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December 2008
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February 2009

Green Cleaning and Janitorial Worker Safety

I was listening to a webinar about green cleaning by Building Operating Management, and one of the topics that was brought up was janitorial safety.

One of the reasons cleaning companies should be thinking about offering green cleaning services is that it is much safer for janitorial workers. Here are some safety issues to think about:

  • Six out of 100 janitorial workers are injured by chemicals each year.

  • Germicides and disinfectants can be harmful to workers. Over a period of time these chemicals are absorbed into the skin and can be inhaled - not safe!

  • Dust from vacuuming is harmful so it makes sense to switch to vacuums with Hepa filtration.

  • Fumes from VOC's (volatile organic chemical) are harmful

  • Ergonomic concerns - equipment should be replaced as needed with more ergonomic equipment to reduce the cance of injury.

With the potential for worker's comp claims due to using "old" cleaning methods, chemicals and equipment, doesn't it make sense to make the switch?

New Website Launched -

Our much anticipated website launch has finally arrived! is now open!

We're letting the first 300 subscribers in for only $79, and if you're a member of The Janitorial Store, you get an exclusive discount. was originally started for owners of commercial cleaning businesses, but we had so many requests for more information about residential cleaning that we finally decided to start a site just for owners of residential cleaning businesses.

Come on over an join us!

Having Trouble Pricing Residential Cleaning

A cleaning business owner asked the following question:

"I do both commercial and residential cleaning, but I'm having trouble pricing residential cleaning. With homes there can be such a difference in the time it takes to clean one particular house. I have been trying to price the houses by time but there are times when the cleaning may take a little longer than expected and then we end up with no profit. How can I figure this out?"

My friend, Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach answered:

Hang in there! Residential cleaning service is too labor intensive to run if you're not making good money at it. Here are just a few suggestions, I hope they help:

1. If you can define it precisely, you can price it accurately. Clearly define what exactly you do for the price. Anything outside that list is priced separately or not done. People will accept whatever you put in writing. If it's not in writing (or clearly communicated) their expectations are open ended for your fixed price.

2. Most lost profits are on first time cleans. You have other issues going on if you lose money on your repeat work (the weekly, bi-weekly cleans). Pricing first time cleans pose the greatest challenges for lost profits and customer disappointment. My pricing system, "Cracking The Dirt Code - Pricing Jobs Profitably" is simple to implement and will help you double and triple your sales instantly. One key principle is to realize there's "old dirt" and "new dirt". First time cleans almost always have "old dirt" no matter how "clean" the client insists the house is. Old dirt will take double to triple the time to clean off. Period. If you count on that, you'll by right at least 80% of the time!

3. Measure the subjective. You really can measure, define, and sell your first time cleans profitably more often or every time with a little bit of practice and a few basic principles that apply to every job. You can stop losing money and reap the rewards of this very lucrative business. Based on your past experiences begin now assessing every job on a 1 thru 10 dirt level (1 is very clean, 10 is filthy, 11 is "walk out" conditions). You can go back through months or years of old paperwork for practice. Put a number on each job that you recall. "the Jones house was spotless, they get a one, the Smith's were very dirty they get an eight, the Hendricks' were filthy I'll give them a 9, etc.). You will begin to see a pattern emerge. Once you are able to see patterns you can develop pricing patterns as well!

If you're interested in learning more about Debbie's answer, check out her class, Cracking the Dirt Code.

Do You Have Too Much Credit Card Debt to Start a Cleaning Business?

I was watching Suze Orman on Oprah the other day and she was giving advice on how to pay down credit card debt. She said there's no point in trying to save money if you're in debt right now. You need to change your priority and focus on paying down the credit cards first, and THEN start saving.

This got me thinking about all the people out there trying to start a new cleaning business. Whether you are thinking about starting or are in the beginning stages of your business, you need to have cash available to grow the business. But if you've got credit card debt and little or no savings, how do you expect to pay your bills and grow the business at the same time?

If you haven't started yet, I suggest you listen to Suze and get your personal finances in order first, and THEN get started with your business. Here's how she suggests you pay off credit card debt. First, you line up all your credit cards by the interest rate charged. Once you know this, you know which cards you need to pay off first.

Next you start making the minimum payment on all the cards EXCEPT for the card with the highest interest rate. On that card you'll pay extra - as much as you can possibly afford. Once you have that card paid off, you take the entire amount you've been paying on that card (including the exrtra amount), and start paying off the next highest interest rate card. Once you've paid that off you move to the next card and take the entire amount you paid on the first AND second card and apply it all towards the third card. And you continue paying the debt this way untill all cards have been paid off.

Once your cards are paid off, you then take all that money you were paying on debt and start putting it into a savings account. If you were paying $400 a month towards you credit cards, you can now put that money into a savings account and you'll have $4800 in savings after a year, which sould be enough to buy the equipment and supplies you need to start your cleaning business, plus have some left for cash flow.

Are YOU struggling with your financial situation while trying to start a cleaning business? Please share your thoughts and any suggestions you might have for others in the same situation by clicking on the Comments link below.

What's Holding You Back At The Start Of 2009?

Today is New Year's Day and I woke up and realized that the dream I just had, was a message from my subconscious. Sometimes I have some strange dreams and can't make sense out of them. But this time the message seemed very clear.

I was dreaming about being a little bit lost while trying to get home. I was wandering around, trying to get my bearings, feeling a bit scared and overwhelmed. That's because I knew that home was a long ways away (several miles), and it would take me a while to get there since I was on foot. Now if you know me, you know that when I walk I like to walk FAST (I think it's due to all those years working in retail, rushing all over the store all day long). So in my dream, I kept trying to walk faster but I just couldn't seem to do it!  It felt like I was trying to walk in a swimming pool - you know, that feeling of the water holding you back.

When I woke up I suddenly realized that the dream was a metaphor for something holding me back from where I wanted to go! In 2008 I had SO many things I wanted to accomplish but it always seemed that just when I was on the brink of finishing something I started, something else suddenly came up to keep from getting things done. More and more things kept piling up until I felt completely overwhelmed and had a hard time moving forward.

Have you ever had that feeling that something is holding you back from accomplishing your dream? What is it for you? Fear? Maybe you're afraid to quit your full time job to work on your cleaning business full time. Or maybe your business is taking off and you're still doing all the cleaning yourself when you KNOW that you need to hire employees if you don't want your business to stagnate.

For me, it was getting more help, putting better systems into place, and releasing some of the tasks that I felt I had to do myself. Yes, you really CAN let someone else do some of the things that (in your mind) only you can do. I still have a ways to go, but I feel that I finally have some breathing room that will allow me to reach my goals for 2009. No more letting outside influences hold me back!

What is it that's holding your back and what can you do to move closer to your dreams for 2009? Click on the Comments link below to share your thoughts.