Any problem is solvable
Nine years ago, Jacqui Jepson started cleaning houses to support her children after her divorce. Today, she runs The Pink Wand Cleaning Services, a million-dollar company based in Airdrie, Alberta with aspirations to sell franchises across Canada.
“I always set goals and I knew I wasn’t going to settle until I met all those goals,” said Jepson. “I knew that I had three kids to support and wanted to be a good example to them. My dad is an entrepreneur and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
The Pink Wand employs more than 40 people and serves more than 400 residential and commercial customers in Airdrie and the Calgary area. Jepson attributes her success to the processes she put in place to streamline her business which, in turn, makes the Pink Wand an attractive place for her employees.
“When we started, it was just me and a vacuum I bought off of eBay and then I started to slowly systemize absolutely everything,” she said. “Instead of making my business about me dictating the times that employees would work, I took a different route.”
“I knew I had access to a lot of mothers who wanted to work around their kids’ schedules so what I did was systemize the business so I could make the job work for them and, in turn, I kept amazing employees throughout the years.”
Cleaning sounds like a low-tech business of mops and brooms, but The Pink Wand embraces technology to help it operate efficiently. An example is the scheduling system it uses to remind customers of their appointments.
“We tested a whole bunch of systems to automate reminders for clients,” said Jepson. “We started doing it manually. It was literally two of us in the office, going through our list and manually texting reminders to our clients.”
“We tested all sorts of systems that were sort of capable of doing that, but we decided to build our own database system so we had a company come in and build one specifically for our business,” said Jepson.
The Pink Wand takes great efforts to retain its employees as well as its customers. It pays above-market wages, offers regular staff leadership and business coaching and promotes from within. That means clients end up seeing the same people returning to their homes and businesses, which strengthens their relationship with the customer.
“We regularly meet with our employees to find out what gets them out of bed to be with us, whether they just want to have a part-time job so they can be around their children or whether they want to grow within the company. We see low turnover because we have a balance-of-life approach,” said Jepson.
As for their customers’ satisfaction, The Pink Wand’s management does regular spot checks to make sure that their employees did a good job and monitor feedback from clients to correct any problems before they become serious.
“If they’re not happy, we rectify it with them, whether it be by sending the team back at no charge or whether it be discounting the next job then we follow up afterwards. We follow up two times after the complaint to get things back to par,” explained Jepson.
The Pink Wand is heavily involved with several charitable organizations in the Airdrie community and Jepson acts as a mentor for SMARTstart, a program that helps local entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
“The program offers the assistance that I wish I had had when I first started so they can avoid the mistakes I made,” said Jepson.
One of the lessons the Pink Wand founder teaches is that business success comes from setting goals and taking the steps to make them a reality.
“Any problem is solvable,” she said. “If you put your customers and your staff first, you can pretty much solve anything which ensures you’re meeting your goals and that everything works out. I think I worried so much when I first started and now I realize that as long as you’re doing a good job and doing well by your staff, your clients and your community, you can usually make a go of it and be a success.”