It all began with two people going from business to business — scrubbing, vacuuming, getting the job done. Fast-forward 35 years and those two people have maintained an established cleaning service for businesses throughout Mid-Missouri, leading 60 employees from their Columbia headquarters.
Owners Rob and Susie Cason began cleaning buildings and homes as teenagers. Rob was as an entrepreneur early in life — he would run morning paper routes and, on the weekends, help the local shoe shiner, Susie says.
The hard work in his early life became a foundational principle of their future company. Susie describes Rob as “the heart and soul of Cason Building Maintenance, Inc.”
Building a Family Company
The company began by providing cleaning services for Orscheln Industries, of Moberly, in October 1982. The Casons’ church provided them with an “antique” vacuum cleaner to get them started, Susie says, as well other cleaning necessities such as toilet bowl cleaner and Murphy’s Oil soap. “Our first milestone was completing the first night cleaning for Orscheln and not quitting that same night,” Susie says.
After three or so years, Rob and Susie’s children, Phillip Cason and Regina Cason-Collins, began helping each evening. Phillip was used to cleaning; when he was younger, he and his dad would help Phillip’s grandfather clean the Commerce Bank location in Moberly. Regina, of course, was quick to pick up the family trade as well. They’ve since added close to 60 other part-time employees.
Although business was steady throughout the ’80s and early ’90s, around the turn of the century, Moberly’s economy began to decline, Susie says. It was time for a decision to be made.
“We relocated to Columbia in 2003,” Susie says, “and although it took about three or four years for our company to become known, we eventually began to gain more business as our reputation began to grow.”
While there have been obstacles throughout the years, Rob and Susie handle them with an open mind. “We usually believe in the adage that ‘when one door closes, another opens,’” Susie says. “And that certainly has been the case for us.”
The Casons’ main goal with their business has always been to be successful enough to send their kids to college, which they did — Phillip and Regina are graduates from MU. Their other goal was for the company to “grow and provide quality service and conscientious, hard-working employees for our customers,” Susie says. “We have one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry. Somewhere between five and 10 percent.”
An Unexpected Future
Cason is one of just two janitorial services for the MU Health clinics. Susie estimates there are more than 30 contenders for that contract.
“The work that [Cason and its] employees perform is at the highest level and surpasses any janitorial service that we have used in the past,” says Kathy Cole, administrative assistant at State Farm, another client.
In October 2017, Cason celebrated 35 years of business. “In the beginning, we both thought we’d get the kids through college and then follow a different path,” Susie says, “but we’re both very happy we’ve stayed in this business.”
At the beginning, Rob and Susie didn’t think about their plans for 35 years down the road. They once considered leaving Mid-Missouri, but decided to stay after Susie’s mother passed away. “Our children worried that if we moved, they would no longer have a ‘home’ in Moberly to come to,” Susie says. “So that influenced our decision to stay in the business.”
Cason now serves parts of northern and eastern Missouri as well, including cities like Salisbury, Slater, and St. Louis. They’ve specialized in some areas over the years, such as medical complex cleaning and commercial and industrial office cleaning. Cason also offers free estimates, weekly and monthly facility walk-throughs, security and backup facility security, emergency and disaster clean-up, employee E-verify service or background checks, and more.
Although cleaning is important, Cason goes “above and beyond the highest level of customer service,” says Bobby Goodwin, the manager of the GE energy plant in Salisbury, Missouri, another Cason client.
“We know and understand that a clean and well-maintained facility is one of the most important investments for our customers’ facility image,” Susie says. “And we’re happy to do our best to help provide that image.”
Using materials donated from their church, Rob and Susie Cason start working for their first client, Orscheln Industries.
Rob and Susie’s children, Phillip and Regina, begin helping out for the company.
CBMI continues to grow its customer base and add employees at the original headquarters in Moberly.
Cason relocates to Columbia in order to find a bigger group of clients and establish itself in a healthier market.
Cason picks up big clients in Columbia, including MU Health and State Farm, and expands around the state.
Rob and Susie, with their kids successfully through college, celebrate 35 years in business.