Celeste Levy is a serial entrepreneur, having created and run six businesses since she was 21 years old. Her latest company is Clutterbug Cleaning & Organizing, providing house cleaning and decluttering services to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the past twelve years. Celeste previously worked in the craft and gift industry, owning a few shops where she made and sold handmade candles and soaps. After noticing the opportunity to open a cleaning business, she launched Clutterbug in 2005. “It seemed like there was a real need for this in our area, and it’s a growing industry. Plus I’ve always been very clean and organized myself,” she said when we spoke on the phone recently.
With her experience running a business, Celeste was able to quickly grow the company and hire talented cleaners and organizers to handle the day-to-day cleaning tasks while she focused on the business administration and growing the business. Her passion is for promoting the company through online marketing channels like social media and she’s been able to offload other administrative tasks like scheduling and accounting to another person in the office.
“I really love marketing and promoting my business, it’s what I enjoy most. I don’t have any professional training or background in marketing, but I’ve picked up a lot on my own from running my own businesses,” she said.
By hiring high quality staff to manage the cleaning and basic administrative tasks, Celeste is enjoying the fruits of her long years of labor. She loves interacting with clients and still does in-home estimates for all new clients and joins her teams in the field at least once a week to provide hands-on guidance and training.
In addition to employing almost 30 people, she also makes room on the cleaning roster for her high school-aged son to help out in the summer. Her cleaning crew flexes up during the busiest times of the year and she taps into referrals from employees to find additional help. Celeste believes in treating her employees well to retain them and holds monthly prize giveaways that include anything from a paid day off to an overnight stay in a local hotel.
Celeste has noticed that business has picked up over the past few years, attributing it to both an increase in the need for cleaning service to help out with busy people’s lives and also to her own business establishing a firm footing over time. “In the past three years, business has definitely increased because people are busy. But also because the more work and effort you put into your business, the more it grows.”
“Maintain quality as much as you can. If your staff aren’t doing a good job then you’re going to lose the client.”
Once her clients discover her high quality cleaning, they don’t want to leave. Several of her clients have been with her for over ten years now. This focus on quality is something that Celeste recommends to anyone starting out in the business. “Maintain quality as much as you can. If your staff aren’t doing a good job then you’re going to lose the client.”
She believes in the importance of giving back to the community as well, and, as part of the decluttering service, she donates unwanted items to local charities so they can find a new home and help unfortunate families. While most of the time Clutterbug does a lot more cleaning than organizing, Celeste notices spikes during certain times of the year. “In the last couple of weeks we’ve done a number of large organizing jobs as part of Spring Cleaning.”
Decluttering is also one of Celeste’s favorite parts of the job. “I love to go in and organize! It’s the type of thing I really enjoy, going into a home where you just don’t know where to begin—huge organizing jobs.”
After having built her company into a successful business, she’s now able to spend a bit less time working at night and on weekends. “It’s good to not work all the time, although it’s hard to get out of the habit. There’s always things on your mind and emails to answer. My business is established to the point where I don’t need to work all the time, but it has taken me a long time to get to that point.”
Her other passions include going to concerts and traveling. “I don’t have a crazy social life but I like to travel a bit,” she said. Now that she’s focusing on more of a life-work balance, she’s making plans for a road trip across the country next year and enjoying time with her family.
If you’re looking for a high quality cleaning service in Halifax, check out Clutterbug Cleaning & Organizing.
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