Hailing from small-town Texas, siblings Cinderella and Merced Bermudez covered plenty of miles and divergent career paths before meeting again in Washington, DC, and deciding to turn Maid to Clean into a family business. From Texas to the countryside in Costa Rica and Cairo, Egypt, respectively, theirs is an inspiring story of entrepreneurial success.
From a young age, Maid to Clean owner, Cindi Bermudez, was a budding business pioneer. Growing up in West Texas, she did what all enterprising local youngsters did: she mowed lawns, cleared trash, and cleaned yards. As Cindi tells the story, it was at age 15 that her entrepreneurial impulses began to gel, and she had her first notable success: earning $1000 selling nachos at the town bi-centennial celebration. Cindi jokes that the nacho endeavor wasn’t much by Fortune 500 standards, but it was the first step on the path that led to owning her own business.
Cindi’s path to success started with a degree in business at the University of Texas at Austin, followed by two exciting and intense years in the Peace Corps, teaching women in the Costa Rican campo to be self-sustaining. After Peace Corp, Cindi made her way to Washington, DC, joining corporate America and working her way up to head of housekeeping for a national hotel chain.
Disenchanted with the long hours and limited reward, Cindi was ready for a change. When wouldn’t you know it – opportunity came knocking as Cindi was in the process of moving into a new apartment. She asked the property manager if, before assuming occupancy, she could clean the flat. The manager agreed. Upon viewing the sparkling results of Cindi’s elbow grease, the manager was impressed, and asked Cindi if she would be interested in cleaning other turnover properties.
Three months later, Cindi left her hotel position, hired two assistants, and formed a company called Cinderella Services. Brother Merced, when in town to visit, would grab a mop and a bucket and join Cindi and her small team to clean for Cindi’s apartment manager and a small but growing roster of clients. A decade later – with a fleet of cars, a staff of 40+, and a highly-successful brand – Cindi invited brother Merced to join the business as a franchise owner.
Younger than Cindi by just a couple of years, Merced took a different career path from his sister. Leaving Texas at age 18, Merced joined the US Air Force, which took him from Spokane, Washington, to Greenham Common, England, to Kunsan, Korea. Along the way, Merced enrolled in evening courses through the University of Maryland and completed his studies in industrial psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Parlaying his international military experience at the end of his tour of duty, Merced signed on with Lucent Technologies as an international human resources professional. As part of a multibillion-dollar telephone and wireless expansion project, Merced’s HR duties placed him in the midst of a multi-corporation technology race for the implementation of 3G networks throughout Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. For Merced, that meant taking part in the recruitment, training, and housing of over 20,000 employees in locales such as Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lisbon, and Rome.
Continuing his tenure in the telecom industry, Merced went on to accept a management position at the Telecom Egypt Network Operations Center project with Hewlett-Packard in Cairo, Egypt. Here Merced gained additional valuable experience, working with USAID and with HP engineering and management teams from all over the world. As much as he enjoyed his years in Cairo, Merced decided, as the project drew to a close, that it was time to shake things up a bit and return to life in the United States.
In 2007, Merced made the decision to move away from the international corporate milieu and explore his entrepreneurial leanings. Joining his sister in DC, Merced collaborated with Cindi to open Maid to Clean’s first franchise office in Bethesda, Maryland.
Putting his marketing, human resource, and people management skills to good use, Merced has increased business at the Maryland office 100%, year over year. Running a small business has been a great challenge – one that Merced has navigated skillfully. The franchise’s exponential but controlled growth has made the Maid to Clean name synonymous with customer service, not only in the DC/VA area, but now also in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Rockville, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park, Maryland.
Stay tuned to find out where the road will lead these enterprising siblings.