Cleaning Service Finds SBDC Resources Amid the Clutter

Owner Robert Ramsey

When Robert Ramsey started his Cincinnati-based cleaning service company, Decently and In Order in 2013, he found a confusing assortment of supposed small business resources. Not knowing which certifications would help, he signed up for a “Gold Certified” program that promised to help bring in customers and promote awareness for his small business.

“All it did was put a gold seal on my website,” Ramsey said. “I wasted a lot of money in my first year as a small business getting useless certifications. Luckily, I found the Small Business Development Center at the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio. They were a great and legitimate resource.”

Thanks to the resources and mentorship offered at the SBDC, which is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development program, Ramsey was able to find the direction that he was looking for, getting advice on procurement certifications including Ohio’s Small Business Enterprise certification and Minority Business Enterprise certification.

With the advice of mentors at the SBDC, Ramsey took his business that had initially focused on residential decluttering and expanded his services to include commercial cleaning and post-construction cleaning. Counselors also provided resources and discussed different strategies to help Ramsey expand his contract search. 

“Through the city’s economic inclusion program, I was able to meet with construction contractors and get an idea of what they were looking for,” Ramsey said. “I was able to build my brand and the quality of my reputation.”

He was able to secure a number of cleaning contracts through the city of Cincinnati, and went from three employees in 2013 to 21 employees in 2018, with plans to hire two more workers.

“One of the reasons that I started a small business was to help the community,” Ramsey said. “By being able to provide jobs, I can help my family and revitalize local area and economy.”

He plans to continue to expand the business using government resources like the Minority Business Assistance Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center to access state and federal contracts.

“Using government resources is the best starting point for your small business questions,” Ramsey said. “To avoid scams, I urge other entrepreneurs to utilize government resources first for small business information and to always reach out to the SBA if they have questions.”

Company Name: 
Decently and in Order