How cleaning companies succeed
Have you ever wondered how cleaning companies succeed or fail? Through our experience, we have discovered important factors that lead The Sweeping Angels towards success and why we are still open for business during a tough economy. Here are some important tips out of our recipe inside our "Cook" book so to speak: 1. We never stop learning. The cleaning industry today may not be the most glamorous or complex, but established business owners such as ourselves know there is always something to learn inside our field. Today's technology advances and it could affect the equipment we use, safety issues affect the chemicals we clean with, and there will always be ways we can enhance our organizational and managerial skills. That's why we read industry publications, go to meetings and conventions, participate in trade organizations, and we encourage our suppliers to keep us up to date.
2. We tap into all the resources. There is a wide range of associations that serves various aspects of the professional cleaning industry. These groups can help with operational, marketing and management issues. Many state and government agencies also offer support and information for small businesses like ours.
3. We have the motto: "Clean it like it’s your own." Regardless of what we are cleaning, who we are cleaning for and whether we are doing traditional housecleaning, janitorial work, or providing a custom cleaning service, we always have the motto, "clean like you are cleaning your own home or office."
4. We develop systems. Systems provide a structure that allows us to work consistently and efficiently, and also it allows us create a company that will continue to run whether we are there or not. Create systems for every function: cleaning, laundry, supervision, reporting, customer service, accounting, marketing, and management.
5. We are careful & slow it down! Even though time is our most valuable commodity, we don’t rush so much that we get careless. Customers will usually understand when accidents happen, but you are better off if you don’t have to fall back on that. Also, the cost to repair or to replace something--in out-of-pocket cash, time lost and damaged customer relations--is usually much more than the time you might save by simply slowing down a bit.
6. We don’t undersell ourselves. When we first started out, we were tempted to try to undercut the competition’s prices. A better strategy that works better is to simply outperform our competitors by providing quality work and more personable services.
7. We take care of our employees. How cleaning companies succeed is how they treat their employees. We know that our employees are critical to our success; after all, it’s the quality of their performance that determines whether our customers are satisfied. We look for ways to make them want to do their best. We train them well, we don’t micromanage, and we treat them all with respect. We provide bonuses and incentives for top performances, and we offer perks such as letting them use company equipment or supplies in their own homes.
8. We found our niche. We don’t try to be all things to all people and market to everybody. We have picked the market we can best serve, and focused on that. For example, if we choose to service smaller office buildings, we may not be able to provide quality work at a profitable price level to larger facilities. We excel in what we are doing and built consistency in the services we provide. We found that when you try to serve too many markets, you won’t be successful in any of them. If you are marketing to everybody, you are marketing to nobody.
9. We developed our computer skills. We learned quickly that you need to be as skilled with your computer as you are with a mop and broom. The cleaning business may not be particularly high tech, but you don’t have time to do estimates, billing, payroll, inventory control and other record-keeping by hand.
10. We track our labor costs. The biggest single expense we have is labor, and we must stay on top of it at all times. If we aren't watching our labor costs every day, they'll get away from us. So we compile a daily over and under report, which makes it easy to spot trends before they become major issues. If labor is increasing, we figure out where the problem is. We look for things like: Is the customer asking for extra services we aren’t charging for? Did we underestimate the time it would take to do the work? If we are under on our labor estimates, we make sure our employees are providing the quality we had promised.
11. We invest in customer service and into people. The quality of our cleaning is important, but it’s not everything. Building a strong relationship with our clients requires a serious commitment to our customer service. We don't assume that just because the work looks satisfactory to us that it is to our customers--or that there’s nothing else they want or need. We are sure to follow up with them consistently to find out how things are going.
12. We keep our eye on the economy. As long as things get dirty, there will always be a need for professionals like us to clean them. But economic changes can mean changes in our market too. Residential cleaning services, for example, are often seen as luxuries, and an economic downturn could affect our customers’ willingness and ability to pay to have their homes cleaned. When business profits shrink, companies look for ways to cut expenses, which means they may examine their budgets for services that can be reduced or eliminated.
Therefore, we consider how the world economy can impact our profitability. If oil prices skyrocket, we have to spend more to operate our vehicles, and our general utility costs will probably increase too. When the cost of lumber goes up, so does the cost of bathroom tissue, paper towels and other disposable paper products we provide to our customers or use. We may be able to pass along or spread some of those inflated costs, but we don’t depend on a thriving economy to keep our business profitable either. We choose to put plans in place so we can shift our market focus if necessary.
13. Sorry but we don’t take every job. If we can’t make money on a job, or if the work is just simply not worth it for any reason, we turn it down. It is better to focus our time and energy on profitable work that we enjoy and that is within our realm of services. We are not a one-size fits all company. We are clear in what we offer and we know our worth. Again, these tips are just a few rule of thumb methods that we personally apply to our business that has helped us grown and learn how cleaning companies succeed in Daytona Beach, Florida. If you are a current business owner, whether it is a cleaning company like ours or something completely different, let us know a few tips from your page that has lead your small-business towards success. We would love to hear your thoughts below.