General Cleaning Issues - Floorcare, car valeting, buying and selling businesses, pricing, staffing, market research, etc.

Get your thinking caps on
Posted by Musicman (Musicman), 15 October 2003
As this forum achieves its 600th member it is interesting to see the amount of new companies that are using it for guidance.

Any business advisor would recommend that if you are setting up your own business you should stick to something you know, but clearly there are a number of people who are coming into the industry without a cleaning background.

So here, for a bit of fun and condensed advice are three questions to get you thinking.

1.      What motivated or inspired you to set up in the cleaning business?

2.      What makes you different from the other companies that operate in your area? (Why should a customer choose you rather than a competitor?)

3.      What is the most important thing you have learnt that would help others in a similar position?

Musicman

Posted by Fox (Fox), 16 October 2003
Hi
I am certainly not new to the cleaning business having been in the industry for 7 years, however I was very green when I started!  I sort of fell into the business by accident when I started a subsidary for a cleaning company in domicillary care, I got curious about the cleaning side and now run that, employee 80 staff with a turnover of approx 500k.
What makes me different to other Companies is that I actually care!  To me it is not all about 'along as I am getting 3 new jobs a month it doesn't matter if I lose 1' but about client retention. (Although new work is v important for my growth factor).  To keep clients you must have a good relationship with them from the outset and build on it.  However it is your staff that are at the front line.  They must be invested in and respected.  If they are happy their work is good, the client is happy, therefore causing you less problems.
I don't feel that staff retention is all pay related, although the rates you pay help you get staff if they are treated badly it won't make them stay!
My advice is get involved with your staff, show them you care whether they are doing a good job or not, supervise and train.  They will reward you with loyalty and hard work.
Ofcourse I have my staffing problems who doesn't? But if I told you 60% of my staff are stable and have been with me for 12months plus you can see it works.
I notice this is your first reply - I suspect this is because alot of people are new to the industry as you suggested and just haven't got a clue!!!!!
Posted by A_to_Z_Clean (A_to_Z_Clean), 27 October 2003
Hi,
"Pole" is back Grin
q1- law, to stay legaly in this country I need  to open the bussines Wink
q2-speed of responds, quality of work
q3-work hard AND be focus on wath you want!

Adam
AtoZ Clean


Posted by pre-vac_Nick (pre-vac_Nick), 27 October 2003
1, i have been ivvolved in the industry since i left school at 17 in 1991 i worked as the 1st and only apprentice at Prochem Ron Tilley taught me everything i know i owe him alot. I left there at 20 to start on my own but found people diddnt take me too seriously seemingly because of my age and having all the theory knowledge is not the same as having all the pratical knowledge as most of you well know! I then went on to work for Independent Inspections Ltd and that company delt with nearly all the insurance claims for carpets, upholstery and rugs going, spending 7yrs there i really gained my stripes on the pratical side and felt it was time to go alone, i have now been runing my business for 16mths now and im loveing it!! so i suppose my inspiration was Ron Tilly and Prochem.

2 i think what makes me different is i have never done anything else i have been cleaning since i left school and i know nothing else! i think to be different you have to have a passion for cleaning, at first it was makeing money but after i got a steady income it became being better than anyone else in my area but considereing there are so many cowboys in south London its easy aswell as hard at the same time (if that makes any sense!!)

3 the most important thing i have learnt is not what you know but who, i may have a better backgroud than most but i am struggling on the business side so learning about marketing and how to improve my business from other members is invaluble and i thank any of you who have helped me with priceing etc i hope with my prochem and insurance industry knowledge i can help others this site is excellent for a ill scratch your back and you scratch mine sceniero and i think everyone of us should give ourselves a pat on the back!! good on you all Wink
Posted by Natalie_Duffy (Natalie_Duffy), 31 October 2003
Experience of cleaning is not imperative to set-up a business, the crucial aspect is being able to manage your staff.  Employing the right people (who love cleaning) and keeping them satisfied is the most important thing.  It is also important to have marketing knowledge as this is your bridge to your customers.  The reason the cleaning industry attracts so many would-be entrpreneurs is because of the low entry barriers.  Anyone can set up tomorrow if they wanted to.  However, the problems in maintaining a cleaning company is staff!!!  So make sure you have sound HR advice.  Another reason of people being attracted to the industry is the market potential.  The cleaning industry is massive and continues to grow each year.  If you get the formula right, the sky's the limit - however nobody in my opinion has truly cracked the domestic market.  Mollymaids comes close but has low brand awareness, therefore is not a true success.  
Posted by girlfriday (girlfriday), 1 November 2003
I do not have a history in the Cleaning profession as such, I do have 4 small children and as a single parent I often feel like a cleaning lady at home!

I do however, have a background in Human Resources for a large national construction company ao I have an empathy with all levels of staff. what makes me different? being able to step back and look at the bigger picture, all the topics raised so far are all very important, but the tendancy to concentrate all your efforts in one area, be that quality of work or staffing issues is fairly easy to slip into.  

as long as you make sure you cover all angles, which is why forums like this are excellent, you won't go far wrong, there will always be dirt!


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