How To Manage A Successful Cleaning Business

The commercial janitor service industry may be one of the most competitive industries there is. There are companies of all sizes competing in various geographic markets every day all over the world. Regardless of the age or size of the company they all must adhere to the same principals of effective business management in order to be successful. Poor or irresponsible business decisions can quickly erode a company's reputation and profit and will eventually lead to failure. I have been fortunate to have an opportunity at Central Maintenance to work alongside experienced mentors that have helped me learn the right way to manage this type of business. In my experience the 3 most important factors in managing a successful cleaning business are as follows:

1. Sales, Sales, Sales: New business development is paramount to the success of any company regardless of industry. Implementing effective marketing strategies and consistently executing them will supply a steady stream of new business opportunities. Marketing should continue even as prospects become paying customers to avoid a lull in uncovering new qualified, targeted prospects. To maintain a solid reputation through these growing pains it is important to properly bid each new job. Underbidding can and will result in poor service, customer complaints and a sharp reduction in previously assumed profit. The new account may also be eventually lost which will reflect badly on your reputation.

2. Labor & Supply Budgets: Mismanagement of labor and supply budgets will cut deeply into company profits if not corrected quickly. Closely monitoring employee time at each account and discussing with each employee the importance of not working more than the allotted time will help control excessive labor costs. This is especially important with full-time employees that will receive an over-time rate. Employees that are constantly calling off can also pose a problem if their routines are being covered by other employees that make a higher wage. Policies should be put in place to help minimize employee call offs. Keeping a close eye on supplies is also very important. Going a little over budget on several accounts can make a big dent in profits. Requiring managers to monitor inventory at each account is critical to ensure employees are not over ordering supplies or improperly using them resulting in waste.

3. Fleet Maintenance: On of the largest expenses of a commercial cleaning company is its fleet of vehicles. The size of the fleet is typically determined by the number of accounts and the average labor hours per night that are required to cover call offs and to perform scheduled periodic work. Deciding the right time to purchase another vehicle can be tricky, but waiting too long can cause problems for your customers and damage your reputation. Keeping tabs on maintenance costs of an aging fleet is also important as older vehicles cost more and more to repair as they age. Justifying parting ways with an older, paid off vehicle for a new or newer one is also a balancing act when considering the cost of maintenance versus the cost of a new vehicle. Holding on to an older vehicle or purchasing a new one too soon can also sharply cut into profits.

In conclusion the janitor service industry is a lot like many other services when developing a successful management plan. Acquiring new customers should always be at or near the top of the list. In a service based business effectively managing labor and supplies is critical to making a profit. Staying on top of fleet maintenance is important to ensuring your customers' expectations are being met and your profits are not being cut short. Successful managers are aware of everywhere money is being spent and are always fine tuning budgets to assure they are realistic. This ultimately helps to paint an accurate picture of the company's financial health.

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