Success Story for:

Ingrid Traynham of The Cleaning Force

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Photo of Sue Pittman.

The Cleaning Force is a home-based, commercial janitorial business located in Jefferson City, TN. Established for fifteen years as a small family window cleaning business, The Cleaning Force began expansions in 2016 offering office cleaning, floor treatment, and pressure washing among other cleaning services using green and sustainable cleaning systems. The business strategically focuses on a well-trained workforce and currently employs three full-time staff. The Cleaning Force primarily services public properties within the City of Knoxville, as well as private commercial clients.

Owner Ingrid Traynham, originally from Venezuela, spearheaded the expansion process. In December of 2015, Ingrid contacted the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Pellissippi State Community College for assistance with growing her small window cleaning business into a full service commercial cleaning business capable of bidding and being awarded government contracts.

With industry experience limited to window cleaning, Ingrid approached the growth challenge with robust determination. She started by attending a series of TSBDC workshops including Start Up, Business Planning, and GrowthWheel® training. Assisted by TSBDC staff, Ingrid developed a business plan and obtained certification as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) through the Tennessee Governor’s Office of Diversity Enterprise (GoDBE).

Following certification, Ingrid began networking. While attending the Tennessee GoDBE’s annual Diversity Business Marketplace in 2016, she was awarded her first government contract during the “On the Spot” Procurement Contract Opportunities segment of the program.

The TSBDC continued providing guidance with bookkeeping, insurance and bonding, worker’s compensation, legal entity registration, business licensing, and loan package preparation. In collaboration with Paul Middlebrooks, SBDC staff helped Ingrid bid on one State of Tennessee contract and two City of Knoxville contracts. The Cleaning Force was awarded both City of Knoxville contracts and recently began cleaning the city’s Public Works Complex and the city’s Recreational Centers in October of 2016.

SBDC staff recently helped Ingrid develop a loan package application submitted to Pathway Lending’s Ready.Fund.Grow! program for $25,000 for working capital and equipment needs.

Ingrid continues to steam ahead, bidding on more contracts and marketing to the private sector. Her success is due largely to her resolute stamina, even amidst personal and financial hardship. In less than 12 months, Ingrid has grown The Cleaning Force from a waning small family window cleaning business to a promising full-service commercial janitorial business generating revenue of more than $143,000 annually. Ingrid does not rest on her laurels, she plans to employ 17 additional staff in the first quarter of 2017.

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