UF entrepreneur cleans up as maid
Chris Stephens, a UF electrical engineering senior, polishes a floor during a house cleanup for Student Maid Inc. Thursday.(Matt Tripp / Alligator Staff)

When Kristen Hadeed started cleaning houses two years ago, it was a way to earn a little extra money on the side.

Her clientele grew, and other students began asking her if they could earn a little extra money on the side, too.

In the spring of 2009, Hadeed, 21, a UF finance senior, said she enrolled in an entrepreneurship class, where she began thinking seriously about expanding her cleaning circuit into an incorporated business.

In late July, Paradigm Properties, a company that owns 24 apartment complexes in Gainesville, offered Hadeed a contract. They needed a business to help with cleanings during turnover, the period of time in between residents.

With a $3,000 investment, Hadeed incorporated her business, Student Maid Inc., and coordinated the cleaning of six Paradigm complexes.

Her small-scale cleaning operation ballooned from eight students to 60 licensed and insured employees protected with workers' compensation.

Hadeed works from home and estimates she puts in more than 80 hours a week.

Student Maid Inc. headlines in residential and commercial cleaning, but employees can also be hired to assist clients with party preparation and cleanup, Hadeed said.

Hadeed said the company's Web site, studentmaid.com, will soon allow potential clients to type in basic information about the service they require and receive a quick estimate of the cost.

Chris Stephens, a 21-year-old UF electrical engineering senior, began working for Hadeed over the summer and now cleans four to six hours a week.

"The good thing about the job is that Kristen understands if I have a big test or a project due," he said. "She knows how it is to be a student, and she lets me work around my schedule."

Student Maid employs more than 45 UF and Santa Fe College students, and Hadeed is hiring more employees to fill the demands from her clients.

Hadeed plans to expand her business after she graduates in the spring. She hopes to franchise Student Maid Inc. in other college towns throughout Florida.

"You don't have to be a genius or a millionaire to start a business," she said. "If you have a good idea, anything is possible."