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Putting a Shine and Profit on a Dull Concrete Floor

When looking at a concrete floor most people see a dull gray slab. Not me, I see profit and opportunity. Concrete is one of fastest growing segments of the flooring industry and is finding wide use in all types of residential and commercial facilities around the world. This is a trend that will continue to grow in the future as carpet and other flooring materials lose market share. In an effort to reduce maintenance and labor costs, existing floor coverings are being removed to expose concrete that can brighten a room when cleaned and polished.

Consultant Bill Griffin Attends China Clean Expo 2013

Hello from China. I’ve heard about the China Clean Expo for several years and always thought it would be a good learning experience. Being one who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to learn more about cleaning, I put it on my schedule and bought a ticket to Shanghai.

It took about 14 hours to get here from Seattle via Tokyo Japan on a sometimes bumpy, but otherwise uneventful flight. I know that airplane food has gone downhill over the years, but the mystery meat Delta served for dinner didn’t look or taste like any chicken I’d ever eaten before. Luckily I wasn’t very hungry.

Shanghai China is a big city, with 23 million residents. The air, water and streets are dirty, but the taxis are plentiful and cheap. People here seem to like Americans, several told me that they envy the freedoms we have and the guns we own. People in China don’t get to vote and the police, who are everywhere, don’t carry a gun.

Upselling Your Services

Upselling your services is an important part of building a profitable business. Every customer costs to money to acquire, so it is important to get as much return on your investment as possible. That’s what upselling is all about. At the same time, there are limits, research shows that when the bill goes over $500.00 in carpet cleaning charges in a residential setting you’re chances of having a negative response from the customer is much greater than if your billing rate is in the $250.00 – $350.00 range. (Service Monster Data) Other key elements to profitability and success are repeat business and referrals. New customers typically cost you 66% more to acquire than getting an existing customer to buy again. You could win the battle of upselling, but if you over do it, you lose the war of retaining a long term customer who will tell their friends about the great job of cleaning you did.

Cleaning In the USA – We Live in Turbulent Times

We Live in Turbulent Times
There are a lot of things going on in the cleaning industry right now. On the surface things may look normal and calm, but behind the scenes the winds of change are picking up speed and the breeze is blowing in your direction.

What’s different this time is that it’s not just chemicals, equipment and processes that are changing. The fundamental structure of the cleaning industry in the USA is evolving and I don’t think anybody knows for sure where it’s going. Most everyone involved has their own agenda and a direction in which they would like to move the industry, but I see that as much easier said than done. As you read this a number of different special interest groups and industry associations are jockeying for position in order to establish themselves as “the clearing house” that will represent the cleaning industry when it comes to developing what are known as industry standards. (more…)

Cleaning in the U.S.A.

California Passes School Restroom Cleaning Law
Some would say only in the US. Others might add, only in California. But the fact remains that effective January 1, 2004; SB 892 became law in the Great State of California. The new law mandates that that all education facilities (private, public, parochial, etc.) from kindergarten through 12th grade must keep open and maintain their restrooms in a safe and sanitary condition. Violation of the revised education code may result in withholding of deferred maintenance funds, as well as the associated negative publicity and community displeasure.

The basic tenets of the bill state: Restrooms are to be maintained, cleaned and stocked with soap and paper supplies at all times. All restrooms are to be kept open during school hours, although individual restrooms may be temporarily closed due to safety, maintenance, or renovation issues. If an organization receives a citation, it has 30 days to “cure” the violation or a process may start to withhold state funding from the educational organization. (more…)

Cleaning in the U.S.A

What’s Your Trade Association Done For You Lately?
Now and then I hear association members complain that about the only things they get from trade association membership is a magazine with advertising that’s 3 months old and an invoice once a year.

Have you heard about the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA)? You can join this group for as little as $150.00 year. But here’s the good news. The WFCA offers two scholarship programs for its members and their children. Through their Trade Scholarship Program a member or member employee attend any industry related seminar or training program of their choosing and the WFCA will pay up to $500.00 of the cost. So last year over 500 members took advantage of the program with over $150.000 being dispersed. This year it looks like even more money will be given out. The group also offers an Academic Scholarship program for children and grandchildren of members that will cover up to $2500 in tuition each year. That program dispersed over $100.000 and will do about the same again this year. Any way you look at it the WFCA has some very attractive member benefits. (more…)

Cleaning in the U.S.A

Merry Christmas

I trust everyone had a joyous Holiday Season, with lots of food, warmth and good times. I always tell myself that I should practice the cheer, love and giving of Christmas all year long. But I, like others, seem to get back into the groove and before long, I’ve forgotten the Christmas spirit and it’s business as usual. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

How fast things change in today’s world. In less than 60 days we have come face to face with terrorists snuffing out thousands of innocent lives by blowing up buildings on our shores using our own marvels of technology. Now our mail is infected with anthrax and we are at war with a madman from a land of sand that most people couldn’t find on the map before September 11th. Not good news and not very comforting to anybody who values life, freedom and family, but a reality that peace loving people everywhere must learn to live with on a daily basis.

Cleaning in the USA

It’s not good news. Things are continuing to tighten as companies look for additional ways to reduce costs. This means more layoffs, smaller purchases, and less advertising. As this happens marginal businesses fail, struggling businesses sell and strong businesses merge with one another. I don’t see any end in sight at this time. It wouldn’t surprise me if it takes another 3 to 5 years before we see a true pick up of the economy in the U.S.A. The only way I see us finding a way out of this mess is for businesses to find more efficiencies in the way we operate, provide services and produce products. It’s not going to be pretty, fast or easy. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

Last month I attended the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) convention in Baltimore, MD. It was held June 23rd to 25th at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Approximately 2500 people attended and visited the 376 companies that had 544 booths in the 53,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall. I attended because knowing what building owners and managers are doing gives me a better understanding of that side of the industry and how what’s happening there will impact cleaning contractors and suppliers. I would mention that one sanitary supplier (Leonard Paper Company of Baltimore, MD) had a booth at the show. Other exhibitors included NiSSCO/, Afflink, Ettore, and Cleaning Management Magazine; along with about a dozen contract cleaning firms including ABM, Coverall, Service Master and Jani-King.