Precious Nwosu, the CEO of Pians Enterprise, a cleaning and fumigation company, tells MOBOLA SADIQ about her journey as an entrepreneur
What is your educational background?
I studied Business Administration at the Lagos State University. I am currently taking a course at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.
How did you start your business?
One day, I went to church and wanted to use the toilet but I couldn’t because of the condition of the place. I then asked the cleaner for a mop and bucket and started cleaning it. Afterwards, it became a routine. Every Sunday, I voluntarily undertook to clean the toilet. I did this for about six months and the idea came to me that I could actually take it as a business. I started watching janitorial videos on YouTube and Google, and later created adverts on WhatsApp and Facebook.
One day, an old friend called me to clean her house. I agreed to do it though I didn’t have money to buy the basic equipment. She sent half the pay I requested for and I bought the necessary things I needed to clean the house. And that was how I started this business.
What was your first pay and did it encourage you to do more?
My first pay was N20,000 to clean a three-bedroom apartment and that encouraged me to continue. The money was enough to buy all the equipment I needed. I was also able to pay the lady that worked with me and still had some profit.
How long have you been in business?
The company will be one-year-old this month. I presently have two ladies working with me on part-time basis. Whenever there are jobs to do, I call them.
What other things do you do?
I supply cocktails for weddings and other events.
Is the cleaning business enough to earn you a living?
My cleaning and fumigation business is enough to cater to my needs for now. I don’t live above my means.
Does your job affect your relationship with people?
Yes, it does. Some people call me, ‘Precious the cleaner’. Some customers also talk to me carelessly but I consider that to be normal. When I started the business, some of my friends said they could never do it. They were surprised that I would opt for a cleaning and fumigation job. But along the line, they didn’t have a choice but to accept my job. Sometimes, I feel dirty and at other times, I don’t. However, it is what pays my bills, so I’m proud of what I do.
Do you feel fulfilled with your job?
Yes, I feel fulfilled because the business is growing.
What are the challenges you face on the job?
They include being talked down on by some rude customers and treated poorly because I clean their homes. Some even refer to me as a dirty person. It could also be tough sourcing and consistently paying for adverts. The perennial Lagos traffic also affects productivity.
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Have you ever felt discouraged doing your business?
I love cleaning. The toilet has always been the best part of the house for me to have conversations, make calls and reply mails. I feel relaxed using the toilet, provided it is clean. The passion I have for cleaning is what pushed me into the business, so I don’t have regrets. Sometimes, when patronage is low, I source for customers everywhere. At times, I feel discouraged because some women expect me to kneel down while doing the job, thinking that if they don’t patronize me, I wouldn’t eat.
What can be done to make the world a cleaner place?
If only the government can add cleaning and fumigation to the environmental courses that are taught in schools, people would know the importance of living in clean surroundings.
Seminars should also be organised to educate people on the need for cleanliness because of the rate of diseases everywhere.
What lessons have you learnt in the course of doing this business?
My business has imbued me with patience, humility, tolerance, politeness, independence and strong will. I believe that my customers are always right, even if it’s painful.
You can’t be proud and be a cleaner; you would fail immediately.
What do you do for fun?
I read, swim, travel and write a lot.
Are you a fashionable person?
I always want to look my best and present myself in the nicest possible way.
What’s the first thing you do when you’re about to clean a place?
I take pictures and videos of how the place is, so I can make comparisons after cleaning.
What is your dream for your business?
I want to have offices in different parts of the country with lots of employees doing interstate cleaning and fumigation.
I also hope to get government contracts to fumigate hospitals and public buildings.
Recognition and expansion are my ultimate goals.