Saturday, January 14, 2017

WHERE DO YOU FIT?

I recently was given a 2014 report from the US economic census that provided some really interesting statistics on the BSC industry. While I was aware of much of the information, I was again taken back by some of the numbers. For instance, DID YOU KNOW? 

---There are 54,663 cleaning companies in the United States.

---Over 75% of the companies have under 10 employees, 60% have less than 5 employees.

---Only 1,297 firms have over 100 employees.

---46% of the entire industry is controlled by 294 firms.

---Our industry employs right at 1 million employees.

Think about those numbers. Where do you fall? If you employ 100 0r more people you are in the upper 2% of the companies in size in the United States. 

In most areas the largest accounts are generally serviced by a large regional or national BSCs. They like to focus on those large accounts to make it "cost effective" to operate. Think of all the business that leaves for the rest of us. The reality of business is that there are thousands of more smaller prospects than larger ones in the marketplace. 

I had firsthand experience dealing with this issue. In one of the large metropolitan areas where I operated (Phoenix), I had two well known national competitors. Well, let me clarify that. I saw them as competitors, they saw me as just a guy to be nice too. One of the companies had a policy not to service any account under $20,000 per month and the other one had a lower threshold of $10,000 per month. 

 Do you know how many $8,000 and $9,000 a month potential customers there were (are) in the Phoenix market? I didn't know either because there were so many I didn't get to all of them. I enjoyed advertising that we were the company that could service them because the well known name brand companies didn't take anything that "small". We were able to secure several very nice, profitable $8,000 per month accounts. My competitors did me a huge favor. 

So, where do you fit? Let me suggest you find your slot, develop a sales strategy and "go for it". As usual, Consultants In Cleaning, LLC stands ready to help in any way we can. We offer a personal service as well as a myriad of training materials on a variety of subjects. The clients that work with us on a personal weekly or every other week basis are enjoying nice double digit sales increases AND profit increases. Just click www.consultantsincleaning.com, then click the "ask a question" icon and we'll get back with you promptly. Also, while you are on the site, check out all of the training material available. By the way, VERY SOON we will be announcing a new training package that will be a great addition to your training library. Watch this space as well as our weekly Kleancast at www.kleancast.com.

More details to follow soon.  HAPPY NEW YEAR. Till next time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

THE CHINESE BAMBOO TREE

By now probably everyone has heard of the Chinese bamboo tree and how you take a small seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year and nothing happens.

The second year you water it and fertilize it and nothing happens.

The third and fourth year you water and fertilize it and still nothing happens. Discouraged yet?

The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then----sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and GROWS 90 FEET IN SIX WEEKS. 

So it is with our businesses. We need to continue to water and fertilize our efforts and yes, become discouraged, but if we are consistent in our efforts and do not let up, we do reap the rewards.

In our business of Building Service Contracting it is a fact that many times a suspect will not even talk face to face with us until the sixth or seventh contact of some sort. If you have a system of making some sort of contact with them every 3 months, it can be a year and a half to two years until the fruits of your labor gets you the opportunity to extol the virtues of your company. That can be discouraging, but remember the story of the Chinese bamboo tree.

Maybe we can help get you in the door faster. Through our training materials, webinars, books and personal guidance we can assist you in getting in front of that suspect (prospect) quicker than you might otherwise be able to. 

Check our our Selling Contract Cleaning Services book as well as our numerous sales training DVDs at www.consultantsincleaning.com, or give us a call at 573.374.1111 and talk with us about personal assistance. Our clients enjoy outstanding sales and profit growth when working with us on a personal level. 

Here's to a successful 2017 and continuation of watering and fertilizing your business for future rewards. Call us, we'd love to help. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SOME THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR

As we enter a new year it seems like most of us always have a few things we want to do different that will change our life in some way. Our businesses are no different and we usually start out with a full head of steam but for many that steam runs out very quickly. Something happens and we revert back to our old ways. 
 
I thought it might be interesting to rely on our old friend Zig Ziglar to provide us with some phrases and thoughts for starting a new year. I will post several of them in hopes that you will take the one(s) that catch your thinking and post it where you can see it all year long to prop you up when the going gets a bit tough. Here goes Zig,
 
1. Your business is never really good or bad "out there." Your business is either good or bad right between your own two ears. 
 
2. The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job.
 
3. It is easy to get to the top after you get through the crowd at the bottom.
 
4. The most practical, beautiful, workable philosophy in the world won't work, if you won't work.
 
5. Obviously there is little you can learn from doing nothing.
 
6. You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else.
 
7. Obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off our goals. 
 
8. Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24 hour days.
 
9. Remember, you can earn more money, but when time is spent it is gone forever.
 
10. Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.
 
11. If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they will do business with you.
 
12. Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
 
13. Some people find fault like there is a reward for it.
 
14. Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do, it is measured by what you do with the ability God gave you.
 
15. Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember---the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you. 
 
16. Remember there is plenty of room at the top---but not enough to sit down. 
 
17.The price of success is much lower than the price of failure.
 
18. Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them yours.
 
19. You don't drown by falling in water. You only drown if you stay there.  
 
20. Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love.
 
So there you have 20 of Zig Ziglar's sayings. There are many more.  Which one(s) struck a cord with you? If any did, why not print them, frame them and put them on a wall where you can see them all of the time to remind you that you can attain success. 
 
I wish you a wonderful, successful 2017. Don't forget to watch our weekly pod cast at www.Kleancast.com or you tube at kleancast. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

THE CONSTANT LABOR ISSUE

If you have followed my writings and in person workshops through the years you have heard me talk about the issue of turnover in our industry. The fact remains it costs at least $525 to replace a BSC employee. With the average turnover in the industry bordering on 350%, that number can have a monumental effect on your bottom line. 

Generally we spend considerable time and dollars recruiting employees to interview. I continually get calls on how can we find people that want to work? I try to assist wherever I can but I also find that many times after we get them in the door, we blow it in the interview. How so, you may say?

The interview is the opportunity for us to "sell" the benefits of working for our company. If you are positive and demonstrate that you have career opportunities available within your great organization you have a much better chance of securing valuable long term employees. After all, if you don't extol the virtues of your company and this industry, who will? 

The people that walk in the door are the customers of the Human Resources department and should be treated with the utmost respect. if they don't return the favor you have just eliminated them from the list of applicants. 

One thing I have learned in all the years I have been in this industry is that employees and prospective employees will mirror your image of the industry and your company. Think of them as only someone that can fill a slot because you figure they will leave soon anyway and you have the recipe for high turnover. Do a thorough interview with the benefits of the position and the important part they will play in providing a sanitary facility for the end customer and you will see their attitude change as well.

A lot more can be said on this subject and I encourage you to purchase our book, "Finding, Training, and Keeping Great Service Employees" to 
get a deeper understanding of this subject. Also, in the book we talk about different ways to recruit, what you can and can't say in the interview, how to conduct the orientation process as well as the initial training of a new recruit. We also discuss dealing with different nationalities and generations that is really important in today's business environment. You can obtain a copy by going to www.consultantsincleaning.com.

As 2017 approaches I want to encourage you to make a concentrated effort to do the things that will reduce your turnover. After all, the money you save may be your own or as Yogi Berra said "you can save lots of money and that's as good as cash. 

Have a wonderful holiday season. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I WANNA QUIT


Did you know, that according to surveys done this past year that over half of the workforce would like to quit their job? It is even higher in the under 25 age group. Startling fact isn't it. 

Now factor into that the number of baby boomers that are approaching retirement age and our industry could be facing a severe employee crisis in the next few years. Half want to quit and the other half are ready to retire. What are we going to do about it? Have you thought about what your work force will look like in the next 5 years? Have you given thought to how you will be addressing the issues as they arise? Could be some really major issues to address.

According to a Gallup survey conducted last year there were 12 factors that made employees want to stay and grow with a company, They are,

1. I know what's expected of me.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4. In the last 7 days I have received recognition or praise for doing a good job. 
5. My supervisor or someone at work seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7. At work, my opinion seems to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my organizations makes me feel my job is important. 
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing good quality work.
10. I have a best friend at work.
11. In the last 6 months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12. This. last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow. 

So, how is your organization doing in accomplishing these 12 items. I personally believe addressing these issues in the coming years will have a huge role in the success or failure of a BSC. In the weeks to come we will be, through our blog and through our Monday morning Kleancasts, be addressing these and offer discussion points and suggestions regarding retaining our most valuable asset---our employees.

In the meantime, let me encourage you to order our DVD entitled "Dealing with Generational and Cultural Differences in the Workplace"
.  You can find it at www.consultantsincleaning.com.
It may just be the best employee relations training investment you will make this year. This DVD has been our best selling product this year.

By the way. you can access our pod casts at www.Kleancast.com.

Till next time. 
 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NO MORE HANDSHAKES


Back in the early days of our business, it was common for the BSC and customer to agree on the service to be done and the investment per month, then shake hands and the agreement was done. You're right, life was much simpler then but the times and our lives have changed. 

Now we have to put in writing EVERYTHING to cover as many bases as possible. New laws and executive orders keep coming and I hope you are doing everything possible to protect yourself. While I can't, in this short space, cover all the items you should include in a service agreement, there are a couple I want to be sure you have in your agreement, 

1. A "notice to cure" clause whereby the customer is required to give you a written 30 day notice to correct deficiencies BEFORE a termination letter is issued. "Stuff" does happen and this gives you the opportunity to "cure" the deficiency. 

2. Spell out specifically what triggers price increases. With so many states in the USA raising their minimum wages it is critical that you have a clause (and formula) for computing the increase. There are other triggers as well such as insurance, workers compensation, supplies and equipment cost that can warrant an increase. Be sure you have the information documented and be able to show the customer how you arrived at the requested increase. I don't believe in an automatic annual increase because that creates an atmosphere of "bidding" every year and your responsibility is to provide quality customer satisfaction and not setting up an automatic mechanism that calls attention to the need for your customer to check pricing.

3. I suggest you put in a paragraph that outlines what happens in the event the  customer "steals" your employees. Happens all the time. Don't get angry. Put a clause in your agreement that says if the customer hires one of your employees they will pay you a recruiting and training fee of a x % of the annual wages of that employee (I used 15%). Don't treat it as a penalty but rather a recruiting and training fee for if you had not recruited such excellent employees your customer would not be trying to hire them. Think of all the dollars you saved them in recruiting fees by hiring your employee. 

There are several others which are important as well but space here does permit listing all of them. I do encourage you to purchase our DVD entitled "Key Items to Include in Your Customer Service Agreement". It is available on our web site at www.consultantsincleaning.com. 
and includes those other important clauses and paragraphs to include. Once you are on our web site, just go to orders and scroll down to the DVD information to order. We'll both be glad you ordered. It is a very inexpensive way to get the items you need into an agreement. 

IMPORTANT  ANNOUNCEMENT. We do not offer legal advice and you should always check with your attorney on any legal document you are considering. 

NOTE: Look for an announcement soon on our upcoming webinar series. 

Till next time.