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.”
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- GET 1 MORE BUILDING: At the same time, have a marketing plan and bids out and get the next new account.
- CLEAN NEW ACCOUNTS YOURSELF: When you get the new building, you clean it and assign the new employee to one of your existing accounts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!