Mike Jackson was born in Athens, and had a decorated 20-year career in law enforcement both here as well as in the Birmingham/Homewood area. He is one of those Athenians who is related to everyone, and 95% of his family still lives here. He calls law enforcement the “family business,” and many of his kin in the area have been a part of the thin blue line. He is now the third generation in his family to have a “career in cleaning,” beginning with his grandfather, James Hobson Vinson, who was custodian for West Limestone High School in the ‘60s. He remembers as a little boy being with his grandpa there at WLHS while he “made everything shine.” His father, Roger Jackson, started his own cleaning service called Alabama Cleaning Service.
Mike absolutely loved law enforcement, but a knee injury forced him into medical retirement in 2012. His knee would no longer allow him to be one of the members as well as trainers of the S.W.A.T. team in Homewood. He also says, in reference to some of his favorite things about law enforcement, that he had a good time “getting paid to run around on a Harley,” riding in special events, doing undercover work, and providing what are known as “explosive breaches” when necessary. (Note to bad guys: if you are holed up somewhere, and the S.W.A.T. team arrives, you don’t want to be on the business end of an explosive breach.) He was the recipient of many awards from the force, and was chosen as the Chamber of Commerce Officer of the Year.
He returned to Athens, decided to do “something different,” and realized that in spite of the recession, research indicated that a cleaning business could be profitable if run well. He started Valley Cleaning Service, and while most of his business at the moment is in Huntsville, Athens is home to Mike and his family, and he wants to increase both his commercial and residential business in Limestone County. As we were chatting, he made an interesting comment about the cleaning business in general that made me think, and that is that a business that is clean is “good for everyone.” By that he meant that research indicates that for business owners, having a commercial facility that is well maintained translates into less employee sick days, less missed days in general, and better performance on the part of employees. Makes sense.
Mike says that what makes Valley Cleaning Service unique is that they treat their business as though it is a franchise, but specialize in customized programs for both homes and businesses. “We give personal, local service, and if you call us, you’ll get us, not someone at a call center in Atlanta. If there is a problem, we will be right there to fix it.” He also says that they come to make a detailed assessment of the site, work with the client’s budget, and “we tailor make the service to exactly what the customer wants.”
Recently at a Vital Living Expo, a woman from India won a free cleaning for her home from Valley Cleaning Service. Her home, it turns out, was spotless, but Mike wanted to be a man of his word, and so he did yard work for her, even though that is not his usual gig. He does do some exterior pressure washing and light yard work, but cleaning is far more his “thing.”
I was happy to hear that he uses green products as a matter of course, not only because they work well and are safer, but he is the one who has to be around the ingredients on a continual basis, and therefore has a vested interest in staying well. He uses lemon scented Simple Green, a highly recommended non-toxic product for hardwood floors called Bona, and does our grandmothers proud by using a goodly amount of vinegar and baking soda. “I research every product before I use it,” he says. He then added, “I ask about allergens, and all of our vacuums have HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filters.”
His very favorite projects are those connected with new home construction. He takes great pride in what he calls “making it perfect” for the new homeowner. “It’s all ready for them when they move in,” he said.
Mike is a member of BNI, an international business networking group which has chapters in Huntsville, and recently “pitched” what I thought was a grand idea. Soon Valley Cleaning Service is going to offer a special gift package for expectant mothers that will begin with coming in to do a deep clean the week before the baby is due, and then design a custom package to help out the new mom with cleaning after the baby has arrived. I doubt there is a mom alive who would turn that down.
If you are looking for a cleaning service that makes it their business to make your business or home shine, the team at Valley Cleaning will more than fill the bill.
Valley Cleaning Service
Mike Jackson, Owner
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner