Janitorial service company cleaning up with contracts
Xtremely Clean Janitorial Service LLC of Hillsborough County
Wanda Barton discovered her passion for cleaning at the age of 14. After her mother taught her how to clean, she found she excelled at it.
“I decided to start a cleaning business because that’s something that I do very well,” she said. “It’s easy for me to take something dirty and make it look new again. It really is.”
Barton started her cleaning business nearly seven years ago, cleaning out foreclosed homes. When the foreclosure market started to decline, Barton began to look for alternatives to sustain her business with guaranteed monthly income.
Seven years later the business is thriving. Xtremely Clean Janitorial Service LLC specializes in commercial office cleaning and post-construction cleaning.
To become this successful, Barton needed assistance along the way. When she decided to diversify by adding government contracts to her business, she wasn’t quite sure how to get started. In 2014, after doing her own research, she started working with certified business consultant Janette Blanco, of the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County.
“I got in contact with SBDC and they gave me guidance in regards to where I need to be and what I need to do and that’s part of the reason why I feel like I am where I’m at today,” Barton said. “They have been a tremendous support to my company.”
Barton started her business with just one employee – herself – and today she has more than 90 employees and has landed approximately 18 recurring government contracts – some worth millions – so far, which she says is her biggest success to date.
“Contracts sometimes get renewed yearly and I haven’t had any problem with getting my contracts renewed every year,” she added.
Even with all of her success, she still faces challenges. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic added a new set of challenges in terms of keeping the business afloat while waiting for the state to reopen. She reached out to Blanco again to get guidance in applying for the State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
In a state of chaos and unknowns, Barton said Blanco has been, “nothing more than a blessing through such a critical time. She has been great through the pandemic.”
Blanco guided Barton through securing a six figure Paycheck Protection Program loan to sustain her staff. “She proactively assisted [me] with getting the disaster assistance that was needed to keep the company sustained in the pandemic.” Barton said. “She was very responsive and alleviated a lot of stress for me as the business owner.”
Another challenge for Barton, in normal circumstances, is finding highly-qualified employees.
“There’s times when I will hold a big hiring event and that sometimes can be a challenge because you get a room full of people and they all say they have experience,” she explained. “Once we put them out there, sometimes we realize we have to put more money into that staff to get them trained and bring them up to the standards of cleaning where we need them.”
Moving forward, Barton says she will continue her engagement with the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County and Blanco, to find more contracting opportunities within the Tampa Bay region and beyond. She also encourages others to utilize the no-cost resources.
“There’s a lot of business owners who really don’t know where to start and it’s discouraging,” she said. “A lot of people give up. I just wasn’t one of the ones that decided to give up. So I just continued to reach out and do my research and I ended up going downtown and they told me about the SBDC. That was very helpful and from that point on, I’ve been blessed. Janette never slacks when it comes to small businesses. I would not be sure where I would be without her assistance and passion to help.”