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Contributed By Office Pride

Every new business owner faces all sorts of challenges, but few are brave enough to open during a pandemic. Naturally, there were franchise candidates and new franchisees in all phases of the process when the U.S. and the world began to shut down due to the pandemic. New franchisees in the commercial cleaning industry found themselves in an interesting dilemma: While many of their prospective customers were closed, there was a heightened awareness of the importance of cleaning and disinfecting as the nation battled the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Three Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services franchisees, who had started the process of buying their Office Pride franchises before the pandemic hit, opted to move forward instead of putting their plans on hold.

Kim and Paul Burckhardt launched Office Pride of Westminster-Eldersburg in Maryland in May and began servicing customers in June. At the time, Maryland was still largely in quarantine and many businesses remained closed or were operating at low capacity.

“When we first looked into operating an Office Pride franchise last September, a global pandemic wasn’t on our radar,” says Kim Burckhardt. “We attended discovery day right before everything shut down, and all the steps that we needed to take to get started kept falling into place. It was meant to be. We trusted God that this was our path.”

She says they had to improvise from Day 1, conducting job interviews over Zoom and talking to managers at facilities that were still closed. But business has increased every month and the couple has taken advantage of a slower start to further familiarize themselves with Office Pride’s business system and processes so they can better train their employees.

Still, Kim Burckhardt says they wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“I think everyone is taking cleaning and disinfection more seriously now than ever before. Businesses are examining their current cleaning procedures, and they want a company that knows what they are doing,” she says. “I believe Office Pride’s years of experience put their minds at ease. The confidence they have in us as their professional cleaners can be passed on to their clients/customers. And as we work together, we can help get our local economy back to a new normal.” 

Father-daughter team Keith Dooley and Carly Dooley opened Office Pride of Baytown-Mont Belvieu in Texas in late May and began servicing customers in June. Because COVID-19 had shined a spotlight on the value of a healthier, cleaner workplace, the Dooleys found that many businesses in their area were ready to transition from handling cleaning in-house to using a professional cleaning company.

“We have taken extra precautions and added disinfection of high-touch areas to our routine cleaning services,” says Carly Dooley.

She says she and her father are glad they invested in an electrostatic disinfection sprayer, as many local businesses are interested in that service.

“Of course, there are businesses – our customers – that have taken a hit financially due to the pandemic,” she says. “We are rooting for them and their comeback, and we look forward to serving them when that time comes.”  

Aaron and Grace Dykhuizen launched Office Pride of Fort Wayne-Auburn in July, just as businesses in Indiana had reopened. Some businesses were seeking increased services or more disinfection services, Aaron Dykhuizen says. Many others were unhappy with the quality of service they were receiving before they shut down, and now that they are back in the office, they want to hire a new commercial cleaner. 

“Dreaming and planning on starting a business is just that – dreaming and planning,” says Aaron Dykhuizen. “Until you get into the day-to-day, you have no idea what will happen. We’ve been fortunate to grow quickly and keep up with the demand, but it has been more challenging than I could have imagined.”