Couple cleans up by running own business
Pam and Richard Idleman started their own business in 1993 when Pam was only 19 years old.
They operated a Servicemaster franchise for 10 years, then launched an independent corporation called I-Serve Facilities.
I-Serve started in 2008 with an office in El Dorado.
The business still has an office in El Dorado, but has a secondary office in Herington.
“I’m a Centre graduate of the year 1992,” Pam said.
I-Serve has contracts with nearly 50 facilities, including schools, medical facilities, manufacturing plants, and government offices.
Four school districts — Centre, Solomon, and Herington schools in Dickinson County and El Dorado schools — are among the facilities they serve.
“We have government facilities in Morris, Butler, and Dickinson counties,” Pam said. “We also take care of churches and banks and private offices.”
One of the manufacturers they clean is in Saline County.
I-Serve employs 70 to 90, but it’s been hard to hire, Pam said.
“The last two years have been very difficult,” she said.
The business has had to pay more, but that means it has to raise prices.
She estimates the company has grown more than 20% over each of the last five years.
“It’s mostly word-of-mouth,” she said. “You work here and you work there, and people are happy, and they spread the word around.”
Starting as a Servicemaster franchise got their feet in the door.
“Things changed with the franchise over the years, and we decided to go on our own and just do the commercial side,” Pam said. “It’s more predictable.”
As a Servicemaster franchisee, they were subject to being called to take care of all kinds of situations at all times of the day and night.
“This is what we felt was the best avenue, to focus on one thing and do it well,” she said.
The Idlemans still operate the business together. Pam’s title is president, and Richard is director of operations.
Their two grown daughters, Sydney, 30, and Laura, 25, work in the family business.
“That’s kind of a privilege also, that they want to do the business and we were able to bring them on,” Pam said.
She said she’d like to see I-Serve grow more in the area.