Nancy Cochran-Jones never thought she’d make a living through cleaning services. Then, an opportunity to take over her congregants’ tile cleaning business changed everything for Nancy and her husband, David Jones.
With financial assistance from the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), the couple became owners of Moon-Glo Tile and Cleaning Service in Chappell, Nebraska, in June 2015.
A minister at the Ogallala Kingdom Hall, Nancy relied strongly on her faith to guide her decision to take the ownership of the business, which had been around for 40 years before she and her husband took ownership. The couple didn’t have any prior knowledge of the tile cleaning industry, but, after being coached by the previous owners on how to deep clean, buff, strip, and finish floors, the couple felt confident in their new business venture.
Through a little investigating, Nancy and David discovered their closest competitor was more than an hour away. They spent considerable time creating a business plan and researching resources, like cleaning supply companies and insurance policies.
Part of their preparations included making an appointment with Jerry Terwilliger, loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs, whose expertise and guidance helped the couple get financing through REAP.
“David and I had so many questions and Jerry was able to answer all of them,” said Nancy. “He informed us of the steps we needed to take and helped us so much. If it wasn’t for REAP, we wouldn’t have been able to get the small business loan to fund our business.”
Terwilliger helped the couple through the process of getting a REAP loan, and says he didn’t have to counsel them too much before they took off running with the business.
“Nancy and David have been very good clients, and have managed their loan and business in an outstanding fashion,” Terwilliger said. “Chalk this one up as a success story for REAP.”
The business owners have incorporated new cleaning techniques, equipment, and products, and in addition to their tile cleaning services, the business offers janitorial services and in-home assistance to elderly individuals. They’ve also added Moon-Glo Tile and Cleaning Service to Google Business and created a website.
Attending training opportunities
The couple has taken advantage of one of the Center’s training programs, as well. David attended a QuickBooks course in Scottsbluff where he learned how to streamline the invoicing process and more easily follow their business’ progress.
Nancy attended the Center’s Women Entrepreneur Conference, where she learned new business practices and methods while also networking with other women business owners.
“Going to the Women Entrepreneur Conference gave me the opportunity to associate with women who have the same goals as me and give each other encouragement,” she said. “I learned there are online resources that will help you make your website, get attorney advice, and learn about marketing. I’m so glad I took the time to go.”
Assessing the need
Why would a business need to hire someone to clean their floor? Nancy said the main reasons are to prevent injuries: bad practice in floor cleaning is a major cause of accidents; to prevent wear to the surface (by putting a finish on it); to make the environment sanitary for clients and customers; and to beautify the floor.
“I actually hated cleaning, but soon I grew to love it (most days),” she said. “When you see a floor that’s in pretty bad shape, then you transform it into something amazing; it’s a wonderful feeling. The smiles on our clients’ faces are priceless. It can be a rewarding job, and other times a learning experience.”
Nancy credits their success to hard work, help from family, and their strong set of values stating that good business standards, honesty, and morals, along with respect for your clients, go a long way.
“Making money isn’t everything,” Nancy said. “Stand by what you tell your clients you’ll do. If you tell them Monday at 6 p.m., then be there. If you tell them it will take 46 hours, then try to get it done before 46 hours are up. If you messed up, do your best to make it right.”
Having realistic expectations is another factor to their success.
“You need to find a group of people that will encourage each other toward success and want success for others, whether professionally or personally,” she said. “Owning your business is a lot harder than working for someone. To make your business successful, you have to work hard at it.”
At a glance
Moon-Glo Tile and Cleaning Service, LLC
Owners: David Jones and Nancy Cochran-Jones
Address: PO Box 835, Chappell, Nebraska 68129 (home-based business)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., most cleaning jobs are at night after store hours
Feature photo: Adobe Stock/Tammy Mobley
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