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Some businesses start with the simplest of ideas. Professional cleaner Maany Silva took satisfaction from knowing that her clients loved the way she cleaned their homes and knowing that they needed her services.
Silva, a Brazilian immigrant living in New Jersey, wondered if there was a way to grow her business while simplifying the process of hiring a cleaner. She founded 10bucksaroom.com in 2012, with a web title that explains the concept: They charge $10 per room to clean. The goal, Silva says, was to remove unwanted items in standard cleaning practices such as contracts and estimates.
“We do not limit our services the way other companies do," says Silva. “We feel as though everyone could use professional cleaning at an affordable rate."
The company has three locations that service northern New Jersey and New York City's Staten Island. This spring, they welcomed their first franchisee contract.
1. How has your business grown since you started it?
We service over 3,000 customers, and we realized that we need to continue to expand as the demand for our services increased. We get calls from all over the country from people who found our website online and want to use our service. Due to this high demand, we made a decision to begin franchising our business. We hope that we can reach our goal of 300 franchises within the next two years.
2. What hurdles have you overcome in running your business?
We overcame the need to advertise. Our brand really drives our business and growth. When I first started this business, all I had was a wrapped vehicle, branded T-shirts, business cards and the desire to do something great. We parked our wrapped vehicle at local grocery stores so people could see our brand. I got calls the very same day and it's been exponential since. We realized that the demand for our services was huge, and we didn't need to spend any money on advertising. As a company, we still don't pay money for advertising. Our brand is recognizable and creates impulse buys. We feel that a grassroots approach and word-of-mouth are much more efficient and appreciated these days. Although we had many naysayers who believed we needed to advertise to grow our business, we proved them otherwise.
—Maany Silva, founder, 10bucksaroom.com
3. What has been your most memorable moment as a business owner?
The most memorable moment as a business owner was when I purchased our second service vehicle. I was so excited to get another van because this solidified everything for me as a business owner. It was just proof that my business was growing and that we would be able to service more customers here in New Jersey.
4. Please share a story about a challenge a client presented, and how you solved that.
The client was part of a management company for a local community pool here in New Jersey. As a rule, we like to keep things simple by not offering contracts, yet this client needed one for this organization. Not only did we have to create a contract and schedule specifically for the company she worked for, but we also had to get a certificate of insurance and add them to it.
We had some inhibitions going into this contract because we normally operate without such strict boundaries, but it worked out extremely well. We had a few hiccups along the way, especially with payment and a few invoices getting mixed up, but our client was so happy with the services that she was willing to do anything to ensure that we got paid and that we continued services.
It really opened my eyes to other potential clients that may need our services, especially for seasonal jobs.
5. What is one cleaning tip you could share with homeowners?
One cleaning tip that I would love to share is how to effectively clean your microwave. It can be very frustrating to clean a microwave because you can get a ton of baked-on food items that seem impossible to scrub off. So what I like to do is get a small dish and put water and lemon juice in it. Microwave that on high for about five minutes. Carefully remove that dish (it will be very hot!) and then wipe down the microwave. It's an easy way to maintain your microwave and it smells good too.