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Management And Training

Get to know… Century Cleaning Service

September 19, 2010
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Century Cleaning Service Inc. has been providing quality janitorial services since it was founded by Michael Underwood in 1989.

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Century Cleaning Service is a full-service janitorial company.

With eight full-time employees and, depending on the time of the year, an excess of 70 part-time employees, Century Cleaning Service serves more than 30 clients — most accounts exceeding 50,000 square feet.

To prepare their employees for such rigorous work, Century Cleaning Service employs a mixture of classroom and on-the-job training.

"In our experience classroom-style training on product usage, OSHA training and basic company guidelines work best," says current founder/president Underwood. "Cleaning technique is always [taught through] on-the-job training."

A start-up from scratch

Twenty years ago, Underwood was working two jobs trying to make ends meet.

During the Christmas season, he wanted to take on another part-time job to cover the upcoming holiday expenses; he was hired as a cleaner with a regional cleaning company.

Underwood quit shortly after the holidays were over, but soon realized he missed having the extra money.

He landed another position with a smaller, local company that ended up going out of business.

"The location that I cleaned asked me what it would take to keep me," recalls Underwood. "We agreed on a price and I borrowed $900 from my father to start the company and buy equipment. One year later, it had grown to the point that I had to quit the other jobs I held and clean full time — it grew from there."

"It is my philosophy that if you put qualified people in the correct positions within your company you won''t be overwhelmed with problems," states Underwood.

The constant challenge of proving themselves as an independent company to new, larger clients who represent properties across the U.S. always keeps Underwood and his employees on their toes.

"Our overall goal is to strive to go above and beyond what clients expect from an independent company like ours," proclaims Underwood.

Another way they prove their worth to clients is by offering an analysis of the janitorial program from top to bottom — everything from maintenance techniques and supplies to energy usage.

This has helped Century Cleaning Service gain new clientele and has become a nice additional offering for their current clients.

Clients appreciate that a contractor is looking out for their best interest.

"We saw the need [for green cleaning] for the simple reason that our clients and prospective clients began asking for it," notes Underwood. "In the last two years, we have witnessed a huge effort on behalf of some of the major companies we clean for to reduce their carbon footprints."

The "green initiative" is, according to Underwood, the absolute future of the cleaning industry.

Diversification

"Our goal is always to give the client what they want," remarks Underwood. "As our business grew, we were able to add on the additional services that were necessary to become a full-service janitorial company."

Being a full-service janitorial company means Century Cleaning Service can offer value-added services at a lower cost than an outside contractor can without sacrificing quality.

"We are always looking out for their bottom line, the budget," adds Underwood.

Currently, Century Cleaning Service is expanding into an area that is non-traditional to the typical offerings of a cleaning service — seasonal decorating.

This has been a new request from clients and the company is looking forward to implementing this service.

The philosophy that guides the way Century Cleaning Service conducts business is, "If you build a wall of service around your client, they will see you as a partner, not a contractor."

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