People-Focused From the Start The Growth of All-Clean! SoftWash
When my dad, Jim, founded All-Clean! in 1978, he didn’t just want to be the best window washer in the Portland metro area; he wanted to know and help families. He was always a natural at customer service because he never had to fake it. When you genuinely care about the people you serve, your enthusiasm is entirely natural. I remember watching the way my dad’s customers would greet him. He was more of an old friend than a service provider. I had plenty of experience watching my dad because I grew up in the business. In fact, I was home-schooled through high school so that I could spend time working alongside him. For a lot of kids, washing windows sounds like a punishment, but it never felt that way to me. In addition to being able to graduate early, I had more real-world experience than most 18-year-olds. I learned firsthand the value of a job well done and the importance of caring for your customers. In 2011, after 33 years in business, my dad was diagnosed with heart disease. The doctors immediately ruled out any chance for him to do physically demanding work again, which devastated him. The next year, I bought the business. Part of me wanted to make sure my dad had a fulfilling retirement, but I also just wanted to return to the profession where I got my start. “Our mission is to be the most people-focused exterior cleaning company in the United States. My dad is the most people-focused person I know, and I wanted to carry on that legacy.” In the following years, my goal was to take his values and expand them on the widest possible scale. It never crossed my dad’s mind that his approach was unique in our industry. When I came up with our mission statement, I did it with his values in mind. Our mission is to be the most people-focused exterior cleaning company in the United States. My dad is the most people-focused person I know, and I wanted to carry on that legacy. You may have noticed that our mission statement says “exterior cleaning” rather than “window washing.” That’s because we’ve grown to offer a full suite of exterior cleaning services. A lot of those added services came as a result of conversations with clients. They often asked me when we’d add roof cleaning, gutters, and other cleaning services to our business.
Perhaps our biggest lightbulb moment came when we discovered SoftWashing. It was instantly appealing to us. Here was a way to clean organic material off of a roof or exterior using biodegradable ingredients without damaging a house. We knew our customers could benefit from this revolutionary cleaning method, so we began to offer it right away, making us the first company to introduce SoftWashing to our area. These days, it’s probably our flagship service. After all, it’s right there in the name. Seeing how the company has grown over the years lets me know that we’re on the right track. Last year, we were honored to receive the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) award for Small Business of the Year in Oregon. The credit for that recognition really belongs to our incredible customers and team, whom we refer to as “internal customers.” Outside of work, my greatest joy is spending time with my family. My wife, Tirzah; daughter, Jaidyn; and son, Ethan, are the most wonderful people I know. I’m also a huge music fan. I was classically trained in piano, but I also make electronic music. If that seems like a bizarre combination to you, I promise to explain in a later issue. My wife and kids are all musically and artistically inclined too, so we play together whenever we have the chance. When the winter arrives, however, we’re just as likely to be skiing Mt. Hood as jamming at home.
I am so excited to share this newsletter with you over the coming months. Thank you for helping to make us the company we are today.
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