Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Get to know... Peter Puzzo and Donna Trites

September 19, 2010

How did you get your start in the cleaning industry?
After 20-plus years in our respective industries — I was a manufacturing engineer in the aerospace field, my girlfriend Donna was a controller for several mid-size companies — we decided that we had enough of “corporate life.” We wanted to start our own business.

After looking at several options, we decided that we could spend more time together with a cleaning business. With a small investment and the willingness to put in the time, we began cleaning houses and in June 2001 Bucket & Mop Cleaning Services was born.

Our goals were to start a business that would allow us to enjoy our lives without answering to anyone but ourselves.

Tell us a bit about your positions and the organization.
Bucket & Mop — based in Higganum, CT — is a family-run business, and Donna and I are co-owners.

Donna runs the residential side of the business, as well as the administrative, while I work the commercial aspects and specialty jobs.

Donna''s daughters are our house cleaners; they do a great job and are really the backbone of the residential base.

Our son-in-law, who helps me with our commercial accounts, rounds out the primary staff.

We knew we would have to expand the services we provide to our clients, so we began to clean offices in addition to residential cleaning.

From working in the corporate world, we felt we knew what level of quality was expected from a cleaning service — and most importantly, we knew we could provide that level and still earn a profit.

I feel that our analytical backgrounds help us to better understand our customers’ needs.

We offer complete cleaning services. We take on any cleaning project: Post-construction, move in/out cleanings and, yes, even window cleanings dot our work schedules.

We have been lucky to be able to expand even more with specialty cleanings.

I have successfully completed the Carpet Care Technician and Floor Care Technician trainings and currently have an expanding customer base in both areas.

Communication is the key to customer satisfaction. We offer our customers direct contact with an owner. Either Donna or I answer the phone; our clients deserve more than a recording.

What responsibilities are the most challenging?
Maintaining a budget has to be the toughest task when running a business. Another difficulty is knowing when to turn off the business mentality.

What’s the favorite part of your jobs?
The pride and satisfaction of a job well-done rank high. Seeing the shine of a newly finished floor or going into a new account and really cleaning it makes us feel good about what we do.

Tell us a bit about your personal lives.
Donna and I have five children between us and four beautiful grandchildren. Our lives revolve around spending our spare time with our family.