Category: Blog

Feb 20 2016


2015 Wrap Up!

A Note From Stephanie

Tomorrow our company officially wraps up 2015. We do this with our annual employee appreciation dinner. Awards are given , times are celebrated. Your generous gifts at Christmas are drawn for and there is so much excitement that surrounds that. We thank you for an amazing year. It was our best yet and we are striving for an even better one.

This year we were able to help more clients through Time In a Bottle and our client list almost doubled. Our staff was the MOST consistent it has been in years. This tells us we are doing a better job with our hires and we work hard here.. It’s a tough job market and we are PICKY. As I say that, we also have a couple out on medical leave. Mandy is having surgery today on both hands due to diabetes complications and Kristine begins Chemo next week for the fight of her life. We ask for your prayers.

We also ask for your continued patience as we aim to give you the consistency you have been lacking as we transition new staff and rearrange teams for our staff that are on leave. We also have many that are being promoted with our growth! Such an exciting time.

This isn’t a career choice for many, for some .. Yes. I find the mind and body typically handles this job for about one year if they truly are not a lover of all things clean. If it’s in their nature? We are the company to work for! We have many that are at a year and as always, we are preparing for our future and for your continued Absolutely Clean home.

Molly will be transitioning to our Quality Assurance manager. Her job will be to make sure our staff are all trained to give you the same clean, each and every time. Communication is key here for all of us. Thank you for the feedback you give us. We try hard to make sure we listen and follow through. Molly has been with us for 3 years.

Toni will be partnering with Molly from the office side. She communicates with our teams and dispatches them daily. She also visits with you, our client and makes sure our teams are up to date on your desires. She’s a great addition to our teams.

Julie is transitioning to solely handling our admin… Accounts payable, receive able and payroll! She also handles our new client acquisitions and making sure our team managers are working to achieve a rock star day. You won’t feel much difference here, this is mostly an internal change.

  Elaine is back with us and we are very pleased. She is transitioning to our commercial supervisor and helps during the day with our residential teams as we make the adjustment.

As the owner of this company, I am quite proud of our reputation and the hard work we have put into this community for almost 16 years. Thank you for your continued support and we promise to give you our all in 2016. I take my commitment to the 25+ employees very seriously and our mission to give you an Absolutely Clean home while fostering service to others… To heart. We are #morethanmaids

– Stephanie Nesseth
  Absolutely Clean
Time in A Bottle Inc

May 01 2015

11091246_10206298868889598_8302335637502018746_n– It’s that time of year again – the time when I say “Congratulations on your son or daughter’s upcoming graduation”. I UNDERSTAND what you are experiencing as my daughter Grace, is my last bird to fly the nest and will be graduating from Xavier this year. I have three… yes. … THREE spots reserved for my home that week.

It’s such a stressful and joyful time of the year. I am already feeling my shoulders relax just knowing our teams will be caring for that aspect for me. I want to EXPERIENCE all those last moments and not worry about who is cleaning the house,

If your normal clean doesn’t fall that week, PLEASE call us TODAY as we are booking solid NOW and I’ll call in some old staff to help us make sure we can accommodate you! Our office will even jump in when we need to. We have your back.

– I also wanted to address a common complaint we are receiving. We are hearing quite often that you don’t like having a different team each clean. Let me explain how we schedule … I’m not sure this perception is accurate.

GalCarpetCleanWe do our very BEST to make sure that at least ONE person that is at your home HAS been there before. Rest assured that ONE person knows your home and is professionally trained to teach the partner they have that day. We work very hard to make this happen. . IF that’s not possible then they are both out sick and if you WANT we can pause your cleaning for that week until they return, you will be charged for that very prime spot on our schedule if you choose this option, however part of the joy of hiring a “service” is that we have other processes in place to always give you an Absolutely Clean home. Our staff are thoroughly vetted and if I don’t feel comfortable leaving them in my house. . WITH small children and all my valuables??? They don’t’ work for us. I’ve spent almost 15 years now building this company and I don’t take that lightly. I know you trust our staff and me with the key to your home. We KNOW what that means. PINKY SWEAR!

spraybottle– We have some new “green” products we are testing right now and LOVE – I think you will find your showers and tubs extra sparkly over the next few months.

– Congrats to all of our families and our 2015 graduates!

– Congratulations to Becky – not only did she have her year anniversary but she has been hired to take over Amber’s position and will be the voice you hear on the phone along with Julie.

Feb 03 2015


Below is a featured article in Cleaning Business Today, February 2015 Issue, by our very own Stephanie Nesseth! Click Here to View the full Article on

When you learn to delegate more than just tasks, and to share your expectations clearly with your staff, then you’ll know what true control of your business and its future feels like.

By Stephanie Nesseth

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 10.10.54 AM

Stephanie Nesseth is owner of Absolutely Clean in Cedar Rapids, IA. She is also president and founder of Time In A Bottle, a non-profit organization that provides free cleaning services to parents of children with life-threatening illnesses.

As 2015 gets started, I have reflected a lot on the last 13 to 14 years that I have been a business owner. This is the year that I will truly be overseeing the company as CEO.

I have been the absent CEO for a couple of years, and I thought I was overseeing. What I really was doing was running all of the marketing plans. They were generally very successful as marketing is fun for me so it’s easy. I was hoping my marketing plan would grow my company. I kept waiting for those numbers to move, assuming that everyone knew exactly what was in my head and how I wanted it to happen.

The problem? I forgot to let everyone else know what my clear expectations were. I also made the assumption that my face didn’t need to be seen. I assumed that my policy, our procedures and our branding, were enough to make those numbers climb. It was enough for many years, but as we grow from a small company into a mediumsized company, the leadership and our mission continue to need my voice.

Leading = The Right Message to the Right Consumers

The keys to any successful marketing plan are consistency and follow up, with an awesome and creative call to action. A good plan has a clear call to action: call -> email ->make it happen. Right? You don’t just throw your logo out there and hope your prospective clients get the message. Your logo can speak, but you had better be clear about your message, and you had better make sure you get that message to the right people. If they call, you must listen, and you must be clear on what you will do and what you expect from them as well as define what they can expect from you.

Leading = Track, Measure, Analyze, Adjust

When I related steering my company to a marketing plan, it all became very clear to me what I needed to do. In no time the stress, the tension and the “why can’t they read my mind” steadily dropped away. This philosophy can be used through every aspect and level of our company. We have seen a drastic drop in our employee turnover to 14% in 2014 from over 300% in previous years. The number would be lower if I pulled out those who didn’t make it past day one of orientation. That’s a pretty awesome number for us. As in marketing, if you can’t track it, there is no way of knowing if it’s working for you. We track everything in our company now. We discuss it weekly and I allow my leaders to lead. We “trust but verify.”

Leading = Modeling Core Values and Sharing Clear Expectation with My Team

I know that I have a lot to learn. My biggest lesson in becoming the official CEO of Absolutely Clean has been humbling myself to look in the mirror and see what was missing. Often we experience burn-out as entrepreneurs. When I look, I find my energy again. The irony here is that I have gained more control with my clear and defined leadership, and it’s allowing me to let go – to gain more control by letting go.

The key to letting go for me has been the clarity with which I speak to my leaders and making sure that the message is being spoken from the top down. We all train our replacements every day. The goal is to make every person at Absolutely Clean as passionate and clear about our goal as I am. We are succeeding. We also are only as good as we were yesterday. Every day we aim high.

Oct 21 2014

Absolutely Clean and Owner Stephanie Nesseth are honored to be featured in Cleaning Business Today! Below is the article!


Concern for health and desire for time leads to winning growth formula for community-oriented cleaning company.

stephanie-nesseth-CleaningBusinessTodayCBT: Tell us about when and why you started Absolutely Clean.

SN: I had dabbled in Nursing school, had been a stay-at-home-mom for 12 years and had taught pre-school. For a few years, I was the director of a facility in Nebraska. But when my son was diagnosed with cancer, I had to find a job where I was in charge of my schedule

At that time, I was on the procurement committee for a local charity and had collected a gift certificate for one of the franchise maid services. They told me that the $65 gift certificate might clean a kitchen – and that was 15 years ago. So when it was time for me to make choices about what kind of business to start, that concept was always in my head because I’m a rock star cleaner with a touch of OCD.

CBT:  How large is your company now and how big would you like it to be?

SN:  Today, Absolutely Clean has 20 employees, though we operate comfortably at 25 with our current client base. We’re not quite large enough yet to consider opening a second location right now; for that, we will need to grow to about 35-40 employees.

CBT: One of the things you’re known for is your seasonal update of your logo. How do you keep the new designs fresh while staying true to your core brand?

SN:  I have a great designer – Right Eye Digital – in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. His team knows who we are and hits it on the head every time. I have only sent a design back once; they consistently nail it on the first try. He listens and has a great eye for our style and concept.

CBT: Through Absolutely Clean, you work hard to raise money and awareness for various community outreach programs. How do you balance your marketing and community outreach efforts?

SN:  My cleaning company, Absolutely Clean, is definitely a for-profit company, and I also have a not-for-profit organization, Time in a Bottle, through which we donate cleanings within our local community.

My secret: I have a great team, and we advertise through the community. Instead of traditional flyers that list what we can do, we highlight how you can help us give back to the community.

People want to do business with us because of our mission; part of the Absolutely Clean mission statement is “fostering service to others.” We believe strongly in that. In fact, we had an employee quit once over this part of our mission, writing on the exit statement that “all you care about is giving.” True story. If we are not promoting our annual carnival, then we have a monthly charity we’re working with. I network with our food bank and the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, to name a few. And leaders in our community also seek us out for networking. It’s a win-win. We don’t sell a clean home; we consider that a “given.” We sell time.

CBT: You’re among a small but growing group of cleaning business owners who find it valuable to make the professional products you use available for your clients to purchase from you. How do you make it work – balancing both service sales and product sales?

SN:  We believe strongly in the products we use professionally, so we want our clients to clean in a healthy manner when we are not there. We don’t worry about them wanting to clean on their own; buying the products we use doesn’t necessarily save them the time we sell, but it does ensure that the air they breathe is healthy between visits. I mean, we all have to clean up after ourselves after dinner!

Read more ...

May 28 2014

In case you missed it, check out this fantastic article about Absolutely Clean and Time in a Bottle. We wanted to share our pride!

We know your time is valuable and we train a service heart to our staff. We embrace time as our most important asset here at Absolutely Clean.

We are honored that you allow us in your home.

The Gazette – My Biz:
Cedar Rapids maid service cleans homes, businesses

Absolutely Clean hires moms needing flexibility

By Katie Mills Giorgio, correspondent
Published: May 22 2014

Liz Martin/The Gazette Stephanie Nesseth, owner of Absolutely Clean

Stephanie Nesseth is the first to admit that her house doesn’t always get cleaned. But she has a good excuse.

As the owner of Absolutely Clean in Cedar Rapids, Nesseth is making sure that the homes of all her clients are absolutely clean.

“We are a maid service that cleans everything from top to bottom, left to right,” Nesseth said. “We’ve even done laundry before. Our services are really customizable.”

Nesseth spent many years as a stay-at-home mom and preschool teacher before starting Absolutely Clean 14 years ago. “I didn’t start this thinking I would become a business owner,” she said.

Back in 2001, Nesseth was looking for full-time flexible work, as her family — including her son who battled childhood cancer — was her first priority.

After gaining some clients, Nesseth quickly realized there were other moms out there who needed flexible work and could assist in her expanding business. “Hiring those who needed flexibility was my business model. It keeps loyalty high and employees happy.”

Absolutely Clean has about 18 full-time employees. Nesseth said her business runs optimally with about 25 employees. They work from 8:45 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m. — sometimes until 6 p.m. — to clean client homes.

“Some clients we don’t even see. Others we will spend 45 minutes in a consultation interview before we clean their house for the first time,” explained Nesseth. “Either way is OK with us, because it’s their home we are cleaning.”

Absolutely Clean also operates a commercial division with part-time staff who work evening hours. Nesseth said she especially enjoys helping her employees grow. “We are more than just maids.”

Most people underestimate the amount of training her staff goes through, Nesseth said. “Even our staff is surprised after their first week how much focused attention they get.”


Liz Martin/The Gazette Krysta Roling of Cedar Rapids (left), quality assurance manager and trainer at Absolutely Clean, watches as trainee Taylor Risden of Cedar Rapids dusts the top of a fish tank in the Absolutely Clean offices in Cedar Rapids. New employees spend 90 days in training in the office and in the field.

That training is important to help Absolutely Clean fulfill its mission.

“It can be tough upholding our own mission of treating everyone like they are number one,” Nesseth said. “We are truly fostering service to others and you have to coach service. This work is more than scrubbing toilets.”

Nesseth said their willingness to “pick things up” at Absolutely Clean sets them apart from other such companies. “We are pretty detailed in our work. I don’t feel like it’s clean if we don’t pick things up. And we mop on our hands and knees.”

Another unique element of Absolutely Clean is its complimentary organization, Time in a Bottle, which cleans for families of children battling cancer and is offered free of charge.

“Unfortunately there is too much demand,” Nesseth said, noting her need to create the nonprofit organization to support the work they do.

Time in a Bottle operates with donated hours from Absolutely Clean employees and donations. They also host a yearly carnival fundraiser, which is coming up on July 12 and is taking the majority of Nesseth’s time in the office these days.

Nesseth also spends a majority of her time focusing on marketing. “I like to network in the community.” She has the help of two managers that run the day-to-day operations. “They let me know at the end of the day how things are going.”

And while she is no longer in the classroom, Nesseth said running her business can be a lot like teaching preschool at times.

“I’ve learned to be very humble, to listen without thought of replying and to not sweat the small stuff, which is cliché but true. I’m always learning.”

Time In a Bottle


The mission of Time in a Bottle INC, is to provide precious “time” to parents that are dealing with the hope and care of their children becoming survivors. There many ways to help, donate your time, become a sponsor to one of our events, or Flock a Friend! Follow the Link to find out more!

Click Here to Donate


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