Mary and Tony Miller don’t run your average cleaning service. It is much more than that. JANCOA Janitorial Services provides commercial cleaning to class “A” office space of 50,000 square feet or more. JANCOA also works with a large number of schools and medical buildings to provide a green and healthy environment for their facilities.
They are proud to boast a growth rate of 5-10% in the past three years, and are continuing to provide quality cleaning to their clients.
MO: You have been in business for over 30 years! Congrats! Tell us about how you have been able to stay in business and even GROW over the last three years in such a bad economy?
Mary: Thank you! One of our most important strategies is to avoid becoming a statistic in someone else’s story but rather create a future that creates value for our employees and our customers. When the focus is on providing solutions, being a victim of the economy is not an option.
MO: You mention providing a green and healthy environment for your clients. What different cleaning practices do you have that make you especially “green”?
Mary: The most important first step is to adjust your mind set and that of your team and customers. At JANCOA we clean for health without causing harm to the environment. In other words “Care more, Waste less”. So many people are confused and think green cleaning is just about what chemicals you use. There are five areas of focus to be sustainable (which is a bigger picture of “Green”). Those areas include High Performance Systems, Sustainable Cleaning Chemicals, Sustainable Cleaning Equipment, Green Paper Products and Effectiveness Audits based on APPA guidelines.
JANCOA integrates all five of these components in our proprietary systems. The result is that our customers have cleaner buildings and our employees and the building tenants have reduced exposure to damaging chemicals and the carbon footprints have been reduced. Few companies focus on the big picture.
MO: What is the biggest challenge in running a business with over 300 employees?
Mary: Making sure all of our employees feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work. Our work is seldom appreciated and often criticized. Growing a business means constant improvement and that can be misunderstood as criticism. We have to make sure everyone from the Operations Manager to the Restroom Specialist know that we appreciate every effort they put in their job every day. Without great people performing the daily tasks there is no business.
MO: You are a woman-owned enterprise. How do you believe this has helped your growth?
Mary: I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been opened to me because of the Certified WBE status. Getting new business is difficult and competing in an industry that is prominently male dominated adds to that complexity. Once the door is opened and I get the contract, the expectations to perform are much higher. We HAVE to be the best to keep the job and get that referral for our next job. That is how we have grown, exceptional results.
MO: You have something called the Dream Manager program. Can you tell us more about this program?
Mary: This program is all about getting people excited about their future by getting clear on their dreams and what they want. We started helping employees buy homes, get driver’s license, continue their education . . . it changed lives and the way our employees were thinking about the possibilities of their future. Matthew Kelly (already a best-selling author) was so compelled by the stories of our employees he approached us about writing a book about the concept. Today The Dream Manager is a best-selling book and has changed the lives and dreams of thousands of people around the world. For JANCOA it reduced the turnover from 360% (typical for our industry) to 45% and allowed us to really focus on our people and our processes
MO: What has been your greatest day on the job since running JANCOA Janitorial Services?
Mary: That is a great yet difficult question! I have experienced so many amazing moments. . . from winning the 2003 Small Business of the Year to winning 2010 WE Celebrate Entrepreneur of the year to being awarded our first 500,000 sq ft contract for a downtown high-rise to being at the closing of our employees (first generation in the family) buying their first home. They are all memorable and important moments but I think the greatest day was when I received the manuscript for The Dream Manager book. Even though Matthew wrote about a “fictional” cleaning company named Admiral I knew our experience was going to change the lives of millions of people.
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