Conquering Bureaucracy: Kelsi Lawrence’s Leap from In-home to Paper Product Queen

Kelsi Lawrence, with her triumph over bureaucratic hurdles, turned setbacks into springboards for success. She and her team tirelessly worked until the due date, confirming her first victory in the statewide contract bid for paper products.
Kelsi Lawrence profile picture
Courtesy: Kizzy Parks
By | 8 min read

Kelsi Lawrence, the CEO of Kay’s Pristine In-Home Care, has not only carved a niche but also etched a narrative of remarkable success.

From her early engagement in janitorial contracts to the crucial juncture of securing a statewide agreement encompassing paper products and breakroom essentials, her journey unfolds.

From Janitorial Contracts to Statewide Success in In-Home Care Supplies

Kelsi Lawrence holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at Kay’s Pristine In-Home Care.

Her journey began with a keen interest in janitorial contracts, a domain demanding meticulous attention to detail.

She secured a Statewide contract for paper products and break room essentials.

“I was on the State website and there was more than one contract that I was interested in, I was really going for a janitorial and so these two ended on the exact same day and so I really focused mainly on the janitorial all I really was wanting that.” – she shared.

Kelsi dedicated all her time to searching for helpers because the task involved a significant amount of effort.

She meticulously reviewed the bid documents, carefully perused the last page, and proceeded to craft her proposal.

“I can’t even remember what it was but something that I just couldn’t do and it was like the last day to submit it and so I was ‘okay well I’m out of this’,  and I had spent all my time on that and so I was just like ‘I got kind of discouraged because I’m like well now I spent all my time on that one’.” – she shared.

Subsequently, she received an amendment email regarding the paper products, specifically addressed to her business. The email stated that the deadline was extended by another week.

With the extended deadline, she had more time to bid on the contract. After carefully reviewing the details, she felt confident that her business could fulfill the requirements.

Her business website, established for years, already featured the majority of the information needed, and she only needed to make a few additions to showcase the specific products outlined in the bid.

She and her team worked tirelessly until the due date, putting in considerable effort. Ultimately, the announcement came, declaring her the winner of the bid.

“I just I couldn’t believe it, no past really performance in that area coming from another position prior to this business” – Kelsi stated.

Kelsi Lawrence in the interview with Kizzy Parks
Courtesy: Kizzy Parks

In reflecting on her successful bid for the contract covering paper towels, toilet paper, and breakroom essentials, Kelsi Lawrence shared her experience at the Kansas Reverse Vendor Fair.

She described how the fair, hosted by the Public Purchasing Professionals of Kansas, provided a platform for businesses like hers to connect with procurement officers.

During a conversation with a Topeka procurement officer, she was asked about the range of products her business could offer. While the initial contract focused on essential items, Kelsi enthusiastically pointed out that her company also provides various office supplies and medical equipment.

This revelation opened up new possibilities for collaboration beyond the scope of the original contract.

Following the opportunity presented at the Kansas Reverse Vendor Fair, Kelsi Lawrence took proactive steps to maximize the value of the contract. She identified four different companies as potential manufacturers for the specified items—paper towels, toilet paper, plates, bowls, paper cups, and napkins.

To make an informed decision, Kelsi and her team diligently reached out to each of these companies, soliciting quotes for the specified products, along with details on quantity and terms.

In her pursuit of securing the best deal for her business, Kelsi Lawrence approached the manufacturers not as a government contractor, but rather as a customer.

With the quotes in hand, they meticulously cross-referenced the offerings of all four manufacturers. The objective was to ensure a thorough evaluation, considering both cost-effectiveness and quality.

After careful consideration, Kelsi and her team opted for the manufacturer that provided the most competitive rates across the board, ensuring a strategic and cost-efficient approach to fulfilling the contract’s requirements.

Trailblazing Journey into Diversification and Expansion

Kelsi Lawrence accomplished an extraordinary feat by clinching a contract on the very first bid—a moment she describes as nothing short of phenomenal.

“This was the first bid that we ever submitted the first proposal we ever submitted, we’ve only been looking into this the last couple of months as another way to diversify.” – she stated.

With this initial success as a catalyst, Kelsi’s ambitions soared higher.

In her pursuit of business diversification, she expressed a keen interest in securing more contracts, extending her reach beyond the current landscape.

The expansion into states like Missouri and Colorado underscored her commitment to growth and excellence.

However, Kelsi candidly acknowledged the intricate nuances of the healthcare industry, a sector she is actively navigating.

Unlike some industries where subcontracting is more straightforward, healthcare demands a hands-on approach.

Kelsi articulated the unique challenges of managing people in a sector governed by stringent rules and regulations. In the medical realm, success isn’t just about delivering a product; it’s about orchestrating a symphony of human interactions, ensuring adherence to rigorous standards.

Kelsi recognized that effective management and supervision are pivotal in an industry where every action must align with the stringent protocols of patient care.

Recognizing the intricate demands of her business, Kelsi Lawrence strategically diversified into transportation services, particularly for substantial freight items.

To fortify this expansion, Kelsi forged a partnership with FedEx, a decision rooted in the need for a reliable and efficient logistics partner. The collaboration with FedEx not only streamlined the transportation process but also ensured the timely delivery of large freight items—an aspect critical to the success of the contracts.

The significance of this move is underscored by the stringent timeframe attached to deliveries. With a window of 7 to 10 days, Kelsi understood the vital role that punctuality plays in contract fulfillment.

Any deviation from this timeline could potentially jeopardize the contractual agreement.

Beyond Boundaries: Exploration of a DBA for Enhanced Business Perception

In response to the ever-changing landscape, emphasizes the dynamic nature of her business model.

Currently without a DBA (Doing Business As) designation, Kelsi reflects on her initial association with in-home care and the perceived limitations it might pose in the competitive market.

SBA staffs
Courtesy: SBA

Acknowledging the potential challenges associated with being solely identified with in-home care, Kelsi contemplated the creation of a DBA, envisioning it as a representation of the diverse range of services her business offers. 

Kelsi reflects on the potential advantages of having a DBA, recognizing the opportunity to present a diversified range of services beyond in-home care.

She believes that this distinction could be particularly beneficial when dealing. By emphasizing a state-specific focus, Kelsi envisions a potentially less competitive environment compared to the broader federal scope.

The consideration of a DBA opens up possibilities for branding that aligns more closely with the services offered, allowing for greater flexibility in how the business is perceived.

Kelsi contemplates various options, recognizing that the chosen name can play a crucial role in how the business is perceived by potential partners and clients.

Beyond in-home care, Kay’s Pristine In-Home Care has expanded its portfolio to encompass various services, reflecting a strategic move towards diversification.

In the face of a paradigm shift brought about by external factors, Kelsi recognizes the need to break away from conventional norms. The upheaval caused by the pandemic compelled her to reassess and redefine the scope of her business.

Notably, the absence of affiliations with Medicaid or insurances has led to a primarily private pay clientele, often dealing with the inevitable cycle of aging and loss.

The Power of Local: Kelsi Lawrence’s Insight into State Contracts and Vendor Relationships

Intrigued by the question of whether being a local business conferred an advantage, Kelsi delved into her research to unravel the factors influencing the decision-making process of a nationwide company. 

The shock of this discovery underscores the importance of understanding how local businesses can stand out and potentially thrive in a landscape dominated by larger, nationwide entities.

As a registered vendor in Florida and a subcontractor on the state contract, Kay’s Pristine In-Home Care gains a distinctive edge.

The significance of this advantage goes beyond a mere bureaucratic requirement, evolving into a powerful representation of collaborative local enterprises contributing to the state’s economic tapestry.

The symbiotic relationship between Kay’s Pristine In-Home Care and other Florida-based businesses becomes a compelling narrative. It not only showcases the diversity and capability of local enterprises but also serves as a testament to their commitment to supporting and uplifting the state’s economic ecosystem.

The recognition of being a small, local business carries profound implications. It transcends the transactional nature often associated with large, nationwide corporations, fostering a sense of connection and accountability.

As a local entity, they are more than just another number; they are an integral part of the state’s fabric.

The amalgamation of contracts takes on a narrative of its own. Kelsi’s musings unveil a potential backstory, suggesting that the state, faced with intricacies and challenges, sought the simplicity of consolidating contracts.

The desire for operational efficiency and the appeal of sourcing all requirements from a single, trusted vendor likely influenced this strategic decision.

Kelsi spearheaded a pivotal move to fortify transparency and trust: the integration of a dedicated shop page on the website.

Transformative Transparency through the Shop Page Integration

Recognizing the profound impact of showcasing products visually, Kelsi emphasized the importance of providing customers with a crystal-clear understanding of their prospective purchases.

The decision to incorporate a shop page is commendable as it adds to the legitimacy of the business and provides customers with precisely what they desire.

The simplicity of the process astonished Kelsi, reflecting on how effortlessly a new page adorned with product images and prices seamlessly became part of the website.

Drawing inspiration from renowned online marketplaces like eBay and the structured clarity of car-selling platforms, Kelsi envisioned the website as a visual haven for customers, where every item is laid out for inspection.

The decision to directly utilize images from the manufacturer’s website was not just a practical choice but a strategic one.

SBA staff is discussing a problem
Courtesy: SBA

It aligns the platform with the familiarity of established e-commerce giants, offering a user experience that resonates with online shoppers.

Kelsi also emphasized that the key lies in taking that initial step.

Reflecting on past experiences, whether considering similar roles or realizing that one has been a subcontractor in the field, she urged individuals not to be their own obstacle.

Delving deeper, Kelsi encouraged taking that courageous step into entrepreneurship, assuring that the decision to embark on this journey is one that brings fulfillment and growth. The underlying sentiment is a profound belief that the only limitation is self-imposed, and the journey begins by breaking through those internal barriers.

  • About: Katie Le
    Join EnvZone as a Section Editor and Analyst, Katie Le manages her section’s content production from identifying and assigning content ideas up to the publication stage. Katie Le has been…