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Spotlight - Carrie Pollock, Pollock Construction Cleaning

image Carrie Pollock, owner of Pollock Construction Cleaning

SAN ANTONIO - After about 20 years in Dallas, Carrie Pollock now lives in the neighborhood in which she was raised, off Nacogdoches, near 410. From her home office, she runs her post-construction cleaning business with exacting standards for cleanliness. She stays centered with yoga and meditation after a hard day’s work, all the while keeping negative people as far away as possible.

 


Where are you from?

    I’m from San Antonio, born and raised. I was born in Alamo Heights, over on Davis Court. My parents are life-long San Antonian. My mother was born in Palestine and my dad was born here. He grew up in Alamo Heights. They didn’t have a sports team, so he went over to Jefferson High School, and that’s where he met my mother.

Where did you go school?
    I went to St. Pious Elementary School. Then I transferred to Garner, which was a public school. Classes were small, like 12 people in my class at St. Pious. Going to public school was a whole different operation.

What was this area around Nacogdoches like when you were little?
    Completely different than it is now. Now it’s congested, like every part of the city. It was vacant lots and it was a daydream. It really was. It was beautiful. I remember when 410 was going in. But this was dirt roads and we had a horse at home that pulled a buggy - great fun!

What about your college career and plans?

    I graduated from UTSA with a degree in biology. I was contemplating medical school, but it never came to fruition.

How did you get to Dallas?
    I was married for 20 years. He was a stockbroker, and I started my business there. We lived downtown in a high rise, right next to Crescent Court. We had a beautiful view of all downtown. It was gorgeous.

What were you doing during this time?

    Just playing mother to two girls. Taking care of them was heart-felt, full-time job.

How did you start your own business?
    I had a friend in Dallas and our daughters went to school together and she needed a partner. She asked me to go with her and I thought, “I don’t know anything about construction work.” I went on a few projects with her and introduced myself at construction sites and got to meet all the different construction companies. I loved it from the get-go. It was fun and interesting. From there I transitioned here.

Did you start your own business up there?

    I did. That was in 2007, in post construction cleaning. Believe it or not, there aren’t a whole lot of competitors up there. It was a fun little niche.”

How long did you work with your friend?
    About three years, before I started my own company.

How did you decide to go solo, on your own?
    She was kind of flaky. I decided, “I can do this!” And I did.

Did you find owning your own business satisfying?
    I did, and do. It was intriguing. And every job was different and it still is to this day.

Were there a lot of opportunities up in Dallas?
     Yes, a lot of business. When I transitioned here, San Antonio had just taken off too.

So when you moved down, you just brought your company down with you, correct?
    I transitioned from Dallas to San Antonio but I segued right into work. My first job was Max’s Wine Dive at the Quarry, with Metropolitan Construction.  I started out with good companies and I just got lucky. I transitioned well and I just got right to work here.

How did you find your employees to start with here in San Antonio?
    I started with the Texas Workforce Commission, and I interviewed about 20 people and they all said they had post construction cleaning experience. I got to the jobsite and I had, like, two people show. So I called on an old friend and he staffed me quickly and we got the ball rolling.

What is it like being a business owner?

    I’m not a bossy person, but I like things a certain way. When I go into a place, they have to know my standards and can’t veer from them. I run the show but I try to be as affable as I can.

How did you get to be so meticulous?
    My mother was very meticulous. My grandmother and grandfather were very meticulous. He had his garage perfectly coordinated with jars for everything. My mother was very orderly. She was always cleaning and purging. I got that from her.

When you’re short-manned, do you have to roll up your sleeves and chip in?

    I have certainly done that. I’m not above anything. If I have to do it, I have to do it. Bottom line is my reputation. I’m always under a timeline. If I tell my client I can do this in three days, I have to have it done. I’ve never let anyone down - never, ever, to the best of my knowledge.

What are the steps to post construction cleaning?

    It just depends on the type of job. If it’s a large job it’s usually multi-phasic, so it’s the rough clean, a final clean and what’s considered a powder puff clean.

Tell me about the job in Fredericksburg.
    It is a resort on 2,000 acres; beautiful, absolutely exquisite. Everything is high end. Beautifully appointed. Right now I’m just doing the million dollar homes.

How do you get your cleaning jobs?

    I get invitations to bid, but if I see a jobsite that interests me, I’ll stop and meet with the contractor.

How do you bid?
    Primarily it’s based on square footage, but if it’s a smaller job, then I do it a little differently.

How does the floor material impact your bid?
    It all makes a difference. If I have to strip and wax, that’s a whole different detail and basically a different bid.

What kind of satisfaction do you get when a job is done?
    It’s fun because you see something come to fruition from the ground.

What’s the difference between the final clean and the powder puff clean?

    The powder puff would be when the subcontractors come in and finish off their punch list, and I just basically tie up all the loose ends and make it sellable.

Are there any differences in the contractors you work with?
    Absolutely. I can tell a good contractor from the moment I walk in the door and see how they’re keeping their jobsite.

Have you done any government jobs?

     I do a fair amount of government work as well. I did the Special Forces building on Lackland.

What do you do to unwind apart from the job?

    I spend a lot of time at home, with my animals: Charlie (my female shepherd), Brother (male cat) and Pink (female cat) - all rescues. I cook almost every night, enjoy wine and friends. I have a workout area in my backyard. I strive to keep my life as simplistic and drama-free, as possible!

Any good adventures lately?
    I took Cape Air from Boston to Rockport, ME. My sister lives in South Thomaston, ME, half the year. We visited Camden (where another sister has a home, Rockland and Rockport, where I learned the story of André the seal. There is a statue of him at Rockport Harbor. We ate at Primo’s in Rockland and The Waterfront in Camden. My sister’s neighbor, who is a lobsterman, brought steaming lobsters over one night for dinner. It was a beautiful, placid, tranquil trip that I will cherish for years to come!

What does the future hold?
    I kind of live in the moment. The moments are good and life’s very good.

    Pollock Construction Cleaning specializes in post-construction cleaning in San Antonio. - dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net