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

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

Janitorial Bidding Software That Works!

Long story short:

After 25 years of hard work, determination, faith and years of trial and error developing a systematic bidding method for my own cleaning business, I ended up building (with an unbelievable team of programmers) the janitorial bidding software that I was searching for.. A proven systematic approach that has generated millions in sales. A system that works!

Long story long:

My name is Drake Thomas, I’ve been in the cleaning business over 24 years. I started out at age 19, supplementing the income from my full time job by cleaning my sister Linda’s house once a week (for $40 cash). It took me about two hours to clean, so I averaged about $20 an hour. I made 4 times the minimum wage rate at the time and she got a clean house for a week! That’s a win/win in my book!

I saw that there was good money in cleaning, but it wasn’t my dream job at the time; I had other life plans to pursue. Linda was already a very successful computer programmer, having graduated Valedictorian in high school and cum laude in college, and she urged me to get a degree as well. So, over the next five years, I worked in sales and went to college part time, receiving an AA degree in CIS, Computer Information Systems. The degree was good, I learned a lot about computers, but I never pursued that career path. But, I did meet my lovely wife Kristin there and we just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary!

Just before I graduated college, an opportunity arose to take over a tiny floor care company (stripping, waxing and polishing floors). The owners, an older couple, were moving out of town in two months and would lose the handful of accounts that they had. I made them an offer of $5,780, (the total value of all their equipment if purchased new). The deal was that I would give them a deposit of $2,500 – (a credit union signature loan) – and work with them at night (for free) during a two month training period. The balance would be paid off in 6 monthly installments from my business profits. They happily agreed. So for a while, I worked a day job, attended college part time, and then stripped floors at night (sometimes until 5am). Then I got up at 7am to do it again. At the end of the two month training period, I quit my day job. I figured if I could sell for “them”, I could sell for myself. Initially, I only offered floor care, but I pretty quickly started bidding – and winning bids – for complete janitorial services.

This calculated risk paid off, but isn’t life full of risks? The fruit is at the end of the branches. During my career, I’ve read literally hundreds of books on business management, motivation, goal setting, systems, sales/marketing techniques, cash flow, customer retention, budgets, planning, cost cutting and the list goes on. But my number one book concerning business is the book of Proverbs. It has taught me more about business than any other by far. Things like “mere talk leads to poverty” (take action!), “all hard work returns a profit” (don’t be lazy!), and “seek wisdom more than choice gold or fine silver” (knowledge is power!).

Over the years, I’ve won hundreds and hundreds of bids for monthly janitorial service, floor waxing, carpet cleaning, pressure washing, specialty work and supply sales for Banks, Car Dealerships, Churches, Corporate Offices, Day Cares, Dentist Offices, Doctor’s offices, Hair Salons, Hospitals, Ice Cream Parlors, Law Firms, Medical Facilities, Pawn Shops, Property Management, Restaurants, Retail Stores, Schools, Veterinarians, and just about everything in between. What’s the secret you ask?… There is no secret! Just a quarter century of hard work, determination, faith and years of trial and error developing a systematic bidding method for my own cleaning business. A proven approach that has generated millions in sales. A system that works!

This bidding system is available to you now! Welcome to CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware, cleanlyrun.com! If you’re looking for the right janitorial bidding software to help you win more bids, you’ve found it. You can accurately bid on commercial and residential, monthly cleaning accounts, 13 specialty work tasks like floor stripping, carpet cleaning, pressure washing, tile &and grout cleaning, day porters, etc, commercial and residential construction cleanup, and much more!

Over three years of development has gone into the creation and development of this software. We just released in February of this year and hundreds of janitorial companies have already signed up, given us awesome feedback and most important, are winning bids! Not only is it designed to bid the way that I’ve bid and won hundreds and hundreds of times, but the behind the scenes team of software programmers have integrated the latest business rules technology to capture every nuance of successful bidding. This team is headed up by – you guessed it – none other than my sister Linda. Her thirty years of expertise and experience working on a multitude of Fortune 500 IT projects have made CleanGuidePro come to life. I half kiddingly tell people that I’m a Grand Master Janitor, but Linda is truly a Grand Master Programmer! Call it fate, destiny, or a match made in Heaven, but don’t call it coincidence. My love and gratitude to her.

 

Sign up today for our no obligation, free 30 day trial and start winning those bids! Check it out for yourself at cleanlyrun.com !

Sincerely,

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Specialty Work Tips!

When starting out, most cleaning companies don’t offer janitorial specialty work. They offer basic, janitorial cleaning only. Things like general cleaning, dusting, sweeping, mopping, restrooms and trash. The problem with this approach is that you leave a lot of extra money on the table. That “extra money” comes from offering additional, specialty work like floor stripping and re-waxing, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, pressure washing, tile and grout cleaning, etc.

In addition, you severely limit your company’s growth opportunities.  Most, if not all facility managers need and expect these services to be provided by one company. Trust me on this, the more specialty services that your company offers, the more opportunities you have to win bids and increase revenues at new and existing accounts!

The purpose of this blog is not to train you how to perform the following specialty services – (although side note, we are in the process of developing training materials at CleanGuidePro.com) – but rather to simply point out a few of the opportunities that exist to increase your bottom line!

  1. FLOOR STRIPPING AND RE-WAXING: When waxed floors are stripped with a stripper solution, down to the bare floor and new wax (floor finish) is applied. Usually 4-5 coats of new wax (floor finish). Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Floor stripping and waxing” is 0.20 – 0.50 (i.e. 20 cents to 50 cents).
  2. FLOOR SCRUBBING AND REWAXING: When waxed floors are scrubbed with a mild neutral solution, but not removing all layers of wax and new wax (floor finish) is applied. Usually 2-3 coats of new wax (floor finish). Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Floor scrubbing and waxing” is 0.16 – 0.35 (i.e. 16 cents to 35 cents).
  3. FLOOR POLISHING/BUFFING: When waxed floors are polished, in between regular waxing intervals, using a floor machine that spins at 1000-2500 rpm (rotations per minute). Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Floor Polishing/Buffing” is 0.04 – 0.10 (i.e. 4 cents to 10 cents).
  4. CARPET EXTRACTION CLEANING PORTABLE UNIT: This is the process where carpets are chemically pre-treated using a sprayer or mixed in with the cleaning chemical solution inside the machine’s solution tank. An attachment wand is used to spray the carpets at 100-450 psi and simultaneously vacuums up the dirty water solution. Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Carpet steam cleaning portable unit” is 0.12 – 0.25 (i.e. 12 cents to 25 cents).
  5. CARPET BONNETT CLEANING: Sometimes called the “bonnett method”. When carpets are chemically pretreated using a sprayer or mixed in with the cleaning chemical solution tank attached to machine. The carpets are cleaned using a hand held, 175 rpm (rotations per minute) rotary scrubber machine with a damp bonnett pad on the bottom. The machine spins and agitates the pad and the pad absorbs the dirty solution. This method has its place, but does tend to leave chemical residue in the carpets, which leads to re-soiling. Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Carpet bonnet cleaning” is 0.08 – 0.25 (i.e. 8 cents to 25 cents).
  6. TILE AND GROUT CLEANING: When a degreaser solution is applied to the tile and grout, agitated with a nylon grit brush and then using a tile and grout machine that has a spinner tool attachment that spray rinses the floor at 1000-1200 psi and vacuums the residue at the same time. You can rent this machine at your local janitorial supply store until you have enough work to justify a purchase.Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Tile and grout Cleaning” is 0.25 – 0.79 (i.e. 25 cents to 79 cents).
  7. PRESSURE WASHING: This is an outdoor application. Sometimes called power washing. When you use an electric or gas powered “pressure washing machine” to wash down exterior walls, siding, awnings, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Water is sprayed on surfaces at high-pressure, usually 1500-4000 psi. Sometimes you need to pretreat surfaces with a cleaning agent.Suggested competitive price range (per square foot) for “Pressure washing” is 0.5 – 0.20 (i.e. 5 cents to 20 cents).
  8. EXTERIOR WINDOW CLEANING: When windows are scrub/cleaned with a wool, microfiber or cloth shammy, that has been pre-dipped into a bucket of cleaning solution, attached to an extension pole, then wiped clean with a rubber squeegee. If you need to clean exterior windows above the reach of an extension pole (above 2 floors) from ground level we suggest you sub it out to a professional window cleaning company that has the proper equipment, lifts, repelling harnesses and liability insurance to handle it.Suggested competitive price range (per window) for “Exterior Window Cleaning” is 1.89 – 6.00 (i.e. 1.89 dollars to 6 dollars). As an example, you might clean the facility’s 8 exterior, ground level pane glass windows and 2 front entrance glass doors monthly at $5 a panel for $50.00. Then again, you might clean all 200 of the facility’s exterior windows at $2.25 a panel for $450.00 quarterly.

When pricing Specialty Work, keep in mind that one time only jobs are priced at the higher end of the scale. Larger and more frequent jobs, say weekly or monthly in a regular maintenance program, are priced at the lower end.

Remember that one of the best and easiest ways to increase sales and net profits is within your own existing customer base! They need and want you to provide these services!

 

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Growth Without Burnout, Top Tips!

When starting out in your janitorial business, you’re usually doing all the work yourself. We’ve all been there in the beginning, including me. Recently, I received email questions from one of our CleanGuidePro.com members. With his permission to post it here, this is what it said.

“Good News! I was awarded the new cleaning account. The only thing is that I’m nervous about all the hours I will be working. My day will start at 5:30am to 10am, then I go out again from 4pm until midnight, 7 days a week. On Saturdays it’s pretty much an all day marathon. What are your suggestions on hiring someone, am I looking for someone to clean some accounts on their own or should I get two people to clean together? At what point do I hire a supervisory type position? A bunch of years back, I became severely burnt out, so I made a career change while running my cleaning business part time. I’m now in a rebuild process and don’t want this to happen again.”

Sound familiar?

The answers to these questions are not a quick fix, one size fits all answer, but there are some common steps that myself and countless other companies (including some very large national companies I’ve known doing hundreds of millions of dollars a year) have done in the beginning to grow their businesses without “burning out” in the process. There are many additional things that go into each of these steps, i.e., labor law compliance, management skills, communication skills, marketing, training, cash flow management, etc., but in their simplest form, they are as follows:

  1. CLEAN BUILDINGS YOURSELF: In the beginning, clean your accounts yourself. Determine a reasonable number of hours you can work per week before hiring help. If you have a full time day job, probably about 20 hrs is the max. If you don’t have a regular day job, I would suggest no more than 40-45hrs. This could be one building or 3 or more, depending on the size of each. For our illustration purposes, let’s just say you don’t have a day job, clean 3 buildings alone and work 45 hours a week.
  2. ESTABLISH A GOAL: A goal to eventually not clean any of the buildings yourself. If these 3 buildings you clean, combined generate monthly revenue of $4,000 and about 90% (because you have no employees) net profit to you of $3,600. Once you start hiring employees to clean for you, your net profit will drop to about 30% per building. OK, let’s do the math, for you to generate that same $3,600 in net income without cleaning yourself, you need to do $12,000 per month in revenue. $12,000 x .30% = $3,600. Keep in mind that any monthly revenue generated above $12,000 is additional income for you and you’re no longer working a job, but rather running a business that is positioned to grow!
  3. LOOK FOR CLEANING EMPLOYEES: It takes time to find the right employees. Start looking for good employees now, before you even get the next account. Have time to check references and do background checks. Have 4 -5 people ready to go.
  4. GET 1 MORE BUILDING: At the same time, have a marketing plan and bids out and get the next new account.
  5. CLEAN NEW ACCOUNTS YOURSELF: When you get the new building, you clean it and assign the new employee to one of your existing accounts.
  6. ASSIGN NEW EMPLOYEE TO EXISTING ACCOUNT: You already know exactly what needs to be done there, so it’ll be easier to train someone there.
  7. INSPECT NEW EMPLOYEES BUILDING: : You are now their Supervisor. Work with them the first week for training. Then the second week you inspect their work each night for a week or so. When you’re confident in their work, reduce inspections to once a week.
  8. GET MORE BUILDINGS/REPEAT STEPS 5-7: Continue in these planned out, systematic steps with your goal in sight! Track it somehow, on a spreadsheet, a note pad, etc. Review regularly.
  9. REDUCE YOUR CLEANING, INCREASE YOUR INSPECTING: Your time cleaning buildings will start to decrease now and your time inspecting buildings will increase, but you’re making the same net income and your goal is fast approaching!
  10. HIT YOUR GOAL: Congratulations!! You’ve hit your goal. It may have taken you 6 months -2 years or more, but you don’t clean the buildings yourself, except for the occasional fill in. You’re doing $12,000 in monthly revenue and making the same net income as when you were physically killing yourself doing all the work yourself! Best of all, you’re positioned to continue growing the right way and you’re running the business instead of the business running you, into the ground.
  11. YOU’RE THE SUPERVISOR: You’re now the full time supervisor. When you start Inspecting and Supervising more than 45 hrs a week, you can start planning to hire a “working supervisor”. One that produces income by cleaning a building or two themselves, fills in when other employees are out and inspects their work at your accounts. This is usually one of your current employees that you’re promoting. This will start to reduce your night time supervisory time and eventually get you to running the business during the day, if that’s your goal. I can tell you it was a big goal of mine. I’m much more effective running business during normal daytime hours and now spend my nights and weekends with my family..

Just as “Faith without works is dead” Remember that a goal without a plan is just a dream. I hope this blog answer was helpful and insightful to you my friend and many more!

 

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Business Attitude – Top Ten Tips

The definition of Attitude is, “A complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in a certain way”. Your attitude is the very foundation of your business and it needs to be sound and solid or the whole structure can collapse. Cliche? Maybe. But twenty-five years in the janitorial business has taught me the value of attitude…

Whether you’re the owner, manager, crew leader or front line housekeeper, your attitude will dictate how far you’ll go. I’ve hired over a thousand employees throughout the years and I’ve selected the zero experience person with a great attitude – (“I’m willing to learn and do anything required”) – over an experienced person – (“Yeah, yeah, been there, done that, when’s payday?”) – hundreds of times.

What is your attitude towards business and how does it impact your bottom line? Not sure? Well, the first step is just making the commitment to develop the “right” attitude, one that will support your business growth. There’s countless books and expensive seminars (which are fine and helpful) on this topic, but let me share the mindset that has served me so well in this great janitorial industry!

Top Ten Attitudes of a Janitorial Business Leader

  1. BE GRATEFUL! Every day is an opportunity to be grateful for what you have and the countless opportunities that are in front of you. Count your blessings, every day is an opportunity to rejoice and be glad in it. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
  2. BE AN EXPERT! Just like when a customer calls an Electrician or A/C company out to provide services or a proposal, they expect that they’re experts in their field. In the same way you should be an expert in yours. Do you know the difference between an alkaline and acidic chemical and which to use on what? Do you know what a “green chemical” is? What’s the OSHA requirement for chemical labels? What’s your recommended floor care maintenance program for waxed floors? How many coats of wax, what the best floor finish % solid content for floors that are burnished? What does your production rate need to be when cleaning a school to be competitive? Be committed to ever learning. Knowledge is power!
  3. 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 customers 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 and do whatever it takes to provide professional service that exceeds your customers expectations!
  4. THANK CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY COMPLAIN! Yes, you heard me right, you shouldn’t be happy about complaints and you should have systems and procedures in place to minimize them, but you should say, “thank you for bringing that to my attention, I apologize for that issue and we’ll take care of it right away”. Issues and complaints are virtually impossible to completely stop, but when they arise and your customer points out the little things that bother them and you correct them, you solidify to them that you’re a professional company that cares about them and their facility. When you always respond to complaints like “no way we missed a trash can last night”, you come off as belligerent and hard to deal with. Just thank them and say O.K. we’ll take care of it!
  5. BE THE EXAMPLE! Understand and embrace that you set the bar. Purpose in your heart to act the way you want your team to act with your customers. Don’t talk bad about customers, employees or co-workers in front of your employees and don’t condone it when they do. Be an exemplary Janitorial Business Leader!
  6. MAKE THEM KNOW YOU CARE! It’s true that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, about them! Make your customers, co-workers and employees feel appreciated, heard and valued by you and your business. The more they know you care, the more you solidify your relationship with them!
  7. OWN IT! Own it when you make mistakes. Take responsibility and don’t make excuses when problems arise. If you knock something over and break it, don’t hide it or throw it away and hope your customer doesn’t notice the next day. Leave a note or call first thing the next day and apologize and pay to fix or replace it. They may not like it if you break their favorite desk trinket, but they’ll see you as responsible for speaking up.
  8. NOTHINGS IMPOSSIBLE! Reacting to situations with statements like, “this is hopeless, this is impossible, no way good things can come my way” are all self fulfilling prophecies. I’ve found, seen and experienced in my life that nothing is impossible as I’ve put my faith and trust in the One who makes all things possible.
  9. IT IS MY JOB! When an employee comes to me and says “they asked me to clean out the break room refrigerator last night. Is that my job or on our checklist”? My answer is always the same, “yes, if it’s cleaning related it’s our job”. “If it’s not on our checklist and a significant labor expense to me, like dusting daily when we have a customer service agreement for dusting 1x per month, then we simply talk with the customer, add it to our agreement and increase the monthly price accordingly if need be.
  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”? They would say “who” and I would say “good enough”. They quickly got the point! They then starting sending me cell phone pics of every job, and yes they were excellent work! Average Spirit, Average Business. Excellent Spirit, Excellent Business!

In business as in life, attitude is everything!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Proven Janitorial Telemarketing Sales Call Tips!

“Janitorial Telemarketing” is very similar to “Janitorial Cold Calling” (which was discussed in my last blog post), except, you guessed it, you’re using the telephone.

Although nothing beats a face to face exchange, telephone leads are such an inexpensive and effective way to inquire about janitorial bidding opportunities that there’s no excuse not to devote a block of time (say, an hour or two) to this effort every week. Prospective janitorial clients are easy to identify from the yellow pages and local internet searches and spending just a few minutes on the phone can pay off in more than a few extra customers.

For most folks, the anticipation of making a cold call is much worse than actually making it. But you can’t help but get better every time you do… To get you started, here are a few basic tips that have paid off for me over the last two decades:

  1. Remember, your goal is simply to get information.   Just find out if the facility outsources their janitorial services, or does their cleaning in-house. And if they outsource, you want to find out how and when they accept janitorial cleaning proposals.
  2. And you’re not selling Time Shares…   You’re selling a “need” – every facility needs janitorial services – not a “want”. Again, you’re only asking if it’s outsourced, so, don’t be nervous. They literally need you to call them!
  3. What’s my line?   Something short and sweet. “Hi, I’m Drake, with (company name), could you please help me with some information?” Then pause for their response, which is usually,”How can I help you?” And then you’ll quickly get to your point – “Could you please let me know what procedure to follow to present a proposal to provide your janitorial services? Is there anyone there that I could speak with about that process or make an appointment with?”
  4. Have a script, just in case.   Although you’re only calling to get information, there will be times that someone will start asking about what exactly you have to offer. Have a note card handy so you can discuss your company’s strengths quickly and confidently.
  5. Put Cold Calling Lead Generation on your To-Do list.   Challenge yourself to make a certain number of calls per week. And if you have a receptionist or assistant, also have them make these “information gathering” calls throughout the day on their downtime. Assign a certain number of calls each day with a results form. And give them some bonus pay for a call that generates a bid. Everybody needs incentive!
  6. Best time of day to call:   Usually between 8:15am-4:30pm. Phones are usually staffed during normal business hours, but don’t call them the second they get there or minutes before they leave.
  7. Smile while you’re talking.Even though your telephone prospect can’t see you, your smile – even if it’s forced – will come across in the conversation. It may seem silly, but science tells us that it works.

Look, there’s no getting around the fact that cold calling of any type – janitorial or otherwise – is a numbers game… It takes x amount of “No’s” to get a “Yes”. But know that when you do get hear a yes, you’re going to wow them with your CleanGuidePro proposal! And that’s how you turn a prospect into a paying customer!

Drake

8 Janitorial Cold Calling Tips!

Most people are daunted by the idea of a “Cold Call”. And when I use that phrase, I mean exactly that. A completely “cold” (in person) sales stop (where no one is expecting you). Nevertheless, janitorial cold calling can be a very effective way to generate janitorial bidding opportunities.

There is no substitute for talking to potential customers face to face and personally offering your services. On the downside, it’s time consuming and (can be, at first) uncomfortable. And very expensive if you opt to pay a salesperson to do this for you.

There are tons of books and seminars on this topic, but let me share what’s worked for me for the past 25 years in the janitorial business…

  1. What’s your initial goal?   Initially, it's just to get information; To find out if this facility outsources their janitorial services, or does their cleaning in-house. If they outsource, how can you get an opportunity to place a bid now (or at the time they take normally accept bids)?
  2. Remember, you’re not selling rubber chickens…   I say that to make the point that we’re selling a “need”, not a “want”. (Although, I do actually own a rubber chicken, not because I needed it, but because i wanted it.) Remember that every facility “needs” janitorial services. Only question is, do they outsource it or not. So, don’t be nervous, they literally need you!
  3. What about the “No Soliciting” Sign?   That’s there for the rubber chicken sales guy, not you! I’m not soliciting, I’m only getting information at this point!
  4. What’s my opening statement to this potential customer?   The first person you almost always see and talk to first is the receptionist. When I walk in, the conversation usually goes as follows:.

    *Me: “Hi, I’m Drake, with (company name), could you please help me with some information?”

    *Them: They almost always respond ,”how can I help you?”

    *Me: “Could you please tell me the proper way to get involved in the bidding process for janitorial services here? Is there anyone here I could talk to about that or make an appointment with?”

    Then they'll tell you what you have to do. You might hear, “We take bids next month; Call Mr. So-and-So to make an appointment; Leave me some info and I’ll give it to the person in charge of that”. Then follow up accordingly!

  5. Keep it “cost effective”.   Do the sales calls yourself! If you have an effective Direct Mail Marketing program in place, you won't need to go out very often anyway! Salespeople are expensive and cost you on day one. Even the huge national companies use them sparingly and rely mainly on marketing and open bid calls.
  6. Best time of day:   Usually between 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm. If you do get a chance to meet with the decision maker that day, avoid lunchtime and the end of day.
  7. Be prepared!   Similar to pre-bid walkthrough tips. Dress professionally , have your cards and brochures on hand. Be ready in case you’re asked to walk the building right then. It does happen a lot!
  8. Practice makes perfect!   An old adage, but so true. The more cold calls that you make and the more time that you put in, the better you're going to get at it.

Try and have some fun with your cold calls! Relax, be friendly, meet some people, make some contacts… And remember that even “No’s” are a learning opportunity. But you will hear “Yes” too, and when you do, wow them with your CleanGuidePro proposal!

Drake

A Proven Janitorial Marketing Plan That Works!

To fail to have a Janitorial Marketing Plan is to plan to fail at marketing your janitorial business.  But a plan is only as good as the method(s) it employs.  And the best methods are the ones that not only generate the most customer interest/sales, but also do it in a cost effective manner. So where should you focus your limited marketing dollars?  Television, Radio, Billboards, Telemarketing, Yellow Pages, Hired Sales Reps, Newspaper Print Ads, Cold Calls, Direct Mail?

Twenty-five years of janitorial business experience has taught me that the best marketing method is (hands down, no close second, leader of the pack) Direct Mail Marketing!  It’s cheap and effective and almost always generates a worthwhile response.

Now that you know the best method, you still need to choose the best materials.  “Marketing Materials” are your brochures, sales letters, flyers, etc., that include a a printed promotional message about your company, services and experience. They’re designed to generate a positive response from your potential customer. A response where they contact you and say “Hey, I received your company information and would like to speak with you about a proposal.”

But what kind of message gets such a positive response? Ah, Good question.  It’s got to be a message that transfers a feeling… A feeling of confidence that conveys to your potential customer that you’ve been there, done that successfully for others and can do the same for them! It needs to be simple, to the point, informative, and close with a call to action. Of course, the “right message” can vary for different services in our industry, but if you’d like see (free samples of) actual materials that I’ve mailed out to my own potential janitorial customers, I’ll have more on that at the end of this post…

Janitorial Direct Mail Marketing in Seven Simple Steps

OK, now you’ve got this great Marketing Plan and Materials to send out! Just one question, “Who do you send it to?”   Do you purchase expensive mailing lists, zip code lists, hire a marketing firm, or just mail to every business in the country?

Allow me to share a simple but effective Janitorial Direct Mail Marketing Plan that I developed for my business…

  1. Determine the types of buildings that you have experience with or want to go after. Then determine how far you’re willing to travel from your home or office to clean a building. 20 miles? 40 miles?  Factor in things like whether or not you’re just starting out and plan to clean everything yourself, or if you’re a bit more established and have the staffing experience to hire and clean in other cities. Only you can determine that mileage distance number.
  2. Now compile a list of 50-100 companies for each type of building that you picked in step 1. e.g. 50-100 Auto Dealerships, 50-100 Day Cares, 50-100 Medical Facilities, etc. You can easily create a list by doing an internet search for Auto Dealerships, Day Cares, etc.,  within a 25 mile radius of your zip code.
  3. Create a Target Customer list with the buildings you searched. An excel spreadsheet works great. Include in your headings, Building Type, Address, Any Contact info, Date Mailed, Mail-out Type, Result, & Comments.
  4. Establish a budget you’re comfortable with. Determine your cost per mail-out piece. My costs were usually in the range of 50 to 85 cents per mailer piece. With that in mind, and with a $200 month marketing budget, I could send out 235-400 mailer pieces a month. I averaged 2-5 responses/requests for bids per hundred mailed out. You can start out with $20 a month or whatever your comfortable with, but remember, this small monthly investment can pay off big!
  5. Mail them out! For your first mail-out to a building, put your marketing materials in an envelope with a hand written recipient address addressed to “Attention: Facility Manager (use an actual name and title if you have it). Also, hand write your return address, but don’t include your company name. Lastly use an actual stamp, not metered. Now mail it out. This way all but guarantees that your letter will be opened and looked at. After the first mail-out to this potential customer, you can use custom company envelopes, with your company name and metered stamping. Mail out to the same group, one time per month for 4-5 months in a row. Track your mail-outs and responses each month.
  6. Be PERSISTENT! Studies show that in Direct Mail advertising 80% of response/sales come after the 3rd-5th time being mailed out.
  7. Be PATIENT! You will get responses!

And when the responses start coming in, head on over to my professional pride and joy – the CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidding software (that has a 30 day free trial) – and create a winning proposal!  Not only will you generate a professional, detailed and accurate proposal in just a few minutes, you can also take advantage of the system’s bonus Marketing Materials section.  Here’s where you can review the proven marketing materials that I’ve used to get countless responses over the years in my janitorial company.  Better still, you can customize these brochures and letters for your own business!

Happy Marketing!

Drake