To say that Angela Steed has her hands full is one of the understatements of the year. Besides being the owner-operator of Gracious Hands Cleaning in St. Louis, she works full time as a licensed practical (LP) nurse, is raising two daughters, and is taking classes to become a registered nurse (RN).
Angela started her own cleaning business almost three years ago after seeing the benefits her ex-husband’s father got from running his own business. “It sparked my interest when I saw how much money he was making. So I got a business license and the type of insurance that I needed, and started getting my name out there. It’s slow going, but I know business will continue to grow,” she said.
As we talked, Angela’s two daughters, Natalie (four years old) and Netanya (ten years old) were playing in the background, taking advantage of a parent-teacher conference day at school which left them at home. “I’ll have them help out with the business when they’re older to give them a sense of responsibility, but for now they help me clean up around the house. I teach them that everything is not given to you, you have to work for what you want,” said Angela. “I try to be a role model for my girls, to set the tone of what I expect from them. My mother was a big inspiration to me, she always told me to be independent, and I’m passing that along to my kids.”
The name Gracious Hands Cleaning conveys the highly specialized service that Angela can offer as both a trained nurse and a professional cleaner. “I’m focused on helping elderly customers with their house cleaning because I’m also a nurse. If anything happens to you when I’m cleaning your house, I can take care of you. I really want to give people who are taking care of their loved ones a break by handling the cleaning,” said Angela.
She currently works full time as a nurse on the weekends, handling two sixteen-hour shifts. During the week, her free time is spent growing the cleaning business, taking care of her kids, and studying for her RN degree. “Online classes help a lot!” Angela said. “I try to get my classwork in when they kids are at school or when they’re asleep.” She’d like to do nursing in her free time and let Gracious Hands be her main business once everything is running smoothly. To drum up business, Angela has been cold calling real estate management companies, handing out business cards, putting fliers in mailboxes, and doing direct mails.
When she’s on the job, Angela relies on Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers to tackle everything from walls to floor. She’s well aware of the dangers of the toxic chemicals and wears a facial mask and gloves for protection, especially when faced with the dust at a post-construction site that needs cleaning.
Angela asks her clients what types of smells they prefer and leaves them unique air fresheners that match their taste. She also listens to jazz or easy listening music while cleaning when the client is home to help relax them.
One thing that puzzles Angela is being hired to clean houses that don’t appear to need any cleaning at all. “I expect to walk into a dirty place, but it always baffles me to go into a place where you’re confused about what needs to be cleaned. And what’s even funnier—the parts that are visibly dirty, the client doesn’t want touched. Like the kitchen and bathrooms are immaculate, but the kids’ room is a mess and I’m not allowed to go in and clean it. But I can’t get mad that you want to spend your money cleaning something that doesn’t need to be cleaned!”
To get a high quality cleaning service scheduled with Gracious Hands, click here. Angela loves working with her hands as both a nurse and a cleaning professional, and is eager to help anyone in the Saint Louis area.