David Gruttadaurio has been a BSC for over 30 years. He is the president of UBS Clean Care Inc., headquartered in Princeton, IN. With commercial clients in two states, Gruttadaurio employs 37 people who clean 35 buildings each night.
Three years ago, the company expanded into residential carpet cleaning and now has more than 500 residential clients.
How did you get your start in the cleaning and maintenance industry?
After I graduated from high school, I worked for a cleaning contractor maintaining tile flooring at a department store. When I discovered how much my employer was being paid, I knew that I could do the same thing — and do it better — so I started my own company.
One of the first things I noticed was that a professional image was sorely lacking in the industry — from the owners and managers down to their employees. I immediately purchased fine stationery, always wore a suit with shiny shoes on sales calls, and was careful that even the terminology I used was befitting of an industry professional.
For example: We don’t promise to make the building “look better,” we “increase its appearance level up to the expected standards.”
Tell us about your duties and how the company has changed throughout the years.
I was just kid when I got started. Cleaning car dealerships and Pizza Huts for $7 or $8 a night was common. I landed my first large contract at a bicycle factory when I was 22; I hired four employees. Since those early days, we have grown to clean financial institutions, medical facilities, industrial complexes, and office buildings.
My main duties include providing leadership as the company administrator as well as setting our course for future growth. Personnel issues also fall under my purview and that’s probably the most challenging aspect of what I do.
We actually receive very few complaints. But, when we do, we take care of them within hours by contacting the person involved and explaining the issue at hand.
At the outset, I make a point of telling the client that the true measure of a janitorial contractor is not if cleaning issues will arise — because they almost always will — but rather how quickly those issues are resolved and how frequently they need to be addressed.
What responsibilities do you find most challenging?
Finding an employee who is a good fit for our company is probably the biggest challenge I face. We’ve discovered that a more effective way to sift and sort through applicants is to run a “blind ad” in the newspaper describing the position and asking applicants to reply to a box at the local newspaper.
Another even more effective method is to use a voice broadcasting service with a recorded message for applicants to call that gives a detailed job description. They must then call that number, leave a message with their contact info, and then fill out an application that we send them. The more hoops they’re willing to jump through gives me an indication as to how much they really want this job.
Although we pay exceptionally well, we learned years ago that money in itself does not guarantee a motivated, conscientious worker. Someone willing to take the time and effort to respond to our help wanted ads gives us a much clearer picture of that person’s character and personality.
We are truly fortunate to have outstanding people working for us. Many have been with us for several years.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
Personnel issues. Terminating an employee is extremely trying for me. It’s also a complicated process. A history of unresolved problems has to be established, otherwise, unemployment insurance disputes arise. Outlining what we’ve done to help this person correct their deficiencies has to be clearly documented.
What do you do for fun?
Fun: I’ve heard of that word before. Actually, my wife Stacy and I love watching movies, traveling, and refereeing the wrangling between our 14-, 16-, and 17- year olds. After 3 p.m., we change into our black-and-white vertically striped shirts and pull out our whistles and yellow flags. Seriously though, we just love spending time at home with our family. It doesn’t get better than that.
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