Enterprise on the rise in Dallas

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New car washing business employs men living at Carr P. Collins Social Service Center.

By Jackeline Luna –

On a busy day, the small mobile car wash crew can work up to eight hours and service as many as 14 cars.

Following the success of its in-house landscaping company, The Salvation Army Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Command launched Clean Works, a mobile car wash service, in early spring 2015.

Donnie Freeman, the command’s social enterprise manager, saw the potential to create new jobs using the landscaping business as a model.

Like Green Works landscape management company, Clean Works employs men from The Salvation Army Carr P. Collins Social Service Center. Many of them have criminal records that would normally hinder their chances at securing employment.

Getting the second business off the ground was a lot easier, according to Freeman, because of lower initial costs.  

“We didn’t have any problem,” Freeman said. “It doesn’t require a great deal of skill, and I had a couple of people who had experience using pressure washers.”

The crew works out of the employee parking lot, and about 90 percent of the cars they service are owned by Salvation Army employees.

Over the past year, business has picked up. During busy days, the small crew of three can work up to eight hours and service as many as 14 cars. Lately, however, weather conditions in Dallas have limited the crew to one or two days a week.

Employees can also work for both the car wash and the landscaping business. When business dips in one, they have the option to reinforce the other, provided enough tasks are available.

“It’s all word of mouth,” said Freeman. “We have no formal marketing plan supported by money.”

Freeman is already plotting his next business venture, but first he would like to employ more men like Edgar Cope. Before joining Clean Works, Cope struggled to find a job despite having extensive managerial experience.  

“I dropped off my resume and got interviews,” Cope said. “But once I mentioned my felony, I didn’t get the job. The [Carr P. Collins] center gave me a chance.”

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