Operating a single business is a demanding task. It’s even rarer to come across entrepreneurs who not only run multiple businesses successfully but also manage to find balance on the home front. Diana Cantea, a franchisee of ServiceMaster Restore, is a shining example of how women can serve as role models and inspire working mothers to reach for the stars, all while spearheading multiple businesses.
Diana and her husband Marius are co-owners of several restoration and refurbishing businesses serving Yolo and Sacramento County in California. To be a one-stop-shop for disaster repairs, the couple added 1st Response Asbestos Abatements, Furniture Medic, and First Response Construction to their existing ServiceMaster Restore franchise.
Marius originally launched ServiceMaster Restore in Yolo County with a partner in 2005, and after a partnership dissolution in 2006, he and Diana ran a ServiceMaster Restore location in Oregon. However, in 2017, the couple returned to Yolo County to take over operations and revive the business. Tragically, while supporting disaster relief efforts in Texas in 2021, Marius suffered a heart attack, which led him to make the difficult decision to step down and focus on caring for their five children. Diana took over the reins of the business and has been managing its day-to-day operations ever since.
Diana’s hands-on experience as a technician and her partnership with her husband Marius have been pivotal in propelling their franchise forward. Incorporating additional services like reconstruction, asbestos abatement, and Furniture Medic proved pivotal in enhancing her standing as an elite contractor within the ServiceMaster network. Today, their West Sacramento headquarters boasts a team of 33 dedicated employees, providing top-notch restoration services to the community.
The Power of Balance
Diana believes the secret to successfully managing several endeavors lies in mastering the art of balance. She strives not to spread herself too thin, striking a delicate balance between her personal and professional life. The couple juggle their business responsibilities while raising their five children, who range in age from 4 to 16 years old.
Central to Diana’s multitasking success is her robust partnership with her husband, which transcends the conventional financial aspects that many business collaborations rely upon. Marius is not just her life partner but also her business partner, offering unwavering support during turbulent times and a constant presence when her business commitments demand her full attention.
“Having my husband as my partner has been a game-changer, as he provides support when I face challenges, lifts me up during difficult times, and remains a constant presence when I am unable to be fully present. Our partnership has truly made a significant impact on the success of the business,” Cantea said.
Marius continues to be actively involved in the couple’s asbestos license project, making significant contributions to the franchise’s reconstruction division. He also spearheads Furniture Medic jobs whenever necessary.
“Without a doubt, Marius is the most valuable asset of our company when it comes to problem resolution,” Cantea said.
To be successful, Diana learned the art of setting priorities and delegating tasks effectively. As a mother and a business owner, she recognizes the importance of designating specific times for non-work commitments, ensuring she’s available for her children when they need her most. In her businesses, delegation is equally crucial for growth. Trusting others and delegating responsibilities have been necessary for her business’s expansion.
“Although placing trust in others can be challenging, it enables the business to grow,” Cantea added.
Diana’s corporate partners are key collaborators, equipping her with the expertise needed to thrive. This achievement fills her with immense pride, and the unwavering partnership with ServiceMaster Restore’s corporate team fuels her continued success.
Facing daunting tasks and occasional setbacks, she understands that business growth often requires investments. After establishing a strong presence in her local area for five years, expanding into a second territory became imperative. They added Sacramento County to their service area in the fall.
“Since the inception of the business, we’ve dreamed of expanding into Sacramento,” Cantea said. “And now, we’re making that dream a reality.”
Strong Female Business Leader
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Diana recognizes the challenges she faces in establishing her credibility. Yet, she also acknowledges the unique advantages her perspective brings.
“Diana Cantea highlights the limitless potential of female entrepreneurs in today’s competitive world,” said John Tovar, president of ServiceMaster Restore. “Her journey from technician to franchise owner, along her husband Marius, showcases her commitment as a valuable member of our team.”
Women own more than 12 million businesses in the United States, employing 10.1 million workers. Yet, only 30% of franchises are owned and operated by women, according to the International Franchise Association. Despite the challenges women face as entrepreneurs, at least 87% of female franchise owners enjoy owning and operating their businesses, a survey conducted by Franchise Business Review revealed. And Diana is no exception.
Her career has been punctuated by encounters with various catastrophes, from managing numerous fire claims in 2019 following the Camp Fire in California, which resulted in the towns of Paradise and Concow losing about 95% of their structures, to the winter freeze that led to an unprecedented frozen pipe crisis in Texas in 2021. Her experiences navigating these emergency situations imparted essential skills, such as understanding carrier guidelines, collaborating with adjusters, empathizing with distressed homeowners, and effectively managing crises.
“These hands-on experiences have taught me invaluable lessons,” Cantea said.
Part of her success lies in Diana’s ability to adapt and make tough decisions. One significant transition was her decision to put aside her ego and collaborate with insurance carriers. The strategic shift initially led to short-term profitability decreases as she adapted to their guidelines and forged partnerships with different third-party administrators. However, it ultimately resulted in significant business growth and helped create a secure and enduring work environment for her entire team.
“While business growth may entail increased expenses and decreased short-term profitability, my goal extends beyond wealth accumulation,” Cantea said.
Diana’s entrepreneurial journey serves as a testament to working mothers, showcasing that ambitious goals can be achieved while maintaining a fulfilling family life.