Drives Immaculate Sweeping to the Top

Every small business owner wants to know the secret to building a successful business. Drive and passion are two top qualities among successful CEOs and Derek Grieco, owner of Immaculate Power Sweeping has them and knows how to reenergize.
Grieco’s dad, Angelo, started Immaculate Power Sweeping in New Hampshire in 1992 after selling his 10-year-old sweeping company in Florida. After Grieco got his driver’s license in 1988 at the age of 16, he drove a cabover sweeper for his dad on the weekends and during his summer vacations. “He instilled in me a good work ethic,” says Grieco of his dad. “Which is good because my dad passed away at the age of 55 in 1996, just four short years after starting Immaculate.
“My father and I were working together in a litter sweeper when he suffered a severe heart attack. I was driving down the highway with him when it happened. Spotting a police officer, who had a vehicle pulled over, I pulled behind the officer and ran for help. Paramedics responded quickly but my dad passed away in my arms.
“The very next night, I was back in the driver’s seat. It’s what we do as sweeper owners, we gotta keep going. At 24, I had to step up and take control of the business.”
At that time, Immaculate had two cabover sweepers. “We quickly found out that those wouldn’t cut it in New England as they had in Florida,” says Grieco. “Shopping centers and municipalities use a lot of sand for vehicle traction during the winter months up here. If we wanted to be a reputable sweeping company, we needed to provide mechanical broom sweeping to pick up the left-over sand. We bought our first broom sweeper in 1997 and have been turning brooms everyday since.”
Today, Immaculate runs 19 sweepers: 12 Isuzu cabover Schwarze and Victory units, three Elgin Broom Bears, two Athey Mobils and two Elgin Crosswinds.

BUILDING AND INNOVATING

Grieco has continued to research and learn how to be the best in the business. He works on three tenets: never give an excuse, always get the job done right, and do everything in your power to schedule the job so they don’t look elsewhere.
In addition, simply being in business and doing a good job for the past 22 years has gotten their name out there. “We have not missed a scheduled sweep in more than 15 years, we are responsive, answer the phone and give no excuse. The only time we cannot provide service is when the customer is outside of our service area. We want to stay on top and be known as the best!”
Each one of the sweepers is heavily lettered with their web address and phone number to advertise Immaculate Power Sweeping. Grieco also joined 1-800-SWEEPER two years ago. “The organization that Mike Lucht has put together is truly unbelievable. Being a part of it, which is well marketed and managed, has definitely kept Immaculate on top. Give Us A Call And Experience The Difference!”
Joining 1-800-SWEEPER brought Grieco his biggest challenge: lots of customers. “This past spring we received so many calls from 1-800-SWEEPER that trying to get those customers scheduled combined with our regular customers and municipalities was a challenge. But I have to say, that’s a pretty good problem to have! Our mechanical broom sweepers were going 24 hours-a-day, six days a week.”
Success breeds success and Grieco has grown the company from two to 23 employees and from two to 19 sweeper trucks. He also added five Chevy dump trucks, four Bobcat skid steer loaders, three front-end loaders, numerous snow plows and stainless steel spreaders to meet his customer’s needs.
He also implemented Xora, a web-based job dispatching and tracking software. “The system allows for the use of excel spreadsheets to be uploaded, which dispatches the jobs to our employees. This made scheduling extremely manageable. We would be lost without it. Every dispatched job has the site address, contact name and number, and turn-by-turn directions between jobs. It tracks travel start, job start and job end times for every job we do. We no longer need to write up directions or keep giving addresses. When a job is completed, the system can automatically email the customer the job report or automatically email my wife Kelley, who works in the office, the report so she can create an invoice. This is very helpful to keep track of completed jobs, time spent on a job and job cost.”

THE POWER OF MANY

Grieco is a member of NAPSA, World Sweeper and 1-800-SWEEPER. “Knowledge is power, and that’s what we get for being part of each of those organizations. Going to my second Sweeper Summit last November has helped us a great deal. We were able to network with the top companies in the nation and share ideas and best practices–it was unbelievable! When my wife Kelley and I returned home from the summit we could not wait to get back to the office and get working, due in-part from being inspired by the speakers and people we had met.”
Being a part of a group and a network has other benefits as well and many sweepers have joined together to combat a trend that they feel is bad for the industry. “Big box stores started utilizing national vendors, and in my eyes, it is the worst way to do business. Every one of these national vendors has come up with their own system to report services. Just the time spent on reporting services can become a full-time job, not to mention working for free. We have started saying no and have seen the tides starting to turn a bit. I feel we will all be doing business directly with the customers again within a couple of years.”

POROUS PAVEMENT MAINTENANCE

Immaculate has approximately 30 customers with porous pavement and gets weekly calls from potential customers asking about pricing and frequency because they’re thinking about installing porous pavement.
“We started getting calls when porous pavement became popular a few years ago,” says Grieco. “We researched it online and found that mechanical brooms could not be used because they would not pull anything up from the pores of the pavement. The first few jobs we used a Schwarze 348LE and managed to get by, but we needed more air and hopper capacity. After conducting a bit of research, we came across a very nice Elgin Crosswind in California. We took a chance and purchased it hoping it would do the trick.
“The first time we used it was at a large IRS building in Andover, Mass. where new construction was taking place and porous pavement was being installed. They had us sweep the initial binder layer of porous at the end of each day during construction to keep the asphalt as clean as possible. The Crosswind did just that!
“We have had great success maintaining porous pavement for the IRS, The University of New Hampshire and numerous projects with the Elgin Crosswind. Since porous surfaces are becoming so popular, we just purchased another Crosswind earlier this month.
“Every porous pavement customer gets a binder with a picture of one of our Crosswind sweepers cleaning porous pavement on the cover. Inside, we’ve outlined best practices for maintaining the porous pavement and a log sheet where the customer can record the date of each cleaning and the company that performed the service.
“If you have porous pavement to sweep, I suggest sweeping with a regenerative air vacuum sweeper like the Elgin Crosswind, Tymco 435/600 or an equivalent sweeper. Clean the surface three to four times per year to keep the pavement from clogging. We suggest that amount because of the harsh weather and elements we get up north. Do not wait until water does not drain to try and clean. Maintain to avoid clogging. Do not apply sand during snow/ice events. Do not use sealcoat on porous pavement.
“There are no pitfalls to cleaning it. The only pitfall would be for a customer not properly maintaining it and having it clog up. As of now there is no solution to unclogging the porous pavement, so to avoid that, maintain by sweeping three to four times per year.”
Grieco’s drive and passion has kept him engaged in the industry and up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. When porous pavements began dotting the landscape in New Hampshire, Grieco ensured that his company would know how to keep them clean and unclogged.
It takes passion to be engaged in what you are doing and that engagement will encourage you to be the best in the business, which is exactly where Grieco is today. He surrounds himself with other engaging business leaders and strives to create the best sweeping company in his area.

story by Jennifer Taylor

RESOURCES
Immaculate Power Sweeping: www.immaculatesweeping.com
Elgin: www.elginsweeper.com
Schwarze: www.schwarze.com
Tymco: www.tymco.com
Victory: www.victorysweepers.com
Xora: Mobile Workforce Management – Optimized Field Services | Xora

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