Monday, December 8, 2014


It is getting toward the end of the year and I thought I would share with you some of the reasons I have heard for BSC's not joining the association(s). 

1. I've been in the business for 35 years and am a seasoned pro in this business so why do I need to spend time and money? 

2. What can I really learn? This business is all about price anyway. All the customer wants is the lowest price?

3. My Dad started the business back in the 60's and he got along without it. We have grown to $500,000 a year in volume in only 50 years.

4. I'm not going to go and let other people learn my secrets. 

5. It costs to much. I have to pay dues and then I have the expense of going to meetings and attending the annual trade show and conventions. I can do well on my own. 

Well, there you have 5 reasons I have heard in the recent past. You will notice in the title of this blog, I didn't say GOOD reasons, I just said reasons. More like excuses if you ask me. Let's look at these reasons and see if they are something we can all agree on.

1. I had a question for the man who told me this one. I asked, "Do you really have 35 years of experience or do you have one year of experience 34 times over. He looked at me strangely and asked to explain which I did. If you don't involve yourself with the industry and attend trade shows and conventions, how do you know what has happened that can assist you in doing the job faster and more profitable. Each year NEW "stuff" comes to the show that helps increase productivity. 

2. So the business is all about price? Who makes it that way? We BSC's. Buyers are always telling me that they get calls from contractors saying whatever you are paying, I can do it cheaper. With friends like that in the industry we don't need any enemies. 
We need to understand we are in the business of providing PROPOSALS FOR FACILITY SERVICES, not bids for cleaning. It is up to us to prepare a complete proposal for the prospect on what we can provide and how we will manage the service. If all we want to do is give them a price we have put ourselves in selling of a commodity and then you just as well get a fancy napkin, a nice ink pen and print a price on the napkin and give it to the prospect. 

3. Your dad was a smart man for getting into the business because it takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to start a business and STAY in business. If you are happy with a half million dollar business after 50 years, go for it, but maybe, just maybe, the reason you haven't grown is because you are not associating with people that can help you build you business. I was in the business 50 years ago and it doesn't resemble what the business is today---thank goodness. 
Going to the annual trade show and the peer to peer learning sessions can and does provide you with a mountain of information to grow your business profitably. There are things now like software for pricing, paperless proposals etc., if you choose to provide the information to your prospect via internet. Inspection software is available from a myriad of companies.  NONE OF THIS WAS AVAILABLE 50 YEARS AGO, or 20 years ago for that matter.

4.  So you don't want anyone to learn your trade secrets? Here's a real shocker. If you haven't been involved in a trade association for years, you don't have any trade secrets. It might be a good idea to attend a convention and listen to the other people's "trade secrets". 

5. It costs to much, huh? I prefer to call it an investment in the future success of my business. I know this is an old statement but one idea from a fellow BSC can pay your dues over and over. For example, one year I listened to a successful BSC explain how to properly classify your employees for workers compensation premium basis and I realized I had been doing it wrong and costing myself thousands of dollars each year. After that year, the dues and registration fees no longer became an expense because my annual premium savings far exceeded the dollars I was spending for those items.

Well, there you have 5 reasons not to join your association(s). Not good reasons, but reasons. There you also have, in the limited space available in this blog, some rebuttals to the reasons given. 

So if you are a member and the dues statement comes in the mail, take a few moments to consider the people you have learned to know and the lessons you have learned that have helped your business. If you aren't a member, maybe you should consider the value that your company can derive. 

This blog is number 131 in our series that started in 2012. I hope you have found some or all of them helpful. This is our last one for 2014 but look for us to post again early in 2015. 

By the way, we have 2 sales workshops coming up in 2015 and also, we are available to do 1 and 2 day workshops in individual companies next year as well. A new training DVD will also debut in January so watch for that. All of the information can be found at

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Till next year.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


How about it, have you scheduled your training for 2015? I mean a REAL calendar which includes training for top management, administrative staff, sales staff, operations management as well as site supervisors and cleaning technicians. 

Let's start with the cleaning techs and site supervisors. What are you doing to be assured they are up to date with the latest information and products you are using? You have heard me talk many times about the need to have a refresher course for all people responsible for the actual cleaning of the customer facilities. Your site supervisors and cleaning techs are your representatives at night in the field. 

 We are all human and get into bad habits when performing a task that many times is the same task every day in the same environment. Most of us don't mean too, we just do. We need for everyone to have a refresher class on what our company cleaning procedures are. And no, just having someone go over it out in the field in a hurry doesn't suffice which brings me again to my opposition of training in the field with an experienced worker. 

How do we know the experienced worker hasn't got into bad habits as well? They too may not mean to, but just do. On the other hand, some of them may have tried to develop shortcuts in our service delivery and if it is a great idea that doesn't short change the customer, shouldn't we all be privy to the information? I rest my case for having a systematic, organized, printed initial training program with scheduled follow up. 

What about the administrative staff? Are they up to date on the latest in invoicing, financial statement preparation, and collection procedures. As I attend the annual industry trade show each year I see more and more outstanding administrative software packages. Are you exploring the opportunities available? This is the education side of keeping up in the industry. 

What about the sales staff? Are you giving them REAL sales training in our industry? Do you have a systematic sales program established for 2015 and beyond? There is no better time than right now to get organized if you haven't done so. (Commercial: check our web site for upcoming sales workshops in

Now, look at the 2015 calendar that BSCAI and ISSA have for training and education of mid level and upper level management. Both associations are working hard at providing information that can be used NOW. 

Many organizations, including ours, provide ongoing training in a variety of subjects. In fact, at Consultants In Cleaning, LLC, our 2015 calendar will also include day long training workshops for both Human Resource staff and Supervisors of a BSC company. 

Be sure to schedule your distributor and manufacturer for technical training sessions. Most do a tremendous job for that is what they are trained to do--teach the end user how to use their products. Many distributors are now providing a service where you can lease a tablet and download instant training subjects while in the field. This is a great step forward in getting useful information immediately to where it is needed most.

So, how about it? Do you have a full education and training calendar for next year. Your growth of new customers and RETENTION of existing customers just might depend on it.

Till next time.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Well, here we are at Thanksgiving week 2014. Another year has almost gone and this week is a time for us to pause and THANK those employees, customers, and vendors who make our business a success. Have you done that?

I also want to take this time to say THANK YOU to our many regular clients who trust us to help them along their way to success. Watching them progress with double digit sales AND profit increases is so satisfying to us. It's what makes us continue on our journey in this exciting industry.

Let me also say THANK YOU to the thousands of people who have purchased our books and DVDs and employed us to conduct workshops at their place of business. All of this has contributed to us having our best year in the consulting assistance business and the rest of the years haven't been at all bad. So, THANK YOU again. 

Speaking of workshops. After a several year hiatus, we are going back "on the road" in 2015. We will be doing a workshop entitled Selling Contract Cleaning Services in March in Orlando Florida and in July in St. Louis, Missouri. This is in response to many people wanting us to discuss in person the details outlined in our book of the same name as well as to update our information on Social Media Selling. We are really looking forward to these two events.

You can register for these events by going to our web site at and clicking on the front page where it talks about the workshops. On the registration page you will see the topics we will be discussing in this jam packed day. We have just finished preparing the information and I am excited to share it with you in Orlando and St. Louis.

In addition, we will have our books and DVDs available at both locations offered at friendly discounted prices. 

A lot of people have contributed to our best year ever and we are very gratified. Let me ask the question again. Have you THANKED those employees, customers, and vendors that contribute to your success?

Can't think of a better time to do it---and keep doin' it. By the way, you can sign up on our home page on the left side to receive notices of special promotions and new products. Hope you will join us. Exciting things are in the works.

Let me also take this time to say THANK YOU to the people serving us in the military around the world. Many of them will not be with family and friends on Thanksgiving and what they do to protect us is worth so much more than they receive. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

Hope your holiday is wonderful and safe. Till next time. 

Monday, November 10, 2014


Well, another ISSA trade show and BSCAI convention has come and gone, this year in Orlando. Next year both events visit Las Vegas.

Lots of new stuff was on display including new robotic cleaning equipment and countless new technology advancements in managing a BSC business. Each year it gets better and better and each year I realize how much I don't know about the technology that is available to help us manage more effectively. 

What I really learned in Orlando was some things never change. In attending the round tables I found people are still wanting to know,

How to I find people that will stay with me? 

Where are the people that I need?

How do I train the people once I have them on board?

What kind of training do I need to do and who should do it?

What can I do to cut down on the high turnover?

Where do I find someone who can sell more business for me?

How do I manage a sales person(s)?

What should I pay a sales person--salary, commission, salary +?

I can't do it all, how do I organize my company?

And the list went on and on. Sound like anything that is happening in your company?

My advice is to tackle one thing at a time. Our last blog discussed what needs to be done as you enter the new year but it is important to remind everyone to address issues that you can solve and get help with those that hold back your progress. 

Whenever I meet with clients for the first time, I start by dividing our sessions into four distinct parts which are, and in the order I have them here. 

Sales--Remember the old saying--"Nothing happens until somebody sells something". It's true isn't it? Without some sales you don't have a company. So how are you going about it? It is critical that you have an organized system for bringing in business that doesn't require the owners time every minute of the day.  Some of you may recall I wrote a book on this subject and will be doing 2 workshops in 2015 addressing selling in our industry. (Commercial: you can register on our home page for one of these

Human Resources--Once the sales are brought in the door, HR has to  recruit and hire the people to perform the work. This area most often seems the most neglected and really should be considered one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. Some of you may recall I wrote a book on this as well on how to find, train, and keep GREAT employees. The old methods still work.

Operations--This is where the work has to be done that was sold WITHIN BUDGET. Most operations people tell me that's impossible. Not if everyone is working together in compiling the proposal (not bid). Here is the area that creates the turnover if it isn't organized and systematized. The management part of operations is where we have focused our DVD production as we feel that the distributor and manufacturer have the capabilities to provide the function of teaching the technical part of how to clean. 

ADMINISTRATION--This group has the responsibility to provide the support to payroll, financial statements, workers compensation claims, insurance purchases etc. Obviously, there is much more than I have listed but there are several accounting packages on the BSC market that can help in this arena.

So there we have it. Four distinct departments of a Building Service Contracting firm. Yes some items overlap, especially in the early days but the earlier you begin establishing the different departments properly the easier it will be as you continue your growth. Believe me, it is much easier to do when your company is smaller. 

Orlando was a great convention but I also heard people lamenting over problems that the old timers had 50+ years ago. Technology places a tremendous role in our business today but the job is still done by PEOPLE and how are you working and communicating will you biggest asset. All the technology in the world won't help if you don't have good help and if you don't understand how each generation functions and how you need to communicate with them.

I hope you will start planning to attend next year's event in Las Vegas in October. In the meantime, focus on the four areas above. If you need help just click on the icon "ask Dick Ollek". Maybe we can help. 

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


This is generally the time of year that I hear from contractors that they just don't have the time or money to attend the annual BSCAI/ISSA annual convention, this year being held in Orlando, Fl., November 4-8. That is when I begin my speech on why you they need to go. 

Why am I asking them (and you) to spend time away from your business and invest money that is so hard to come by, especially in the early years of trying to establish a credible company? Let me give you a few reasons why you should join if you haven't and go, if you weren't planning on it.

1. You get to meet other contractors from all parts of the country and the world. You find out that you are not alone in the problems you have and by talking with others you find out how they handled those problems in their company which may help you when you get home. I found BSCAI members are more than willing to share information and it helped me immensely in growing my business profitably.

2. You will find out that there are a lot of things you are doing RIGHT and that you're not so bad after all. You'll go back to your hotel room at night telling yourself,  "I need a lot of help but I'm doing some things pretty darn good".

3. By joining the association (if you haven't already), you can become involved in various committees to learn about different phases of the industry. This can be extremely valuable in furthering your education. Not only that, but you find yourself making lifelong friends that are an outstanding resource for knowledge.

4. As time goes by you may even find yourself wanting to get involved in becoming an officer and eventually president of BSCAI. I had the privilege of spending several years as a board member, officer, and eventually President of BSCAI and I can tell you this was, by far, the greatest learning experience in my business career. I not only learned about my industry, I learned a lot about people. By the way, if you want to talk further about becoming involved in the association and what it did for me, come by my CONSULTANTS IN CLEANING, LLC table on Friday or Saturday (or both) and I'll be happy to talk with you about the benefits.

5. The annual convention is not the only event. You have the opportunity to attend other scheduled events during the year that provide even more opportunity to expand your circle of friends and expert resource people to draw knowledge from as the need arises. These events were invaluable in my business career for not only having resources to draw on but for developing wonderful friendships. 

6. The annual ISSA trade show (this year in Orlando) provides you the opportunity to visit with manufacturers and see firsthand what products and equipment they have that can reduce your costs and increase your profits. Here is also the opportunity to see what is NEW that can enhance your expertise. 

With the rapid changes in the way we do business today it is critical that we constantly keep up to date with our industry. 

This year there will be an array of new technology to see along with robotic equipment and the list goes on. Just this week I attended a webinar on a new software package for managing a BSC company. Impressive. 

All it takes is ONE IDEA for you to take home and implement and your time will have been paid for. With the expansion of roundtable sessions this year the opportunity is even greater than it has been in the past. 

Take the time to learn and become a better professional at what you do. You will benefit, the industry will benefit, and maybe most importantly, your customers will benefit from the added expertise you have acquired. 

By the way, tune in each day leading up to the convention, to 
where I interview the various speakers for this year's convention and have them provide bullet points on the presentations they will be making. Really some interesting speakers this year.

See you in Orlando in a couple of weeks?

Till next time.   

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


A Building Service Contractor asked me the other day what constitutes an effective recruitment ad to place on ZipRecruiter, Craig's list or in the local newspaper. A great question and after some more probing we determined what the best ad might be for his situation at the time. 

It has always been my objective in writing employment ads to use the opportunity to do some marketing as well as let potential employees know that we are an excellent place to work. Sometimes I would add in some wording to confuse my competitors. 

First let me suggest you spend the money and do the ad right. Many companies will spend thousands of dollars securing a new customer and then tell HR to keep costs down in recruiting the staff to service the new customer. Didn't you sell to the customer how great your employees were? If so, shouldn't you spend the time and money necessary to find the best people?

First, we generally ran ads that said something like 25 IMMEDIATE OPENINGS. Now for those of you that say you only have 5 openings now, my questions is, do you have 20 people you would like to get rid of if the right applicants came in the door? If your answer is yes, you have 25 immediate openings. Use whatever number you wish but here is another reason I put a number of immediate openings. 

Many of the people we employ don't have the greatest confidence and /or self esteem. If they look at an ad that says "we need an employee to work from 6-10 PM Monday through Friday", that will probably say something like "there is no use me going for that job because it will probably be filled by the time I get there. But if you use a number like 10 or 20 etc., they may look at that and say, "I can get one of those 20 jobs, and a person, who otherwise might not apply, could quite possibly become a valued employee of your company. 

Sometimes we also ran ads that had as their heading BUSINESS IS BOOMING. People like working for a successful company and this lets everyone know you are a stable organization. By the way, one side benefit of running an ad with this heading is your competitors will wonder what is going on at your company. They will try to figure out which new account you got and then check their accounts to see if they are in trouble anywhere. It's fun to do. Keeps them on their toes. 

While recruiting new staff members can be very discouraging at times it can also be a lot of fun. Put some excitement in your recruiting and it may even change YOUR attitude about finding those badly needed great employees. 

For more on the subject you can get our book--FINDING, TRAINING, AND KEEPING GREAT SERVICE EMPLOYEES. It's available at 

Don't forget to listen to our daily pod casts highlighting the BSCAI convention speakers. You can hear them at

We are really looking forward to the convention in November in Orlando. I hope all of you are planning to attend. It represents the second best learning opportunity for our industry. 

Till next time. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Hopefully by now you have registered for the upcoming BSCAI convention held in conjunction with the ISSA trade show in Orlando, Florida. This event held each year can be the most important time you spend in your business. With about 700 exhibitors, 15,000+ attendees along with over 20 hours of peer led sessions at the BSCAI educational portion, the learning that can take place is tremendous. This will be my 45th convention.

So why did I title this blog post, Are you listening? A simple answer is that we are providing daily pod casts to give you an opportunity to hear most of the speakers at the BSCAI portion give an overview of the session they will be presenting. This year several new speakers are presenting on several new subjects so it should be an exciting time. 

So, if you are not listening, here is the link for you to get the While on the sight you can sign up to receive an e-mail each time a pod cast is posted. This is the easiest way to not forget to listen to any of them. By the way, when you sign up you will NOT receive any advertisements from anyone. You receive only the e-mail letting you know their is a pod cast posted. 

Today, Tuesday, the 7th, the pod cast features Steve Shuchat from Sydney Ohio discussing the Bidding and Estimating Seminar that he and several other BSC professionals will be conducting on Wednesday, November 5. Each year this is one of the most, if not the most attended sessions at the convention. Listen to Steve discuss the agenda. 

Another benefit of listening to the tripodcasts is when you register for the BSCAI convention, whether a member or not, you get the early bird register rate just for being a tripodcast listener. All you need to do when registering is enter the code TSD in the promo box and the fee will automatically appear at the reduced rate. Saves you $100. A hundred here and a hundred there and pretty soon you are talking big money. 

Be sure to get your hotel reservations secured as soon as possible as the rooms go fast. There are several great hotels in the area close to where all the functions are and shuttle buses run every few minutes from many of the hotels. 

So, will you be joining me and other BSC professionals in Orlando? I hope so because we all become better professionals with the valuable information we gather. 

Let me encourage you to come my the Consultants In Cleaning, LLC table on Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8 at the Hilton. No, you don't need to buy something and there won't be any pressure. Just come by and say hi. We truly enjoy visiting with other professionals in our great industry. 

Hope to see you there. Till next time and don't forget to listen to our daily pod casts---www,


Monday, September 29, 2014


We are excited to announce that Tripod is back on the air as of Monday, September 29, 2014. 

From then until BSCAI/ISSA convention time we will have a pod cast every Monday through Friday. All you need to do is go to


and you will hear today's pod cast AND YOU CAN SIGN UP TO RECEIVE AN E-MAIL EVERY TIME WE POST A NEW ONE  which is 5 days per week until convention time. 

Monday's was a visit with Paul Greenland the BSCAI convention co chair this year. You will want to hear what he has to say. 

Tuesday is Claudia St. John who is one of the BSCAI Infinity partners as she talks about a new sharing session that will be conducted at the convention this year.  Don't miss this interview. 

Hope to see as many people as possible at the convention in Orlando.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I probably have heard a gazillion (that's a lot) times from Building Service Contractors something like, " I have this new project and don't have anyone capable to manage it or "I am afraid to grow right now because I don't have anyone to supervise the projects if I do make the sales". Sound at all familiar? So my question, as it is to those who I talk to in person, "What are you doing to develop the future leaders in your company"?

I remember several years ago my company was a finalist in a large project that encompassed several buildings in a campus type setting. In addition to making a 2 hour formal presentation we were asked to schedule another appointment with the selection committee so they could interview the project manager we would be putting in charge of their account. That part of the process didn't go so well. In fact, it went terrible. The person we took to the interview was a very nice individual but he was not ready for a project of this magnitude, but he was all we had at the time and had been with me for several years supervising smaller projects. I was embarrassed. Our employee didn't fare well in the interview but whose fault was that---MINE? He did his best, I just hadn't been doing my best to help him succeed which in turn provided success for our company.

Afterward as I analyzed the meeting, it became very apparent to me that I was not providing the opportunity for my people to grow and if I wanted to grow my company, I needed to grow my people and so the company quarterly supervisors/managers training and education workshops were created. Every account supervisor AND their assistant was invited to these important growth workshops. They were held on a Saturday, included a lunch, and usually held on the university campus continuing education center so we could create an atmosphere of advanced learning. Worked very well for us.

You'll notice above I said AND their assistant because we wanted to involve as many people in the growth equation as possible. This also gave us an opportunity to evaluate the second in command so we had some candidates for future new account leadership. I found I had to take the lead in getting the second in command to these meetings as the supervisors didn't necessarily want them there for fear I would want them to lead another building and then they would have to train a new assistant but the whole reason for having them there was to develop talent in the organization so our sales staff could sell with confidence.

We had a great time in these meetings. Variety was the order of the day. We had supervisors teaching various aspects of cleaning, our distributors teach carpet spotting procedures, our insurance agent providing workers compensation safety information, even management teachers from the local university. I miss those meetings. It was something I always looked forward to. After all, what can be more exciting than spending a day with the people that work hard to earn a living for their family---AND MINE. 

As I write this we are just starting the 4th calendar quarter of 2014. Let me suggest that some sort of management development program be created for your company in 2015. It is amazing how many good people you may have in your organization able to take on more responsibility after some additional training. They just haven't been identified. So, identify them. If you want some ideas on how to put it together just contact me and I'll be happy to suggest some ideas. Just hit the " ask a question" icon on our web site at

Start today to grow your people. Your future growth depends on it. 

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Have you got a person on your staff responsible for visiting the customers and making sure they are happy with the quality of service you are providing? Someone has to take care of customer relations, right? I am reminded of a statement I heard Tom Peters make several years ago that really stuck with me and has so much merit. He said, "If you have to have a customer relations department or customer relations person in your organization,what are the rest of the people in your company doing? Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Shouldn't we all be focused on positive customer relations?

That brings us to the point of defining customer relations. What is your definition? Most people have a difficult time creating an accurate definition of customer relations. Let me give you the one I ascribe to and see if it doesn't cover the subject,


Think about that. It's a really broad definition, isn't it? It has to be if we really want to be honest about the subject. Here's a great exercise for you and your staff to do at your next get together. Have everyone make a list of those things that would be included in the definition given above. If you have a several people, have them work in groups of 3 or 4 and then have them report back to the entire group with their list. It's a fun exercise, engages the group and makes for a great learning experience. 

Generally when we do this exercise the people focus on the cleaning aspect of making sure the customer is happy with our service. But it goes much deeper than that. Let me list some other things many companies need to address in their training with employees to help assure positive customer relations. These items, while not directly associated with cleaning the facility, affect the customers perception of our company.

1. Having clean (inside and out) and sharply lettered vehicles.

2. Making sure our employees are in nice and clean uniforms at all times.

3. Training our employees in what to say and not to say to a customer and how to say it in a positive, helpful way.

4. Having a friendly, HELPFUL, voice answering the phone when the customer calls and not letting them get hung up in the standard punch 1 for this, punch 2 for this etc. 

5. Creating a "we can do that" culture in your company rather than telling a customer when they request extra service that "we don't do that" or "it's not in the specs".

6. Having neat and clean janitor's closets, no mop buckets with dirty water, no brutes with trash in them etc. Remember, our job is to keep things clean and that includes our own closet.

7. Having a training program so we send people to the job knowing what to do so when the customer sees them working they form a favorable impression. 

8. Doing the things necessary to reduce turnover so the customer isn't always seeing a new face. How many of you have lost an account because the customer said they didn't like seeing someone new all of the time?

And the list could go on and on. 

Another fun exercise is to have everyone list a place where they had poor service and then have them tell whether the problem was resolved, whether they went back, and if they told others about the experience. This one really engages the group. 

See, our business is no different. Customers tell other people if they are happy or unhappy with the service we provide. It stands to reason we should do everything we can to assure they are treated as the really important people that they are.

Customer relations is a very important part of our company and isn't solved by just putting someone out in the field to visit the customer now and then. It needs to involve EVERYONE in the organization. Let me encourage you to do the exercises I eluded to above and see how your company stacks up. See what your employees think customer relations is. 

If we can help let us know. We have a DVD in English and in Spanish entitled "CUSTOMER RELATIONS TRAINING FOR SUPERVISORS AND CLEANING TECHS". It's available on our web site at    
Just click on the DVD icon and you'll see it. 

See you in Orlando at the convention. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Well, here we are with almost 3/4 of 2014 gone which is a great time to take stock of where we are in our goal progress. Have you checked it lately?

It's time to check,

SALES--Are you three quarters of the way to your goal for the year. Maybe more importantly are you focusing on the accounts you said at the beginning of the year were going to be your focus this year. If you didn't set these goals let me suggest now is a good time to start making your plans for 2015. Remember to look at,


And the list goes on  but you must start somewhere.

Also look at 2014 and see which markets you thought would be good and didn't turn out that way. Was it how we approached them or did we get some of them as customers and they aren't as good as we thought? Now is the time to refocus if you need to.

OPERATIONS--Have you done a retuning of all of your accounts to make sure they are running as profitable as possible. If you need a nudge and want a worksheet to help you do the process you can go to our web site to download some free worksheets that can guide you. That is

Just click on the worksheets icon and scroll down and you'll find worksheets for retuning. Sometimes we find more money in our current operation than if we sold some new accounts. Having said that I don't suggest you stop selling and do only this. You need both to create a successful company. 

ADMINISTRATION--Sometimes we forget about retuning this important part of our company. Have you streamlined your payroll operation, developed a single source for office supplies and related items? Is your staffing correct for the amount of revenue you are generating? These are all important questions to constantly be asking. How you doing in this area?

So, there you have a few of my suggestions. I could go on and on but blogs are supposed to be short and to the point and I am working hard to make them that way which for me is a difficult endeavor. 

By the way, don't forget to register for the ISSA/BSCAI tradeshow and convention in Orlando in November. Should be a great week. Take in what your schedule will permit. You'll be glad you did.

Till next time.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Well, here we go again. In many parts of the country school has or is about to begin. Many other states will begin shortly after Labor day in September. All of this means that for our children and grandchildren it is back to work becoming more learned and gaining more knowledge in a variety of subjects.

So let me ask you. As a professional business leader, what are you doing to learn more about this great industry? What parts of your business are you committing to becoming more skilled? You have heard me say and write many times that if you will spend 20 minutes a day learning more about what it is you do in your business life, within 5 years you will be considered one of the experts in the industry. My guess is that we could all find 20 minutes a day to devote to becoming better at what we do if we really made the effort. 

In this age of instant information it becomes pretty easy to learn more about different aspects of our industry. Think of some of the ways,

--There are several publications that come out every month or every other month devoted specifically to our industry such as SERVICES, CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT, ISSA TODAY and on the internet, CLEANING BUSINESS TODAY.  Each of these publications have articles on a variety of subjects to help us. In addition, you can sign up to receive daily or weekly e-mails from various companies on things happening in the industry. I get several a week and they help keep me abreast of what is going on. In addition, Linkedin has numerous groups you can sign up for and have ongoing discussions with other industry professionals. I know I learn a lot from the 12 or 13 groups I am linked to. Then, of course, there are the numerous other social media outlets you can subscribe too as well.

--Many companies now offer webinars on specific subjects that you can register for, many of them at no charge, and usually only an hour in length. There is 3 times the 20 minutes a day to set aside to learn more. NO, that doesn't mean you can skip 2 days, it just means you become even more knowledgeable.

--In a couple of months we will have the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to spend a week or part of a week at the ISSA trade show and/or the BSCAI convention. These are jam packed days where thousands of industry leaders can learn an awful lot in a small amount of time. Have you registered? If not, let me suggest you go right now to and get signed up. That site will also direct you to the hotel site for your lodging needs. 

I would be remiss if I didn't alert you to our own company which has  new videos just released on Training Supervisors and Discipline Training for BSCs.  In addition, we will be introducing some new ones in Orlando. We will also be introducing some exciting new ideas for 2015 at the convention so we really hope to visit with as many of you as we can in November in Orlando. Just in case you forgot, our website is Soon we will have information posted on the website about the 2015 schedule of new stuff. Well, enough of the commercial, let's get back to what you are or are not doing to learn more.

So it is back to school time for the children. Let me suggest to you that there is no better time than NOW to become better educated and a sought after professional in the service industry we have chosen. Let's get back to LEARNING MORE.

Till next time. Have a wonderful Labor Day holiday.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


If you are one of our many listeners and viewers of the weekly tripodcast you may have noticed they have not been published for several weeks. Many of you have contacted me asking about the status and so Ima gonna tell ya. 

On June 25 without notice the company who has provided the host site for us to publish them decided to discontinue that division of their business and so we were left without a way to get them to you. 

We have made many attempts to recover our archived information and mailing list etc. but to no avail. They have been very difficult to work with but out of every difficult situation comes another new opportunity. 

We are working diligently to rebuild the site and be up and going again on another platform as soon as possible. When that occurs we will be letting everyone know through this blog, different social media outlets and any other vehicle that we can communicate with everyone. 

One very exciting thing we are working on,is soon we will begin to record our annual sessions with the BSCAI convention speakers. This is always an exciting time and gives our listeners an opportunity to get a sense of what each session will be about. These pod casts are heard DAILY leading up to the convention so you hear about 20 or so industry professionals discuss some very important subjects that you will be able to hear in their entirety at the convention.

This year we will be kicking off the pod casts with an interview with convention chairman, Paul Greenland, President of Aetna Building Maintenance headquartered in Columbus Ohio. Paul and his committee have done an excellent job of putting together a jam packed several days of learning and he will be sharing some of the highlights in our interview. 

In case you haven't yet registered for the convention to be held in Orlando, Florida, November 5-8, you can do so by going to the BSCAI web site at and completing the registration form. There you will also find a link to secure your hotel registration. 

So, back to the tripodcast broadcasts. Let me assure you it is our intention to be up and going soon with exciting pod casts. In addition to the sessions leading up to the convention, we have already scheduled some very interesting people to share their insights with us in 2015. 

That is what happened to the weekly tripodcasts. Hard to believe someone can just stop operating but they did. We will come back strong soon. Thanks so much for your patience and we will be notifying everyone as soon as we have a date to restart the broadcasts.  We are excited and are anxious to share all the subjects we have on the schedule.


Friday, July 25, 2014


Every day now I am seeing more and more material on social media and in the mail promoting and talking about the upcoming ISSA and BSCAI conventions in Orlando, FL. In case you missed it (which would be hard to do), the dates for the ISSA trade show are November 5-7 and the BSCAI convention dates are the 6th through the 8th.

This will be convention number 45 for me and I am as excited to go this year as I have been every other year. What about you? Have you reserved you hotel room and registered for one or both of the events? There is no better time than RIGHT NOW to do that. This one week could truly change how you view your business in a positive way.

The trade show as always is a top of the tent event with over 700 exhibitors displaying their wares and introducing their latest new "stuff" for you to consider. In this technology age it is even more exciting than it was in the past to see what is new.This years event promises to draw in excess of 16,000 industry professionals from 70+ countries. Nowhere else will you find so much valuable product and management information in one place.

BSCAI holds special roundtable sessions where different topics are discussed at 20 or so different tables and you get to move from one to the other every 30 or 40 minutes. I hear from my clients and readers that these sessions led by industry leaders have helped them immensely in grasping new ideas and procedures that they can take home and implement NOW. 

In addition, BSCAI has over 20 hours of peer to peer sessions on Friday and Saturday again led by people that know their subjects. It is one of the few events where you hear from the people doing what they talking about and not talking about what they wish they were doing. 

Let me suggest you go NOW to the BSCAI site convention or the ISSA site at and review the information on this exciting week and then register for this valuable learning experience in Orlando in November. All the hotel and registration details are available on these sites.

I really encourage you to attend all of at least part of festivities. It will be well worth your while. See you there?

Till next time.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


You no doubt have heard many times the old saying that "proper practice prevents poor performance" or affectionately referred to as the 5 P's. So what do I mean, practice---practice what?

I am convinced after listening to some BSC sales presentations to large prospective clients that some of them did not practice their presentation prior to delivering their proposal. Here they are, making what may be their largest presentation ever and they appear unprepared for the event. 

Let's think a moment about the sporting world. We have the World Cup, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA championship along with all of the various college sports championships. Imagine the hours and hours of endless preparation that takes place by each team to play the individual games, the playoffs, and then the ultimate championship series. They spend countless hours preparing their offense. Then they spend a huge amount of time anticipating what their opponent will do and how they will combat it. It is easy to say that for the money the professionals earn they better prepare or they will lose. Really? Is that any different from what you and I do every day? Think of the athletes that prepare for the Olympics. Many of them spend a lifetime preparing for their event which many times only lasts a few seconds or minutes. Now there is commitment. My question to you is---do you have that kind of commitment to building your business with quality clients?

My favorite subject in school was debate. I can recall practicing and practicing our speeches and then when we were done, we practiced some more. Then we practiced responding to every possible objection we thought our opposition might throw at us. It paid off with several tournament championships.

As a BSC you spend considerable time, dollars and energy advertising for clients, convincing that prospect to let you present a proposal (not bid) and then---. Do you rehearse the night before the big presentation? Remember the Olympic athletes. I think we should go into every presentation with some of the following information at hand,

1. How long do we anticipate the presentation will take? I always asked for one hour and then adjusted from there.

2. Do we have a list of possible objections and questions and answers to them like
    a. Tell us about the last 3 accounts you have lost.
    b. Let us interview  the supervisor you have planned for this account
    c. What it your turnover rate?
    d. You guys are all alike. In 6 months you will be just as bad as the others.
    e. Let us think over your proposal.
    f. You are too big or you are too small.
    g. We want to visit a training class you do for your people.
    h. Your price is too high.
    i.  You haven't been in business long enough.
    j. We want to visit some of your current clients.

3. Have you prepared information for everyone in the room with their name on it?

4. If you have co-presenters such as a vendor, do they know what to say and how long they have to say it?

5. What are the KEY points to cover if presentation time is all of a sudden cut short which happens quite frequently?

6. What is your suggested follow up date?

I know there are more but the point I am trying to make is that many of us become complacent in our business. We make a few presentations and maybe even get on a hot streak where we close several sales in a row and then we begin to think we have the technique down pat and we stop practicing and doing the things that made us successful. That is why I usually ask a contractor that has been in business, say 15 years, if they have really been in business 15 years or is it really 1 year, 14 times over. Are you doing and saying the same things in your presentation today that you were doing and saying 15 years ago (or even 6 months ago) and are wondering why you are not closing more business? Are you practicing your delivery? Are you updating it as you improve your organization? Are you improving your organization?. 

So let me again say that it is important to do proper practice if we want to breed success and continue to enjoy success. Every day a new company starts up that wants some or all of your business. Are you prepared to fend them off and continue to build your business by adding new profitable accounts to your portfolio? Why not review the presentation you plan to make next. See if it really describes your company in its best light, make any changes needed, and then practice so you are armed and ready to go and WIN.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer. Till next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I spent a lot of years working with a person who felt because he was an executive/vice president of the company he should never let anyone know that he might not have the answer to a particular problem they might be having. He would rather give them the wrong answer than to admit he didn't have the right answer. The problem with that kind of thinking is you are fooling only yourself. The people that work with you are perceptive and will pick up on your lack of knowledge very quickly and the word gets around that you don't know what you are talking about.

Many business owners and managers fall into the "know it all" trap. As we gain expertise and experience in the industry we suddenly realize we know quite a bit of "stuff". We are becoming an expert in this business and frankly we need to in order to best serve our customers and prospects. The industry is changing so rapidly that it is imperative that we are always learning and studying.

Let me tell a couple of stories on myself. When propane buffers were first introduced to the marketplace, one of the manufacturers asked if my company would test one of the models for them. Since we were cleaning retail stores at the time I saw it as an opportunity to cut some of our labor costs. 

When the machine arrived I took it to the store to spend the night with our crew and to "show" them how the boss did floors. When I started  the machine, there was some black smoke coming out of the exhaust which one of my employees quickly said he could adjust very easily and in a short amount of time. My answer was that it is a new machine and after I run it awhile it will be fine and the black smoke did subside.

So I started down the aisle and just as I was passing ladies ready to wear, and just as if the machine was give a cue, a trail of black smoke came bellowing out of the machine and created ladies short suits out of what had been ladies polyester pant suits. My employees tried not to laugh. I encouraged them to laugh and enjoy the moment as I adjusted the machine as they had suggested in the first place. I thought it best then to ask someone else to run the machine. They didn't want to. 

Try explaining to your customer and the insurance company this chain of events especially when the insurance adjuster, who was so diplomatic, asked what idiot caused this disaster? I really didn't want to tell him but honesty prevailed and I told him I was the idiot and I really wish he could have used different words to describe my lack of intelligence on operating propane floor machines. 

On another occasion I was trying to demonstrate to a crew the correct way to remove spots from carpets. As I was offering my expertise, the area supervisor who was there to oversee my lack of intelligence, said, "Dick, let me have the spotter" and Marie proceeded to demonstrate the correct way to use the product. Being quick in my thinking I told the crew I just wanted to see if anyone would catch me doing it wrong. Pretty good, huh?. Another case where the boss didn't know it all and should have turned it over to the expert in the first place.

The point I am making here is that people around us catch on fast when we try try to BS them. They figure it out quickly when we don't know what we are talking about and we rapidly lose their respect. 

The two examples I gave on myself above taught me a great lesson in my career---YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING, JUST KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW. The sooner you learn that and practice it, the quicker you can move on to leading your company to greater success. You don't know it all. 

Reminds me of a scene from the TV series "Law and Order".  Assistant District Attorney, Jack McCoy was questioning a suspect and the suspect said to Jack, "Are you trying to make me look like an idiot?" and Jack's reply was, "You're doing a great job of that yourself". Let's make sure we don't fall into the same trap. 

So, do you know it all?

Till next time. MAKE IT A GREAT DAY.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Well, here we are nearing the July 4th United States independence day celebration. That means my dog Caesar will be going crazy with all the fireworks that will be going off in the neighborhood. He hates it with a passion.

With the holiday approaching it also means most all schools are done for this year. With all the snow days that had to be made up in so many parts of the country it seemed like this school year was going to go on forever.

Most people I know are also planning some sort of vacation time with their family. Maybe just a long weekend at the lake or a trip to see relatives but most people do plan some sort of family event.

You have another family you know. How about the family that sees to it your customers are serviced properly each and every day? What do you have planned for them? Let me suggest some sort of family outing such as a corporate picnic etc. that involves the entire family. I personally believe their is a huge benefit in involving the spouses/significant others and children of our employees in some sort of event that promotes company fellowship. Let me offer a couple of suggestions that worked very well for us.

How about a family day picnic where the company provides all of the food and drink? This is the day to honor your employees and their families so don't ask them to bring anything. As the years went by, we actually had a committee, made up of employees in the field and our office staff, that planned the event. Eventually they were recommending that employees bring their favorite dish and the company ended up providing only the soft drinks and sometimes the meat. We built on it each year to where is became quite an event and at a very reasonable investment.

One thing we found to be very popular was to have something to involve the children each year. For example,

---We hired a clown to paint the faces of the children and to create balloons in different animal shapes at the request of the children. We found children hanging around the clown the entire time he/she was there.

---Along the same line, we hired a magician that would do about a 15 minute show 2 or three times during the afternoon. My biggest problem there was trying to keep the adults out of the front row so the children could see.

---We rented a trampoline game like you see at McDonald's etc. where the children could play all day if they wanted to in an indoor type environment for safety.

We found the investment in the entertainment to be very reasonable. Most yellow pages have magicians and clowns for rent. These are usually people that are doing it as a second job etc.

We also used the picnic event to have a short honor ceremony where we provided plaques and gift certificates to employees with 1 year or 5 years etc. of service. We also made sure we had some sort of a small giveaway for everyone in attendance such as a coffee mug etc. The ideas on the giveaways are countless but I think it is important to have SOMETHING for everyone in attendance.

One more thing. We had this event in every branch office in the company. The dates were published well in advance and I did my very best to attend each one of them. That became an interesting adventure trying to schedule me in about 7 states with multiple offices for company picnics but I didn't miss many, if any.

We also found that the success of each event was in direct proportion to the excitement generated by the branch manager. A couple of ours weren't real excited to host the event and it showed. Ironically, it also showed in the performance of their profit and loss statement. Those that were excited and created involvement also had the least turnover and the most profit. Interesting, isn't it?

So if you haven't planned anything this year, let me suggest you consider a company event such as I have outlined here. There are lots of different  ways to do an event and I have only mentioned what we did. I am sure others have had very successful events and if you have let us know. We would love to hear of other ideas that have worked.

As the title of this article implies, it's summertime. We hope yours will be full of enjoyment both for your immediate family and your company family.

Till next time.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Well, here we are nearing the middle of June and the half way point in this calendar year. Seems like just yesterday we were asking if you had developed your goals for this year. So, this being the half way point of 2014, how are you doing? Do you need to dust off the business plan to review what is supposed to be your focus for the year or are you forging ahead? Let's review a bit. 

Are your sales on target? Maybe more importantly, are your sales on target in the types of accounts on which you need to focus? Did you establish a policy to only take those accounts that fit the profile you want to advance your business such as a certain time of day or night, or a certain segment of business such as manufacturing or medical or educational or a time that fits your supervison and doesn't stretch that supervision to impossible bounds?

Did you establish a systematic formula for securing new accounts like regular targeted mailings or social media outlets? If so, how is your progress or lack of progress? 

While we are on sales, have you developed an ongoing, systematic way of making sure you stay in contact with your current customers? Remember, the investment to keep a current profitable customer is much less than the dollars needed to secure new customers. Not only is it important to maintain a positive relationship with existing customers, these are also your best prospects for adding profitable tag or special work or introducing a new service you have decided to add to your portfolio. 

I remember speaking with a BSC a couple of years ago who told me he had added over a million dollars in new business that calendar year. I then asked the inevitable question of how much business had he lost during that same time. His answer was just a bit over a million dollars so his net effect was a loss. I then asked him what he was going to do and his response was that he was going to add another salesperson. I couldn't resist the temptation to ask him if that meant he was poised to lose two million dollars next year. He gave me that puzzled look and asked what I meant. Well, if you sold a million this year and lost a million plus and you plan to add a sales person so you can add two million next year, it stands to reason if you don't change something in your operation, you will also lose two million in business next year. He had never thought of it in that way. 

You see, when you develop a sales goal for a period such as a year etc. it is also important that you make sure your operation and administration departments are running smoothly and efficently. It is critical to evaluate where you are and determine what changes need to be made to handle an influx of new business. Most of the work I do with my clients is to help them create sales growth and do it in a somewhat rapid pace but we ALWAYS focus as well on what has to happen, and when, in the operation of the company to handle the new growth and to make sure we are not short changing or neglecting the existing customers that are paying the bills to this point and allowing us to spend the time and dollars on securing new business. 

As we take the time to focus on existing business, the half way point of the year is also a great time to do a retuning of your current accounts. Are they in budget? Is the budget you established the one that still should be the current budget? Did things change that would cause us to change the budgeted time up or down? Are the closets neat and clean and are there supplies that can be brought back to the warehouse or does the budget for supplies need to be increased? What about equipment? Is it time to replace that 1947 floor machine or that 1985 vacuum cleaner? Are the specifications for all of the accounts up to date and posted properly? How about emergency phone numbers or is the emergency contact number in the closet that of a supervisor that quit 3 months ago? We have a FREE retuning form that may be of help. You can do to and click on the Worksheets icon and download the Account Re-Engineering Worksheet under the Operations/Human Resources heading. May save you some time. It's free and we don't bug you to buy something.

And last but not least, are you doing the refresher technical training for all of your technicians. People do get in bad habits. Even our best employees get off track and sometimes don't even realize it so a refresher class of how your company expects cleaning procedures to be done is in order for everyone at least twice a year.

Well, there you have it. It's half time in 2014. How ya doin? Time to check up on yourself and your company?

This week's pod cast at talks about a tax credit from the government that just may save you tons of dollars in taxes this year. Be sure to go there and listen and see if it can help you. 

Till next time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


In this week's tripodcast at I talk about how we sometimes send our technicians out to the job without the proper instructions or tools and supplies to get the job done promptly and professionally. We use our old nail in the board example to show how easy it is for us to expect our employees to do the job but we have forgotton some very basic rules for success on the job,

1. Have we thoroughly trained them in the task we are asking them to do?  

2. Have we explained what end result we are expecting to attain?

3. Have we provided the correct tools for them to get the job done safely and correctly? 

4. Have we provided them a budget for the job we are expecting them to accomplish? 

5. Do we compliment them if they do a great job?

6. If the job doesn't turn out the way we want it to, how do we proceed? Do we analyze if we provided them everything they needed to do the job correctly or do well yell at them for doing a bad job?

Let's look at each of these points.

By now you know I am a fanatic when it comes to assuring that all of our employees receive the proper orientation and training prior to an assignment. One of the top reasons why employees quit this profession (yes, it is a profession) is that they don't receive the training they need to do the job and then get criticized if it isn't done correctly. What's your policy?

Knowing what the end result is supposed to look like is an important part of the job. It isn't enough to say "clean it" but it is important to instill in each employee your company's way of doing things and what you expect the end result to be.

In the pod cast eluded to above I give a good example of a bad example. I ask the participants to put the nail in the board but, among other bad information, I don't give them the tools to get the job done. I have witnessed people ruining a shoe trying to hammer the nail in the board. Some try to use their notebooks to hammer with. To make matters worse, I don't explain to them where in the board  I want the nail to be put. What about you? Do you  have a listing of tools and supplies needed for each cleaning task you ask your employees to perform. Here again the initial training will help get those points across and then follow up with a refresher course at regular intervals. 

Do all employees have a budgeted number of hours for the task(s) they are being asked to perform? I find that usually the regular nightly work is budgeted pretty consistently but many times the crews that are doing the project or tag work are sent to the job without a work order explaining EXACTLY how many hours we expect it to take. I learned this the hard way. If I sent a crew out to strip and recoat a floor, they many times did the job in the hours their shift was for. If I sent them out with the understanding the job was to be completed in "x" hours, that's also how long it took. Funny how that works. Until I got wise to this concept, I was paying for a lot of hours of wasted time. I especially learned this when doing summer project work in the schools we cleaned and also in the project work at manufacturing plants during Christmas holiday shut downs. One of the reasons, I believe, that so much time is lost on special projects is that the managers themselves don't know how long it should really take. That is why it is important to know the industry time standards for each task we have to perform. Most software programs have it automatically set but if you don't have software be sure you have the time standard books published by ISSA or BSCAI. It will save you bunches of dollars.

Do you make it a habit of complimenting the crews on a job well done? This is another one of the major reasons people leave our industry is that they only hear when the job goes wrong and never when it is done right. I know, I know, they are being paid to do it right but all of us like to be told from time to time that we are doing a good job, provided it is a sincere compliment and not a contrived one that many times will do more damage than good.

What if the job doesn't turn out exactly right? Our first order of business should be to have a show and tell training class to assure that the technicians know how to do the job correctly. If they don't know, then we need to retrain. If they do, and just didn't do a good job, then we have a discipline issue we need to deal with. Be sure you know which it is before you start blasting them for a poor job. Sometimes we just maybe haven't taught well or we haven't had a refresher lately. 

Well, there you have it. Some quick refresher points to make sure our valued employees have what they need to do the job we want and expect. Let me suggest you review each of the items and see how your company measures up. Take the time now. It is much better to do it now than to jepordize an account with poor workmanship. 

Hope your summer is going well. Till next time.