Black Immigrant Daily News
Jamaican entrepreneur Ingrid Murray has been ranked 1001 on the coveted Inc. 5000 list with her New York-based business, Prospect Cleaning Service (PCS).
Prospect Cleaning was also recognised as New York’s best woman-owned business for 2021.
The company is a city and state-certified, minority woman-owned business that provides building and maintenance services in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
During the pandemic, the company landed several multi-million-dollar contracts, including with the Metro Transport Authority (MTA) to clean subway stations across New York and Grand Central Terminal – the largest train station in America.
Interestingly, cleaning ladies and janitorial services are often scoffed at but the pandemic showed the world that it is an essential service and one of the most needed for domestic and commercial spaces.
For Murray, the pandemic catapulted her company to “the recognition that we always deserved.”
“Cleaning is considered a menial job. A lot of people see cleaning as just a mop and broom thing… and it was a hard sell to get people to realise that it is much more than that. It is about chemistry [and] biology,” Murray told Loop News noting the impact of a clean environment on one’s health and productivity.
Ingrid Murray and her husband Courtney Murray in 2018 via Prospect Cleaning Services Inc, Facebook.
The 46 ear-old-year-old, who took over her husband’s carpet cleaning business eight years ago and transformed it into an award-winning entity, said the Inc. 5000 ranking has, positioned the company to attract larger and even more affluent clients.
“America is very big, and being in a country where there are over 300 million people and hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and to be ranked 1001 means that we are doing something right,” she beamed.
“There are people who want to work with other successful companies, so if you are in that particular space, you are going to be respected because as far as they are concerned, you are doing something right,” she reasoned.
Inc. magazine publishes its list of the 5000 fastest growing, privately-owned companies in the United States each year.
PCS’s “exponential” growth rate of 651 per cent over the last three years cemented its ranking at 1001.
“The Inc. 5000 listing was a big surprise. I didn’t expect to get there that fast. It has put us in a different stratosphere in terms of small businesses,” Murray said of the prospects for growth that emanate from the listing.
The achievement takes on even greater significance for her, as she relishes being able to fly the banner of her Jamaican heritage in helping to cement the country’s name in the annals of history.
“I am very proud. Coming from Jamaica a couple of years ago and being able to hold this position is a wonderful achievement, and we intend to capitalise on it,” she said.
Ingrid Murray shows off the WBE Award of Excellence presented to Prospect Cleaning Services Inc for Outstanding Service as a Women-owned Business Enterprise presented at the Competitive Edge Conference 2021. Photo via Prospect Cleaning Services Inc, Facebook.
Having accomplished this feat without it being “a set goal” on her list of things to accomplish means that she will now have to craft a specific goal “to surpass” the accomplishment, she reasoned.
“I used to say I want my business to be the best cleaning and maintenance company. I’m very competitive. Most of the time, I am competing with myself [asking myself], ‘What is the next big thing that I want to do? What is it that I want to surpass and doing my best to create and build a team to enable me to achieve that audacious goal.”
She is now mulling several strategies.
“I’m contemplating whether to franchise my business, sell it or go public,” she said.
She declined to give details of the company’s annual revenues but said the client base has grown from “just over 25 clients to almost 1,000.”
Revenues have grown “exponentially,” she said, adding that she has managed to attract larger and higher-paying clients over the years.
“It isn’t just based on the number of clients but the calibre of clients. Even though I did not initially have a large clientele my numbers were always big because I am servicing big clients [through larger contracts…” she said.
Murray, who grew up between Duhaney Park and Hellshire, previously held the role of group accountant at United General Insurance Company and was responsible for 37 of its subsidiaries, PCS shared.
Like many in the diaspora, she finds ways to give back to her home country. She has adopted her past community of Hellshire and hosts initiatives there every September, October and December – assisting students, seniors and residents alike.
She has also shared the delight of Jamaican Christmas traditions in the US through her cakes and sorrel, which she makes and delivers to her clients in person every year.
By Tameka Gordon