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Million dollar cleaning company owner started from scratch

Business owner's advice: just go for it
Posted at 8:05 AM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 10:27:35-04

There's not a lot of room left in the MaidPro office in Naples. Every desk and computer is occupied.

They would like to expand to the supply room, but it's packed with cleaning products that are replaced as quickly as they head out the door, in the hands of a growing number of workers, whose days are filled with a long list of homes waiting to be cleaned.

These are the problems of a successful business.  

They're problems Michelle Spitzer has gotten used to.

"Just take action and do it," she says when asked about her secret to success. "Don't be afraid. Just go for it."

Those aren't just words for Spitzer. It's an action plan that drives her. From running a small business out of the trunk of her car, to taking the wheel of a multi-million dollar house cleaning company. Today she runs five MaidPro offices in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties. She has more than 100 employees and she's thinking about even more expansion. 

But none of it may have happened if she didn't get fired from her first job, an insurance job she had in Illinois nearly 20 years ago.

"A life changing event occurred and I kind of decided to take the plunge and follow my parents who were already living in Naples," Spitzer says.

She decided to go back to college and study business at International College, which is now Hodges University.

"While going to school, I had this crazy idea to clean houses independently to make some extra cash," she says. "My mom thought I was crazy because I had the world's messiest bedroom growing up as a kid."

But she just went for it. She worked out of her car, off a business plan she developed in class.

"I was literally making it up as I went," Spitzer says. "It started with me, myself and I. And then I gradually added employees."

Just a few people at first. And it wasn't glamorous. She dispatched her workers from a Winn Dixie parking lot. And there were difficult mornings.

"One day, everybody on my team had gone to the same super bowl party, and nobody showed up to work the next day. So I had to recruit mom, dad, my brother, grandma to go out and clean that day. So you just have to run with the challenges, overcome obstacles and just do whatever it takes to get the job done."

A couple years later, Spitzer had a slightly larger crew and was working out of her garage, when she found out about a MaidPro franchise opportunity. 

"And at the time, I was three months pregnant with my first child," she says. "And they actually invited me to come up to visit them in Boston. And they inspired me on the phone, so I bought a little black dress to hide the fact that I was pregnant, just in case I was interested. I didn't want to be turned down."

So she went for it again. And she got the franchise

With MaidPro, Spitzer got marketing and more organization. And her company grew. 

Now, with those five offices and more than 100 employees, she's considering "just going for it" again, with more expansion out of that crowded Naples office.

"You're going to have bumps in the road in any business venture. That's sometimes the biggest learning opportunities. You turn those into lessons and use them to your advantage."