WOODSTOCK – With only $100 in cash, but a trove of moxie, Geneva McClain staked her claim on entrepreneurialism early in 2012.
McClain started Just Quality Services, of which Just Quality Moverz has become a solid growth business.
It’s been a game-changer for McClain.
She’s gone from a single mother of four on public assistance to a single mother of four able to feed her family and rent a spacious townhome in Woodstock’s Sonatas subdivision.
There’s not a lot of furniture in it yet, but McClain, 35, is on her way, and she’s not looking back.
“I’ve been homeless,” she said. “I’ve been in shelters with my kids. I’ve been all of these things. … If you want better, you can have better. You just have to work for better.”
Right now, McClain uses rented trucks and pays between six and seven employees contractually. For two movers and a 16- to 24-foot truck, the charge is $100 an hour with a two-hour minimum, according to justqualitymoverz.net. Moving services are available within about an 80-mile radius of Woodstock, but travel fees do apply outside of McHenry County, she said.
McClain, who also offers cleaning and small-repair services for movers, as well as post-foreclosure property preservation services, has her sights set on owning her own fleet of trucks – maybe even franchising.
“In my mind, this business is going to be a household name,” McClain said. “They’ll see my trucks coming and know to come to me for their needs.”
It all started with some brainstorming and a friendly nudge from a relative.
“I have a cousin who lives in Chicago. She has her own little moving business, and she said ‘Geneva, you could start your own business, too,’” said McClain, mother to Essence, 17; Jazmine, 14; Mya, 12; and Jayden, 8.
“With $100, I went to Menards and bought a dolly and shrink wrap,” she said. “I went on Vistaprint and ordered some business cards. I made my own comment cards for people to fill out, and I posted an ad on Craigslist. And, voila, eventually I got a phone call.
“What was interesting about the very first move is that I was the mover,” said McClain, who stands about 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds.
McClain has joined the Crystal Lake and Woodstock chambers of commerce.
She routinely markets her business on Craigslist and social media. Word-of-mouth has helped her to achieve a steady flow of business, with as many as three moves in a day during peak moving times.
Having been through one winter season, McClain knows business is about to slow. But not every move can be conveniently scheduled around the weather. And she plans to ensure that people know Just Quality Services stands ready, while also involving her children in the business.
“This weekend my children will be walking around passing out fliers throughout the neighborhood,” she said. “One of my daughters referred me to the parents of one of her friends, and when they booked, I paid her $50.”
Business: Just Quality Services
Location: 1611 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock
Hours: By appointment (seven-day-a-week availability)
Information: 815-403-5422; justqualitymoverz.net