CLIENT SUCCESS STORY
GREAT CLEANING SERVICE IS INSPIRED BY FAMILY VALUES
By: Denise Mendiola Hertslet, Guam SBDC
Scrubbing floors and water blasting isn′t easy work, but Kurten "Kurt" Orichiro says he feels like he is living a dream.
Orichiro said he moved his family to Guam from the island of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia in 1996, seeking better educational opportunities for his daughters. Upon arrival, the family stayed with relatives. For two (2) years, Kurt worked three jobs: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in construction, 7p.m. to 10 a.m. working for security, and 12 midnight to 6a.m. for another security operation. The only sleep he was able to capture was in between shifts. According to Kurt, "These were sacrifices well worth all my time invested." Kurt′s primary goal at this time was to earn the required dollars that would allow him to provide housing for his family. Eventually, Kurt managed to move his family in to an apartment. After meeting this goal, Kurt was able to cut back on hours and found a position installing kitchen cabinets. He worked in this job until May 2007. While on this job, Kurt saw an opportunity for starting a cleaning service. Most of the clients he made cabinets for were private homeowners and were prospects for this type of business venture.
Kurt′s family members are not new to the cleaning business so he was even more convinced that he would like to open his own business one day. Most of his family members were working with a sub-contractor to a large cleaning business on Guam. Kurt and his wife were responsible for interior cleaning of the house at most times. Kurt′s sister also served as the supervisor for that same business. With the combined extensive experience in cleaning and customer service, the idea to start a cleaning business on Guam seemed like the natural choice for Kurt and his family. However, in order to make this dream become a reality, start-up funds were needed. This was something the family was lacking.
Soon thereafter, Kurt visited the Guam Small Business Development Center (SBDC). At the SBDC, he sought the assistance of Denise Mendiola Hertslet at the Guam Small Business Development Center for advisement and guidance. He signed up for the Microcredit Training Program held at the Guam SBDC. After eight (8) weeks Kurt successfully completed all the program requirements earning a certificate of completion. With the assistance of the Pacific Islands Microcredit Institute, Bank of Guam, and the support of his peer group members, Kurt was able to receive his first micro-loan and used the funds to purchase equipment and supplies for his business. Kurt′s dream came to fruition and officially started his business on July 1, 2008.
When Kurt was ready to get his business license, the easiest part was choosing the name. Great Cleaning Service has several meanings for the Orichiro family. It means "doing the best you can" and it is also the name of Kurt′s daughter "Great Orichiro". According to Kurt, "I wanted to use my youngest daughter′s name on our business. Her name is ′Great′ and therefore, we will name the business ′Great Service′ so that it will always remind us to do a "Great job!" His motto is "Great Cleaning means never stopping until WE feel it′s CLEAN". This is evident in the testimonials that Kurt′s customers are more than happy to contribute. According to Kurt, "The owners of the houses that we cleaned never complained about our services because we always do the best work that we can. They trusted us so much that they gave me their house keys so I could come in and clean when there were not home."
Today, Great Cleaning Service has obtained numerous contracts with private homeowners from the northern to the southern areas on the island of Guam. Kurt admits that being in business has its challenges, but he is determined to succeed. Kurt says his new family business is a result of years of hard work and sleepless nights, and that same determination will keep it moving forward.
Owner Kurten at work. Owner Kurten with his team.