For any janitor, tricks of the trade make the work easier. But these10 will keep you in business.
If you’ve ever stood in line at the grocery store or read any magazines while you’ve been in your dentist’s waiting room, you know there are pages upon pages of cleaning tips for homemakers, college kids, bachelors, and anyone else who is capable of making a mess. There are “secrets” for cleaning kitchens, windows, bathrooms, patios, basements, home offices, attics, carpets, couches, antique tables, and pretty much any object you can think of.
But if you’re a janitor, tricks of the trade need to go a little beyond the peppy advice from a lifestyle magazine. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Who wouldn’t want to discover expert cleaning tips like the very real advice on one website that suggests putting things away when you’re done using them? (No joking – that really was a tip.)
You, however, are running a business. That takes organization, know-how, and incredible people skills. The tricks of the trade for you aren’t as much how to clean something as they are how to run a successful janitorial business.
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10 Janitor tricks of the trade that will improve your professionalism and make your clients happy
1. Embrace software to help you get organized. You can’t function as a business without organization. You need to track invoices, payments, bills, employee and client schedules, supplies, equipment maintenance, and so much more. The days of doing everything on paper are gone. The good news here is that cloud-based software means you can always have your paperwork with you. Need an on-the-spot proposal? No problem. Want to order more supplies, but you don’t plan on heading back to the office? Fire up your laptop or smartphone, and you’ve got it under control.
2. Keep your equipment in top shape. If you take care of your tools, they’ll take care of you. Worn out equipment performs poorly. That means your team has to work harder for results that probably won’t be as good as your clients expect.
3. Slow down. You team works hard, but you have to give them time to do a job well. Don’t overschedule them, or you could be facing the quantity vs. quality issue.
4. Treat your team well. No one wants to work for a micromanager or someone who considers them expendable. Treat your team the way you would want to be treated. Pay higher wages if you can. Offer bonuses. Say, thank you. Buy pizza for everyone. Happy employees will stick with you, and that benefits everyone.
5. Look professional. As a professional janitor, tricks of the trade don’t usually include the way we present ourselves. This can be a dirty job. But presenting ourselves professionally does a lot to impress upon clients that this is serious work. Even if it’s just a company shirt, uniforms can evoke a sense of security in others and a sense of pride in the work.
6. Act professional. Of all the things you can do to create an environment where your employees and clients feel good about working with you, this is the biggest. Don’t talk about other people on your team negatively. Don’t badmouth clients or spread gossip about them. This will only hurt your business. Be sure you and your team arrive on time to a job site. Introduce yourself to people, and make sure your clients can contact you easily if they have questions or changes to request.
7. Stay ahead of the trends. Over time, there isn’t a whole lot that changes in the world of janitorial services. But when changes do come along, be ready. An excellent example of this was the science around cleaning for the coronavirus pandemic. As we learned more about it, some of the approaches to cleaning changed. If nothing else, the supply chain issues allowed janitorial companies to work on being more organized and resourceful.
8. Offer additional services. Little things like changing the filters in HVAC systems go a long way toward keeping a space clean. Dirty filters blow dust and dirt around. When you change them, you get a bonus. You can and should charge extra for additional services like this, but it also helps a space look and stay clean.
9. Make it easy for your clients to help you. When it comes to janitor tricks of the trade, this might be at the top of the list. You can’t expect your clients to help you maintain clean facilities if they have to go hunting for recycling bins or if the trash cans are overflowing. What can you do? Ensure there are plenty of easily accessible spots for trash. Keep the facilities clean – people are more likely to help keep a place clean if it’s not dirty to begin with. And make sure your clients can contact you quickly. It’s helpful to know in advance if there are any significant issues you might be walking into.
10. Keep your supplies well-stocked. There are lots of good reasons for this, one of which is the simple fact that your team can’t do their job if they don’t have the supplies they need. It also impacts your level of customer service and your ability to retain customers. Your clients want bathrooms that are stocked with soap. They want sparkling floors. They want things to smell fresh and clean. They expect liners in their trash bins. If you’re out of supplies, you can’t meet their expectations.
All these “tricks” of the trade aren’t really tricks at all. They’re just good business practices. Ultimately, though, isn’t the goal to keep customers happy, employ reliable people, and to grow a business in a sustainable way? You don’t need tricks to do that, just a thoughtful approach to your work.
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