Duran has two goals: to graduate from college and to be his own boss. He is accomplishing both of his dreams. He started a commercial cleaning business five years ago and managed commercial cleaning contracts part-time while working on his accounting degree at Southern University. Last year, he incorporated and renamed his business to A. Commercial Cleaning Inc. He graduates from college at the end of the year.
Duran said while he initially started the business to finance college and to fit work into his school schedule, he has big plans to grow his business once he graduates.
“To be honest, I like what I do,” Duran said. “I've been doing this for five years and we've started growing a lot. We're in the process of getting an office set up. Our goal is to be operating at least 100 cleaning contracts.”
Currently, Duran manages 15 cleaning contracts and employs two workers full-time and three part-time. He plans to hire five more part-time workers, but hopes someday to hire at least 50. He said what distinguishes his business from others is the follow-through and quality control.
“What separates us from other businesses is that we are very proactive with what we do,” Duran said. “We have a field manager. And the field manager does drop in on a job to make sure the cleaning is up to par. And if there is a problem, he fixes it right then and there. Our belief is that we want to catch a problem before you do.”
To expand his services, Duran needed to buy a carpet cleaner and a floor buffer for his business but didn’t have the capital up front. He learned about Accion Louisiana – Accion Texas’s branch in Baton Rouge – from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center.
“It was a great experience, working with Accion,” Duran said. “I will refer as many people as possible to them.”
Duran said he is excited about finishing his degree. And while he acknowledges he could get a job in corporate America with his college degree, he said he prefers to be an entrepreneur. “I love being my own boss,” Duran said. “You have to work very hard, but I love the freedom it has offered me.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.