Calgary Clean shares advice from a “four foot tall woman in red cowboy boots” and more

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Mary Zolmer, of Calgary Clean

Mary Zolmer has done it all– from hoeing and harvesting tobacco to bartending to working in banks and managing a balloon decorating company. She’s now found the perfect spot for her passion of delivering top-notch customer service and has been running Calgary Clean for the past few years to great success. No matter what business she’s been involved in, she noticed that the same key factors made a difference: listening to clients, being punctual and pleasant, and doing what was needed to get the job done.

She takes communication very seriously, making sure that all of her twelve employees can read, write, and speak the language necessary to communicate to her clients. Over the past few years she’s focused on finding the right people to work with and now feels that she has a great crew in place. “We’ve got the best carpet cleaning and floor guy in Calgary,” Zolmer said. “And our residential cleaners are outstanding, phenomenal people.” She called out two team members in particular, Dianne and Tina. “Without those two I don’t know what I would do. They are my go-to people. I can always count on them to do a great job, and they really care about the customer.”

Zolmer has noticed that cleaners are sometimes expected to be miracle workers. “This morning we did a job for a couple and their son who had lost his gold bracelet down the heating vent. They thought the cleaning company would be able to retrieve it.” They cleaned the home, and then connected the client with a local furnace company who could take apart the vent.

While Calgary Clean doesn’t retrieve lost jewelry, they do seem to do a little bit of everything else– watering plants, and arriving at a client’s home with three huge dogs that needed to be let out immediately and then going back inside to clean up the dog hair. They also listen to clients and navigate a delicate balance. “Maybe the wife loves cats, dogs, and horses but the husband is a neat freak. She might not care that there’s dog food on the kitchen table, but he does. You’ve got to listen and understand what’s best to do.”

As for cleaning itself, Zolmer says there’s really no magic to it. “Just clean, don’t take shortcuts. Left to right, top to bottom, get it clean. Everyone’s seen that video of how to clean a bathroom in five minutes, but that’s not us. Cleaning is hard work and you have to get down and do it properly.” One of her secrets is using the right tools, and her team uses a Karcher steamer that cuts cleaning time in half, efficiently cleaning things that would normally take a lot of time and effort.

In today’s busy world, Zolmer says the need for professional cleaning companies is even greater. “People don’t have time to worry about cleaning any more– because of the economy they’re working two or three positions. They should be able to come home from work and know that everything has been taken care of, they can relax in a clean home. There’s no better feeling than walking into your house and everything looks and smells clean.”

Some of her best advice came from a woman she considers a role model, thirty years ago. “This little four foot nothing Jewish lady who wore a pair of red cowboy boots and had a cigarette in a holder, she told me to always get the money up front. They need you and they’ll pay you now. But if you do the job and expect to collect payment later, you haven’t got a chance in hell. I don’t know where Mimsey is now, but she was such a character.”

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