A Sweeping SHOP Success Story

Lorenzo Harris makes a living sweeping away the dirt. But he certainly wasn’t swept away by the political rhetoric surrounding the Affordable Care Act. In fact, Harris ended up saving a sizable chunk of money and qualifying for a tax credit after enrolling in Covered California’s SHOP marketplace.

Harris is the CEO and principal of Janico Building Services, a full-service building maintenance and cleaning contractor with 40 employees, most of them part-time. The name Janico is a clever acronym of sorts, meaning janitorial company.

Before venturing into his own business, Harris worked in the computer industry prior to what he describes as the PC era, when everyone began owning a home computer. During this time, however, the entrepreneurial bug was nipping at his heels.

“One of the benefits I saw of starting my own business was independence,” he said. “The idea of owning my own company and being my own boss really intrigued me.”

Though a building services company wasn’t necessarily a true passion for Harris, his attitude about entrepreneurship offers a keen insight into his choice to start Janico.

“I’ve always felt that there’s a difference between your passion and whether a venture is viable in terms of earning a living,” he said.

A thriving business with a huge clientele now, Janico originated from humble beginnings. “During our initial stage, [my wife and I] went out and cleaned buildings by ourselves,” he said.

Coming a long way from those early days 27 years ago, Harris has made Janico Building Services into a premiere service for businesses across Northern California. Of course, being the principal of one’s own business comes with many administrative duties, arguably none bigger than healthcare.

Harris was actively involved in transferring Janico’s full-time employees over from their existing company plan to SHOP, California’s new small business marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. SHOP allows small employers to sign up online and enroll their employees for health coverage. The process did require Harris to get his hands a little dirty to ensure all his employees received coverage, though.

“One of our employees was declined dependent coverage on the website and had to submit a paper application, which was approved,” he said.

The extra work paid off, though. Harris saw Janico’s premium costs go down by a sizeable 35% when he enrolled through Covered California’s SHOP marketplace and even qualified for a healthcare tax credit of more than $1,000.

Now Harris is able to continue providing health coverage for all his full-time employees, something he began to worry about as healthcare costs continued to skyrocket before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

“It allows us to offer more affordable coverage to our employees in the short term which makes us more competitive in the long run, particularly against larger competitors,” he said.

It’s safe to say Harris and his business cleaned up quite nicely thanks to the healthcare law and the new small business marketplace.

Small Business Profile