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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 5 years ago

Cleaning company begins again ... again

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Clear Advantage Cleaning is on a mission to rebrand, following the unplanned loss of its company website.

BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Lynn Walter is no stranger to reinvention.

Six months after taking over what is now Clear Advantage Cleaning, a pressure-washing business at 341 Parque Drive, in 2003, he had all of his equipment stolen. He then expanded into pool service in 2006. And now, in preparation of the company’s 10th anniversary in February, a clerical mix-up led to the loss of his online domain name and website, along with its decade-worth of web history.

But none of those setbacks keep him down. Along with his business consultant, Lee Murray, Walter plans to use the loss as an opportunity to rebrand his business, building a new image, once again, from the ground up.

“We were already working on (a rebranding campaign),” Walter said. “With the website going down, though, it really fast-forwarded that, almost immediately.”

“It pushed us to redefine who we were,” Murray added. “(Lynn's) used to starting over.”

What was just a few weeks back Clear Advantage Services is now Clear Advantage Cleaning — a slight name change, but one that reflects loftier strategic shifts

Aside from the new website, planned to launch in January, Clear Advantage now has a new logo, new business cards; they use smart phone apps to send clients detailed price estimates, as well as before and after photos of their work; they plan to start hosting community service projects and events; and Walter is making sure that social media becomes a true centerpiece of his marketing campaign.

It’s all being done in an effort to raise the bar of expectations in their industry, Walter says. Just because they do blue-collar work doesn’t mean they’re not white-collar businessmen.

“We used to be a guy in a pickup truck,” Walter said of Clear Advantage. “But we kind of morphed over the years. ... Our business model is changing, partly because of our branding.”

Throughout his tenure in Ormond Beach, Walter has also made it a point to help others start over. Through a church affiliation, he traveled to Haiti in June to develop and advise a group of nine startup entrepreneurs. And he plans to return to offer additional aid next year.

It was also through the church that he and Murray met.

“We just sort of felt God leading us to move to Port Orange,” Murray said, adding that his wife had an old school friend involved with Restoration Port Orange church. “We really felt a calling to come help them.”

Although the church is out of town, it’s there they met Walter, who, in addition to refereeing high school basketball games throughout Volusia and Flagler counties, is involved with the church’s nursery and leadership programs. Murray ended up living in Ormond. And today, his consulting firm is based out of Walter’s office — at least until he finds another place.

Having only moved back to Ormond Beach from Birmingham, Ala., a couple weeks ago, Murray is now trying to make a go of entrepreneurship himself, after consulting for larger firms the past five years.

He’s always wanted to own his own business, he says, and he thinks he knows what it takes to be successful.

“Professionalism has to be the thing that separates us from the competition,” he said.

As for Clear Advantage, he added, it isn’t just a pressure-washing company that also happens to clean pools anymore. It’s a cleaning company — and its workers are “the cleaning professionals,” as the company’s new tagline clarifies.

Locally, the pair is brainstorming ideas on how to promote city cleanup initiatives. After all, it’s here where the company claims 80% of its business. And this kind of community service works perfectly into their plan to rebrand based on “core” values: Support the community; encourage competitors; and learn from suppliers.

The entire plan, it’s all written on a whiteboard in the pair’s office. They see it every day. They believe in it. Up there on that wall isn’t just words and ideas; it's their futures.

Call 252-4447, or visit www.clearadvantagecleaning.com.

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