Indiana man finds his calling with a new business that gives him a flexible work schedule to spend quality time with his family.
Working long hours at a trucking company, surrounded by crass talk, made for unfulfilling days for Harvey Harrington. He leaned on the Bible for solace. It gave him some moments of peace, along with an inspiration to pray for something better to come along. Those prayers were answered when he became aware of the Office Pride commercial cleaning franchise.
With the support of his wife, Kia, Harrington kickstarted his new venture in April 2014. He acknowledges that his new role can take up a lot of time, but it also frees him up to be there when his children, Arianna, 5, and Aiden, 2, need him. While home tending to Arianna, who was sick the day of our conversation, Harvey told us his story.
What were you doing before you owned your own business?
I worked at a trucking company as a supervisor. I was looking for a change, something that was meaningful. I was spending a lot of time away from my family. I was working 13 to 14 hours a day. I prayed. Office Pride has been a blessing. It was God’s will. I make my schedule now. I can plan around the kids’ needs. When they go to school, I can do sales. Operations-wise, I can get things done early or wait until they go to sleep and go at night. The flexible schedule has made a big difference.
Did you consider other franchise opportunities?
I looked into a restaurant business franchise very seriously. Office Pride commercial cleaning franchise was definitely a blessing that came at the right time.
What changed your mind about the restaurant business?
I was kind of nervous seeing some of the numbers projected. I went back and forth with it. For about three months, the discussions stalled. We were thinking about doing it, and they were calling and putting pressure on me, asking me to sign the contract that would lock me in. Around this time, I met with a friend of a friend who started talking about his cleaning business. I wasn’t interested at first, but he told me it’s an opportunity to own your own business, and he showed me the operations. And the rest was history.
Did you have any experience with the cleaning industry?
I don’t have a background in cleaning. After I saw the operations, I knew it was something I could learn easily and excel at.
How about experience in sales or marketing?
Not really. I always wanted to own my own business. There’s training that goes into it. I’ve been doing this for only six months and I still have things to learn, but Office Pride helps with that. One of the main things about Office Pride is in terms of the help you receive, I don’t think you can go wrong. You have to make your decisions, but there are so many different processes for you to succeed. It’s out there for you; you just have to go get it.
Do you live close to a lot of companies?
Yes. I live in Fishers, Indiana, and there’s a lot of opportunity out here.
Did Office Pride help you get started?
My Area Developer, Julie Hirschauer, started me off. I bought some business from her, and then anytime I ever needed anything, she’s always ready to help. She’s always pushing me to the next level. And she’s also bringing me business. Just last month she got me a new account in Westfield. I would say, when I met my Area Developer, that’s where a lot of doubt left my mind. She was a hundred percent honest with me, and the relationship is what pushed me into the business.
What did she tell you?
In one of our first meetings, she said, “Hey, this is what the business is about, and it’s not always pretty.” She’s wasn’t being negative. She was bringing it to me honest. She told me there’s going to be a point where you’re a tired and a point when you’ll feel like you’re not making enough money. I’ve been prepared for different pitfalls that they said could happen. Praise the Lord, I haven’t had a lot of bad things happen, but a couple of things have happened that they said to be ready for and have a plan to handle. I had a client that didn’t pay me for two months over the summer. In training, we were asked, “What if somebody didn’t pay you for two months? Do you stop cleaning?” But I continued to clean, and the client eventually paid, and we didn’t have a problem.
What are some other issues that have come up?
Hiring the right people. When I first started, I had three employees. I lost one and then I gained two, and then I lost those two. Other owners have talked about it being a roller coaster, and you have to pray people into your life. Right now I’m down to two employees. I hired one yesterday. I’m up to about 15 to 16 accounts, so I’m doing most of the cleaning. I’m at the grind phase.
What is a typical day for you?
Normally I would be on the computer or trying to get new sales right now. You go from wearing a suit and tie to basketball shorts and Office Pride shirt or some khakis, depending on the weather. It’s just constant. You get tired and you’ve got a lot to juggle lot – your family life, your spiritual life, work, and you’ve got to juggle friends and everything else. For me, I don’t look at work as work to be honest with you. When I go out and clean, I go with a mindset that I’m going to get the job done right, and I’m looking to do the best that I can to keep the customer happy and propel myself and the company. I can think back to working at a trucking company 13, 14 hours a day, and that wasn’t fun at all. Even though I may have to work long hours, the fact I can stay with my daughter today when she’s sick and not have to ask the boss if I can stay home – there is no better joy than that.
How important is the faith-based aspect of the business to you?
My trucking company job pulled me away and out of character sometimes, because the people around me hated their jobs. There was a lot of profanity. I would bring my Bible to work, just trying to get myself back on track. But a faith-based franchise is like a brotherhood. People are looking out for you and praying for you, and you’re doing the same thing. With Office Pride, we’re going for the same goal and we’re putting God first, and that matters to me.
What are your goals for your business?
I would like to build a million-dollar business. It will take awhile. I’ll be making smaller goals along the way. In the summer, I wasn’t as aggressive – I did a lot of calling, but I was not in front of people. Recently, I have gotten out in front of people and I have added quite a few businesses.
How do you get new business?
I go out and I collect information, just to see who makes the decisions at a company, who is cleaning for them and if they have anyone cleaning. We use software for finding out the businesses in the area code, and I go to different office parks and try to accelerate sales.
What kind of businesses do you try to sell to?
We do pretty much everything except retailers. We do office buildings, churches, industrial parks. Name it, we do it.