“There is no better conversation starter than a kilt” according to Daniel Noel, a lifelong Kentuckian and UK grad who just launched Men In Kilts Lexington. The window and exterior cleaning company is the first of its kind in Kentucky and only the 14th in the US. Prior to starting the business, Noel worked for a decade and a half as a recruiter.”
He says of his prior career, “sometimes it felt like being on a treadmill. It was a different kind of hard work and often difficult to feel like you were making real progress. And there were a lot of factors beyond my control. With Men In Kilts, it’s simpler. Hire good people. Train them well. Do good work for our customers.”
And it’s hard to beat the immediate gratification. He says, “One of the best things about the job, by far, is how visible the results are. When I was recruiting it was sometimes difficult to feel a sense of accomplishment. With Men In Kilts, you get to see the results and get that immediate feedback from the customer. It’s my favorite part.”
Customers say those results are their favorite part too. He says this time of year is perfect for Spring Cleaning, “I really encourage house and pressure washing so people can enjoy their outside spaces while the weather is warm. When you’re grilling out or chilling on the deck, you want to have a good time versus thinking ‘wow I need to do X, Y, and Z out here.’ That’s where Men In Kilts comes in; we can knock those things out and get them off a homeowner’s to-do list.”
DIY home projects are always popular in an economic downturn, but that doesn’t always mean they’re advisable.
Noel says, “Nothing prevents a homeowner from buying a pressure washer and doing the work. But you’ll want to do research and take your time. For instance, you don’t want to use high pressure on your siding. You don’t want an errant wave of the pressure washer to spray dirt, mulch, or landscaping rock everywhere.” He says “the right skills, the right chemicals, the right specialized equipment and training make all the difference.”
There’s no such thing as a typical day for a new business. His days, as an owner, are “a mix of sales, marketing, recruiting, training, and accounting, plus any cleaning where I’m onsite. For technicians, it’s more focused and that’s a good thing. They’re either measuring for estimates or doing service jobs and both those things really come down to being friendly, setting accurate expectations, and doing quality work.”
Starting a business in the middle of a pandemic is “not without its challenges,” he admits. “The labor market is definitely tight and, like so many other businesses, we need employees who have a strong work ethic and are great with customers. But the added dimension for us is the kilt. I’m not just looking for cleaning technicians willing to wear a kilt. I want people on the team who can rock a kilt!”
So, why the gimmick?
Noel tells us, “The official story is that ‘in 2002, a Vancouver-based Scotsman fashioned a hand-sewn kilt to put a friendly visual on his otherwise faceless window cleaning company.’ But the real answer, in my opinion, is that the kilt makes it fun — for our customers and for us! We don’t ‘suit up’ for work, we ‘kilt up.’ And it’s awesome. Our customers know it’s us when we’re coming up their driveway. Strangers will stop and ask us about the kilts. I’ve had people ask to take pictures of/with me — which is cool and I always oblige.”
Just remember: no peeking!
The business is a family affair. He explains, “My wife has been in marketing her entire career and she helps on that side of the business. My son has been out with me canvassing neighborhoods.” And they all love giving back to the community. “Whether it’s the Shamrock Shuffle or the Mutt Strut, we like to throw on the Men In Kilts gear and do our part.”
Daniel and Leslie have been married for almost 14 years, and their son Elliott just finished fifth grade. When asked if his son’s first job will be as a “kilted cleaning technician,” Noel laughed and replied “I don’t know but it would be kind of awesome if that happens. I just want to set an example that being honest and working hard pays off.”
The Noels enjoy the Hamburg side of town for the same reasons many HJ readers do. Daniel says, “we love the area because of the people (we have great friends in Andover) — and the parks. Jacobson is a particular favorite. When it’s warm we head there for the playground, the sprayground, and the lake for kayaking. Our son goes to a week of Camp Kearney every summer. In winter, we head there for sledding and to walk around the pine forest which is gorgeous when it snows.”
Men In Kilts is the premier exterior house cleaning service serving Lexington, Kentucky. Call 859.972.7154 to schedule a free estimate.