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A Clean Break

You probably know how to clean. You can probably vacuum, dust, and even buff a coffee table as well as the next person. Maybe better than the next person. But here's the thing: Sometimes you need a really deep clean and you don't have the time or elbow grease to take it on. That's why there's T&T Cleaning. T&T has the elbow grease — four elbows' worth, in fact — the time and, best of all, the passion to get the job done.

Why? Because a clean house, warehouse, high-rise, armory, or just about any other space, is a happy house, warehouse, or… you get the idea. Janice and Troy French, the husband-and-wife team who own and operate T&T Cleaning in Chicago, Illinois, like to make their customers happy.

In fact, the Frenches hold customer satisfaction above everything else, including the number on their client quotes. "We care about your needs," says Janice. "We try to cater to you as personal as we possibly can. It's about satisfying the customer." But it's also about cleaning (obviously). After all, how else would T&T customers feel satisfied with a job well done?

But don't get caught thinking that T&T is your average cleaning service. When Janice and Troy come in, they not only get all the corners, they get all the other places that are often forgotten, including baseboards, window sills, and all the hard-to-reach nooks you might have overlooked altogether. And T&T knows the difference between clean and clean.

"You come into a place and even when it looks like it's clean, it's not clean," says Janice. "It's dusty, there's dirt on the surface, dirt under the surface." According to her, it's all pretty simple: "Detailed cleaning is not just surface cleaning." Or, as the saying goes, the dirt is in the details (or something like that).

"I learned how to clean as a child," recalls Janice. "I just took it to another level with detailed cleaning." But Janice and Troy take it to yet another level by tackling such specialty projects as post-construction and make-ready cleaning. And what about a 15,000-square-foot armory? Sure. No job is too small, too large, or too dusty for T&T, but that doesn't mean the work the Frenches do is easy. Then again, when you compare detailed cleaning to routinely working 20 hours a day — including weekends — for the decade leading up to T&T's 2008 opening, it's almost a walk in the (very clean) park.

Yes, a 140-hour work week on a routine basis sounds like an exaggeration, but that's showbiz. Or at least that was the show-biz reality for Janice as a producer on major networks including NBC and CBS. "The thing with television is [that] it was more like a 24-hour job." From Jerry Springer and The Steve Wilkos Show to The Ainsley Harriott Show and a handful of documentaries, she produced her share of national television, but eventually, enough was enough. She needed a bit of freedom. "I wanted to be independent," she says of her reason for entering the world of small business ownership. "I wanted to do something on my own."

Of course, Janice isn't totally on her own, but with her husband as her business partner, it's a pretty seamless operation and she finally has a say in what happens. It's true that she made a lot of decisions as a producer, but now she has even more control as the producer, director, and timekeeper of her own business. And she wouldn't have it any other way: "I make my own calls and I select the projects that I want to do," Janice says with a smile.

And one project Janice didn't want to mess with on her own was insurance. So she turned to the Internet and found insureon. "[Insureon was] great at helping me find the right type of insurance, [and] they were very personable," Janice says of her insurance-buying experience. "[They] had some of the lowest rates and I went for it." No mess, no fuss, no elbow grease needed. Just good, clean customer service and a policy that works.

Now, with insurance in place, T&T Cleaning is free to focus on all the dirty nooks, crannies, and sills that darken its very clean doorway. For more information on T&T Cleaning, you can call 312-428-0875.

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No Pane, No Gain

"Squeaky clean" and "spotless" are compliments for anyone in the cleaning business, but "I can't even see it!" is unique to window cleaning. And that's exactly what Chris Rivers, co-owner of Village Window Cleaning in West Babylon, New York, strives for. After all, windows are meant to be see-through, meaning spots, streaks, and grime just won't do. And with 40 years in the business and decades of loyal clientele, it's clear Chris knows a thing or two about achieving the perfect clean.

"I worked for a company down in Miami for about four years after getting out of the service," says Chris of his entry into the world of windows. In those four years he met his wife Peggy, learned the ropes of window cleaning, and really took to the business, but after Chris's boss fell from a skyscraper and narrowly survived, he knew he wanted to move away from high-rise work. So with his mind set on residential clients, he packed up life in Miami and moved. "When [Peggy and I] first came to New York, I went to work for a high-rise company because that's all I knew," Chris recalls. Luckily, his New York employer provided him with the perfect transition.

"[The company] started doing residentials and that's what made me fall in love with [residential work]," says Chris. The jobs were closer to the ground, the work was more profitable, and residential work was much more rewarding in general: "People would always call [my boss] and tell her what a great job I did," says Chris, noting that this continuous feedback spurred him to take the small business leap.

With eight years of experience in New York and a growing list of clients who loved his work, Chris and his wife Peggy opened C and P Reflections in 1987. "It was a struggle in the beginning," admits Chris, "but we made it through." Actually, they made it about 20 years as C and P, but their main focus was still commercial with residential clients here and there. Then 2007 came along and presented an opportunity that would shake things up in the best possible way.

"A gentleman was selling his business," says Chris of the name change from C and P to Village Window Cleaning. "We bought him out in 2007 and that's when our business just exploded." In fact, business grew so quickly via word of mouth that Chris had to cancel his advertising efforts. "In the beginning we [advertised]," Chris remembers, "then we stopped because our business was booming...we just went on referrals…[We got] two or three referrals [a day]." But the sweetest part of the deal had to do with the clients that came with the new business: "[This gentleman] strictly did residential and we wanted to build residential."

And that's exactly what Village Window Cleaning has been doing.

The husband-and-wife pair – both tackling everything from the cleaning of the windows to the nitty-gritty business details – grew their client base and their crew. They even made things a family affair by employing their two sons, 11 and 15 when they started, to work on weekends and during the summer. As time went on, the cleaning crew grew to a team of four (including Chris and one son who stayed on), and Peggy turned her expertise to backend operations, from quoting to billing to catching up with old clients. And at Village Window Cleaning, there's some serious client longevity.

"A lot of my clients I've had for over 20 years… we've watched their kids grow up from pre-K to college," says Chris of his client base and the reputation Village Window Cleaning has established. "It's a good feeling."

But pleasing clients by providing top-notch work takes time, meaning some of the more business-related details can feel cumbersome. Luckily a friend told Chris about insureon and everything easily fell into place. "It's an Internet base where I can print up my Certificate of Insurance when one of my contracts needs [one]… it's nice," says Chris, "I don't have to worry about it." Of course, money speaks too, and in this case Chris couldn't help but listen. "I switched for convenience and… I was getting more coverage for about the same [cost] or a little less [with insureon]."

Now Chris and Peggy don't have to focus on anything other than the quality of their work and their appreciative clients. "We really take pride in what we do," says Chris in regards to what makes Village Window Cleaning tick. And it shows. Not only does the team do great work, they finish every job with a full walk-around to make sure everything is left as they found it. "That's what makes us different than any other company," notes Chris. "We really care about what we're doing." Modesty aside, the quality of their work is so good that customer requests and on-the-job experienced have prompted them to expand beyond windows into glass restoration, screen repair, a bit of power washing, and more.

It almost sounds too good to be true, but the spotless windows around Nassau & Suffolk Counties don't lie. And you can't get much more transparent than that.

To learn more about Village Window Cleaning, visit http://www.villagewindowcleaning.com.