At Home on Vacation

As the national news touts economic woe and despair, the last place one would expect people’s minds to be is on pampering themselves.
Or pampering others.
But when Mischa Gorrell began thinking about opening her own business, her mind immediately jumped to the hospitality industry.
“I wanted to support and help people, but I also wanted to pamper them,” she said.
Gorrell, a former e-business marketer for Hilti, had no experience in the residential or commercial cleaning industries when she opened Bliss Maid Services just over a year ago.
Her company offers clients a “unique home spa treatment,” providing cleaning services comparable to national cleaning franchises while burning 100 percent essential oils, providing a turndown service in the bedroom, which includes misting freshly changed linens with a lavender linen spray, and leaving a thank-you note and organic chocolates on every bed top.
Gorrell said the goal is to leave every homeowner with the feeling of being on vacation in his or her own home.
“We don’t just clean; we also help you de-stress,” Gorrell said.
In addition, Bliss only uses 99.3-percent or all-natural cleaning products, which Gorrell says are safer for the families she serves as well as her employees.
“We don’t use paper towels or sponges that you have to throw away after each home because they’re not sanitary,” said Gorrell. “We use cloth and microfiber towels that can be reused.”
She said that the use of natural and organic cleaning products isn’t all that uncommon among cleaning service providers, but it usually comes in the form of an option or upgrade. But it’s all Bliss uses.
Most of her clients are repeat customers, and rates depend on frequency of visits, but Gorrell said her company also performs one-time cleaning services for people who are having a party, plan to move, etc.
“We’re really flexible, and we personalize our service according to our clients’ needs,” she said.
Bliss Maid Services employees four, with Gorrell personally performing site inspections following each cleaning and cleaning some homes herself when the need arises.
Although she didn’t disclose specific financial details, Gorrell said her revenues in the first year of business have been what she expected. She opened the business using her own start-up capital and taking advantage of advice offered by her father, who is an accountant and lawyer.
She started her own maid service business rather than buying into a franchise, she said, because, with a franchise, “you’re stuck under their guidelines and their vision for the company, and I have my own ideas.”
While she plans to grow her company over the next year, adding employees and clients, Gorrell said she doesn’t want to grow too fast. She said she values the personalized service she offers her clients, and she worries about compromising that. When asked about the possibility of franchising Bliss, Gorrell shrugged her shoulders and said it was too early to tell.
She does plan, though, in the future, to be more involved in the local community. She’s already part of a national network called Cleaning for a Reason, which provides free cleaning services to women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and she hopes soon so sign on with Operation Homefront, another national organization that provides free services for military families.?′

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