Monday, January 20, 2014


I received an e-mail reminding me that Monday, January 20, was the annual National Hat Day. Did you know that? I didn't. But it did get me thinking about a workshop that I have done many times for training Supervisors in which I discuss the many hats that a supervisor has to wear to do their job effectively. I thought I would share with you some of the hats they wear and see if you agree. It always makes for a fun workshop and we always get a lot of audience participation. So, here we go,

1. FIREMAN'S HAT---This is the hat supervisors tell me they wear most often. Not sure I agree with them  because of the importance of some of the other hats as well but it certainly is a critical hat.

Every day the supervisor comes to work and will, more often than not, have some building under their supervision that needs some special attention or frankly, has a complaint that has to be addressed THAT NIGHT OR ELSE. Ever had a situation like that? None of us like to admit it but we have all had them. I know I have.

2. POLICEMAN'S HAT---Invariably somebody is going to challenge the company's policies or is going to not do the job they should do for the customer or sometimes you may have employees who fight among themselves. It happens doesn't it? I can remember having to go to a building one evening to break up a lover's quarrel. Unfortunately they decided to have their altercation in the President's office and threw coffee at each other and splattered it on the very expensive wall covering. I had to go see the President the next morning. I DIDN'T WANT TO. In case you are wondering, I saved the account.

3. THE COACH'S HAT---This is where the supervisor has to constantly be training and retraining the staff to be sure they are doing the procedures in the company approved way with company approved products and equipment. The good coach is always conducting brief 15 minute refresher courses with the cleaning techs and with today's great technology, it is very easy to do but---it has to be done, doesn't it.?

4.  THE ACCOUNTANT'S VISOR HAT---Supervisors are always responsible to make sure their staff is cleaning acording to the budget provided and also making sure everyone is getting their time in as designated by the company's timekeeping procedure. No question with the modern electronic timekeeping systems it is much easier than it used to be but it still has to be done. Reading daily budget reports to assure no overages of labor or supplies is also a must for a good supervisor to excel in their job.

5.  THE DIPLOMAT'S HAT---This is the hat where the supervisor may have to visit with the customer and be a diplomat in the way they handle difficult situations. That is the hat I was wearing in my policeman's explanation above when I had to go see the customer the next day after my employee's fought on the job.

Sometimes you have to be a diplomat with the customer after your employee has said the wrong thing to them like "they don't pay me enough to do your special request" or "that's not in the specs" or "my equipment is broke and they won't fix it" or "they don't give me enough time to do this job". Ever had any of those happen to you? I bet you have. I know I did. The owner many times will follow these ill advised phrases up but many times the customer will be working late and approach the supervisor and the supervisor has to know how to respond.

Well, there you have some of the hats a supervisor has to wear. Since we are in the week of National Hat Day, why not make sure all supervisors in your company have the training on how to handle the situations that arise with each of the hats. It is important training and it can be a lot of fun as well. It just might save you an account. By the way, my pod cast this week talks about training employees so they know what to say to a customer in various situations. You can access this FREE pod cast by going to It is episode 340.

Also, remember, on Wednesday, January 29, at 2 PM eastern, we will be combining with the Janitorial Store to present a 1 hour webinar entitled CLOSING THE SALE. You can register by going to Spending that one hour with us may just help you close an account or two.

Till next time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Well here we are at the beginning of another year. How many sales have you closed to start off 2014? In this industry we talk a great deal about getting new business, what system works, what system doesn't work. Should we cold call, should we not cold call etc. etc. Most every BSC I talk with is interested in bringing on new business.

One thing many don't talk about though, is how many sales they are closing. What is your close ratio? 20%, 50%, 80%? I talk to a lot of BSC's that either do their own selling or have sales people but just cannot "close the deal". So often they will just drop off the proposal or e-mail a proposal and then wait for an answer. Does this sound like someone you know? Many contractors tell me they don't know how to push for the sale or what to say when the prospect asks a question etc.

To help the countless BSC's that struggle with closing the sale our company, Consultants In Cleaning, LLC, in conjunction with The Janitorial Store will be conducting a one hour webinar on Wednesday, January 29 at 2 PM Eastern entitled

In this one hour webinar we wil cover the following key points on closing the sale.
1. What to say when the prospect says
       "You're too high"
          "I'll think it over"

and other objections that prospects bring up during the presentation
2. Helpful hints for making the presentation
3. What about references?
The fact is the best closers don't rely on gimmicks or cute sayings. They follow a planned approach to understanding and meeting the prospects needs, reading the real questions behing the objections, and knowing what to say and when to say it.
I am suggesting that if you attend this one hour webinar, follow the suggestions covered, you will see your closing ratio jump.
Now comes the good part. If you are a member of The Janitorial Store, the webinar is FREE and if you aren't a member of the The Janitorial Store, the investment is only $27--only $27 for what may be the best learning hour you'll spend in 2014.
So, go to and register today. How easy is that?

Let me encourage you to attend this webinar. It is one thing to get your foot in the door, do a walk through, prepare a proposal, but quite another to actually close the deal. You have put so much work into getting to the point of making the presentation, why not learn all you can on how to make the presentation as effective as possible.

Join us on the 29th.

By the way, be sure to join us each week at for our pod cast on different subjects pertaining to the industry. It is free and may just have some information that will help you.

Till next time.



Monday, January 6, 2014


Okay, so the holidays are over and it's time to get down to serious business and make 2014 a thriving success. Are you ready? Have you established your success goals for 2014 and the plans to reach them?

Let me remind you of one important area that needs your attention as it will affect your profitability and competiveness during the year. That is knowing exactly what an hour of labor is really costing you as you prepare your proposals. Have you checked the following before you do any pricing this year?

1. Has your average wage rate per hour changed this year vs. last year?

2. Has your average production rate increased or decreased this year? Have you invested in high speed equipment that will increase your production rate and consequently your ability to price more agressively in tight situations? If you haven't checked into some labor saving equipment, don't you think you should?

3. Have you double checked your insurance rates for 2014? Have any of the following increased or decreased?

3A--Workers compensation insurance--what is you modification rate now? Has it gone up? Were you able to negotiate a discount or did you just accept what the agent brought on the last day of the year?

3B--Unemployment insurance--what is your new 2014 rate? Did it go up? Is your state one of those that is paying a surcharge to the federal government? There are 14 states that are saddled with this surcharge that can be anywhere from 25% to 75%.

3C--General Liability--Did you negotiate a flat rate for the year or do you have a rate that is a percent of your labor. Either way be sure you factor that rate into your labor loaded rate.

3D--Don't forget the 7.65% for FICA and medicare.

3E--What about bonding? What about special state mandated taxes and or insurances? Several states have a variety of taxes that just add to the bill. These little ankle biters can add up to a sizable amount by the end of the year.

4. I don't need to remind you of the increase in the minimum wage if you are in one of those states that was affected January 1. That, plus the items I mentioned above make it even more critical that you review ALL of the insurance and taxes that are related to the wage rate you pay.

And the list goes on and on. I am confident that most of you have taken a close hard look at your loaded labor costs but I feel it incumbent on me to remind you since so much of our expense is labor and the taxes and insurances connected with each labor dollar.

That brings me to another area that I believe you should be reviewing closely---your average production rate that I touched briefly on in number 2 above. Have you been able to increase your production rate throughout the years. As I said earlier, the latest equipment innovations can help you in that area but one more thing can help a great deal--A DETAILED,ORGANIZED TRAINING PROGRAM.

In addition to faster equipment, the one way you can become more efficient is to assure that all of your people are trained to do a quality, effective job in the least amount of time so look at your current accounts to see if there is some labor you may be able to reduce without affecting quality. Reducing labor without affecting quality only comes if you have a systematic company adopted way of cleaning.

So let me encourage you to look at your rates here at the first of the year-- Your rates of production as well as your insurance and tax rates. It just may secure an extra account or two for you this year.

A couple of reminders for you.

1. We have added a page to our web site called "worksheets" where you can download FREE of charge various forms that may be helpful in your business. You can get those at

2. This week's tripodcast is all about what 5 minutes of wasted time costs you. Go to to listen to this FREE pod cast.

Till next time and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Not long ago I saw a billboard that really got me thinking. It read, "What happens when your company doesn't advertise here?". Then in capital letters at the bottom of the billboard was written the word "NOTHING".

I couldn't help but apply that billboard to our business and what is ahead in 2014. With the average BSC losing 17% of their business each year for all kinds of reasons---price, poor work, friend of the buyer, new buyer wanting to make a name for himself or herself, downsizing of the customers business, etc., I think it is more important than ever to have a solid plan for adding new business in 2014. Just think, if you want to grow by a meager 10%, and you have the average lost business of 17% , YOU WILL NEED TO ADD 27% NEW BUSINESS THIS YEAR. For the company doing $500,000 in annual revenue that means ADDING $135,000 IN NEW BUSINESS THIS YEAR. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? If you have a plan, is it designed to bring in enough business next year to meet your desired growth?

Let me offer a few suggestions that may be helpful in saving advertising dollars and getting your name and you in front of the right buyers. First off, I think it is important that you and your staff answer a few questions about your business such as,

1. Which accounts are we best at servicing?

2. Which accounts that we now service are the most profitable? Do we have 20% of our accounts taking 80% of our time AND---they don't produce a satisfactory margin? Some accounts make a lot of noise but actually contribute very little, if anything, to the bottom line.

3. What hours do you provide the best supervison? Doesn't it make sense to pursue accounts that you are best at supervising? Large accounts outside of your normal supervisory strong hours do not necessarily translate to overall great margins. In fact, quite the reverse is true.

4. What are the market segments that fit your supervision hours? Are you servicing all of them and if not, why not?

5. Make a list of all the prospects in your area that fit your size, frequency of service, time of service, profit potential, and supervision coverage. I suggest you will be surprised how many accounts are out there that you haven't pursued.

Once you have created the new list, call of visit them to find out the buyer's name and then begin sending them a series of targeted information packets each week---say 10-20. This will vary by size of city and size of prospect list(s). Mail them on Friday and then call them the next Wednesday to request a 20 minute appointment to discuss how you can be mutually beneficial to each other.

Information you may want to include in the packet is

1. Any industry specific software that you use that helps control quality etc.

2. Any specific ongoing training programs that are unique to your company.

3. Talk about your low turnover compared to the industry average.

4. Include pictures of your key staff and years of service etc.

5. Include a brief outline of the services you offer.

We have used this system and helped other BSC's implement the system to tremendous success. It works IF you stay consistent in doing it. It gets you in to see the decision makers. Let us know if you want more details. You can contact us at and hit the "Ask A Question" icon. It might just be the system that brings you a great deal of new business in 2014. By the way, we don't bombard you with follow up e-mails trying to sell you something. I will say, however, that we have an excellent book available entitled, SELLING CONTRACT CLEANING SERVICES 101, that outlines the procedure in great detail. So much for the sales plug. We hope you will look at our entire web site when you go there but no pressure exists from us.

Let me suggest you use this or SOME EFFECTIVE SYSTEM in 2014 that brings business in your door. Customers can't buy from you if they don't know you exist. Remember what happens if you don't advertise to them--NOTHING.

So let me again wish you a very happy new year and much success in your business. Don't forget to listen to our free weekly pod casts at

Till next time.