The Fisher Group, LLC is a multi-faceted business firm specializing in commercial realty services and business consulting based in Washington, DC. Founded in 2010 by Ed Fisher, Esq., The Fisher Group, LLC offers business consulting services to small businesses in the District of Columbia. Operating as a subsidiary of The Fisher Group, LLC, Fisher and Sons Cleaning Services, is a premier janitorial services company that offers an array of cleaning services to various businesses in metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Ed was gracious enough to give us some insight into his business venture.
What was the motivation behind starting “The Fisher Group”?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I had my first business card with my name on it when I was nine years old. As a kid I sold basketball cards, I delivered newspapers, and I mowed lawns. So for me to start The Fisher Group, LLC was a natural progression. I guess my true motivation was financial independence and stability. Right now, its generating supplemental income. But ultimately I will to be able to be in charge of my future and the future of my family by generating sustainable income on my own terms.
You have a law degree and you’ve spent most of your adult life in a white-collar setting. What was the biggest mental obstacle that you had to get beyond in the cleaning business?
Honestly, there was no real mental obstacle for me to overcome. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that there is plenty of money to be made in non “sexy” industries. Even though I have a law degree and have worked in white collar jobs, I didn’t start out here. I’ve worked minimum wage retail jobs and I’ve unloaded boxes off of trucks in the cold at 6AM in order to earn money. So mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms didn’t bother me because I knew that cleaning was a means to an end. My grandmother was a maid and and my grandfather was a coal miner. If they did that to support 8 children, why can’t I clean a few buildings to help support my family? After I started the cleaning business, I learned that my paternal grandfather once had his own commercial cleaning business back in the 70’s. I guess it was instinctive.
During the day, you work in the political arena. How important is it for small businesses to build political relationships in their city?
Relationships are vitally important for all businesses whether political or not. For small businesses, relationships play a major part of your success. More than anything, I’ve learned that in addition to the bottom line, business deals get done based on relationships. Political relationships are important depending on what your specific goals are. If you are seeking to obtain a government contract, it is important that in addition to being able to perform competently, you must foster good relationships with politicians and members of the community. Goodwill goes a long way.
You’ve hired employees from the area where you grew up and still reside today. Talk about the concept of hiring from within your community.
Hiring people who live in my community is a personal choice. I feel that I have an obligation to support and hire the young brothers and sisters in my neighborhood. I was born and raised here in Ward 7. I understand the struggles that some in my community face. For various reasons, some of them have had difficulties in finding employment and others simply don’t have the appropriate skills. I hire people with the hopes of simply providing them with a chance to build a resume, and increase their skills so that they can move on to greater employment opportunities. We are all in this together.
Are there any plans to expand the business? Any thoughts about taking “The Fisher Group” into other arenas?
Absolutely. I really just got started with the cleaning aspect of my business in March 2012. I’m looking to secure more private sector contracts in 2013 (The Fisher Group, LLC has no District of Columbia or Federal Government contracts). Ultimately, I do intend to expand this part of the business into other real estate endeavors. I’ve been researching property development as well as property management. However, at the moment, I’m looking to master the commercial cleaning business before expanding. I don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none.
You have two young sons. How do you balance work and family?
I balance work and family by putting a mop in the hands of my young sons and putting them to work! In all seriousness, I’m blessed with a great support team. My family is a major part of the business. I named the cleaning business “Fisher and Sons Cleaning Services” because I want them to share in the experience of being an entrepreneur and I want them to know the value of hard work.
Any advice for those looking to get into this industry?
As far as the janitorial and cleaning industry goes, you can’t be afraid to get dirty. Before I hired my first employee, I was cleaning buildings all by myself. I was scrubbing toilets and emptying trash cans. I would advise anyone who wants to get into this business to do their research. I spent countless hours researching best practices, best equipment and techniques, and how to bid on projects. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find someone who has experience in this industry and ask them for advice. You’d be surprised at what you can get if you just ask.
Ed Fisher, President
The Fisher Group, LLC