Milena Diaz, owner of eco-friendly Crystal Clean Team in Mississauga, Ontario, seems to already have the superpower that she says she wishes she had–to be able to move at super speed. We caught up with her as she was moving quickly and efficiently between cleaning jobs recently, to get more information about her family-run cleaning business. “I’d like to be able to run really fast, to have lots of time to spare!” said Milena, even as it seemed like she was moving quickly and multi-tasking while chatting with us.
Milena and her brother started their window washing business in 2008 and began cleaning houses a few years later. “I wanted to work for myself, and I knew that window cleaning had a very low startup cost. So my brother and I knocked on doors and the first door we knocked on said ‘Sure, go ahead.’ We gave them a really good deal, and things took off. I realized there was a lot of potential here.”
She applied for a grant for students starting a company in the summer and received $3,000 in funds from Ontario that she used to buy quality window cleaning equipment. As part of the program, she also had weekly meetings with other entrepreneurs, learned about business banking, did some networking, and heard about the experiences and challenges of other people starting businesses.
Since expanding into the house cleaning business, Milena says that Cleanify has been a tremendous help for their business. “We love working with Cleanify! They take care of all the hard stuff, like going out and getting us clients. And we get to set our own hourly rates. I used to work for a similar type of company that gave us a flat rate. Cleanify is unique in that they let us set our hourly rate, and the number of hours. They take care of a lot of the headaches,” Milena said.
Working with her husband and family, they’ve also hired some full and part time people to handle the demand of their services, now employing seven people. While it’s great to be able to work with family, her favorite part of the job are the clients. “I love the feeling of seeing a happy client,” Milena said. Sometimes clients will invite the crew to join them for pizza, or give her gifts for her children.
What’s the one tool she can’t live without? “I love all of my tools. For window cleaning, I love my scraper, even for interior house cleaning. It’s great for stoves with a ceramic top, you can scrape it on a wet surface and it gets everything off, doesn’t scratch.”
Milena also loves green cleaning products. “The main reason I love these products is because they are completely safe on all surfaces and totally nontoxic.”
She has words of wisdom to pass on to others who are considering starting their own cleaning business, “Have a positive attitude, be willing to learn, willing to make mistakes, and improve yourself. Care about the client.” Milena laughs when she remembers the tools they made due with in the early days, but says you can make a go of it even without top of the line equipment. “We started out with a milk crate on a trolley.”
To hire Milena’s team of professional cleaners, visit their Cleanify page.
This is part of our ongoing series– a spotlight on some of the fantastic businesses that Cleanify connects you to when you need a local cleaning service. Subscribe to the blog and never miss a post by clicking the Follow button.