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How I started my local service business and ending 2018 in 155k+ in revenue.

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by tripphxc, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. tripphxc

    tripphxc Regular Member

    Mar 23, 2008
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    MODS: If you need me to validate anything, let me know. I will not give out any personal info or data, but can validate site if needed.

    Everyone reading: I will not post my website, last time I posted I had found exact copies. Be fucken creative. Also, this is not a get rich overnight or get rich in a few weeks/months. This shit takes time, dedication, motivation and tons of patience.

    Explicit content: I use the words fuck and fucken often.

    I might have jumped around a bit but that's the good ole ADHD doing it's best.

    Pull up a chair, lay down in bed, or save this for later and read in your car BH fam! I’m going to point something out very quick to save anyone time that might not be interested in this story. When I first started this business, it included working, actual real, hardworking labor work. If you're only strictly into making money online and never leaving your home, this will probably be a bad read for you.

    However, If you're into the idea of starting a business, and using the use of software and hiring people to do labor, I hope you fucken love this.

    I’m going to avoid most of the sappy shit and get straight to the point. However, seeming how this is my first “starter” story and I have been a member here since 2008 (I think?) I’m going to give a brief background of myself.

    When I was 17, I have always been very into making money online, some of you might even remember sites such as 4daily and the like, that’s what got me hook when I saw my first deposit from not doing a labor work.

    However, I eventually got into more on the “darker” side which isn’t talked about here anymore, and I eventually got into a bit of trouble and lost all my online money. This scared the shit out of me, so I avoided anything online and making money.

    This is when I started job hunting. I went from job to job, from Pizza hut to sales, from catering to grocery markets. I hated it all, I hated being told what to do and waking up on someone else’s time and going to work for them and making them rich.

    I eventually found a really laid back job with a few friends working on the beach working for very wealthy people who owned co-ops. These people would come down for the summer from Florida and enjoy the summers here. I worked at this place for 10 years, I enjoyed every bit of it and made many friends and memories, however, I was at a pay cap of $14 hour and by this time I was 25 years old. My friends that I worked with all went to university and got masters and I was left there with new young people.

    Here is where everything began.

    I told myself I will work one more season and be done and move on and find something more rewarding.

    I was working in the office that day and one of the residents came to me and asked if I knew anyone who can clean their apartment. I really didn’t know anyone but something in the back of my head just told me to say yes. So, that’s what I said. I said yes, I do, however they won’t be available till another week or two as the cleaner is very sought after. She said “That’s perfect, if you can, give them my number” THEN something else clicked, I said another white lie and said “Well, they actually work for me so all communication is all done through me”

    She said “Tripphxc, I have known you for almost 10 years, I had no idea you had a cleaning business” Well, I said. I just started it about a year ago (I really didn’t start it a year ago, I didn’t even have a cleaning company at this point, it was just an idea going through my head as her and I spoke. This is why I told her give me a week or two)

    This is where things got very exciting I now had about two weeks to find an all-star cleaner.

    With any free time I had, including my lunch breaks, I would go onto Craigslist, care.com, thumbtack, and other similar websites and out up ads everyday along the lines of this.

    Title: Cleaner needed – Supplies and equipment must be included – will pay $100 for 1bed/1bath

    Body: Hello, I am looking for a cleaning person with about 2 years of experience. I own a co-op in ABC city and need someone who can also clean the fridge and oven. Shouldn’t take more than 3 hours. Co-op is about 600SF. I don’t have any supplies or equipment, so you MUST provide these. Will pay in cash as well.

    My inbox was flooded with cleaners in about an hour.

    I was so excited, I knew this was the beginning of something great, hopefully as easy as it seemed as well.

    I reached out to every single one of these people and interviewed them each in person during my one hour lunch breaks or after work.

    After about 37 interviews, I found a lady who I felt very comfortable with and I would let into my house even I wasn’t home.

    The time has come

    I reached out back to the apartment owner and told her, my lady is available on this day and this time and the price is $200 which includes her bringing supplies and vacuum and will also include interior windows, interior oven, interior fridge.

    She said that is a bit more than I wanted to pay but if you say she’s the best, I would love to give it a try.

    I told her, trust me mam, she is the best around and you’ll be asking for another clean in about 2 weeks. I became confident and a bit cocky. Why?

    Remember when I said I would allow this woman in my home even if I wasn’t there? Well, that’s exactly what I did.

    Come on, I wasn’t going to send this cleaning lady to this ladies co-op who I have known for 10 years and let her down.

    So, I told the cleaning lady, we have a little change in plans and I will need my place cleaned first (I would be using this as a test) but I would still pay her $100.

    So, a few days before I sent her to my apartment, I had a few friends come over for a little gathering and told them make a slight mess, don’t clean up and had a few beers while I told them exactly what I was doing.

    Three days later, I told the cleaning lady what I wanted done, gave her a key to my place and I went to work that same day. As I said, I trusted her to be in my home alone.

    As the day went on, I was so fucken nervous. “What is she steals?” “What if she’s burning the house down?” “What the fuck am I getting myself into?” What if, What if, What if.

    Then around 2PM I got a text from her saying “Hi Tripphxc, everything is done I hope you like and we work together more”

    I didn’t expect this text from her, I was so anxious to get home and see the results.

    Work was done, got home and H.O.L.Y. S.H.I.T

    This lady cleaned the fuck out of my apartment. She cleaned behind everything, moved the toaster, microwave, and even cleaned my damn dishes!

    The excitement was so unreal.

    Fast forward to the co-op lady clean day.

    I was working this same day and the cleaner came and we chatted and told her. “Exactly what you did to my place, do the same for here”

    And my god did she.

    The owner wasn’t home and didn’t come home for a few days until one night she called (I ignored as I was so anxious) and she left the voicemail.

    “Tripphxc, you’re right, I want to book my next cleaning in 3 weeks, not 2”

    I was jumping for joy. I paid the cleaning lady her $100 and the owner gave me an extra $100 as a tip for me and the cleaning lady.

    So from one 600SF apartment cleaning, we both made $150 in one damn day.

    This is when things got into hyperdrive.

    I built my first website. I should have hired this out as it took me much longer and wasted a lot of valuable time. Time is money. I then put up my first Craigslist ad as well.

    Here is my first website build

    Here is my first craigslist ad

    Let’s be real here, I was excited, but things were D.E.A.D slow.

    My first few clients came from my first client, so word of mouth. The only problem was, these were all seasonal clients and many of them didn’t like my high prices.

    I’ll admit, my prices were high, much higher. Most cleaning companies were charging $60 to do the same size 1bed1bath. I was charging $200.

    Here’s where things started to change.

    I offered

    · Liability insurance and bonding

    · 200% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like your clean, will come back and reclean for free. Still don’t like your cleaning? Will refund you the full amount.

    · No contracts

    · We bring all supplies and equipment

    No one else offered this, so potential clients felt at ease when I told them these points and told them if anything breaks and you have a craigslist cleaner, they won’t be able to help you out.

    This made me stand out in the local area and more leads starting coming in. I had set up a business number at this point as well and I was taking the phone calls myself. I hated it. I hated talking on the phone. I hated how clients would try to get a discount. But I never gave in. My prices were firm and non negatable.

    The summer seasons were going pretty well (I was doing about 5k a month in revenue) and to me this was great, it’s the start.

    Eventually I needed to get more cleanings for my one and only cleaning lady, so I started taking less days off of my laid back beach job, and started doing old fashion door hangers. I would take full days, and go to large apartment complexes and just hang door hangers on every door. I would do the same area for a month straight.

    This eventually got me some of the following.

    · Clients

    · Threats

    I was probably getting more threats than clients, however I was getting about 3 clients every 2-3 weeks with this method. With this method, I also included a promo code on the door hanger to keep track of leads.

    The threats were more so “Stop putting shit on my door, or I’ll fucken call the cops”

    They didn’t really bother me, as for

    1. The places I went to didn’t have any trespassing signs

    2. I wasn’t putting anything in their mailbox (in most states this is a crime)

    Let’s fast forward to some more exciting parts

    I don’t have much time as I need to go and work on my business so I’m going to fast forward a bit. IF anyone wants to ask me any questions just leave in the comments.

    2017 and 2018 was a big year. I put so much time and effort into the business.

    From new website makeover to completely new ways of marketing. When I first started all bookings were able to come through the website, but it wasn’t efficient enough.

    Now, we have in-house software that handles pretty much anything. From

    · Accepting payments through stripe

    · Booking appointments online

    · Managing schedules from anywhere in the world

    · Paying teams

    · Real time availability

    · Multi location (change prices from city to city)

    · Recurring appointments with discounts available

    · Integration with many other apps

    · Gift cards, discount codes, client referrals

    · Appointment reminders (send texts and emails to clients)

    · Client ratings and feedback (option to allow cleaning team to see as well)

    · Analytics

    And so many more

    I have now gotten to the point of where I was able to run this business completely from across the world. I have hired a manager in a different state who handles my phone calls, emails, texts, and pretty much everything except payroll.

    Here are screenshots from Stripe over the past few years

    2014: https://imgur.com/a/RRAfFMT
    2015: https://imgur.com/a/NHNFpB0
    2016: https://imgur.com/a/jR8hmO3
    2017: https://imgur.com/a/BMSkUrb
    2018: https://imgur.com/a/G7dsb7r

    Starting this year, I only do payments by credit card. I will stop accepting checks and cash. The use of credit card is best for the following. I can put a pre authorization hold on the card to ensure funds as available and card is valid. The use of card just makes the entire process more simple.

    Checks: Many bounced

    Cash: Once it was all counterfeit, and two I don't want any of my teams carrying cash on them.

    Here are points I want to make which many wantrepreneurs make and do. Some of these points came from myself, while others I have learned from what I call some mentors myself.

    These usually end with people convincing themselves that their thing won't work. They're not even business mistakes, because there is no business. They are "How can I stay safely on the sidelines" mistakes. Some of these also fall nicely into the "lies we tell ourselves that sound awesome" mistakes as well:

    1. I won't be able to compete with <such a large company>?". Stop this silliness. This is not how any of this works.

    2. "I won't be able to offer it at that price?" And? Most decisions happen in isolation on your site. If your brand connects, you price at what you want. This was a big part for me

    3. "Let me add a twist to this idea" So, with no knowledge of the industry, you're better off reinventing the wheel vs executing on what you can SEE works? I mean I get little twists, but the bigger the twist the more risk of failure you introduce.

    4. "Let me figure out how to tie in Zillow's Api". People complicate things, get overwhelmed, and never get out the gate. If you can do it with a spreadsheet, do it with a spreadsheet to get started.

    5. "I can't figure out what to use": Shopify or WooCommerce, WordPress or Squarespace, blah blah blah or blah blah...at the end of the day, expect less than 0% impact on your success from any of these decisions. Choose one and get to work!

    6. "The market is saturated." No it isn't! This is the greatest bullshit ever. Beats everything else in this post actually. This is a convenient, socially acceptable way to say "I'm scared". I am probably in the most saturated, most competitive market


    A lot of these fall into the let me do the minimally viable product thing that is the commonly accepted startup mantra du jour. "I've heard the concept repeated so much, let me try to apply it."...well, we'll see how this often turns out.

    1. "I'll get out the gate with an ugly site just to validate". Great! Nobody will put their credit card into your shitty site and you'll conclude it won't work.

    2. "Let me see how many emails I can collect to prove this will work" Hmm, I validate with credit card charges instead. 5 people buying from me is more of a validation that 500 emails captured on a pre-launch page.

    3. Validating at all! If your idea is so unique that it needs validation, you've increased your chances of failure. Why make your first business risky, when there are gazillion things that other people have already validated for you?

    4. Making people guess what you're selling. People should know what they're getting on your site in a split second. If you can't say it in one quick sentence on the above the fold section of your site, something is wrong.


    Now if you've gotten to this point, you actually found a way to have a functioning business. It's incredibly hard to get there. Yet the opportunities to mess up at this point are still substantial.

    1. "Let me lower my prices so I can compete". Unless you're selling widgets, you should be competing on brand, not price. I never lowered my prices. When I first started, as I have already mentioned, my prices were wayyy higher. If anything, my prices only went up. This helps eliminate non serious people.

    2. "Would be awesome if the customer can customize everything". One product/service at one price is the holy grail as far as I'm concerned. As a new entrepreneur each additional variable increases your logistical challenges, and confuses your customer. The more options, the lower the conversion rate, all things being equal.

    3. The Peanut Allergy problem. I came up with this phrase to describe this problem: A simple solution will fit 95% of your customers. You'll need some additional solution to fit the other 5%. That additional solution often ends up hurting the 95%. Do you take nuts out of your chocolates because some people have peanut allergies? Hell no you don't. You let that go and focus on serving the majority of your customers. I see so many people fall victim to this one.

    4. Long ass forms: Collect the minimum data you can collect to close the sale. Anything extra you need ask AFTER the sale is completed. The more fields the lower your conversion rates, all things being equal.

    5. Being fucking cheap! I'm not even in the mood to put this nicely. You don't buy the cheapest jeans, you don't buy the cheapest watch, you don't buy the cheapest phone. You go all out buying silly shit, but you want the cheapest (or free) everything when it comes to investing in YOU. This shit kills me every time I see it.

    6. Focusing on the wrong things: What matters? GETTING CUSTOMERS. What does it take: Branding & Marketing. If these aren't taking up 90% of your time, you're shooting yourself in the foot. What folks spend time on instead? "oh this sweet widget that will cross populate emails to my cms so I can save 30 seconds on client interaction. And on and on...all of this fancy stuff can come later. Build a business first, get revenue and then go to town. I started doing this shit on Google spreadsheets, google calendar, and Gmail. Focus on Getting CUSTOMERS!!!!!

    Some other shit that kept me motivated (mostly people doubting me who are now wishing they had the fucken motivation I have)

    “Wait.. you’re going to charge people that much just to clean their house? Lol. You don’t charge double because you are better, that’s not how you do business, you have to price exact or lower to be competitive”

    My response: That’s right, I’m going to charge double and people will pay for it.

    “Lol you’re going to clean houses? That’s cool, I’ll just go get my masters and get a real job”

    My response: I will start off cleaning houses, then slowly hire cleaners as I grow. You enjoy your 200K piece of paper and be in debt till your 6 feet under

    “Everyone cleans houses on the side, too much competition”

    My response: I’ll make my competitors shit themselves.

    “ You have never owned, or ran a business. You don’t know anything about running a business.”

    My response: How did you learn to do anything? Drive a car, ride a bike, talk to people, flip a burger, piss and shit in the toilet. You train and learn.

    Many more along the lines of “Lol ok bro, you do you”, “That’s cute, going to wear an outfit?”


    Don’t let anybody tell you fucken otherwise. Ignore them, remove them from your fucken life, they’ll come back when they see your success, then it’s up to you if you want them back.

    I started this because there was a need. I honestly hated fucken cleaning houses. But you know what? I’m now at the point where I am fucken free. I wake up whenever the fuck I want, I shit and piss whenever the fuck I want, I go visit my family 5,000 miles away whenever the fuck I want.

    I still talk to some of the people that laughed at me in the start, now I laugh at them because they have “work in the morning” or “I can’t take off, my boss won’t let me” or “Fuck man, I hate my job, I’m going to be here till I’m dead”

    Again, listen.

    I’m not hating on anyone for working a 9-5, if you enjoy it, then absolutely do it. However, if you hate where you’re at, then make a fucken change. This doesn’t mean you just quit. Start a side hustle while working your job, then quit when you’re at a good point.

    Where I’m at now

    I have made a lot of mistakes starting this business, tons of money wasted, from marketing, to web dev, to hiring, etc. I made things a bit more difficult than they had to be. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just make the wheel, and roll on. I know have a team in place that helps me with everything. From web design, to web development, ad words, SEO, marketing, app builds (future soon hopefully) to accounting.

    I am know focusing my entire energy on ranking for one of the toughest cities I have ever dealt with, and this city has some big players.

    I’m not a millionaire, this wasn’t my goal. My only goal was to be free from a 9-5 and live life on my terms, and I’ve done it.

    Can this make you very good money? Fuck yes.

    Will you be rich overnight? Fuck no.

    Will you be rich in a few months? Fuck no.

    In about a few months, I will begin working on my next local service business. Many people focus on making money online. LOCAL SERVICES will make you cash. The only thing is being in the right place.

    Should you start something similar?

    Maybe, the start up cost is low, and it can be a lucrative business. Not just cleaning. Think local services, window cleaning, landscaping, painting, etc. Use that mind of yours.

    Here is something my friend came up with and want to share with you guys. when appraising an idea I use this point system I came up with and assign points based on the following metrics:

    1. 10 points if there is a LOT of competition doing the same thing

    2. 10 points if you can point to folks making MILLIONS!

    3. 10 points if it's a service/software instead of product

    4. 10 points if you can get customers 60 days from now

    5. 10 points if there is a chance for automatic recurring revenue

    6. 10 points if the price of the thing is over $50

    7. 10 points if the thing is unsexy, boring, but people NEED it

    8. 10 points if it's something you've bought yourself

    9. 10 points if the thing is less than 13 Oz’s (If it's a product) or you can divorce it from your time if it's a service .

    10. 10 points if you can explain what it is in 5 words and a 5 year old would understand.

    Can you see how house cleaning fits all of these needs? I personally know 3 owners who are fucken killing it. They bring in over 1+ Million a year in revenue while one does about 500k+ a month in revenue.

    Closest to 100 points wins!

    Final thoughts.

    There’s something I didn’t mention. When I first started, I put my fucken soul into this. I knew my end goal. That goal was freedom. To be able to have a business I can run from anywhere I want.

    This however came with tons of stress, some depression, late nights of no sleep, missing out on parties and weekends out with my friends.

    I spent almost 2 years neglecting friends and invites to focus on this business to get to the point I’m at now.

    In the end, every second was worth it and I wouldn’t change a fucken thing (except for the few notes up top, such as hiring a web developer).

    I really hope this encourages and motivates some people to stop being fucken lazy and get out there and do something. Nothing motivates me more than winning and being successful. I want others to be successful as well, which is why I really wanted to share this information with you all here. I have learned so much from this forum myself, it has been a blessing.

    I would like to end this with a quote I have hung up in my room and inspires and motivates me everyday.

    “How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?” - Charles Bukowski

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to comment here or PM me. I won’t be able to answer right away but I will. There is much more to my entire story but I need to get off the computer for now.

    • Thanks Thanks x 44
  2. DMWD

    DMWD Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Feb 1, 2013
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    Congratulations on your success. This is a good example of taking action and having grit.
  3. SMSCodes

    SMSCodes Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Sep 30, 2018
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    Great story buddy and it shows that hard work will pay off .
    I hope 2019 will be even better for you
  4. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

    Mar 10, 2010
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    As Close to Heaven as One Can Get!
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    The cleaning industry is huge money... I made a crap load of money with a commercial janitorial cleaning service in the 80's and sold that puppy off after I built it up.
  5. El Duque

    El Duque Regular Member

    Apr 3, 2017
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    I swear I'm not hacker
    Bro this is too long to read and I have money to do.
    Anyways if you succed and you are happy I'm happy for you.
    God bless every1
  6. filup


    Jan 9, 2019
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    I really enjoyed reading this as my wife has a cleaning company right now, but she is doing all the work and she is thinking about bailing since she's in school now and she needs straight A's. Maybe your story will help her. Thanks.
  7. MadeInSlovenia

    MadeInSlovenia Registered Member

    Nov 4, 2018
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    Really good read man. Thinking myself to diversify offline also.
  8. Scrox

    Scrox Registered Member

    Dec 6, 2018
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    Great read! My aunt makes a shit load of money with her cleaning service. 90% of her accounts are cleaning model homes for home builders.
  9. Kostas007

    Kostas007 Regular Member

    Jan 15, 2017
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    I liked your story a lot man! good read.
  10. Maj MAji

    Maj MAji Regular Member

    May 9, 2018
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    We need a few more real life stories or journeys such as yours. This is a great contribution and motivator for many just starting out with that entrepreneurial spirit. Good job man.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. Henrynewbie

    Henrynewbie Registered Member

    Jan 9, 2018
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    2019 is yours.
    What haven't you done..... Awesome
  12. ThatSEO

    ThatSEO Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Self employed marketing stuff
    Sometimes UK
    I deal with a couple of cleaning firms, they make a killing....total killing! ONe of them, the director runs the business from Spain!
  13. terrycody

    terrycody Elite Member

    Sep 29, 2012
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    Happy on your success, really cool story and method.
  14. PaintedBlack

    PaintedBlack Registered Member

    Dec 5, 2017
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    Digging myself out
    Thrilling read, not only are you a successful businessman in this industry, you are a great writer too. I felt like I was 5 again and my grandma was reading me a bed story.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  15. kunte

    kunte Registered Member

    Nov 13, 2018
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    Thanks for the write-up tripphxc. This is very helpful. Idk who you hang out with but the cleaning business is highly regarded where I am. There are ton of successful entrepreneurs who have their own cleaning business. I had the most thoughtful conversations(about business) with cleaning providers. I forgot what book or article I was reading but a big Y combinator company was a cleaning business.

    In the midst of VR, machine learning algorithms, AI, we've forgotten some of the basic needs of our life: cleanliness.
  16. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Jan 19, 2011
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    Very motivational journey. Congrats to your success OP. More to come in 2019!
  17. IamNRE

    IamNRE Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Aug 18, 2010
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    World Wide Web
    Nice one. You've built a REAL business, something most of us never get to really do. We dabble around with silly little blogs, affiliate sites and amazon/ebay stores (not pooping on anyone, I'm still messing around with affiliate marketing myself :p).

    Well done mate, keep on growing. Next step, issue a corporate bond or borrow money from the bank (I presume you've been building a business credit profile) and scale the fuck up. Then get listed on the exchange and retire :D.
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  18. SureShot

    SureShot Newbie

    Jun 30, 2010
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    Great read man. Very inspiring story and its gotten me thinking about some local services I could look into
  19. Better Know

    Better Know Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Mar 17, 2018
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    Now that was a great read!

    I remember a few years ago when I had a regular job watching cleaning ladies make in a day what I do in a week, cleaning is a great business if you're smart about it.
  20. Jay Yadav

    Jay Yadav Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Mar 14, 2013
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    Great Read, Awesome !