Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cory Hryhorczuk, Owner of Zuke Cleaning Services, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Zuke Cleaning Service specializes in exterior house, condo, and commercial cleaning services in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We offer pressure washing, window washing, and balcony cleaning. Our services range from discretionary—optional services that improve aesthetics and appearance—to essential—crucial maintenance that eliminates unsafe walking conditions or prevents property deterioration.
I’m especially proud of our niche boutique balcony services, in which we clean patio spaces to create a fresh, livable, and inviting outdoor environment for our clients to enjoy. Our customers are diverse; we serve everyone from university students to high-net-worth individuals and everyone in between. An important part of our clientele consists of fixed-income seniors who appreciate having help with their tougher maintenance tasks.
Tell us about yourself
I like to let my mind be free and creative. As a result, I’m constantly envisioning ideas and opportunities for the future. One day, while I was cleaning my sand-textured painted condo balcony floor, I started thinking about how time-consuming and labour-intensive it was, and I came up with a more efficient and effective method. After some simple market research, I realized there was a need to create a solution for the many problems homeowners and renters face when they want to clean their condo balconies.
For example, many condos in Vancouver are small, and there’s little space to store tools and equipment for outdoor cleaning. And when there’s sand intentionally dispersed in the balcony floor surface for traction, it makes cleaning them challenging. Even worse, condo strata by-laws impose penalties if water drips over the edge during cleaning, and the cleaning itself can require hard labor when there’s extensive algae growth on surfaces, a common situation in Vancouver's wet coastal climate.
It is easy to roll out of bed every day knowing that we will put a smile on someone's face by the time we have completed our cleaning. With each project, we strive to create a memorable, visible transformation of our clients’ patio space that they will enthusiastically share with friends and family. We are also aware of the health and mobility issues that some of our clients face, including our elderly, and being able to assist them with tasks they are unable to tackle independently makes our work meaningful.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It’s not just one single accomplishment but rather the accomplishments we make on an ongoing basis that I take the most pride in. Sound business decisions must be made regularly, taking many factors into account and managing risk to the best of our ability. The ability to problem-solve effectively while making choices that build and strengthen the business’s foundation gives me great pleasure, satisfaction, and a feeling of accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
In my experience, the greatest problem is scalability. This may differ from business to business, but for me, it’s the key challenge I need to solve. Due to the seasonal nature of outdoor cleaning work, it is financially prohibitive to offer steady, year-round employment. This has created a situation where I am unable to fully capture the high market demand for exterior cleaning services during the peak times of the year. Up to half of the new customers who contact Zuke Cleaning Services each year cannot be accommodated, meaning lost revenue and clients. Additionally, this temporary work environment stalls the passion, commitment, and skill advancement of staff members. I hope to find a good solution for scalability in our specific context soon.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you have a dream, go for it, and find ways outside of the box to start that business. Be frugal and take on as much of the work yourself as is physically and intellectually possible. This way, you’ll know your business operations inside and out. And don’t forget that a dream doesn’t have to be big. If you simply have an idea that you believe in, this tip is also for you.
- Once things get established, outsource the work that becomes overwhelming and that someone else more capable and skilled than you would be better suited for. This can include tasks like accounting, web design, or SEO/marketing. In addition to saving you time and effort and freeing you up to focus on other important tasks, these are expenses that can potentially benefit you as a business write-off.
- Always search for new potential products or services that you can add to your existing business. Trends change rapidly these days, and likewise, your business should constantly be evolving. Don't be afraid to drop or reduce exposure to products and services that are slowing in interest and focus less on them as the market changes. Find new market desires and trends to fill that void so you can maintain profitable growth.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I believe that one of the biggest freedoms we can have is to be autonomous in our work so that we can activate our own thoughts and decisions as we see fit to become successful. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with challenges, but the reward of autonomy is worth every minute of it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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