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Running a business

JR Sanitation’s business takes off with the support of QuickBooks Online and Pay-Enabled Invoices

Jorge Rodriguez emigrated to the United States from El Salvador in 1993 to find steady work that would allow him to provide for his young family. He had been forced to leave school and start working as a teenager, and he wanted his daughters to get the advanced education he couldn’t. Now 21, Rodriguez was in a new country with new opportunities, and he planned to make the most of it.

He soon found work with a sanitation company, cleaning up to 80 toilets a day in different cities around California’s Bay Area. Rodriguez took second, even third jobs, as a dishwasher, cook, and cleaner. As long as he could provide for his family, the job worked for him.

Then one day, after working for the same company for 15 years, Rodriguez was let go. His future felt uncertain, so he decided to take a major risk, hoping it would lead to financial security for his family. 

In 2015, Rodriguez took the money he’d saved in his 401(k) and used it to buy 10 portable restrooms. He knew all about sanitation, but running a business was new territory. In addition to start-up costs like permits and marketing, he would also need to carefully monitor the business’ cash flow at all times.

Rodriguez didn’t know about accounting software when he started JR Sanitation. Per his current office manager, Sindy Cardenas, “He was taking cash at time of delivery and sending invoices through the mail. He was working hard and not seeing the return.”

Cardenas recalls that it was Rodriguez’s admin at the time who looked into QuickBooks to simplify his invoices. “It was a costly expense, but well worth it,” Cardenas says in retrospect. “Jorge is more hands-on with the field work, and he was always depending on his office staff for bookkeeping.” Since bookkeeping was key for the business and Rodriguez was having a hard time retaining staff, he decided an investment in an accounting software—at the time QuickBooks Desktop—was an investment in the business’ future.

As of 2022, JR Sanitation serves three counties in California, with plans to grow. Rodriguez has six employees, including Cardenas, whose family emigrated from the same Salvadorian town. Cardenas had bookkeeping experience when she joined the business, but she hadn’t yet heard of QuickBooks Online. It would soon make her life much easier, and help grow the business even faster.

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Learning by doing: A brand-new office manager takes on QuickBooks

To hear Sindy Cardenas describe the accounting process when she became JR Sanitation’s office manager in August 2021 is to instantly know there was a better accounting solution for the growing business’ needs. “There was just one laptop,” she recalls, “I felt like I always had to wait for someone to be done.” 

The business was still running on a single QuickBooks Desktop license installed on that one laptop. Despite never having used QuickBooks Desktop before, Cardenas knew there was a better fit for JR Sanitation’s accounting needs.

Still, she had concerns: Cardenas was worried she would have to manually move each customer from QuickBooks Desktop to their new software and even contact them about the change. “Would we have to give an explanation about why we were asking for their merchant information again?,” she recalls of a potential undesirable and less-than-professional outcome. 

She reached out to the QuickBooks Customer Success team to see if that was the case.*

“They explained the limitations of the software we were currently using and recommended QuickBooks Online. Once we decided to switch, they walked us through the process of migrating. I was on the phone with someone who made sure we were set up correctly, step by step,” Cardenas explains. 

As for any migration hiccups that would cause issues with customer information: “The [QuickBooks team] told us they could merge that information, and they did,” she says. “That was great—a big task taken off my list.”

All of JR Sanitation’s customer information, including payment and contact information, was automatically moved from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online with help from QuickBooks Customer Success.

QuickBooks Online invoices help JR Sanitation stand out

Cardenas was determined to make good use of the company’s new accounting software. She immediately dove headlong into learning the ins and outs of the program, teaching herself how to run payroll and make payments. “QuickBooks Online offers direct deposit, so employees have more options for how they can receive their paycheck,” she notes about QuickBooks Online with Payroll’s expanded choices.* 

She also discovered new ways in which QuickBooks Online with Payments* could make basic business tasks far more efficient.

“Making invoices in QuickBooks is easy,” Cardenas explains. She loves that invoices sent through QuickBooks include a link the client can click on to pay. But there’s another benefit she didn’t foresee: the trust the QuickBooks name instills in customers. When clients ask what type of payment method JR Sanitation uses, Cardenas says they’re always pleased to find out they can get an invoice through QuickBooks Online.*

“I assume they’ve used QuickBooks before and they know how it works. That gives the new client the confidence that we’re an established business,” she explains. 

Dreams achieved: A small business moves towards big goals

Today, JR Sanitation serves three California counties, but for founder and owner Jorge Rodriguez, there’s still room to grow. He wants to help support not just his immediate family in the U.S., but his relatives in El Salvador.

“His grandma who raised him passed away years ago, but he still feels like he has a duty to help the ones who are left behind,” Cardenas says. 

At the root of that dream, too, is the desire to make a point. “He wants to prove a lot of people wrong,” Cardenas reflects. “When he started the business, not many believed in him. They didn’t think using his 401(k) to open his business was a good idea.” 

That’s not what Cardenas thinks of her boss at all. “I’m very proud of him,” she says with respect.

As for Cardenas, her goals at the moment remain accounting-focused. There’s a continuing education school about 20 minutes from the JR Sanitation office that offers a QuickBooks class. “Right now, I’m just working with the basics, but I feel like there’s so much more to QuickBooks Online that I still don’t understand,” Cardenas explains. 

She knows that the more she can do in QuickBooks Online, the better she’ll be able to serve JR Sanitation and its clients. And when it comes to achieving something big, every little bit of hard work helps.

QuickBooks Online Technical Support: Support hours exclude occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance, company events, observed U.S. holidays and events beyond our control. Intuit reserves the right to change hours without notice. For hours of support and how to contact support, visit:

QuickBooks Payroll: QuickBooks Payroll requires an active QuickBooks Online subscription. QuickBooks Online sold separately.

QuickBooks Payments: QuickBooks Payments account subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. Subscription to QuickBooks Online required. Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Pay-enabled invoices: Requires a separate QuickBooks Payments account which is subject to eligibility criteria, credit and application approval. E-invoicing QuickBooks Payments is an optional fee-based service. Additional fees may apply. Additional terms and conditions apply.

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