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August 2014 Bidding & Estimating

Dreaming Your Way To Profit

Lessons shared in a book may prove valuable to contract businesses.

July 31, 2014
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The cleaning business is very competitive these days.

Everyone is looking for a magic bullet, and in many cases a magic number, that will allow them to get the job and turn a profit.

This is critical stuff; if you don’t have the right price you won’t get the job, and at the same time, if you price is too low, you may get the job but lose or not make any money.

A couple of months ago I attended the WFBSC event in New York City.

First, let me say it was a class act and one of the best shows I’ve ever attended.

The entire program was great, but one of the speakers, Mary Miller, touched a nerve.

Her message was an “a-ha” moment for me, and I want to share it with you.

I’m convinced her message and concept is a key to making your business more competitive and profitable and has the potential to solve one of the most challenging and troubling problems that has plagued the cleaning industry for the last 50 or more years.

The Problem

How do an employer and an industry attract and retain skilled and motivated workers?

The reality is that up to this point, for the most part, we haven’t.

Turnover is typically anywhere from 200 percent to over 300 percent depending on whose numbers you believe.

Regardless of the exact percentage, staffing, training and supervision is one of, if not the greatest challenge any cleaning company faces, and it directly ties to costs, bid rates and profit.

If you want to bid more competitively and still cover cost and earn a decent profit, you must be able to control you internal labor costs.

The Solution

Help employees identify, strive for and reach their personal and work related dreams.

At first glance, you may dismiss this as not your responsibility, and you are right, it’s not.

However, what we are talking about is how to create an environment or culture in the workplace where the majority of your employees want to do the best possible job they can every day and in everything they do.

The key to this internal and sustained motivation is that the employee sees his or her personal success tied directly to the success of the business.

Become A Dream Manager

Mary Miller’s story is told in a book titled Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly.

It’s an easy read filled with great examples of how the concept works in a cleaning company, but is based on the concepts developed by Miller.

Here are a few tidbits from the book that caught my attention:

  • All of this began to awaken a realization that in a culture where dreams come true, there is no limit to the enthusiasm you can harness or the things you can achieve.
  • Appreciation has transformed our business. Profits continue to rise, we have more business, turnover continues to fall and there are fewer complaints from customers and employees.
  • Productivity is up and costs are down. The numbers tell the story. In our third year of the program, turnover was under 50 percent, productivity increased by 27 percent, sick leave was down by 83 percent.
  • Appreciation is the strongest currency in the corporate world and there is little that people won’t do when they feel genuinely appreciated.
  • Make every employee part of your sales team. When everybody sells you are destined for success.
  • Dreams are the core of every person. It is where our passion for life is ignited.
  • The real poverty is the poverty of opportunity.

Solve your people problem and you’ll be well on your way to a more profitable and competitive business.

The answer to your people problems may be in the book, and you can buy it on Amazon for about $20.

All you have to do is read and apply the principles that are laid out in the Dream Manager and you’ll have taken great steps to solving one of the most troubling problems every business faces — how to attract, retain and motivate quality employees.

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