Written by Michael Draper
This issue we interview Sheila Smeltzer in North Carolina. She tells us how she got in business and why she remains passionate today.
AWC- Where are you located?
Sheila- A+ Pro Services, Inc is located in Shallotte, NC. We are in the south eastern coastal region.
AWC- What services do you provide?
Sheila- We provide High/ Low pressure cleaning, window cleaning and commercial janitorial primarily. We also specialize in glass restoration.
AWC- When did you start in the biz?
Sheila- A+ Pro Service was born in 1999, but I incorporated as President and 100% owner in 2006.
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AWC- What made you want to clean windows or own your own business?
Sheila- My ex husband, Andy, was a professional window cleaner when I met him. We met in Colorado and after moving to North Carolina, started our family and opened A+ Pro. We were the first window cleaners in the area at that time. I was busy raising children and booking appointments, he worked in the field. After some tough years we had a blow out one day and divided all of the equipment. We had one hispanic employee at the time who witnessed the entire thing. When I turned to him, he said “Sheila, I stay with you”. That kid taught me how to do the labor and I worked like a man for the next several years, pressure washing and cleaning windows. So, I guess you can say, this industry chose me.
AWC- What changes have you witnessed in the years you have been operation negative and positive?
Sheila- Everything is always changing. I embrace change. Issues in the industry like safety, glass surface information, soft washing vs pressure washing....heck, look at the advancements in pure water and water fed poles. Same is true with marketing, software and applications we have available. I can measure roofing squares for a roof cleaning project by snapping a photo on my phone! It’s just amazing. You have to stay on your game to be a leader in this industry.
AWC- You're passionate about Glass Science and you sit on the Glass Committee of the IWCA why?
Sheila- Back in 2005, my ex husband had started a multi unit town home construction window cleaning project. About half way through, and just after we had separated, I was served a judgement for $65,000 of scratched glass. That’s when I found the IWCA. I was searching for answers. I couldn’t figure out why some glass units scratched while others unaffected. The path that I have embarked on since, with my involvement in the glass education committee has yielded a passionate position that we must be knowledgeable about and protect the integrity of the surfaces we work on, even when there is a lack there of.
AWC- What challenges are unique being a Women Owned Business?
Sheila- No problems for this chic! I mean it. I have NEVER in any way felt inferior in dealing with clients, employees or colleagues. I have had clients tell me that they feel more comfortable doing business with a woman. The only challenge was the physical labor, but I’m a pretty tough and athletic gal from the mid-west. With that being said, without the support of my male service techs and team members, I would be limited now that the work has become more technical. The men on my team are real supporters of A+ Pro, and at the end of the day, me as the leader. I bust at the seams to hire women too. I am so fortunate to have them all!