Meet Lauren, the small business owner of Lolly’s Professional Cleaning Services in Yarraman QLD.
Lolly’s Professional Cleaning Services offers residential and commercial cleaning and has a strong reputation as a reliable cleaner in the South Burnett Region. Starting a small business has allowed Lauren to work around school hours so that she can pick up her children and has improved her mental health. One of the major challenges that Lauren faces is finding reliable employees who she can trust to complete jobs and continue to represent her business well.
“Gordon, my Many Rivers business coach said, ‘I have your back 100% and I believe in you’. Having someone that doesn’t know me tell me that I am killing it and that he believes in me really sticks with me. I have been completely honest with Gordon, and he didn’t care about my past. He was still willing to back me for the finances so that I could get to work and keep my business going.”
Read more about Lauren’s journey so far.
It is a small cleaning company, and I have been operating for 12 months now. I do domestic and commercial cleans.
My services differ from just cleaning and leaving. One elderly man we work with had not had his sheets changed in months, and so I took them home to wash and dry them for him. He also couldn’t afford a lot of food, and I have some connections at the local abattoir. I bought him some fresh meat, and he was very emotional and thankful. For some of these people we are the only people they see, whether it be fortnightly or monthly. I know what it feels like to have nothing and no one, and if staying there for 15 minutes having tea with a client makes their week then I am happy to do that.
Starting Lolly’s Professional Cleaning Services
Before starting my own business I was a stay-at-home mum, I have twin six-year old’s, and so my hands have been pretty full for the past six years.
I googled searched for microloans for small businesses, and that is how I came across Many Rivers’ website. I didn’t have a great credit history and that is how I got in contact. Gordon, my Many Rivers business coach has been fantastic.
Three years ago, I moved and I found it really restricting to get a job because there is nothing in town, and I would have to travel 45 minutes to get to work. I am quite a social person and I knew no one. I found being so isolated really detrimental to my mental health. I was looking for a way to work hours that I needed to work in order to be able to still pick up my kids from school. Starting my own small business was a way for me to balance working with my family life.
Now I have a lady that works for me five days a week, and I have a casual that I call in if I need to. For example, for particularly big jobs, it can be hard to complete it with two people within a day, and so I will call in my casual.
Working with Many Rivers
The first time I spoke to Gordon, I got a loan approved for equipment and chemicals that I needed to get started. It ended up that I didn’t need the full amount. Two months later, my car broke down, and I couldn’t get to work without a car. So I got another loan on top of my previous loan to help me get a new car.
When I speak to Gordon, we chat about things such as GST. I got policies drawn up recently and asked him to have a look over them. He reminds me to keep my personal and business bank accounts completely separate. He has been a great support, and he thinks that I have really great customer service skills. Another local business coach, Stacy, has been really helpful at reviewing my Facebook page and giving me tips to maintain the page. I’m not great with book work so I have a bookkeeper and an accountant.
Gordon said, ‘I have your back 100% and I believe in you’. I have cleaned my life up and a lot of people don’t believe in me. Having someone that doesn’t know me tell me that I am killing it and that he believes in me really sticks with me. I have been completely honest with Gordon, and he didn’t care about my past. He was still willing to back me for the finances so that I could get to work and keep my business going. If I don’t work, it is not good for my mental health. I have to get up, and I have to get to work. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something that day. Before that, I was just someone’s mum or someone’s partner. Now I go to work, and I am just Lauren, not mum.
I have had some issues with some employees not fulfilling their duties. For example, one stole and another wasn’t doing the hours that they were meant to. I get worried because I built this from the bottom up and it was just me and I gave it the name. Anyone that I employ represents me. Trying to find the right employee to meet my expectations is the biggest challenge. These past experiences with employees broke a lot of trust for me. Being a cleaner requires a lot of trust. They trust us in their home and I trust that my employees are doing what they are required and the right thing. I have had to cut back work a little bit so that I can wait until I get the resume from the right person who I can trust.
My cleaning company has one of the best names in South Burnett. Building a name for myself has been the biggest success!
I have some amazing clients. I do work for Emerge Support which is an NDIS program, Awards Electrical and four real estate companies that are regular and big clients. Often when I do someone’s office, they also refer me to staff and locals that need a cleaner for their personal home.
Because it’s such a small and tight-knit community, you must have that personal relationship with people. I have good relationship-building skills and I have always had a skill for selling.
The big change in myself would be my mental health. I had a low point when I wasn’t doing anything except taking the kids to school and back. My drive is that I get up, I look forward to going to work and the kids love it. They know that I have to work and we have to save up money so that we can go on holidays at the end of the year. There is a ripple effect. They play with my cleaning spray bottles; what they see me do they want to do too.
I am hoping that I can grow my company to 3-4 employees, to a point that it is still very manageable. I would like to just continue with the great work that I am already doing. Perhaps down the track I could cut back my work hours to three days a week and have those trusted employees who can keep the business going. This would give me an opportunity to take on more of an admin job.
Thanks Lauren for sharing the story of Lolly’s Professional Cleaning Services with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your business goals.
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