2015 Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship winner John Winter talks about the beginnings of Dawn to Dusk, meeting and marrying the owner Dawn, and becoming a cleaning business owner himself.
JW: Dawn started her cleaning business in 2006 after she got divorced from her first husband and needed to support her two kids; she specifically wanted something that gave her control over her time, and she could work cleaning houses while her kids were in school.
CBT: What was your very first cleaning client or cleaning job? Do you still have that client?
JW: Dawn’s first client was a referral from a networking group we belong to; we are still in the networking group, but that first client later had a financial setback and couldn’t afford to continue with our service.
CBT: What has been the mission that you’ve used to focus your business development and growth?
JW: Our mission is to provide our clients and customers with cleaning service that exceeds their expectations. We strive to provide long term customer relations as well as employee relations. Our caring and helpful staff will be there for our client’s needs. We understand the importance of integrity and the value of earning the trust and respect of our clients. Our quality service and reliability as well as using the most natural green cleaning products are what set us apart from our competition.
CBT: What would say has been your biggest unexpected challenge to date?
JW: We once had all our cleaning technicians quit at the same time, and they took some of our customers with them and started their own business.
CBT: Is it true that your cleaning business is the way you two met?
JW: Yes, it’s true! I had just lost my wife Sharon to cancer in 2007, and I needed my house cleaned. I called up Dawn to Dusk Cleaning Service to get a cleaning quote, thinking they would send out Alice from “The Brady Bunch.” Instead Dawn came out, and she was more like Jeanie from “I Dream of Jeanie.” A year and a half later, I married the cleaning lady. When God closes one door, He always opens another. Today we work full time together, and it has been a joy to build a business together; we have cleaned many houses together as well.
CBT: As you’ve sought growth, what resources and/or mentors have been instrumental in supporting you to greater success?
JW: We started out with a local business coach with whom we traded home cleanings for business coaching. When that ended, we found another local business coach but soon found that she did not have the expertise that we needed for the cleaning business. When we joined ARCSI and went to the conventions, we met some great cleaning business owners who continue to be an outstanding professional network. There we learned about Foundations of Success and joined and went for a week-long amazing training jump start that we are continuing through the end of 2016; it was exactly what we needed to take our business to the next levels.
CBT: What is one way that you’ve changed as a person and a leader?
JW: After going to the ARCSI convention it really open my eyes to see that this is not just a women’s business (forgive me!). I met Joe Walsh, Derek Christian, and Tom Stewart and was really impressed with them and their businesses. It sent a message that this business can be as big as we want to build it and can be a business we both can do together.
CBT: What do you do that believe helps others change?
JW: We found that when we live and work by our core values, we are setting examples for our team to do the same and they will follow. Thank you, Liz Trotter, for helping us with this.
CBT: As the winner of the 2015 Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship to attend the ARCSI Convention and ISSA Trade Show, what are you looking forward to most at convention?
JW: We love attending ARCSI conventions and surrounding ourselves with other cleaning professionals and business owners; we learn so much to help grow our business. We hope to learn ways of hiring quality cleaning technicians and ways to keep them long term. We also like learning about the new technology and software that will help our business grow. There is so much more, but these are just a few.