Sure, times are tougher than they were last year — so what.
Where some see gloom and doom, others see opportunity for growth and profit.
My take is that there has never been a better time to be in the cleaning industry, regardless of whether you are an employee, business owner or manager.
Science is proving that cleaning is important and that it improves health, productivity and comfort.
People, in general, are aware and observant of cleaning issues and are willing to speak with their wallet and their feet, which creates demand for the services we provide.
Manufacturers are bringing new technology and products to the marketplace that makes our work easier and safer.
Green, sustainability and environmental issues are bringing what we do to protect buildings, surfaces and occupants to the forefront, and it’s a natural transition for cleaning professionals to accept the challenge and turn it into opportunity.
I’ve been in the cleaning industry for a long time.
I recall attending meetings of contractors 35 years ago and listening to some of them complain that there is no work out there, that the market is too competitive because of lowball competition and that good employees were difficult, if not impossible, to find.
Fast-forward to 2013, and I’m sure we will still hear some business owners singing the same old song.
As I travel the country talking to successful contractors, I do hear them complain about the competitiveness of the marketplace and the difficulty of getting and keeping good help.
But, I don’t hear many saying that there is no work out there.
In fact, I see and hear the opposite: There is a lot of business to be had, although the margins may be tighter than they once were.
What this means is that you have to be more sophisticated in your marketing efforts and work “smarter” to turn a profit.
In times of economic uncertainty and cutbacks, many companies and government agencies look at contracting out for services as a way to reduce costs and transfer financial and time responsibilities to someone else.
Those that already use contractors often put their work out to bid in an effort to test the marketplace for additional saving and to let the existing contractor know that now is not a good time to ask for an increase.
All of this creates churn in the marketplace, which translates into opportunities for those at the top of their game who can find ways to maintain quality while reducing costs.
It’s All In Your Head
I find the ability to reduce costs and improve quality at the same time is all in one’s head.
Or, maybe I should say, it’s what’s not in one’s head that holds them back.
What I’m talking about is a lack of information and/or a willingness to give something new a try.
People get stuck in ruts because they are comfortable doing what they have been doing in the past.
They are either unaware of or unwilling to try a new process, product or piece of equipment that would enable them to increase production and quality while reducing costs.
The bottom line is that you can’t move forward to the future by holding on to the past; you must let go and take a leap of faith knowing that you will be able to figure it out as you go through the process.
If you can’t do this, you are doomed to fail in life and in business.
In my opinion, there has never been a better time to be in the cleaning industry.
Enjoy the show and do what it takes now to prosper tomorrow.