#OperationEntrepreNATION is on a roll this summer, exploring everything from the inspiration behind each business to the lessons learned along the way, and we're now onto our third installment. We spoke to Josh Bennardo who is the owner of his own cleaning business, JB Cleaning Services.
Josh started his journey as a janitor for the NY school district in Manhattan for 5 years, where he was taught professionally how to clean. He eventually went away to Ozark Tech College and took up a trade where he got his HVAC degree (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). When he came back home to New York, he worked for a company fixing AC units but wasn't happy, "I found myself not liking the work, I didn't like having to work in small and uncomfortable spaces. I tried getting back into the school district but I just couldn’t get back in, it was very hard". He decided to take a leap of faith and challenge himself. "I said 'you know what, I know how to clean, and I do it really well, so why not open my own cleaning business? Let’s see where it goes.'"
He admits to having a rough start, with only two customers, so he expanded his services from just residential cleaning to commercial cleaning, mobile car washing, detailing, waxing, window cleaning, and power washing. His business started to grow and Josh went from five homes a month to about 60 homes a month, on top of the 12 businesses that he now cleans as well. He just hired his first employee who will help take on some of the jobs with him. "Every new client that calls me, I'm always excited to go see it, I'm always excited about cleaning, whatever it is. I enjoy it and I always want to do the best job I can do. My number one thing is, I treat my business the way I would want someone treating my house if they came in". Josh's goal is to keep growing the JB Cleaning Services brand and build a team of professional cleaners so he can eventually step back and oversee the business.
Josh has experienced firsthand what cleaning a home can really do for someone, "I was cleaning in one of my client's houses, maybe a year and a half ago, and she's 94 years old. She said, 'Just one thing, make sure you vacuum underneath the bed please.' and I said of course. In my mind I thought, I would never not do that. So in her bedroom she has this bright green rug that's very, very thick. Something was telling me to put my hand down and feel around just to make sure everything was ok under there. As I went to go do that, I found her engagement ring! It was a nice day and she was sitting outside with her son. I walked up and told her that I had found a ring of hers while cleaning, and at the time, I obviously didn't know how long it had been missing. She said, 'Let me see it.' I handed it to her and she said, 'Oh my gosh! This is my engagement ring that I haven’t been able to find for 30 years!' and she started to cry." Josh was extremely pleased to have been able to give her that moment and is happy to share that story whenever he meets a new potential client, "When I walk into someone's home, they ask me who I am and what I do and I give a little background info but I always tell that story because you know, the cleaning business requires a lot of trust from clients. I have a lot of people's keys, alarm codes, and a lot of times people aren't home. People aren't going to give you their keys blindly, they have to really trust you" and he's happy they do.
To help advertise his business, Josh hired Loud Mouth Wraps (a division of Jungle Communications Inc.) to create a vehicle wrap with an eye-catching design. "The van has been on the road for about, probably two and a half weeks and the wrap has helped me tremendously. I've probably had at least 7 phone calls while on the road during that time". As a new business owner, Josh was nervous about investing into the wrap, but was pleasantly surprised. "It has definitely proved me wrong and helped me realize that this is what I needed. Absolutely. And it's going to help me grow my business even more."
Josh offers the following advice for anyone who wants to start something for themselves, "whatever you want to do, do it to the best of your ability. Always do the right job for you. If you give it your all, and they say you didn’t do it right, you still know you did your best."
Josh is based in the Long Island area and serves homes and businesses from Cedarhurst to Greenport and Bayport to Smithtown. He offers weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, occasional or one-time cleaning.
Check out JB Cleaning Service:
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