Today I’d like to talk about leverage: what it is, why you need it and how to improve your cleaning service business with this powerful tool right away. First lets get clear on what leverage is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leverage as “an inducing or compelling force.” It further describes leverage as “a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force.” Doesn't sound very appealing does it? But, if you use Roger’s Thesaurus to see what the synonyms for leverage are, you’ll find words like “advantage, power, influence and clout, authority and edge”. Those are things you’d like to have in your cleaning business wouldn't you? Having a tool that transmits power in your business might be a good thing right? Here’s the fact of the matter. For most of us who are the founders of our own businesses (that includes me), in the beginning we did everything. Entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, people who have lots of “get up and go.” We are people who take action, who make things happen and who get things done. That’s a good thing. When your business is first starting out the force of your ideas, determination and persistence are the wheels that propel your company forward. When you are starting...

In today’s internet savvy marketplace your website’s job is to bring your cleaning company new customers. Getting them there is an important part of the process of getting new customers and prospects. But once you get them there, that’s only ½ of the battle. You want them to take another step, right? So, make sure that you encourage visitors to DO something and make sure the call to action is prominently displayed more than once on your site. Whether you want them to call, email or sign up for your free offer - make sure you tell them what to do in the simplest terms possible and make it easy for them to do so. This may sounds really simple to you, but the truth of the matter is that in today’s complicated world the biggest favor you can do for a prospective new customer is to tell them what to do. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and we’re all being constantly bombarded with messages from every direction. Your job then as the cleaning company business owner, is to make the process as easy as possible for your potential new customer. Let them know how they can get in touch...

A phrase I use frequently in talking about how to improve your cleaning service business is to “begin with the end in mind.” I got that phrase from a book by Stephen Covey called “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.” It’s a great book, and if you haven’t read it already, I recommend you do so Beginning with the end on mind was the title of the second habit in his book and I think it’s a great philosophy to apply in business and in personal decision making as well. What it means simply, is to think about what your end goal is first and to plan your activities to improve your cleaning service business accordingly. This will also help you to craft a meaningful Employee Handbook for your company. Once you've got your objective clearly identified in your mind creating an Employee Handbook around this will be easy. And, in your efforts to improve your cleaning service business, having a well-thought our Employee Handbook is one of the tools you’ll need for success. Many times I see business owners rushing busily about doing any number of things that may seem urgent but are not necessarily important. Instead, I would suggest you get totally clear...

You've been working hard to improve your cleaning service business. Congratulations! Now that your company has income coming in, here’s a question you may have: How do I (the business owner) get paid? Do I add myself on with the payroll company or do I just make a business check out to myself? Yes, you could be added to the payroll and get paychecks, but you could also take money out of the company via a distribution - sometimes also called a “draw” which is non-taxable income. Also, if you put money into the company to get it started, you can pay back that money to yourself, so there are a variety of options. The first question that must be considered regarding payment for the owners is the entity structure. Are you a DBA, an LLC, or a corporation and if either of the last two, does the company have shares? When you set up the chart of accounts for the company’s bookkeeping did you contribute equity to get the company stared, and if so, how was that booked? I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is that you get an accountant (CPA preferred) or a bookkeeper (preferably a “full charge” bookkeeper) to handle...

If you’re like most cleaning service business owners, you’d love to get new cleaning accounts for your business. So, when your great website gets you a call about providing regular service for a chain of stores in your area, you’re excited! You also want to improve your cleaning business by making sure you take on the right kind of job and at the right price, before you sign on the dotted line. Give yourself a pat on the back for realizing that this is a highly specialized area of work and should not be approached as just another facility. There are some unique considerations about working in retail establishments that can make it challenging and a downright head ache if you are not careful! On the other hand, if you have an opportunity to get new cleaning accounts and plan carefully it can be a great source of steady income and provide a great “base” on which to build your cleaning service business. Frankly, I would recommend doing retail as part of your “mix” of business, while making sure to include other sectors that offer richer profit margins (such as Banking/Financial Services, and Class “A” office space). Marketing to this segment of the...

Like most cleaning service business owners, you love to get new cleaning accounts for your business. So, when your great website generates a request for proposal (RFP) to provide regular service for stores in your area, you’re excited! You also want to improve your cleaning business by making sure you take on the right kind of job and at the right price, before you sign on the dotted line. There are some unique considerations about working in retail establishments that can make it challenging or worse, unprofitable if you are not careful! But, if you have an opportunity to get new cleaning accounts and plan carefully it can be a great source of steady income and provide a great “base” on which to build your cleaning service business. Frankly, I would only recommend doing retail as part of your “mix” of business, while making sure to include other sectors that offer richer profit margins (such as Banking/Financial Services, and Class “A” office space). Marketing to this segment of the economy should be part of the marketing plan for your cleaning company. That being said, here’s my advice based on my experience doing cleaning in retail environments. There are two major areas of concern...

As a (22 years and counting) veteran in the commercial cleaning industry and a person who provides coaching and consulting services to cleaning business owners, I get asked this question pretty frequently. If you are a company owner seeking to improve your cleaning business, you may be wondering which is the best way to compensate your employees and why. The most successful cleaning company owners quickly realize that their companies can only ever be as good as their staff and as your most important resource, your Human Resources should be treated as the valuable assets they are. In addition to best practices in recruiting, hiring and training your employees, the way you pay them is one of the most important considerations in your ability to retain a well-trained, highly motivated and service oriented team at your company. You want to use a compensation system that is perceived as being both beneficial and fair. This one step will do wonders for you in terms of increasing your ability to improve your cleaning business’ overall performance.   Paying hourly  I’ve been in business now for 20 years with my commercial cleaning company and have probably hired more than 2000 people during that time. Speaking from my experience, I...

A critical component necessary to improve your cleaning business is to take a good look at your organizational and time management system. If you’re not now, you should immediately start using a daily list. Every effective cleaning business owner works from a daily list. It is the most powerful time management technique you can employee to increase productivity and improve your organizational skills. Nowadays, you can do this electronically via your smartphone (which I highly recommend). That way, even when you’re out in the field, you can stay up-to-date without carrying around scraps of paper (that’s so 20th century). Ineffective cleaning company owners (those feeling overwhelmed with too many things to do and too little time) either do not use a list or do not refer to a list if they have one in the first place. They often resist the idea of writing things down. As a result, they find themselves continually distracted by ringing phones, interruptions, unexpected emergencies, e-mails and employee requests. Now that you've decided you want to improve your cleaning business, here’s a step-by step plan: When you create your daily list, you begin by writing down every single task that you intend to complete over the course...

If you’re focused on getting your cleaning company new customers one of the best ways to leverage your marketing efforts is with your website. Fresh, original, relevant (keyword rich) content is a way to get your cleaning company new customers even while you’re sleeping. The good thing about a well-designed website is that it works 24/7 attracting prospects. And while the right kind of content is a free way to attract ideal new customers, you’ll need to spend time doing it the right way. The bottom line is that there’s always a “cost” to getting new customers. The cost is sometimes money, other times its time. In the case of content, what you don’t spend in money you will spend in time. So here’s how it works: Content on your cleaning company’s website is your opportunity to establish yourself as an expert! A few well written blog posts, case studies, or even first person success stories about what you do and how you do it will not only make a favorable impression on your readers, it also makes you rank higher in search engines. This will help you get (and stay) on that all important first page of Google or other...

One of the clients I am coaching is growing her cleaning business. She recently asked me for direction on inspections and quality control. She needed to know how often to do inspections, how to standardize and perform them, and if she should report results to her client. Here’s my answer: Congratulations on recognizing that quality control is your key to success in the commercial (or residential) cleaning industry! If you own a cleaning company and want to be financially successful, work less, have more money and clients, this step in your operations is crucial. Building and growing your cleaning company does not have to be difficult or painful. You've already done the work of marketing for your cleaning business, now you just need to make sure to keep your clients happy and on board. Don't lose those hard-won accounts because of poor cleaning  performance. How often you clean the building (or home) and what you find when you perform your inspection will tell you how often it needs to be done. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend a ratio between 1:10 to 1:15 (one inspection for every 10-15 cleanings) when the account is stable. This will increase if any of the following things take place: 1. You have a...