Austen Croal, owner and CEO of CG Spotless Cleaning, says a conversation with a friend led to his “aha” moment. That was when he realized that he could leverage personnel- and project-management experience gained when he served in the U.S. military into professional cleaning services.
“I knew that I could bring my skills, experiences, and character together to excel in this industry,” Austen says, “and there’s endless potential for growth.”
Here’s how the business has grown since that moment in 2014 and how Pursuit helped him secure an NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund loan to serve the business’s largest client yet.
Reliability, trust, and quality: CG Spotless Cleaning
CG Spotless Cleaning offers high-quality services for great value, including using products that are safer for the environment and the people in the homes and offices they clean. The team also knows that creating trust through reliability and high standards is essential to success in the field. This commitment to customers and quality has led to steady growth since CG Spotless Cleaning launched nine years ago.
“Since then,” Austen says, “we’ve served more than 150 clients in residential and corporate cleaning services.”
Increasing competitiveness for large-scale contracts
Austen knew that securing corporate and government contracts could offer significant opportunities for growth. With that as one of the goals, the business applied for important certifications to bolster its competitiveness, including New York City and statewide Minority- and Women-Owned Business (MWBE) certification and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business certification. Along with the company’s stellar reputation, these certifications position CG Spotless Cleaning to bid competitively on potentially lucrative corporate, municipal, and state contracts.
What was missing, Austen admits, was the working capital needed to hire enough staff to fulfill the contracts.
In the past, Austen had approached other lenders for financing, including the business’s commercial bank. But like many small businesses, he found that it was difficult to get approved for a conventional loan.
The pandemic leads to an introduction to Pursuit
During the COVID-19 shutdowns, Austen searched for loans and grants that would help carry the business through the pandemic. An online search through the SBA Lender Match tool led him to Pursuit.
Austen reached out, and Pursuit Assistant Vice President Leo Zhang responded – and with that, CG Spotless Cleaning was on its way to securing a PPP loan for the business.
“It was great to have a relatively easy and smooth experience with a lender,” Austen admits. And that experience opened the door to future possibilities.
With the business’s finances on a more stable foundation and employees returning to their offices, CG Spotless Cleaning had an opportunity to bid on a large contract. Then, Austen ran into a challenge that many small businesses face when working with government agencies: There’s typically a lag time between when services are rendered and when payment is received that can stretch from 30 to 120 days – and that can lead to a cash crunch.
A low-interest loan to serve their largest client
Given the excellent experience that Austen had with Pursuit for the pandemic-relief programs, he didn’t hesitate to work with Pursuit again when he learned about the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund (note: although the application process for this program is currently closed, Pursuit has more than 15 loan options available for small businesses).
Austen says that his team at Pursuit was responsive and happy to help him secure the new loan, as the Pursuit team already knew his business and supported his vision for growth.
“The application process was easy and quick, no stress,” Austen says, “and within a week of applying, we had the funds in the bank.”
With the working-capital boost, CG Spotless Cleaning could hire the team needed to fulfill a significant new contract with the New York City offices of the Department of Environmental Protection. As a result, the CG Spotless Cleaning team has grown to about 20 employees.
Austen’s energized by his business’s growth and is excited about the future, including adding additional services that will meet his clients’ needs. The company was recently certified for pesticide application, and he’s exploring building-management services, too.
Finding the right financing partner: Pursuit
Many small businesses have challenges finding the financial support needed to grow, but Austen encourages entrepreneurs to turn to local Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) (available around the U.S.) and resources like New York City’s Small Business Services (SBS) for help, as they have many connections in the community, and to keep searching for the right financing partner.
“Even if you’ve heard ‘no’ before, keep looking. There are resources available to help, you just have to be persistent and consistent and you’ll find them. And know that once you find the right partner, everything gets easier,” says Austen about his experiences with Pursuit.
Pursuit offers a range of loan options from $10,000 to $5.5 million to help small businesses grow throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, including loans for working capital, the purchase or construction of real estate, to refinance high-cost business-related debt, and more. Contact us to learn about how we can help you.