---- — Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Lori Logotheey, 'The Cleaning Diva,' of Bloomville.
How long have you lived in the area?
I moved here in 2003.
Tell me about your business:
I do residential and commercial cleaning. I have customers that are on a regular schedule, and some that call me in for special occasions, such as tenant cleanup before re-renting, and commercial accounts.
Describe a typical day in your business:
I have my schedule, and most days begin by arriving at the client's home around 8:30 a.m. My hours vary; many days, I work four to six hours at one home or office.
How did you get started in this line of work?
I started a cleaning business in another county of New York that I ran for over 10 years. That business was much larger, and I had several employees who worked for me. I relocated to this area and was head of housekeeping of a Best Western hotel before I decide to start another cleaning business.
Where do you see this business in five years?
I would like to expand to have more commercial clients, but I will have to wait and decide on employees. The difficult part of having employees is in finding people who are willing to work to my standards and understand that what work they do reflects directly on my business.
Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:
A client that I have worked with for several months asked if I would feed their fish while they went away. Since this is something I do fairly often, watch over cats or dogs when people leave on a trip, I readily agreed to take care of the fish tanks. Day One was a crisis, because as I arrived to feed the fish, I realized that one fish was lying dead on the floor. I panicked and called the (former) fish fancier on his cell phone to explain what had happened, hoping I would not be blamed. The customer laughed at my upset state and explained that the fish had been in his rehabilitation tank, a watery infirmary for sick fish, and that it was fine, not to worry. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was so upset!
What have you learned from your work?
I have learned to be professional, how to be more assertive and speak well with confidence. I have learned how to interact with many different people and accommodate their needs; for example, I have customers who are Jewish and I learned many things about how a Kosher kitchen is cleaned.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
For me, I guess it is the economy. When money gets tight, there is just not enough money to spend on a person cleaning your house. I am also challenged with increasing my customer base in an area where there are not a lot of customers.
The most enjoyable?
I love what I do _ I do! I take a lot of pride in my work.
How do you define success for your business?
Success for me is the point when my clients are my advertising, that word-of-mouth is how I get new customers. It's happening already and in this first year, I am able to have this business as my sole source of income.
What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?
I am realizing that the number of second homeowners here is a huge advantage to my business. I guess the disadvantage would be that it is more difficult to establish myself here in an area that has deeply rooted locals. House or office cleaning is personal, and new clients need to know that I can be trusted.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I didn't realize that I had competition _ I just keep busy doing a great job. That's what is important, not what anyone else is doing.
What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?
My advice would be that they make sure that they are an "attention to details" type of person, you really need to be in order to do a good job.
Shop Talk interviews are conducted by Terry Hannum. For information, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 217, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.