Total Cleaning is made up of diverse professionals operating towards one goal – elevate commercial cleaning to the highest possible standards. While they used to be relegated to the shadows because of evening or overnight shifts, it’s important to recognize who they are, their achievements and what makes them special. This is why we’ve launched an Employee Spotlight series to get to know the change-makers responsible for protecting lives and livelihoods in the workplace.
Martell Lopez is a dedicated Field Supervisor. With nearly 10-years of commercial cleaning experience and diverse professional background, this Panamanian native brings above and beyond to the next level.
“Martell leads by example, and she is a natural leader. She will never put her team members in a situation or perform a task that she will not do herself. When she is faced with a challenge, she never gives up and takes charge. She has a can-do attitude always!” – Rolando Perez, Area Manager, Operations
Without further introduction, let’s get to know Martell in her own words…
When did you join Total Cleaning, and what lead you there?
I started at Total Cleaning in August 2018 as a cleaning specialist in one of the elementary schools. My schedule consisted of three nights per week. Before that, I worked at a different cleaning company for nearly six years but took a short break to be home with my new baby. I’ve worked in the cleaning business for a while, but I haven’t always been in this industry.
What were you up to before entering the commercial cleaning industry?
I am originally from Panama and studied three different careers there before moving to the US. I have a bachelor’s in International Relations and received certifications to teach from kindergarten to high school. In Panama, I taught childhood education for ten years before I decided to do something totally different.
Advertising and media always appealed to me, so I started working in radio and TV. That lasted for about two years before I got married, moved to South Florida in 2011, and started my commercial cleaning career.
What certifications/courses have you completed through Total Cleaning?
At Total Cleaning, I received my Custodial Technician certification in January 2021. Before that, I received coaching from my managers and was fortunate to be promoted early in my tenure. When the time came for the team to take the Custodial Technician test, I helped and tutored them through it. I want to always set my team up for success, so I broke the test down into sections and reminded the team of their lessons during training. As a result, every team member passed.
What was your path to becoming a supervisor?
The supervisor role was natural for me because I led a cleaning technician team at my previous job. But it was a completely different type of leadership role because I only led a small team at one client location. At Total Cleaning, I started as a cleaning specialist. About nine months later, Alberto Porras, the Director of Operations, asked me to lead a team of 40 people across various buildings in South Florida. Now that was a challenge, but I welcomed it.
What type of feedback do you get from clients that you find valuable?
My main priority is making sure our clients are happy, so I’m pleased to report the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Clients are delighted with our quality of service, and their affirmations keep me, and the team motivated.
Recently I went to a client’s building and spoke with one of the employees whose office was at the back of the warehouse–you know, the area most people forget about. At the same time, it was a high-traffic office, so there was a lot of built-up dirt and grime. The employee shared with me that he dreaded to go to his office because it didn’t look appealing and asked if I could put a little extra effort into making his floor look nice, even though it wasn’t originally part of the work scope.
I immediately spoke with the team, and we worked together to solve his problem. We moved all furniture and used a cleaning agent, water, and specialized floor brush to scrub out the grime. Usually, it’s a job for a scrubbing machine, but we made it happen with human creativity.
The next day the gentleman was blown away by the work we did. He was thrilled that he could finally feel good about his office and walk into sparkling floors.
“It is very inspiring to get the opportunity to work and lead people like Martell. Her commitment, enthusiasm and work ethics are impeccable! Martell, I’m very happy to have you as part of your team!”
– Alberto Porras, Director of Operations
What steps/actions can clients take to get the most value from you and your teams?
I don’t have a lot of direct contact with clients, but I supervise my team to address the pain points that come up in real-time. Customers should know all they have to do is talk to us about their concerns because resolving them is my priority whether they want a carpet spot cleaned or a fridge detailed. I’ve learned to treat every issue with the same level of urgency. If the request is essential to them, then it’s important to me.
What do you love most about Total Cleaning’s culture?
What I love most is how engaged Total Cleaning is with its staff and clients. Whenever I need to talk to someone in leadership, from HR to operations, management listens and cares about me. No “executive” at Total Cleaning is off-limits. Everyone listens, and they’re all ready to take action on my behalf.
What do you love about your team?
I love everything about my team. I love how everyone is engaged with their work. They never let me down.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Total Cleaning that you would tell your younger self?
I’ve learned to listen and respect everyone’s opinion. So, I would tell myself, even if you disagree, you should always respect other people’s thoughts and input.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in the supervisor role, and how have you overcome them?
For me, it’s like an adventure every day. The challenge is coordinating the logistics of getting my team to the right place at the right time because I’m managing various South Florida locations in a single day. It requires a lot of organization from the moment I leave home to the last site inspection. Every day I’m learning. The key is having empathy with team members.
As a leader, how do you help support your team?
I try always to show my team how much I support them professionally and personally. At the end of the year, Total Cleaning gave everyone a year-end bonus. Instead of keeping it, I decided to use the money to plan a party with my team and Total Cleaning technicians across other accounts. We got together for a nice celebration, and I hope everyone felt appreciated. When it comes to birthdays, I make sure to plan something special. Even if I can’t make it to work that day, I make sure the person gets a cake.
It’s in my nature to care for people this way. It grows from within me. And I am so lucky to have a team that cares about me too. When my birthday comes around, they always go out of their way to celebrate me too.
What would you say to people who are looking for a job and considering a company like Total Cleaning?
If you want to work for Total Cleaning, make sure you are responsible and prepared to be accountable for your accounts. The company understands when unexpected things arise, but you should be committed show up every single day that you can. Total Cleaning values honesty and transparency and promises its clients that it’s a reliable organization, so it needs cleaning specialists who will keep their word.
In return, Total Cleaning will always have your back. The company will recognize you through incentive programs like Employee of the Month, training and promotions, and more hours so you can take advantage of the fantastic benefits.
What is your hope for your future growth at Total Cleaning?
My biggest dream is to dominate and master the English language to grow and expand in all other areas of the company.