Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer

Ladybug winners announced: an Iowa green cleaning company and a teacher and young adult author

600600p3069EDNmain1947Ladybug-winners-announced-600-x-250Advanced Vapor Technologies and Cleaning Business Today reveal the winners of the Ladybug Giveaway.

Drum roll please… The winners of the Ladybug Steam Vapor Giveaway are:

Stephanie Nesseth of Absolutely Clean

For the before-and-after photo with the most votes: Stephanie Nesseth of Absolutely Clean in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was the clear winner, with over 2,100 votes.

Jolene Buchheit

In the random drawing of people who voted: Jolene Buchheit, a teacher and young adult fiction author is the winner.

Congratulations to both winners and thank you to all of our 18 photo contest entrants and over 4900 votes!

The Ladybug Steam Vapor Giveaway is over, and whether you won this time around or not, owning a Ladybug is a win-win for both you and your customers. It’s a win for you, because the Ladybug is an incredibly efficient tool that can make your cleaners more productive and generate income for your cleaning service. It’s a win for your customers, because the Ladybug uses simple tap water. There are no harsh chemicals, so the Ladybug cleans and disinfects in a way that is non-toxic. For more information about the Ladybug Steam Vapor System from Advanced Vapor Technologies,click here. Or to learn how your cleaning company can use the Ladybug to make your business more profitable, watch the video below. And congratulations again to our winners.

Originally published May 2, 2016 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

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Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

3 companies use steam vapor cleaning to make more money – and win a free Ladybug

600600p3069EDNmain1925Ladybug-steam-vapor-trio-600-x-250One amazing before-and-after photo is all it takes to win a FREE steam vapor disinfection system and start making more money cleaning.

Sponsored ArticleThe “green” movement is strong, no matter which of the common words you use to describe your way of being green: natural, organic, healthy, sustainable, safe, non-toxic, etc.

What if you could truly strip your cleaning procedure down to just one ingredient: simple tap water? That’s what cleaning business owners across the US are doing: simply reducing the potential for error and harm to the lowest possible denominator.

You read that right! Water, specifically tap water, is the only ingredient that powers the Ladybug series of steam vapor cleaning and disinfecting systems by Advanced Vapor Technologies, the most widely-adopted chemical free* cleaning tool across the US.

Now, you’re wondering just how these folks can possibly be competing on time and price with traditional apply-and-wipe cleaning procedures, right? Well, let’s hear it in their own words – and find out how they plan to win a FREE Ladybug to help them grow even more.

Amy Wiggs King
2 Green Chicks of Norman, OK

Ladybug-dolly-photo-300-x-300A little over a year ago we learned about the AdVap Ladybug with TANCS, and we have been able to upsell and use it for hard-to-clean areas: first-time cleanings, ovens, showers (especially with hard water buildup), grout and the list goes on!

When our cleaning chicks started working with the Ladybug, Chick Christine wrote her middle name “Dolly” in an oven vent! The amount of grime that can be steamed away is amazing, and our clients love the results. And since we are a green cleaning company, we love that the system only uses water and no harsh or unnecessary chemicals.

Mona Gatens
Windsor Maid Service of Houston, TX

I spent nearly 30 years in healthcare before opening Windsor Maid Services, so the plan for my company from the very beginning was to use equipment and products to make my clients homes healthier. We focus our marketing on the healthy benefits of our cleaning methods, and subsequently many of our clients have small children, compromised immunity, are post-surgical or are severe allergy sufferers. We are delighted to have found the AdVap Ladybug dry vapor steam cleaners with TANCS as they are a primary piece in our healthy homes initiative. Having the ability to disinfect surfaces in clients’ homes without using chemicals that they might be sensitive to is a huge benefit to us.

Another advantage of the dry steam vapor system is that there aren’t any chemicals involved; there also isn’t any residue. This makes our maintenance cleaning quicker and easier, saving us money in payroll expenses.

The Ladybug is also an extremely effective cleaning device with the ability to far surpass many more traditional methods and tackles the hardest of jobs. We’ve never found any other device, tool or chemical that can tackle really badly baked on ovens and showers and tubs that are severely hard water stained anywhere near as effectively as the Ladybug does, and it does so completely chemical free – no harsh or mild chemicals or vapors for my staff or clients to inhale!

Troy Knight
Castle Keepers of Greenville, SC

Before starting my business, I committed to being a green, eco-friendly company, and there are a lot of ways to be “green.” Our focus is to use products and processes that are less toxic and have lower VOCs than many traditional cleaning methods. Specifically what this means is that we started off building our cleaning procedure on the use of deionized water and dry steam vapor to enable us to incorporate a chemical-free process into our cleaning for clients who prefer non-traditional cleaning methods.

Without the DI Water Kit and our AdVap Ladybug with TANCS, we’d be running inventory weekly and purchasing supplies likely monthly – forever. It’s just too easy to see the savings of a one-time equipment purchase, especially one that just uses the same water supply we’d have been using if we had to dilute chemicals or in the rinsing phase of the cleaning procedure. Since we get to skip those steps, that’s time we get back in our pockets – either in cash savings not paid out to labor or to re-invest in other, more productive activities like marketing and ongoing staff training.

See more from Troy and The Steam Lady Diana Henley in this webinar about why and how companies have made a successful and profitable transition from standard or eco-friendly chemicals to a steam-powered cleaning procedure.

But you’re ready to find out how you can get your hands on the amazing AdVap Ladybug for free, right? Who wouldn’t want a chance to have this top-of-the-line, $2000 piece of premium cleaning and disinfecting equipment!

It’s so easy – and we hope you’ve been gathering as many before-and-after photos of your Ladybug cleaning jobs:

  1. Submit your best, most dramatic before-and-after photo of something you’ve cleaned with your Ladybug – only one submission per person, so make it really, really good!
  2. Come back and vote every day – on your own submission or a friend’s!
  3. Share your submission daily to remind friends, family, and clients (if you’re a business) to vote – folks can vote once a day!

Contest opens MARCH 29th and voting remains open until APRIL 29th! Good Luck!

Be sure to follow Advanced Vapor Technologies and Cleaning Business Today on Facebook for contest updates and the second half of our 2-month education series on the benefits of adopting the Ladybug with TANCS® to maintain a healthy home for yourself and for your cleaning clients.

Connect with Rick Hoverson on LinkedIn
Connect with Randy Zielsdorf on LinkedIn

Originally published March 29, 2016 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

2 Ways to Win the Best Disinfection System Available for Your Cleaning Business

600600p3069EDNmain1903Ladybug-Giveaway-How-to-Enter-600-x-250-REV230 days to find your best “horrible” mess to win a free ADVAP Ladybug 2300 in our Before-and-After photo giveaway

Sponsored ArticleIt’s not often that something truly new is invented that dramatically changes the cleaning process, so when ADVAP introduced its Ladybug with the patented TANCS® dry steam vapor disinfecting system 10 years ago, we knew we had a revolutionary product but that we also had a responsibility to educate cleaning professionals and consumers. After all, military-invented bleach, ammonia, and similar chemical solutions had been the standard for generations, certainly long enough for them to create a space in our memories as the “smell of clean.”

But as science often does, it shows us better, safer, healthier, easier, and faster ways to accomplish the tasks that are integral to our lives. The ADVAP Ladybug with TANCS® is

  • Better at penetrating soils and microbial films, resulting in a truer clean
  • Safer to skin, eyes, nostrils and lungs than high-VOC chemical cleaners – even the “green,” “natural,” and “organic” ones with scents that re-contaminate indoor air
  • Healthier because more soil and microorganisms are removed and there are no chemicals in use to leave residues behind accidentally
  • Easier to use than the old standard “spray-and-wipe” method of cleaning, which requires multiples: spray, dwell, wipe, rinse, dry and sometimes repeat
  • Faster to disinfect in 2-7 seconds as opposed to 2-10 minutes for most disinfectants – plus the dry steam vapor cleans at the same time, reducing 2 steps (cleaning then disinfecting) into one.

And the best news is that you can win a FREE Ladybug 2300 with TANCS® in our upcoming photo contest and giveaway!

The photo submissions and voting starts March 29, but you’ll want to start getting your Ladybug out and practicing your before-and-after routine. You never know when that great contrast situation – you know, the really gross ones that don’t look that gross at first – are going to show up in your schedule. And you’ll want a good collection of before-and-afters to choose from as your final submission to the contest:

The Ladybug before-and-after submission with the most votes wins 1 ADVAP Ladybug 2300.

And a second ADVAP Ladybug 2300 will be awarded in a drawing from among the votes – and ANYONE can vote, not just Ladybug owners!

Here’s what you can do to get yourself ready to submit the best Ladybug before-and-after photo on March 29th:

Practice Your Photos

To ensure that you capture clear, well-lit photos in a high resolution format, let’s make sure your camera settings are ready. Whether you are using a digital camera or the camera in your smart phone or tablet, navigate to the settings and adjust for these levels:

  • Flash: Auto
  • Filter: None

Oh, and one more thing: to set the scale of the area or fixture select a standard sized item like a yard stick for large areas of flooring or a 12-inch or 6-inch ruler for smaller areas or fixtures like faucets. Other universally sized items that may be used to show scale include

  • Unsharpened pencil
  • Dollar bill or quarter
  • Battery (with the size visible in the photograph)
  • Hand

This will also help you to focus your photograph in nearly the same way for both the before and the after shots.

You want to take at three different shots of the soiled area and later the same cleaned area with your camera/phone:

Physically close up – zoomed all the way out so that every detail appears clearly in the photograph

  1. Physically farther away – to give perspective of the soiled area within the larger space
  2. About halfway in between those two shots – this shot often includes enough soiling detail and spatial awareness for a great contrast in the after photograph

Prepare Your Clients

If you don’t already have a photo release written into your standard service agreement, this may be the time for you to add and implement that.

And if you’re not ready for that step, gain permission from clients before taking photos to take photos and use them for marketing purposes using a simple 1-page release like this one.

Find Your Scene

Arguably, the trickiest part of any before-and-after photo contest is finding the best “before” situation, especially when you don’t always know what you’re walking into.

In general, the places that get the most visually dirty and go neglected for the longest times are “wet” places:

  • Bathrooms – especially kids’ bathrooms
  • Kitchen sinks
  • Exterior door frames
  • Sliding door tracks

Also check your add-on cleaning items like

  • Refrigerator door handles, grills, and especially the seal around the door
  • Oven interior
  • Outdoor grill
  • Deck or porch floor
  • Grout

Get more great ideas here.

Start searching for your best scene today by taking before photos of all of these common areas, even if they don’t look terrible. Particularly in the case of grout, you never really know if it’s supposed to be white or a surprising color instead of that dingy dark grey.

Prepare Your Before-and-After Photo Submission

Use a free photo app on your smart phone or table to create your before-and-after photo. We’ve found these to be widely adopted for just this kind of use, easy to use, and available free from iTunes and GooglePlay:

  • Photo Grid
  • Pic Collage
  • Before After Collages

And don’t forget to compose a great caption for your photo.

Be sure to follow Advanced Vapor Technologies and Cleaning Business Today on Facebook as we embark on a 2-month education series on the benefits of adopting the Ladybug with TANCS® to maintain a healthy home for yourself and for your cleaning clients.

Connect with Rick Hoverson on LinkedIn.

Connect with Randy Zielsdorf on LinkedIn.

Originally published February 26, 2016 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Business Articles, Content Marketing, Housekeeping, Small Business Tips

Top 4 Active Facebook Groups for Building a Better Maid Service

Facebook networking pictureProfessional discussion groups jump from LinkedIn to Facebook.

In the past year, you may have observed the slow death of professional discussion groups on LinkedIn; though a few continue to receive a steady flow of new discussions started, the conversations are often a rehash of old ones.

So where have all of the veteran CBOs gone to keep their edge? Why, to Facebook, of course, where the posts and discussions and ideas flow freer and faster. No longer is Facebook simply the realm of our “social” lives but, rather, is now the critical intersection of all facets of life.

Want to check for yourself? You can find out pretty easily which of the LinkedIn groups you’ve joined over the years are actually active. In preparing this article, I check out my own groups and found only 8 active discussions (active = has at least 1 comment in the last 24 hours) out of 45 groups; in fact only 8 of those groups had a new discussion posted in the last week. Four were in ISSA and two were in ARCSI, so I’m definitely staying in those groups.

To check on your Facebook groups, navigate to your groups menu on the left side of your Facebook News Feed; make sure you are scrolled all the way to the top of the page. Hover to the right of the word Groups and click on More. Now you’re looking at a complete list of the Facebook groups you’ve joined or been added to. You can see the currently active one – with recent notifications you haven’t looked at yet – by the number to the right of each group name.

What we learned at CBT is that our Facebook group, CBT Cleaning Industry News is far more engaged than the exact same posts and probing questions to our LinkedIn group.

Toward helping you find your next amazing group to help you move your business forward, here are 4 of the most active and engaged Facebook groups with exclusive or very heavy emphasis on cleaning and maid services:

 

Groove Learning

Started by Rohan Gilkes, owner of MaidsInBlack.com as well as several SaaS platforms and subscription boxes

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is highly focused on digitally automated customer interaction and employee management, and could be a good resource for those maid services adding or converting to online booking from traditional in-home or phone estimates.

Quality Driven

Started by Martha Woodward, owner of DustingDivas.com, and Maria Dorian, owner of WelcomeHomeCleaning.com as well as Quality Driven, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on the quality control and continuous improvement systems you need to ensure that the performance your technicians deliver meets/matches up with customer expectations so that both groups of people are more likely to stay with you.

The ZenMaid MasterMind (Exclusive)

Started by Amar Ghose, owner of Fast Friendly Spotless as well as ZenMaid, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on all aspects of starting up a cleaning or maid service – from how to post recruiting ads on free job sites to handling your first breakage claim.

Turnover. Help for Move In/Out Property Managers and Service Providers

Started by Kayla Storlid, owner of Kayla’s Custom Cleaning as well as turnoverapp, an SaaS platform for maid services

Closed Group: request to join and an admin will have to approve you. This group is focused on helping other cleaning services establish a profitable turn-clean process, whether as an annual division or as a seasonal project, such as with local college dorm and apartment turns before the start of term.

Keep in mind that nearly all online discussion groups – even those on Facebook – are started and operated by individuals who have a product or service to sell. Keep this in mind as you choose new groups to join. There are also a number of groups you can join when you purchase or subscribe to a particular technology or service; these groups are often “Secret,” so you won’t be able to search for them.

As always, what happens online, stays online – forever – in a digital format that someone can always get to no matter your privacy settings. Be social responsibly.
CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for CleaningBusinessToday.com, coming to the cleaning industry from a 15-year career as a college professor of communication and business. She also consults with cleaning business owners on business development projects.

Originally published on January 27, 2016 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Published Writing, Small Business Tips

5 Changes that Enhanced Our Convention and Trade Show Experience

ISSA Convention and Trade Show BoothIt’s only one week – that annual convention and trade show – so how you spend your time is critical for both your immediate enjoyment and your long-term success through the next year.

As I reflect on our editorial focus for November – Making Changes – I can’t help but stop and flip through my fresh memory album from CleaningBusinessToday.com’s third year as an exhibitor at ISSA/Interclean North America and sponsor for the ARCSI Annual Convention and about the recent upgrades to improve the mobile accessibility of the knowledge we’ve produced and curated over he past almost three years:

  • Broadcasting select events LIVE with Periscope – follow us @CleanBizToday and watch broadcast recordings
  • Opening up our booth to the benefit of our advertisers and providing them with an outreach platform and private meeting space
  • Raffling off a ProTeam Sierra Backpack vacuum to winner Craig Baker of Mess Maid Right NW in Portland, OR (he told me he’s hoping to convince his wife and partner to switch)
  • Giving away the Cleaning Business Builders Core Values Cards, used to make smarter hiring decisions as well as give staff the tools to learn to see and appreciate each other more deliberately
  • Talking about current events in business and labor regulations with experts and planning/scheduling articles for upcoming release

As CBOs continue to anticipate increased costs of business from minimum wage increases and healthcare-related costs while at the same time facing labor shortages, I invite you to share your questions and your experiences with us at CleaningBusinessToday.com for open discussion.

Subscribe to CBT Clean Feed – bringing you the latest news directly to your email

Join our groups on Facebook and LinkedIn

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

 

CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for CleaningBusinessToday.com, 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 November 2, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

8 Things You Can’t Miss at the Cleaning Convention

600600p3069EDNmain1811derek-christian-issa-show-floor-600-x-250-REVSchedules are already filling up; make sure you get time with the experts you need.

Since the founding of ARCSI and, in particular, the year I served as its President, I’ve never missed a convention, and I’m pretty sure neither Liz Trotter nor Derek Christian have either; in fact, both have served on the board and been slightly outrageous advocates for the annual convention – Liz betting Derek that she could get more convention registrations than he could. Yes, Liz won, and Derek had to dye his hair blue that year.

And each year, there’s more to do, new topics and vendors and activities vying for your attention. And let’s not discount the attraction that is Las Vegas itself!

So when you’re looking for me, for Liz or for Derek, here are the 7 places you can definitely find us at Convention:

Private Consultations with Me, Liz or Derek

Naturally, booking a 30-minute private consultation with one of us is the easiest way to ensure that you’re on our schedule with some dedicated time. It’s easy to check online and see when we’re still available to meet new folks like you! Be sure to check with the other consultants to see what opportunities they are offering as well. Convention is a great time to try everyone out!

Workforce Innovation Summit

After the success of the Disruptive Innovation Summit in 2014, I’m excited to see the format return and to focus on another rapidly evolving aspect of our businesses: our staff. In addition to having information from CleaningBusinessToday.com available during the summit, CBT is proud to be introducing Dr. Jeff Waddoups from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to talk about impending minimum wage increases and how the demand for and actuality of them is likely to change the ways we recruit and retain employees.

Time Management

Make sure you favorite Liz’s Time Management workshop Wednesday at 11:00 am and add it to your agenda in the ISSA Mobile App. This ARCSI session is a true workshop; you’ll be out of your seat and even talking in front of the group before you know it! You might even be able to convince Liz to stick around for some after-workshop workshopping through lunch.

CBT Show Floor Tour

Derek is putting his years of working trade shows to work in this Show Floor Tour, specifically designed to introduce first-timers not only to booths of particular interest to residential cleaners but also how to get free samples out of vendors! The Tour starts on Wednesday at 1:00 pm, after the ARCSI morning education sessions.

Creating a Culture of Promotion

Continuing discussions from the Workforce Innovation Summit, Liz will be presenting on the ISSA Show Floor Thursday at 12:00 pm on how and why to build out your company structure to make promotion the mechanism for empowering professional growth…which leads to business growth. Liz will be available in the CleaningBusinessToday.com Booth 3296 following the class for further discussion.

 

Happy Hour at the CleaningBusinessToday.com Booth 3296

Possibly the most underrated “event” of the entire convention is the ISSA Happy Hour on the show floor. In addition to enjoying a beverage on ISSA, many exhibitors have special events at their booths only during that one hour. At the CleaningBusinessToday.com Booth 3296, you can get a FREE deck of Core Values Cards, courtesy of Cleaning Business Builders (first 35 people only) and even win a ProTeam Sierra Backpack vacuum. Be sure to visit the booth before Happy Hour to drop your card in the raffle.

CBB Breakfast and Business Forecasting Class

Start your last day of convention off with FREE breakfast and a Business Forecasting class in the CBB Suite at Harrah’s. The class will show you how key metrics tracking can predict what your business will look like in 1, 2, 5, even 10 years from now. If you’ve wanted to know when you’ll hit the $1M revenue mark, this is the class to hit! Space is limited; watch for RSVP information in your ARCSI convention packet.

Improving Customer Retention and Employee Retention in Tandem

Cap off convention with this great class with Derek on the ISSA Show Floor. Admit it: the two things that challenge you the most are people – your staff and your clients. Derek’s going to show you how things you do to make your staff happier and more motivated lead to your customers being happier and sticking with your service longer.

And don’t worry; he’ll be done before you head out to catch Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank and to see if Teresa Ward wins his Solution Guru contest.

Tom Stewart and his wife, Janice Stewart, are co-owners of Castle-Keepers, the 1st company to achieve CIMS certification. Tom is a nationally-recognized leader & innovator in the house cleaning industry. He is co-founder and Publisher of Cleaning Business Today.

Originally published October 5, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Housekeeping

When-Where-How to Find New Cleaning Products

600600p3069EDNmain1804ISSA-show-floor-600-x-250If your labor costs so much more than your products and supplies, why does it matter what you use?

It’s easy to get pulled into the conversations about the rise of on-demand business models, online marketplaces and how much they cost CBOs in revenue shares, and the dramatic increase in worker and class action lawsuits claiming employee misclassification damages. The summer has been active in all of those areas, and we at CleaningBusinessToday.com have been scrambling to keep up with the announcements and cases.

In October 2015, though, we want to return to some basics: what products and supplies are working, not working, and are new for you to investigate?

And the ISSA/Interclean Trade Show is a prime opportunity for CBOs across the country to collect samples and take a hard look at what they’re using and what they might be using to clean

  • more quickly
  • more effectively
  • with less product
  • with less water

All toward the end goal of high efficiency. Why efficiency? Because time is what costs you the most money, not the actual products.

And this year for the first time at ISSA, the trade show includes an Outdoor Exhibit Space to allow for product demonstrations. See them in action and even try them out yourself before making a decision!

And be sure to favorite CleaningBusinessToday.com Booth 3296 in the ISSA Mobile App and use the Map feature for walking guidance to find us easily!

CeCe Mikell is the Editor-in-Chief for CleaningBusinessToday.com, 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 October 1, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.