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Get to know... Mark Rakitovan

September 19, 2010
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How did you get your start in the cleaning industry?
My first job in the cleaning industry was working for a company that installed office furniture and cleaned carpets.

Using the knowledge I gained in my previous job, I opened Carpet Tech Cleaners in 1993, specializing in furniture restoration and carpet cleaning.

At this time, we cleaned offices in the former World Trade Center, and we were very fortunate that no one from my company was in the buildings on September 11, 2001.

Tell us a bit about your business.
In 2003, I converted the business into a Queens, NY-based ServiceMaster Clean franchise and currently employ eight workers.

This year, my franchise received the 2005 “Rookie of the Year” award from ServiceMaster Clean for having the most business in the first 12 months of operation.

All of my customers are tenants in Class A high-rises in New York City, and we clean some of the most well-known facilities including the MetLife, Time Warner, Phillip Morris, and Paine Weber buildings.

I recently signed a contract to clean Build-A-Bear Workshop’s flagship store in Manhattan.

My franchise recently completed training to clean medical facilities, and I am looking forward to expanding the business to include these facilities, as well as the special challenges that go along with it.

What responsibilities are the most challenging?
The building services industry in New York City is highly competitive; our customers demand a high level of service with unique needs and challenges.

There have been a lot of changes in the industry since the terrorist attacks on September 11, especially because facility managers have now increased security in all of the offices we clean.

All of my employees must undergo strict security and background checks, and this is challenging in an industry that has a high employee turnover rate.

I try to keep the work interesting by assigning employees to different kinds of accounts and tasks to reduce the amount of turnover in my franchise.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is dealing with my clients.

I find it very rewarding to watch a client’s business change and grow each year, and I feel that our services are an integral part of that process.

I feel it is my responsibility to help these businesses save money and preserve their investment with quality cleaning service.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.
I live in Queens with my wonderful wife and 5-year-old daughter, Nicole, who started kindergarten this fall.

I try to spend a lot of time outdoors when I am not at work. I enjoy playing soccer, swimming and fishing.

I am very involved with the business community — I belong to a variety of professional organizations including the International Facilities Management Association and local chambers of commerce.

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