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How to Keep a Positive Attitude While Running Your Cleaning Business

When you're a cleaning business owner, it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude on a daily basis. After all, we're responsible for making sure all our customers are happy and satisfied with the work we do every single day -- and that's not an easy thing to do. Plus, if you have employees, you know that this is a challenge all its own. Nothing can ruin a day quicker than an employee who calls 5 minutes before his shift, telling you he's not coming in to work tonight. Or worse yet, doesn't show and doesn't call!

So what's a cleaning business owner to do to maintain a positive attitude? Here are some tips:

  • Surround yourself with positive people. Nothing drags a person down faster than being around someone who's negative and complaining all the time. But if you have people around you who are upbeat, positive, and make you laugh, suddenly your problems don't seem quite so bad.
  • Don't listen to the negative talk of other people. Do you have friends or family members who just don't get what you do or why you work so hard? Do you question yourself after talking to them?  Don't let them get to you...maybe they're just jealous ;-)
  • Make an effort to talk positively instead of negatively. Tell your customers how you can solve the problem. Don't tell them why you can't.
  • Read positive and inspiring books or listen to positive and inspiring CD's. The more you read and listen to positive information, the more your thoughts become positive.
  • Work at maintaining a positive attitude every day. It's not something that happens overnight. You need to work at it.

Former Supervisor Joins New Cleaning Company

Have you ever had a former employee come back to work for you again? It's a pretty good sign you're doing something right!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you're probably aware that we've had two cleaning companies - one in Boise and our current company in Minnesota. In Boise we had a supervisor who was with us for about 7 years. After we sold the company, we kept in touch occasionally through email.

One day a couple months ago I received an email from our former supervisor, and he said something like, "I need a change. Do you have any openings?"  Funny thing, is, I  was just thinking that it's time for another supervisor -- someone who can lighten my load so I can work on other things.

When I asked why he was interested in working with us again, he said he wanted to work with a company who was successful, had a vision of where they wanted to go, and knew the cleaning business inside and out. He said he was tired of working with companies who have no direction and are floundering.

Within about 3 weeks, our former employee had sold his house, moved from Boise to Brainerd, and is now working with us again. It's a great feeling knowing that someone enjoyed working with us so much that he'd follow us across the country to work with us again!

Create Income by Selling Supplies to Customers

Would you like to create an additional income source for your cleaning business? Start selling restroom supplies and trash can liners to your customers!

Where do your customers buy their supplies? I'm talking about toilet paper, hand towels, soap, air fresheners, toilet seat covers, sanitary supplies, and trash can liners. If you've never offered to sell these items to your customers then you're not only missing out on an opportunity to create additional income for your business, but you're also missing out on a sales opportunity.  Someone has to manage the supplies, keep an eye on them, place the order, check it in, and pay the bill. This takes additional payroll for your customer.

What if you were to include prices for all these supplies in every one of your bids? Then you can let your customer know that you'll manage it all, saving them the time and hassle. All you have to do is make sure you order supplies when needed and keep them stocked, which is something you're already doing. Then when you send out your invoice, simply include the items you purchased for them during the month.

Build a relationship with your local janitorial supplies distributor. They may offer you discounted prices if they know you'll be selling to your customers. Then you should be able to mark up your prices 10 - 15%. You'll want to check the laws in your state -- you may have to charge sales tax to your customers on these items.

The other great thing about this is that it only takes a phone call. Your janitorial supplies distributor should offer free deliver to your customers.

Comments or questions? Post below.

We Passed the Test!

A couple days ago I told you about a "test" we were taking in order to land a new account. We had a potential client ask us to bid on their carpet cleaning. Then a few days later they called to ask us to actually come in and clean an area that had just been cleaned by their current carpet cleaning contractor.

Well we cleaned the carpet and they were raving about it the next day so the account is ours!  This is a clinic with over 80,000 square feet of carpet so we'll be doing different sections every couple weeks.

I felt I had a good connection with my contact person from the start so I'm sure that helped. I'll continue to build this relationship with her so that I can eventually win her over on taking care of their ceramic tile floors, and eventually the general cleaning on the entire building.

This is an account I've wanted for about 3 years. I never gave up, continued to stay in touch every so often, and eventually the phone call came. It's just another example of how patience and persistence pays off!

Cleaning Test Tonight

There is a large clinic in our town that I've called on without success. One day a couple weeks ago they called me up. It seems they have a carpet cleaning contractor who cleans their carpet on a rotational basis - they're in the clinic every couple weeks cleaning different areas.

They're not happy with the results of the carpet cleaning so they called me up and asked me to come in. They gave me a copy of the blueprints so I could measure up all the carpet and give them a bid. I noticed they also have ceramic tile flooring that is in need of some attention so I'll be hitting them up on that too ;-).

The other day they called again and asked me to come back to take a look at an area of carpet that had just been cleaned. It looked terrible!  So they asked if we could come in and clean it. So tonight we're going in to re-clean that section of carpet. I'm confident that we'll do a great job.

I'll keep you posted on the results and if we get the account. My plan is to get the carpet cleaning first, then get the ceramic tile cleaning, and eventually we'll go after the general cleaning. There's always a side door into getting accounts :-)

First Cleaning Account Awarded

One of our members at The Janitorial Store recently let us know that he was awarded his first cleaning account and we're happy to say that we helped him along the way! Here's what he had to say...

"Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Steve and Jean, your efforts with the website have directly contributed to me obtaining my first account. Once again, thanks."

He also shared with us the fact that the client was very impressed with his bid packet. He used the sample cleaning bid packet that we have at our site. He said that of all the cleaning companies that bid on the account, he had the most impressive bid packet.


New Cleaning Account Management

In recent posts I talked about the three new accounts we were just awarded. Starting three new buildings in a week's time can be quite challenging and takes careful planning if you want it to go smoothly.

First we needed a couple new employees to help handle the load. It's not ideal to have to hire and train new employees at the same time, but with the square footage we just added it needed to happen this way. We put an ad in the newspaper and were fortunate to find some good applicants.

We charge a "first-time cleaning" fee for each new account we add because we've found that every new building we take on is in pretty rough shape so we spend extra time getting it up to our standards of cleanliness. So this week I've spent my time training the new employees and helping out with the new buildings, while my supervisors kept the other accounts running smoothly.

This is not a time for worrying about getting new business. Yes, we'll continue to do all the marketing activities we've always done, but our main concentration for the next couple months is to manage what we already have in order to make sure our service for existing customers stays at the level they're used to.

Remember, always take care of your existing customers. We need to invest as much time in keeping our existing customers happy as we do trying to gain new ones.

Advertising vs Marketing

I just read a statement in a book that really made sense to me. It said that while "advertising" gets your name out there and helps to build brand recognition, it doesn't do anything to build value in the mind of your potential customer or even your existing customers.

I see so many new business owners plan their whole marketing strategy around advertising campaigns like putting an ad in the local newspaper, sending out sales letters, or posting flyers on bulletin boards. Come on, do you really think this is going to get people knocking on your door? These things might help to get your name out there so maybe some day someone will be reminded that they've seen your name before, but it just doesn't do anything to add value or prompt them to want to know more about you and your services.

So my recommendation is to get out there and build your network first, and then once you've got people in the pipeline and have some name recognition, then start doing some advertising. When you have name recognition, then you can reinforce this with advertising and you'll see better results.