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Dow Worsham, founder and CEO of Dow Janitorial in North Little Rock, grew up in the cleaning business, working for his dad. And he soaked up lessons — about how not to run a business.
Dow Worsham Sr., the son says with no disrespect, paid low wages and “didn’t quite understand the need to develop relationships with customers.” Quality control, he said, “was almost non-existent.”
At 21, with no formal business training or college, Worsham pushed his dad to change his ways of business, and got this in reply: “If you want to run a company your way, go start your own.”
With a $1,000 loan from his mother and stepfather, Worsham did just that.
“That was the beginning of Dow Janitorial.” His father died about five years later, Worsham said, but lived long enough to see his son’s company outgrow his own.
After 35 years, Dow Janitorial has just shy of 500 employees and is one of the largest commercial cleaning services in the state of Arkansas, with about 175 clients in 220 locations. Along with its North Little Rock headquarters, Dow has offices in Springdale, Jonesboro, Hot Springs and Mountain Home. Revenue reached record levels last year, Worsham said.
The pandemic, so savage to the economy at large, led to the “best year ever” at Dow, Worsham said. “It has been an incredible year of learning and growing, with a lot more demand for what we normally do, plus the additional disinfecting and electrostatic spraying.”
Worsham’s is a true family business. Daughter Macey Wadley is in sales and marketing; son Chase Worsham heads an affiliated exterior cleaning company, ProClean by Dow; and youngest son Zane works part time in the northwest Arkansas branch while attending the University of Arkansas. Worsham’s stepfather, Roger Strock, is in administration.
Taking little credit himself, Worsham considers himself a plagiarist at business. “I’ve looked at the many successful companies and adopted what works,” he said. “You hire good people, supervise the work they do, and build relationships with your customers. It’s that simple.”