For a first foray into technology-supported automation, these common processes in a cleaning business are a great place to start.
Technology is an amazing tool which any business can use to begin improving efficiency, but only if the basis processes, procedures, and policies have been created to govern the decision-making that drives the systems. For a first foray into technology-supported automation, these common processes in a cleaning business are a great place to start:
1. Time Tracking
As the IRS requires you to track both job time and travel time towards calculating overtime rates (which often change weekly), time tracking is a daily task that can easily get lost in the paperwork. Some of the traditional maid service scheduling applications offer some form of field time tracking options, though you may want to consider independent time tracking apps before committing to a larger system.
2. Mileage Tracking
Because employers must pay technicians for their travel time, it’s in your best interest (and bank balance) to monitor both mileage and travel time to make sure you keep it to a minimum; that’s where mileage tracking (aka GPS tracking) applications can increase the reporting accuracy and help you keep labor costs down.
Content marketing continues to dominate the SEO strength and search rankings of websites, and a weekly blog is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. But it can be a pain to remember to stop and write and post once a week. Use a blog scheduler to help you out so that you can dedicate a smaller block of time once a month to writing and scheduling 4-5 posts for the month that support any specials or themes, and then just “set it and forget it.”
4. Social Media
As with blogs, there are many free applications that let you schedule social media posts ahead of time so that you can make that a weekly or even a monthly task. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll still need to monitor your social media sites daily to respond to comments, client contact messages, and reviews (if you have that feature enabled).
5. Email Autoresponders
If you’re using email marketing, hopefully you are using an email management system that complies with CAN-SPAM. And if you are, then check the additional features for an autoresponder option. With this, you can program an automatic response sequence when a contact hits reply to specific emails or newsletters. It’s a great way to set up and test out your first automated nurture campaign, which is a commonly used feature of larger automation systems.
6. File Sharing
The first time you bring on even a part time office staff member, you’re going to need to share information and files and programs and passwords with that person. A great way to do this without investing in an expensive and complex office network is to use an online file-sharing service, many of which are free.
In general, these are single-task solutions, which are a great way for a company in the beginning stages of bringing on cleaning technicians (time tracking and mileage tracking), launching its online presence (blogging, social media, and email autoresponders), or adding a first office staff member (file sharing).
CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for Cleaning Business Today, coming to the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also works with several cleaning business owners on business development projects.
Originally published on June 30, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.