Hi, my name is Angela and I have my own cleaning business in spite of being physically disabled. When I was eight months old I got Meningitis, which resulted in a stroke, leaving me with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Physically, I have no use of my right hand, drop foot and partial paralysis of my right leg. Mentally, I have a learning disability, aphasia (I have trouble finding the right word), and short term memory issues. I also have a seizure disorder (petit mal) which is well controlled with medication.
I have always loved cleanliness and enjoyed cleaning up my home. I didn't think about pursuing a career as a housekeeper until I was around 22 years old when a friend of mine asked me if I would be willing to help her clean a summer rental for a client. I jumped at the opportunity. After helping her for six summers – and loving it! – I realized it would be an awesome idea to own my own cleaning business. I truly “enjoy cleaning as much as kids enjoy playing” – the slogan for my first business.
The first challenge I needed to conquer was obtaining a driver’s license. Because of my disability I need a modified vehicle. This made it difficult to get the practice needed to even get a license! At 27 years old I started pursuing a driver’s license in earnest. We found a place an hour’s drive away that specializes in helping people with disabilities. After fifteen weeks of lessons, in June of 2011 I got my driver’s license! A local disability assistance organization helped me to get my first car modified.
That same summer I officially started my first cleaning business: Angie's Cleaning and Organization Services. I lived in a small town in NY and struggled to get clients. At first it was a secondary income. Five years of persistence and dedication finally allowed me to make it my primary income.
My disability affects my choice of equipment. Everything has to be lightweight to avoid over-stressing my left arm, wrist, and shoulder. I choose equipment like mops and dust pans that do not require two-handed operation. Because doing things one-handed can take longer than doing the same thing two-handed, pricing for my services is not based on an hourly rate, but instead is based on the job. For instance, I charge a fixed rate for each bathroom a client wants cleaned, each floor mopped, and so on. I also rely on written lists to make sure I stay on track!
In the spring of 2016 I moved to Arizona. (I was tired of NY winters!) Here I started another cleaning business: A Plus Green Clean. My first two years here have been great for my business. I can service a wider area than I had in NY, giving me a lot more options. My client list is growing steadily - I am building towards working five days a week. It's exciting to see my dreams becoming reality!