We are honored to have Gentian Mazreku, also known as “George”, a successful small business owner in New York, and CEO of G’s Carpet Cleaning. Gentian started to work in the industry at the age of 15 and decided to open his own company at the age of 27. By managing to successfully develop a great presence on Instagram and collaborating with influencers on Instagram, G’s Carpet Cleaning has become one of the most popular house cleaning services in the Tri-States. Insisted on using plant-based products to clean his clients’ houses, Gentian showed us his strength and vision as a successful entrepreneur in New York. He not only shared his takeaways in life to aspiring young entrepreneurs but has also taught those aspiring entrepreneur lessons on utilizing more resources when they need, such as business loans for startups. Do you want to know his secret on surviving after being jobless in the first few months in his startup? Do you want to know how to survive as a small business in New York? If you are a fan of G’s Carpet Cleaning’s Instagram account or seeking success stories from an entrepreneur who has a struggling past, you would not want to miss this episode!
Angela– On our eighth episode we welcome George Mazreku, how are you, George?
George– I’m good, I’m good.
Angela– So George used to be employed by a major carpet cleaning company, but now you own your own business because you like they use way too many chemicals and just the customer service issues, you just didn’t feel like you fit in so you named it “GC’s Carpet Cleaning”. It is one of the most popular carpet cleaning services in the tri-state area.
Angela– How did you – I know you did work for them but you know, how did it come about? What made you decide to do it?
George– So I started doing carpet cleaning when I was 15.
Angela– Oh wow!
George– I had no intention of ever doing this, or I didn’t know what I was doing.
Angela– Like most of us.
George– Like most of us- and so I was approached by a gentleman that knew my father- in Queens. You know, I was a big kid
Angela– Right, tall.
George– He was like, ‘Hey, I need somebody to help me work. And I was 15 so I asked my parents, and they were like ‘ Why wouldn’t we want you to pay bills and around here,” at 15. I started working and working. Years go on and I think I worked for this guy for about 4 years.
Angela– Oh wow.
George– So I was about 19. So I went to another company after that and after the third and the fourth company. Every company got bigger and bigger in a more large scale. At 27, after working all those years, you know the clientele that I was seeing, the owners that I was going to – they were kinda opening my vision. Wow, if these people could have it, why can’t I? These people put in the work,
Angela– You’re putting in the work already.
George– Exactly, why don’t we all put in the work. That’s really what comes down to, the work. So I said, ‘Okay, I want to open my own company.’ And it wasn’t really the chemical aspect of it, but more of the customer service. So when I work with someone, you’re limited to how much you could do for your clients.
Angela– You wish you could change how things are.
George– Exactly, and that was the forefront of why and I was about 27, that was 4 years ago, (this July will be four years) so you know it feels like it’s been forever. So I’m about to get married and quit my job, whatever savings that I had, (I won’t say how much, but it wasn’t much.) I was getting married, I had a wedding and everything, I had to invest in equipment and marketing, and figure out whatever money I spent on the wedding and partying, whatever I was left with I was going to open a company.
Angela– that’s it
George– That’s it, literally scariest moment of my life. I took the risk and of course, we’re European, so my parents wanted me to always have a ‘Safe Job’ or school (…a doctor, a lawyer, etc.) I did go to college, I went to Queens College, my initial idea was to be a pediatric physical therapist. I always loved kids, I loved helping, I wanted to help kids with that were born with muscular and mobility, things like that. So that was kinda my goal-so I spent three years at Queen’s College, but it just wasn’t for me, it’s not for everyone.
Angela– And it was for the right decision.
George– Yeah, I think so. So fast forward and I opened up the company and I got married; I have no jobs. No one’s literally calling me because they don’t know about me.
Angela– And how did you go about it, how did you put yourself out there?
George– I just called people that I knew, like building managers,-cold calling
Angela– Did you ever go in person?
George– Here, and there. I would go to like restaurants and stores and be like ‘Hey can I clean this for you?’ and everyone would say no. I was just a kid off the street to them. So I started the company and I created the name, got the equipment, but there’s no work coming in- And at the same time, I was going to start a family. So the stress even more.
Angela– I know that feeling. (smiling)
George– I felt the stress, and I realized I had to quit this idea and get a regular job; but if I had done that I would’ve been miserable right now. So I believe in Karma, and the Universe and how everything that we do in life comes back to us. All my life I’ve done more for people and did more than what they originally asked for. And I feel like the Universe was all “Okay, you’ve been through a tough time, and there was like 3 months where I had no work. I was living off my savings, and my parents were amazing and helped me out. 3 months of stress. So I’m in the hospital, my wife gives birth and the minute my little daughter arrives; the next day I get a phone call from someone that I cleaned for years ago, he was like, “Hey, I don’t know if you remember me but you worked for a company and you did an amazing job and I want you to do something for me.” I was worried that I may get in trouble you know, but I was like you know what, I’m going to do it. So the guy’s name is Reno and he is a restaurant owner and he is literally my first customer. He gave me a shot by letting me clean his entire restaurant on Long Island for him. And I never looked back, it started from there.
Angela– With that being said, I see a lot going on on your Instagram stories so what is the hardest part of your job?
George– There are two different roads- so one of the hardest parts that we’re dealing with high-end items, like a $50,000 sofa, which is pretty scary on its own. But with social media nowadays, if you do a good job you’re in demand. So pleasing everyone and getting to everyone is difficult. If you were to call us now, we would be booked until May- we have clients from Hamptons, Manhattan, Jersey, and Connecticut.
Angela– So I watched your social media grow, your followers keep on growing and I think you do put out really good content as well. You create content that people would want to watch such as the results that come from cleaning the carpets, do you think this is what keeps your followers entertained? Do you get a lot of calls through social media?
George– We do, I would say 90% of our phone calls are social media (Instagram).
Angela– So you don’t utilize other platforms such as Facebook to market?
George– We don’t, I actually don’t market anywhere else besides Instagram. I do weekly and monthly promotions.
Angela– Do you run ads on Instagram?
George– I do, but a lot of it is organic and a lot of references. Our main group of clients are staying at home moms, who are into the content and they enjoy seeing how we renovate and refurbish home items like that.
Angela– And you work with a lot of bloggers too, do you find them or they find you?
George– Well there was this designer named Josh (an amazing guy), my first major influencer that I worked with was Lisa Jacobs from “Imagine It Done,” she has the professional organizing company and she literally put me on the map. We did some work for her and her fans were in love with the idea of cleaning. She was into organizing and design which goes hand in hand. But we do work with others as well- Lindsey Lane, she’s amazing. Influencers help a lot because so many people trust them.
Angela– And I’m sure they shared your work on their Instagram.
George– Yeah, and because they are so trusted and that’s why people would follow them so it really helps.
Angela– So have you ever ruined carpets?
George– I have, now that I own my company and we are certified in regards to different fabric materials and chemical reactions. When I used to work for other companies they didn’t invest in their employees as much. But it happens, but I have educated myself regarding the right products and have even launched my own carpet cleaning product which is safe on all products, but you do get these chemical reactions and people think carpet cleaning is like water and soap-but there’s so much more to it.
Angela– So you said you make your own products right?
George– Yes, our carpet cleaner product is 100% plant-based and they’re natural so there’s no scent- so it’s safe for pregnant women and kids, etc.
Angela– So I’ve seen how well your product is doing, how did this idea come about?
George– That came about pretty much on the basis that I wanted to expand on G’s Carpet Cleaning I didn’t want it to be just a service, in between cleaning I wanted people to have a product that they could use safely and keep their home clean. I use it at home so I know it’s safe and effective for everyone to use, and it’s been selling like crazy.
Angela– what is the farthest that you’ve traveled for a client? I know you do the Tri-State area but have you ever traveled beyond that?
George– I’ve gone to Pennsylvania
Angela– Oh wow, that must’ve been a long drive.
George– It was a four-hour drive, but it was for a college that had these dorm houses. There were roughly 20 kids in one house and it took us two days.
Angela– Since your company is doing well, are you planning on expanding? How many employees do you have at the moment?
George– Currently, I have three full time employees. We are planning on expanding, however as you can see through our Instagram stories, the homes that we go into and their caliber are extremely high end. Some of the clients that we service have high expectations- so it’s difficult to scale and expand our company while maintaining quality. For me to be able to trust someone into my home takes a lot, especially when I’m not there. Additionally, if people book our service because they see me on Instagram, and I don’t show up, how would they feel about the service?
Angela– Because you are the image of the company. Now let’s go back to when you first started a business- did you ever take out a loan? And what advice would you give to others who are considering taking out loans to start their own business?
(Especially, since the APR rates are so low now?)
George– When I started, I didn’t really know much about loans and we were never educated about it. My parents came into this country with however money they had so they weren’t educated on loans and credits like that and neither was I. When I started this, it was really my father that helped me with purchasing the equipment in the beginning.
Had I been more educated or had someone say “Hey take a business loan.”
Angela– If you had utilized these funds, you would’ve spent the early three months investing in the marketing, hiring a team, PR, etc.
George– You’re totally right, it’s probably the best thing people can do. It’ll help you get farther faster, especially with the APR being crazy low and good right now, especially with the right company like Celeri. I feel like you can benefit them a lot in the long run with $5,000 or $10,000 you can jump-start your dream. Because for every day you’re not doing it, someone else is jumping on that opportunity.
Angela– A lot of people are scared of getting into debt but-
George– People do get scared of owing money but let’s $10,000. If 10 grand is going to help you build your dreams and make you happy; that shouldn’t stop you. Take the chance.
Angela– So if you weren’t doing Carpet Cleaning, what would you have been doing?
George– Right now, I’d probably be doing real estate.
Angela– Let’s ask a personal question- about you. What is the most interesting thing about you that other people don’t know?
George– That’s a great question, I think I’m a sucker for a good Rom-Com movie, like The Notebook, even Disney movies (Frozen). You just have to be people friendly these days, and not many people and not many contractors are friendly these days in general. We’re people-friendly and want to give that customer service! And you know people trust us and trust us with their homes and I think that’s the difference between us and other companies.
Angela– Yeah that’s amazing! Well, thank you so much!