Drake's Blog


Overcoming Anxiety in the Janitorial Business

How do you overcome anxiety in the janitorial business? A better question might be, how do you overcome anxiety in life in general? As the old saying goes, if you tell anyone you’ve met that you’ve heard about their problem, they will answer by saying, “Who told you?”.

Anxious Janitorial Businessman

It has been clinically proven that fears (real or imaginary problems) in the heart of a person cause anxiety or worry.

First, let’s focus on the “real” stressful things in business that you can control. In business terminology we’re talking about Risk Management. In any business, things can go wrong at any time any place. This fact alone can cause worry, but you can mitigate general anxiety just by practicing due diligence. Make sure you’re properly insured with liability insurance and workers comp. Stress safety with your employees via employee orientation, safety training and regular safety meetings. Maintain your vehicle and equipment on a set schedule. Pay your taxes promptly. Pay your employees fairly and treat them with honesty and integrity. Basically, if you do the right thing in business, your anxiety, stress and worry levels will all be decreased; Not totally eliminated, but dramatically reduced.

Okay, but what about the imaginary things you worry about? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if my best isn’t good enough? What if I fail? What if my health fails? What if _____ (fill in the blank)? I personally choose to replace my irrational, imaginary worries every day by renewing my mind with words of hope, life and peace! Isn’t it all about peace anyway, my friend? Peace is the antithesis of anxiety!

Let me share some of my favorite quotes to overcome anxiety with peace..

  • “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” -Benjamin Franklin
  • “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave person is not the one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela
  • “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more”.- Mother Teresa
  • “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
  • “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”–Florence Nightingale
  • “Do not be anxious or worry about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” –Paul the Apostle
  • “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” -Jesus
  • “The message is clear: If you don’t like your situation in life, don’t fret or worry – do something about it. Worry less, act more!” –Zig Ziglar
  • “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address-Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

So I encourage you to overcome any business anxiety with (a) practical business risk management tactics and (b) through words of peace. That’s what’s worked for me…


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Janitorial Uniforms – Buying vs Renting

Ask Drake

President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro

Dear Drake: I’ve had my janitorial business for three years now and have 18 employees. I provide company tee shirts with our name and logo on them. The problem is that it seems like I’m constantly buying tee shirts. When an employee quits, I rarely get the tee shirt back and if I do, it’s so faded and worn that it’s only good for a cleaning rag, not something I’d give to another employee.

What’s your opinion on buying janitorial uniforms versus renting from a uniform company?

Employee uniforms

Answer: Very good question! I’ve been there and have felt your pain, especially in the wallet. First off, let’s come to the consensus that uniforms of some kind are a must! They enhance your image and project professionalism. Over the years I’ve bought and rented (leased) uniforms at some point with varying degrees of success. I’m defining success in this area as being cost effective, easy to administer and keeping my staff looking sharp.

The pro with buying is that you only buy as needed. The con with buying is that shirts aren’t returned, cheap tee shirts fade and wear out quickly and you have very minimal reuse.

The pro with renting is that they give you procedures and a system to follow. You get forms for ordering – employee assignment sheets that your employees sign – stating how many shirts they received and the cost to the employee (taken from their last pay check) if not returned upon termination of their employment. The con with renting is that you’re locked into a contract (up to 3 years, with payments EVERY month) which can be much more expensive over the course of the contract than buying as needed.

Let me share what has served me well over the years. I use a buying system that utilizes the pros of buying and the pros of renting. A simple system (below) that is cost effective, easy to administer and keeps my staff looking professional!

  1. Establish your own Employee Uniform Policy and form. It will state the number, size and type of uniform shirt/shirts they receive. Also, your cost of each shirt and stating that they will turn in their uniform shirts a minimum of three days before their last check is cut or the cost will be deducted from there last check. No exceptions. They sign their acceptance of this policy. They keep a copy and you keep a copy in their employee file. Notice, I didn’t mention pants or shoes. I only provide a uniform polo shirt. Employees are required to purchase their pants and shoes at their own cost. We specify jeans or khakis depending on the location and closed toe shoes.
  2. Buy from a local, established embroidery store that sells tee shirts, polos, button down shirts, caps, custom logos, etc. You support the local economy and usually can purchase as few as two at a time. Don’t buy the plain 100% cotton tee shirts, they fade and wear out quickly. Buy nice, sturdy 100% polyester/synthetic blend polo shirts with company logo. They usually cost about $30 a piece, but these shirts are stain resistant and hold their form and color through hundreds of machine washes (employees are required to wash their own uniform shirts). No one wants to have $90 taken out of their last check over 3 shirts. You’ll get these shirts back 90% of the time. 85% are in good shape and can be reused again and again.
  3. Create a monthly, uniform ordering form. Have a goal of keeping extra shirts of each size in your warehouse stock. Simply order what you need once a month, once a quarter or as needed.

Remember, in business, have a cost effective system and keep it simple!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Hiring family and friends in your janitorial business

Ask Drake

President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro

With the truly, humbling success of CleanGuidePro, we’ve received great questions by companies all over the world about varying topics in the janitorial industry. Allow me to share yet another one of them with you.

Hey Drake: My Janitorial business has grown and I’ve started hiring employees. I’ve got eight part time employees now. Three are family members (my son and one of my sister’s daughter), one is a friend from high school and five are employees unrelated to me. My biggest employee issues by far have been from my family and my friend. I’ll get a call or text saying, “Sorry, can’t make it tonight, I need Friday off, etc.”. Also, when they’re late or do poor quality work and I confront them about it, they don’t seem to care and actually get upset with me. We just landed a new cleaning account and I’ll need to hire three more employees soon. I’ve got more family members that say they’re available to work for me, but I’m reluctant to hire them. What do you think? Should I hire family and friends or not?

Family employees

Answer: This is a great question and one that is near and dear to my heart. The simple answer is “YES” if you do it right and definitely “NO” if you do it wrong!

In the early days, I had my little kids help me (on Friday evenings and Saturdays) clean buildings and pull trash. They got paid with a trip to 7-11 for Slurpees, Ring Pops and Lemonheads and were ecstatic to get it!

As my janitorial business growth continued, I hired well over a thousand employees, including all four of my kids (as well as their boyfriends and girlfriends), my wife, my mom (as honorary CEO), two of my sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, friends of mine and friends of my family. I’ve also had to (reluctantly, tearfully and prayerfully) fire some of these people that I loved (AND STILL DO). All in all, family and friends have probably been about 4% (40) of my hires.

Hiring family and friends has been an incredible blessing to me by strengthening most relationships, yet it’s been a curse by destroying a few others. I have a close relative that still rarely talks with me due to our unsuccessful working relationship. This remains my biggest personal failure in business…

The bottom line answer to your question is this. Family and friends can be a great asset to your janitorial business, but establish guidelines and procedures for these people just like employees that are not related to you. When you do this, you will find that it strengthens both your business and your family!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Janitorial Employee-Supervisor Conflict

Ask Drake

President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro

With the truly, humbling success of CleanGuidePro, we’ve received great questions by companies all over the world about varying topics in the janitorial industry. Allow me share one of them with you.

Hey Drake: As our janitorial business has grown, we’ve promoted two of our better cleaners to Supervisor positions. Soon afterwards, I had Supervisors telling me to fire certain employees and hire better people. I’ve also had employees calling me and saying that their Supervisor is bad, lazy and plays favorites among other things. What’s the best way to solve conflict between your supervisors and employees?

Supervisor-Employee conflict

Answer: First, let me congratulate you on your growing business! Your question is one that every successful business owner faces at some point in their growth.

Let me make it simple and clear. Your job as the owner is not to be a referee between supervisors and employees, making judgment calls based on some “gut feeling” as to who is right and who is wrong in each and every situation. Rather, your job to establish employee guidelines and criteria in employee handbooks, noting specific job descriptions for each position (from entry level cleaners to supervisory personnel) with clearly spelled out duties and responsibilities. Basically, everyone show know what their duties are and what the consequences are for failing to follow procedure.

Here’s how it works… Every employee should read your company handbook and sign off that they understand the consequences off “no call, no show”, “being late”, “poor quality work”, etc. Each cleaner should be trained and receive a checklist, detailing exactly what duties to perform on their shift. Likewise, each Supervisor should receive training and a checklist detailing exactly what duties they perform on their shift and (in particular) during the “end of night checklist”. This way when conflict arises (and it will!) you can look at which company procedures were violated and make a correct, unbiased decision!

Business 101 “rightly” teaches us that written systems and procedures, with clearly defined job descriptions with a touch of “common sense and love”, eliminates most of our business problems!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Janitorial Employee Time Keeping

Ask Drake

President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro

With the truly, humbling success of CleanGuidePro, we’ve received great questions by companies all over the world about varying topics in the janitorial industry. Allow me share one of them with you.

Dear Drake: We’ve been in the janitorial business a little over a year now and are ready to start hiring a few employees to help with our workload. Managing employee’s time is new to us. Any suggestions on how to track their weekly hours for payroll? Should we put in time clocks, have a “self write-in sheet” for them to write their own times down, or just pay them for a set amount of hours? .

Answer: Great question! First, let me get you thinking the right way. You don’t manage employees time, but rather you “manage” the “system” that manages your employees hourly timekeeping.

Having employees write their own time down or paying them for a set amount of time is a system allright, but it’s a system of the employees managing you! Learn from my early mistakes. I’ve stopped by to check buildings with write-in sheets at 8pm, with all employees gone and the times written down are 6pm in and 10pm out. I’ve also paid employees for 3 hrs a night, received customer complaints that things were getting missed, then find out the employee was only there for 1 hour each night!

Time-clocks are an OK system, but have drawbacks. Units are expensive, travel time to get time cards and manually entering in payroll data are all time consuming. Cliche yes, but “time is money” off your bottom line.

Here’s the hands down, best system to keep track of your employee hours for payroll. Telephone Clock-in Systems! This is online computer software that allows employees to clock in/out from their jobsite using caller id. It’s in real time and sends email or text alerts to you if someone is late, no shows, etc. You can see reports, print or email timesheets, export payroll and much more with the click of a button. It saves you time and money and it’s affordable to even the smallest of companies. That’s managing a system that works!

These systems are not put in place to control or manipulate “bad” people/employees at all. Employees should be cherished, appreciated, taken care of, paid well and yes, even loved! Systems are put in place to create a work environment that reduces chaos, creates structure and a sense of order. Systems foster harmony and peace in the workplace and i’snt that what it’s all about anyway my friend!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Janitorial Competition and Fair Market Pricing

Ask Drake

President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro

With the truly, humbling success of CleanGuidePro, we’ve received great questions by companies all over the world about varying topics in the janitorial industry. Allow me share one of them with you.

Dear Drake: I own a start-up janitorial business in a large U.S. city and I have to compete with large companies to win bids. How does CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware address this issue as well the concept of “fair market pricing”?

Answer: First of all, there is no real “set market” or “fair price” chart – i.e. Dallas vs. Chicago – to go by. That’s the wrong way to think anyway…

You need to think in terms of what’s the fair market costs associated with your area. For example, what are the minimum hourly wages, chemicals, state and local payroll tax rates that you have to pay. (By the way, our bidware does all this for you in Step 4 of the bid creation process, the Workloading and Pricing screen.

All size companies (especially the large national and regional ones) have to calculate/count their monthly costs to clean a building FIRST! Only then do you add a fair profit price (which is also suggested by the software).Remember, the bigger companies will always have higher costs than the smaller companies, because they have higher overhead, More mid level supervisors, higher liability insurance, etc…, therefore slimmer profit margins.

Don’t be intimidated by the bigger companies, but rather focus on constantly improving your own company! Keep in mind that the “big companies” were all a start-up once.


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


Increase Your Janitorial Customer Retention Dramatically

Do you want to know how to increase your janitorial customer retention dramatically? Silly question, right? Of course you do! But what exactly is “customer retention” and how do you achieve it?  In practice, customer retention is less about you keeping your existing cleaning accounts and more about having your customers not get rid of you.

CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware - A proudly cleaned floorTo acquire new customers, you spend a lot of time, effort and money to market and sell your services. Once you get a new customer, that’s just the beginning; Now you have to keep them!

Don’t think for a moment that just doing the basics and going through the motions will retain customers. A Janitorial Service Agreement is a business relationship that absolutely requires you to be attentive, nurturing, caring, loving – (yes, I said it, love your customer!) – and to occasionally bite your tongue. And just like any other relationship, it has to be nurtured and developed this month and next month and the month after that…

You actually need to move from “Customer Retention” to “Customer Loyalty” to thrive in this business. There’s a lot to be said on this subject (and I promise to to do so in future articles), but for now, let me start with my core “Customer Retention/Loyalty Tips” that have served me so well for over 25 years in this great janitorial industry.

  1. COMMUNICATE: Right up front, when you do a walk through before preparing a proposal, make sure that you communicate with your contact about exactly what they expect. Do they have a checklist or do they want you to create one? Then, when you get awarded the account, make sure that you have a signed Service Agreement, spelling out the details and terms of your service. Customers understand the necessity of this document. Be on the same page on day one!
  2. SIMPLY DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO: Keep your promises! If your proposal stated that all waxed floors will be polished once per week, then do it. If it noted that return vents and blinds are dusted monthly, then do it. I know one national franchise that promises (on their proposals) to take all the trash cans outside and wash them every month. Of course, it rarely gets done. That task wasn’t required, but since it was promised, it became expected and was subsequently viewed as a failure to perform. If I had a quarter for every new customer that told me, “the last cleaning company didn’t do what they promised”, well.. I’d have a lot of quarters.
  3. KEEP THEIR BUILDING CLEAN: The #1 way to keep your customer happy and loyal is to keep their building clean! The #1 way to keep their building clean is to do regularly scheduled checklist inspections for quality control! It’s good and actually necessary for your customer to like you, but that alone will not keep you there. You need to consistently keep their facility clean and even exceed their original expectations. Go the extra mile, it will be well worth it. Strive to be a top service provider!
  4. THEY NEED TO LIKE YOU: Hear me out on this one. I’m not talking about a joke telling, fishing buddy (although, being “professionally” personable and friendly goes a long way towards customer loyalty). Instead, when they like the way you and your company take care of their facility, they will also like you! Yes, cliché, but take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
  5. BE PROFITABLE: You want to “retain” profitable customers. If you’re losing money on an account or just breaking even, then you will stop caring about the things that will make your customer keep you. They’ll probably drop you and you won’t care. Do all you can to keep your costs down and quality up. But if, for example, you start cleaning a private school with 200 students and 6 months later they’ve increased to 300 (which will increase your labor hours up to 2 hours a day), then it’s time to sit down and talk about a fair price increase. Even the Good Book says, “the worker is deserving of their pay”. That’s good enough for me.
  6. TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES: To provide consistent quality cleaning on an ongoing basis, your crew needs to know what to do. You need to have some type of training on cleaning techniques, chemical use, customer relations, safety, protocol, procedures, production rates, etc. A trained and competent employee creates a loyal customer!
  7. USE CHECKLISTS TO MANAGE “THE SYSTEM”: A checklist of exactly what is done each day is not just a good idea, but an absolute must to succeed. e.g. Individual employee checklists, area checklists, specialty work checklists, end of night supervisor checklists, monthly inspection checklists, etc. That’s managing a system that works!
  8. EMPLOYEE UNIFORMS/BADGES/NAME TAGS: At each customer location, project an image of trust, structure and professionalism. After hour customer accounts should still have company t-shirts with your name and logo. And higher profile accounts need to project a more professional image. Specifically, polo shirts with logos and khakis, with employee lanyard or company identifying name badges need to be worn. The more your customer sees your employees, the sharper they need to look!
  9. WHATEVER IT TAKES!: Commit to being that person that finds solutions. Every problem and situation has a perfect solution. Some tougher than others. Are you willing to fulfill a customer’s last minute, 4pm request to wax or polish floors tonight because their corporate boss is visiting tomorrow? Will you miss a little sleep or work late to provide a solution? Expect the unexpected! When another cleaning company comes “a courting”, they will say “No thanks, we’re very happy with our current cleaning service”. That’s customer loyalty!
  10. HAVE A SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE!: If you have a mindset of “it’s good enough, they’ll never notice, everyone cuts corners”, I know 4 coats of wax would look awesome, but 3 is enough for tonight”, then you don’t get it. When I used to ask my Floor Techs how a job came out and they would say “good”, I would ask them “do you know who the enemy of excellence is”? It’s “good enough”. They quickly got the point! They then started sending me cell phone pics of every job, and yes it was excellent work! Average Spirit equals Average Business and that equals average customer retention. Excellent Spirit equals Excellent Business and that equals EXCELLENT CUSTOMER RETENTION!

Always remember to nurture your customer relationships. Make them feel cared about and appreciated. Your customer retention will increase dramatically and your customer loyalty will soar!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake



How To Workload a Janitorial Bid (when you do the work)

How do you workload (i.e. allocate the labor) for a janitorial bid when you’re the one doing all of the work?  I’ll answer that question in a moment. First, let me just lay a little groundwork. I’m posting this particular blog in response to the many small business owners – those just starting out and doing all the work themselves – that have asked me this very question.

CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware Workloading and Pricing screenTo create an accurate, competitive and profitable janitorial bid, you need to accurately calculate what it will cost you to clean this building every month. First, you need to know how many total hours a day are required to clean this building. Then, you need to figure out who will work these hours and at what wage (workloading). The hourly wage that you pay your workers determines your labor cost for the month.

Okay, simple enough, when you have actual employees, but back to the original question, how should you workload a bid when you’re the only cleaner?  Here’s the straightforward answer that most people seem to resist: Use the same hourly hourly wage that you would pay an employee (if you had one).  If you want to grow your janitorial business – and I’m assuming that you do – you’re going to have to hire employees at some point.  So from day one you need to think in terms of “What’s my profit margin on this bid” rather than “What’s my desired personal hourly wage”.

Most new business owners tell me that they price a job to make $20 to $30 (or more) per hour doing all the work themselves. That’s fine to think like that early on and it even motivated me 32 ago when I cleaned my sister’s house for $40 for two hours of work (plus I raided the fridge for leftovers, snacks and cold beverages)… PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT recommend that you raid your customer’s refrigerators!  Although.. if you happen to find a box of Krispy Kreme donuts with a few perfectly good donuts in your customer’s break-room trash, it’s fair game! Just sayin…

But when you inflate your wages when pricing a job, you’ve skewed your Profit Margin analysis.  In other words, you’ve left no room to gauge your real profit over costs.  When you workload using a fair employee wage (albeit a future employee) for your area, you can accurately determine your market costs and derive a bid’s true Profit Margin (which can range from 15% – 40% depending on the type and size of the job)…  That’s a fundamental best practice for janitorial business growth!

I’m Drake Thomas (President/Co-founder of CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware) and I’ve been pricing janitorial bids for over 25 years.  Let’s look at an example of the right way and the wrong way to workload a bid…


CORRECT BID WORKLOADING, Employee Wage, $8.75/hr

  • 10,000 sq’ Building, 5 days per week
  • Calculated Cleaning Production Rate by Employee: 2,500 sq’ per hour
  • 4 Total Daily Hours  x  $8.75/hr  = $35 a day cost/ $757.75 a month cost for labor
  • $757 Labor Cost + 30% for payroll taxes, chemicals, misc, etc. = $985.08 YOUR TOTAL MONTHLY COSTS to clean this building.
  • Now add a fair Cost Markup of 33% (which is equivalent to a Profit Margin of 25%) for a Monthly Bid Price of $1,313.44.
  • Your Monthly Profit on this bid is $328.36 a month.
    And looking ahead to when you have employees, you’ll only spend about 2.5 hrs a week – say 10 hours a month – on this account (i.e. dropping supplies, inspecting, scheduling, talking to customer, etc.). Which you can also think of as making $32/hr for your time actually spent on this job!



  • 10,000 sq’ Building, 5 days per week
  • Calculated Cleaning Production Rate by Owner: 2,500 sq’ per hour
  • 4 Total Daily Hours  x  $20/hr  = $80 a day (which covers both your cost + your profit).
  • If you charge $20/hr for this bid, you will charge them $1,732.00 per month. The problem is that unless your sister owns this building, you WILL NOT win this bid 99.99% of the time! You’ll be the highest bidder…


Want to see the best practices of Janitorial Workloading in action? (After a lot of hard work, it’s been automated.) Check out the Workloading and Pricing screen (i.e. Step 4 of the Bid Creation process) in my CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware. Over two years of development went into the creation of this software that was designed to workload and price and win bids the way that I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of times. There’s a free 30 day trial, and I’d love to hear what you have to say about it…

But no matter how you generate a  janitorial cleaning proposal, always think in terms of “What’s my profit margin on this bid?”.

Happy Bidding,

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake



The Power of the Donut – Top 12!

Donut ManLet’s have some fun…

What’s the power of the donut? What is it about this configuration of sugar and dough (and glaze and cream and jelly and maybe sprinkles) that motivates employees and make them feel appreciated? Why is the donut mightier than the cookie, the brownie or the pizza?

I’m not exactly sure, but after 25 years of giving my janitorial employees movie tickets, atta boys, bonuses, gift certificates and handshakes, nothing has brought on bigger smiles than a box of donuts at the start of a work shift!  Maybe giving a donut for no particular reason says I love and appreciate you and the work that you do. Yep, I think it’s the love, that’s what I’m going with!

Let me be a little more specific. It’s the box of assorted dozen donuts that does the trick. There’s something for everyone. Don’t like chocolate, go for the glazed. Don’t like sprinkles, go for the bear claw.  Everyone’s happy!

Let me give you a dozen assorted ways to make your employees love you!

  1. PLAIN GLAZED DONUT: The original yummy. If an employee doesn’t like this one, you might think about replacing them.
  2. CHOCOLATE GLAZED: My personal favorite. Unless they hate chocolate, they will feel the love.
  3. BEAR CLAW: Not really a donut, but someone will like it. If this is their first choice, keep an eye on them.
  4. CHOCOLATE ECLAIR: Again, not really a donut, but they will draw straws for this one. Probably wise to get a couple of these.
  5. VANILLA GLAZED: For the few that don’t like chocolate. Again, keep an eye on the chocolate haters.
  6. GLAZED JELLY FILLED: Blueberry or Raspberry is best. If no one likes it, I’ll eat it and be happy.
  7. SPRINKLES ON TOP: I don’t really like or get this one, but I respect and accept the employee that does.
  8. APPLE FRITTER CRULLER: Usually there’s one odd employee that loves this one. I accept this oddball.
  9. CARAMEL COFFEE CREAM: Not my top choice, but any coffee lover will like this one.
  10. CHOCOLATE ICED WITH CUSTARD FILLING: Well duh..this should be a “Do you like this donut” question on your employment application, and a “No” answer should disqualify this applicant!
  11. CHOCOLATE ICED WITH CREAM FILLING: This is a good donut if you didn’t get a custard filled one.
  12. POWDERED CAKE: My least favorite, but someone will love it. Get rid of this person anyway.

Remember, donuts are the key to employee satisfaction.  No April foolin’…


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake



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!

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