Cleaning is a family affair for the Porfirio sisters of California.
Wanting a better work-life balance for themselves and their families, the four sisters decided to start their own business together. After researching various commercial cleaning franchise options, the sisters opened JAN-PRO Cleaning & Disinfecting of San Diego in 2008.
Hailing from Toluca, Mexico, the Porfirios held a variety of jobs before moving into commercial cleaning. Elvira worked in radiology and cared for an elderly woman. Laticia cleaned the houses. Maricela was a cleaning lady. Bernarda helped her husband in the construction. However, as mothers, they all sought to work more flexible hours, have the ability to be their own boss, and earn better or additional income.
“I can earn as much as I want,” Bernarda said. “Plus, I can manage my time so it makes sense to me.” Maricela accepted. “I saw the flexibility of the schedule. But the most important thing was the growth potential,” she said.
Their journey as business owners has included learning how to start their business, manage it, and develop leadership skills with the support of their franchisor. They are now seen as strong businesswomen and leaders in the Latin American community in which they serve.
Paul Mascarenas, who has worked with the sisters since 2008, gives them praise. “Professionalism, ambition, perseverance, entrepreneurial spirit, kind, courteous and team spirit,” he said.
A family business
The sisters are now teaching the same skills they have learned over the past 14 years to their children in hopes that they can one day join them in the family business.
“This type of business has the ability to be done in the family,” Elvira said. “Personally, I’m teaching my son how to work and be a businessman and my franchise is a business.”
“I decided to make it a family business because it’s something we can all contribute to and help each other in the future,” Maricela said. “It also teaches my children and teenagers good ethical skills.”
Bernarda’s husband quit his construction job and is now a cleaning specialist for the company.
Impact on the greater community
The sisters also help other families in their community by providing job opportunities and referrals. “I referred five other families to JAN-PRO who now have a franchise,” Elvira said. “They now have a stable income. Also, I bought my house in California and other families now also have a house.
“My company has impacted my community by promoting a clean environment that disinfects work environments,” Maricela said. “It makes the community feel safer and happy to know it’s clean.”
The sisters plan to continue to expand their family business. “Over the next five years, I see myself growing the business even more and hiring people to help me,” Leticia said.
The company financially supports their family while giving them more time to spend together. It also gives them a sense of pride that they can carry on into the next phase. “All of my hard work means I’m able to provide for my family, knowing that the work I do produces results that are important to people,” Maricela said.