UTC student learns from father, starts own business

UTC student learns from father, starts own business

July 31st, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Donnie Mars, owner of New View Window Cleaning, poses for a portrait on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus Monday morning. Marsh is currently a business student at the university.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

• Name: New View Window Cleaning

• Location: Chattanooga

• Contact information: Owner Donnie Marsh, 352-672-3532

• Products/services: Window cleaning and pressure washing for business and residential customers

• Age: Marsh has 20 years of experience cleaning windows with his father's business in Gainesville, Fla., but started New View when he moved to Chattanooga in December.

• Family history: Marsh has cleaned windows for nearly all his life. When he was a child, his father would take him to work so the two could spend time together.

• Getting started: Marsh came to Chattanooga to pursue a master's degree in business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "I moved here never wanting to clean another window," he said. But window washing offers a steady income, and Marsh soon found himself starting his own business. "I'm really enjoying it. When I said I never wanted to clean windows again, I didn't even consider the possibility of owning my own business."

• Future goals: Marsh plans to apply his studies to running the business. He hopes to continue to grow it past graduation, one day possibly franchising. "I will never sell. I want to keep doing this," he said.

• Target market: Small commercial customers don't pay as well as residential jobs, but home work is seasonal, hitting mostly during pollen season and right before the holidays. Marsh hopes to split his time between the two types of clients to keep business steady and sheltered from economic factors outside his control.

• Biggest hurdle: Networking to find customers. "I didn't really have any connections," Marsh said. "It didn't really matter how good I was if nobody knew who I was." So Marsh joined the local chapter of business networking group BNI. Now he pulls about 75 percent of his business from people he met through the group.

• Biggest reward: Owning his own business. Marsh said he wouldn't trade anything for the ability to set his own rates and schedule, allowing him to spend time with his friends and family. "There are so many positives," he said. "If it is possible for you to work for yourself and survive doing it, you should."

-- Compiled by Carey O'Neil. If you have an idea for a small business feature, contact reporter Carey O'Neil at coneil@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil.