The janitorial business is highly competitive and fraught with several challenges. Success depends on not just seizing the opportunities which come by, but also in resolving latent challenges effortlessly.
High client turnover is a way of life for janitorial companies. The average cleaning company has a turnover of 100% of its accounts every four years.
Businesses which can take such high turnover in their stride stand a good chance of success and remain one-up on competitors. Flexible systems, capable of accommodating one-off and special requests from clients, the ability to add and close accounts quickly, a no-hassles account closure policy, with no questions asked, and similar customer-friendly policies leaves a favorable impression among clients, leading to valuable repeat orders and word-of-mouth referrals.
If client turnover is high, employee turnover is even higher for cleaning companies. The cleaning industry is labor intensive, requiring a large number of unskilled labor. Unskilled labor may be easy to come by, but employees also leave just as quickly, forcing the company to spend a significant sum on recruitment costs.
Cleaning companies who can manage such labor churn efficiently can pass on some of the savings to their customers, and in the process, gain a significant competitive advantage over competitors. The company needs to have an easy and seamless system to co-opt new employees into its network, and make sure the employee separation process is just as easy. A tightly integrated system, which captures the required employee information, updates the background checks, and integrates the HR system to the payroll will enable the enterprise to reduce its payroll and administrative costs significantly.
A tightly integrated system enables supervisors and business managers to enforce greater control over operations. For instance, supervisors can easily tap into the live employee database and identify available employees with the required skill-set for the jobs.
As the business grows in size over time, managing workforce time and actions become challenging. Employers also need to motivate the employee to perform at their best, but unchecked motivation can easily turn counterproductive. For instance, regular customers may start to appreciate the little “extras” their cleaner performs, and assume such free extras for granted, which a new cleaner may not perform.
A comprehensive agreement which clarifies in detail the scope of the contract backed up by a live yet non-obtrusive mechanism to supervise the workforce on a real-time basis, offers an effective solution.
Developing systems for all key functions, such as cleaning, laundry, reporting, supervision, HR, accounting and other functions, provides the company with a sound structure, facilitating consistent and efficient work. It enables supervisors to enforce greater control over all gamut of work, eliminating waste and undertaking the required tasks without delay.
The actual operations of the cleaning business may not exactly be high tech, but a sound system which takes care of core and critical functions such as billing, estimates, payroll, inventory management and more is critical to success.
The cleaning business has to keep abreast of various regulations, many of which are locally mandated, to remain on the right side of the law. For instance, New York prohibits bringing 58 chemicals to schools, and many people are totally unaware of such regulations.
It goes without saying a thorough knowledge of the applicable regulations is an essential requirement when running a cleaning business. Businesses which go an extra mile to make sure they can filter all jobs through a regulatory filter, or make sure they apply all the relevant regulations before starting a job stands in good stead. A system which aggregates, codifiers and updates all the relevant regulations, filtered by area improves effectiveness manifold and also impresses the client. Of course, there is no shortcut to key managers keeping abreast of the latest industry trends and regulations.
The quality of performance determines customer satisfaction. However, while the quality of the cleaning job is very important, it is not the end-all of the things. Only companies who strive to build strong relationships with clients and hold a serious commitment to customer service succeed.
The company would do well to co-opt a real-time or prompt feedback system, which allows the customer to rate the quality of work, and also raise any pain-points or issues promptly.
Take the help of analytics to identify pain-points, cost-sinks, and more.
For cleaning companies, the biggest single expense is labor, and most cleaning companies constantly strive to stay on top of it. However, focusing on labor costs, while ignoring costs such as supplies or even other minor costs, may result in “death by a thousand cuts or small leakage which adds up to a sizable amount quickly. Effective analytics, which tracks the labor, material costs, and all other costs, helps the company stay in sound financial health.
Monitor costs and other critical operating parameters on a regular or near real-time basis, and take a prompt intervention to nip issues in the bud. A mobile app, which offers viability into such critical data, and enables floor workers, supervisors and managers to collaborate seamlessly helps.
The cleaning business is more than just mopping floors and scrubbing urinals. Success requires a well-coordinated effort, backed up by a sound and comprehensive field management suite.