Life got you too busy for cleaning? Are mopping and dusting the last things you want to do on your day off? Not sure of the best way to make your shower shine? Legacy Cleaning, 6610 Lake Road, Windsor, can help.
The local business conducts residential cleaning in homes all around the Madison area. And for the past six years, owners Roger and Mina Borges have studied and practiced cleaning, getting it down to an exact science. No surprise, since they are both scientists, holding doctorates in microbiology and biochemistry respectively, formerly employed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We pride ourselves in being a highly specialized company,” said Roger. “We clean homes, and that’s all we do. Our supplies, equipment, techniques and training are optimized for the best cleaning experience.”
The Borges’ made some dramatic changes in their life after the birth of their second child. With an almost-one-year-old and a newborn baby who required intensive in-home care, 12-14 hour workdays weren’t working anymore. Mina left the University to care for the children, and Roger went to work for a private company.
Three years later, Roger lost his job due to downsizing and Mina began cleaning houses for extra money. The couple saw potential in the house cleaning industry, and soon it became their primary focus.
“Not terribly efficient at the beginning, but we were making people happy and referrals took off,” said Roger.
Self-proclaimed over-achievers, Roger and Mina worked out the details of their cleaning business—the products, methods, systems and marketing—through thousands of hours of study and hands-on cleaning. One year into their entrepreneurship, they couldn’t keep up with the work and began hiring help. For the first four years, the business grew nine percent per month, flourishing from one client in 2009 to the largest residential house cleaning company in the Madison area.
Today, Legacy Cleaning employs 28 people and cleans 160-170 houses per week. A second location is opening soon in the Fitchburg/West Madison area.
The Borgeses have opposite personalities, but that works out well for the business. Mina is the face of the company, a people person who manages client relationships, while Roger is the visionary, the analytical and critical one – the master system creator.
“We have a very clear system,” said Roger. “There is no chaos here.”
Legacy Cleaning provides free estimates for their cleaning services. Mina meets with potential customers to walk through the house and shares about herself and her business. She provides pricing on the spot, typically a flat rate, and no contracts.
“I love to get to know our customers and their situation so I best know their cleaning needs,” said Mina. “I always make sure it’s a good fit, a win-win relationship.”
Peg Reis of DeForest has used Legacy Cleaning for the past five years. A friend recommended Legacy Cleaning to Reis, and Reis has since referred the business to several others.
“Mina is a wonderful person to work with,” said Reis. “She provides reasonable rates and is very flexible and accommodating to my schedule and needs. She really wants to please her clients.”
Reis appreciates how hard Mina and her staff work, and that they bring all their own cleaning equipment and supplies to her home.
“I’ve been happy with the service and all of the cleaners who have come to my home,” she said.
Mina and Roger understand the great responsibility of going into people’s homes and touching their precious and expensive belongings, and it means a lot that their customers trust and believe in them.
That’s why they hire only the best employees.
The Borgeses are very selective in the hiring process, averaging one hire out of every 170 applications. They look for attitude over experience, knowing they can train the right person with the skills to be an expert cleaner.
“We interview for attitude, integrity and honesty,” explained Mina. “Cleaning is hard work and we work hard to find the right people. We call our cleaners “angels” because they are truly rare gems.”
Mina and Roger agree that they will never lower their standards because one wrong hire could ruin the positive reputation they have worked hard to earn.
Nichole Boivin has worked for Legacy Cleaning for more than three and a half years.
“There are so many things that I like about working here,” she said. “Roger and Mina have created a very loving atmosphere. All of us get along so well. It’s a joy to come to work. There’s no gossip or drama. Everybody works hard and helps each other out when needed.”
Boivin started as a cleaner and was promoted to office manager. She now helps to manage bookkeeping, schedules, client relationships, hiring and prepping supplies and equipment.
“Roger and Mina are caring and passionate about what they do, and that makes me passionate about my role here,” she said.
According to the Borgeses, Legacy Cleaning’s two biggest winning points are that they are clearly the best value in town and have the absolute best cleaners.
“There is no better value in the Madison area, and you won’t get better service anywhere else,” assures Mina. “All credit goes to our cleaners who represent us week after week. They are the magic.”
Legacy Cleaning’s high standards result in very little turnover in clientele. Most from their early days are still clients, and 2-5 new ones are added each week.
Nicole Langer, Windsor, hired Legacy Cleaning in September 2012. With so much going on in her life, she need help keeping up with the housework.
“The staff is very friendly and professional and always does a nice job,” said Langer
She loves how the cleaners fold the towels like at a hotel and arrange her kids’ toys so everything is in place.
“It’s a great feeling to come home and find everything orderly and spotless,” she said.
Marilyn Krupp of Cottage Grove agrees. A clean house is very important to her and she expects a lot from her cleaning service. Legacy Cleaning has not disappointed her.
“I have been totally pleased with the cleanliness and the work they do,” said Krupp. “I set pretty high standards and they’re meeting them.”
Ninety-nine percent of clients opt for a complete cleaning every week or bi-weekly. The package includes cleaning the kitchen, top to bottom—all surfaces, cupboards, counters, appliances, sink, tables, chairs and floors; hand washing dining room tables and chairs; cleaning and sanitizing the bathroom countertops, cupboards, tub, showers, toilets, floor, floor boards and light fixtures; vacuuming and mopping floors; dusting the entire house and emptying trash.
All products are top-notch, green products, not harsh or smelly. Legacy’s cleaning system was designed to avoid cross contaminations. Cleaners use designated supplies and products per room, per house. For instance, tools and supplies used in bathrooms are not used in kitchens and a fresh mop head is used in each house.
“I’m a germ freak,” said Mina. “Everything is washed and sanitized daily. We never carry germs from house to house.”
Eleven teams of two cleaners each are dispatched every weekday, typically cleaning 2-3 houses each between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. All cleaners complete basic training for several weeks and then receive advanced training to fine tune details, behaviors and special touches.
“We are grateful for an amazing team,” said Roger. “We believe in taking care of our cleaners with amazing pay and benefits, and creating the best environment to bring out their best.”
Employees receive sick pay and paid vacations, celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries together, and share customer accolades. The positive work environment results in low employee turnover. Many employees have been there 3-4 years, including Christina Alden, hired in 2011.
“Roger and Mina are super kind and generous,” said Alden. “I love the flexible schedule and working with clients, and I enjoy coming to work each day.”
The Borgeses love their job, too. A growing business is a challenge—as well as fun and interesting. They continue to look to do more and do better.
“Owning a business has been our biggest lesson of life, but we get up happy every day, excited to come to work,” said Roger. “And the best is yet to come.”