When Annie Campbell and her best friend were launching their cleaning business eight years ago, they brought out of their closets the brightly colored tie-dyed shirts that they’d worn in school. “When we clean, we usually wear tie-dyed shirts and drive around in a car painted all different colors. It gets you noticed,” said Annie. Her purple-streaked hair blends in perfectly with the fun colors.
Annie and her friend were both previously working in catering before they started A Maid 4 You, and running their own cleaning business allowed them the flexibility to care for their small children. “Catering has some similarities to cleaning— in both jobs your goal is to make people happy.” Now that she’s her own boss, that independence is what makes Annie happy; it’s one of the best parts of her job.
Annie’s cleaning business services the Cincinnati and northern Kentucky areas and is an entirely family-run affair now that she and her business partner split in January. “My daughter works with us occasionally, but my niece is a full-time employee.”
The split with her business partner was completely amicable and the two remain close friends. With the focus on a family-run business, Annie is able to keep all her hiring decisions within the family, only hiring relatives that she can trust to go into clients’ homes. “We’ve worked together for so long that we know exactly what we’re doing. We go in to clean as a crew, everybody has a job—one does the bathroom while I do the kitchen and another girl does the floors.”
When asked about her recommendation for getting the kitchen clean, Annie suggests using Mr. Clean or a Lysol product. “It freshens the place up, gets rid of germs, and cleans everything.”
We’ve worked together for so long that we know exactly what we’re doing. We go in to clean as a crew, everybody has a job—one does the bathroom while I do the kitchen and another girl does the floors.
Annie is born and raised in the Cincinnati area and gives back to her community as much as she can. “We had a client who had cancer but she could only afford to pay us for once a month cleanings. We went ahead and cleaned her house biweekly for the price of what she could afford.”
Word of mouth is the way she’s built up most of her business, including the cancer patient she helped out. When she first got started, her husband delivered wood for a local company and would drop off business cards for her business along with the wood to construction sites. A lot of those customers are still with her, eight years later. Annie also enjoys having customers post to their NextDoor neighbors about her service. “If someone is using your service, their neighbors will trust their recommendation.”
With eight years of service under her belt, Annie has seen her share of messes. “I could probably write a book,” she laughed. “Once we opened up a refrigerator and thought that pop had exploded in it, but it ended up being little-bitty bugs. And people try to put out grease fires by throwing flour all over the kitchen. It’s always something!” Another surprise comes when people have used scrubbing bubbles on the walls of their bathroom. When Annie’s team uses a degreaser to shine the tiles, the walls will turn blue when the product is sprayed on walls that were previously covered with scrubbing bubbles, due to a chemical reaction to the bubbles that remain on the tile. “If the person cleaning is not aware of that, they flip out because they don’t know what is going on.”
Annie is a big believer in creating solid relationships with her customers. “Having a good relationship with the client is just as important as a good cleaning. At first you strike up a conversation and talk, you start to learn about their family and they learn about yours, eventually you know them like you’re friends. They have to trust you, because you are picking everything up, cleaning all of their stuff. If they have jewelry around, they need to trust that you’re not going to put it in your pocket and take it.”
In addition to trust, Annie says that it is critical that cleaning companies become bonded and insured. “A lot of people take for granted what they are told and don’t do extensive checks on the people they are letting into their home.”
Annie’s clients have come to rely on her personal commitment to making sure their homes are in tip-top shape. “I have a handful of clients that don’t want anyone to go into their homes without me. I try to keep those people happy.” That said, she is growing the business and plans to add crews while maintaining a high level of quality and client happiness.
If you’re looking for a Cincinnati cleaning company, check out A Maid 4 You.
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