Robert J. Williams, C.P.T., founder and president of Lake Michigan Cleaning Service in Southfield, MI, entered the cleaning industry by chance, applying for a job at a credit union through Craigslist. “Funny thing is, I didn’t know [the job] was for a cleaning position until I got there,” he said.
Although Williams had never worked in jansan prior to this position, he accepted the job offer, and started on a path that would change his life.
A Career Dream Comes True
Soon after starting his job with the credit union, Williams began supplementing his income with a second custodian job. It was while he was simultaneously working in two professional cleaning positions that he discovered an appreciation and a growing passion for the industry.
A plan began to form in Williams’ mind. “After a while, I began to search on YouTube and other sources on how to start a cleaning business,” he said. “I really began taking a career in the cleaning industry very seriously.”
In 2015, Williams—with help from family and friends—struck out on his own, opening Lake Michigan Cleaning Service LLC (LMCS). The business started out on stable footing, serving nearly 10 accounts in the first year of business. “I remember acquiring and learning how to operate my first scrubbing machine, which is something I never thought I would be using,” Williams recalled. His pride surfaced again when further business growth mandated he hire employees.
Safeguarding Client Health
Soon after beginning his business, Williams and his staff came to realize the value of clean. “We’re invested in our clients’ success, and providing a healthy, clean indoor space is important to us,” he said.
With this awareness came the desire to learn more, and to impart that knowledge to his staff. Williams turned to ISSA’s Cleaning Management Institute’s (CMI'S) Train the Trainer course, which he completed in 2017. He credits the knowledge he garnered from the course for helping him recognize positive traits in potential employees, efficiently train his current staff, and hone his leadership skills. He also found that taking courses through CMI improved his confidence and helped him retain clients and protect his valuable assets.
Training Brings Business Profits
Williams recommends that business owners looking to attract and impress clients not overlook the important role education plays. “My conversations are more educated, and I speak more about the value of clean than just your typical cleaning sales pitch,” he said. “Our value as a company has increased tremendously, and it comes across in my confidence and communication skills.”
He appreciates that his educated staff uses equipment properly. “We have seen a reduction in damaged equipment—vacuums to be exact,” Williams said. “The difference was in training our staff in the importance of changing vacuum bags, and why strong vacuum suction makes their jobs easier and more effective.”
In addition, LMCS has noted more profit on the books due to efficient use of consumables in addition to quality service that satisfies clients and keeps them from taking their dollars elsewhere. “Our client retention has been successful due to our trained staff and effective communication with each [customer],” Williams said.
Cleaning business owners looking to improve their industry knowledge and work technique often turn to educational courses to assist them with these goals. However, an investment in training can also boost business owners’ profits due to more efficient staff and more economical use of equipment and supplies.