Most of us look at cleaning as just another chore to be completed, preferably as quickly as possible, but Kent Pollard built his life and livelihood around cleaning. First Choice Cleaning and Restorations provides higher end customers with higher end cleaning services including ceiling cleaning, floor cleaning and decorative floor coating, carpet cleaning, water restoration and 24-hour emergency services, janitorial, and construction clean up.
How did you start your business?

I was working in pouring and finishing concrete, a physically demanding job. It occurred to me one day that there was a need for a quality company to maintain all the floors I had been pouring and finishing over the years. This would be a lot easier on my body. We’ve now been in business for twenty-two years and have over thirty employees.

Early on we made a decision to be the most professional, educated, and courteous company in our service area and we’ve committed to continuing education, technological improvements and hiring quality employees. We understand that our business, more than just cleaning, is creating relationships with our customers and meeting their needs. We’ve built up a very good and loyal customer base, both residential and commercial. It is because of our customers that we are who we are today.

What made you want to be an entrepreneur?

Ultimately it was for pragmatic reasons. Like many who start their own businesses, I needed more income, and I wanted more control over my destiny.

Why did you choose cleaning and restorations?

I was familiar with floors and their various make ups, so it was a natural choice. It was also a low cost start-up business with repeat sales, and had, I believed and believe, unlimited potential.

What prepared you for entrepreneurship?

I was hungry for work, and I came from a family of risk takers. I believed I could make it work.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

My customer base and my employee pool. I’ve kept both of them long term and am proud of that.

What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?

The economy has been problematic lately. Growing a company in this type of business climate is definitely a challenge. Another I’ve tackled is maintaining and increasing prices in a competitive low-price market.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

I wish I would have started earlier. And I wish I’d have used a business plan and a business coach earlier. More knowledge about business, marketing, and the economy earlier on would have been invaluable.

How can others get started in this business?

Buy mine!

Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?

See the value in a business degree and a business plan. Also: be prepared to sacrifice to make your business a success.

First Choice Cleaning & Restorations is located at 10678 Chicago Drive, Zeeland, MI 49464. 616-772-4700.