When it comes to cleaning – from studio apartments to office complexes – consistency is key. In your home, a routine saves from tackling a monster mess. For a professional cleaning service, consistency is the key to maintaining clientele.
Hopson’s Consultant Services started in 1999 with one employee, one client, and operated out of Damon Hopson’s apartment. In the beginning, Hopson admitted it was rough. He knew the odds of a business surviving five years was tough, and he continued working a full-time job during the day and operated the company at night.
Hopson was recently named Eastern Pennsylvania District Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Office list of 2017 Small Business Week Award Winners.
“The scariest thing for me was leaving a job where you know you have stable income and step out on faith. I felt like it was something I needed to believe in myself and I did that,” said Hopson. “I did a lot of jobs myself (in the beginning) to try to get the income to come in. You do a lot of door knocking and have a lot of sleepless nights. I still have them.”
Currently, Hopson has 52 employees, an office in Broomall and a growing client list thanks to referrals. Not far from his desk sits his wife of 15 years, Shanea, who is the personnel manager. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Hopson. “It’s someone you can confide in and trust at your lowest peak in business.”
Hopson explains the cleaning business is as complex as others. He has a deep knowledge of his product, especially today when many businesses want to know the type of chemicals being used. Effective communication is also needed when dealing with cleaning office buildings.
“The consistency has led to existing clients turning us on to other clients,” said Hopson who serves commercial businesses ranging from 25,000-300,000-square feet in size. “I’m a hands-on owner because I have a lot to lose. When I sell to a client, I educate myself on what their business is and find out (the) core problem they are having. If you are making a change with a cleaning company, for the most part, it’s because they are having a problem with the company. A lot of times, (companies) are inconsistent and (clients) want consistency. They want to know their trashcans are going to be emptied, bathrooms stocked and cleaned consistently.”
Hopson graduated Peirce College with a business degree in 1996 and in 2014, received a Certificate of Entrepreneurship from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.“I was excited,” said Hopson, about the SBA award. “Our accolades are the Lord blessing us to be in business 18 years, being able to employ people and funnel money back into the community. That’s always been good enough for me. My accolades come from my clients who say, ‘Great job, I want to sign another three years with you.’ It’s always nice to be recognized, though.”
As an African-American business owner, Hopson admits there isn’t enough help for minority-owned businesses. A survey published last year by Wells Fargo & Co. and Gallup reported that minority business owners face obstacles obtaining loans: 23 percent of Asian owners, 20 percent of Black owners, and 19 percent of Hispanic owners have been rejected for loans, compared to 14 percent of business owners overall
“I never used the minority part as a crutch for us,” commented Hopson. “It’s imperative we educate ourselves. When you go out in front of your customers, when they ask those questions, you have to be able to roll those answers off your tongue like you researched and know what you are talking about.”