Many of the questions I receive about cleaning relate to pricing or bidding and estimating. However, this month I want to talk about several pressing issues that impact cleaning businesses and their profits outside of securing the bid.
Although these subjects are rightfully in the forefront of every cleaning business owner’s mind, it’s also important to plan how you will workload, staff, and complete the work properly, as quickly as possible, and on time. This doesn’t mean reducing the quality of the work; rather, it means thinking through the job and deciding where efficiencies can be found in the work process. More often than not, this may involve combining tasks; determining what does and does not need to be done immediately; organizing tasks in a logical sequence that doesn’t waste time, steps, or energy; and using the most appropriate equipment and chemicals for each assignment.
Typical cleaning workers might not think this way. Rather than thinking about each project—the elements of the project, how much time each element will take, and if there are ways to shorten or reduce the time it takes do the job—they more than likely will see a set amount of work to complete in a set amount of time.
Strategizing how your staff works is a management responsibility. As a supervisor, manager, or owner, you need to handle these tasks and should not assume that your cleaning workers will see things the same way you do. Labor is always your largest cost, so you should closely monitor the spending of these dollars at all times.
Marketing and Business Management
Marketing is not typically the strongest skill for cleaning professionals. Most of us learned our craft the hard way: by doing the work for a while before venturing off to start our own businesses. This generally means that our basic skills are rooted in operations, and we may not be as comfortable when it comes to dealing with administrative issues such as marketing, accounting, and personnel issues.
You can hire someone to deal with these issues, or find a partner who handles that side of the business. However, you can’t afford to overlook marketing and sales, as they are the life source of future business and growth. Regardless of how good you are at your job, over time, accounts will come and go, and there is nothing you can do about it other than prepare for that day when a cancellation letter arrives or you receive calls from clients delivering bad news regarding their partnerships with you.
There is still good news: Today we have many new ways to reach specific markets and potential customers. The Internet, email, apps, and software programs and services have opened up an entirely new avenue of marketing that didn’t even exist a few short years ago. Be sure to monitor, research, and test the changes that are taking place in the cleaning industry and among your customers.
Don’t get me wrong; price and quality still sell, but the process of reaching and convincing the customer to purchase your services is changing. If you don’t change your marketing and sales approach, you will be left behind, costing you money and business.
You have the world’s information at your fingertips. You can use your cell phone to research almost any subject that comes to mind. You don’t need to pull out a book, call someone, or look long for answers.
One of the first steps in finding answers to any question or problem should be to utilize your favorite search engine. Many people use Google, but there are others. Additionally, don’t forget about YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, as they all offer a variety of information and resources.
Bottom line: When you wonder, have a question, or face a problem, you are wasting valuable time if you don’t punch a few keywords into Google within two minutes. It’s all there for the asking and you’ll be glad you did.
Keep it clean out there.