This Episode was brought to you by
Shanna Beavers, Owner at Off Your Plate ATL
As an accomplished people manager and trainer, Shanna has trained over 200 servers, bartenders and managers, managed high performance sales teams and scaled businesses with the belief that success depends on the way we treat the people around us. Today she owns a fast growing cleaning organization with a focus on elevating client and employee experiences.
Connect with Shanna on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:22] Welcome to Cherokee Business Radio Stone Payton here with you this morning and you are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Off Your Plate ATL Ms.. Shanna Beavers, how are you?
Shanna Beavers: [00:00:37] I’m great. How are you?
Stone Payton: [00:00:38] I am fantastic. I mentioned to you before, right before we went on and I’ll say it again here on air. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation at 1 million cups a few weeks ago.
Shanna Beavers: [00:00:49] Thank you.
Stone Payton: [00:00:49] What an interesting business. I’m sure it has some of its challenges and maybe we might even talk to a little bit of those, but what an interesting business. Let’s start there. Mission, purpose. What are you out there trying to do for folks?
Shanna Beavers: [00:01:02] So I’m trying to provide a bit of a different cleaning experience for homeowners and families, basically trying to put more of an emphasis on reliability and quality since it’s kind of an issue in the industry.
Stone Payton: [00:01:18] Well, I got to tell you, over the years, my wife and I have had some help come in a couple of times a month, and it seems like it always starts out great and then maybe the cleaning might drop off a little bit, but more for us, we’re not quite that fastidious. I don’t guess it was more like the couldn’t make the schedule. Yeah you know can’t make today can we make tomorrow. You know daughter sick grandma died whatever. And it’s not that you don’t want to be sympathetic, but you sort of at least in our case, we have to clean up a little bit before the people.
Shanna Beavers: [00:01:49] Yeah. Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:01:50] Is that part of what you’re doing?
Shanna Beavers: [00:01:52] That’s very common cleaning. In fact, that’s one of the things that I request, because when we’re going into a home and we’re unable to, the schedule is important. But when we’re unable to get what we need to do done in that specific amount of time, a lot of times it’s because we’re picking up things and we’re tidying. So that’s actually a separate or an additional service for us. So if you don’t want to tidy, you don’t have to. We’ll do it for you. But we need to book that in.
Stone Payton: [00:02:17] Got it. And just a little light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you who are neck deep in your career. Holly and I are empty nesters now and it is a little easier to get picked up now than it was five or five or ten years ago. So what compelled you to to get into this business?
Shanna Beavers: [00:02:33] Well, I can’t say I was compelled necessarily. I kind of just fell into it. I was laid off in 2019 after kind of a long career, and I just wasn’t able to get another job. Took me like two years interviewing for positions that were, you know, equal or even lesser than what I had. And it was a very weird experience for me because I’d never had that issue before. So I really had to take a step back and kind of say, okay, what? You know, what is the message here? What am I, what am I doing wrong or am I doing anything wrong? So I just started cleaning houses as a way to help contribute to the the life that we had built. Based on my previous job, you know, we had bills to pay. So I started doing that and then it almost kind of got out of control. It really was just a way for me to go make money mindlessly and listen to my music and just reflect, you know, while I was working. So just one thing led to another and my schedule was full and I needed help. And since I’m a natural entrepreneur, I was like, okay, well, we’ll see where this is going to go. You know, I’m I’m I’m a sales person. So when someone says, well, you give me a quote, I’m like, yes. And then I sell it. And I’m like, okay, now I’m going to have to figure out what to do about that.
Stone Payton: [00:03:53] Now, did you have some entrepreneurial background before this or.
Shanna Beavers: [00:03:56] Yeah, yeah, I did. So before the the time before the job where I was laid off, I spent about 15 years in the restaurant industry, so I worked my way from host to server bartender manager and then eventually owned my own restaurant. And along the way I also had on the side meal prep delivery service long, long before you could get your food delivered to you in the mail and a catering company. So yeah and I’m a my father owns his own business has since 1999 I’ve worked on and off in it. And so he just set such a great example for me and taught me things along the way. So it just kind of came naturally.
Stone Payton: [00:04:34] Yeah. So it’s. So it’s in your blood. Yeah. Yeah. So you were already pretty familiar with or at least had some, some disciplines and some some muscle memory for setting up operations and your sales and marketing and your budgeting and all that, all that kind of stuff.
Shanna Beavers: [00:04:48] Absolutely. Yeah. And really most of it, even though it wasn’t, I guess it was kind of an entrepreneurial thing. A lot of that experience really came from when I started working for my dad officially the second time, and he wasn’t a manager. He was he’s an entrepreneur, you know. So there’s a difference between working on the business and working in the business. And he didn’t like working in the business, so we let him go off and speak and bring back all the leads. And I ended up basically just taking over and. Performing each performing in each department, setting up systems, hiring people, training people, and then just basically running the company while he was traveling and and feeding us.
Stone Payton: [00:05:31] What marvelous foundation for launching your own business on the launch. Anything in particular that surprised you or did it pretty much go like you thought it would go when you were getting this off the ground?
Shanna Beavers: [00:05:44] I’ll tell you what has really surprised me and I guess it I don’t know. I worked in the employee engagement industry, so I spent a lot of time working with people, hiring people, training people and teaching managers how to keep people happy for retention purposes and career growth. And it’s been extremely difficult to find people to work. So that’s been kind of a struggle for me is I kind of pride myself on, you know, being a good leader and being able to find the right people. In fact, that was something that my father felt I was really, really good at. And so, yeah, it’s been a real struggle right now trying to get people to work.
Stone Payton: [00:06:24] So how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a business like yours? Do you do you like advertise on billboards or print or are you just out at networking meetings? What’s the best path or do you know yet?
Shanna Beavers: [00:06:37] So yeah, it actually I know what brings me the most from a lead and client standpoint. Networking is really great. I find that that is that works really well to get my name out there and get others that are able to refer to know about the business. And then a lot of it comes from Facebook honestly. Just really, yeah. People in local groups saying, hey, we need someone to come clean our house. Do you have recommendations? And friends and clients will get on there and will recommend. It’s not just they don’t just jump in. You know, when I see the recommendation, I’m purposeful about reaching out and trying to set something up. But that’s that’s where it really comes from.
Stone Payton: [00:07:18] So there’s one that I’ve been more of a voyeur a couple of times. I’ve recommended some folks that because I know they do good work. But this group, Cherokee Connect. Yes. Yes. Okay. And I mean, I see people, my buddy Justin Allen over at Retail Plumbing, he gets recommended all the time.
Shanna Beavers: [00:07:36] Yes, yes. Yes.
Stone Payton: [00:07:38] So that’s an example of a group like that.
Shanna Beavers: [00:07:41] That’s an example. It’s a good example. I get a lot of recommendations in that group.
Stone Payton: [00:07:44] I’ll be doing so. They’re doing a good job over there. So what are you enjoying the most? What are you finding the most rewarding at this point?
Shanna Beavers: [00:07:52] Two things I find rewarding. One is the feedback that I get from clients when we come in and we clean and they feel the relief of having all of that off their plate and no longer having to worry about, Oh gosh, we’ve got company coming, the house is a disaster, blah, blah, blah. Or, you know, just being exhausted from the week of working full time, taking care of kids and all of that, and then they don’t have to spend their weekend cleaning. You know, we come in, we take care of it, and they can do what they want to do with the time that they’ve got back. And the other part that I find really rewarding is the growing of the business part. I’m a social person, I love networking, I love talking with other business owners and learning what’s working for them and what’s not working for them. So that’s I’m really enjoying that part.
Stone Payton: [00:08:40] Now are you finding that opportunities are beginning to surface to expand beyond how you initially defined your core business?
Shanna Beavers: [00:08:49] Yes, and in fact, in a way that I wasn’t really expecting. So we talked at the at 1 million cups about how I was kind of diversifying a little too much. So I love to cook. So I was trying to bring back that passion for like meal prep and then organizing. And I’ve just I got some really good recommendations about focusing, so I’m no longer doing meal prep, no longer doing organizing.
Stone Payton: [00:09:12] You really took that to heart.
Shanna Beavers: [00:09:14] Yeah, 100%. Okay. Yeah, I took that to heart. But what’s happening? That’s really strange. Not I guess it’s not strange. It just wasn’t what I expected to be doing. I’m part of a few Facebook groups that have thousands and thousands of other cleaning business owners internationally, and I find that they’re struggling with basic business issues. So I’m in there and I’m helped because that’s what we do. It’s these have been literally the most supportive groups on Facebook I’ve ever been in these cleaning groups. Wow. So we’re getting in there and we’re like recommending things and helping each other out. And I’ve got people that are literally just reaching out to me and messaging me and saying, Can you help me? I need you to help me coach my people. I need you to help me figure out how to hire people I don’t know how to price. I’m not confident in my pricing, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so I’ve got like six people that I’m having these conversations with and I kind of, you know, talk to my dad a little bit. And I was like, I feel like I should do something with this. You know, I don’t I’m trying to impact the cleaning industry by setting an example of what a reliable. Quality company is, you know, I don’t want to let the schedule control how we’re handling our clients. I want the clients to control the schedule, so to speak. So I’m thinking I’m going to have a bigger impact on the industry if I’m teaching other cleaning business owners how to do the same thing, so how to raise their professionalism, how to be confident in their pricing. Because one issue that we struggle with is clients don’t treat us as business owners. So that’s a struggle. But a lot of that is how you present yourself and how you present your business in the marketplace.
Stone Payton: [00:10:56] Yeah, what a what an interesting opportunity. I we’re going to have to visit again in a few months and you’ll have to tell me if you chose to genuinely pursue that and how and how it’s going. But I get the sense you would be really good at that.
Shanna Beavers: [00:11:13] I would enjoy it.
Stone Payton: [00:11:14] I see your eyes light up when you do. So let’s back up a little bit. You were talking about quality and timeliness. How would you articulate what differentiates you in the market place? Because I get the sense that you genuinely feel like, hey, we really are different.
Shanna Beavers: [00:11:31] Yes, I do. I really feel like that I’m different. And I know a couple other businesses in the in the area that are also trying to operate this way and trying to be different. One of the ways that I am setting myself apart is, as I said, scheduling. Sometimes we let the schedule control what we’re doing because we want the company has to make money, right? We have people to pay, we have expenses, we have clients to keep happy. And we try to squeeze in as many houses as we can and put as many people on the job as we can. And that is where you get the, oh, I need to reschedule you or oh, you know, we can’t show up today. And, and next thing you know, the clients are unhappy because they’re preparing and they’re ready for you to be there and you’re not showing up. So the way I do it differently is I build a schedule around my team, so I bring on a team member and then I quickly book out their schedule. But they go to the same house every week or biweekly. They get to know the client, they know the pets and the kids and what the client likes specifically. And I try to keep the same cleaning specialist with the same client. And then as I find someone else that wants to work that I can, you know, give an employment opportunity to, I bring them on, I say, give me two weeks and then I build out their schedule.
Stone Payton: [00:12:50] Yeah. So where do you see this thing going? Are you going to try? There’s this one thing we talked about which I’m really excited for you about. I think you’re going to be great at that. But in terms of growing the core cleaning business as it is right now, are you going to continue to try to grow it or are you got it in a nice little place.
Shanna Beavers: [00:13:07] Or I feel like I have it in a nice place now. I would like to grow it. I mean, it’s still very small and I feel like if I’m not attempting to grow my business, then I’m not necessarily experiencing all the same things that these other business owners are experiencing. So I want to really make sure that if I choose to add this other thing on, which is kind of against what they recommended, but if I choose to incorporate this, I do want to continue to build. I’m not sure if I see myself with multiple locations and a fleet of cars and and all of that kind of stuff. I look at the expenses we take on a little differently than than that. But I would like to have you know, I’m I’m hoping that within five years, it’s about a $1.5 million business.
Stone Payton: [00:13:55] Wow, that sounds fantastic. It sounds ambitious to me, but.
Shanna Beavers: [00:13:59] Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s what you have.
Stone Payton: [00:14:00] To be, right.
Shanna Beavers: [00:14:01] Exactly. You’ve got to have big goals, you know?
Stone Payton: [00:14:04] Yeah. So you mentioned your father and the influence that he had on your mindset and your skill set and all of that. Have you had other people that you would characterize as mentors in your life and kind of part two of that question have you had an opportunity or chosen to take advantage of the opportunity to be a mentor to some other folks? You’ve already begun to mention it, so I guess the answer to that is yes.
Shanna Beavers: [00:14:29] But yeah, so I, I am, you know, working on, I guess you could call me a mentor to them. I don’t I’m not real sure the relationship hasn’t necessarily been defined right. But I am open to bringing people on that do want to start their own cleaning business there. There is so much work here and not as many good, reliable companies as we need to fulfill the work. So I am more than open to having bringing somebody on and just I’ve got kind of a step by step program already planned out like this is this is a six month program we’ll get you launched because that gives me predictability and then I can bring somebody on to replace them. And then we’ve launched one other cleaning business in the opportunity that is trying to make a change in what’s going on. So that’s that’s one thing, mentors. As far as I mean, I’ve had mentors throughout my life. There is one I mean, there’s I have multiple people that I kind of go to, but there’s one person that’s in the industry that she probably would say, No, no, I’m not your mentor. But I do go to her. She her name is Emily Cox, and she owns Just Peachy Cleaning, and she has just been an amazing person when it comes to how do you do the cleaning part of it, you know, like okay, pricing and all of that kind of stuff. So she’s been a huge help to me with that.
Stone Payton: [00:15:55] All right. So let’s help out the layperson a little bit who because I got to tell you, I don’t feel competent at all to have a conversation with a potential cleaning service that I would ask the right questions, that I would look for the right things. Can we give them a few tips or some some questions to ask?
Shanna Beavers: [00:16:13] Absolutely. Yeah. So the first question I would ask is come see my house. We do a lot of online quoting and we don’t get to see what the house actually looks like. And we all have a different idea of what level of cleanliness is. Right. Right. So, you know, I understand that not every cleaning business owner can do that every time. But I have definitely been burned thinking that I was going into a situation that was going to be a four. And I get in there and it’s like an eight. Oh my. And that really adds on to the amount of time that you’re spending in there. It may not seem like it, but it really does. So have someone come look at your house. That way you can get proper a proper quote and you don’t run the risk of having the price raised on you when they get in and they see the home and they’re already there. So then you’re kind of you feel a little trapped. Some people are comfortable saying no, some people are not. That’s just something I’m not comfortable doing. Yeah, definitely. You know, you do want background checks. You want to know that these people have been vetted.
Stone Payton: [00:17:12] Yeah.
Shanna Beavers: [00:17:12] You know, if you have pets and you love them like your kids and you’ve got kids, you want to know that they’re going to come in and they’re going to be nice to your pets and nice to your your kids and all of that. And let’s see. The other thing is, I would honestly focus a little less on price only and focus more on exactly what are you going to be doing and what value am I getting for that price. So the value is we’re going to show up on time every time. And if we’re running late, we’re going to let you know, you know, you’re going to get great communication from us. We’re going to be treated just as any client should be treated, not just we’re going to show up on these days and never talk to you the whole time. You know, if that makes sense, you’re bringing someone into your home and you need to know that they’re going to mesh with your family and your lifestyle.
Stone Payton: [00:17:59] You have such great energy, such tremendous passion. I mean, I know they can hear it over the airwaves. I can I can just I can feel it right here in the room. And I particularly see your eyes light up when we talk about that that other effort of helping the business. And of course, from the training and consulting world, my mind goes immediately to certification, right? Like certify them to be. I don’t know. Yeah. Shana certified. I get the lapel pin.
Shanna Beavers: [00:18:25] And all that.
Stone Payton: [00:18:27] But you’re human, surely. You know, sometimes you run a little bit low in the tank. Where do you go? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical location, but where do you go for inspiration to to recharge your your batteries? How do you do that?
Shanna Beavers: [00:18:42] Well, I recharge by spending time with my daughter and my husband. I really have found that if I if we just kind of sit on the couch together and I hold her hand or something, I get this weird, just kind of energy, if that makes sense. And I don’t mean weird, it’s just kind of a strange experience. She calms me and I like that I do have a physical place, the beach. So yeah, I have to go to the beach every year at least once. And it really is kind of a, I guess you could say, a spiritual experience for me. I just I sit in the sand with my feet in the sand, in the water, and I just kind of zone out for a little while. And by the time I’m done with a trip at the beach, it just I come back and I just have so much energy. So anything that has me spending time with my family or friends really is is what I do.
Stone Payton: [00:19:31] Fantastic. You’re not the first person I ask that question a lot. You’re not the first person who has said the beach. Yeah. And I thoroughly enjoy enjoy the beach. And I just went to a Kenny Chesney concert not too long ago. So he’s kind of like that beach. Yeah, yes. Yes. So that was a lot of fun. All right. So if our listeners would like to reach out and have a conversation with you or someone on your team, maybe about having you come clean their house, but maybe about maybe they’re in the business and they would really like to have a conversation on that front. Let’s leave them with some points of contact, whatever you think is appropriate, LinkedIn, website, email, whatever. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Shanna Beavers: [00:20:08] So I do have a Facebook page. It’s off your plate ATL. You can find me there. I also have a website and that is also off your plate, a Telkom. My phone number is there. You can submit the. Contact form. And I would say you could call me, you can text me, but I have a spam filter on my phone. I can’t figure out how to get off so you can text me at 7069709375. If you leave me a voicemail, I don’t know when I’ll be able to see. Get that.
Stone Payton: [00:20:36] All right. Before we wrap, I wanted to get your input. We actually we talked a little bit about it before we came on air, I think. But the million cups experience, what was that like for is this something you would recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Shanna Beavers: [00:20:47] 100%. You have to do that. So, yeah, I don’t think there’s a point in anybody’s business where they can’t use some feedback and it’s something that is not only did did it work for me from a feedback perspective, but as I laid out my presentation, I ended up answering some of my own questions. So it was a really good experience for me and for anybody that’s doing it. I have a I have a little bit of advice when you go in there, be open to what you’re hearing and try not to argue back and say, Oh, well, we’re doing this and we’ve done that and we’ve done this because then you’re really not listening. So even if you have kind of already tried something, just absorb it, say thank you, that kind of thing. And that to me, if you if you handle it that way and you get out of your head thinking, well, we’ve already tried all these things, you absorb it and process it better.
Stone Payton: [00:21:43] Fantastic. All right, one more time. Let’s leave. Let’s leave these folks with some contact info.
Shanna Beavers: [00:21:47] Absolutely. Off your plate. Atl, Facebook, off your plate, ATL or text 7069709375.
Stone Payton: [00:21:57] Well, thanks so much for coming. And this has been a delight visiting with you and I’m quite sincere. Let’s do this again. And particularly I want to hear about this other effort if you get it going.
Shanna Beavers: [00:22:07] Absolutely. Yeah, I’d love to.
Stone Payton: [00:22:09] Fantastic. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Sarah Beavers and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business Radio.