, mostly through social networking sites and Jean and Steve’s sites, but we wanted more. We wanted to put a real face with these people. To meet and share ideas and stories. On the fifth of June, thanks to Jean and Steve and Deb Posey of Lavender Thyme Cleaning in Winona, we were able to meet with some amazing business owners from not only the Twin Cities, but from Madison, Wisconsin, even as far away as Ames, Iowa!
We met at The Q Kindness Cafe in downtown St. Paul and were pampered by Lisa Metwaly and her husband Jimmy. If you have never visited this place you have missed out. The food is fantastic, but it’s the atmosphere of kindness that makes you want to linger.
There is something exhilarating about meeting others and sharing ideas, concepts, hopes, dreams and knowledge. Some of these folks have cleaning businesses based only a couple of miles from ours yet, we didn’t see them as competition but as peers. Others like us who struggle with problems that every business owner struggles with. We laughed and shared and it was fantastic!
A few days later, Perry Phillips, publisher of Home Cleaner Magazine, did a story about the meet up. I asked him if any other cleaning service owners from other states had gotten together to collaborate, that he knew of. He did not. I guess I’m kind of proud that our little group could put aside any petty competition worries and meet, face to face, to share.
Many thanks to everyone who showed; Lisa Althoff from Neat Freaks, Tina and Hector Estrada from Central Cleaning, Mario and Sparkle Wimberly from Squeak E Clean, Jessica Cosgrove from Cozgroovy Green Cleaning, Scott Kindberg from ScottKindberg.com and, of course Deb Posey, her husband Lindsay and Steve and Jean Hanson.
When did you last meet with your peers in your chosen profession?