Isaac Encarnacion launched Shinetek Cleaning Company in New York City a few years ago, but it’s an idea that has been with him since he was a kid. Growing up in NYC, he saw his grandfather run a successful cleaning business of his own and the seed was planted for Isaac’s entrepreneurship when he was fifteen years old, watching his grandfather handle clients in New York and Puerto Rico.
Prior to finally taking the leap and becoming his own boss, Isaac worked in the printing industry. “I did cleaning here and there but nothing full time until 2013. I was cleaning my home and my girlfriend suggested that I do it professionally because I was so good. I had been thinking about having my own cleaning business for years and something hit me in the back and said ‘Just do it,’ “ Isaac said.
He then set out to learn as much as possible about running a small business, including taxes and licenses. “It’s much easier to run a business now than when my grandfather was doing it. There was no email then. I used to see him writing out checks in the mid-1980s—handwriting checks!” Isaac laughed.
“He taught me how to mop on one leg— that was superhero status! He taught me how to clean and how to take care of myself, showing me that I could do it.”
Isaac was also inspired by the fact that his grandfather got so much done on one leg, the other having been amputated due to diabetes. “He taught me how to mop on one leg— that was superhero status! He taught me how to clean and how to take care of myself, showing me that I could do it.”
Isaac is passing this inspiration along to his 5-year-old son, who’s come along to watch his dad at work on a few jobs. “It’s motivating, just like when my grandfather showed me how to mop on one leg. I felt like I was having trouble doing it at age 15 with both legs and both arms, and he was there, 60-something-years-old showing me how to do it on one leg!”
As a native New Yorker, Isaac doesn’t mind using the subway to get to cleaning jobs if he realizes that parking would be too difficult. He has a bag that he packs with his equipment and just heads out. “I have a backpack vacuum. You’d think I was a Ghostbuster because I have a big tube on my back.”
Currently Isaac is running the whole business by himself, juggling cleaning appointments with all the business administration that needs to get done. He has someone he can tap into every once in awhile for help cleaning and is looking to grow over the next few months so he can focus on the office-side of things. By turning his attention to business operations, he’ll be able to maintain steady work, but currently the work fluctuates month-to-month: “There are times where there’s a good month and times where I wonder if my phone still works because it’s not ringing.”
His favorite part of the job is helping people. Shinetek participated in Cleaning for a Reason for awhile before his schedule got overwhelmed, but he plans to re-enter the program as soon as he’s able. “My mother was just diagnosed with breast cancer last year, so I have even more of a reason to help out.” (UPDATE: His mom is cancer-free as of last month! Hooray!)
As part of the program, Isaac cleaned for a woman in the Bronx and came back five more times in addition to the four free cleanings he provided, just to talk to her. “Cleaning for a Reason was incredible, you really saw the difference you made. I got attached to one lady and went back 4 or 5 times after I was finished cleaning, just sat and talked to her. She’d explain how her life was, and this is what she really wanted, to have a conversation. We would sit and talk about things.”
Besides having a huge heart and helping people, Isaac is also a believer in eco-friendly products, especially after he accidentally drank some non-toxic floor cleaner on one of his first jobs. “I had put some eco-friendly floor cleaner in a water bottle and when the clients came back home, I was in the middle of mopping and I started showing them around. I saw the water bottle and took a gulp before I realized what I was doing. For the next few days, I tasted that floor cleaner every time I coughed or burped. Luckily I didn’t have to get my stomach pumped! I went on their website and read up on it and found that quite a few people have actually done this.”
Shinetek’s clients love the high quality of Isaac’s cleaning and appreciate his honesty and straightforwardness. “I can work around budgets and I look out for my clients and my business because I know that without clients there is no business.” If you’re looking for a fantastic NYC cleaning business, look no further than Shinetek.
If you’re a cleaning service professional who would like to be featured in our magazine, please let us know!