Wednesday, December 14, 2016


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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful holiday season. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

By the way. you can access our pod casts at

Till next time. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time.


Thursday, July 14, 2016


As I travel and work with Building Service Contractors one of the services I usually perform is a mock OSHA inspection to help them get in compliance on the issues that might create OSHA fines in the event of a real inspection. Almost always I find several items that could cost them thousands of dollars if there was to be a real inspection. The most common violation I find is improperly label spray bottles being used and a lack of up to date SDS.

Now more than ever it is important that you are doing the things necessary to avoid penalties. Why? Because effective August 1, 2016 OSHA will be invoking new higher fines for violations. The maximum penalties will increase by 78%. WOW!  For example,

The top penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471. Improperly marked/labeled spray bottles and out of date SDS usually fall into this category. 

The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709.

I realize that many of the company's reading this blog probably have never been inspected by OSHA. I had 2 inspections during my years as a BSC.  One cost me a fine, the other did not.

With the new regulations and the opportunity to put more money in the government coffers, I suggest that our industry will be one of those that will become well acquainted with OSHA. Are you ready? 

Let me suggest you do a thorough inspection of all the facilities that you maintain to assure you are in compliance. Better yet, now is a great time to be sure you have an organized, systematic safety program in place and it can't just be a nice bound safety program book. You have to demonstrate that you actually DO the safety procedures etc. that you outline in a safety manual. 

So, what about you? If an OSHA inspection was conducted at your workplace and the facilities you maintain tomorrow, would you be able to pass with no violations? It is better to be ready, and safe, than be broke from fines. A $12,471 fine for each improperly labeled spray bottle or an outdated SDS book can get real expensive, real fast. 

OSHA has already indicated they will be stepping up their inspections so be ready and safe. If we can help, let us know. Send us a message at  ask Dick Ollek on our web site at and we'll respond as quickly as possible.

Don't forget to watch our FREE weekly pod casts at

Till next time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Have you ever found yourself saying that about some of the people you work with? If you are of the older generation you have probably, at times, wondered what is going on in the mind of those young kids that you work with. By the same token, if you are a "youngster" you have probably wondered where in the world did that "older" person think that one up? 

Well, dealing with the different generations in our workplace is one of the most important challenges we face today. Every generation has their opinion of the other generations. You are probably working with, 

Traditionalists or better known as the "silent generation"...those born before 1946.

Baby Boomers...those born between 1947 and 1964.

Generation X...those born between 1965 and 1980.

Generation Y...also referred to as generation WHY born between 1981 and 2000.

Generation Z....those born after 2000 and just now beginning to make their splash in the work force. 

 Each of these generations has their own set of values and attitudes and the reality of it is that they differ in many ways. 

Dealing with a 60 year old in the workplace can take an entirely different twist than dealing with a 20 year old. Each has a completely different outlook on the world and the work place. 

Think about it. Today you use a GPS on your phone to find out where you are going. The older generation used something called a map.

Text is something we all do on our phone. To the older generation it meant the verses from the Bible that the minister would use for his Sunday morning sermon. 

The older generation thought a window was something you clean. A program was a TV show. The keyboard was the piano. A cursor was the local school bully. An app was what we give to prospective employees. Meg was Bill's girlfriend. Log on meant to put more wood on the fire. A web was a spider's home. The older generation had the flu when they had a virus, not so today. 

I can go on and on but you get the message and can see how communicating with the different generations in the workplace can really get confusing unless you learn how to effectively do it. It can be an enormous challenge and in today's business environment can be very costly if not handled properly. 

Our company has produced a training DVD entitled "Dealing with Generational and Cultural Differences in the Workplace" that can help with this important work place issue. You can purchase it from our web site at

The cultural issue is also one that needs to be addressed and is done so in this DVD and we will discuss it in a later blog, but you can get a head start on our blog by ordering the DVD today. Be sure to also look for our book on the site entitled "The Guide to Effective Supervision". We devote an entire lesson in this 12 lesson course to dealing with the cultural and generational differences you encounter every day. It goes into greater detail on the generational differences we discuss at the beginning of this blog. 

The work place is different today. Be sure you know how to interact effectively in it. 

Don't forget our FREE weekly pod cast posted every Monday morning at

Till next time.   


Friday, June 10, 2016


Well, here we are, half way through the year. Time to do a check to see how we are doing versus our plans for the year. So,

Let's start with sales. Have you reached half of the volume you projected for the year? If so, congratulations, keep it up. If not, why not? Then what are you going to do to get back on track? Now is a great time to analyze your numbers. 

How many contacts do I need to make to secure an opportunity to present a proposal (not bid)? Do I need to step up the campaign so that I am getting more opportunites? Do I need to change something that I am doing to improve the success of opportunities I get to present?

How many proposals turn into actual customers? What do I need to do to improve that percentage? Do I need to revise my presentation to be more in tune with what the prospect is asking for? Am I practicing my presentation skills so that I present our proposal in the most professional manner possible? If not, what do I need to do about it?

What is the average dollar volume of my proposals that turn in to sales? Am I creating enough volume per sale to make our projections? If not, am I really chasing the right kind of business? What market segments do I need to spend more effort on? 

Am I contacting my existing customers on a regular basis to remind them of the additional services we can provide to make their life easier and our profit more enhanced?

There are a lot of things that go into selling and each of us needs to be tuned into each one of them and make each item the most effective and efficient that we can. 

Now, how about operations?  

Are your recruiting efforts on target? Are you being creative in finding new employees in this competitive environment? 

What about your onboarding of new employees? Do you have an effective orientation and initial training program for all new employees that you do each time you hire someone? What about your retraining program for existing employees?

How's your turnover rate compared to last year? At $500+ to recruit and onboard a new employee, it is vital we do what we can to reduce that turnover number. If you have 100 employees and make 200 W-2s per year, your cost of turnover is in excess of $50,000 per year. Need to improve your numbers?

I can go on and on with mid year check up things to do but I have probably given you enough to think about right now. Do the analysis, you may be losing thousands of dollars. With the immense competitive pressure on margins, it is imperative we do everything we can to manage an effective and efficient company. 

As always, we are here to help. Check our web site at for educational and training materials, forms, and DVDS that can assist. 

Don't forget we also have a weekly pod cast available at You can also access them on you tube.  

Till next time.