Organic Cleaning Marin owner wins Latino Business Leadership Awards

Jaime Perez


Organic Cleaning Marin

4340 Redwood Highway, Suite F224, San Rafael 94903


Jaime Perez, owner of San Rafael-based Organic Cleaning Marin, is a 2021 winner of North Bay Business Journal's Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Tell us your story and that of your organization: I emigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in 1990 with $90 in my pocket and no English. Soon, I joined the ranks of service workers in the home and commercial cleaning industry.

At that time, the use of harsh chemicals was the unquestioned standard. However, over the years, I experienced a revelation, as one after another of my co-workers developed cancer and died.

I just felt there had to be a better way to clean, without being exposed to toxic materials. I founded my own company in 1992, still struggling to learn English.

By 2008, I’d taken my company, Organic Cleaning Marin completely organic, eco-friendly green, which also pleased my growing client base.

I founded the nonprofit, Cleaning 4 Kids, in 2018 as a way of giving back to my community. As individuals who honor family and community, my team and I decided that serving Marin families who have a child fighting cancer would give all of us the deepest satisfaction while providing a needed service to families who already have enough to worry about. Currently, our geographic focus is assisting families in Marin County, California.

I have three children. Daniela, 21, will be the first in my family to graduate from college in about a year and a half. She is pursuing a degree in sociology from Sonoma State University. My other daughters are Anita, 8, and Emily, 4.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

My company grew a lot in the last few years. My biggest accomplishment has been getting my company to a comfortable six figure benchmark. My team has helped, and I want to help them to live a better life in Marin. It is very expensive here.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

That would be seeing my daughter pursue her dreams through education – I didn’t even finish high school here. I’ve been helping her financially because I know how important education is and I want her to follow her dreams. I am very proud of her.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Hiring people. In the last 6 months, I’ve hired at least 10 people. Most of them just came and went. But I kept telling myself to stay positive.

The next one could be the right one and that proved to be true with the last person I hired. There is a big shift taking place. People are leaving the kinds of jobs they used to do and are looking for something else, though they might not know exactly what that is.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

I am happy to see that people in my community are opening new businesses. Even during these difficult times, they are working hard and taking the risks to get a better life. The greatest challenge they face is learning the language.

Words that best describe you: Tenacious, visionary, goal-oriented, thoughtful and compassionate.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

To start over in a new country was hard and so many people told me I couldn’t do it, or shouldn’t do it, especially if I couldn’t speak English.

The biggest obstacle was coming to believe in myself and my ability to be successful. I joined BNI at a pivotal time in my life and also started working with a business coach. Building a network helped and so did learning from other business owners.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

As a small business owner, I have to believe that things will continue to improve. The world is still changing, and those changes bring new opportunities into existence. People will continue to work from home and continue to want fewer chemicals in their lives.

After the big changes over the last two years, the only certainty is that things will keep changing.

Who was your most important mentor?

I’d say, Steve Napolitan, my business coach. He believes in your ability to work less, if you work smarter. More business, more life.

One very important lesson I learned is how to delegate more effectively, focusing on what is important, not trying to do everything myself. Hiring the right people is very important.

Tell us about your community involvement: I founded Cleaning 4 Kids and that is one area where I feel involved in the community. I enjoy doing volunteer work.

Right now we are looking for a carpet cleaning company to collaborate with, one that might be willing to provide services on a limited, volunteer or sliding scale basis.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Get a mentor.

It’s a challenging time for all but the COVID-19 virus has been especially tough on the Latino community. Tell us your experience either personally or with the group or company you work with in dealing with the economic impact of the virus.

The first year was tough for everybody – the whole service industry came to a standstill and people really suffered. That was a challenge for everyone, not just the Latino community.

What are the lessons of this difficult year – including the COVID-19 virus, the economic downturn and the fires – for you and how has it changed your outlook for the future?

The lesson may be learning to adapt to the “new” – whatever it is. We need to learn to adapt because things will keep changing.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Tony Robbins. I got to meet him last year, through one of his workshops.

Current reading: “You are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter,” by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Most want to meet: President Obama

Stress relievers: Walking on the beach, doing meditation

Favorite hobbies: I am going to learn how to play guitar.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?

I think through all of this, we need to stay positive. All this year, I’ve been trying to practice that.

Jaime Perez


Organic Cleaning Marin

4340 Redwood Highway, Suite F224, San Rafael 94903


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