What Differentiates You from Your Cleaning Competition?
Do you know who your cleaning competition is? You may bump into each other at presentations, but do you know what makes each company owner unique? Perhaps the bigger question is: Do you know what sets you apart from them?
If you can’t think of anything that would cause you to stand out as a leader in your area, perhaps it’s time to start focusing on cultivating that part of your business. Troy Hopkins, CBSE, explains how to do this in his book, Making Cents of A Dirty Business: How to Survive and Succeed in Commercial Cleaning. He says, “Especially if you are on a ‘cattle call,’ you want to do your best to clearly outshine your competition.” In other words, if you aren’t the only choice, you need to stand out from the rest!
Know Thine Cleaning Competition
Research shows the commercial cleaning industry currently exceeds $78 billion (yes, billion… with a ‘b’!) annually. In 2015, there were almost 3.5 million individuals employed by the approximately 875,000 janitorial businesses in the United States alone. As staggering as these numbers are, you must then realize that the number of cleaning companies in the U.S. is expected to grow by 1.7% each year.
Talk about cleaning competition!
One reason for this huge pool of janitorial companies is the perceived low barrier of entry into the industry. Perhaps that’s even how you found yourself in this business! However, in his book, Hopkins – an author, trainer, and Area Developer for Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services – reported on findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, saying, “An average of 70% of all independent start-ups, across all industries, are still in business after two years, 50% are still in business after five years, 30% are still in business after ten years, and only 25% last more than fifteen years. The statistics for just the commercial cleaning industry are even worse.”
If you’re not careful, you may find yourself falling victim to these unfortunate statistics. Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success and make your business stand out against the cleaning competition in your area.
Your Business Brand Matters
If you fail to invest in your brand, you will appear small. Hopkins calls this “looking like a small fish in a big pond.” He points out that 64% of business owners report having professionally branded marketing materials. Are you one of the 36% without it?
With the amount of cleaning competition that you’re up against as you attempt to land new business and sales, you must be able to put your best foot forward with every step you take. This includes investing in quality marketing, branding, and logos.
In his book, The Do’s and Don’ts of Contract Cleaning, industry expert Dick Ollek discusses the details of setting yourself up for success from the very beginning, down to even selecting a business name that suits the work that you do. Your business name is your initial introduction to your potential customers… make sure it offers a positive impression! With customers often using Google to find your company, you should be using your business’s name in your website’s domain name. So be sure you can purchase or protect that domain in its various forms in order to safeguard your brand’s identity on the internet.
A Logo is Worth A Thousand Words
Your logo is often one of the most recognized components of your brand. To stand out from your cleaning competition, your company needs to be easily recognized and recalled. Whether it’s visible on your cleaning van, your staff business cards and letterhead, your employees’ uniforms, or the front of the padfolio that you bring to present proposals, your logo should help make your marketing materials more memorable and meaningful.
Realize that with the various applications of your logo (printed, painted, embroidered, embossed, screen printed, etc.) you’ll need to settle on a design that isn’t overly busy, complicated, or confusing. You want your prospective customers to feel confident in your professionalism and polish, not distracted or baffled by your choice of logo or branding.
Who Represents You?
Speaking of not being baffled, your customers should not sense a “bait and switch.” In other words, you might provide a smooth and satisfying professional presentation and proposal, but when your cleaning crew shows up, it’s like an entirely different experience. Naturally, you want to present your business in the best light possible, but to ensure that you stand out in a good way, it’s non-negotiable that you provide your frontline cleaning team with thorough training and access to various training and educational opportunities.
To help your crew stand out from the competition on a day-to-day basis, they should be equipped with quality equipment in good repair, official company shirts or uniforms, and be clean and professional in appearance and manner. They and the work they do are typically the main interface and representation of the kind of company you run. Be aware of the image that they portray. Your cleaning competition should look at the way you and your cleaners carry yourselves and see you as the business to emulate.
How May I Help You?
Not only should your cleaning crew be well-equipped to do their work, but your office staff should be too. Effective office management and communication are two of the most important functions of your business. When prospective customers call or email, you should have someone ready to answer right away, armed with professional responses and solutions. Once you’ve gained a new client and are striving to maintain them as a satisfied customer for the long-term, you must make it a priority to continue keeping those communication lines open.
In Making Cents of A Dirty Business, Hopkins emphasizes this need for good follow-up and communication, saying, “To prove you are a top company, you must communicate well and follow up often. Purposefully seek out feedback – both positive and negative. In this way, you can make improvements and keep your clients satisfied.”
One way to achieve this is to utilize a commercial cleaning software with a dedicated client portal for each of your customers. This technology solution offers a streamlined way to make requests, order tag work, share insights into the effectiveness of your inspections and follow-up, and to avoid the runaround of multiple communication methods that often end in things slipping through the cracks.
Automation Allows You to Stand Out
You carry a very full plate in your business – just like the owners of your cleaning competition do. You’re all out making sales calls, coordinating crew schedules, ensuring maintenance of equipment, presenting proposals, answering questions, attempting to continue your education on the new trends of the industry, and trying to keep a handle on employee turnover.
It’s a LOT to manage, and everyone is wrestling with it. Some, however, are more successful than others at it, and those are the ones who stand out from the rest. If you’re wondering how they do it – and how you can, too! – the answer is automation.
By utilizing a commercial cleaning software designed to make your life easier, your life becomes easier!
- When reports are automatically compiled into an easy-to-read dashboard, you cut out the extra time you spend slaving over numbers and Excel spreadsheets.
- When your employees are able to complete accurate clock-ins using a Chronotek mobile app integration, you suddenly get a handle on the excessive labor expense that is losing you bids.
- When your inspectors can submit streamlined, customized inspections reports from a tablet or other Wifi-enabled device, you can review them quickly and easily in real-time… and make the adjustments necessary to ensure your customers’ satisfaction.
- When communications are contained within a Cloud-based client messaging portal and you can connect with your employees in a single place, you get rid of the mixed signals, missed messages, and stacks of sticky notes on your desk.
Wipe the Floor with Your Cleaning Competition
When you can get away from spending so much time in your business, you get the opportunity to spend time working on your business… and that’s when you can really shine!
To learn more about how commercial cleaning software can help you stand out from your cleaning competition, connect with Janitorial Manager for a FREE live demo.