Caroline Weinand, owner of Sunny Side Clean Team LLC., moved from Saarland, a southwestern German state bordered by France and Luxembourg, to Ormond Beach in February of 2017. Weinand and her husband, Karsten, were in search of new opportunities and warmer weather. With three young boys, including a 4 month old baby, in tow, they bravely made the 4,600 mile journey to start the next chapter of their lives.
"We chose to leave Germany because of the strict rules for employment," Weinand said. "My husband wanted to start an IT business and, because of German rules around hiring and setting up servers, it made more sense to start the business here. It's much easier to start and grow a business in the United States. We decided on Volusia County because we wanted to be next to the ocean and we wanted a central location in Florida that was also close to an airport."
After moving and getting settled in, Weinand, who also has a background in IT and Project Management, initially spent her time raising their young son. As you can imagine, a house with three boys, including a 4 month old, can get pretty messy. On one particular day in February of 2018, she needed some help.
"I tried to find someone to come clean the house, but I didn't have good results," she said. "Either no one would call me back, their prices were too high or the quality wasn't good. That got me thinking that I could start a cleaning business and deliver much better results."
Weinand didn't waste any time. She put together a website, purchased cleaning products, and got the word out by utilizing Thumbtack, an online service that matches customers with local professionals. She also joined the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce and a leads group for additional networking opportunities. In a market with a decent amount of competition, Weinand highlights her German roots as something that sets her cleaning service apart from others.
"We have a figure of speech, 'Deutsche Gründlichkeit', that means German thoroughness and profoundness," she said. "It's something we represent with our work. Germans are known to be perfectionists and, when it comes to my business, I'm no different. We offer outstanding quality for an affordable price. Also, all of our employees have undergone a profound background check and are trained professionals. We believe that good work is done if the job is right, so we offer paid training and benefits."
Weinand, who recently hired two cleaning professionals to help with increased demand, is focused on growing the business and hiring more employees. She would like to have three two-person teams cleaning houses everyday throughout Volusia County. Her future goals also include continuing to support The Legacy House, a non-profit that works to prevent youth homelessness and sex trafficking by providing free quality housing for at-risk and aged-out foster youth.
What advice does Weinand have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Be prepared to learn a lot," she said. "Starting your own business is an awesome experience, but you have to be open to learning new things. It also opens a lot of doors and gives you a chance to meet some great people. Overall it's been a great experience and one that has made a big difference in my self-esteem."