Even the most well-established janitorial company will have to contend with some of these challenges.
While we often focus on many of the challenges a new commercial cleaning company may face, running a well-established janitorial company doesn’t mean you can expect smooth sailing all the time. Certainly, the details are different. Navigating through those first few years of business is a learning experience like no other.
But as your business grows, the concerns change. Your customers have certain expectations about your rates and how you work. Your community expects more engagement, and your employees rely on the consistency of their paychecks.
You’ll face other business challenges, too. New janitorial companies will arrive on the scene. Your best customers will relocate or close up shop. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges, as well as some strategies for working through them.
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3 Common challenges your well-established janitorial company can plan for
1. Raising your rates. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll raise your rates. You’ll need to increase wages or benefits, your expenses for supplies will increase, and your office rent will go up. Even if you don’t want to increase your rates, a time will come when you have no choice. As you bring on new customers, you can build the rate hike into the bid. However, raising rates for existing customers requires some finesse. Here are a few tips that can help with the transition:
- Notify your customers well in advance. You want to give them time to plan for their own cost increases. Give them at least 30 days’ notice, or even up to 90 days if possible.
- Honor current contract prices. If you have contracts with customers, honor those rates even if the time stretches beyond your planned increase date. You can increase your rates when the contract renews.
- Explain the situation. Transparency and honesty go a long way in keeping your clients happy, and this is especially true when you’re raising prices. Send out the information with your invoices, emails, or physical newsletter. Help your customers understand your situation; most of them will be okay with a rate increase.
2. Increased competition. Competition isn’t new. Indeed, as a well-established janitorial company, you’ve faced your share of competitors. However, as a larger company, you may find it more challenging to move as quickly or react to a competitive environment. Your advantage here is that you hopefully have a history of excellent customer service and pages of glowing five-star reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. As long as you offer the same excellent service and high-quality work as you did on your first day in business, the competition is nothing to worry about.
Another strategy for staying ahead of the competition, even as a larger company, is to prioritize certifications and additional training for employees. Certifications give you the expertise to specialize and provide clients with the best possible solution for their unique challenges, such as maintaining different hard flooring materials or cleaning carpets in high-traffic areas. Certifications will also help you stand out as a company that takes quality seriously.
3. Maintaining excellent customer service. This can be a tricky challenge. As your company grows, you bring in more people. And as those people become the face of your business, the quality of your customer service relies on them. If you have great people on your team, that’s helpful. But how can you ensure that your entire team is on board with the best customer service possible?
You have a few options here. One option is to make customer service a priority in your hiring, onboarding, and training. That means offering your new employees the same courtesy and consideration you give new customers. Set the example. Another strategy is to treat all of your employees like customers. You can read more about that here, but the general idea is that happy employees create happy customers.
A third option is to offer customer service training as one of your continuing education courses for employees. The Cleaning Management Institute offers a program that trains your team on “handling complaints, diffusing confrontations, taking ownership of tasks, getting along well with other members of the team and much more.”
While challenges will arise, as a well-established janitorial company, you’re likely in good shape to face these challenges. You have the experience, the protocols, and the good will in place to meet whatever may come your way.
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