Small Business, Big Impact: Scrub Squad



What does it take to build an empire? Sara Elwess knows. This 30-year-old central Oregon native has built a thriving business creating order for families and businesses throughout the Gallatin area. 

It all started when Sara moved to Gallatin in 2015. Her aunt cleaned house for a handful of people and asked Sara to help her out. A few months later, when her aunt decided to leave the housecleaning business, Sara could hear opportunity knocking. After recruiting her cousin’s husband, Samuel Marksberry, to be her business partner, the business took off.  

It’s no surprise. Before launching her company, Sara spent 15 years in the cleaning business, mostly in management roles for small operators and franchisees of large, nationally known brands. She had cleaned it all: residential, commercial, move-ins, move-outs, new construction, car detailing, and more. Over the years, Sara had paid close attention to the way her employers conducted business. “They were all making the same mistakes and creating unhappy clients,” says Sara. “I learned from every one of them.” 

Sara took this knowledge and set out to create an organization that would deliver a better experience for clients. “I knew that I could combine my cleaning industry know-how with Samuel’s business and IT background to create something totally different,” says Sara. 

Samuel Marksberry agrees. In addition to overseeing business operations, he serves as the chief evangelist for the business. “I make sure everyone has the tools they need to create the kind of experience we want our clients to have,” says Samuel, the company’s chief executive officer whose IT expertise is behind the company’s approach to business systems. “If a problem happens, I’m able to resolve it almost instantaneously. This is a big deal in the cleaning business.”  

The company’s approach has created an enthusiastic group of clients who aren’t shy about recommending Scrub Squad to their family and friends. In less than two years, the company has tripled its client base. “We haven’t done any marketing,” admits Sara. “Our growth has been 100 percent word of mouth. We have clients in Gallatin, Hendersonville, Bethpage, and Cross Plains.” 

What’s the best part about running a business in Gallatin? For Sara, it’s the people and the flexibility that being a business owner offers. “I’m a single mom with four kids,” she says. “I can shape my work schedule around the needs of my life. That's huge.” For Samuel, it’s the city’s diversity and small-town feel. “I love the historic square,” says Samuel, “and the people in Gallatin are amazing.”   

Though their focus is currently on Sumner County, they hope to expand Scrub Squad into adjacent counties in the future. “Our plan is to leverage our existing business structure so we can serve people throughout Middle Tennessee,” says Samuel. “We’ve got a great service. We want to create something that puts Gallatin on the map.”