Ursula Avelino is a savvy businesswoman taking advantage of everything NYC has to offer. After launching her successful green cleaning business, Green Duster, she noticed that there were several Manhattan Mini Storage locations near her clients. Instead of incurring the expense of buying and maintaining a truck or van, she rents storage units in Chelsea, SoHo, and the Lower East Side to stash cleaning supplies for her crew to stock up on between cleanings.
Originally from Peru, Ursula came to New York by way of Outer Banks, North Carolina, which was the exact opposite of what she’d been used to, living in the big city of Lima. Once she got to NYC, she worked as a nanny for a few years before starting Green Duster. “I’ve always had the idea that I would have my own business because my family ran its own pharmacies in Peru. And I liked cleaning my home, so it was a good fit.” After leaving her work as a nanny, she joined a leadership program in the city and got a few clients where she cleaned their homes with eco-friendly products.
One way she finds clients is through referral, and she provides postcards to doormen in the city, paying them bonuses for any business they send her way. “I’ve been cleaning for five years and learned that most business comes from word of mouth.”
After a year of cleaning, she was able to hire her first employee in 2013 and now has five cleaners, enabling her to get out of the field and focus on growing her business. She’s had success finding staff by hiring survivors of domestic abuse and feels great about giving them a way to get back on their feet after their trauma.
Ursula’s favorite part of her job is being able to help clients spend time with their family. The company’s slogan is “Live Clean, Live Healthy.” She also plans on joining the Cleaning For A Reason organization which provides free cleanings to women battling cancer.
She’s a big fan of Debbie Sardone, having taken some of her coaching seminars, along with training from Cleaning Business Builders. Ursula paraphrases Debbie when she talks about making sure you charge enough for your services, “I don’t want to just clean a perfect toilet, I want to run a profitable business.” She recommends that you don’t price yourself too low, to value the service that you provide.
One thing Ursula has enjoyed learning in her years running the business are the various aspects of American culture. When she was cleaning successful businesswomen’s homes early on, she saw that they took good care of themselves. “They ate very healthy food. I learned to eat quinoa, which is from my country, by seeing it in their refrigerators. It wasn’t very popular in Peru so I hadn’t eaten it before, but I’m eating it now!”
Running a business 24/7, she is very focused on systematizing everything so that she can step away from the day-to-day and focus on growing her family as well as her business. In her free time, she meditates, runs, swims, and enjoys going to local parks. Take advantage of this high quality NYC cleaning service if you’re into eco-friendly cleaning!
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