Michael Parker, a second generation entrepreneur and the owner of a window washing service in Bend, Oregon certainly did. Trust has been the biggest obstacle Mike’s grappled with, but in less than 5 years his business has grown from ground zero to a thriving company, trusted by 600 customers and counting. The secret to his success? Mike was able to turn this obstacle into an asset.
He got it from his Mama:
Michael Parker grew up in Oregon, looking up to his mom who owned and operated a cleaning company. Catching her entrepreneurial spirit, Mike started offering to clean her client’s windows as an add-on to the family business. After a 7 year hiatus, (going to college, trying a new career path, moving cities, getting married and an economic recession) Mike found himself back in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. This time he was determined to make his window cleaning company a success for his own growing family.
Loosening his grip to grow the business:
Originally, Mike wanted a business that would allow him to support his family - no employees, just a small boutique business. And this worked for a while. When he first launched MasterPro Service Inc. in 2012 he began by reaching out to old customers he had serviced as part of his mother’s company. Word spread around Central Oregon that Mike Parker was back in biz, and soon reached capacity for operating the business by himself. For a growing company with a growing reputation, Mike was confronted with releasing his tight grip on the business and allowing others to step in and take on some of the work.
“The single biggest struggle was letting go.”
The technical work takes a certain level of skill, but the rest of the experience delivered to the customer takes a lot more. And for Mike, finding technicians who could meet his standards and uphold the company’s reputation in the local market was incredibly important.
“We are a cleaning company. We clean windows and gutters but that’s not all we deliver. We deliver a great experience, a beautiful view, to not have someone track mud in your house or steal your Rolex.”
The secret ingredient to Mike’s success:
Trust is a two-way street and it’s something Mike’s had to foster among his employees and his clients as he’s grown from a personal boutique-style company to a thriving window washing business. As an entrepreneur in the service industry here’s how trust has played a key role in Mike’s success:
- Trust that others can help you grow: “At first, I was relying on just myself and what I thought. But if I could start all over again, I would definitely get a mentor right away to help with any self-limiting beliefs, to help expand your mindset and coach through the bigger-picture business stuff.”
- Trust that you’re not the only one who can do the job: “Getting past that and understanding that other people are fully capable of doing the technical work - It’s still a struggle for me to comprehend. But! Our reputation hasn’t been damaged and our customers love us.”
- Trust that an active hiring approach will help you win. “Our applicants don’t just walk in off the street. We have an active hiring approach which means we’re recruiting people we think would make a good fit - even if they already have a job! Technical skills can be learned, but personality traits like drive and passion... well, they can’t. We’re also setting barriers to entry so that only those who really want the job will apply and get a response from us.”
- Communicating with your clients will build trust: “With the reputation we’ve built, we don’t come up against many stereotypes, like our technicians stealing from customers. But, we work really hard with our clients letting them know that those aren’t the kinds of people we hire either.”
- Use customer reviews to build your reputation and foster trust in the local market: “For MasterPro Service Inc. it’s about building a tribe internally and externally that love us. It’s not about being the biggest, but being the best. We want to be the best for our clients, because we love them! And our clients love us back!”
Next steps on the road to success:
With a foundation of trust established, the next steps for Mike and MasterPro Service Inc. include, “developing a full-fledged training program, in-house certifications for our team and developing trainers within the company besides myself. I want to build an entity that can sustain itself, even if I’m not present. And then, with that achieved, I’ll be able to spend more time with my family and less time on the job”.
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