Thursday, May 30, 2013


First let me say thanks to all of you who sent e-mails with positive comments about last weeks message. It is certainly a topic that has evoked tremendous interest in our industry along with tremendous confusion.

My job is not to be an expert on the subject but hopefully direct you to some places where you can get helpful information. This week we continue that effort.

In addition to to the BSCAI information from last week and the information that Ruthann Laswick with Blue Water Consulting can provide, let me also suggest the following,

ISSA has an entire link on this subject on their web site which you can access at IN FACT, THEY WILL BE HOSTING A COMPLIMENTARY WEBINAR ON HEALTHCARE REFORM AND ITS EFFECTS ON BSCs ON JUNE 11. Go to for more information and to register. This should be an outstanding free learning experience and I encourage you to set aside time to learn.

ISSA also has posted a library of articles on the topic at By the way the spaces between health care and reform are really underscores so be sure to include that if you go to that sight.

I realize there are rumors that this law will disappear because of all of the confusion but truthfully I don't think that will happen. Senator Cruz of Texas is attempting to delay further implementation until more clarity can be shown but again, his party is in the minority in the Senate and that most likely won't happen. I suggest you forge ahead anticipating that law will hit full force in 2014 as now designed. Better to be ready than to scramble at the last minute. Most of us will be doing that anyway, I suspect.

House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, has issued a 70+ page talking points manual to all of the Democrat members to take back to their district to help clarify and "sell" the law. I have not seen this manual but recommend if you live in a district where you can obtain this information, I recommend you do so. If you live in a Republican district push your representative for more clarification on the points that are not clear to you.

I still contend, as I did in a recent SERVICES magazine article that this new health care law  can be an opportunity for BSCs. Companies who employ in house cleaning staff members may want to shed the body count to save money on the new law and with BSCs being in the labor business we can take over their cleaning and other facility services and relieve them of this employee burden. In the end they pay, whether the people are on their staff or ours so why not use your sales ability and convince them to contract out the services. Everybody wins. The BSC gets a new contract and the customer gets a better maintained facility.

We will continue to monitor the situation and report as warranted on pertinent information as it pertains to our industry.

Don't forget to join us in Omaha Nebraska on Saturday June 29 for a workshop on Selling Contract Cleaning Services in today's economy. When you leave you will also be given a complimentary copy of our book entitled, Selling Contract Cleaning Services. You can register at I really hope to see many of you there. It is a fun learning experience.

Till next time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual BSCAI Executive Seminar in Nashville, TN. Not only was it a great chance to see and meet many old collegues and make some new acquaintances, the content of the sesssions was outstanding. ]

The one session that really hit home was one conducted by Ruthann Laswick, President of Blue Water Consulting headquartered in Scottsdale Arizona on the new healthcare law being implemented. For purposes of this blog posting I will not try to spell out the entire title of the bill but rather just call it Obamacare as it is most commonly refered to as.

Several things were made perfectly clear to me in this session.

1. Ruthann is very knowledgable on this subject. I also learned many BSCAI members have used her consulting services to better understand what their responsibilities are on this new law and---many more will want and need to use her expertise.

2. It is a very complicated law and will affect all BSCs in some manner and if you haven't studied the subject and/or got professional advice, I recommend you do so ASAP.

3. That many people who thought with the passing of this bill, they would automatically get health care are going to be very disappointed. In reality, more people may be without healthcare after this law is implemented than at the present time. This is exactly what was not intended to happen.

One thing I was pleased to learn was that BSCAI and its team of consultants is building a toolkit that contractors can use to prepare, plan, react, and communicate regarding this healthcare reform legislation.

We were told that the reform toolkit includes:

Calculators---Members can determine the essentials, including company size as defined by the government, FTE employees, compliance with federal benefit laws, and penalties.

Checklist---This comprehensive checklisst will be based on company size and list the issues to consider related to healthcare reform legislation.

Compliance Tookkit---The toolkit will provide all necessary materials to be in complilance with PPACA and ERISA.

Webinar Series---BSCAI members will take a deep dive into topics critical to contractors and complliance.

Question and Answer "Hotline"---Members will be able to submit questions and receive personalized responses from BSCAI consultants.

Monthly E-newsletter---The newsletter will address hot topics, provide updates and link to resources and national stories related to healthcare reform.

Communication Templates---Members can use customizable templates for communicating with customers and employees related to changes made necessary by healthcare reform legislation.

Presentations--The lead consultant on topics related to healthcare reform, Ruthann Laswick, whom I referenced above, will give in-person presentation at BSCAI events such as the convention in Las Vegas in November.

I am told BSCAI will house all of this content and resources in the member section of the website. Members will be able to access these materials and additional resources, such as blogs and vendor websites.

All in all I think this will be a valuable benefit to BSCs. For those of you that are not members of BSCAI, this may be the time to investigate membership because Obamacare is probably one of the most important and confusing legislative issues that has affected our industry in a very long time. You cannot afford to get it wrong and the TIME IS NOW that you need to be right in the middle of documenting and implementing. You can get information at

Every day I hear people comment, both good and bad, mostly bad, about this important piece of healthcare legislation. Regardless of your political affiliation or opinion of the law, we will need to comply.

I personally see it as an opportunity for BSCs. If we will address the situation head on, I really believe we have the opportunity to begin providing services to current in house facilities. Many of them want to rid themselves of employees to ease compliance and cost issues etc. Since we are labor intensive we will have to address the issue and we should use it as a sales tool that we will relieve their burden and provide them quality service on a contract basis.

Let me again say I am extremely excited about the positive future the BSC faces. We should work hard at taking advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, particularly when it means we can possibly convert an in house operation to contract.

 Anyway, check out the toolkit we refer to above. It just might save you  lots of dollars and headaches AND provide new business opportunities.

Don't forget, we'll be in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday, June 29 to conduct a worshop on Selling Contract Cleaning Services. This will be a session based on techniques that have worked. We will show actual mailing we did, proposals we prepared etc. No theory, just stuff that has worked. You can register at Click on the events icon and then the sales seminar registration icon. Hope to see many of your there.

Till next time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


In my position as an advisor and consultant to the BSC industry, the one question I get asked most often, BY FAR, is "how can I increase my sales"? No other questions even comes close. And in recent years, with the United States economy in a slow growth or no growth state, the question comes even more frequently and many times with a sense of urgency. After 50 plus years in the business, I've made enough mistakes so I've learned a lot about what doesn't work and what does. I wish I had the dollars back for all the things I tried that did not work but I also reaped substantial rewards on those systems and processes that did work so I have no complaints.

At the risk of sounding to commercial, I want to alert you to a Successful Selling workshop we will be doing in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 29, 2013 conducted as a BSCAI regional seminar.  It will run from 8:45 AM until 12:30 PM.  Some of you may be aware that I wrote a book a few years ago entitled, Selling Contract Cleaning Services. That book will be used as a general outline for the workshop with the emphasis on the following topics,

1. Determining which accounts to pursue

2. Creating and maintaining a prospect list

3. Eight ways to go to market and which ones are most effective

4. Conducting an effective building walkthrough

5. Components of a successful sales proposal

6. How to close the sale

We'll be showing actual successful mailings that we did, an actual proposal, and forms that may be helpful in doing the walkthrough and computing the proposal price. These helped us a great deal and we will be sharing them in a way that attendees can begin a profitable sales process immediately upon returning home. Incidentally, BSCAI has graciously agreed to provide each attendee a copy of our book at the close of the workshop.

In addition, Jean Hanson, Co-founder of the Janitorial Store, will be providing a special session on social media selling. I have previewed this and she does an outstanding job on presenting the information. Jean is always a popular and effective presenter and this time is no exception.

Now, who from your company should attend such a workshop?

Professional BSC sales people who are interested in reaching those hard to see prospects. The techniques discussed in this workshop GET YOU IN THE DOOR.

Owners who double as a sales person and CEO. These processes will help you make the most effective use of your busy schedule. You talk only to those who can reasonably be expected to buy your service.

Operations people who are responsible for finding new customers in their area.

I have a lot of fun conducting these workshops and BSCAI has priced the half day get together very reasonable. It's even a better deal if you are a BSCAI member.  I encourage you to go to their web site at and complete your registration. They have indicated the registration information will be up on their site this week so if you don't find it immediately, check back the next day. I have talked with so many of you via the telephone or internet and hope that I finally get to meet some of you in person. It should be a fun half day learning experience.

So mark Omaha, Nebraska on your calendar for June 29. We'll both be glad you did.

By the way, don't forget to check out our FREE pod cast at This week Guy Hignite with Sprint is our special guest.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We hear a lot today about benchmarking. I can remember in the past going to conferences and having people ask me who I was benchmarking with and what we were benchmarking. The questions have subsided a bit but it is still a popular question.

Peer groups have helped a great deal in this area. I know I belonged to a peer group for over 20 years and it was a tremendous help in the benchmarking arena in that I had 5 other companies I could compare with on an ongoing basis. It is gratifying to see several other peer groups sprout up and I hope they are getting the benefit from them that I did. By the way, we should have a major announcement in the very near future regarding peer groups that will positively impact many companies. I will keep you posted.

Back to benchmarking. While comparing your numbers and processes against other companies in the industry, I think it is of vital importance that you benchmark against one major company---YOURS. Just think of what you can learn and improve on just by looking at some of the following items in your own organization,


---How are the sales this year compared to the same time last year?
---Why are sales up or down?
---What types of accounts did we lose and why?
---What types of accounts did we gain and why?
---How do the margins on various catergories of accounts compare to the margins at the same time last year?
---How has the size of our average sale changed since this time last year?
---How has our close ratio changed from last year at this time?
---How many appointments does it take to close a sales this year as opposed to this time last year?
---If we are telemarketing, how many calls does it take this year to get an appointment vs. last year at this time?
---Are we more successful in selling certain types of accounts this year vs. last year? If so why?
----Are there some different market segments this year we should be pursuing vs. last year?
---And the list goes on.

---How does labor compare this year to last?
---What are your top 10 profit accounts and how do they compare to last year?
---What are your 10 worst profit accounts and why? Do you need to decide on keeping them or canceling them?
---If your worst 10 accounts profit wise last year are still your 10 worst this year, why are you still doing them?
---What are your best supervisor territories and why?
---Who are your best supervisors and worst and why?
---What additional training do you need to do since last year?
---How are supplies running vs. last year?
---Are there new products that can reduce labor and supply cost?
---Are you scheduling all employees for focused retraining on new products and procedures?
---And the list goes on.

These are just some of the areas you can benchmark against yourself. There are more and as you delve into the ones listed above I am sure you will find more to analyze. It is also important to remember that it, more often than not, is easier and much less expensive to tweek existing accounts to produce more profit than it is to pursue new accounts. Now having said that, if you are not pursuing new accounts you will eventually find yourself out of business so it takes a balance of both to make for a successful business.

As I post this article we are just completing the first 4 months of the 2013 calendar year. This would be an ideal time to compare this year vs. last year, either the first 3 months or the first 4--take your pick, but DO IT. You can learn an enormous amount just by looking at and analyzing the numbers in your own company.

I worked hard at comparisons within my own organization, looking at budget comparisons, market changes, branch profitability changes etc. and it made us a much better company. If you will dedicate the time, your company will be the better for it.

You can change what happens in your own company. That is why I so strongly believe in benchmarking your own numbers etc. While it is nice to see what other companies are doing, you have to execute the  changes needed, the other companies won't do it for you.

I encourage you to take the time NOW to analyze what is really happening in your company, make the changes necessary, and reap the multitude of rewards you can gain from your efforts.

As always, we are interested in hearing your comments on what we write. Let us know through our web site at and listen to us each week at

Till next time.