Friday, October 25, 2013


This session I thought it would be best to update you on many of the excellent learning sessions that are upcoming within the next month. There are so many opportunities it can make ones head spin but at the same time these are important opportunities that we need to avail ourselves to in order to become more professional in this great industry we are earning our living. So let me try to cover a few of the opportunities. I am posting these schedules with the best information I have but recommend you go to the web sites to firm up times and locations. 


This is a a webinar originally scheduled for October 30 but due to a death in the co presenters family we have rescheduled to November 13. Registration has been excellent but the more the merrier. Go to to register or to  Hope to have you online with us. 









Consultants In Cleaning, LLC will have a table displaying all our new DVDs etc. Come by and visit with us and let us also know what subjects you want covered in future blogs as well as our tripodcasts at


I am confident I have left some important sessions out but again let me encourage you to go to the web sites listed above. There you will find all of the times, registration and hotel information as well as a myriad of other events that will be taking place in Las Vegas. Nowhere can you get so much information and education in one place in one week. I encourage you to take advantage of as much as you can and take the time to take in some of the evening entertainment as well. 

In the meantime be sure and listen to our Monday through Friday tripodcasts at to hear the speakers provide bullet points of the BSCAI peer to peer sessions they will be conducting on Thursday and Friday, the 21st and 22nd. I hope to see you in the city that never sleeps.

Till next time.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Well, here we are closing in on the end of another year. About 2 months remain for you to finalize your plans for 2014. So, how are you doing?

Let's look at some of the areas we should be concentrating on as we focus on the new year. 

1. Review each of our accounts to assure they are profitable and if not, what do we do about it. 

Have you done a complete retuning of each account? This entails analyzing the current hours budgeted, supply usage, labor rates, cleaning specifications etc. Do you need to adjust the hours? Have you found out through time that you can actually clean the building in less time than budgeted? Have you over or under budgeted for supplies? Do you need to bring the crew back in for a refresher training class on your system of cleaning? 

Our policy was to do an annual complete written review of each account to assure ourselves that we were doing the right things and assuring that all budgets were correct or changed if need be. We used a short 2 page worksheet that was completed by each area manager and then reviewed with me or the vice-president of operations for finalizing the account for the next year. This was a great exercise and frankly, quite an eye opener as to what was REALLY going on in the accounts. If you would like to have a copy of the 2 page form we used, just send me a message on the ASK DICK OLLEK section of our web By the way, part of the review process was a safety check in each building.

2. Review and adjust as needed your sales program for the upcoming year.

Does your sales program need to be changed? Do you have a systematic sales program? Here are a couple of things to look at.

---What types of accounts are your focusing on? 

---What types of accounts SHOULD you be focusing on?

---What is your systematic campaign for getting the prospects attention?

---what growth do you intend to experience next year?

In my book, "Selling Contract Cleaning Services 101" I outline the system to use to make sure you are focusing on the right accounts and then how to get their attention. You can preview the book on our web site The important thing to remember is to know which accounts you should be targeting and how you plan to go after them and then--STAY ON THE PLAN. 

3. Review each departments budget, i.e...Adminstration, Human Resources, Operations, Sales etc.

Are you being as efficient in each of these departments as you can be? Where are you buying what and is it the best system and supplier availiable? I was always amazed at how we just got into a comfort zone buying from suppliers without checking their prices etc. We like the sales representative because they bring us donuts every Friday. Remember, we are paying for those donuts someplace. As Zig Ziglar would say "There ain't no free lunch". 

After you have done your review  of each department it is very important to establish a budget for that department. If you haven't done it before, it can be gut wrenching the first year but gets much easier as the years go on. My guess is that you are wasting a bunch of money in these departments because it is always easier to focus on the labor in the accounts we service but there are dollars to be found in every department in the company. Think of where you buy your office supplies, where you have your vehicle repairs done, where you fill gas etc. You may be as efficient as possible but do you really know unless you do a double check?

There are many areas to review to find dollars before you focus on raising prices to your customers. Try following these suggestions to see if you are operating at peak efficiency. I know I got a surprise or two each year. It is a very enlightening procedure. 

The new year is rapidly approaching and I hope your current year has been profitable and rewarding and you plan on taking steps to dramatically improve in 2014. 

Don't forget to listen to our daily pod casts at The convention speakers are giving us bullet points on the sessions they will be conducting in Las Vegas. Let me also invite you to come by and see us at the BSCAI solutions pavillion on Thursday and Friday, November 21 and 22 at the Bellagio hotel. We always enjoy visiting with industry professionals. We also will be introducing about 5 or 6 new DVD's this year. Look forward to seeing you there. 

Till next time. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


As you know most of us spend a considerable amount in dollars and energy securing an opportunity to present a proposal to a prospective customer. With that being the case, it is critical that we prepare the proposal in such a way that we convince the buyer that we are the company they should choose to be their service provider.

So what is your success ratio? Are you putting thought into how you will present your company or are you just offering a "bid" number for them to look at?

Before I talk about what information that should be included in the proposal, I want to discuss the  difference between bidding the job and offering a proposal. Have you ever asked a prospect "When do you go out for bid" or "can we get on your bidders list" or "next time you go out for bid, can we have a shot at the business"?

When you ask questions like those above what you have done is put your company in the business of selling a commodity. What you are in effect saying is you are like all the other "bidders" and you want to bid to see if you can go lower. What, you say, I am better than the competition. Really? Then why are you bidding the work instead of offering proposals for providing the facility with the services required by your prospect? I don't want to sound negative in this blog posting but our industry complains about how our customers are always price shopping and yet we will ask them to "bid" their work. We do it to ourselves, don't we. Bidding implies a commodity, proposals imply just what they say, a proposal of how we convince the prospect that we are the best choice to provide their service.

The difference between bidding and proposing has long been a passion of mine and I talk about it to my clients every day.

To talk about it to everyone that has an interest, I have joined forces with The Janitorial Store to present A ONE HOUR WEBINAR ON WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 30 ENTITLED, THE COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL SALES PROPOSAL. The main topics we will cover in this fast moving, jam packed hour will be,

----10 things to include in your proposal

----In what order do you place them

----Where do you talk about price

----What to say when they say "just drop it off"

----Why not to include references

You can register by going to or on our web site where we will redirect you to the registration blank on their site.

The good news is that if you are a Janitorial Store member the webinar is free. If you are not a member there is a small registration fee of only $27. May just be the best investment you will make in a while.

Even if you are a long time pro and are satisfied with the way you present your proposal, this one hour webinar may jog your memory on some improvements you may be able to make. Just a thought.

Remember, the proposal is your best opportunity to "close the deal" and you want it to tell your story in a professional way. Maybe this webinar will give you that one idea that you can include in future proposals that will bring you more sales.

Hope to talk with you on the 30th. Register today, we'll both be glad you did.

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Have you ever been asked by a customer to do something not in the normal realm of services you normally provide? I'm thinking here of something like,

---Trash service

---Lawn care

---Pest control

---Parking lot sweeping/striping

---Window cleaning

---Snow clearing

---Handyman services

---Rental of break room machines---microwave, coffee makers etc.

---Temporary help

---Factory machine operators

And the list goes on. What was your answer? Did you say "We can do that" or was your answer the one so many companies give--"We don't do that".

More and more BSCs are finding tremendous opportunities in providing as many services as possible for their customers. Those that don't, eventually get replaced by a contractor who said "We can do that". In fact, many contractors are purposely becoming full facility service providers. As a consultant, I am advising most all of my clients to explore the opportunities available. In fact, several of my clients have or are in the process of changing their names to incorporate facility services in their name, i. e...ABC janitorial service becomes ABC Facility Services.

No, you don't have to become the expert in all of these areas. Just do some research and align yourself with key reliable providers in these services and then sub contract them to those providers. You negotiate a discount from the provider.

The key benefit to your customer is the tremendous savings they experience in their "soft costs". Their overall monthly invoice won't probably be reduced but you are saving them money in other areas. Here are some of the real benefits to your customer,

---They make one phone call to you and you handle all the services

---They cut one check each month for all the services.

---They save enormous time in negotiating contracts with numerous vendors.

---Can you think of some others?

Think about the time they save in making one phone call and even more important, just including the services I mentioned at the beginning could mean they have to negotiate with 6 or 7 different vendors to get the services they need.

And what about the cost of writing checks. Most administrative managers will tell you it costs them between $75 and $150 to cut a vendor check so you can save them  hundreds of dollars each month in that area alone.

Now let's talk about the benefits to you. Do you realize how difficult it is for a customer to replace you if you are providing them with 6 or 8 different services. That means if you miss dumping a trash can, it all of a sudden isn't such a "big deal" if they begin thinking about all the other services you provide.

As an example, I had one major customer for over 20 years that started out as a janitorial service customer only. As the years went on we added the following services,

---Lawn mowing for 40 acres of ground

---Parking lot sweeping

---Parking lot striping

---Snow clearing from all of their parking lots

---Flower planting and maintaining in and around the main office bldg.

---Concrete coating of their factory floors

---Rental mat service (and they provided the area to clean them)

---Power scrubbing of all concrete aisles daily

---Cleaning debris from their roofs and gutters 4 times yearly

---Factory machinery and rafter cleaning during their annual shutdown

We became a pretty difficult vendor to replace. You can see that missing a trash can once in a while wasn't nearly so important as it would have been had we provided only the nightly janitorial service.

Now, some of these services we provided may seem a bit off the wall but you get the point---BECOME A FULL SERVICE PROVIDER WITH AS MANY SERVICES AS YOU CAN TO AS MANY CUSTOMERS AS YOU CAN. Your profits increase and you become much more secure with that particular account. I suspect one of the reasons we had the account for over 20 years was that when our competitors attempted to secure the business they were not equipped to provide all of these services or they were one of those customers that said "we don't do that".

It takes some learning and some educating of your own staff to become a facility service provider and not just a janitorial service. I know we struggled getting our managers to embrace the concept but once they began to reap the bonus monthly from the proiftability in their area, it became much easier for them to promote full service to their customers.

I realize for some of you larger customers, the information in this blog may be old news but we may just have spurred an idea of a new service you can provide and for you smaller, maybe newer, companies it is certainly something to consider.

So, think about the additional revenue and profits that are available to you in circling your customers with additional services. Maybe even more important in the grand scheme of things, think about the increased stability you get from providing more services which makes it very difficult for you to be replaced.

As a reminder, next week Monday, the 14th, we begin our daily pod casts leading up to the BSCAI and ISSA conventions in Las Vegas. Be sure and tune in to and hear contractors, vendors and convention speakers talk about what you can expect this year. Remember the dates, November 18-22.  You can register at or

Till next time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


In this session I want to talk about what I consider to be the best opportunity for anyone associated with the cleaning industry to learn more about this great profession.

Next month in Las Vegas, NV. you have the opportunity to attend both the ISSA and BSCAI conventions. The ISSA trade show runs from November 19-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the BSCAI part is from the 20th through the 22nd with some events at the convention center and the peer to peer sessions taking place at the Bellagio hotel on November 21 and 22. Check them out at and Both web sites have complete information on the countless educational opportunities available as well as all the companies that will be there offering the latest in new products, equipment and services.

I know, I know, this sounds like a commercial for these two organizations but there is no other place under the sun where you can gain as much knowledge and interact with industry professionals. I have been attending one or both of these conventions since the early 70's and each year I learn something new and meet someone new that adds to my knowledge of this great industry. I always look forward to attending and especially these days.

Think of all the changes taking place in our industry---internet proposals, paperless proposals, biometric clocking in and out of our employees time, robotic floor maintenance equipment, on the go training with pod casts, mp3 players, youtube learning, group purchasing power no matter what size your company is and the list goes on and on. This is great "stuff". I remember back in 1970 I was trying to learn how to use a pager. Now look how we communicate. We are no longer the mop and bucket brigade. We are professional business people gaining respect and stature in the buisness community. Attending these two events will almost assurdedly provide you with many ideas of how to professionalize your company even more.

I have had the opportunity to interview nearly all the speakers for the BSCAI peer to peer sessions on Thursday and Friday, November 21 and 22 and the sessions they will be presenting are truly outstanding.

Beginning October 14 and continuing through November 8 we will be providing DAILY pod casts beginning with 2 contractors telling of their convention experiences and then featuring one of the speakers each day giving us bullet points of what their session will be about. I even get to tell about my session on Recruiting and Keeping great hourly employees that will be on Thursday the 21st. (How's that for a commercial?).  All of these daily pod casts can be heard at All of the pod casts are free and if you want, you can sign up to receive an e-mail each time one is posted. This is our  4th year of providing these informational convention pod casts and the audience grows dramatically each year and we have fun doing them.

So let me encourage you to take advantage of this learning opportunity. It will be the best week of your life to learn more about what you do to provide a clean and healthly environment for the public and how to do it even better.

I will also have a table at the BSCAI solutions pavillion on November 21 and 22. Come by, say hello and let us know what subjects you would like to hear more about, both in this blog and on our weekly tripodcasts.

I look forward to seeing my old friends and making new ones in this jam packed learning week. Take advantage of the opportunity now. Go to the web sites above and get registered. See you there.

Till next time.