Brilliant Cleaning Shines as It Grows from Home-Based Startup to Thriving Business

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Theresa Viviano sees an upward trend on the commercial side for Brilliant Cleaning Service, increasing the staff and services her company provides. 

Last year, Brilliant Cleaning increased its commercial customer base from 19 customers to 37, Viviano said. Today, it’s closer to 40, with steady clients such as Eastern Gateway Community College and LY Property Management. The Boardman-based company is expanding into the Covelli Centre for some industrial-type cleaning, and cleans doctors and general practitioners offices, churches and schools as well. 

In 2020, commercial work sparked a 15% growth in business. During the pandemic, the company expanded its electrostatic disinfectant spray service, and spent nearly $10,000 in equipment and training for its 30 employees.

It was a bit of a rocky start, however, as Brilliant Cleaning furloughed 30% of its staff in the early stages of the pandemic, Viviano says. Stay-at-home orders issued by the state impacted the company’s residential service, and workers were given an option to take temporary furlough or move to the commercial side of the business. Nearly all of those furloughed workers returned, she said..

“We gave options and allowed them to be able to better manage through that, but we never mandated a furlough,” Viviano said.

Paul Wilson, left, and Theresa Vivano, owners of Brilliant Cleaning Service in Boardman.

The shift to commercial proved beneficial to the company. Viviano was able to pay her workers – 29 at the time – higher wages, including paid time off and mid-year holiday bonuses. Her employees were her biggest investment in 2020, she said.

This year, she looks to hire more. Most of the company’s staff are part-time workers who are trained on the job, but have handbooks and other implements to give them a basic understanding of the tasks. Viviano believes the best training is with an experienced employee, shadowing their moves on the job. She adds her company is flexible with part-time workers, realizing they have a busy schedule away from the cleaning company.

Brilliant Cleaning is seeking employees who have experience in the workforce, although a cleaning background is not mandatory. However, background checks on all employees are required. Viviano does want them to be flexible, have an open mind, be willing to learn, work and be part of a team, she said.

More employees means growth for Brilliant Cleaning in both residential and especially its commercial services, said Paul Wilson, co-owner and Viviano’s husband.

“We’re looking to really continue to grow our commercial business and possibly start to expand out into other regions,” he said.

The company started small, with Wilson and Viviano working out of their home. For 20 years, Viviano worked as a nurse in the cardiology field, and as a clinical field rep for 10 years. Wilson spent his career in the trucking industry.

Viviano realized she needed to make a change in her career, she said. She always had the desire to own a business and spent time doing market research, seeing where there were needs in the Mahoning Valley.

They were sitting in their living room brainstorming business ideas, and the thought of starting a cleaning business intrigued them. “It just kind of evolved from there,” she said.

“We were both pretty good with the service industry,” she says. “We had lots of experience dealing with people and things like that. We thought this could be a good way to start.”

The company eventually moved from the couple’s garage to a one-room building with a small, unattached on-car garage near Western Reserve Road. Today, it operates out of a new space at 4845 Market St., where it celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

Brilliant Cleaning provides residential cleaning services from basic and spring cleaning — including windows and walls. The commercial side entails stripping and waxing floors to office cleaning and other services.

Cleaning supplies at Brilliant Cleaning Service in Boardman

The new office has much more room for growth with desks where the staff can gather and set up appointments with clients. Garage space offers plenty of room to store cleaning materials and equipment, as well as a branded vehicle that’s stocked with supplies for an upcoming job.

The company invested $5,000 to move to the new space. “We really needed the room to expand,” Viviano said.

Viviano emphasizes it is essential for businesses to focus on disinfecting and cleaning services.

“It has been a red flag for us with this pandemic that you really can’t take that lightly,” she says. “We not only add quality, but we add safety to this atmosphere where we’re working.”

Viviano believes the business will continue to thrive once the pandemic ends as companies continue to rely on disinfectant services as well as general cleaning. 

“I don’t see that it should be a big impact when it’s over,” Wilson agreed. “I’m looking forward to it being over.”

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.