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Bidding and Estimating

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
The holidays are always a good time for cleaners. Both residential and commercial customers like to tidy things up before the holidays, which often results in requests for carpet cleaning, hard floor care, a little extra service or clean up after a party or event.

For residential cleaners, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest times of the year and then come the middle of January when you might as well close up shop and take a vacation until spring rolls around. In fact many carpet cleaners do just that or find ways to supplement residential work with commercial accounts until things pick up again in the spring.

I’ve got several topics I’d like to talk about this month. I’ll start with the basics and roll on from there.

Happy New Year
It’s the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. This is always a good time to step back a little and take big picture view of your business and life and then put your plans in writing for the upcoming year. One thing I notice is that really successful people and businesses do this consistently. You could look at it as developing a road map or plan for what you want to accomplish next year. It’s a basic concept, but one that is often overlooked by small business owners who are busy doing the work and don’t understand or appreciate the importance and value of regularly setting goals and planning for the future. As my daughter who works for Nike would say “Just Do It”.

Getting on the CIMS Bandwagon
Over the last 7 years I’ve been conducting assessments for the ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS and CIMS-GB) program around the country for in-house operations and cleaning contractors of all sizes. There is no question that I am a strong supporter of the CIMS program, what I want you to pass on to you are the reasons why I support CIMS and here’s what I have noticed.

The CIMS Program is based on operating according the building blocks of a successful business or department. It’s not to say that you can’t be successful without CIMS, but what I’m finding is that your chances are much greater of achieving success if you operate according to the principals that are outlined in the CIMS program. I’ve also noticed that it’s getting more difficult to operate a profitable and successful business or operation than it used to be. Good employees, supervisors and managers are harder to find and even more difficult to keep. Not to mention that customers are concerned about price and quality and have high expectations for those who clean their buildings and the work is more complex than it’s ever been before. What those who operate according to the CIMS guidelines eliminate many of the problems that keep others from operating smoothly and profitably. You can go to: and printout the CIMS standard and the same checklist I use to assess an organization and begin applying the CIMS concepts in your business or department immediately at no cost. Later on down the road if want to get certified as an official CIMS organization, you can, but there is no requirement to do so and you can get many of the benefits that others have paid thousands of dollars to receive, just by implementing and operating according to the principals outlined in the CIMS standard. That’s my Christmas present to you this year. I hope you’ll open it and if you do, I’m confident you will find that CIMS is one of the best things you have ever done for yourself and your operation or business.

Floor Care Profit
The area of cleaning that offers the greatest potential for cost saving and profit these days is hard floor care. Improvements in surfaces, equipment and chemicals are almost non-stop and fast paced. When you look for profit opportunities in your operation or a customer is pushing you for a better price, my suggestion is that you take a serious look at what you are doing with regards to how you maintain hard floors in the facility. If you are still stripping, finishing, burnishing and recoating, chances are you’re passing up an opportunities to reduce floor care cost by as much as 65%. Any way you look at it that is a lot of money that could be in the profit margin instead of the expense column. Diamond impregnated floor pads, nano-coatings, and robotics are some of the key words searches that will lead you to the information you need to update your floor care program and improve your profit margin.