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Get to know… Theresa Peterson

September 19, 2010
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How did you get your start in the cleaning industry?

In 1986, I became frustrated with working long hours in corporate management while someone else was caring for my two small children.

This, as well as threatened layoffs at my job, forced me to take a long, hard look at what I wanted for my family. I realized that I wanted to work part time, allowing me to be at home as much as possible to raise my children.

I came across an article in the newspaper highlighting the trend of residential cleaning and its new availability to perspective proprietors through the recent expansion of franchises.

I investigated and worked for a franchised company for a couple of months, but became frustrated with the owner''s lack of professionalism.

I decided to open my own company and, within six months, I was his biggest competition! I have been in business for almost 20 years now and still love it.

Tell us a bit about your position.

I own Maid to Order House Cleaning, based in Fremont, CA. In the past I have employed up to 25 workers, however, I have recently pared down my company to family members only.

Maid to Order provides residential cleaning services, including construction cleaning, move-in and out cleaning, and window washing.

I also co-founded two industry groups: The Global Cleaning Association and the International Cleaning Association.

Tell us a bit about these organizations.

I have never been afraid to contact my local competitors and offer to work with them, instead of against them.

After speaking with competitors, I found that we could help and compliment each other''s businesses.

When I discovered the Internet, I found that there were others who were also trying to network within the industry.

With partners Ken Galo and Dave Crichon, we formed the Global Cleaning Association to mentor others in the cleaning industry.

Information is freely shared among members and everyone is welcome to discuss JanSan matters.

The International Cleaning Association is a spin-off of the Global website created through the realization that, beyond mentoring, we had so much more to offer to smaller and mid-sized cleaning operations of the world.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is being in control of what I do on a daily basis and being my own boss.

My least favorite is dealing with the lack of support for small businesses from the insurance industry, and the government — at the local, state and federal levels.

I would love to see more support given to the smaller business person in terms of education, taxation, and health and retirement plans.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.

I have been married for 24 years and have two wonderful children, ages 23 and 21.

I love to volunteer in community activities and find that my job has allowed me to participate more than I ever could have when I was working for someone else.

My biggest hobby is mentoring, which gives me the greatest satisfaction.

I have been a scout leader for both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, was active in the Parent/Teachers Association throughout my kids'' school years, and have participated as a volunteer for organized team sports in various capacities.

I also love arts and crafts and currently volunteer for an animal rescue organization.

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