SOLON– Isaac Russell was underemployed when he moved back to Iowa after many years in New York and California.
His family helped him out with some work, and Isaac with his wife, Daisy, tried freelance sign language interpreting, something they’d done for many years on both coasts.
Then Isaac decided to take matters into his own hands.
He’d always wanted to start a business. In 2009, he said, “I’m going to give it a shot.”
He set up a window-washing business by late 2009 and started calling on potential commercial clients that winter.
The couple struggled briefly, but stood together and a month after starting the home-based business, landed their first commercial account.
A month later, they received their first residential job and less than a year after starting it up, there was so much work, they hired their first employee.
They’d like to hire more as they grow over the next few years, allowing Isaac to train employees and market his business.
Clearly Clean Window Washing & More now serves clients in Iowa City, Coralville, Solon, North Liberty and the surrounding areas.
Clearly Clean has since expanded to offer a range of services like power-washing decks and siding, cleaning ceiling fans, chandelier and lighting fixtures, emptying gutters and other household services.
About three-fourths of the business is residential work, and the couple is quite proud of the word-of-mouth referrals and compliments on their work.
“Sometimes I never see the homeowners and they trust us to do everything,” Daisy said. “We’re grateful for how the community has taken us in.”
Clearly Clean will give a free estimate or you can visit their website, www.clearlycleanwindowwashing.com , which Isaac, in keeping with his hands-on approach to work and life, designed himself.
On the contact page Isaac installed an instant quote feature that home or business owners can use to get a rough idea of the cost of a job through some interactive menu items and counting up the number of panes of glass.
He’d also gladly stop by and give a more precise quote in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.
All window parts are cleaned, from sills and tracks to screens and storms. Deep screen cleaning is additional and Clearly Clean has a $125 minimum for each job.
They roughly estimate $10 per window, but some can cost more if a ladder is needed.
Power washing house siding is the Russells’ second most popular request with deck washing following that.
Most clients request their services in spring and fall or schedule a cleaning before special events like graduation or anniversary parties.
Isaac and Daisy have really put themselves into Clearly Clean and the company stands by all its work with a 100 percent guarantee of all their services.
Isaac knows how busy people are and always strives to be professional, prompt and trustworthy.
His approach to business has been to start small, and go after accounts one by one. He shared some suggestions for new businesses. “Be patient and proactive, (because) it takes time to build a customer list.
“Grow slowly,” he said, to strengthen client relationships and not get overwhelmed.
Today, Daisy does most of the paperwork for the company. Isaac and his employee do the spraying and squeegeeing.
Clearly Clean Window Washing & More is still growing, and this year is at least twice as busy as last year.
Isaac and Daisy met in New York and lived for a time in California, near Daisy’s parents and hometown of Fullerton.
They moved to Iowa to be near Isaac’s family several years ago.