Meet Debi Shankland

Owner of Housekeeping Associates in Ann Arbor

After a tough childhood, I left home at 17 and dropped out of high school. I married young and soon became a single mother. I worked hard as a house cleaner to support myself and my child. Recognizing the importance of education, I went back to school, earned my GED, and attended college.  Pursuing school wasn’t easy as a single mom, but I did it! At age 24, I remarried my current husband who has always been proud of my accomplishments as a businesswoman.

I continued to clean and in 1990 I met another woman in the cleaning business and we joined forces. We worked together until 2003 at which time I purchased her part of the company to become the sole owner. I continued to keep my nose to the grindstone and, today, I have three offices with approximately 70 employees.

Our professional cleaning service company in Ann Arbor, Housekeeping Associates, is truly a rags-to-riches story. We started out sharing my dining room as an office. The staff would come to my home in the morning while I was sending the kids off to school. I would then dispatch myself and my staff to our clients’ homes. I remember teaching my kids how to properly answer our home telephone because it could potentially be a new client calling! Our first office was a huge room with a cement floor. I bought an 8 x 10 rug, plastic stackable outdoor chairs and thought we were in Heaven.  

I have been blessed to provide professional cleaning services to the Ann Arbor community with an honest and ethical company. I am also honored to be able to work with all of the people who have come through my doors. Some have gone off to college, some have learned this work and become as passionate as I am to do it, and some have been in the same situation I had been in my younger life. Each office does a food drive at the end of the year for different organizations to help others in need. In addition, our professional cleaning service company in Ann Arbor partners with Cleaning for a Reason and takes on two clients per month who have cancer. We provide 4 free cleanings for each client as our way of giving back and have been known to continue cleaning until they are through all of the radiation and chemotherapy.

My children are grown now. They have all gone to college, are working in their communities, and leading productive lives. One of my sons, Ryan, who I used to take along with me in the beginning years as an infant, is now learning to take over the company. Who would’ve thought?!

Life is good! I appreciate my history and all of the lessons I learned from it. It has taught me to empathize with others and to appreciate the adventure I am on. One thing I hold tight is that I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without a lot of hard work, determination, and grit. It’s not easy to build your life from nothing, but I’m proud of what I’ve built, and I’m so glad I chose to never give up. Some people have a great idea and become millionaires nearly overnight; that’s not my story. I’ve poured my life into this business, and I’ve spent decades building what it is today. I truly believe that anyone can accomplish their dreams with hard work, vision, and refusing to ever give up.