Social media’s presence is ever-expanding and today’s cleaning business owner will have to keep up with the rapidly changing pace or risk fading away. The good news is there are a broad range of tools and platforms out there that will help the business owner manage their social networks and media presence.
One such management tool that helps us manage our company’s numerous networks is the social media manager called Hootsuite. It allows us to track and post across our social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. With the various social media networks that we need to update, post and monitor on a daily basis, Hootsuite provides us with the features we need to keep process simple and to keep attracting new followers.
Hootsuite is a social media management system. The service is commonly used to manage online brands and to submit messages to a variety of social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Companies and organizations known to use Hootsuite include Facebook, the Obama administration, HBO, Martha Stewart Media, Sony Music, Virgin Group, Panasonic, Zappos, and The Gap, according to Wikipedia.
Some of the key features and benefits that we have found to be most useful using Hootsuite as our social media management service are:
Hootsuite allows you and/or your social media management personnel to efficiently and effectively manage and post across all your social profiles from one convenient place. If you have multiple pages or channels, you can post to all of them at the same time (see figure 1). For example, if you have several Twitter, Google+ or Facebook pages, Hootsuite is a convenient way for you to post to them all, at once, from one website. This is a big time saver.
But be cautious when doing so because the posts that you want to appear on your business Facebook page may not be the same content you want your Twitter audience to see, and vice versa. We also found that because Twitter only allows 140 characters for posts, we are not able to broadcast the same messages to our Twitter accounts, even if we wanted to.
Hootsuite allows you to connect with more than 35 popular networks. Here is a list of just some of the top networks that Hootsuite currently allows you to manage:
The autoschedule function allows you to manually select what time you want to schedule or post your social media messages. You have the capability to manually schedule, auto schedule, or send now (see figure 2).
Hootsuite has many analytic options for you to choose from so that you can track and test your efforts (see figure 3). It gives you the information to decide what has worked in the past, which enables you to best determine your next course of action. You will have the data to create reports including weekly emails from Hootsuite with a pdf attachment of your click summaries including number of clicks per day, geographical information, top referrers, and most popular links. Some of the analytics features may cost you extra depending on what package you are in
This feature allows for more than one person to manage your business’ social media networks. It allows you the option of delegating to different people within your media team. Your media team personnel can log in and see what tasks have been assigned to them and respond accordingly. For example, if you have a customer service employee who is knowledgeable on the products and service you offer and most of your tweets are questions pertaining to those products and services, you can assign the tweets to that person for follow up. Team members can also send private messages to each other. This comes in useful if you have personnel working from other locations, such as home.
You can save drafts (messages) in Hootsuite and comeback to them later when you are ready to share and post them. There is also file sharing. You can upload your files and photos directly to Hootsuite and share them via a simple shortened link.
Hootsuite has apps for most devices including Apple, Android, and Blackberry.
There are a variety of plans that you can purchase from Hootsuite that will fit your particular prerequisites for social media management. As of this writing, you can start with their 30 day free trial starting at $9.99/month (it supports only one user and five social profiles, for instance).You will not be charged for anything if you cancel your account before your 30 day free trial expires. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time.
Hootsuite offers help support via the online help desk as well as educational resources such as 200+ instructional videos, 50+ webinars, and the Hootsuite certification (there is a small fee to enroll in Hootsuite University).
Hootsuite allows us the convenience of only having to visit one website to complete almost all of our social media tasks. We use it to send and check messages as well as keep our followers informed of any new products and services we are launching. It helps us to manage marketing campaigns and keeps us noticed and relevant. After all, that is where our customers are.
This is a question that was asked in one of the LinkedIn discussion groups I belong to, and I have to say, that between the public forums and our private discussion forums at The Janitorial Store and MyHouseCleaningBiz.com, this is our most popular question. Variations of this question have been asked at least once a week since we launched in 2005. Here is how I answered this time.
I just started my commercial cleaning business. I have my website and I have taken small steps to market it like flyers and business cards. I want to know some great Ideas from you seasoned business owners that could help me with jump starting my business.
When first starting out, sending out flyers and other collateral material doesn't do much, especially for a commercial cleaning business. People that hire cleaning companies have to put a lot of effort into choosing their company, usually considering at least 3 proposals before making a decision. For that reason, they are asking their business friends for recommendations and they're looking for a good track record.
That is why it's important to spend a good portion of your time getting out in your community attending networking functions and getting to know people. Even if people don't have direct experience with your service, if they've gotten to know you from networking with you, they're much more likely to refer you.
This all takes time, and it on average it will take at least 3 months before you see any results from your efforts. But one thing that now helps to expedite building relationships is to participate on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Whenever I go to a networking event, I always connect with at least 3 more people, and I'm always paying attention to what my connections are saying to see how I can contribute to the conversation.
Besides networking, you need to be working on your online presence. The second way people find commercial cleaning companies is through online searches. If you don't have a presence that is being found, then you're missing all sorts of opportunities.
If you need more help with marketing and building an online presence, we have ebooks that can help.
And if you're looking for help and support for your cleaning business, consider joining us for a wealth of information at:
Most company managers are focused on their day to day business activities that include acquiring new customers, managing employees, keeping expenses down, and increasing profits. All of these activities impact their bottom line. But few managers are aware of the enormous hidden costs they are paying for, by having an unhealthy work environment for their employees.
The cost of healthcare today has a huge impact on a company’s bottom line yet managers don’t seem to be overly concerned with employee health, illness/injury prevention, reducing absenteeism and promoting overall wellness in the workplace. But what if someone were to quantify the benefits of a healthy workforce and provide definitive proof, connecting a clean work environment and a healthy workforce to increased productivity and a healthier bottom line?
In a study of 400 managers and employees conducted by HLW International LLP, employees’ productivity levels were determined to be heavily influenced by the cleanliness of the office in which they worked. A clean office produced quantifiable results when it came to employee productivity. They reported a 5% productivity gain ($125,000) in a 100-employee office with an average salary of $25,000.
Additional studies performed by the Minnesota Department of Health reported the following: Good housekeeping protocols that thoroughly removed dust from surfaces were found to have both health and comfort benefits.
A Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) (Minnesota Department of Health, 2008) report regarding the impact of cleanliness on student performance in educational facilities also supports the theory that the average productivity impact of proper cleaning can range from 2 percent to 8 percent.
According to a 10-month survey of more than 25,000 individuals conducted by Advance PCS Center for Work and Health (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002), off-task workers cost businesses an average of $250 billion a year, or approximately $2,000 per worker. The estimates were derived from their salaries and estimates of time spent at work engaged in reduced on-the-job performance because of illness. Cost impact was estimated by multiplying lost productive time (absence hours plus hours lost from reduced performance) by the individual worker's hourly labor cost.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine in 2003 reported that, based on a random sample of 28,902 United States workers, health-related lost productive time (LPT) costs employers $225.8 billion per year, or $1,685 per employee per year (Stewart, 2003).
Research has shown that there is indeed a direct connection between a clean and healthy work environment and worker productivity levels. Companies may be experiencing low employee productivity due to a less than acceptable work environment without realizing it. This is where you come in. You can sell the value of your cleaning service by educating prospects on the importance of a clean work environment. Inform your prospective customers on how a clean work place can have a substantial impact on their employees’ productivity and can reduce their company’s health related costs at the same time.
It stands to reason that a poor work environment means poor employee output. Instruct potential prospects that with the proper cleaning regiment, procedures, and quality control principals in place, you will save them money and improve their bottom line. Quote the statics and watch them take notice.
For cleaning business owners, profitability is one of their primary goals. Without it, the business will not survive in the long run. There are basically three ways to go about improving profitability:
The owners that pay more attention to lowering operating costs and increasing efficiency are looking at the numbers. They’re figuring out ways to save on things like payroll, office expenditures, cleaning supplies and the marketing budget. And they’re looking for tools and equipment that will increase efficiency and bring a quick return on their investment.
These days, all cleaning business owners must spend time figuring out ways to lower operating costs and increasing efficiency, because it’s getting harder every day to find enough cleaning technicians to handle increasing sales.
The downside of this is that if they cut back too far, they could end up with overworked, underpaid, ill-equipped and poorly trained employees. The direct result is dissatisfied and lost customers. Unfortunately, the bottom line minded business owner may then attempt to rectify the loss by reducing even more costs, thus creating a destructive cycle that will eventually lead to the company’s demise.
Their goal is to gain new customers and retain those customers long term through exceptional customer service, first-rate employee training, and quality control checks and measures. Although a company’s costs may be higher under this type of profitability focus, they will also likely have more customers and thus, higher sales. It’s during the downturns in a business cycle, when profits and revenues are low, that the marketing minded cleaning company owner can more easily trim off some of the fatty costs while the accounting focused owner will find it much more difficult to trim back costs on an already lean company with fewer customers and sales.
The bottom line is that business owners who are focused on just one or two of the 3 ways to increase profits, will struggle at some point. By taking a more proactive and balanced approach to all three, you’ll have a better chance at succeeding long term, and maintaining a healthy and wealthy cleaning company.
Have you ever wondered why some cleaning companies are so successful and seem to always be busy while others remain stagnant or fail?
The answer may lie in their cleaning staff. Excellent cleaning companies essentially harbor a culture of excellence. They are the companies where everything seems to run smoothly, they have consistent cleaning services, and satisfied customers. The companies that are here one day and gone the next seem to be cursed by a chaotic work environment with inconsistent cleaning and disgruntled customers. The saying, “your company is only as good as its employees” holds true for all companies, regardless of their particular service or trade.
In order for a cleaning company to achieve a high level of operational performance, it has to have a high performance cleaning staff. By establishing this optimal level of staff, a company will in turn enhance its overall performance and competitiveness. The importance of having an “A” level staff as opposed to a “B” or “C” level staff may be the difference between the company thriving or failing.
Through proper training, education, one-on-one instruction and supervision, they always perform their job at an excellent level. They also seem to create an environment that is inviting to other “A” level workers.
They are just “average” employees going through the paces of their daily job duties. The interesting thing about “B” level employees is that if they work with “A” level employees, they have the tendency to perform better whereas, when paired with “C” level employees, their performance declines below satisfactory.
These employees are only motivated by a paycheck and more than likely using their employment as a stepping stone until something better comes along. Unfortunately, this is the level employee most often seen in the high turnover cleaning industry.
In order to create and cultivate a culture of excellence, you must surround yourself with “A” level cleaners. You can have a sprinkling of “B” level cleaners also, since they may eventually convert into “A” level when exposed to an environment of cultural excellence. It’s the “C” level cleaner you want to weed out. After all, you cannot cultivate a culture of excellence with weeds scattered about. They will have a negative impact on your “A” and “B” level cleaners. The “B’s” will habitually lower their standards while the “A’s” will simply get fed up cleaning alongside less productive co-workers and move on to something better.
The companies that run smoothly and have a proven track record of success have a system in place to create a culture of excellence. While most companies have a vision and mission statement in place, establishing cultural expectations related to your company and its cleaners is essential in creating a high-achieving culturally excellent work environment.
Some of these systems would include:
These systems need to be in place, monitored, and updated regularly in order to attract and keep “A” level cleaners. These systems will also help to reduce your chances of acquiring and tolerating “C” level cleaners. Through the existence of a clear and understandable system, you will create a positive work environment, avoid conflict, and create the culture of excellence that will allow your company to run more efficiently and become more successful.
We've all had A, B or C employees. Where did you have the best luck in finding "A" employees? Please take the quick survey to share where you're finding the cream of the crop when it comes to finding cleaning technicians - http://janitorialstore.com/instant-form/view.php?id=47
We've owned two cleaning companies and used different ways to grow each business. With the first company we partnered with a successful builder and got started by cleaning several of his buildings. He also gave us all the construction cleaning on new buildings, which always led to getting that account when the tenant moved in. Cold calling was also successful back in those days, but not so much any more.
With the second cleaning company it was all about networking. We moved to a town where we didn't know anyone so we threw ourselves into every networking event we could find. And that worked very well for us.
These days in order to grow a cleaning company to the $1 million-dollar plus range, I don't believe you can do it with networking alone, and for a few reasons. First, people are busier than ever these days and it's getting harder and harder to connect with them in person. And you're probably finding that you never really get a steady stream of clients from networking alone. They usually come in spurts, so it's better to use networking, along with other marketing strategies to get that steady stream of clients coming to your business.
Also, marketing has dramatically changed in recent years with so much emphasis being placed on social media and having an online presence. Even if you are getting referrals from networking buddies and clients, those referrals are going to go online to see what they can find out about you and your business -- before they pick up the phone to call you.
So if Jane calls up Bob and asks if he knows a great cleaning company and he refers Jane to your company, do you think Jane will automatically pick up the phone to call you? If you said yes, think again. It's almost turned into an instinctive reaction to go online to see what we can find out about people and companies we're considering doing business with. And if they're not finding any information about you or your company, or if the information doesn't position you as an expert at what you do, then they're going to be skeptical if they do in fact decide to call.
Can you grow your business by networking alone? Possibly, but probably not at the rate you'd like. By coming up with a marketing strategy that incorporates several methods for gaining visibility and building trust, you'll have a much better chance at steady growth.
I recently had a cleaning business owner ask me about Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). They were spending a hefty amount of money every month and wondered why it didn't seem to be bringing in any results. So I asked to see a sample of their ad. It looked something like this:
Residential & Commercial Cleaning
Lowest Price Guaranteed
Can you tell me what's wrong with this ad? Did it grab your attention? Did the Lowest Price Guaranteed attract you? I took one look and thought, B-O-R-I-N-G! And mentioning "lowest price guaranteed" sounds desperate to me. It's hard enough to make a good profit in this business, and if you're trying to get business based on being the lowest price in town, you're probably not going to be in business for long.
This got me looking at other PPC ads for cleaning companies. Most were similar, in that there was nothing interesting or attention grabbing. And none of these examples addressed any pain or problem that their prospects have. Here are more examples:
Janitorial Cleaning Business
We Service All Types Of Facilities.
Get Your Custom Quote Today!
Licensed, Insured, and Bonded
Detailed and Affordable Cleaning
Professional Janitorial Services.
Contact Us Today.
If you want to attract people that are serious about finding a cleaning company, then they need to feel you understand their problem and that you have a solution for them. You also need a strong call to action. It's no different from any other type of advertisement you create. And you need to do it in a very limited space since Pay Per Click ads have limited characters available.
The second mistake I see cleaning business owners make is that they send people to the home page of their website instead of sending them to a landing page. The cleaning business owner that contacted me said "it didn't seem to be bringing in any results." That's because their ad went straight to the home page of their website so they had no idea what happened once the person clicked through to the site.
What I recommend you do instead is create a landing page that doesn't attempt to get them to buy right away. Yes, that's right - don't try to sell to them right away. That's because you haven't yet built any trust with them. Instead, offer some information of value that is directly related to whatever their problem or pain is. You want to offer valuable information in the form of an ebook, white paper, or some sort of audit so that you can collect their email address in order to build a database of prospects.
Explain that once they receive this valuable piece of information, you'll give them even more great tips on the topic. THAT is when you can start the real marketing to convert them to being a paid client. A word of warning though; once you have their email address, do not start blasting them with promotional emails. The idea is to provide great information that starts to build trust, so that when the time is right, it's YOU they call.
If you were going to spend money on a Pay Per Click ad for your cleaning company, what would YOU say in your ad? Please post your comments below.
Being a cleaning business owner, you are well aware of having to deal with unhappy customers. They may be upset about poor service, a door left unlocked, lights left on, garbage missed, and so on and so on. But what happens when the tables are turned? Our customers can try our patience as well. How many times has a prospect or customer showed up late for an appointment or not at all? What about a customer constantly being late on a payment, asking for additional cleaning without an additional charge, or just plain rude or obnoxious with you or your employees for no apparent reason? Instead of emotionally reacting to them, keep your cool and try to resolve the situation in a friendly manner.
It would be easy to just cut these customers loose and move on but as a business owner, you are well aware of how difficult it can be to find customers in this highly competitive cleaning industry and these tough economic times. Of course, you don’t want to allow these people to take advantage of you but you also don’t want to lose these people. The last thing you want to do is blow your stack and risk the chance of not only losing the customer, but blemishing your business name and brand. Anger is a completely normal human emotion and everyone has experienced it. It’s when this anger gets the better of you, causing you to lose your temper, which results in an abrupt, unpredictable and unfavorable response that quickly becomes detrimental for you, your customer, and your cleaning business.
Here are some tips on keeping your cool.
When you do lose your cool, and we all do, remember to just say you’re sorry. It’s OK to skip the blame game, take responsibility, apologize, and move on. Follow these tips and you will feel better about yourself when you handle heated situations in a professional manner.
I recently participated in a webinar through G & A Partners, the PEO Company we use for our business. They offered some very useful hiring information I would like to share with you.
The three main areas you will want to assess in your candidate include ability, willingness, and manageability. If the potential employee has a strong showing in all areas, you more than likely have a great hire on your hands.
You should structure interviews using these three main criteria for selecting the best cleaning technician for your cleaning company.
What abilities does the candidate possess that will be useful for this position? This includes such things as knowledge, skills, experience, and capabilities. These are mainly behavioral based and are the things you are probably most familiar with.
How did they perform these types of abilities in the past? These can best be assessed by tests or questions about their past job performances. If possible try to direct the question so that it pertains to the position you are hiring for, or just make a generalized question for the candidate. For example, you may want to ask the question “tell me how you dealt with a particularly difficult problem at your last job?” Discuss with them the problem, the experience and the outcome. This information will provide you with some insight into their ability to handle problem situations and help you to determine if they are resourceful and possess problem solving skills.
How willing are they to perform the job required of them? Is the candidate self-motivated? What reason do they have for wanting this job? What has motivated the employee in past jobs? Look for a candidate who is passionate about life; that type of individual is more likely to be passionate about their work ethic, quality of their work, and their performance on the job as well.
Ask the question “what motivates you on the job and what keeps you motivated?” The response will be revealing and help you determine if they are well-suited to the position. It is important for you as the employer to know how people will look at the job you are offering. Is it a stepping stone position or a long term position? Look for someone who is determined, enterprising, and self-motivated. That is the person who will possess the willingness to complete assigned tasks and make on the job decisions.
How manageable will the new hire be? A few questions you may want to ask during this part of the hiring process would be “tell me about your favorite supervisor and what made that person so great to work for?” This can be a useful clue on their manageability.
Another question you may want to ask is “what would you tell a previous supervisor about what he or she could have done better or should have changed about themselves?” This response can sometimes throw up a red flag about that person’s character and manageability in regard to taking direction.
Once you make the hire, the supervisor will need to direct, manage and work with them. Training is key and should continue throughout their tenure with your company. The supervisor will need to determine how to best keep the employee motivated and adapt to each individual’s unique character.
There is no perfect candidate and you will interview people that may be strong in some areas but fall short in another. When this happens, you will need to compensate for their weaker areas. For example, if you realize that the candidate is strong in ability and strong in willingness, but weak on the manageability side, you will need to compensate by setting boundaries and through sound pro-active management practices.
Now, they may be highly capable and willing to work with you but weak in motivation. In this case, you will need to respond by being a better motivator for them. This could be accomplished through recognition when a job is done well, more one-on-one coaching, or perhaps providing extra attention. And finally, they may have the willingness and are easy to work with but just don’t know how to perform the job. In this instance, you will need to compensate through better training and education.
Consider the job you are hiring them for and what you can do to compensate for their weaker areas. This will help you decide if this person is a good hire. What it all boils down to is how well this new hire will fit into the position you are hiring them for. You want to look for a cleaning technician that will fit your company’s culture and goals. You want to retain and nurture that new hire so they can grow along with your company. By structuring your interviews to using these three criteria, you will favorably narrow your candidates to those who fit your needs. If the candidate can effectively communicate these three qualities to you during the interview, you can feel confident that you have selected the best possible person to fill your cleaning position.