Kathleen Bands Schindler

Vice President, My Cleaning Service, Inc.

Kathleen Bands Schindler

As the third generation of her family to help lead My Cleaning Service, Inc., Kathleen Bands Schindler, 25, stays involved in the company at all levels. She oversees new sales, marketing, business development and client retention for the commercial cleaning firm.

She’s also helped bring the woman-owned business into the 21st century by increasing its online and social media presence. The firm specializes in green cleaning practices.

“Since I have joined the company, I have been able to turn our website into a lead-generating resource,” Schindler said. “In the last six months, I have been able to generate over $30,000 in new revenue.”

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Contracting Profits Magazine Cover Story – 3G BSC

THEY CALL THEMSELVES THE THREE MUSKETEERS. But they’re not peers like the famous, fabled musketeers were; they’re father, daughter and granddaughter, and collectively, they’ve been presiding over a family business for more than 40 years. Thanks to a family culture that has entrenched its members in the business, and that has lent strong values to its leaders, Baltimore-based My Cleaning Service (MCS) is poised for a third-generation handover. With the help of Gerry Rogers, the company founder, and his daughter and current company president Lisa Bands, Lisa’s daughter Kathleen is committed to learning the ropes and continuing the family legacy.

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Baltimore SmartCEO’s Smart 100 – Clean Start

When Lisa Bands, president of My Cleaning Service, Inc., bought the company from her father in 1993, it was hard getting people to perceive she was running the business.

“There are not many woman-owned janitorial companies, even today,” she says. When she applied for the company’s women-owned business certifications, she was initially denied. Bands needed letters from customers, suppliers and business contacts validating her position.

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Honesty, Integrity & Customer Service

Lisa Bands, president of My Cleaning Service in Baltimore

“My father and mother were both well-orgafamilynized and incredibly kind,” Bands recalls. She not only learned from her parents, but from others who worked in the company, and in more recent years, from the supportive members of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). “I had never met any women business owners before,” says Bands. “I was glad to see other people had some of the same problems I did.”

Bands got started in her parents’ business when she was 12, answering phones. By 17, she was out on the cleaning crew. And throughout her college career, she used the business as a test case for the many papers she had to write – much as her daughter is now doing. Using what she learned in Junior Achievement, from her parents and from other business owners, Bands – who bought the company from her father in 1993 – developed a leadership style that is based on giving people the freedom to do the best they can. “I want to give them enough latitude to make decisions as if this were their company,” says Bands. “As a result, they take a lot of pride in their work.”

The values Bands believes are central to the success of the business are honesty, integrity and customer service. Though Bands has never really thought of doing anything else, there was a point when she became frustrated with what she perceived as communications problems and started looking at other companies to see if they had similar issues. Once she realized that they did, she decided to stay put and focus on improving communications at My Cleaning Service. At first, Bands thought that meant investing in new phone systems, but she soon realized that communications went beyond the equipment used, and she began training her staff to communicate more effectively – from staff members to customers.

Running a women’s business enterprise is a company advantage, Bands acknowledges. She reinforces the “foot-in-the-door” opportunities she is given with top-notch customer service, which is performed solely by company employees, not
subcontractors; a strong “green” program; and state-of-the-art equipment. “We’re committed to our employees, our customers and the environment,” says Bands.

Her vision for the company’s future is to double in size over the next five years. With the addition of her daughter to the company, Bands is optimistic that her daughter’s new ideas and enthusiasm will carry My Cleaning Service toward that goal. Bands’s biggest fear, especially in the current economy, was that there wouldn’t be enough capital to grow. Fortunately, however, aspects of the business – such as post-construction cleanup, which was “dead” last year – are picking up again.

In the meantime, she will continue to live by the lessons her parents taught, including that of helping others with their own business. “There’s enough to go around,” says Bands. “It’s a nice reward to see people achieve their goals from our help.

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Maintaing a Healthy Life/Work Balance

Lisa Bands, president of My Cleaning Service in Baltimore

LisaBandsOften, women business owners put a heavier emphasis on work/life balance than their male counterparts. However, it can be a struggle to run a successful business while simultaneously raising a family.

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