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ISSA Launches New Member Benefit: Next Insurance

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, 14 hours ago
We know that while you are building and managing a cleaning business, "liability insurance" may probably one of the last things on your mind. But having an affordable and tailored policy at your back will not only protect you in the event of an accident (e.g., client injury or client dissatisfaction) but can also give you the peace of mind needed to help your business thrive.
After extensive evaluation and listening to our members, ISSA is pleased to be working with Next Insurance. Next is the leading digital insurance provider for small businesses in the U.S., and has coverage designed specifically for those in the cleaning industry.
Next Insurance benefits include: 
  • Affordable: Next's policies are the most affordable on the market, generating hundreds of dollars in savings per year
  • Monthly Payments: with Next you can pay on a monthly basis. This means no more expensive, non-refundable, upfront payments
  • Tailored Policies: your policy is designed specifically for you and your business
  • Free Online Certificates of Insurance: access and share your digital certificate of insurance directly from Next's website
  • Free Online Additional Insureds: need to add a client to your policy? No problem, instantly add them as an Additional Insured directly from Next's website at no extra cost
We know insurance can be confusing. If you've ever got a question Next has a team of certified insurance advisors taking calls 11hrs/day.

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Thank You Alison Palmer!

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Thursday, May 31, 2018

By RJ Patel


Alison Palmer, owner of Custom Maid in Virginia Beach and a two-time president of ARCSI, recently retired from the ISSA Residential Cleaning Council. Throughout her membership with ARCSI, Alison has gone above and beyond in her leadership and service to the association when it was ARCSI and even now as a division of ISSA. And while Alison’s presence on the Council will be greatly missed, it has presented us the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Alison for her efforts to keep ARCSI from going under when faced with struggles early in its existence. Alison, along with other pioneers, took over running the young association – everything from financials to membership records, until they found their future executive director.


I sat down with Alison to talk with her about what she has done for ARCSI and what this group means to her.


RJ: Alison, you are one of the Pioneers of the residential cleaning industry, especially when it comes to the existence and growth of ARCSI. What does that mean to you?

Alison: Actually, I discovered ARCSI after many real pioneers put in blood, sweat, and tears.  Some of the hardworking, passionate people who laid the foundation and made ARCSI a reality are David Kiser, Tom Stewart, Debbie Sardone, Brenda Schwery, Alonzo Adams and Richard Wilson.  They created a solid foundation.  I found ARCSI in 2006 and it was already growing. 


Now for your question about what ARCSI means to me.  It’s a thriving community of like-minded residential cleaning business entrepreneurs.  After 21 years in business, I discovered friends and colleagues who are willing to share their knowledge and to brainstorm to find new, innovative solutions to old problems.  Being with such remarkable people gave me a new passion for my own business.


RJ: What was it about having an association for residential cleaning company owners that drove you to work so hard to maintain its presence?

Alison: The members of ARCSI come to the association because they want a place to hone their skills and to become more professional.  Owning a residential cleaning business (or any other business, I suppose) can be a very lonely, isolated existence.  Our ARCSI community relieves lots of stress. Aside from learning new things about cleaning and about running a business, I think members get validation that they are already doing most things just right.


RJ: What challenges did you experience as a three time President of ARCSI? How were you able to overcome them?

Alison: It’s always been a challenge finding potential new members.  When we contact a business owner, there is a certain amount of skepticism about why we would be contacting them.


Also, budget is always an issue.  In order to offer top notch speakers and educators and to put on shows like the annual convention and the Leadership Summit, it takes money.  In the beginning, there was very little!!


RJ: What was the most important decision you made during your two terms as president of ARCSI?

Alison: Calling an old college friend who was in the association management field to find out where to look for a new executive director.  He gave me tons of great information on places to find the right person, then he threw his hat in the ring.  And, as they say, the rest is history.  Ernie Hartong has been an amazing leader since 2009.  All of you know Ernie and what an undeniable force he is.  He has brought his enthusiasm to ARCSI and without him, we would not be what we are today.


RJ: If I’m an owner of a cleaning company and not currently a member of ARCSI/ISSA, what would you say to me?

Alison: I would reach out my hand to you and ask you to join out community.  Some wise person once said you don’t know what you don’t know.  ARCSI education, from Hot Topic Tuesdays to convention and the Leadership Summit get you to think in strategic ways to help your business grow.  There is nothing so infectious as helping others make their business successful and that is what ARCSI is all about.


RJ: Can you look into your crystal ball and tell me what you see with the Residential Cleaning Industry?  

Alison: Now a consumer can go online, get a price, sign up for service and schedule their first appointment.  I would caution business owners not to lose the personal touch that has defined our industry in the past.  Never get too far away from your customer.


RJ: In one word, Alison, what does ARCSI mean to you?

Alison: Passion. ARCSI will always be my passion. 


# # # #


After talking to Alison, I talked to my fellow members of the Residential Cleaning Council – many of whom have known Alison for more than 10 years. I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful things they had to say about Alison.


“Alison, we have worked together for many years and sometimes we didn't see eye to eye. But I always admired your love, commitment, and dedication to the association. You were always willing to do whatever it took. Bless you and thank you!” 

Alonzo Adams, Busy Bee Cleaning Company, West Chester, PA


“Alison-a very wise women with a huge heart and such a passion for this industry and the people in it. I think she is proud of the work that has been done and will look forward to the work that will be done. She was a great help for me in making my decision to move forward with the fate of Harmony Clean. She will be missed but I am super happy for her, well deserved.”

Vicki Brown, Harmony Clean Doylestown, PA


“Alison Palmer is a quiet champion with a deep well of energy, intelligence, wisdom, and generosity.   Ask yourself…where would ARCSI be without Alison rolling up her sleeves, and working hard, much of it on her own dime and to make this industry better? We’ll never know, because she did it – whatever was needed. She is an amazing woman!”

Brenda Stankus, Classic Touch Cleaning, Richmond, VA


“I met Alison at her first ARCSI event in San Diego in 2004.  She quickly stepped up as a leader growing ARCSI and promoting professionalism in the house cleaning industry.   Allison did a lot of heavy lifting as President of our association when there was a lot of heavy lifting to be done.  We all owe her a great debt of gratitude for her hard work and contributions.”   

Tom Stewart, Castle-Keepers, North Charleston, SC


“When I think of Alison, the words thoughtful, giving, and outgoing define her. I have had the privilege over the past 7 years to work with her and watch her dedication to ARCSI and its members. She is a treasure to the organization and a pleasure to call my friend.”

Dee Strickland, Zing Zap Cleaning, Minneola, FL


“Alison is very special to me.  She is a rock...a real gem.  I love when I am sitting on the sofa by myself a few years ago she just started texting me because she was watching the Sea-hawks game and thinking of us in Seattle,  So thoughtful...always.  One day out of the blue she calls me to ask the colors of my living room.  Shortly after I received a package with a homemade knitted blanket.  I keep it on my sofa and on weekends when I have time to sit and sip my coffee and read I wrap myself in my Alison blanket.  I am so blessed to have Alison in my home each and every day.  She will be missed by many in the association but missed by me in more ways than one.  Thanks Alison for all you do for all of us and making me a special person in your life.  Love you!”

Stacie Sutton, Simple Clean, Seattle WA


 “Alison stepped in at a critical point in ARCSI's history. She saw critical problems that others had glossed over and made some hard decisions. For the better part of a year her main job was ARCSI. She gave freely of her time and resources. I don't think it would be wrong to say that without her, there might not be an ARCSI now.”

Bruce Vance, Town & Country Cleaning, Chapel Hill, NC




Please take a moment and share your thoughts on Alison Palmer and her contributions to our association on this blog post!



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Connect with your Global Peers

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Friday, May 25, 2018

ISSA Engage is a new online platform for idea exchange among members worldwide! 


ISSA, your industry association, strives to provide you with resources and opportunities to learn from and connect with peers and experts--not just locally, but on a global scale. To help you achieve a deeper connection, ISSA has teamed with the European Cleaning Journal to produce a new quarterly members-only online platform titled ISSA Engage.


Among the many insights included are:

  • Industry Best Practices
  • Idea Exchange
  • Cleaning News from Around the World
  • Global Events Calendar
  • Short Video Tips
  • Reports and Data
  • And much more!

Explore Now!

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ARCSI Wall of Fame

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, April 10, 2018


One of the things we did when we moved to our new office was to create an ARCSI “Wall of Fame” (see picture below). As I stood back and looked at those 29 pictures of Past Presidents, Past Professional Cleaners of the Year, and Past Presidents Award winners I was humbled by what was on the wall. What an unbelievable amount of talent, leadership, dedication, commitment and engagement those pictures represent.


I am not going to name them all here, but you can download a pdf that lists them all. I have had the privilege of serving as your Executive Director since 2009. In my job I get a new boss every year or two. I had the pleasure to work with six presidents, one of them twice, and the current Residential Council Chairperson RJ Patel. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know and work with the three past presidents who served before I arrived. These ten people all have very different personalities, very different skill sets, and different visions for the future. They have three very important things in common. First, with one exception, they all still own and run a residential cleaning company. Two, with no exceptions, they have a great passion for and still work very hard for the success of your association. Three, from my perspective, they all did a great job for you. They are all my eyes and ears for member feedback and concerns. They have made some tough decisions over the years, but they always made them with what they believed was in the best interest of the association.


The longest line of pictures is our Wall of Fame is the Professional Cleaner of the Year group. The award was first presented in 2006, and the twelve award recipients were truly exceptional professional cleaners and representatives of their companies when the award was presented. Although some of them are no longer with the industry, I am quite sure they are truly exceptional individuals to this day.


Finally, a most interesting group is our former Presidents Award, now Chairman’s Award winners. This award was started in 2011 to recognize those key “non-cleaning” staff people who are essential to success in any company. They do everything from training, to HR, to customer service and sales, to accounting and payroll, and a lot of things that are probably not in their written job description. They are the “whatever it takes” group. Interestingly, I am aware of two of them who now have ownership in their companies.


All 29 have something in common. I desire to see the level of professionalism in our industry continue to improve. There is a very wide range of ages, experience, and expertise, but they are all cleaning industry professionals, who are engaged with their trade association and want it to improve. Our 2018 awards applications will be out sometime in May and I am looking forward to adding your professional cleaner or key “in-house” person to our Wall of Fame.


Hope to see you in Tucson at our Leadership Summit and most certainly in Dallas this fall.

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Meet Up With Your Friends at the Leadership Summit

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Monday, January 15, 2018

If all of your friends were going to Tucson for the first-ever Leadership Summit, would you? You better believe you would!


The 2018 Leadership Summit is the premier spot to gather and network with your peers in a sunny and fun atmosphere. Did we mention top-notch leadership training? Three nationally-known educators will share their knowledge and experience in an engaging and dynamic environment.


  • "What You Can Learn from Iconic Business Leaders"
    Jeff Haden, Author, Speaker, Ghostwriter
  • "Four Key Leadership Traits, from the CEO Genome Project"
    Chris Trendler, Consultant, ghSMART
  • "The Game Has Changed: How Today's Buyer Has Changed and What Your Business Must Do About It"
    Marcus Sheridan, President, The Sales Lion

You know this is an event you don’t want to miss so why not register today to get the $100 discount.


Remember, the early bird gets the worm – and they save $100!


Visit for the full schedule and registration information.

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The Top 10 Ways to Get Your Best People to Quit

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Monday, November 27, 2017

By Mel Kleiman


Ever wonder why one of your best people really quit? The following list is even truer today than when we first published it as a Hiring Hint in 2013!


10. Don’t make each new hire feel welcome and valued. Employees are most impressionable during the first 60 days on the job. Every bit of information gathered during this time will either reinforce your new hire’s “buying decision” (to take the job) or lead to “New Hire’s Remorse” — especially if you shunt them off to fill out reams of paperwork and watch training videos while you do “important things.”


9. Treat everyone equally. While this may sound good, your employees are not equal. Some are worth more because they produce more results. Some prefer hands-on management while others would rather take the ball and run with it. The key, then, is not to treat them equally, but to treat everyone fairly and with respect.


8. Enforce dumb rules. I did not say enforce no rules, I said don’t enforce dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to deal with rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the company’s stated values.


7. Don’t recognize outstanding performance. Remember Psychology 101 — Behavior you want repeated must be recognized and rewarded immediately.


6. Don’t keep your people informed. If you don’t tell them what’s up, the rumor mill will. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly.


5. Don’t develop an employee retention strategy. Employee retention deserves your attention every day. Make a list of the people you don’t want to lose and, next to each name, write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board.


4. Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players and they will come to resent the need to carry the load for any slackers you keep on payroll.


3. Don’t do employee-retention interviews. Instead, you wait until a great employee is walking out the door and conduct a posthumous exit interview to see what you could have done differently to keep them on board.


2. Don’t have any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? The notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and enjoyable and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.


1. Micromanage everything. Squash creativity and innovation in the bud by telling them what they need to do and exactly how to do it. Don’t tell them why it needs doing or why their contributions are important. And, above all, don’t ask for their input on how it might be done better.


For more from Mel Kleiman, visit the Humetrics blog.

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Data Driven Decisions

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Thursday, November 2, 2017

By Ernie Hartong, ARCSI Executive Director


Thank you to the 131 people who submitted data for our 2017 Benchmarking Survey. I am a firm believer that data driven decisions are most times, if not always, better decisions. This year’s survey cannot only help you make decisions for your business, but also helps our staff make better programming decisions.


Here are a few highlights:

  • 56% of the respondents had gross sales of less than $500,000, and 18% were over $1 million, numbers which certainly reflect the ARCSI, A Division of ISSA membership.
  • 35% of the respondents reported a growth rate of more than 10% in 2016
  • The largest number of respondents came from the south region, 43%
  • 34% of the respondents have more than 200 repeat clients
  • Only 39% reported a formal training program with testing
  • Not surprisingly, the top business challenge was recruiting & retraining quality employees
  • 65% of the companies that reported a turnover rate of less than 10%, pay $13-$15 per hour

The downloadable version of the complete survey is available in the ARCSI Online Store. It is 30 pages of data and information that will allow you to see how your business compares to the rest of the industry and can help you make better data driven decisions.


This and That


Thank you gain for everyone who helped in making our 2017 Show and Convention a success. The new “Residential Pavilion” received rave reviews from the attendees and the vendors. Mark your calendar now for Dallas, October 29 – November 1, 2018 and plan to bring your Halloween costume. Remember, everything’s bigger in Texas!

We are nearing the end of our first year with our merger with ISSA. I believe it has gone well and we have been able to provide members with additional resources and we certainly have received great staff support from our colleagues in Chicago. Their help will allow us to launch several new programs in 2018.


Send me your comments regarding what you would like to see us do new in 2018, or improve upon with our existing programs. We can’t fit it, if we don’t know about it. Email me at


See you in Tucson in April!

P.S. Halloween is the best time to have grandkids! 

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Pricing Is a Critical Component for your Business

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“If you don’t get the pricing component correct, you will suffer in your business,” Debbie Sardone told attendees at the October 10 Hot Topic Tuesday from ARCSI, A Division of ISSA. Debbie is a leading expert in the cleaning industry, starting her business Buckets and Bows out of the trunk of her car and growing it to one of the largest maid services in the country. Her global consulting business, The Maid Coach, also helps maid service owners get where they want to be in business.


You need to do your research Sardone told the audience because “pricing is definitely geographical.” That means there is no standard pricing for the industry. Pricing will vary depending on where your business is. Sardone said that unfortunately, “with a lot of companies, their pricing does not reflect their area of the country.”

She stressed the need to make sure owners are “fully aware of the prices in your area.” She suggested calling around and getting some quotes so you can compare your prices to your competition.


But, as a member of ARCSI, A Division of ISSA, you have joined the ranks of the professional community. What does that mean for pricing? Sardone urged owners to stop comparing their prices with the cheap underground community. “If you are truly a professional, compare yourself with other professional companies.”


As a professional cleaning company, Sardone explained that the pricing formula will be a little different. As a professional, your prices will be higher because customers will be paying for your experience and your expertise.


If you missed Debbie’s Hot Topic Tuesday, you can download the call from the ARCSI online store as soon as it’s available. All Hot Topic Tuesday calls are available for free download by members in the store. Check out many of the past calls and discussions that you may have missed.


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Thank You to Our Show Volunteer Team

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

“There is no ‘I’ in team, but we sure are glad there is ‘u’ in our volunteers!”


Image result for volunteer quotesIf you have ever been to the ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America Show (previously known as the Cleaning Convention), you know just how busy and overwhelming it can be. Hopefully, to the attendees’ eyes, everything goes as planned – speakers start on time, evaluations are distributed, registration runs smoothly, the booth is manned, etc.

With only three people on the ARCSI staff team, getting everything done that needs to be done if quite literally impossible. In come our wonderful, talented and generous volunteers! Without their help, our well-oiled machine would run like car with wooden wheels, which is to say not well.


 We want to be sure we recognize the many attendees that pitched in this year – your contribution is truly appreciated!


2017 ARCSI Show Committee

  • Amy Wiggs King
  •  Mitch Baker
  • Roger Borges
  •  Vicki Brown
  • Kim Galbraith
  • Suzanne Hayzlett
  • Marlo Kanipe
  • Yusuf Mehmetoglu
  • Coreen Recob-Merry
  • Tanya Schoepflin
  • Warren Weiss


2017 Show Volunteers

  •  Gosia Baran
  • Gemma Beylouny
  • Molly Bloomquist
  • Paul Fried
  • Kim Galbraith
  • Kim Graham
  • Michael Grecky
  • Suzanne Hayzlett
  • Marlo Kanipe
  • Asha Patel
  • RJ Patel
  • Greg Smith
  • Sharon Tinberg
  • Pamela Trickett
  • Amy Wiggs King


Thank you to our volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you!


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At the Show!

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, September 12, 2017

By Erin L. Lasch, CAE, Director of ARCSI Communications


This week, I am at the Show. What does that mean? It means that we are living and breathing ARCSI and INTERCLEAN 24 hours a day this week. We come together with our cleaning counterparts and put together what we hope is a quality education program filled with ample opportunity to network with your peers.


We focus on education, knowledge, training and learning. We want our members that attend this event to have clear takeaways when they leave. We want our attendees to be able to identify what it is they learned, how they can take it back with them to their business and then use it immediately.


To that end, we have great speakers. We have Nancy Friedman kick off the 2017 Residential Cleaning Connection track at the 2017 Show talking about the “forbidden phrases.” What are the things you should never say to a customer????? You would know if you were here. In another session, Pam Washington didn’t even have standing room left. Attendees were sitting on the floor and lined up in the hallway to hear her session and learn how to build their dream business. We closed the day with our roundtables, beginning with one large roundtable lead by Liz Trotter. The topic – hiring! Hiring is a huge concern for this industry and during this forum, attendees were able to ask questions and get answers and ideas from lots of other attendees.


Does that education sound valuable? You better believe it does!


Now let’s talk about the other side of the Show – the networking, connecting and fun! Our attendees have a strong bond with each other. They have put their hearts and souls into their businesses and they have a genuine affinity for those who do the same. They are like family. They come to the Show every year to visit, reconnect with old friends, make new contacts and build relationships.


The Show every year is more than a conference. It’s almost like a “family reunion on steroids.” So when I say I am at the show this week, I am at the Show. I am helping to put together the education and networking events so my ARCSI family has a place to come together!


If you missed the Show this year, make a promise to yourself to come next year! You won’t be sorry you did.


See you in Dallas!





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