Spirit, Endurance, and Faith Lead to Miracles, Prosperity, and Glory

Leon Nelson, owner of Superior Property Maintenance in Florida, is the embodiment of those characteristics. They are also the names of his sweepers. The path of his company can be followed by the sequence in which he acquired his sweepers: Spirit, Miracle, Endurance, Faith, Prosperity, and Glory.

When Nelson came to the land of opportunity in 2007, he was 35 years old and a welder by trade. Having traveled a few times to the US, it was one of his many goals to relocate to the US with his family. Nelson’s first job was as a daytime porter. With that same company, he learned to also be a Sweeper driver.

Like many with an entrepreneurial spirit, Nelson started two sweeping companies with partners that didn’t pan out. When he walked away from his last sweeping company, Nelco, he was wiser than before and determined to choose his next venture carefully.

With no money, a family to feed, and a mother recently diagnosed with cancer, Nelson began Superior Property Maintenance. “I needed to choose the right person to work beside me and am very fortunate to have found my business manager Patricia,” Nelson says, “Patricia is a lady with a master’s degree and a background in health care. You wouldn’t think she would be involved in the sweeping business, but you never know where God will take you.”

When the company started, Nelson had to rent the equipment to complete his jobs. “We only did porter and pressure cleaning and were fortunate to have a place close by,” says Nelson. “My goal is to be a one-stop shop for my customers, so instead of worrying about how much I’m going to make or put in my pocket, I reinvest in my company to buy the equipment we need.”

Spirit

“I have a concept,” says Nelson. “I won’t lie to clients. Some companies will sweep when they don’t have the equipment to sweep. I wouldn’t go out for bids on sweeping jobs when I didn’t have the right equipment to do a good job. I shoot for certain types of properties, without equipment you can’t do it. So, our top priority is having the right equipment.”

“When we found our first sweeper, Spirit, it was so bad that I didn’t want to go in that truck,” says Nelson. “But within three days, we had turned it around. We cleaned it, welded it, got new parts for it, and sprayed it. I named it Spirit because of what it took for me to get up and move again after all that I had been through personally and with Nelco.”

Miracle and Endurance

“As we gained more contracts and waited on the delivery of our next sweeper truck there were times we used our own personal vehicles,” says Nelson. “But it was a process we had to go through to prove ourselves to the clients. We rented whatever we needed to get a contract and grow until we could buy our own.”

At one point, Nelson had hurdles to face each week. “If you can’t handle these situations at a small level, then you can’t handle them when you grow bigger,” says Nelson. “Things don’t even surprise me anymore. I just want to make sure everyone is fine. Equipment is replaceable. Making sure everyone is okay is the priority. We deal with problems. Accidents do happen—I just tell my guys to watch out for everyone else.”

When Miracle came along, Nelson didn’t have any credit or money. It was a truck that had been ordered by Nelco, his former company. Schwarze called and said that the truck was sitting on the side of the road because his former partner had lost all of his contracts and wasn’t going to buy the truck. “I told them I didn’t have any money to buy the truck,” says Nelson. “So, they set me up with a banker that approved me within two hours. They even sent me a check to pay the taxes and everything. We named it Miracle.”

Superior found Endurance, a Schwarze 348 LE, online—where they have also gotten other sweepers when they needed to keep up with demand.

Faith

Before Nelson parted ways with Nelco, they had two malls with Simon Properties. The property managers called Nelson to move their contract to Superior. He knew he couldn’t fulfill the contracts without the right equipment, so he didn’t take it. “But, starting this month, they’ve gladly come back to me now that I have the proper equipment. You have to wait until you can provide the best service possible. You can explain to the client, and let them know your plans. Honesty is the best policy.”

When Nelson started landscaping, he took the time to learn more and had faith that he would find the right people. “You have to be secure in your knowledge. You need to know what landscaping means and what you want from it. The biggest challenge was design. I was fortunate that I had landscaping friends who I could call and get advice. But, you also have to know when to take on a job and when to pass it on. I’ve passed them on to friends, and they’ve passed sweeping jobs on to me.”

Although design sometimes has to be contracted out, the maintenance work stays with Superior. Nelson likes to use John Deere mowers to keep his clients’ properties looking pristine.

When Superior purchased Faith, sweepers were down and they were struggling to handle their routes at their level of service. Nelson was unable to come to an agreement with a seller, but Patricia had faith that they could get the truck and was able to negotiate a great deal.

Prosperity

In two short years, Superior’s client list includes a lot of big name customers like Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Clubs, Miami International Mall, and CB Richard Ellis.

When sweeping properties, Nelson likes to use Stihl backpack blowers and steel, double-plated wire brushes. “I tried the poly broom brushes, but for our type of sweeping down here, I like the wire brushes.”

Because of Superior’s prosperity, they were able to purchase their next sweeper, a Victory Mark II, which represents a turning point in the company’s history. “We wrap all of our trucks,” says Nelson. “They are a moving billboard for our company, but they also show our clients what we can do for them. Our equipment is a symbol of what I can do for you.”

Glory

With the acquisition of the Aventura Mall contract, Superior bought Glory to celebrate. Glory, a S343 Schwarze, lets them do smaller jobs and garages with low clearance. “It’s the biggest contract I’ve ever landed,” says Nelson. “When we got that job, I spent an entire day with my crew and we went over the property to get it up to the standard that I expect. It’s about providing your clients with solutions and giving them what they want even if they don’t know what that is.”

Today, Superior continues to seek out bigger challenges. “Superior grew at a much faster rate than the previous two companies I worked with, but I am still not where I want to be,” says Nelson.

No longer seeking miracles, Superior has faith that the business will continue to prosper enabling expansion of their coverage area and services by next year.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

Resources

■ Superior Property Maintenance, visit www.superiorpropertysfl.com
■ Schwarze, visit www.schwarze.com
■ Victory, visit www.victorysweepers.com
■ Stihl, visit www.stihlusa.com
■ John Deere, visit www.deere.com

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