About five years ago Jana Jeffery launched the Yarmouth Cleaning Ladies. Recognizing a need for boat-cleaning services, she and her crew hopped aboard.
Her team has cleaned hundreds of boats between Port Mouton and Digby. Although their focus is on the wheelhouse and cud (abbreviation for cuddy: bunk room in bow), the ladies also do engine room cleaning if requested.
Just a few weeks ago, the team cleaned their biggest boat – Bay Ferries’ Cat. Jeffery and four of her employees, plus two other cleaners hired by the sub-contractor ServiceMaster of the Valley, took three days to do the job.
They washed down all the bathrooms, the leather seating, steam-cleaned the fabric chairs, washed the walls, tables, floors and windows.
Jeffery says it wasn’t a really hard job as the vessel has staff that clean on a regular basis.
Her team has grown from six to 15 in a short time.
“It’s going good. I put a lot of trust in my long-term employees to help me supervise my newer staff so that each job is perfect. I don’t like sending rookies off on their own,” she said.
They handle cleaning jobs from Digby to Shelburne and boats are now just 40 per cent of what they do. Jeffery says a lot of people are getting new boats and that cleanup of construction dust is a big need for them.
Often they’re asked at the last moment to come in and do a job for fishermen who are switching to a different fishery after completing another.
“We have to be really flexible. People will call us to say they’re leaving tomorrow, can you come today? I have to have staff available at the last minutes lots of times.”
All of her staff are from Yarmouth to reduce the amount of travel.
The business has branched out into cooking, gardening, even arranging for the removal of garbage.
“I don’t like to say no. If some customer needs a little bit of garbage lugged away, I’ll say yes and then hire a truck and charge the customer. They don’t have to worry about all the details.”
The cooking division evolved when she noticed that some seniors and disabled customers were having trouble with that chore.
She now arranges for the prepping of all their foods.
“Every customer is so different. We really try to gear the service towards what each individual needs.”
She says she has “awesome ideas” and would like to expand but until she can make a clone of herself, that’s not going to happen.