Don’t be overwhelmed by all the cleaning software options!
At some point in the management of your commercial cleaning company, you will come to the realization that your current systems are insufficient. You’ll realize that in order to grow, remain competitive or even just survive, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and make some changes.
So you fire up your computer and google commercial cleaning software. Immediately, you wish you were somewhere else doing anything else!
The flood of terms, features, functions, fees and platforms can be utterly discouraging. Do you need CRM, Estimating or Scheduling? What about work order management and dispatching? Geo-tracking? Project management, employee performance tracking, billing and invoicing, reporting, messaging, notifications, timekeeping, inventory management, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum ad infinitum (that’s Latin for, “Blah, blah, blah.”)
You know you need to research new cleaning software options to help you manage your company, but how in the world do you take the time to wade through the swamp of information without neglecting day to day operations?
Answering these questions before you begin the search will save you some time and headaches.
What Is Important Right Now?
What are you struggling with right now? Is it managing timekeeping, inspections or supply costs? Make a list of everything you see as important in the near future and prioritize the list. Then highlight the top three issues that you want to address.
As you review software offerings, filter them first by your top three needs. Make a short list of the software that addresses these needs and review them first.
What is Your Budget?
This is a hard one. It’s extremely rare that I talk to a BSC that has a ton of cash laying around to invest in software. Most often, spending money on software is a painful proposition for everyone and the source of many a migraine. But just like any other capital investment, you have to justify the expense.
Fundamentally, is it going to make you more money? Will having greater efficiency or saving money on supplies justify the expense? How about reducing labor costs? Could you use better client communications and retention? What about the value of your time? If managing quality audits normally takes you 10 hours, but with the right software only takes 5 hours and yields better results, would that justify the cost?
Spend a few minutes running the numbers. If you spend $200 a month on software, what would need to happen to make it worthwhile? The retention of one $500 per month account? An extra hour or two to dedicate to sales and closing another $20k per year in business?
Build your business case to justify the investment.
What Do Your Peers Say?
Though it may sometimes feel like it, you’re not in this alone. There are ample resources available to help you work through tough questions. Check out trade organizations, local business groups or social media groups on Facebook or Reddit for information and experiences from other software users in your industry.
I have a friend that started a group with other company owners in the same industry but from different parts of the country. He met them at a trade show and they decided they could help each other out since they are not direct competitors. They have quarterly conference calls, an online message board, and even a newsletter. It gives them a forum to discuss common issues and by all accounts, has been very beneficial.
There are also numerous sites that evaluate software by providing comparisons and user reviews. Take the time to read what others have experienced with software.
What Are You Going to Need?
So far, you have identified your top needs, figured out how much you can spend and performed your due diligence to determine the best options. At this point, it’s important to remember not to sell yourself short (or buy yourself short). You get the point! Make certain that the software you select can grow with you. If the one you pick is the very best at handling your three key needs but does nothing else, you will be going through this whole process again in a few years.
Most of the more popular cleaning software platforms offer a variety of functions, some more than others, but a software worth its salt addresses a number of the common industry requirements.
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Pull the Trigger
Before clicking the “Buy Now” button, read every scrap of information on the site, call and talk to the sales representatives and ask for a demo. Make sure you understand what you are buying and what the costs are.
If everything looks good, don’t waste time, pull the trigger and get that thing up and running. Every minute you delay is costing you.