Describe what your company does.
Always There Housekeeping efficiently and affordably gives families back their free time so they can spend it doing the things they love. We offer scheduled and a la carte housecleaning services as well as a variety of pet sitting services. All of our housekeepers are insured and bonded. We use our own supplies, most of which are ‘green’, and we use a state of the art-triple-filtered HEPA vacuum. Our pet sitting services include playtime visits, vacation services, dog boarding, and pet taxi services.
What prompted you to start your own business?
Immediately after high school, I worked from home as an office manager for a company on the Chicago Board of Options. It was at the CBOE that I met my husband, Dave. We continued to live on the south side of Chicago and began raising a family. So from the beginning, I have been able to appreciate working from home and raising our children. But as everything was starting to go electronic, my job with the Board of Options was slowly going away. As the office manager for some very spoiled traders, I used to get things like sports tickets, concert tickets, movie premier passes, you name it. So I came up with the idea of the Concierge’s business…helping families get things done and giving them time back in their day. However as we moved to the Aurora/Naperville area, I found that I kept getting asked for pet sitting services. So I spent 10 years cultivating those relationships with pet sitting clients and building that side of the business which I absolutely love. Then people began asking who I would recommend for house cleaning. Having used some services in the past, I really couldn’t put my name on someone that I’d recommend to my clients. So that’s what made me decide to launch the housecleaning business. It made sense because my clients already trusted me, I had keys to their home, I knew their pets, and this was something they wanted. So a large portion of my pet-sitting clients are also my housecleaning clients to this day because of the relationships I have created.
Anything extraordinary/unique that your company does that makes you different?
Everyone has a different expectation when it comes to housecleaning in particular. I try to provide the best products that are green, eco-friendly, safe for animals, safe for infants and children, and get the job done. We listen to our clients, we try to develop a relationship with everybody. We listen to their concerns and what their priorities are and focus on the individual client first and not just focus on housecleaning. We have several clients who’ve been with us for 10+ years and it’s because we have formed strong relationships. Money is not my first priority, it’s building that relationship and earning their trust.
Tell us about Cleaning for a Reason. What’s it about and how did you get started with this organization?
Cleaning for a Reason was founded by one of the mentors, Debbie Sardone, who is based in Texas. Like me, she owns a housecleaning business and one day someone had asked her if she would be willing to clean for free while a person was undergoing cancer treatment. She immediately saw a need for this service elsewhere, and since then this organization she founded has donated nearly $7 million worth of cleaning services to women in the US and Canada undergoing cancer treatment. I am a local participant in this program. We offer 1 free cleaning per month for 4 months while a woman is undergoing treatment. This way she can focus moreso on her health, and not her home. We’ve been a part of this for 6 years. During this time we are proud to have served 32 cancer patients. I currently had two new clients who just signed on in July. Around the time I was learning about Cleaning for a Reason, I provided free cleaning services to my neighbor. She had two sons that grew up with my two sons. She later died as a result of cancer. One of my first pet-sitting clients as well recently passed away due to cancer. So these relationships inspired me right away to be a part of this organization. Often we will bring flowmeet Always There Housekeeping Holly Rodgers Holly’s family (L-to-R): Son Nick, Holly, husband Dave, daughter Lily, and son John.v Holly with her pet parrot, Taz. Cyndi from the Always There’s housecleaning team. Always There team member, Corey, working hard at a client’s home. ers to our clients on cleaning day just to provide anything extra to cheer them up. It’s not unusual for us to have women stay on with us as clients through this program. We had one client in West Aurora just recently decided to keep us after the four-month free cleaning period ended. But I love to give back, that’s the main reason why I participate in this.
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Dave, and I have been married for 24 years. Dave works as an analyst for Air BP in Chicago, one of the world’s largest suppliers of aviation fuel products. We have three children: Nick (23) graduated from DePaul University and works now at Mr. Handyman in Elburn; John (20) attends Wabash College in Indiana, and Lilly (16) is at Waubonsie Valley High School. We’ve lived in the Aurora/Naperville area now for 18 years. Dave for many years was a lacrosse coach at Waubonsie Valley and coached both my sons. In fact, he and Nick were a part of Waubonsie Valley’s state championship team in 2010! Nick played lacrosse at DePaul, and John is continuing his lacrosse career at Wabash College today. Lilly is a volleyball player at Waubonsie. She also works closely with the Evanosky family (owners of Aspen Lane Wine Co) helping to take care of their youngest son who suffers from a rare genetic disease known as metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). Lilly will watch movies and play games with him. She performs work for the Evanosky’s winery as well. To learn more about the Evanosky family, visit aspenlanewinecompany.com.
What else should we know about you, your family, and your business?
In both businesses, I give back. I also rescue dogs. I’ve had 73 puppies born at my house. Because I was fortunate enough to work from home and raise my children, I, in turn, enjoy giving these options back to my employees, providing them the flexibility to work when they can and then be with their families. I’ve been afforded this my whole working career. It’s important for me to give back wherever I can.