NORTHBROOK, Ill.—July 20, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, RJ Patel and Gosia Baran, both of whom operate residential cleaning companies, discuss how they are diversifying in order to keep their businesses going during the COVID-19 pandemic. RJ Patel operates PCT Clean outside of Atlanta, and Gosia Baran operates Helping Hands Cleaning Services outside of Chicago. When the pandemic struck, both Patel and Baran saw a huge drop in business. For Baran, 538 of her 600 weekly clients put their cleaning services on hold. “I had to totally revamp my company in order to survive and stay open and keep my employees working,” she said.
Faced with a new reality, Patel and Baran sought out additional training to deal with COVID-19 and obtained certifications from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). Shortly after, a company with national accounts approached Patel about performing COVID cleaning. He then contacted Baran, a longtime friend in the industry, to strategize how they could work together to take advantage of this opportunity at a time when both of their residential cleaning businesses were struggling through the pandemic shutdown. Together, they established PCT Disinfecting, a new company focused on commercial cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19 infection control. “If we had solely depended on [residential cleaning] and not diversified into PCT Disinfecting, I think we would be in a bunch of hurt,” said Patel.
Baran’s advice to the rest of the industry: “Don’t be afraid.” She admits that she had many second thoughts about the risks of working and sending her employees to work during the pandemic, but “bottom line, we are here to help others; we are frontline workers.” She notes that with the proper PPE and proper equipment and training, it is possible to diversify and safely run your business. Patel adds that industry professionals should educate themselves as much as possible about COVID-19, taking advantage of resources from ISSA and GBAC.
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