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Clean sweep: Doing the dirty work brings in big business

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David Garcia, at right, sprays cleaner on the floor as his brother David uses a buffer to get a nice shine on the floor in the sales area at Les Schwab in East Wenatchee. The two are employees of York Building Services.

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When it comes to cleanliness, York Building Services knows its business. Serving the Wenatchee Valley since 2010, this once one-man operation has grown in size, scope, and reputation in just four short years.

Currently with nearly 50 employees and counting, and accounts in Oregon and Idaho, York Building Services is showing there are few limits to what it can do.

The man behind the growth, Edwin Eaton, partner and district manager, attributes the success to good customer service. But it is clear by speaking with this 2013 30 Under 35 recipient that it is good business sense that drives York Building Services’ success.

York Building Services originated in 1995 on the western side of the state in Lynnwood. Created to clean York Heating and Air Conditioning, the business continued to grow over the years.

In 2010, Eaton crossed over the mountains to open his own regional outlet. It was a move back home for Eaton, and not only was it an ideal spot for him to raise his family, but it also proved to be a fertile ground for his business to grow despite humble beginnings.

I started with one employee, one account, every night,” Eaton said.

With no need for a storefront to this day, Eaton ran the business out of his home for the first two years. Slowly but surely, York Building Services added accounts and hired on more employees, but it wasn’t until 2012 that Eaton grew out of the home office.

With a new account from a manufacturing plant in Moses Lake with a large building that needed to be maintained, York Building Services was ready for a major expansion.

After landing the account in 2012, we went from having 10 employees to having 47. We bought vehicles, equipment and moved into the shop we’re in now,” said Eaton as he sat behind his desk.

York Building Services is located at 353 Malaga-Alcoa Highway 4B, but clients rarely see this well-kept hub for cleaning supplies due to the on-location nature of the business.

Of the 47 employees currently employed, the very first one Eaton brought on, Daniel Garcia, is still with him today. Garcia finds himself in a different role these days, but remembers the not-so-distant times when it was him and Eaton.

I was hired on for janitorial and was always doing my best. People started to notice our hard work and we took off from there,” Garcia said. He is now the area manager and oversees the accounts outside from the Wenatchee zip code. And he’s very modest about the hard work that got him there.

I’ve been doing my hardest ever since day one and always doing the best I could. I went from being a janitor to where I’m at now. It’s been a great experience.”

Garcia’s twin brother, David, now also works for the company as a quality control inspector.

Alongside the growth in personnel for York Building Services, the wide selection of services offered has also expanded. Beginning with the bread and butter of the cleaning industry, nightly janitorial services, York now offers a range of commercial janitorial needs, post-construction projects and building maintenance capabilities. A full list of everything York Building Services has to offer can be found on their website (www.ybswenatchee.com).

If you want to grow and compete in the market and differentiate yourself from your competition, you have to be able to learn new things and get on board with some of the new stuff that’s out there,” Eaton said. That “new stuff” includes window washing, facility repairs and floor and carpet care. “We pride ourselves on being a jack-of-all -trades.”

Make no mistake however, it’s not the number of services offered that is the bottom line for York’s success; it’s the way they deliver these services that make them stand above the competition. From start to finish, when you employ York Building Services, Eaton guarantees you’ll receive exactly, if not more, than what you’re asking for.

Some building services companies can give you a bid price over the phone, but that’s not how York operates. When a new company requests services from Eaton, he’ll draw up a very specific proposal customized to the client. Once the job has been accepted, the client can then hold onto the proposal that clearly lays out what, when, and how often each service will be provided. This creates a very organized, laid-out checklist for York Building Services and its clients, ensuring every need is met.

This accountability and attention to detail has gained York Building Services a valuable reputation that currently spans as far as Boise, Idaho.

Eaton related a story about how a professional connection moved to Boise for a management position. This Boise-relocated client called Eaton shortly after his arrival and said that he “needed York down here yesterday.” So Eaton hung up the phone and drove down the very next day. From that, York Building Services gained 15 additional accounts in the Boise area. And it’s not just the folks in Boise that appreciate Eaton’s commitment to the job.

They are great at communicating with the customer and always following up,” said Johnny Colunga, manager at Les Schwab in Wenatchee. “That’s the biggest thing I like about them. I feel so comfortable talking to any of those guys. If I have any problems or questions, I just call Edwin or David up anytime.”

Realizing that a job poorly done in the cleaning industry could be the last job you ever do, Eaton takes extra measures to make sure those problematic phone calls don’t come in often.

We learned that having a dedicated person that comes in after the job, that is also the person who initially trained everyone, and who will walk through as the last step before closing the account, is a very important aspect of each account,” Eaton said.

Our key to keeping the customer happy is me going in there and inspecting the account after the janitor has cleaned. This makes sure everything meets our standards or above,” said Daniel Garcia.

And although the accountability can be demanding on some of the staff, Eaton said the employees enjoy the feedback.

We get people that want to work hard, and if you’re looking to add a little extra money with a part time job, we’ve got that for you.” he said. “We’re very flexible with people’s schedules.”

Employment at York generally starts at part-time, Eaton said before looking at his brimming schedule on the wall. “But you could be full-time by the end of the week. It’s not that were understaffed by any means, but if you’re a hard worker, we want to get you trained on a range of projects.”

And looking at York Building Services history and upcoming accounts, employees can expect to visit a wide range of different locations for different jobs. Getting a business that’s open 24/7 ready for a worldwide media event, making everything sparkle for television commercial shooting, and doing the last cleanup of high profile construction projects is some of the work employees can expect. And despite the size of some of their accounts, Eaton still enjoys the personal level of each job taken on.

There’s small mom and pop companies in the cleaning industry and then there’s the big national companies, we’re neither of these. We’re right in between.”

Eaton encourages all potential clients to utilize the wide range of services offered. Of course there is nightly janitorial work, but Eaton also reiterated how York can also wash your windows, wax your floor, clean your carpet and even paint your walls.

I don’t want to be a yes man,” said Eaton with a smile on his face, “but I’m never going to tell you no. There is always a way to get it done for you.”

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