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.

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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.

Posted in Content Marketing, Housekeeping, Small Business Tips

1 App to Organize Your Convention Experience

mobile app for conventionDownload the free ISSA/Interclean 2015 mobile app, load up your targets, take notes, and let the app guide you around the trade show floor!

You could “wing it.” Convention, that is. Especially if this is your first time attending, you may not have realized that the word “convention” is much larger than you think.

Your registration for the ARCSI Convention includes entry into the ISSA Trade Show and many of the ISSA activities, but those two organizations are working in parallel. They have two different schedules for you to keep track of. They have different hotels.

But the one thing they share is the ISSA/Interclean 2015 mobile app:

  • BOTH convention education schedules
  • ALL trade show vendors
  • ALL shared activities, like the keynote speakers and the Scavenger Hunt

So here’s what you should be doing in the last four weeks before arriving in Las Vegas for the conventions:

http://app.issa.com/public/landing/editions/issa2015/images/content_bg_left.jpg

  • Download the ISSA Mobile App to your phone and tablet
  • Login with your 6-digit badge number – ARCSI or BSCAI can provide you with your ISSA badge number (whichever association you’re registered through)
    • Select the first photo section that says 700+ Exhibitors; be sure to favorite
    • ARCSI – Booth 3293
    • Cleaning Business Today – Booth 3296
    • Other booths that reflect the results of your Business Needs Assessment
  • Select the photo that says 40+ Seminars; be sure to favorite these ISSA sessions by specialists in residential cleaning or open to all at the trade show:
    • State of the Residential Cleaning Industry
    • Creating a Culture of Promotion
    • Show Floor Happy Hour
    • Improving Customer Retention and Employee Retention in Tandem
  • Scroll down and select the icon for Co-located Events and choose ARCSI; favorite the sessions you’re choosing to attend – especially those times when there are two happening at the same time. If you like to look at a printed schedule first, print off the schedule from the ARCSI convention website.
  • Keep track of your schedule using the Agenda icon (looks like a calendar) at the bottom of the home screen; use to identify what free time you have open for play or other appointments.
  • Review your selections by using the My Show icon
  • Add Notes to each of your selected booths, events, and products to remind yourself why you have chosen them – click on the small pencil icon in the upper right of any favorited booth, event, or product
  • Use the Notes feature to record your thoughts and decisions – for use in Friday’s session on what to do with all of the info you collected at convention
  • Be sure to flag all of the Scavenger Hunt participant booths to be eligible to win one of 3 iPad Minis! Use the app to play in the Scavenger Hunt.
  • Practice navigating the show floor using the Maps feature in the app. Plan one move at a time with Create a New Route or map out all of your favorites to optimize your time and energy with Open SmartRoute.

We’ll look forward to seeing you at the CleaningBusinessToday.com Booth 3296, right across the aisle from the ARCSI booth!

Originally published on September 21, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Content Marketing, Ghost Writer, Housekeeping

I Married the Cleaning Lady: The Dawn to Dusk Story

600600p3069EDNmain1752dawn-to-dusk-600-x-2502015 Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship winner John Winter talks about the beginnings of Dawn to Dusk, meeting and marrying the owner Dawn, and becoming a cleaning business owner himself.

CBT: When, why and how did you get your start in the cleaning industry and with Dawn to Dusk
JW: Dawn started her cleaning business in 2006 after she got divorced from her first husband and needed to support her two kids; she specifically wanted something that gave her control over her time, and she could work cleaning houses while her kids were in school.

CBT: What was your very first cleaning client or cleaning job? Do you still have that client?
JW: Dawn’s first client was a referral from a networking group we belong to; we are still in the networking group, but that first client later had a financial setback and couldn’t afford to continue with our service.

CBT: What has been the mission that you’ve used to focus your business development and growth?
JW: Our mission is to provide our clients and customers with cleaning service that exceeds their expectations. We strive to provide long term customer relations as well as employee relations. Our caring and helpful staff will be there for our client’s needs. We understand the importance of integrity and the value of earning the trust and respect of our clients. Our quality service and reliability as well as using the most natural green cleaning products are what set us apart from our competition.

CBT: What would say has been your biggest unexpected challenge to date?
JW: We once had all our cleaning technicians quit at the same time, and they took some of our customers with them and started their own business.

dawn-300-x-400CBT: Is it true that your cleaning business is the way you two met? 
JW: Yes, it’s true! I had just lost my wife Sharon to cancer in 2007, and I needed my house cleaned. I called up Dawn to Dusk Cleaning Service to get a cleaning quote, thinking they would send out Alice from “The Brady Bunch.” Instead Dawn came out, and she was more like Jeanie from “I Dream of Jeanie.” A year and a half later, I married the cleaning lady. When God closes one door, He always opens another. Today we work full time together, and it has been a joy to build a business together; we have cleaned many houses together as well.

CBT: As you’ve sought growth, what resources and/or mentors have been instrumental in supporting you to greater success?
JW: We started out with a local business coach with whom we traded home cleanings for business coaching. When that ended, we found another local business coach but soon found that she did not have the expertise that we needed for the cleaning business. When we joined ARCSI and went to the conventions, we met some great cleaning business owners who continue to be an outstanding professional network. There we learned about Foundations of Success and joined and went for a week-long amazing training jump start that we are continuing through the end of 2016; it was exactly what we needed to take our business to the next levels.

john-300-x-400CBT: What is one way that you’ve changed as a person and a leader?
JW: After going to the ARCSI convention it really open my eyes to see that this is not just a women’s business (forgive me!). I met Joe Walsh, Derek Christian, and Tom Stewart and was really impressed with them and their businesses. It sent a message that this business can be as big as we want to build it and can be a business we both can do together.

CBT: What do you do that believe helps others change?
JW: We found that when we live and work by our core values, we are setting examples for our team to do the same and they will follow.  Thank you, Liz Trotter, for helping us with this.

CBT: As the winner of the 2015 Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship to attend the ARCSI Convention and ISSA Trade Show, what are you looking forward to most at convention? 
JW: We love attending ARCSI conventions and surrounding ourselves with other cleaning professionals and business owners; we learn so much to help grow our business. We hope to learn ways of hiring quality cleaning technicians and ways to keep them long term. We also like learning about the new technology and software that will help our business grow. There is so much more, but these are just a few.

Originally published September 3, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
Posted in Business Articles, Content Marketing

Can Small and Large Service Businesses Provide an On-demand “Feel” with Employees?

employee engagement in on-demand service companiesExplore this challenge and more at the ARCSI Workforce Innovation Summit and ISSA Trade Show.

In the services industry at large – cleaning is just one type of service – every business owner is simultaneously managing two significant “inputs”: clients and technicians. And based on the association discussions and various mastermind groups, service-based small businesses are feeling the tension as reality versus legality are changing the ways these two inputs are interacting.

Last month, in the fallout of Homejoy’s closing, two dominant themes:

  1. The consumer demand for the instant gratification and perfection of on-demand services is well-established and, in fact, growing.
  2. The use of independent contractors to staff an on-demand service is rapidly falling out of favor as quick-start entrepreneurs recognize that quality and training are the keys to sustainability in a service business.

So the question remains: can small and large service businesses begin/continue to provide an on-demand “feel” for consumers while operating an employee-based business?

At the Workforce Innovation Summit of the ARCSI Convention, cleaning business owners and managers from across the country will wrestle with this and other questions related to recent changes in federal labor regulation – some of which is in reaction to the rapid development of the on-demand marketplace.

And while it’s classic to cite the:

  • intense networking (and friendship-building) with CBOs across the nation,
  • excellent business education sessions on basic start-up and advanced development topics, and
  • 700+ vendors at the ISSA Trade Show for trying out cleaning products and equipment AND business software and systems

as the main reasons for attending the conventions year after year, it’s the way that the industry keeps up with and engages in relevant conversation about current events that excites me most! I like change…it’s the challenge-creator that keeps me fully engaged with my business and always looking for opportunities that lead to an even better future.

 

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 September 1, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Business Articles, Housekeeping, Small Business Tips

Google, Amazon, Homejoy and Customer Service in the Dog Days of Summer

fall cleaning business trendsThe start of the school year, the demise of Homejoy and the entrance of Amazon and Google into on-demand home services make Autumn 2015 the perfect time to focus on customer service.

 

The reason we focus on Customer Service in August, specifically, is because it’s the beginning of the classic seasonal turn for major facets of the cleaning industry: home cleaning ramps up as kids go back to school and bring home new germs; vacation rental turns level out for the same reason; commercial bidding heats up as big businesses approach the end of the fiscal year; carpet cleaning picks up as the kids are less underfoot at home. And in 60 days, it’ll be time to launch holiday marketing campaigns and hire some extra support to push through the 2-month holiday crush that ends every year.

Making Customer Service Your Edge

This second half of the year is typically stronger for cleaning businesses in general, and one thing we’ll be watching here at CleaningBusinessToday.com is customer behavior. With the exit of Homejoy from the maid service market and expansion of Amazon’s and Google’s home services divisions, the “trend” of the on-demand, tech-enabled service access is about to be tested.

A New Era of On-Demand Competitors

Publisher Derek Christian writes in his op ed this month that what we’re seeing is the transition between Home Services 1.0 into its evolution into 2.0. And the choice CBOs have is one of customer service, specifically which kinds of consumers you want to serve and which ones you’re willing give up to competitors in your market.

Customer service is what drives your choice of staffing model: choosing one that empowers the best customer experience possible. And there are many different customer experiences in demand. That’s the beauty of the evolution we’re experiencing today in the cleaning industry: being at the center of an expanding marketspace with more customer interest than ever – demanding better customer service than ever.

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 August 22, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.
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 Business Articles, Small Business Tips

5 Ways to Win the Game of Reviews

online reviewsCleaning up your customer service and your quality procedures are key to getting great reviews online – and upgrading the not-so-good ones.

In March 2014, it looked like the online review landscape might be changed when Joe Hadeed, owner of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, won a suit against Yelp that would require Yelp to release the legal identities of seven anonymous reviewers who had posted reviews that could not be matched with actual customer services provided.

The ruling was later overturned on a technicality because Hadeed could not show definitively that the anonymous reviewers were not customers; their names or service addresses were not available to be compared with Hadeed’s customer records.

And so began the saga that led to more lawsuits from businesses against Yelp and other online review sites/services where, many suspect, there are more purchased reviews than organic ones. The sheer volume of lawsuits against Yelp alone that Prost Productions, Inc., has successfully raised funding for a documentary Billion Dollar Bully investigating Yelp’s alleged transgressions.

But if Yelp’s recent food delivery acquisition is any indication, Yelp is headed for direct battle with Google and Amazon in the online marketplace arena, far beyond the game of reviews.

The Question: Is buying (good or bad) reviews unethical?

Business and technology lawyer Joy Butler (link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joybutler) explains, “Not only is buying reviews an unethical business practice, it is illegal and can lead to significant punitive monetary damages leveled against you by the government. In one case, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) penalized Legacy Learning Systems $250,000 to settle FTC charges that the company paid affiliate marketers to pose as independent consumers and write glowing online reviews about the company’s products. Posting negative reviews about a competitor’s business could lead to lawsuits alleging things like libel and product disparagement.”

While creating and posting positive reviews for your company may initially seem like a good marketing technique,” Butler continues, “it can be an expensive mistake. The Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Prohibitions specifically prohibit such online shilling. If you pay anyone for endorsing or recommending your company’s services, the law expects you to disclose such compensation. This even includes bloggers and other social media types to whom a company might give free company products in the hopes of favorable blog and social media mentions. The FTC regards those freebies as compensation and expects that compensation to be disclosed in any resulting online reviews.

The First Amendment versus The Internet

Despite the fact that buying reviews is illegal – whether good ones for your own business or bad ones for a competitor – the fact remains that it’s so easy and fast to do that the legal system’s ability to track and catch perpetrators is strained.

Why? Because “the Internet” empowers the creation of new options and opportunity faster than laws and legal loopholes can keep up.

At this time, the law cannot compel a website like Yelp to reveal the identities of reviewers who wish to remain anonymous. And without clear evidence that an anonymous review is made by someone who is not a consumer of the services about which the review is written, the court is obligated to protect the reviewer’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech, even anonymously.

Amazon Fights Back

In April 2015, Amazon filed suit against California resident Jay Gentile as well as several anonymous owner/operators of “reviews for purchase” websites, several specifically aimed at securing reviews for product listed on Amazon’s open marketplace.

Bobsled Marketing owner and consultant Kiri Masters works with a number of companies with products listed for sale on Amazon; she offers these insights about the practice of review purchasing:

  • Customer reviews are critical to sales conversion on product pages. One of my clients who had only two reviews across their product listings recently ran a promotion to encourage genuine customer reviews; now their sales are around $1,000/week
  • Amazon’s terms of service defer to the FTC’s requirement for persons receiving a product for free to disclose it as such in their reviews. Most reviewers comply with this requirement, so it should. It is interesting to note however that when a brand is generously giving away their product for free, few testers will give it a poor review, opting instead to attempt to resolve it with the brand.

 

Masters notes that the ethics of giving products away for free in exchange for a usually-favorable review is murky, even when the reviewer is careful to disclose this fact in their review.

5 Steps to Earning Positive Organic Reviews

With Amazon Home Services – including cleaning services – expanding rapidly since its launch earlier in 2015 and Google expected to follow with its own online marketplace and reviews plugged in, the Amazon lawsuit is being closely watched by all stakeholders in the review industry.

But what we know is that consumers rely on what appear to be objective reviews by fellow service recipients to determine not just with whom they actually spend money but often whom they even visit your website with your credentials and amazing testimonials or call for a conversation first.

For business owners choosing to steer far clear of any hint of wrong-doing, continue developing your quality control procedures and metrics as well as your customer loyalty-building initiatives:

  1. Train thoroughly
  2. Inspect and quality check pro-actively
  3. Anticipate and respond to complaints quickly and positively
  4. Wow each customer
  5. Ask happy customers for reviews periodically

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 August 11, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.

Posted in Business Articles, Housekeeping, Small Business Tips

Do More Than the Minimum To Keep Clients Happy and Boost Sales

600600p3069EDNmaingeneric-apartments-flipped-600-x-250To become and remain competitive, you’ve got to know what your competition is likely offering – so you can do more and better.

When 75% of an industry is doing the same thing, that thing (or collection of tasks) becomes a standard – no longer a competitive advantage but is simple the minimum level of service. So to start with, CleaningBusinessToday.com asked “What’s on your base task list?” in an effort to better define the most basic possible scope of work to give guidance to young businesses as they are getting started and working out the kinks and on their unique selling propositions.

We know that the list can change, especially so for companies specializing in customization. But everyone seems to have a basic task list; otherwise, no one would have a place to start with training, which we all seem to agree is the real core of each company’s competitive advantage.

So what stacks up as the Basic Weekly Scope of Work for Residential Cleaning? These are the minimum expectations, based on earning at least a 75% adoption rate by survey participants. (Click here or on image to see Table 1.)

The question remains what to do with all of the things on your list that might be now considered extra when compared to the minimum scope of work. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Keep them right where they are and highlight them as points of differentiation between you and your local competitors.
  2. Use them to create levels (basic, plus, premium, custom) of service to more easily show the value of cleaning in a home.
  3. Reserve some of the lowest cost/lowest time options for a WOW list that you can turn to when you want to thank or surprise a loyal customer, reward someone for a referral, or add on in a service recovery (complaint) situation.
  4. Create a Custom or Add-on list of services for which you charge a little bit more – because it takes longer and a little more training for your techs to get it right.

Here are the things you can use to boost your base or additional service options (Click here or on image to see Table 2.)

Originally published on August 7, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.