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Cleaning Is a Family Affair

Sisters build a future for their families while keeping their community clean and healthy

Porfirio Sisters The Porfirio sisters (from left) Elvira, Bernarda, Leticia, and Maricela received the 2019 Certified Business Owner of the Year award from JAN-PRO.

Cleaning is a family affair for the Porfirio sisters of California.

Wanting a better work-life balance for themselves and their families inspired the four sisters to start their own business together. After researching different commercial cleaning franchise options, the sisters opened JAN-PRO Cleaning & Disinfecting of San Diego in 2008.

Business aspirations

Originally from Toluca, Mexico, the Porfirios held various jobs prior to entering commercial cleaning. Elvira worked in radiology and cared for an elderly woman. Laticia cleaned houses. Maricela was a housekeeper. Bernarda assisted her husband in construction. However, as mothers, they all sought to work more flexible hours, have the opportunity to be their own boss, and earn better or additional income. 

“I can earn as much as I want,” Bernarda said. “Also, I can manage my time so that it makes sense for me.” Maricela agreed. “I saw the flexibility in the schedule. But the most important thing was the growth potential,” she said. 

Their journey as business owners has included learning how to set up their business, manage it, and develop leadership skills with support from their franchisor. They are now considered strong businesswomen and leaders in the Latino community in which they serve. 

Paul Mascarenas, who has worked with the sisters since 2008, offers them high praise. “Professionalism, ambition, stay-with-it-ness, business-minded, kind, courteous, and team players all around,” he said.

Porfirio Sisters

A family business

The sisters are now teaching the same skills they have learned over the past 14 years to their children with the hope that they might one day join them in the family business.

“This type of business has the opportunity to be done as a family,” Elvira said. “I personally am teaching my son how to work and be a businessman and my franchise is a business.”

“I decided to make this a family business because it is something that we can all contribute to and help each other in the future,” said Maricela. “It also teaches my children and teens good ethical skills.”

Bernarda’s husband left his construction job and is now a cleaning specialist for the company. 

Impact on the greater community

The sisters are helping other families in their community too by providing employment opportunities and referrals. “I have referred five other families to JAN-PRO who now have a franchise,” Elvira said. “They now have steady income. Also, I bought my house in California and other families also now have a home.”

“My business has impacted my community by promoting a clean environment that disinfects work environments,” said Maricela. “This makes the community feel safer and happy knowing that it is clean.”

Future growth

The sisters plan to keep growing their family business. “In the next five years, I see myself growing the business even more and hiring people to help me,” Leticia said.

The business financially supports their family while giving them more time to spend together. It also brings them a sense of pride they can carry forward into the next phase. “All my hard work means that I am able to support my family—knowing that the work I am doing is producing results that are important to people,” Maricela said. 

Amy W. Richardson

Managing Editor, Cleaning & Maintenance Management

Amy W. Richardson is managing editor of Cleaning & Maintenance Management. She has more than 15 years of experience editing and writing for trade and consumer publications, community newspapers, nonprofit associations, and websites. Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies with an emphasis in journalism from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

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