When Troy Knight launched Greco Cleaning Services just over a year ago, he did so with a commitment to Responsible Cleaning.
CBT: What did you do before opening your company?
TK: Prior to starting Greco Cleaning Services, I worked for Honeywell as a Materials Manager in the Aerospace division where we performed repair and overhaul operations on Chinook Helicopters.
CBT: Why did you decide to get into the cleaning industry?
TK: I always wanted to own my own business, and cleaning homes seemed to fit my needs. I wanted to leave the corporate life and build something sustainable. I wanted to spend time with my family, not invest heavily in inventory or equipment, and not chase accounts payable. The cleaning industry provides me a means to meet these objectives. The cleaning industry is also scalable, meaning I can grow the business as large as I want by increasing the area I service.
CBT: When did you start your business?
TK: I started my business in September 2012 with a business plan, a phone number, a website and no clients.
CBT: How much have you grown since then?
TK: In 15 months, we have grown from having only a vision to serving 43 re-occurring clients and performing 84 cleanings per month.
CBT: What are you projecting for sales in 2014?
TK: Our goal for 2014 is to top the 100 re-occurring client mark with annualized revenue of $240,000. While we certainly provide one-time cleanings, we include only re-occurring cleanings in our planning and goal-setting for future growth.
CBT: What research did you do and why did you decide to open an independent company?
TK: I looked into several franchises, spoke with several franchise owners and even visited the corporate headquarters of one franchise. However, I wanted the freedom and flexibility of being independent. I felt that I could build my own network made up of marketing, finance and business support. Our industry is built on owners helping others. I also felt that when the time comes to sell, the company would be easier to sell and more valuable by being independent.
CBT: What has been harder than you expected?
TK: Getting clients is a constant challenge, especially since we are a young company building a brand. I also continue to spend time on understanding my cost and pricing structure so we are profitable.
CBT: What has been easier than you expected?
TK: So far I have been fortunate on finding employees. I have two full-time employees, and one I can use on a part-time basis. One has been with me for over a year and the other for ten months. The one piece of advice I learned early in my career was “do not settle,” so I usually start early looking for the right person that fits the culture of the company I am building.
CBT: If you could do this all over again, what would you do differently?
TK: I would approach marketing differently. It is easy to waste money on marketing that does not work. In 2014, I am being more careful with how I spend my marketing dollars.
CBT: Can you explain your company name, logo, and what you mean by responsible cleaning?
TK: Our name is Greco and yes, there is a story behind it. Before starting the business, I wanted a name that would help us stand out, and differentiate us from others. We strive to be a green, eco-friendly company, thus the name Greco: Gr for Green and Eco for Eco-Friendly.
Our focus, which we refer to as Responsible Cleaning, is to use products and processes that are less toxic, and have lower VOCs than many traditional cleaning methods. We also have invested in the use of de-ionized water, aqueous ozone, and dry steam vapor to enable us to incorporate a chemical-free process into our cleaning for clients who prefer non-traditional cleaning methods.
In early 2016, Troy Knight partnered with Tom Stewart, owner of Castle Keepers of Charleston and Greco Cleaning Services began its next stage of growth as Castle Keepers of Greenville. Castle Keepers is the largest independent residential cleaning service in the Carolinas, and is a pioneer of chemical-free cleaning techniques.