Increase Your Janitorial Customer Retention Dramatically

Do you want to know how to increase your janitorial customer retention dramatically? Silly question, right? Of course you do! But what exactly is “customer retention” and how do you achieve it?  In practice, customer retention is less about you keeping your existing cleaning accounts and more about having your customers not get rid of you.

CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware - A proudly cleaned floorTo acquire new customers, you spend a lot of time, effort and money to market and sell your services. Once you get a new customer, that’s just the beginning; Now you have to keep them!

Don’t think for a moment that just doing the basics and going through the motions will retain customers. A Janitorial Service Agreement is a business relationship that absolutely requires you to be attentive, nurturing, caring, loving – (yes, I said it, love your customer!) – and to occasionally bite your tongue. And just like any other relationship, it has to be nurtured and developed this month and next month and the month after that…

You actually need to move from “Customer Retention” to “Customer Loyalty” to thrive in this business. There’s a lot to be said on this subject (and I promise to to do so in future articles), but for now, let me start with my core “Customer Retention/Loyalty Tips” that have served me so well for over 25 years in this great janitorial industry.

  1. COMMUNICATE: Right up front, when you do a walk through before preparing a proposal, make sure that you communicate with your contact about exactly what they expect. Do they have a checklist or do they want you to create one? Then, when you get awarded the account, make sure that you have a signed Service Agreement, spelling out the details and terms of your service. Customers understand the necessity of this document. Be on the same page on day one!
  2. SIMPLY DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO: Keep your promises! If your proposal stated that all waxed floors will be polished once per week, then do it. If it noted that return vents and blinds are dusted monthly, then do it. I know one national franchise that promises (on their proposals) to take all the trash cans outside and wash them every month. Of course, it rarely gets done. That task wasn’t required, but since it was promised, it became expected and was subsequently viewed as a failure to perform. If I had a quarter for every new customer that told me, “the last cleaning company didn’t do what they promised”, well.. I’d have a lot of quarters.
  3. KEEP THEIR BUILDING CLEAN: The #1 way to keep your customer happy and loyal is to keep their building clean! The #1 way to keep their building clean is to do regularly scheduled checklist inspections for quality control! It’s good and actually necessary for your customer to like you, but that alone will not keep you there. You need to consistently keep their facility clean and even exceed their original expectations. Go the extra mile, it will be well worth it. Strive to be a top service provider!
  4. THEY NEED TO LIKE YOU: Hear me out on this one. I’m not talking about a joke telling, fishing buddy (although, being “professionally” personable and friendly goes a long way towards customer loyalty). Instead, when they like the way you and your company take care of their facility, they will also like you! Yes, cliché, but take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
  5. BE PROFITABLE: You want to “retain” profitable customers. If you’re losing money on an account or just breaking even, then you will stop caring about the things that will make your customer keep you. They’ll probably drop you and you won’t care. Do all you can to keep your costs down and quality up. But if, for example, you start cleaning a private school with 200 students and 6 months later they’ve increased to 300 (which will increase your labor hours up to 2 hours a day), then it’s time to sit down and talk about a fair price increase. Even the Good Book says, “the worker is deserving of their pay”. That’s good enough for me.
  6. TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES: To provide consistent quality cleaning on an ongoing basis, your crew needs to know what to do. You need to have some type of training on cleaning techniques, chemical use, customer relations, safety, protocol, procedures, production rates, etc. A trained and competent employee creates a loyal customer!
  7. USE CHECKLISTS TO MANAGE “THE SYSTEM”: A checklist of exactly what is done each day is not just a good idea, but an absolute must to succeed. e.g. Individual employee checklists, area checklists, specialty work checklists, end of night supervisor checklists, monthly inspection checklists, etc. That’s managing a system that works!
  8. EMPLOYEE UNIFORMS/BADGES/NAME TAGS: At each customer location, project an image of trust, structure and professionalism. After hour customer accounts should still have company t-shirts with your name and logo. And higher profile accounts need to project a more professional image. Specifically, polo shirts with logos and khakis, with employee lanyard or company identifying name badges need to be worn. The more your customer sees your employees, the sharper they need to look!
  9. WHATEVER IT TAKES!: Commit to being that person that finds solutions. Every problem and situation has a perfect solution. Some tougher than others. Are you willing to fulfill a customer’s last minute, 4pm request to wax or polish floors tonight because their corporate boss is visiting tomorrow? Will you miss a little sleep or work late to provide a solution? Expect the unexpected! When another cleaning company comes “a courting”, they will say “No thanks, we’re very happy with our current cleaning service”. That’s customer loyalty!
  10. HAVE A SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE!: If you have a mindset of “it’s good enough, they’ll never notice, everyone cuts corners”, I know 4 coats of wax would look awesome, but 3 is enough for tonight”, then you don’t get it. When I used to ask my Floor Techs how a job came out and they would say “good”, I would ask them “do you know who the enemy of excellence is”? It’s “good enough”. They quickly got the point! They then started sending me cell phone pics of every job, and yes it was excellent work! Average Spirit equals Average Business and that equals average customer retention. Excellent Spirit equals Excellent Business and that equals EXCELLENT CUSTOMER RETENTION!

Always remember to nurture your customer relationships. Make them feel cared about and appreciated. Your customer retention will increase dramatically and your customer loyalty will soar!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake


How To Workload a Janitorial Bid (when you do the work)

How do you workload (i.e. allocate the labor) for a janitorial bid when you’re the one doing all of the work?  I’ll answer that question in a moment. First, let me just lay a little groundwork. I’m posting this particular blog in response to the many small business owners – those just starting out and doing all the work themselves – that have asked me this very question.

CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidware Workloading and Pricing screenTo create an accurate, competitive and profitable janitorial bid, you need to accurately calculate what it will cost you to clean this building every month. First, you need to know how many total hours a day are required to clean this building. Then, you need to figure out who will work these hours and at what wage (workloading). The hourly wage that you pay your workers determines your labor cost for the month.

Okay, simple enough, when you have actual employees, but back to the original question, how should you workload a bid when you’re the only cleaner?  Here’s the straightforward answer that most people seem to resist: Use the same hourly hourly wage that you would pay an employee (if you had one).  If you want to grow your janitorial business – and I’m assuming that you do – you’re going to have to hire employees at some point.  So from day one you need to think in terms of “What’s my profit margin on this bid” rather than “What’s my desired personal hourly wage”.

Most new business owners tell me that they price a job to make $20 to $30 (or more) per hour doing all the work themselves. That’s fine to think like that early on and it even motivated me 32 ago when I cleaned my sister’s house for $40 for two hours of work (plus I raided the fridge for leftovers, snacks and cold beverages)… PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT recommend that you raid your customer’s refrigerators!  Although.. if you happen to find a box of Krispy Kreme donuts with a few perfectly good donuts in your customer’s break-room trash, it’s fair game! Just sayin…

But when you inflate your wages when pricing a job, you’ve skewed your Profit Margin analysis.  In other words, you’ve left no room to gauge your real profit over costs.  When you workload using a fair employee wage (albeit a future employee) for your area, you can accurately determine your market costs and derive a bid’s true Profit Margin (which can range from 15% – 40% depending on the type and size of the job)…  That’s a fundamental best practice for janitorial business growth!

I’m Drake Thomas (Co-founder of CleanlyRun Janitorial Bidware) and I’ve been pricing janitorial bids for over three decades.  Let’s look at an example of the right way and the wrong way to workload a bid…

CORRECT BID WORKLOADING, Employee Wage, $8.75/hr

  • 10,000 sq’ Building, 5 days per week
  • Calculated Cleaning Production Rate by Employee: 2,500 sq’ per hour
  • 4 Total Daily Hours  x  $8.75/hr  = $35 a day cost/ $757.75 a month cost for labor
  • $757 Labor Cost + 30% for payroll taxes, chemicals, misc, etc. = $985.08 YOUR TOTAL MONTHLY COSTS to clean this building.
  • Now add a fair Cost Markup of 33% (which is equivalent to a Profit Margin of 25%) for a Monthly Bid Price of $1,313.44.
  • Your Monthly Profit on this bid is $328.36 a month.
    And looking ahead to when you have employees, you’ll only spend about 2.5 hrs a week – say 10 hours a month – on this account (i.e. dropping supplies, inspecting, scheduling, talking to customer, etc.). Which you can also think of as making $32/hr for your time actually spent on this job!


  • 10,000 sq’ Building, 5 days per week
  • Calculated Cleaning Production Rate by Owner: 2,500 sq’ per hour
  • 4 Total Daily Hours  x  $20/hr  = $80 a day (which covers both your cost + your profit).
  • If you charge $20/hr for this bid, you will charge them $1,732.00 per month. The problem is that unless your sister owns this building, you WILL NOT win this bid 99.99% of the time! You’ll be the highest bidder…

Want to see the best practices of Janitorial Workloading in action? (After a lot of hard work, it’s been automated.) Check out the Workloading and Pricing screen (i.e. Step 4 of the Bid Creation process) in my CleanlyRun Janitorial Bidware. Over two years of development went into the creation of this software that was designed to workload and price and win bids the way that I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of times. There’s a free 30 day trial, and I’d love to hear what you have to say about it…

But no matter how you generate a  janitorial cleaning proposal, always think in terms of “What’s my profit margin on this bid?”.


Happy Bidding,

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Manager Meetings That Get Results !

Let’s face it, most people don’t like meetings.  I never did.  But as you’re blessed with more and more janitorial business growth, you’re going to need them… And if properly planned, you’re going to love the results of your janitorial manager meetings. Twenty-five years in this industry has taught me that a weekly (group) meeting with my managers and supervisors is an essential tool to keep my company on the right track.

The underlying purpose of these meetings is to support my three main goals:

1. Customer Satisfaction – Keep that customer happy!

2. Cleaning Quality – Keep that building clean!

3. Company Budgets –Keep our company Profitable!

Nothing beats face time when it comes to praising a job well done, moving everyone in the right direction, and reinforcing accountability.  But because I have multiple Area Managers, responsible for multiple customer facilities, there are always (too) many items to cover. To ensure that we focus on the top 10-12 items that need the most attention, I’ve create an agenda guideline that I’d like to share…

  1. Have A Written Itemized Agenda: Be prepared and know exactly what your objectives are. Every meeting should have a clear purpose to affirm what’s right, identify what’s wrong and correct what’s wrong.
  2. Short And Simple: Try to keep the meeting to 1hour to 1.5 hours max. Focus on the “hot spots”.
  3. Keep The Focus: Keep the meeting on task. You need to direct the flow of the meeting and go item by item on the agenda. If someone wants to jump ahead to an item farther down the list, calmly direct them back to the task at hand. Not because you’re a control freak, but because you need to maintain order and structure to have an effective meeting.
  4. Review Last Meeting? Acknowledge what was corrected from last meeting. Any items from last week’s meeting that are still not corrected are first on this week’s agenda.
  5. Acknowledge What’s Right: Praise the good! Thank those responsible in front of their peers!
  6. Identify What’s Wrong: Here’s two examples:
    • Building is within labor budget, but customer has started complaining that paper towel dispensers are not being filled and they’re running out during the day.
    • Customer satisfaction scores are high and your inspections are high as well, but you’re labor budgets are suddenly 8 hours a week over.
  7. Fix What’s Wrong: Here’s the Fix (“action plan”) to the previous two examples.
    • Get directly with the employee (and site supervisor, if any) assigned to those dispensers and let them know of the customer complaint and make sure they haven’t lost the keys and usually that solves it. If there’s a site supervisor, make sure checking dispensers are on the End of Shift Checklist.
    • Identify what employees are over budget and contact them directly (and site supervisor, if any) about correcting. Usually attributed to new employees getting used to their assignments. Both of these ”fixes” are discussed at the meeting and expected to be corrected before the next meeting.
  8. Any Other Issues?: Just before the end of the meeting, I’d always ask, “any other issues or comments”? This gave all the managers a chance to briefly bring small issues up for discussion or just to tell a funny story that happened the past week.
  9. Recap: This would be where we briefly recapped the meeting, making sure everyone understood what was required of them to keep us on track.

Remember, everyone needs motivation, direction, structure and accountability to achieve a common goal!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Decrease Costs / Increase Your Bottom Line – Top Tips!

When you decrease your costs, you increase your bottom line! The definition of “bottom line” in business is, “The last line of a financial statement, used for showing net profit or loss.” O.K., sounds simple enough to understand what the bottom line is, but how do you increase it? The top two, hopefully, obvious ways are cutting costs and increasing revenues.

The purpose of this blog is to focus on only the cost cutting aspects of increasing your bottom line. I know cutting costs and saving money doesn’t sound as exciting as increasing revenues and hitting sales goals, but let me help you with that by giving you something to think about that should excite you about cutting costs and saving!

If you currently average 25% net profit on your janitorial accounts, let’s say for example that you make $500 net profit on a $2000 per month account. If you cut costs by $500 throughout your company, it adds $500 to your bottom line, just the same as getting a new $2000 per month account. With that in mind, every $1 you save is equal to $4 in revenue and every additional $1 in costs you incur requires $4 of revenue to produce. (Read that last sentence a couple of times to let it sink in!) In other words, that sparkling, bottled water delivered to the water cooler in your office each week might only cost you $65 a month, but you have to do $260 in sales to pay for it. I’m not saying don’t have water in your office, just something to chew on.

Of course, you absolutely need to be continually looking for ways to increase sales revenues, but running your operations smart and efficiently is the #1 way to decrease your costs and increase your bottom line within your existing customer base! There are many more, but let me just touch on some of my Top Free, time tested, Cost Cutting Tips that have served me well in 25 years in this great janitorial industry!

  1. Decrease Facilities : Sure, everyone wants a nice office including me, but make sure it’s a need to have and not just a nice want to have. Your customers rarely, if ever will come to your office and employees only come to your office to fill out applications and get paychecks. Employees can have checks delivered to job sites and can even fill out applications at the job site. Keep in mind a $3000 a month office requires $10-$12,000 in monthly sales to pay for it. When you can’t park your work vans in front of the house anymore and your monthly revenue permits, it’s probably time to look for a small office warehouse. Most cities have industrial parks that offer low cost, low frill spaces for very low rent.
  2. Decrease Labor Costs: You reduce labor costs by increasing production rates, thereby decreasing payroll costs. This is done by workloading the labor in your building correctly from the start, using and fine tuning your cleaning methods, i.e., Team Cleaning, Zone Cleaning or a combination of the two. This will increase your hourly production rates and decrease your payroll labor costs without cutting your employees hourly rates. If you just start cutting hourly rates to save money, you destroy morale and you can bet quality and customer satisfaction will be casualties as well. Remember the workman is worthy of his /her pay!

    By the way, the crux of my CleanGuidePro Janitorial Bidding Software is its popular Workloading and Pricing screen. You can’t decrease your costs unless you can see your costs, and that’s what this innovative screen enables you to do!

  3. Decrease Inventory: Have a “just in time” inventory. Full warehouses look nice, but floor wax, bowl cleaner, toilet paper, multi fold towels, etc., just sitting in the warehouse costs money from day one (or on day 30 if you have vendor terms). I tried to never have more inventory in the warehouse than I could use or sell in 30 days. Don’t run out, but don’t overstock!
  4. Decrease Delivery Costs:Deliveries to job sites are necessary, but costs money. Fuel and labor costs add up quickly! All deliveries should be coordinated to accomplish multiple deliveries and tasks. For example, coordinate multiple supply deliveries to job sites on the same day if possible. You can even have your traveling floor crew drop off supply orders, paychecks, etc., at various sites along their route. $20 of traveling labor costs saved 5 days a week is $430 a month saved!
  5. Decrease Chemical Costs: Buy chemicals in dilutable, concentrate form to keep costs down. Chemical mixing stations are great also. Products like bowl cleaner and stainless steel cleaner are usually sold “ready to use” (RTU), and cost a bit more, so shop around for good pricing.
  6. Decrease Insurance Costs :You need Insurance! General business liability and auto insurance is a must have. As you grow, your insurance needs grow. Business, auto, work comp, etc. Multiple car discounts, discounted work comp rates through payroll companies, discounts for bundling business and auto, etc. You can save lots of money here! A 2% work comp discount on a $50,000 a month payroll is $1000 a month saved! Shop around and ask for better rates.
  7. Decrease Sales People: I had to learn the hard way that salespeople cost money on day one. To pay someone $500 a week / $2165 a month to go cold calling and chasing leads requires them to sell $8-$10,000 a month just to break even. There’s nothing wrong at all being a salesperson and I consider it a top profession. In fact, I consider myself one and pretty good at it, if I don’t say so myself. It’s just that for janitorial sales the most cost effective, hands down, no close second is a targeted, direct mail marketing program. It’s cheap, very effective and will have customers calling your office every month to place bids.
  8. Decrease Cell Phones: I’m not sure why, but In the beginning I thought it was my responsibility to provide every manager with a cell phone. When (for a short time) I had salespeople, they got one too. I guess I figured if they’re talking business on a cell phone, I should pay for it. At some point, a long time ago, a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that just about everyone has and needs a cell phone and the few minutes they used them talking my business wasn’t saving them any money, but it sure was costing me a lot. Seeing personal, international call charges on my cell phone bill might have been the light bulb moment!

Remember, running your operations smart and efficiently is the #1 way to decrease your costs and increase your bottom line within your existing customer base!

CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Cash Flow – Top Ten Tips!

The definition of Cash Flow is “The excess of cash revenues over cash outlays in a given period of time, not including non-cash expenses.” In layman’s terms, it simply means not only having more cash coming in than going out, but having that “excess” cash coming in when you need it!

For example, if you have $10,000 in revenue coming to you on the 20th of the month and $8,000 due in payables on the 15th, including payroll, what do you do? Do you simply tell  your vendors and employees, “don’t worry, you’ll get paid when I get paid” and expect them to be understanding? Sure, you’ll have a few understanding people, but DO NOT rely on people understanding your cash flow issues! Instead, take the time to create a cash flow system to eliminate the inevitable problems that come from paying late, i.e., employees quitting, vendor credit cut offs, bank overdraft fees, poor relations, credit score reductions and the list goes on and on.

If you’ve got bank lines of credit and can pay all you’re bills on the first of the month, that’s great and I’m happy for you, but I can bet that in the beginning you had to be very savvy with your cash flow to convince the banks to lend to you. Kudos and respect to you! But , remember, borrowed money is the most expensive money.

Let me just touch on my Top Ten free, time tested Cash Flow Tips that have served me well in 25 years in this great janitorial industry. Remember, it’s all about having actual cash on hand when you need it! It’s not easy, but it’s not hard, just have a plan!

  1. ESTABLISH CUSTOMER TERMS: DO NOT start an account and not know when you’ll get paid. My written terms were always billed on the 1st of the month, due on the 15th of the current month for the whole month. If they couldn’t do that, I’d bill them 2x per month, the 1st– 15th due on the 15th and the 16th -30/31st due on the 30th. Hear me, establish terms!
  2. ESTABLISH VENDOR TERMS: Once you’ve established terms with your customers, get with your vendors. If you know that customer payments come in on the 15th and 30th of each month, then set up payments with suppliers due on the 16th and 1st of each month with your vendors. Vendors WILL WORK WITH YOU if they simply know they can count on a payment date. Car payments , cell phones, suppliers, even rent landlords can all change due dates for you.
  3. ESTABLISH COMPANY BUDGETS: Know exactly what your numbers are. What’s your total monthly revenue and expenses each month? When are payments coming in and when are bills due?
  4. ESTABLISH A PERSONAL BUDGET: It’s true that “ the eye is never satisfied”, but have the discipline and restraint to live within your means.
  5. INCREASE REVENUE: No brainer, new customers equal more $Revenue. Continually be looking for more customers and have multiple bids out at the same time!
  6. REDUCE OVERHEAD and INVENTORY: A $2000 a month office requires $7-10,000 a month in revenue to pay for it. I’m not saying don’t have one, but customers don’t come to your office, so make sure it’s a “need” to have and not a “nice” to have. Work from a home office until it’s impossible any longer . Also, have a ”just in time” inventory on hand in your warehouse. Don’t have $1000 in floor wax on hand if you only use $200 a month. Use the other $800 to pay bills.
  7. DON’T FINANCE IT: Don’t finance a $4,000 new floor autoscrubber for 24 monthly payments and a total pay out of $5800, if you can buy a used one for $1500 cash that does the same job! Use your head!
  8. EDUCATE YOURSELF: Do internet searches on cash flow tips, read books on it, read blogs on it, then implement it!
  9. SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES MUST PRODUCE REVENUE!: Make sure all supervisors, managers, etc., are producing monthly revenue! They should be filling in, cleaning buildings, delivering supplies, training new employees, solving problems, keeping costs down, etc. ! They should be the hardest working and most productive employees in your organization!
  10. REVIEW IT: Review your cash flow daily, weekly, monthly and make adjustments accordingly! Do it this month and the next and next and so on. BE DISCIPLINED FOR CASH FLOW SUCCESS!


Follow these simple guidelines and watch your Cash Flow in the right direction and most important, when you need it!
CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

Janitorial Inspections – Top Ten Tips!

What is the real purpose of a janitorial inspection? Is it to find fault, point fingers, let your customer know where you’re lacking? No, it’s to be proactive in finding and fixing the little problems before they become big problems that your customer finds.

The #1 way to keep your customer happy is to keep their facility clean! Don’t ever forget that fact. Yes, your customer needs to like you on a personal level and you need to maintain a friendly, professional relationship, but don’t rely on that to keep you there.

The #1 way to keep a facility clean is to do regular Janitorial Inspections for quality control! Let me just touch on my Top Ten, time tested Inspection Tips that have served me well in 25 years in this great janitorial industry. Remember, people do what you “inspect”, not what you “expect”!

  1. Keep it simple!: One or two page inspections. i.e., Don’t grade every single toilet individually, but give an overall grade of the whole restroom, with comments to your staff about specific deficiencies, like “Restrooms are good overall. Toilet bases and partitions need improvement”, etc.
  2. Frequent Visual and 1 Formal Inspection: Do frequent walkthru visual inspections for you and your staff only and 1 formal inspection for your customer to show that things are up to standards or have been brought up to standards by your inspection date.taking care of things you need to inspect it after it’s been cleaned and before your customer uses the building again.
  3. Have an Inspection checklist: Know what you’re looking for and check off what’s up to standards and what’s deficient.
  4. Inspect it after it’s been cleaned: This may seem obvious, but don’t inspect at the beginning or the middle of a shift. To see how your staff is taking care of things you need to inspect it after it’s been cleaned and before your customer uses the building again.
  5. Know your customers hot spots: Know your customers top priorities. Restrooms, glass doors, dusting? Put extra emphasis on these areas and make sure your staff knows as well.
  6. Fix things now! : When you find deficiencies, fix them yourself now! If a trash can was missed, empty it, if a soap dispenser is empty, fill it. Mark it in your inspection and let your staff know, but take care of it now.
  7. Praise the good!: It’s perfectly acceptable to point out deficiencies, but don’t demoralize your staff. Let your cleaners know what they’re doing right!
  8. Let customers know you’re doing regular Inspections: It strengthens your relationship and shows that your company is serious about taking care of them!
  9. Send your customer a monthly report: This shouldn’t be the inspection that you share with your staff. You don’t want to point out where your staff is lacking, that’s for you and your staff to see and fix. Their report needs to show that things are up to standards or have been brought up to standards by your inspection date.
  10. Do it again: Be consistent! Do inspections this month and next and so on! Whether your customer ever looks at your Monthly Inspection Report or not, they will look at the cleanliness of their building. Remember, the #1 way to keep their facility clean is to do regular Janitorial Inspections for quality control!


If you want to see your customer retention rate skyrocket, do consistent inspections!


CleanGuidePro Successful Residential Cleaning bidderDrake

8 Janitorial Cold Calling Tips!

Most people are daunted by the idea of a “Cold Call”. And when I use that phrase, I mean exactly that. A completely “cold” (in person) sales stop (where no one is expecting you). Nevertheless, janitorial cold calling can be a very effective way to generate janitorial bidding opportunities.

There is no substitute for talking to potential customers face to face and personally offering your services. On the downside, it’s time consuming and (can be, at first) uncomfortable. And very expensive if you opt to pay a salesperson to do this for you.

There are tons of books and seminars on this topic, but let me share what’s worked for me for the past three decades in the janitorial business…

  1. What’s your initial goal?   Initially, it’s just to get information; To find out if this facility outsources their janitorial services, or does their cleaning in-house. If they outsource, how can you get an opportunity to place a bid now (or at the time they take normally accept bids)?
  2. Remember, you’re not selling rubber chickens…   I say that to make the point that we’re selling a “need”, not a “want”. (Although, I do actually own a rubber chicken, not because I needed it, but because i wanted it.) Remember that every facility “needs” janitorial services. Only question is, do they outsource it or not. So, don’t be nervous, they literally need you!
  3. What about the “No Soliciting” Sign?   That’s there for the rubber chicken sales guy, not you! I’m not soliciting, I’m only getting information at this point!
  4. What’s my opening statement to this potential customer?   The first person you almost always see and talk to first is the receptionist. When I walk in, the conversation usually goes as follows:.*Me: “Hi, I’m Drake, with (company name), could you please help me with some information?”

    *Them: They almost always respond ,”how can I help you?”

    *Me: “Could you please tell me the proper way to get involved in the bidding process for janitorial services here? Is there anyone here I could talk to about that or make an appointment with?”

    Then they’ll tell you what you have to do. You might hear, “We take bids next month; Call Mr. So-and-So to make an appointment; Leave me some info and I’ll give it to the person in charge of that”. Then follow up accordingly!

  5. Keep it “cost effective”.   Do the sales calls yourself! If you have an effective Direct Mail Marketing program in place, you won’t need to go out very often anyway! Salespeople are expensive and cost you on day one. Even the huge national companies use them sparingly and rely mainly on marketing and open bid calls.
  6. Best time of day:   Usually between 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm. If you do get a chance to meet with the decision maker that day, avoid lunchtime and the end of day.
  7. Be prepared!   Similar to pre-bid walkthrough tips. Dress professionally , have your cards and brochures on hand. Be ready in case you’re asked to walk the building right then. It does happen a lot!
  8. Practice makes perfect!   An old adage, but so true. The more cold calls that you make and the more time that you put in, the better you’re going to get at it.

Try and have some fun with your cold calls! Relax, be friendly, meet some people, make some contacts… And remember that even “No’s” are a learning opportunity. But you will hear “Yes” too, and when you do, wow them with your proposal!


Just Released! CleanGuidePro’s New Construction Cleaning option!

We know you love using our Janitorial Bidware to produce beautiful janitorial proposals in minutes. And we heard you when you asked for more…

CleanGuidePro is pleased to announce that our Janitorial Bidware now includes Construction Clean bidding!

This new option lets you bid quickly and confidently on the Rough and Final cleaning phases of a construction project. And the Workloading and Pricing screen (that we get so much nice feedback on, thanks) has a new option as well; Construction Clean bids can now price by the Square Foot (or Square Meter) in addition to the standard Profit Margin and Cost Markup options.

Best of all, this upgrade is free for our members. If you haven’t checked us out yet, try our 30 Day Free Trial and start winning more Janitorial and Construction Cleaning bids!


Janitorial Site Supervisor Incentives That Work!

If you want to stay in the janitorial industry for very long – and you should because it can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially – you’ll have to do the math.

Goal + Incentive = Happy Customer

There’s a lot to be said about the first part of the equation – your Goal – and I’ll talk about that in detail at another time. For now, suffice it to say that your goal is to maintain a high level of cleanliness for your customer at a profit. But as we all know, that objective is hard to consistently execute within a narrow profit margin.

That’s where the essential but overlooked second part of the equation comes in, an Incentive for your Site Supervisor. You might ask, “Why should I have to motivate someone to do their job? Isn’t a decent paycheck incentive enough?” Well, after 25 long years of dealing with hundreds of job sites and thousands of employees, I’ve got a short answer for you – NO.

I’m not saying that people are bad or lazy or ungrateful. But when I’m asking folks for above average and excellent work on a consistent basis, the carrot approach has more than paid for itself in my operations. (Just ask my happy customers.)

Any incentive program should be a Win/Win for both you and your supervisors. It should have numerically measurable results and your team should consider its targets to be reasonable and attainable.

Plus the incentive should be adequately enticing. Over the years, I found that nothing works better than a monthly, cash bonus. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does have to be green. “Attaboys” and name recognition in the newsletter are nice – and we issue plenty of these at my company – but those don’t cover the cable bill.

So, for those site supervisors that oversee cleaning crews of three or more people, I offer 3 simple bonuses.

  1. Cleaning Quality Bonus ( $25): Achieved via inspections. A written, quality inspection score of 90-100 earns a bonus of $25.
  2. Customer Satisfaction Bonus ( $25): Achieved via a customer satisfaction survey. A score of 90-100 earns a bonus of $25.
  3. Labor Under Budget Bonus ($2.50 per hour): Between 5 hours under budget and 20 hours under budget, a supervisor earns $2.50 for each labor hour saved (for a maximum payout of $50). Note: Attempting to save more than 20 labor hours per month at a job site will cut into quality.

As you can see, this isn’t an expensive incentive plan, maxing out at $100 per month, per supervisor. But my supervisors love it and the results are undeniable! I just wish that someone had told me early in my career, like I’m telling you now, how effective a simple little program like this can be. In addition to facilitating labor savings, my supervisors have embraced two key metrics – inspections and company surveys – as their score sheets. We’ve all gained quality and productivity and profits that we wouldn’t have attained without a motivation program.

Bottom line: A good janitorial site supervisor incentive program does not cost – it pays!

Get it? Got it? Good! I’d love to hear about any incentive plans that have worked for you or any that you’re considering…