Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer

3 More Things to Check Off of Your Convention Prep Checklist

600600p3069EDNmain1681convention-crowd-rev-600-x-250Continue your convention prep by checking these three things off your list this month.

The ARCSI and ISSA show may still seem a long way off, but with all of us being busy in our businesses and personal life, it is going to seem like it is here faster than you would imagine.

There are a lot of ways to make sure you get the most out of your convention experience.   The education events from both ISSA and ARCSI are a great way to build your knowledge.   The show floor is a great place to find new products, equipment, and techniques. But one method that is often over looked is learning from the other attendees at the show outside of the formal events.

Set Up Appointments with Industry Experts

The great thing about shows like this all the “big names” attend. Do not limit yourself just to the formal classroom time. This is a great time to ask that person you have followed online for years to a quick lunch to get some more insight in person.

If there is a vendor you have had a hard time reaching to give them feedback about their products, arrange a meeting before the show starts. You can find vendors and where they’ll be located using the ISSA Show Floor Map (and soon the ISSA/Interclean Mobile App). Be sure to tag theCleaningBusinessToday.com Booth #3296!

Finally, a lot of the leading industry consultants are going to be at the show as well. After all, the learning never ends, even when you are an expert. The ARCSI show is a great time to arrange some one-on-one meetings with these consultants to get some advice and see if maybe they are a good match to work with you in the future.

Check your perception of your biggest business needs with this complimentary Business Needs Assessment.

Order More Business Cards!

Be sure to order some extra business cards now because you are going to need them. Bring lots of business cards to the convention. You can give them to vendors you meet on the show floor to ask them to contact you later with samples or more information.

As you meet with others who give you great ideas, you may want them to send you some more information later. And as you accept another convention-goers card, write a note on the back to remind yourself what you talked about and why you would want to connect with that person later. Also, no matter how long you have been at the business, there are going to be those that want to learn from you and want your contact information.

Most attendees have given out more than 100 cards just at this one convention.

Make Your Hotel Reservation ASAP!

All of these great opportunities to learn are there for you to take, but you need to be where the people are – where the action is. Be sure to reserve your hotel room at the official convention hotel ASAP. Not only will this ensure you get the lowest rate possible, it also will make sure you get to stay at the hotel where all of the before and after networking is going to be taking place.  As large as these hotels are, this is a major convention and they do book up, so don’t wait until it is too late.

As a bonus, if you want share the cost of a room, many ARCSI members share a room. If you want to find a roommate, you can post on the ARCSI roommate board on the CleaningConvention.org website.

Be sure you catch last month’s Convention Prep To-Do List here.

Derek Christian is founder and owner of My Maid Service, Cincinnati’s largest, independent professional cleaning company. Prior to that, he spent twelve years at P&G working on household cleaning products. Derek is Co-publisher and Director of Business Development & Sales for Cleaning Business Today.

Originally published August 14, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

4 Money-Saving Tips for the Cleaning Conventions

600600p3069EDNmain1681convention-crowd-rev-600-x-250Do these four things this month to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck at the annual cleaning conventions and trade show.

The idea of leaving your company for a week – even for business – can seem very intimidating, so over the next few months, we are going to share with you what we do in the months before convention to make sure we are frugal while still enjoying the benefits of business education and networking – and especially having fun with the friends we’ve made through the years.

 

1. Set Your Budget

It sounds so simple to us business owners to say “set a budget,” but especially for first-timers, we haven’t done a great job of setting expectations. We use a pretty simple pro forma from year to year that has made this easy – and we come up with about $2200 per person attending:

 

Expense Fee
Registration for ARCSI Basic Member $389
Average Airfare $600
Average Hotel Bill for a Week $600
Conservative Per Diem ($50/day) $350
Fun and Entertainment $250
Total $2,189

 

With very few exceptions, when we plan ahead and catch the early bird registration rates and get into the group rate at the hotel, we’re able to keep our travel and lodging in tight check. But the key is to act early.

 

Also be sure to apply for the Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship, established in 2013 to assist small cleaning companies in attending convention.

 

And consider add-ons such as the IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification 2-day course that precedes convention each year. Scholarships are also available for this class.

 

2. Register by July 15 for the Most Registration Savings

Each year, ARCSI makes a monthly payment plan available to help members better cash flow their convention expenses. But to take advantage of the payment plan, you’ll want to register by July 15th, which is coming up very soon. Oh, and when you register by July 15th, you’ll get $50 off your registration. That’s a whole day’s per diem right there. What do you know – you’re already under budget!

 

3. Take a Business Needs Assessment

Oh, this one is actually tougher than it seems. Sure, you can sit down and make a list of all of the things you think aren’t working in your business, but you also need to figure out “what you don’t know that you don’t know” to add to that list.

 

We’ve been using this simple but illuminating Business Needs Assessment to help new and veteran business owners identify where to focus their improvement efforts for maximum return in their companies. And you can use it too to find out on what topics you should be focusing your convention experience.

 

And with July signaling the mid-year reality check on your annual plan and goals, our Business Needs Assessment is a great tool even if you’re not coming to convention.

 

4. Apply for or Nominate Someone for an Award

Your final convention checklist item for July is to look for the good in your company and submit one of your staff for an award. Each year, ARCSI recognizes a leadership staff member and a technician – and pays for their trip to convention. It’s a great way for you to really show your appreciation for someone in your company who has made a huge difference in your ability to grow and give him/her the opportunity of a lifetime at convention.

 

And those aren’t all of the awards. Show pride in your logo, uniforms, vehicles, and website by applying for an Image Award. Members present at convention vote for the best in each category!

 

Oh, you want to know if we’ll be there?

Yep – me, Tom, Derek, CeCe and Austin – we’ll all be in Las Vegas – not only for the ARCSI Convention but also for the BSCAI, CETA, IEHA, IICRCA, and IWCA Conventions and the BIG ISSA Trade Show. We’re already scheduled to teach several education sessions all over Las Vegas during the week!

Liz Trotter is founder of American Maid Cleaning as well as an entrepreneur and leadership trainer based in Olympia, Washington.  She is also a former ARCSI board member, a partner in Cleaning Business Builders, creator of the HiPEP employee development system and a charter member of Cleaning For A Reason.

Originally published July 9, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Housekeeping, Press Releases

Cleaning Business Today Acquires Two Brands

HC and HHI AcquisitionCBT to expand reach with prosumer website brands

Charleston, SC – May 1, 2015

Cleaning Business Today, a division of Supreme Mullet Media, LLC, has acquired HousekeepingChannel.comand HealthyHouseInstitute.com as part of its brand expansion strategy.

“The key to making and keeping the cleaning industry and related home services relevant is to be the resource consumers and cleaning business owners trust and come back to time and again,” says CBT Publisher Tom Stewart. “Allen Rathey has created trusted resources with the HousekeepingChannel.com andHealthyHouseInstitute.com.”

Where Cleaning Business Today is a premier information and news outlet for growing and established cleaning businesses in the US, HousekeepingChannel.com and HealthyHouseInstitute.com add key business startup and green cleaning and lifestyle resources to a growing body of knowledge. In addition, the two resources are respectable online knowledge centers providing credible alternatives to commercially operated home and lifestyle websites with mobile applications that reach consumers.

“The expanded industry and consumer reach of these sites was a key factor in our acquisition of the assets,” explains CBT Publisher Derek Christian. “Now we are in a position to put the businesses and contractors in our own industry right in front of consumers with content and to support the development of their online presence with backlinks that Google respects as coming from a reputable website.”

For 11 years, Allen Rathey has spearheaded the most successful development of consumer-facing online resources from within the cleaning industry through the HousekeepingChannel.com andHealthyHouseInstitute.com, among others. Rathey intends to continue his work as a subject-matter expert in the cleaning, janitorial and indoor environments industries as he turns his entrepreneurial talents to related areas.

About Cleaning Business Today

Cleaning Business Today is an industry news and business development digital resource for cleaning business owners and building service contractors providing services that improve the environment, health and appearance of the indoor spaces where people live and work.We invite non-promotional discussion of relevant topics on our website and social platforms.Cleaning Business Today is dedicated to empowering the whole cleaning business – business processes and systems in addition to professional cleaning practices and knowledge.

About Supreme Mullet Media, LLC

Supreme Mullet Media is a multi-media content outlet established to broaden consumer and business awareness of the professional cleaning industry. Its mission is to empower through data-driven content and value-added business growth tools an improved professionalism among those performing, managing, selling and buying cleaning services.

Originally published May 1, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Content Marketing

Look Who’s Talking Cleaning in the Last Year

600600p3069EDNmainnew-contributors-300-x-250CBT new contributors among the best and brightest in the industry

New Contributors

In the past 12 months, we hav added 21 new contributors to our ever-growing list. We reach out every day to new experts in all aspects of both cleaning and business to ensure that you are getting the best information possible – all towards helping you run a healthy and profitable business.  They’re definitely worth another read!







 

  1. Deanna Arnold, human resources
  2. Bill Balek, ISSA legislative affairs
  3. Gloria Columna, cleaning franchise owner
  4. Ted Devine, insurance and risk management
  5. Kristen Hadeed, cleaning business owner
  6. Sam Hodges, business loans and financing
  7. Todd Horton, employee engagement
  8. Kris Koenig, cleaning business owner
  9. Robert Kravitz, public relations for commercial cleaning
  10. Benja Lane, cleaning business owner
  11. Kevin McGirl, sales strategist
  12. Debbie Murray, CETA director
  13. Clint Perez, marketing professional
  14. Will Reed, ISSA standards and certification
  15. Mervyn Rozet, marketing professional
  16. Eric Roudi, cleaning franchise owner
  17. Samantha Snider, cleaning business owner
  18. Bryan Summers, leadership assessment and training
  19. Amy Thomas, cleaning business owner
  20. Joe Walsh, cleaning business owner
  21. Robert Wendover, generational market researcher

Originally published April 21, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing

Top 10 Stories from Our 2nd Year

600600p3069EDNmainCBT-Birthday-Cake-300-x-250From Success Profiles to Infographics to Breaking News, find out what caught the most eyes and spawned the most comments in the past year!

1. Success Stories: Kyle Walker, Real World Services

Youngest cleaning business owner launched his company at age 15 and hit his first million dollar revenue year at age. UPDATE: Since we last spoke with Kyle, he has entered the Mayoral race for Logan, OH; we believe Kyle would be the first cleaning business owner to occupy the office of Mayor while continuing to operate and grow his cleaning business.

2. Connections between Company Culture and Disruptive Innovation

Are you the company that’s throwing up brick walls in front of the people in touch with your customers – your employees? Your culture may be exposing your company to disruption and making you vulnerable.

3. Infographic: Benchmarking Your Pay Rates

Janitors and maids are the third largest occupation in the US. Are you paying enough compared to national averages?

4. Infection Control and Environmental Services Team Up in the Battle for Your Health

In order to tackle the spread of infectious disease in healthcare facilities, everyone must be on the same page. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can improve infection control when departments team up.

5. Homejoy Raises Rates, Drops out of Europe and Canada

Homejoy cites recruiting “the most dedicated, verified Cleaning Professionals in your area” and improvements in the customer experience as primary reasons for increase.

6. The Intersection of Client and Technician: Annual Software & User Experience Survey

From new mobile options to the addition of sales and marketing functions, new scheduling and user experience solutions are on the rise.

7. Success Stories: Diana Henley, Naturalcare Cleaning Service

Houston, TX-based cleaning company, founded on nature’s best cleaning and disinfecting power, branches into product development.

8. Adwords Then and Now: The Five-Year Inflation of Cost-per-Click

The number of total internet searches per year is estimated to be growing at about 10% a year. When it comes to Google AdWords, work smarter, not harder.

9. Success Stories: Lisa and Hamish Macqueen, Cleancorp 

Australian cleaning company jumps from $1M to $3.75M using online sales and service automation, wins Small Business ICON 2014.

10. The “Almost Perfect” Vacuum: Top Recommended Vacuums for Residential Cleaning Services

Top recommended vacuums for residential cleaning services – report & comparison chart

Originally published on April 10, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Content Marketing

Our 2nd Year in Review

600600p3069EDNmainCBT-Birthday-Cake-300-x-250Yay! CBT has grown in all kinds of ways!

As we begin Year 3 of leading edge news and solid, tested business discourse in our digital pages and on our website, we’ve taken some time this past month to reflect on how far we’ve come in 24 months before we look ahead at what we’ve got planned for the future!su

 

Top 10 Stories from April 2014 – March 2015

1. Success Stories: Kyle Walker, Real World Services

Youngest cleaning business owner launched his company at age 15 and hit his first million dollar revenue year at age. UPDATE: Since we last spoke with Kyle, he has entered the Mayoral race for Logan, OH; we believe Kyle would be the first cleaning business owner to occupy the office of Mayor while continuing to operate and grow his cleaning business.

2. Connections between Company Culture and Disruptive Innovation

Are you the company that’s throwing up brick walls in front of the people in touch with your customers – your employees? Your culture may be exposing your company to disruption and making you vulnerable.

3. Infographic: Benchmarking Your Pay Rates

Janitors and maids are the third largest occupation in the US. Are you paying enough compared to national averages?

4. Infection Control and Environmental Services Team Up in the Battle for Your Health

In order to tackle the spread of infectious disease in healthcare facilities, everyone must be on the same page. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can improve infection control when departments team up.

5. Homejoy Raises Rates, Drops out of Europe and Canada

Homejoy cites recruiting “the most dedicated, verified Cleaning Professionals in your area” and improvements in the customer experience as primary reasons for increase.

6. The Intersection of Client and Technician: Annual Software & User Experience Survey

From new mobile options to the addition of sales and marketing functions, new scheduling and user experience solutions are on the rise.

7. Success Stories: Diana Henley, Naturalcare Cleaning Service

Houston, TX-based cleaning company, founded on nature’s best cleaning and disinfecting power, branches into product development.

8. Adwords Then and Now: The Five-Year Inflation of Cost-per-Click

The number of total internet searches per year is estimated to be growing at about 10% a year. When it comes to Google AdWords, work smarter, not harder.

9. Success Stories: Lisa and Hamish Macqueen, Cleancorp 

Australian cleaning company jumps from $1M to $3.75M using online sales and service automation, wins Small Business ICON 2014.

10. The “Almost Perfect” Vacuum: Top Recommended Vacuums for Residential Cleaning Services

Top recommended vacuums for residential cleaning services – report & comparison chart 

 

Added Features

Directory

Last July, we officially launched our Directory with over 850 manufacturers and distributors listed. In addition to cleaning products and equipment, commonly found in similar directories, ours includes listings for the business services which enhance your long-term viability as a profitable enterprise. 

 

Events

Just last month, we launched our new Events page where our goal is to list as many industry events as possible:

 

  • Annual conventions
  • Regional meetings
  • Topic-focused weekend conferences
  • Free and Paid Webinars
  • Certification Classes and Programs
  • Executive and Management Programs

It’s a great way to find out what’s going on – all in one place!

 

More Product Information

Our first year, we conducted our first Field Service and Scheduling Survey and produced a report showing participants’ features side-by-side.

 

In our second year, we expanded our product survey reporting to deliver reports on a broader range of all-in-one and single-use software options and on vacuums recommended for professional use.

 
In our third year, we are asking YOU – our subscribers and the users of these products – to vote each month for the “Best of” Awards in a variety of categories: 

  • Cleaning Products and Equipment
  • Business Software and Systems
  • Marketing Services
  • Personnel Services
  • And MORE!

 

Disruptive Innovation Summit

Last fall during convention season, we partnered with ARCSI to host a unique event – the Disruptive Innovation Summit – a full day of education and discussion about some of the new ways of doing business that are challenging the classic small cleaning business model.

 

Speakers came from all over the world to help us dig into topics like:

 

  • The role of “disruptive innovation” in sharpening your competitive edge
  • The generation driving the rise of tech-enabled businesses
  • Technologies currently being used and created by cleaning businesses
  • And MORE!

 

And for a limited time, we are again making available.

Download FREE presenations from CBT's Disruptive Innovation Summit

New Contributors

In the past 12 months, we’ve added 21 new contributors to our ever-growing list. We reach out every day to new experts in all aspects of both cleaning and business to ensure that you are getting the best information possible – all towards helping you run a healthy and profitable business.  They’re definitely worth another read!







 

  1. Deanna Arnold, human resources
  2. Bill Balek, ISSA legislative affairs
  3. Gloria Columna, cleaning franchise owner
  4. Ted Devine, insurance and risk management
  5. Kristen Hadeed, cleaning business owner
  6. Sam Hodges, business loans and financing
  7. Todd Horton, employee engagement
  8. Kris Koenig, cleaning business owner
  9. Robert Kravitz, public relations for commercial cleaning
  10. Benja Lane, cleaning business owner
  11. Kevin McGirl, sales strategist
  12. Debbie Murray, CETA director
  13. Clint Perez, marketing professional
  14. Will Reed, ISSA standards and certification
  15. Mervyn Rozet, marketing professional
  16. Eric Roudi, cleaning franchise owner
  17. Samantha Snider, cleaning business owner
  18. Bryan Summers, leadership assessment and training
  19. Amy Thomas, cleaning business owner
  20. Joe Walsh, cleaning business owner
  21. Robert Wendover, generational market researcher

Originally published on April 1, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

Put One Foot in Front of the Other: One Cleaner’s Path to Leadership

600600p3069EDNmainbenja-lane-300-x-250She didn’t set out to be a cleaner or even a cleaning business owner, but that’s where her path to leadership began.

We hear these things when we’re at the beginning of our business and think “they don’t apply to me” because I don’t have other cleaners yet or an office needing staff or enough towels to fight over who’s going to wash them for the next day. And it’s easy to say these ideas don’t apply to me. But I’m telling you they might not apply to you yet, so don’t close off your ears. You’ll get there. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and when you get there – and you will – it will all make sense.

CBT: When, why and how did you get your start in the cleaning industry and with Maid My Day Brevard?

BL: It was Jan 18, 2011 – the day before my birthday, in fact. I had just left my job of six years, and I didn’t have a job to go to the next day. I met my brother to celebrate that evening, and was excited about what I had planned: continuing to grow The Lane Solutions Group, a consulting firm focused on helping small businesses with their accounting, risk management, and HR compliance to improve their profitability, something I’d been doing for a number of years and planned to expand into my own business.

But I also knew that I wasn’t going to be able to replace my full income quickly enough to continue supporting my family, so I floated the idea of cleaning and asked my brother if he knew anyone who’d been looking for a cleaner. And the next day – my birthday, a friend of his called me and hired me. So I went to Walmart, bought some supplies and showed up at this house, ready to work but not having too much idea of what I was doing, which is probably why it took me two days to clean it. This first job included things I wouldn’t dream of doing now, like washing and pressing drapes (included in the fee) and hosing down a bathroom in bleach and then having to run away because my eyes were burning.

Within 30 days, I had accumulated enough regular clients to hire my first employee, who lucky for me had twenty years of experience in the cleaning business and whom I knew from my childhood; she was critical in helping me learn the field and technical side of the industry – on the job, literally. And within 90 days, I had enough regular clients to add a second employee to the cleaning business.

But even with this success, I wasn’t excited about the idea of a cleaning company. What I still wanted to do was business consulting and had, by that 90 day mark, a good 30 hours a week of work consulting. And consulting remained my primary focus for the first 18 months, with the cleaning business continuing to grow slowly but steadily simply through me networking through my professional channels through The Lane Solutions Group, Extreme Gleam’s parent company, and organic word-of-mouth. But only with the cleaning business revenue could I generate enough money to cover payroll and support my family. So we cleaned all day, and I consulted at night, making an 18-hour day my normal workday and maximizing my earning potential.

CBT: What was the turning point for you to make your cleaning company your focus, and more importantly your passion?

BL: I have to give that credit to a confluence of events because they all happened at the same time. It was a year after I started Extreme Gleam and I got a direct mail piece from ARCSI about the 2012 ELC in Orlando and the HCT class with it. And that spring I met Bruce Vance and David Kiser along with Tom Stewart and Derek Christian, who later became my first cleaning business coaches through the Foundations of Success program.

It was then, among the 100 or so companies gathered, that I realized I had a legitimate business and started to turn my attention to actually running a growing cleaning company. Within six months of ELC – by the convention in Chicago that same year – I had let go of the consulting business and took a leap to Extreme Gleam.

CBT: Now wasn’t your company first called Extreme Gleam? What prompted you to change the name and rebrand your company?

BL: As I mentioned, a cleaning business wasn’t my first choice. I had opened The Lane Solutions Group and had a good business following my traditional interest and skills in business, primarily for my cleaning clients. But almost two years into operating and growing the cleaning business offshoot, I liked it and I was good at it, but the original name/brand didn’t reflect the new commitment I was ready to make to focus fully on the cleaning business. So I began the process of rebranding by re-incorporating The Lane Solutions Group to Maid My Day Brevard and completed the brand conversion in January 2015.

Our new brand reflects the core values of the entire company and is more obviously customer-focused. But personally, the name change represented my commitment to my cleaning business, to being in this with both feet and my whole heart and head. To have all of my crops in one garden and to grow where I’m planted. And outwardly, it helped me to more easily and clearly say “this is what I do.”

CBT: Your first year or so in business was challenged by some unique situations. What was your source of motivation, inspiration, and plain ole energy to work through them?

BL: On a basic level, I think there are two primary motivators every business owner has: putting food on the table and making payroll. But beyond that, I’ve always received a feed of energy from the people I work with – my staff and technicians – the people to whom I am responsible for creating a sustainable job. The more customers I took on, the more people I hired, the more skin I had in the game.

My second most important source of motivation comes from my fellow cleaning business owners, primarily those I’ve met through ARCSI and the Foundations network, especially Alberto Oliveira. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called him up to tell him “I’m fed up” or “I quit” or “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And I’d never have come back to the other end of that – back to my business – without him and others helping me.

CBT: Just a little more than a year after opening your doors, you had your first full day “out of the field” on May 6, 2014. How did you do it and how did that feel?

BL: When it comes down to it, stepping out of the field was a risk, a leap of faith even knowing things weren’t perfect. And it’s one I have to take again every time there’s a crisis – too many call outs, overbooked, quality problems, etc. – and it would be only too easy for me to just drive out there and do it myself.

But the fact is that my clients can’t afford – literally, in dollars – for me to personally perform the cleaning day-to-day or even on a special jobs basis. Why? Because there is a limited supply of “me,” so I have a responsibility to my customers to ensure they are getting the best value out of my time for the price they pay:

  • developing staff in a way where they could deliver quality service without me standing over their shoulder
  • building enough reoccurring business where I could financially sustain my move out of the field
  • raising rates to reflect the value and competitiveness of my services
  • systematically and consistently training new employees – and not just technicians
  • adopting a single line of chemicals to simplify the learning curve and improve training efficiency
  • training customers to learn and comply with service policies (so that there’s a chance of office staff actually getting things done efficiently)

The key thing for me to remember was that my being “out of the field” wasn’t permanent; it wasn’t a move where I had to say “I will never clean a toilet again.” Rather it was a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking about myself as a leader and the face of my brand.

highest compliment ever received
CBT:
You’re on the front lines in Florida as the state attempts to manage some employment-related changes, namely workers compensation, and you’ve fought hard to maintain a direct employment structure. What have been some of the challenges and how have you been able to be profitable as a direct employer?

BL: This is such a multi-step process: reincorporating while keeping the ratings we’d built as The Lane Solutions Group. There’s the standard refiling of legal and tax paperwork, but what ultimately held up the launch of our rebranding publicly was the process and waiting period we had to endure to keep our workers compensation rating. We’d earned strong credibility by not having any claims against us and by paying on time.

And when I sat down with my agent about making this change, that’s when I learned how challenging the workers compensation market is for employers in the state of Florida. The likelihood of getting a new policy for the new corporation would be incredibly difficult and might even force me into leasing employees from a staffing agency until we could get coverage. But I could continue with my current corporation and policy until that policy had seasoned sufficiently to allow me to apply to the state of Florida to transfer the policy with its ratings to the new corporation.

The key to this whole process came down to one thing: developing a relationship with my insurance carrier. And before making any major changes, talk to them; that’s what your agent is there for. Use them as a consultant for your business; after all, that’s a big part of what you’re paying them for.

CBT: As you look forward to your fourth full year in business, what goals have you accomplished and what new ones are you looking forward to going after soon?

BL: To date, we’ve been in a sustained growth mode, relying on referrals and organic word of mouth to gain new clients; and that’s worked, netting us 65% growth in 2013. With our rebranding and my move into the office, I’m finally ready to open the valve on a real, strategically developed marketing program to raise brand awareness and generate leads for the business.

As I’ve put the finishing touches on a streamlined hiring and training system, we are today just slightly overstaffed and ready to turn on the marketing and get in the game, looking to field a third team full-time and a fourth team in development by the end of the year.

In some ways, it feels like we’re opening our doors for the first time – again.

Originally published March 5, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Business Articles, Content Marketing, Housekeeping

2013 Cleaning Convention Recap: Networking, Synergy, and Landmarks

600600p3069EDNmain705ribbon-cutting-615-x-350What you gain attending the annual cleaning convention is priceless. Taken together with the four associations who gathered in Las Vegas in November, the industry trends, association initiatives and major awards were uniquely uniting for the cleaning industry.

If ever there was proof that the cleaning industry is strong, large, and growing, the evidence could be found at the 2013 trade show and conventions in Las Vegas. Attendance records were broken, vendor participation was at an all-time high, and annual awards honored unsung heroes.

Centered around ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2013 were its three co-located conventions by IEHA – the International Executive Housekeepers Association, ARCSI – the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International, and BSCAI – the Building Service Contractors Association International. With each of these associations reporting record attendance, it’s no wonder the main trade show was packed for two-and-a-half days.

Trends in the Cleaning Industry
Within our ever-evolving industry, change is inevitable, but it’s the changes that catch on with the customers who demand quality and specialty service as well as the businesses who work together up and down the supply chain who really define the trends and challenges facing the cleaning industry at large.

Sustainability
The “green” movement has had its day and continues to enjoy a specialty following, but the lasting trend from that effort is one of sustainability: the balance between achieving our clean goals, rendering minimal negative impact on the natural environment, and operating a successful and profitable business.

Toward that end, many manufacturers launched or featured low-impact salt-based cleaner/sanitizers, including some designed for use by residential cleaning companies. The number of steam-based cleaning and disinfecting options is growing, and the availability of cleaning enzymes is expanding.

Aging Building Maintenance
More than once, the challenges of servicing the “aging building market” was a topic of presentation and discussion. For many years, cleaning was cleaning, with no standard body of knowledge or skills established. With construction remaining slow, rents rising, and businesses moving to older buildings, BSCs find themselves faced with a well-worn building where no amount of removing soil can make things shine the way they used to.

BSCs are faced with the conundrum of feeding into the “pretty and shiny = clean” consumer mentality or potentially losing out on contracts when maintenance or even renovation is the best choice for achieving the consumers’ end-goal appearance. For this reason, the multiple-solution bid is becoming more common, providing the opportunity to place the best option (whatever that may be) in a value perspective.

Mobile Business Solutions 
The number of online and mobile business solutions grows every year, so it was only a matter of time before technology-based solutions made their way into the cleaning industry. Mobile business solutions are major investments that empower cost-cutting savings in operations and support services. They make a huge, positive difference in margins. Online quoting tools and automated sales systems help land new clients. Customer satisfaction and survey tools help retain great clients. These mobile solutions also enhance efficiency in scheduling, creating work orders and dispatching field staff.

When you’re evaluating your existing solutions or looking for a new solution, be sure to check for mobile and cloud interfaces with coordinating products, including ISSA Innovation Award winner CleanTelligent Software for their mobile surveys and work orders. And be sure to check out our June article, which compares options for scheduling and field services software.

Trends Among Associations
Since 1998, ISSA has shared the annual ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show with at least one, and now three, co-located associations. Together they represent “customers” of the various manufacturer and distributor groups who comprise ISSA’s primary membership. And in those 15 years, IEHA, BSCAI and ARCSI have worked together with ISSA to empower growth within the industry at large and within their own constituencies.

IEHA executive director Beth Risinger commented that about 20 years ago, when she first reached out to ISSA, the leadership of other associations was skeptical of initiating a relationship between ISSA and a group considered its customers. But today, she and the leadership of ARCSI and BSCAI have forged strong friendships and an enormous business network. This strengthens the member companies of each group.

BSCAI opened its convention with a unique panel including leadership from BOMA – Building Owners and Managers Association, IREM – Institute of Real Estate Management, and IFMA – International Facility Management Association, along with the BSCAI President. Though the panel was focused on addressing important questions for building service contractors (BSCs), the conversation and its residual value spans the industry.

Our common cause is the delivery of exceptional products and services to the occupants of the spaces we build, manage, clean, and maintain. When we enter into business arrangements with this knowledge, knowing the mission and recognizing the value of our respective associations, we better benefit each other and ourselves. Specifically, we best benefit our end users by:

  • Cooperating and collaborating with members of related industry associations
  • Sharing mutually beneficial resources – bodies of knowledge, educational programs, and certifications
  • Engaging in informed supply chain relationships, which provides the best possible experience for end users
LANDMARK AWARDS

IEHA – ISSA Lifetime Achievement Award
Beth Risinger

beth-risinger-150-x-200This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award marks the 15th anniversary of the landmark and highly-successful partnership between ISSA and IEHA. And for the first time, IEHA participated in the selection process and presentation of the award. As the executive director of IEHA, Beth Risinger has grown that organization to the largest of the three association partners to ISSA. Together with ISSA, she has championed education, certification programs and the development of many leadership tools. She has authored Kip the Koala, the first coloring book for children about cleaning.

BSCAI Industry Service Award and ISSA Industry Distinguished Service Awards
Varsity Facility Services

Don-Aslett-and-Arlo-LukeTwo of the industry’s top service awards were granted this year to Founder Don Aslett and Board of Directors Chairman Arlo Luke, both of Varsity Facility Services. These two college friends started Varsity Facility Services over 55 years ago and have grown it into a powerhouse.

The company has interests in every area of the cleaning industry and has achieved several milestones. It was the first company to become CIMS Certified with Honors. In addition, Don Aslett is the founder and curator of the Museum of Clean, an historical collection of cleaning instruments and advertisements which serve as a testament to the role of cleaning in the evolution of society. In his award comments, Don asserted that, though “we’re still invisible” to many, he can always tell a professional cleaner by the sagging pants, where their keys have pulled them out of shape.

BSCAI Employee of the Year Award
Patrick Morgan

It’s not often that the heroes of the cleaning industry are known outside of their association, let alone outside of the company for which they work. But thanks to the power of our connected world, the tale of Patrick Morgan of Sunshine Cleaning Systems went viral in early 2013. So on November 20th, when Larry Calufetti, President of Sunshine Cleaning Systems, introduced Patrick for the BSCAI Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Hillyard, Patrick was known, recognized, and appreciated for the example he sets for members of the industry, and also for consumers.

ARCSI President’s Award
Rachel Farquer, My Maid Service

rachael-150-x-200In its closing President’s Reception, ARCSI honored Rachel Farquer of My Maid Service, who in 2014 will become the majority owner and general manager of the company’s newest office in Dayton, OH. Having started off as an average cleaning technician, Rachel’s true talent in leadership and management was revealed when she transitioned to office work in the later months of a pregnancy. Today, at just 24 years old, Rachel is the first President’s Award recipient to have risen through the ranks of her employer’s company to become a majority owner.  Read Derek Christian’s nomination letter.

Through awards and the occasional viral video, members and companies in our industry continually advance the notion that “clean is a condition,” in the words of Don Aslett. With far more than just the four industry associations which convene with ISSA/INTERCLEAN each year, it is essential to remember that all are aiming toward the same ultimate goal: a strong and growing cleaning industry perceived as valuable by our society.

Originally published on December 2, 2013 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Business Articles, Content Marketing, Small Business Tips

The Family Business: They Have to Really Want It for the Dream to Become Reality

600600p3069EDNmain1157Anago-3-shot-300-x-250Father and son navigate the life-long process of succession planning.

When Dave Povlitz filed his business corporation paperwork in 1989, he was already thinking about who would take over the company when he was ready to retire. Though that day was 30 or so years in the future, he knew that it mattered even then – in the beginning – if he wanted to ensure the continued success of his legacy at Anago Cleaning Systems.

And like many business owners with a family, Dave dreamed of one day watching one of his children – daughter Lisa or son Adam – grow to love his business as much as he did and want to lead its continued growth. But as much as he dreamed of this family legacy, Dave also knew that leading his business had to be something that the next leader – family or not – valued, believed in, and wanted.

To build his company into something both successful and sustainable, Dave established Seven Unifying Principles to guide the company in setting overarching strategy and addressing day-to-day challenges. And it’s these seven principles, or core values, that have guided his approach to succession planning.

1) Believe in People
“You’re not working for me,” Dave told Adam when he graduated from college with a degree in finance. “You need to go out and work and learn something.”

The leader of a company needs to have enviable attention to detail, intricate financial expertise, and great operational/managerial skills. S/he must be a self-starter and a person who is continually creating ways to do everything better. This person is your biggest sales person and brand advocate, the most human and approachable member of your company. And above all, the company CEO must have a great heart.

“We are here for our franchisees’ success,” says Dave. “That’s our motto.” And that’s where Adam started with Anago after he’d worked in corporate America – as a regional franchise development manager helping franchisees get set up and troubleshoot challenges.

2) Have Personal and Professional Integrity
“The difference between good and excellent is a person’s attention to detail while having empathy.”

One of the hardest parts of creating a family legacy through natural succession is avoiding even the appearance of nepotism. When a business owner brings family members directly into a leadership position, they often inherit a target on their backs at the same time. It’s more than just important, it’s critical to ensure that anyone being promoted into a leadership position has a solid foundation in the inner workings of the company.

Before college, Adam had spent some time telemarketing for the Anago franchisees by day and cleaning a daycare center by night. His sister Lisa started out as a bookkeeper while she went to college. Dave worked hard to make sure that both of his children could speak to every part of the business before considering them – or anyone else – for promotion.

3) Give People the Opportunity for Advancement
“No matter what I did, I was only going to ever be one tiny little cog,” explained Adam about what made him start searching for more than the standard career in finance.

When a leader starts to think about succession, it’s tempting to try to think of finding a person who’s ready to just step right in. But the reality is that very few people like that exist – someone with just the right skills, perspective, and knowledge to step out of an existing job and into the CEO shoes. That’s why it’s vital that a company have and support an employee structure that not only allows for a few to grow into new levels of responsibility, but that actively promotes advancement.

The Master franchise structure that Anago uses does exactly that. It put Adam and Lisa through their paces and helped them grow into the leaders they are today. Adam is the Executive Vice President, having worked his way from cleaning technician and telemarketer to regional franchise development manager to financial officer to the executive team leader. Lisa is the Vice President of Internal Operations, having started as one of the bookkeepers, and now oversees 20 administrative staff responsible for telemarketing, regulatory compliance, human resources, and more.

4) Promote Training and Education
“The primary barrier to entry in the cleaning industry is not cleaning, but the other stuff,” claims Adam. “There are smarter ways to do business, and that’s what we teach our franchisees.”

As important as the formal and on-the-job training is that top-level executive candidates bring to the leadership of the company, it’s just as critical to consider the role of all levels of management within the company in two key areas:
– Their need to continue learning and be growing contributors to the existing and future leadership.
– Their ability to impart both skill training and institutional knowledge to other leaders-in-training.

Dave made sure that both Lisa and Adam would value continuous training and education by having them learn the business from lower management roles. They needed both job skill training and company culture experience.

5) Reserve the Right to Make Mistakes
“Move slowly. Analyze the details of a person’s career,” explains Dave. “Try to find someone from within the organization that has grown up while experiencing the ups and downs and pitfalls of growth. It takes a lot of negotiating in every aspect of life to be a great CEO.”

Those mistakes are an important part of evaluating a person’s ability to lead because mistakes expose a person’s ability to exhibit several of the core values. In fact, a question about a mistake is one of the best questions any interviewer can ask a candidate for any position. The value to the person making a mistake is in recognizing the need for change. The value to the interviewer is the glimpse into the candidate’s reaction to change and ability to see and maximize opportunities.

That’s another reason Dave insisted Adam and Lisa both work from deep within the company to earn their current leadership roles: to ensure that they had ample opportunity to make and learn from their mistakes as part of growing into excellent leaders.

6) Provide a Sense of Achievement and Enjoyment
“The best ideas for development come from our franchisees,” says Adam. And as he’s worked with franchisees, Adam has come to value the growth driven by their knowledge.

The greatest sense of self comes with being encouraged to tell a story about what you go through to arrive at a point of resolution. In other words, when you describe a challenge and are also able to explain how you developed a solution. And to do that, you need someone to listen to your story. That’s one of the ways that the success process can bring the excitement of change and inspiration into a company.

Adam has made it an essential part of his role to listen to the company’s franchisees and support their solutions and recommendations for global development.

7) Manage with Goals
“We don’t want to be your father’s cleaning company,” laughs Adam as he starts to list some of the ways the same old goal of growing the company looks so different in a technology-enabled world.

Business growth is driven by a company’s ability to continually differentiate itself from its competitors, and today a company’s use of technology to create an outstanding user experience is critical to meeting that expectation. More business owners are emerging from the millennial generation in their 20s-30s; they are the rising decision makers, and they’ve been conducting business in an app-based, automated, instant information and accountability world.

As the Executive Vice President and CEO-elect, Adam is already moving the company in some new directions with that growth goal:
– Developing tablet-based software to support easier client interactions and improve technician job delivery and unit franchise operations.
– Expanding the franchise both nationally and internationally, empowered by the ability to use technology to bridge many international challenges.

Passing On the Family Business
With Adam poised to advance to CEO upon Dave’s retirement, both had a few additional cautions for business owners who want nothing more than to see their family join and grow their dream into a true family business:

You – the business owner – have to make sure that son or daughter, sister or brother really want to work in the industry and work hard to develop a full set of leadership skills – even the uncomfortable ones.
Be careful to compartmentalize emotions when interacting with family members – both at the office and at home.
Minimize the appearance of a family clique within or above the full leadership team; Dave, Adam and Lisa limit their family time to one lunch a week.

Power is taken, not given, even within families; be careful to avoid “taking over” before the current CEO is ready to hand over the reins.

Anago Cleaning Systems, led by Chairman and Founder David Povlitz, is enjoying its top growth year ever and will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2014. Anago encourages the growth of family-run businesses; in fact, its most successful Master Franchisees are those with a family element in the business dynamic. David has seen the rewards of working at his company with his son Adam, the Executive Vice President, who plays a growing role on the Executive Team of the company, responsible for operations, Master training, and management of vendor relationships.

CeCe Mikell is the Editorial Director 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 October 27, 2014 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Lighter Topics

Happy Birthday,CBT! Our First Year in Review

600600p3069EDNmain840baby-birthday-615-x-350CBT celebrates its first year of delivering the best news and business information to cleaning business owners.

As we release the thirteenth issue of Cleaning Business Today, we reflect on the wonders of our first year of bringing you breaking news, unique insights, hidden issues, videos and downloads of business tools, and controversial ideas and projections for the future.
As you read this article, take a moment first to look at the screen. It’s different from last month and the 11 previous months. For our anniversary, we’ve upgraded our digital magazine to a sleek new format so that you can more easily:
– Search the entire issue for any word or phrase
– Make the page bigger by double-tapping or double-clicking on the screen
– Flip pages any way you like on your phone/tablet – tap the ? to personalize your settings
– Bookmark specific articles
– Share and print an individual article
– Watch videos without changing webpages or apps
– Skim the entire issue on Slide Show mode – without ever tapping the screen or clicking your mouse

Why? Because clearly cleaning business owners and industry leaders crave this new focus on the whole business:
– 600 average views per article
– 30,000 page views/month
– 2,200 unique visitors/month
– 3,750 total visitors/month

Cleaning business owners are spending a lot of time in the magazine, using the Search Bar to find articles on the topics that challenge them most as they work hard to grow their businesses.

MOST READ / MOST POPULAR

future-of-the-industry-thumb-200Future of the Industry
Our first feature article, “Future of the Industry” remains our most read article. When we break down the average monthly views for every article we have ever published, this one is at the top. What’s truly revealing is that the expectations for the industry and its development are materializing right before our eyes!

Runner Up: May Extra: Cleaner’s Corner (free download)
Third Place: Midnight Adventures in Business Ownership

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

In our first year, Cleaning Business Today published over 330 original articles and news commentary and featured more than 60 contributors from within and outside of the cleaning industry.

don-aslett-150-x-200Don Aslett, The Last Word Columnist
As our original Last Word columnist, Don Aslett used his unique perspective to reflect on the theme of each issue and offer motivation for all of us to continue working toward a unified, professionalized and respected industry.

Other Favorites Columnists:
Gary Goranson, Leadership, HouseCleaningBiz101.com
Cherylanne Skolnicki, The Big Picture, Nourish
Rebecca Spath, The Big Picture, Breathing Room Therapies

MOST TALKED ABOUT

money-umbrella-smHouse Cleaning Marketplace Gains $38M for New Developments
Join the Discussion on LinkedIn

Dealing with Theft
Join the Discussion on LinkedIn

Do Traditional Small Cleaning Businesses Face Extinction?
Join the Discussion on Facebook

MOST POPULAR NEWS RELEASES

Oreck Bankruptcy in May 2013
Not long after launching that first issue, we were able to break our first story with Oreck’s announcement of the bankruptcy filing of their consumer division. We’ve been privileged to continue breaking some of the most sensational stories of 2013 and into 2014.

Runner Up: Two Maids and A Mop Franchises
Third Place: XCharge Credit Card Processing Users to Pay $199 for Class Action Settlement Services

MOST DOWNLOADED

software-comp-smScheduling Software Comparison Chart
In June 2013, CBT led the Information Technology issue with an unprecedented feature comparison of eight of the most commonly used customer management, scheduling, and field services systems in the cleaning industry. This article and its downloadable chart have become the single most viewed items we’ve ever published, and that’s why we’re repeating and expanding the comparison again for the June 2014 IT issue.

Runner Up: Cleaning Chore List for Kids
Third Place: Calculate Pay or Play Costs to Your Cleaning Business
Fourth Place: Pet Hair Removal

MOST WATCHED VIDEO

Calculating Employee Turnover Rate
Hands down, measuring employee turnover – or how quickly your employees leave and you have to get new ones – is our hottest KPI and video article. Publisher Tom Stewart narrates you through a spreadsheet showing you how to calculate the rate; especially when paired with the companion video on The Cost of Employee Turnover, knowing and using this metric is a huge bonus in helping you keep costs down.

Runner Up: Understanding the Basic Science of the pH Scale and What it Means for Your Cleaning Supplies

Third Place: Hydrogen Peroxide: New Uses for an Old Household Favorite

THE TEAM

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.


Derek Christian
 is founder and owner of My Maid Service, Cincinnati’s largest, independent professional cleaning company. Prior to that, he spent twelve years at P&G working on household cleaning products. Derek is co-founder and Publisher of Cleaning Business Today.

CeCe Mikell is 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.

Austin Walker is Creative Director for Cleaning Business Today. He has over three decades of experience in television and corporate video production, including four years with CNN and seven years in management at an ABC affiliate.

You can meet the Cleaning Business Today leadership at the ISSA/InterClean Trade Show in Orlando, FL, November 4-7, 2014.
Originally published on April 1, 2014 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.