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Small Business Spotlight - PuroClean

PuroClean is a 24/7 emergency service business specializing in water, fire, smoke restoration, mold removal, content cleaning, pack-outs, reconstruction, biohazard cleanup, and disinfecting services.  Part of a larger franchise, PuroClean Restoration Specialists of Albany, NY is family-owned and operated by Justin Patnode, who is dedicated to providing excellent customer service no matter how big the company gets – a legacy he intends to pass down to his family and children.

Patnode transitioned from a corporate sales and management position, where he earned a comfortable income to start over to chase his dream – a choice that would require sacrifices to be made by not only him but his family as well.  After establishing his PuroClean franchise, he would continue to face other challenges as the business grew, requiring him to become more experienced and efficient while building a great team. 

There are many layers to the challenges that business owners will face throughout their career, and PuroClean found the first year in business to be the hardest. “The first challenge I had, in the beginning, was time management, sacrifice, and quality of life. I wore many hats,” states Patnode.

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“I was out selling and marketing, answering every phone call, recruiting, training new employees, while also on jobs physically working. I would work many months without a day off.”

Today, he can delegate better than he did in the beginning, running the business instead of letting the business run him. “I am still very engaged with my business, I just have a more balanced quality of life now,” says Patnode. 

The most current challenge he faces is finding additional staff.  “We had to learn to adapt our business to new changes and challenges. Although we have a great team, finding additional employees to add to the team as we grow has also been difficult.” Patnode is trying to overcome this obstacle by using recruiters and investing more money to find employees - although even the recruiters are struggling to help them fill their current position in Sales and Marketing. Patnode remains optimistic despite these hurdles. “We always figure it out,” he states. “It just might take more time.”

If given the chance to start over again, Patnode would take a larger, more calculated risk to be able to scale up quicker. “Either way, I am grateful things are going well and I learned to take more risk now. You have to push yourself but be somewhat comfortable with the risk you take.”

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While Patnode stays open-minded and strives to learn and take advice from other business owners, he offers this to new business owners:

“Learn from everyone and learn from your mistakes. I have learned things from my employees and even my 14-year-old daughter. Be open-minded and humble.” He adds “some other advice would be having a vision, a plan, stick with it, stay positive, work smart and hard but make time for yourself.  Find something you enjoy doing, focus on your health, and have a strong mindset.”

While he acknowledges that life may never be the same, it’s important that we adapt, be grateful and focus on the positive. Patnode stresses the importance of great communication, transparency, and leading by example   

Patnode would define success as happiness, gratitude, feeling accomplished, having excellent health, flexibility to do the things that make him happy, and the ability to provide for his family. He also enjoys helping others and inspiring them to reach their own goals. As he looks to the future he envisions a growing business that continues to provide top-notch service while maintaining a great internal culture for employees. 

PuroClean found a partner in Sunmark Credit Union after Patnode used them when he purchased a new home. He describes Sunmark as positive, helpful and welcoming, and uses them for both personal and business banking needs. “At the local branch, they take time to get to know me.  When I walk in, they know my name and are very welcoming” he states.  “With their help, I have been able to use their funds to help me grow our business.  It’s been great and if we ever had any issues, they took care of it immediately. Our experience has been great!” Patnode would recommend Sunmark Credit Union to other business owners, citing their ability to manage PuroClean’s multiple needs and feeling like they really care about him and his business.