Ivis Espinoza grew up with hard-working parents in the commercial cleaning industry. When she was 17, she started working alongside them at a local cleaning company, but she dreamed of striking out on her own.
When her son was two, she knew the time was right to stop working for someone else and start her own business. She established Ivis Cleaning Inc. and set to work spreading the word about her services. She passed out flyers to every business in downtown New Bedford and was successful at getting her first few clients. Happy with her services, they told other businesses in the area about her, and this positive word of mouth helped her business get off the ground.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented some serious challenges for Ivis Cleaning Inc. when many businesses switched to remote work. Without commercial buildings and offices to staff, many of Ivis’ clients no longer needed cleaning services as frequently as they did before. “The pandemic was hard because some of my clients had to temporarily shut down, and others simply didn’t need services at that time,” she says. Luckily, Ivis saw the return of many of her clients and an uptick in business once pandemic restrictions began to ease.
Having grown up in the commercial cleaning industry, Ivis certainly knew how to clean, but she did not have any experience with running a business. “In the beginning I didn’t even know how to make a business card or how to do an invoice. The only thing I knew was how to clean.” So, once her client volume began to grow, Ivis enrolled at Bristol Community College to learn more about running a business.
Through Bristol Community College, she learned about Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), a non-profit that provides immersive business training and mentorship to those growing a small business. She was accepted into EforAll South Coast's Winter 2021 Cohort, where she participated in their Business Accelerator Program. It was this program that gave her the idea to change the name of her business from Ivis Cleaning Inc. to Bristol County Commercial Cleaning. The program also gave her the guidance she needed to launch a website and start focusing more on business development and management. Ivis was ultimately awarded a grant at the end of the EforAll Business Accelerator to assist with her continued business growth.
Today, Bristol County Commercial Cleaning serves a variety of commercial businesses around Bristol County, Massachusetts including New Bedford, Taunton, Fall River and beyond. They have five full-time employees and a growing list of clients ranging from adult daycares to condominium complexes. Services include daily sanitation and cleaning, trash removal, floor waxing, deep carpet cleaning, window cleaning, seasonal cleaning, and other custom services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ivis also began offering electrostatic mist cleaning which evenly coats a surface in disinfectant with no contact.
The best part for Ivis is that she gets to be her own boss. She takes pride in her work and the services her company provides to other local businesses. Living in New Bedford herself, Ivis makes it a point to visit each customer even if she is not the one doing the cleaning. “I always make the time to go in and visit my clients. After my team cleans, I like to check things and make sure my customers are satisfied. I think this is one of the reasons my customers refer me to others,” she says.
Being a local business, Ivis decided that she wanted her business banking to be with a local financial institution. She chose BankFive after meeting Business Development Officer Victoria Stockbarger through EforAll. Victoria continues to be a valuable resource for Ivis. She says, “it makes me happy that I have someone I can call if I have any questions about my business account. I don’t have to call a 1-800 number and wait to be transferred. BankFive is just so personal. They sent me a BankFive calendar and chocolates for Christmas – I love that!”
While there is a lot of competition in the commercial cleaning industry from large, sub-contracted companies, Ivis feels good about the future of her business. She’s also hopeful about the impact she can have on the local South Coast economy by growing her business and creating more local jobs.
Ultimately though, Ivis’ main goal is to provide for her children. “I want them to grow up and have the things that I didn’t have as a child. Maybe one day they’ll even want to get involved in the business. They are my main motivation,” she says.
It has been 9 years since Ivis embarked on her journey as a business owner, and we recognize the hard work and dedication she has put into making Bristol County Commercial Cleaning the successful business it is today. We’re also thrilled that Ivis chose BankFive for her business banking needs. We’re eager to see what’s on the horizon for her company and we look forward to helping other small business owners grow their businesses as well. If you are business in need of commercial cleaning services in the Bristol County area, don’t hesitate to contact Ivis and her team!