NATHAN AND MAUREEN CRANEY, the owners of Top to Bottom in West Bath. Today, Top to Bottom employs up to nine cleaners and property maintenance staff in the summer months.

NATHAN AND MAUREEN CRANEY, the owners of Top to Bottom in West Bath. Today, Top to Bottom employs up to nine cleaners and property maintenance staff in the summer months.

WEST BATH

Maureen and Nathan Craney, owners of Top to Bottom, strive for a life that allows time to spend with their four growing sons but also offers employment to others who they work alongside and treat like family.

The West Bath couple has worked over the past eight years to build their professional cleaning and property maintenance business, which they said tripled in size just this past summer.

 

 

Maureen remembers back to a lean winter when she worked nights and weekends at the Georgetown Country Store to subsidize her work as a house cleaner.

Her husband, Nathan, had just left his employment with a local landscaping company to help out with the property maintenance side of the business, and to be more hands on with the family’s own household chores and care of their growing family.

While working at the store, Maureen established relationships with locals, as well as property owners who came from away. Noting that “three out of four tax dollars in Georgetown come from people from out of state,” Maureen used her positive personality to connect with what became her new client base.

Today, Top to Bottom employs up to nine cleaners and property maintenance staff in the summer months. Everyone works as a team to clean homes and cottages, as well as businesses such as The Cabin, Bath’s wellknown pizza joint.

Through the winter, the Craneys keep two or three employees on full-time.

“Sometimes people come to their summer homes in Georgetown for a holiday weekend,” Maureen pointed out.

Along with Nathan and the rest of the staff, she ensures that the outside property is cared for, the heat and lights are on for arrival, and everything is polished and pretty. “They can just walk in, enjoy their stay and don’t have to worry about anything.”

Maureen, who knows all her customers personally, said she “fights against visual pollution” and also is quick to add that she and her staff don’t just make a house look good — they make it smell nice, too.

A habitual organizer, Maureen Craney says her favorite jobs are “transformational” — jobs where clutter is reduced and everything is left in order and shiny clean.

Top to Bottom staff specialize in summer cottage maintenance and cleaning, apartment turnovers, spring cleaning and houses that have gone through foreclosure and need to be readied to put back on the market.

The Craneys have sacrificed plenty as they continue to build their business.

Nathan said his wife has worked as many as 120 hours a week cleaning, managing employees, marketing the business, communicating with customers, invoicing and ordering supplies.

He has the role of “Mister Mom,” preparing meals, doing laundry and driving their youngsters to appointments and school activities. The two younger boys attend child care so Nathan can manage and perform maintenance jobs and clean beside his wife and other staff when needed, especially when there is an attic, basement or garage involved.

Maureen’s focus isn’t just on cleaning.

She makes sure her staff is trained, bonded and insured, but also that they are well-provided-for, with a flexible schedule, to ensure they have family time.

She has taken communications courses and says, “I have the responsibility to provide a safe, healthy environment for my employees and realize I can have a positive impact on other people’s lives and attitudes. I discover everyone’s best qualities and put them to use.”

She carries her communication skills to her customers as well, making sure she finds out what’s important to them: “Every relationship is valued.”

Maureen also leads by example in the way she cares for herself: She has the astounding accomplishment of maintaining 100-pound weight loss over a three-year period, giving her the confidence to go forward with the business.

Now fit, she exercises regularly at Ship City CrossFit in Bath, sticks with the Paleo Diet and sees a chiropractor regularly.

One day, she’d like to be the owner of a boutique where cleaning supplies and equipment, as well as custom storage systems, are sold.

“I take a lot of pride in what we do and have a lot of gratitude,” she said. “It’s a blessing to go to work every day and provide for our family.”

To best way to contact Top to Bottom in West Bath is to send an email to [email protected]

KAREN SCHNEIDER, of West Bath, is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]


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