There’s cleaning and then there’s CLEANING. When it comes to Bianca Lewis, just named the Sebastian River Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, it’s capital letters all the way.
Bianca, a petite dynamo with friendly brown eyes and tons of energy, was born and raised in Colombia, South America. In the 1980s, powerful drug cartels had made life too dangerous and Bianca escaped to Miami. She married Michael Lewis and they had two daughters, Jessie, now a biology major at FIT, and Andrea, a medical products rep.
The family moved north to Vero Beach, then, nine years ago, settled in Sebastian.
A registered medical assistant by trade, Bianca went to work at the Doctor’s Clinic in Vero Beach. She landed a position with Dr. Michaela Scott, where she remained for years.
Then Bianca began to notice there were areas in the medical facility that were not as clean as they should be, even after the cleaning crew had been through.
“I worked in the lab,” she says, “and I knew how clean it needed to be, for the doctors and especially for the cancer patients,” whose immune systems were often compromised because of the chemotherapy.
As a self-proclaimed “neat freak,” Bianca had to do something, so she began coming to work early each day, before her regular job started, to clean everything properly.
It didn’t take long before the difference Bianca’s early morning cleaning sessions were making became crystal-clear to everyone – doctors, staff, managers – and patients.
These positive reactions were not lost on Bianca, either. Her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and one day she went to the office manager with a plan: instead of coming in early and cleaning for free because the paid service wasn’t doing the job properly, she proposed, “Why not pay me to do the job right? The manager liked the idea, but said I’d need a license and insurance. I said no problem, I’d get them.”
And get them she did. So Bianca continued working her day job, then changed into her housecleaning uniform at night for her second job.
In no time, the word spread: other medical offices heard about Bianca and the superior quality of her cleaning, and they wanted that same quality: They wanted Bianca the Neat Freak, the woman who could seek out and destroy dirt wherever it might be lurking, who could walk into a doctor’s office and know immediately what the cleaning crew had missed.
For instance, “The door knobs were almost always missed,” she remembers.
“I began giving out business cards. I said just give me a chance and see for yourself.” And they did. The word was passed from one office manager to another and soon Bianca was “working after work” every day, with lots of support on the home front.
“My husband Michael is the greatest man in the world!,“ Bianca says with affection. “He’d come from his job and help me clean – every night. And it just grew.”
Before long she was cleaning not only medical offices, but the homes of many of the physicians as well. She even scored a contract with the Go Line bus line, and at last she realized, “I had to quit (the doctor’s office day job) even thought I loved it.”
In typical form, Bianca put together a polished, carefully thought out package providing references, and explaining in detail what “Bianca’s Cleaning Services” offers. She likes to add that “we do everything you otherwise have to pay extra for – or are left undone.”
Today the business has 26 employees, including two supervisors, a manager in charge of quality
control, and “my husband is my right hand,” she says. There are two vans and a pick-up truck, all pristine white with big pink flowers. The Bianca’s Cleaning Services branding is designed by Michael; the motto is “We exceed your expectations.” Although the business specializes in medical offices, it has branched into other commercial as well as domestic cleaning. As word spreads, Bianca is getting clients from outside the area as well.
She explains the cleaning philosophy she teaches her employees, insisting they take it to heart. “Everybody out there is cleaning,” she says, “We have to do it better. We want the clients to know that we love their home and care for it down to every detail. We see the little things that are a big deal to them. That’s how I train my girls. If the little leaves on a plant are wilting, we can water it. If the client has a long day, we can pick up their grocery order.” Bianca provides a checklist for every job, so her “girls” don’t miss a thing. And “they have to love pets. Eighty percent of my clients have pets. I teach them to greet the pets, get to know them.”
Bianca’s business is by no means “one size fits all.” Each client requires something different: Some want everything cleaned every time, floor to ceiling, others have certain items and areas they prefer are left alone. So she’ll personally visit a home or office to assess the client’s needs and provide an individualized quote. With annual contracts, “we do a free spring cleaning. Six or seven girls come in and we move everything.”
Should problems arise, Bianca handles them quickly – and personally. She believes communication is vital and that being a good listener, paying attention to the client, showing a sincere interest are crucial to the success of her business.
Bianca and Michael Lewis’s own home, of course, far “exceeds expectations,” ready to pass any White Glove Inspection at any time. 772-713-1670.