If you are lucky and doing a great job managing an existing account, you will get a notice to renew your contract for services instead of a notice saying the customer is putting the account out to bid. When the latter happens, it’s time to give some long, hard thought to what it will take to get the longest renewal possible without negatively impacting your profits. Here are three areas to help improve your chances of success:
- Sustainable Cleaning
Is there any other way to clean? More often I am seeing contractors and in-house operations move toward greener and more sustainable cleaning products and processes. What used to be a premium level of service and a costly way of cleaning has evolved to being the preferred way we do business. In many cases, sustainable cleaning provides an effective approach to reduce costs and increase profits.
- Employee Training
It’s all about the people. The greatest challenge we face today in the cleaning industry is finding and keeping qualified workers. One of the most effective approaches to doing this is to provide a visible, realistic, and easy-to-access employee training and upward mobility program for workers at all levels of your organization.
- Hold the Line on Costs
Nobody wants to pay more for cleaning. Like it or not, customers are just like you and looking for ways to increase profits and reduce costs. This is a tough one, because the costs to operate and staff a business are increasing at the same time. My advice is to look for internal efficiencies in the way you do business and complete the work. Technology, chemical reduction, and more efficient processes can help with this, but the greatest opportunity for cost saving is related to labor reduction. You will need to find ways to increase the number of square feet your staff clean each hour and make sure everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to get the work done as quickly as possible without a loss of quality.
Here are some tips on how to accomplish the recommendations above:
- Get your people involved. Ask for help from both those doing the work and management staff. Lay it on the line; say the organization is looking for ideas and ways to be more competitive in order to retain a contract and improve the level of service it provides. Have meetings, form a committee, and get the process going with everyone focused on the same goals.
- Talk to the customers. What are their hot buttons and what is important to them? What do they like about what you are currently doing and what would they like to see change? Find out and then put their suggestions in the renewal agreement and cover letter.
- Get your distributor involved. Ask the right questions. For example, “Do you know of any new products or chemicals on the market that can help me increase production and reduce labor costs?”
- Do the research. Search online forums, articles, chats, and websites for ideas and examples of what others have done. No need to reinvent the wheel; copy and improve upon what others are doing.
Certainly, there are other things that you can do, but this is where I would start. Good luck and keep it clean.