STARTING a cleaning service is not an unusual choice for Jamaicans who have migrated to the United States, but entrepreneur Ingrid Murray has broken through many glass ceilings and surpassed the scope of possibilities for minorities in the industry. In August, she landed on the coveted Inc 5000 list for her New York-based business, Prospect Cleaning Service — a multimillion-dollar building and maintenance services company that serves New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
This year, Prospect Cleaning Service made the top segment of Inc magazine's exclusive annual list of the 5.000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. The business sits at number 1,001, with a noteworthy 651 per cent growth over the past three years.
Prospect Cleaning Service's biggest growth period happened during the pandemic. After losing 90 per cent of its clients at the beginning of March 2020, Murray found herself forced to look for a job.
"The day of my first interview, I was depressed. I was crying uncontrollably. I felt like a failure," Murray recalls. "I was so upset, I ended up missing the interview."
Serendipitously, however, that day Murray received a call from the Metro Transit Authority. That call would become a seven-figure contract — her biggest one to date. Over the course of the pandemic Murray and her team worked tirelessly cleaning massive subway stations across New York, including the largest train station in the US, Grand Central Terminal.
Murray grew up humbly between the Duhaney Park and Hellshire communities in Jamaica. She has experienced many obstacles and setbacks, including sexual and emotional abuse, depression, abandonment, burnout, her child being kidnapped, her husband's current battle with stage four brain cancer, and many other tremendous challenges. Despite it all, Murray says she has always been determined to achieve her vision of success for herself and her family.
"I grew up praying, having faith and believing in God," Murray noted. "I have the discernment to live for God, and I know that will be recuperated. I believe if you ask, you will receive, and if you seek, you will find."
She also has a strong conviction in hard work and helping others as much as she can. Every year Murray hosts three major, self-funded give back initiatives in her past community of Hellshire, Jamaica, providing various forms of assistance for students, seniors and residents in need.