Montgomery Business Journal

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MBJ, Centaur Building Services
Lacy Miller (right) is vice president of operations for Centaur Building Services and Lisa McClain is in charge of business development.


Cleaning Up

Centaur Building Services Does It All

October 2016
By David Zaslawsky 
Photography by Robert Fouts

PNC Bank personnel told Centaur Building Services Inc. that they “had never seen so much management so often.”

Lisa McCain, who handles business development for the commercial cleaning company, said that “other companies have phantom management, but Centaur’s is always ever-present. We want to make every business that we service feel that important. If it’s the 2,000-square-foot (office) or a Hyundai – we want everybody to feel like they are that important to us. That’s what sets us apart (from rivals),” she said.

The firm has an extensive and comprehensive quality assurance department with the goal of correcting any issues before they become problems. Quality assurance “acts like a separate department when they go in and have these inspections,” said Lacy Miller, the firm’s vice president of operations. If there are “any discrepancies” they are given to operations, which has a 24-hour to 48-hour window to respond, Miller said. “This is a proactive step that we’ve put into place.”

Miller and McCain are also examples of Centaur Building Services promoting from within. Miller started her Centaur career in sales, moved to quality assurance and moved up through operations. She tells new employees during orientation that “if you show hard work and dedication with Centaur, you will be noticed and you will be promoted.”

McCain she first worked in the firm’s human resources department, then quality assurance, and moved up in operations, where she oversees sales and marketing for the Centaur offices in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham. “You start out as a general cleaner and you could end up being business development,” McCain said.

It’s also the employees which set Centaur apart from competitors, Miller said. “We take the time to recruit, interview. We drug test. We background screen and we train. In addition to that – it’s the benefits we offer,” she said, referring to health insurance before it was government-mandated; one-week vacation after one year and two weeks after two years and increasing after that; 401(k) program that includes 50 percent company match; six paid holidays a year; and bereavement pay. She pointed out that all employees – from cleaners to management – receive the same benefits.

Centaur is different from rivals because it can handle both the small job and the very, very large jobs that require bonds and insurance for which a smaller commercial cleaning company may not have the funding.

Some of the firm’s largest clients are the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama facility in Montgomery; Alabama Power’s headquarters in Birmingham; Honda manufacturing plant in Lincoln; Alfa Insurance, Montgomery Cancer Center, Jackson Surgery Center, Rheem Water Heaters, SYKES Enterprises, and PNC Bank branches. The company added two Tallassee-based companies this year: Neptune Technology Group and Hanil USA, a supplier for the Hyundai plant. Last year, the firm ventured into the Atlanta market by adding about 75 PNC branches.

The firm, which Miller called a “hybrid commercial janitorial cleaning company, is a female-owned, debt-free company based in St. Louis with 1,500 employees and $33 million in revenue. Centaur cleans carpets, chairs and partitions; and offers construction cleanup services, general maintenance, pressure washing, window cleaning, painting, grounds maintenance and parking lot maintenance.

Cleaning fees are based on square footage, but other factors come into play. A class-A office building will have a higher rate than a manufacturing facility because “the scope of the work will be more detailed,” Miller said. Alfa Insurance hired Centaur “to dust every night, where a manufacturing facility might say once a week,” Miller said. A medical facility needs “all of their surfaces sanitized,” she said.

The annual fees range from $100,000 to $2 million, according to Miller. The minimum square footage is usually 250,000, but because the firm has an office in Montgomery, Centaur will take on any size job and as McCain said: “We do it all – educational, medical, manufacturing, industrial.”

Because Montgomery is considered a hub, human resources and payroll for the Southeast are handled here. “If our Mobile office or Birmingham need additional support it would come from Montgomery,” Miller said.

Years in business:
12 to 15 years

About 450



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