Next month:
January 2006

What were your cleaning successes in 2005?

I'm happy to say that we had many cleaning successes this year, so this last day of 2005, I'll be giving thanks for an amazing year. I'm very proud to say that sales in our cleaning business rose by a whopping 75% this year!  Needless to say, that's not common, and we don't plan on repeating that in 2006 (after all, that's a lot of work!), but it's proof that our plan for growing our business is working.

When we started our second cleaning business we moved to a new state and new community - didn't know anyone!  We chose to relocate to Brainerd MN for a number of personal reasons, but business-wise, it was a conscious decision based on the tremendous growth happening in this area. And we were right.

Like many small towns, Brainerd seemed to have a "good 'ol boys club", which we found hard to break into at first. But we stuck with it and kept active with our local Chamber of Commerce. After two years of slow, steady growth, we suddenly had an explosion of growth this year. And it's due to two things:

  1. Capitalizing on the growth in the area. Several new office buildings and banks were built this year and we went after every one of them. Because it's a fairly small community our reputation preceded us and we easily won every account we bid on.
  2. Nurturing the relationships we built over the past two years. The number one way we've found to grow our business is to build relationships with people. This year, the referrals started pouring in and it's all due to the relationships we have in the community.

We'd love to hear your successes for 2005 - simply comment on this post or send an email to and we'll post your story for you.

Here's to your success in 2006!

Employees get bonuses for perfect timekeeping

We use a computerized timekeeping system that our employees use to clock in and out of work locations. We love it because it saves a ton of time on our end. Plus it helps to eliminate the possibility of employees cheating on their time the way they're able to do with a hand-written time card. 

One of the problems we DO have though, is employees forgetting to clock in or out, or entering the wrong building code, or clocking out when they should have been clocking in. So in order to encourage accuracy on their part, we implemented a Perfect Timekeeping Bonus. If an employee has perfect timekeeping for a pay period, they receive a $20 bonus on their pay check.

The bonus hasn't eliminated mistakes, but it has definitely helped!  Amazing what a little incentive can do...

Get Publicity For Your Cleaning Business

Our local paper has a Sunday column called "Business Notes". This is where you can submit any news about your business - employee promotions, certifications, etc.  We submitted the following, along with a picture and both were published the following Sunday:

Hanson interviewed by trade magazine

Steve Hanson of Brainerd Lakes Cleaning and Supply was interviewed by Sanitary Maintenance Magazine, a leading cleaning industry publication, for its November 2005 issue.

The article, Carpet-Cleaning Equipment's Quiet Evolution, discussed carpet-cleaning innovations in recent years. The magazine interviewed industry veterans like Hanson, who shared equipment technology they wouldn't want to live without.

Hanson, a member of International Sanitary Supply Association, also recently attended the ISSA/Interclean 2005 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The convention featured 690 vendors and more than 17,000 attendees.

A week later we received a note from our Chamber of Commerce congratulating us. We also received a note from the CEO of one of our cleaning accounts with congratulations.

This type of free publicity is great for your cleaning business. What kind of free publicity can you generate for your business?

New building cleaning proposal

There is a new account we're working on. It's a credit union that is building a larger building. We've called on this account several times over the past couple years but have never gotten anywhere - they've always done their cleaning in-house. This time however, it looks like they're considering a contractor because of the size of the building. In our conversation I mentioned how another account that we took over this year was in a similar situation - they'd always done their cleaning in-house, and finally decided to compare costs of in-house vs. contractor cleaning. We were able to show a substantial savings for them and will do the same for this new bid. We'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Won the bid on new cleaning account

One of the things we do best in gaining new accounts is to pay attention to new office buildings under construction. Our business section of the local newspaper usually has a write up as well and lists contact information. As construction gets closer to completion, we make a couple phone calls to see who we need to talk to in order to give them a cleaning proposal.

We seem to have good timing because several times when we've called they told us they were just  getting ready to start looking for a cleaning company. This just happened again late last month. They were very impressed when we did a walk-through of the building and even more impressed with the bid packet we put together. They wanted two bids - twice per week cleaning and three times per week cleaning.  They did give us the account and settled on twice per week cleaning.

Welcome to!

The purpose of this blog is to share cleaning success stories, and to discuss how you can start and/or grow a successful cleaning business. Why? Because success stories offer encouragement and inspiration to those struggling to start or grow their cleaning business. We can also learn by reading how our peers became successful in their business.

Perhaps you were recently awarded the bid on a new building. Or maybe you finally got past that tough gatekeeper and finally got an appointment to meet with the decision maker.  Or perhaps you just passed a milestone in your business. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

Feel free to share your name, or ask us to post the information annonymously. So how do you send us your success stories? Just send an email to and we'll post it to the blog.