Oscar Pineda, founder of COS Janitorial Services, Inc., exemplifies the classic American dream story. Pineda immigrated to the United States from Guatemala, worked at a janitorial services company until he realized management would not give him the opportunity to advance himself, so he started his own business. In 2016, COS Janitorial has 17 employees and was honored as an HBIF 2016 Success Story.
"I got a bank loan in 2005 before the market crash and used that to launch my business," Pineda said. "I started out as a subcontractor but quickly started trying to land my own contracts. My breakthrough came when the University of South Florida decided against renewing their janitorial contract and I was able to secure the USF contract for COS Janitorial. My English was not strong then so I felt it was a big victory. It is not just about who you know, but also the character of you as person."
Pineda is proud of how he operates his company pursuant to strong family values. "We provide a family atmosphere for our employees which allows us to deliver superior janitorial services to our clients," he said. "We don't focus on profit as much as building relationships with our clients and employees."
Pineda's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to grit through the many tough times that certainly remain ahead of you and to look for assistance along the way. "If you love something and truly care about it, you'll go to any length to accomplish it," he said. "At the end of day it's going to be hard but worth it. Keep moving forward no matter how tough that road gets. Until you say you're done, the fight is never over. We have overcome many obstacles and thankfully the HBIF award shows what we're doing is worth it. It's taken us more than 10 years to get here. I'm thankful for the HBIF and everything they've done and I look forward to continuing that relationship."