Previous month:
April 2009
Next month:
June 2009

Presentation Topic Ideas

If you belong to a networking group, you're often given the opportunity to do a 15 or 20 minute presentation about your business. In most cases, your fellow networkers will be bored with hearing about your business. Instead, think about discussing a more interesting topic. Here are some ideas from our friend Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach:

Talk about things that people will remember.  Talk about things that OTHERS care about.  Talk about things that help to establish YOU as the industry expert, the "go to person" in town when it comes to cleaning!

* Speed Cleaning Pro Tips (The secret to cleaning up in half the time!)
* Tools of the Trade (10 Must-haves in your cleaning caddy--what the professionals use!)
* How To Choose A Cleaning Service (There's more than meets the eye--who's touching YOUR things?)
* Stop Wasting Time & Money On Worthless Gadgets (Professional tips on buying the best cleaning tools)
* Who's Touching Your Stuff? (a serious look at employee screening)

You see, you don't have to talk directly about what YOUR company is doing.  You just need to be knowledgeable about things that interest others.  Things like "what's the best vacuum for my house?"  "do feather dusters really work?" "what is microfiber?". 

Also people like to hear the professional training secrets of moving quickly around a room to accomplish the job in less time--I held a 10 Minute Speech on Speed Cleaning for my BNI group once.  I donned the apron, the tennis shoes, I spread out all of my gadgets and taught them to clean from top to bottom and left to right.  They loved it!  Tell them about companies that don't do background checks on employees and give a mini seminar about the security standards you have!   There are dozens of these mini topics.

In other words you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in indirect ways using topics that are related to cleaning, but not directly about the dirt you remove.  Topics they actually are interested in.

Have fun, don't see it as a chore to come up with topics.  There are dozens of them.

Evaluating New Cleaning Employees

A cleaning business owner asked:

When an employee is over their first 90 days and you evaluate them to give them a pay increase and you feel like they deserve a pay increase, can you tell them that if they start slacking off that you will decrease their pay back to the starting wage?

Our Reply:

You should have a policy for everything you do including pay raises. It's not a good idea to go up and down on pay because they're performing good one week and poorly the next. You open yourself up for all kinds of problems - "well my mother is in the hospital and I couldn't concentrate on work that week" get the idea. If it ever came up for dispute with state unemployment for example, they'd want to see all your documentation and policies.

The best thing you can do is document everything. If they're slacking, document it and have them sign it. Tell them the consequences of continuing in this manner. If it happens again, document it - have a 3 strike policy - written documentations, possible probation and termination. They need to know there are consequences - and the consequences can't be taking away their pay - ultimately it's losing their job.

Should You Use Subcontractors to Expand Your Cleaning Business?

One of the best ways to expand your cleaning business is to offer more services to your existing customers. But what do you do if you don't know how to perform the service? For the most part, you have two options: 1) educate yourself by taking classes or asking your supplier to train you on how to us the equipment, or 2) subcontract the work.

Learning how to perform the service is the most profitable way to go, although you will have up front expenses for training and equipment. Subcontracting might be the way to go at first because you won't have to spend any additional money. Plus you can act as the middle man and make a small profit for yourself, while keeping the customer happy. But subcontracting can work against you if you're not careful.

My friend Sharon Cowan of Maid for Success offered this advice to a cleaning business owner who was considering subcontracting some floor care services:

"Keep in mind that ultimately your company name is the one on the line. If the subcontractor creates issues with the client, it is you and your company that gets the heat. Your reputation and future business could depend on the quality and work that the sub does. In the early years, I subbed out all my hard surface floor work. The sub was a legitimate business, but after a short time I realized I could make a lot more money learning and doing the work with my own employees. To use subs for all of your work might take you out of the race for pricing your work competitively because you are adding a middle man. I would also be vary cautious about this."

I also highly recommend making an investment in your company by learning how to perform additional services like floor care, and then buying the equipment you need. The equipment will generally pay for itself with just two or three jobs. You'll quickly notice a positive difference in your bottom line as well!

Have you expanded your cleaning business services? Are you doing them yourself or subcontracting? Post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.

Do You Make These Sales Mistakes When Selling Cleaning Services?

Do you get ill at the thought of having to go out and "sell" your cleaning services? How do you prepare? Or maybe I should ask...DO you prepare?

Here are some common sales mistakes people make when selling their cleaning services.

1. Winging It. Some people think that since they've been doing this for a while they don't need to prepare. On the flip side, some new cleaning business owners don't prepare because they figure their passion for the business will carry them through. But failing to prepare isn't going to fly with busy decision makers.

2. Diarrhea of the Mouth. Do you do most of the talking? If so, you're missing an opportunity to connect with your prospect. Let them do most of the talking and show an interest in what they have to say.

3. No Knowledge of the Prospect. If you haven't done your research on your prospect, they'll figure it out right away. When they do, you'll be quickly dismissed.

4. Going On About Your Service. People don't care how great your cleaning service is. They only care about their own problems. Unless you address their problems, they'll tune you right out.

5. Whoa! Slow Down! Don't push too hard. If you try to rush the sale or throw too much information at your prospect they may get overwhelmed and pull back.

If any of these sound familiar, you might want to take a step back and think about the mistakes you may be making. But don't let it get you down; rather, use this as an opportunity to practice and improve your selling skills.