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Your Target Janitorial Customers – Tips – Part 2

Drake Thomas (President/Co-founder of CleanGuidePro) here… In my last posted article, I shared are a few observations and tips (based on my 25 years in the janitorial industry) about ten typical types of janitorial customers that you may consider targeting. As promised, here’s another ten:

Janitorial Target Market

  1. HOSPITALS: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-7 days per week. Don’t let this one intimidate you. You don’t have to be a big national or regional company to get your foot in the door. You don’t need to take over the whole hospital housekeeping department to start. Take on a pressure washing job, offer stripping and waxing services to their always understaffed floor team, bid on some of their satellite clinics, offer fill in housekeepers on vacation, etc. Get with their facilities or housekeeping departments and let them know what services you have to offer. When you get work, do it perfectly and ask to bid on more. I started with one time per week floor polishing of the main cafeteria, which led to housekeepers, janitorial at their satellite clinics, trash/linen porters, full time floor techs, carpet cleaning and multiple hospitals.  Pros: Lots of lucrative work. Pays well and timely (3-5 wks). Cons: Can be late nights, holidays and weekends.Requires lots of coordinating and communication with housekeeping managers. You must have your own onsite working supervisor to make sure everything goes smoothly. Requires good cash flow, but every job requires that.
  2. CONSTRUCTION FINAL CLEAN: This is when a Construction Company contracts you to do a one time final clean of their project, in preparation for turn over to their client owner. This could be anything from a new home they built or small bank, to a huge school or even a hospital.Typical cleaning frequency on these projects could be a 1-3 days per week to 2-3 months depending on the size. Pros: Pays well. In just about every economy there’s some projects going on to bid on. Opportunities to be a Builders first choice for future projects when you do the job right and on time. Cons: They usually pay you on a monthly draw, meaning you may have to wait 4 weeks to receive a check. If a Contractor tells you, “you get paid when I get paid”, do NOT work for him/her. A reputable Contractor receives monthly bank draws to pay suppliers and vendors monthly.
  3. FITNESS CLUBS:  Typical cleaning frequency: 3-7 days per week. Pros: Good profit margins. Lots of gym chains popping up everywhere. Opportunity to sell them supplies, roll towels, toilet paper, etc. Carpet and floor work opportunities as well. Cons: Just late night hours or very early. Years ago, this was the “who knows when you’ll get paid customer”, but now with corporate chain ownership, they’re timely payers.
  4. HAIR SALONS: Typical cleaning frequency: 1-2 days per week. Pros: Salons on every corner. Cons: Not much, just hair, hair and more hair! Gets in your mops and can’t be washed out. Tip: Look for the chain of salons to bid on (as the owner of a small, single salon usually cleans the space his/herself).
  5. RETAIL STORES: This could be a small strip mall cell phone store to a large mall department store. Typical cleaning frequency: 3-7 days per week. Pros: Usually pays a bit more. Fast payers. Usually easy cleans. Opportunity to sell them supplies, roll towels, toilet paper, etc. Carpet and floor work will all be yours. Cons: Not much. Great accounts to have…
  6. MANUFACTURING PLANTS w/Production Area: Could be anything from a small manufacturing facility with a small front office (2-3000sq’) with a medium size production area (4k – 8k S.F.), to a huge front office and production area, like an auto manufacturing plant in Detroit. Typical cleaning frequency: 5-7 days per week. Pros: Very good accounts and timely payers.  Cons: Again, Not much. Great accounts to have. Just possible graveyard shift start times for larger facilities.
  7. MEDICAL OFFICE up to 10k: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-5 days per week. Pros: Lots of medical facilities this size and 98% of the time they outsource their cleaning. Timely payers and loyal to a good janitorial company. Extra work potential and easy to staff . Usually always will buy their supplies from you. Cons: Understandably, they can be very picky at times. Requires a high level of detail cleaning and sanitizing.
  8. MOVIE THEATER: Typical cleaning frequency: 7 days per week. Pros:Pays well and potential for lots of floor and carpet work. Cons: Can be difficult to staff, with start times usually 1-2am. Definitely, requires working site supervisor and some working team leaders. Frequent employee callouts on this one. Tip to overcome callouts: If you need a staff of 7 each night, you hire 9 (Trust me on this one!). That way, when the inevitable callouts come, your covered and if all 9 show up, you simply get finished earlier.
  9. HOTEL/RESORTS COMMON AREAS: This is usually where you provide staff on 4-8 hr shifts (7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm), to clean lobbies, public restrooms, banquet rooms, etc. They’ll usually have their own housekeepers to clean and service hotel rooms.They may even contract you to clean kitchens daily. Typical cleaning frequency: 7 days per week. Pros: Any hotel account, especially national chains are excellent accounts. Opportunities to take on many more hotels. Relatively easy to staff the day and evening shifts. Usually always want you to provide floor work and carpet work. Cons: Not really a con, but you need to have a professional looking crew at all times. Nice uniforms are a must. Your staff not only needs to clean well, but also have friendly social skills and manners as they will interact with hotel staff and hotel guests.
  10. GENERAL OFFICE BUILDINGS over 40,000 sq’: Typical cleaning frequency: 5 days per week. Typical Square Footage: 40,000 – 90,000 Sq. Feet. Pros: This is about the same as a General Office Buildings, up to 20,000 sq’. Easy to staff, usually early start time of 5:30pm. Extra work and supplies. Good pay and usually not difficult to clean. Cons: Everyone is trying to bid this one. Winning bids need to be very competitive. Tight budgets that require great site supervision and fast production rates.

Remember, as your experience and resources increase (and they will), so will your target customers!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

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Your Target Janitorial Customers – Tips – Part 1

Who’s your target janitorial customer? What type of businesses do you spend your valuable time and marketing dollars to attract?  Is it the hair salon that’s cleaned for an hour once a week or the government contract (with 25 facilities) that’s cleaned six to seven days a week?  Is it every business with a trash can?

Not sure?  Well, you should be and you should only focus on the “right” target customers that will best support your business growth and your peace of mind. And it’s really not hard to determine…  Simply ask yourself, “Is is it profitable, manageable and sustainable to my company at the present time in my business growth, based on my experience and resources”?

I’m Drake Thomas, President and co-founder of CleanGuidePro, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years… Allow me to share a few observations about the different types of janitorial customers that you may consider targeting.  Because this is a large list, I’ll start with 10 of the most common types below (and next week I’ll address 10 more).

Janitorial Target Market

  1. ONE DAY A WEEKERS: Asking to have a building cleaned only once a week is a common customer request. And if you’re cleaning by yourself in the early stages of your business, that’s fine… But trying to find reliable employees to only work one day per week is challenging at best. There’s very little profit and you still have to clean a week’s worth of mess in one day. I simply would advise against it in most cases.
  2. RESTAURANTS: Typical cleaning frequency: 7 days per week. Pros: Can be very lucrative with the possibility of getting a chain to clean. Cons: Late start times, usually after midnight until 6-7am. Hard to staff the hours required on a daily basis. Notoriously slow payers.
  3. FLOOR CARE ONLY: This is when a customer contracts you to provide floor scrubbing, stripping, polishing, waxing, carpet cleaning only, on some type of a regularly scheduled maintenance program. Usually a type of retail store like an auto part chain, pawn chain, hair salon, grocery store, etc. Pros: High profit margins, repeat business and lots of work everywhere. Cons: Requires training, skills and speed from your employees. Lots of upfront costs with equipment and chemicals.
  4. BANKS: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-5 days per week. Pros: Lots of banks around and you don’t usually get just one, but dozens of locations. Potential for lots of extra specialty work, i.e. floor care, carpets, etc. Cons: Requires individual employees or a team to do multiple locations on a route requiring you to provide a vehicle or gas and travel time allowances.
  5. LAW FIRMS: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-5 days per week. Pros: Usually pays a bit more. Fast payers. Usually easier cleans. Cons: Not much, maybe having to work around a late working attorney.
  6. CAR DEALERSHIPS: Typical cleaning frequency: 5-7 days per week. Pros: Lots of dealerships everywhere, with lots of extra work potential. Cons: Late start times, 7 days a week. Requires fast production rates to be profitable.
  7. CHURCHES & RELIGIOUS FACILITIES: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-5 days per week. Pros: Lots of churches around. Usually very pleasant atmospheres. Timely payers and loyal. Extra work potential and easy to staff. Usually always will buy their supplies from you. Cons: None to mention.
  8. DAYCARE CENTERS: Typical cleaning frequency: 3-5 days per week. Pros: Lots of daycare facilities around. Pays well and potential for lots of floor and carpet work due to strict cleaning standards. Cons: Understandably they can be very picky at times. Requires a high level of detail cleaning and sanitizing.
  9. PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Typical cleaning frequency: 5 days per week. Pros: Easier to staff, as start times are earlier around 4pm. Usually always want you to provide floor work, carpet work and the supplies. Cons: Difficult cleans. Usually totally trashed each day, which leads to frequent employee frustration and turnover.
  10. GENERAL OFFICE BUILDINGS: Typical cleaning frequency: 5 days per week. Typical Square Footage: 10,000 – 20,000 Sq. Feet. Pros: This is the bread and butter account for many small to mid-size companies. Easy to staff, usually early start time of 5:30pm. Extra work and supplies. Good pay and usually not difficult to clean. Cons: Not much if you keep their building clean and keep the lines of communication open with your customer.

Remember, as your experience and resources increase (and they will), so will your target customers!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake