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June 11, 2010: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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The Residential Cleaning Connection

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional

June 11, 2010 - Vol. 1, Issue 3

From the President... 


I wonder how many of you realize that ARCSI, which has given us all so much support, knowledge, shared wisdom and life long friendships, runs on a motor of volunteerism.

We are amazingly fortunate to have two highly qualified professionals, Ernie and Chris, in our home office to keep the day to day things on an even keel. But it is you, each of you, on whom we rely to participate on committees, volunteer your time and expertise for the benefit of ARCSI.

ARCSI is a not-for-profit trade association that is actually owned by the membership. You all have a stake in our success. We have focused all of our committees in one way or another on membership: growing membership, retaining current members, providing value for your membership and educating our members in best industry practices, creative ideas in all fields from human resources to marketing to finance.

Let me tell you about some of our exciting, vibrant committees so you can decide where your skills and interest might best be used.

The Membership Committee (chaired by Teresa Ward) is working on growing our membership. We need people who are willing to make a few calls to prospective members to let them know the benefits they have gotten from their memberships. We are also working on creative ways to reach out to companies who are not members to let them know about ARCSI.

The Ambassadors (chaired by Liz Trotter and Lanette Richmond) fulfill many roles. During the course of the year, they reach out to new members to welcome them to the ARCSI family. At the convention, they run a fund raiser to benefit the Association. They always come up with creative, fun ideas for the convention activities. This year they are planning to host a reception for new members and members attending their first convention on the first night in Orlando.

The Franchise Committee (chaired by Amanda Collucci) is working on ways to reach out to the franchise community to try and bring them into our group. If you own a franchise, we would love to hear your perspective on this. What do you get from your ARCSI membership that you don't get from your franchise organization?

The Vendor Committee (chaired by Derek Christian) is working on creating relationships with vendors from chemical companies to public relation firms to human resource companies to software providers and website designers. This benefits our membership by negotiating special deals and discounts for ARCSI members as well as identifying expert speakers for our semi-annual events.

The Web 2.0 Committee (chaired by Alonzo Adams) is working on optimizing our website, reaching out to potential members through social media like Face Book, Linked In, Twitter and Plaxo. They are also looking into creating a separate website for consumers to drive them to our members' websites. If you are good on the internet, this committee is for you!

The Convention Committee (chaired by Dee Strickland) is planning the Annual Convention. From the moment you arrive in Orlando to the moment you leave, this committee is working to create the very best opportunity ever for you to learn and network! This committee puts together the roster of speakers and subjects, plans the Welcome Reception, the evening of networking/round tables, the President's Reception, the Professional Image Awards, as well as everything that goes on in the booth. Right now this is our busiest committee.

Shortly we will be forming a new committee to plan our Spring Executive Leadership Conference. This committee needs a Chair. We will be scouting potential speakers and subjects as well as locations and putting together the whole enchilada!!

So, long story short, get involved! TO download a complete committee list with descriptions, click here. Find a committee that tickles your fancy and contact either Ernie ( or Chris ( or me ( and we will get you hooked up with the right committee for you. If you are a new member, or a little shy, do yourself (and me) a favor: call me at 757-477-3922 and we can talk about it.

When I first joined ARCSI I was a shy, retiring, only semi-confident person and my work for this Association has been the most rewarding of my life. In case you haven't noticed, I'm out of my shell and you can be too! Really, call me!!!

Until next time,


How is Business?

Please take our 10 second survey and let us know: Is your business better in June 2010 than it was in June 2009?
Click here to participate.

Thank you!

Core U: Developing a Culture of Excellence Through Training & Reinforcement

ARCSI and Rags to Riches are offering a 2-day live seminar in Denver on July 23-24, tackling some of your toughest problems: recruiting career cleaners, efficient employee management and how to put together an employee handbook.
In addition, special sessions are offered for cleaning companies with less than four employees, five or more employees and 60 or more employees. Issues like non-competes, employee surveys and improving staff communication will all be covered. There really is something for everyone!

Don't miss this chance to build the core of your company, your cleaners. Invest just ONE DAY from your busy schedule, and you'll gain essential techniques and strategies sure to bring you success for years to come.

To learn more and register now, click here.


 Good PR: How They Got It, How They Used It

You don't need a public relations (PR) specialist to get you and your business some great press. Do you donate cleanings to designated members of the community? Are you involved in local relays or fund drives?

ARCSI member and green cleaning company Harmony Clean recently asked the question, "Who inspires you to be green?" The response resulted in heart-felt nominations being submitted along with prizes being awarded including 6 hours of green house cleaning, gift buckets filled with non-toxic cleaning supplies, and organic T-shirts proclaiming green living.

"We were not at all surprised by the volume of interest produced by the contest, but what did catch us by surprise was that the folks writing the essays could have easily been nominated themselves for their green living and contributions,” said co-owner of Harmony Clean, Debi Sarandrea.

The nominators were also given gift packages as thanks for taking their time to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of their friends. LisaBeth Weber, an environmental advocate, writer, and owner of CausePins, nominated first place winners Jeff & Cheyenne Mease (all are pictured at left, with Darandrea).

So how, exactly, does an Earth Day Contest help a residential cleaning service?

Good P.R. can help get you clients. Sarandrea ran this Earth Day contest back in April and is still getting P.R. from it. The announcement of Harmony Clean's Earth Day contest, and the winners, was picked up by two local online sites ( and directed specifically at women. The local newspaper, The Bucks Herald, also ran a story along with pictures of the winners. In addition, the winners and second-place finishers received certificates that they plan on using in their marketing, resulting in more name recognition for Harmony Clean.

"I don't necessarily expect to get new clients from it, but when Joe asks his colleague for a recommendation on a house cleaner and is told Harmony Clean, a light bulb will go off in Joe's head with all the times he's seen or heard of our company. He'll already have an affinity to us rather than our competition who does little or nothing to support our community."

Sarandrea also offers gift-bucket auction items every month to local schools and non-profits for fund raising, supports the annual Relay For Life, and cleaned for Habitat for Humanity. Even small P.R. clips like sending out a photo and small blurb to the business section of your local newspapers on promoting someone within our office can gain both exposure and clients.

Once you have those clients, good P.R. can help remind them why they chose you over someone else and why they stick with you. When your client notices that the team may have missed cleaning something, but at the same time they are reading in the paper about how your company and teams volunteer in the community, they are more inclined to go easy on the criticism, and more gently give their feedback on the phone. Good P.R. is a crucial part of good customer service - which is key to keeping clients for the long run.

So how can YOU generate some great PR for your business?

  • Support local and national organizations by being a sponsor or donating goods or services.
  • Get involved in your community through in organizations like Cleaning for a Reason, Cleaning for Heroes and Cleaning With a Meaning. Write a brief press release or article and send it, along with photos, to your local newspaper. Also publish these efforts on your website.
  • Donate a cleaning (or cleanings) to local charities for an auction.

These are just a few ways that the good that you're already doing can help your businees grow. The more clients you have, the more good you can do!

To register for the June 15 Hot Topic Tuesday call on PR and Community Involvement featuring Debi Sarandrea, click here.

ARCSI's Christian Featured for Uncommon Retention Strategy

CNN Money recently featured ARCSI Board member and My Maid Service owner Derek Christian and his unique approach to turnover: Training his employees for their next job.

During his first year as owner (he bought an already established cleaning company), staff turnover was 300% and money alone wasn't enough of an incentive to get his staff to stay. So Christian brought in a consultant, who helped him come up with an unusual solution: My Maid Service would pay to train its employees for new jobs. 

"The agreement is employees must work for two years," Christian says. In return, he meets one-on-one with each employee and works with them on a customized career plan. Some workers are aiming to become office managers or cleaning service supervisors, while others are drawn to industrial jobs like being a medical assistant.

Christian pays for training classes online and at local community colleges. The cost is modest, with most local classes charging $75 to $100. Some workers also pick up training assignments at the cleaning service, such as designing an advertising campaign to develop their marketing skills.

Thanks to the training offer, some new pay incentives, and monthly performance reviews, My Maid Service's turnover rate for its 32-full time employees hit zero in 2009. Christian expects attrition in 2011, when his current crop of employees will complete their training classes, but he's confident his new hires will be similarly loyal.

A stable employee roster boosts sales. Having one employee cleaning a house for an extended period heightens consistency, builds trust with customers, and reduces the possibility of theft. "The lower employee turnover rate leads to higher customer retention," Christian says.

To read the entire article on CNN Money, click here.

On the Road With Peter Chakonas: Indianapolis Edition

On my way to the ELC in Arizona I made a pit stop in Indianapolis, Indiana - The Hoosier state. Indy has a special place in my heart and always will. For four years I called it home, so going back to Indy is like going home for me. I have family there am blessed to have them as in-laws; they are my late partners Mike’s family. So any chance to go to Indy I go.

But Indy’s claim to fame is the famous Speedway home of the Indy 500. I did not get to the track this trip but I have "been there done that,” got the hat, T shirt, sweatshirt and shot glass (yes I love to shop I do it real well!).

Indianapolis is a metropolitan city just on the edge of Eastern and Central Times zones, so in the summer the sun is still visible in the sky until just after 10pm. Also known as "the flat land,” the city has a nice sky line with one large building in the middle of it, although I don’t know it’s real name. I know it as the "Transformer building.” That’s what Mike called it, because at night it looks like a Transformer. It is a pretty city that has a river walk - which makes a nice walk on a pretty day - lots of shopping and things to see in the downtown area. You can make a day of it there.

Just north of the city is Fishers, Indiana - the home of HouseKeeping Maid Easy and owner Monika Christensen. She is a lot of fun to be around. In Chicago this last year we seemed to connect. Though we had met before, we really just hit it off this trip. I told Monika the next trip to Indy I was going to stop and say "Hi”, so I did just that.

It was like we were old friends. We went to lunch had a great time. We chatted and laughed and laughed, as we all know some days in our businesses is like a soap opera: there is never any shortage of drama. Monika came from Michigan where she was a teaching director. Her husband took a job offer in Indy she left her teaching job. After settling into the area she had ambitions of doing something like a business. She did research and cleaning just made sense as she had a sister-in-law who has an extremely successful cleaning business located in Michigan, (Housekeeping Associates also an ARCSI member) and a friend that owned a cleaning franchise.

Then one day, doing some surfing the web, she found ARCSI. She took a look to see what it was all about since she was just in the beginning stages of her planning her business.

As a former Theater director, she knew she needed to find "mentors" who had gone before her to learn from; successful housecleaning business people who she could learn from. So she contacted some ARCSI members. With the generous wisdom, open sharing and advice of ARCSI members Brenda Schwery and Lanette Kroll on how they were running their businesses (and, If I may say, two great people to get help from), she found the courage to apply for an SBA loan and open her doors with 3 full time staff Jan. 2006! Monika just passed the 4 year mark and is doing very well considering the economy.

In Monica’s own words: "By joining ARCSI, it opened me up to world of information and wealth and incredibly helpful people whose time, personal sharing and encouragement gave me a lot of helpful information during my planning and start up phase. I am forever grateful for their continued assistance whenever I have questions or need advice. I have benefited tremendously by the relationships, mentoring, conferences, website and publications over the years. I have learned from others so many things and have tried to assist or help anyone that has come to me for encouragement or with questions. Joining ARCSI was worth every penny of the investment!”

Monika now has one full-time trainer/quality inspector, seven full-time cleaning staff,  three part-time cleaning staff, one part time window guy, and one part time office assistant.

My next stop is Arizona home of, THE 2010 ELC.

June 23 Teleconference: Winning With People

Sharon Tinberg


Brenda Schwery


Liz Trotter


Richard Wilson


Join panelists Sharon Tinberg (Rags to Riches, Success Maid Easy), Brenda Schwery (Maid to Please) and Liz Totter (American Maid), along with moderator Richard Wilson (Brittany Maids) for an in-depth look at how a process-driven system and a well-implemented quality program can help close estimates, keep employees on course and significantly lower your attrition rate.

  • Learn how a process driven cleaning system will keep your employees on course.
  • Learn how a process driven cleaning system will enhance client perception.
  • Learn how a process driven cleaning system will deter employee turn over You won't have to worry about who is working in your company anymore - it's not about who they are.
  • A culture of excellence can be created using systems and processes.
  • If you can envision it - you can have it!
  • Learn how a well implemented quality program will keep your employees on course.
  • Learn how a well implemented quality program will help close estimates.
  • Learn how a well implemented quality program will keep your attrition rate well below national averages.

To register now, click here.

Diary of a Maid Service: New ARCSI Member Blog

ARCSI Board member and Ambassador Lanette Richmond has things she wants you to know. After more than 13 years in the residential cleaning industry, she has hard-won victories and stories of setbacks that she wants to share with other ARCSI members. With access available only to ARCSI members, Richmond has created a blog, entitled "Diaries of a Maid Service", on the ARCSI website.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, where anyone can read questions, comments and feedback for free, Richmond felt strongly that there should be a place just for ARCSI members to share experiences and get advice. In addition to the Member Message Boards, members can also share stories on their member blogs to spur discussion.

To subscribe to Lanette's Blog:
1. Log into www.arcsi with your username and password.
2. Click on the "Member Search" box (in the green menu on the left side of the page) enter "Lanette Richmond" in the "search" field. Click submit.
3. This will bring up the link to Lanette's profile. You will see her name, an icon of a sunflower (indicating she has a picture posted) and an icon of a tiny notebook (indicating she has a blog). Click on Lanette's name.
4. This takes you to Lanette's profile. At the top of her profile, click the green plus sign "More" link and click on "blog."
5. This takes you to Lanette's blog. Click on the "Subscribe" link at the top. You will now receive an automatic e-mail from the website every time Lanette adds a post or someone adds a comment.

Are you interested in setting up a blog of your own? Contact Chris Zimmer, Director of Membership and Programs at to learn how!

2010 Award Nominations Sought

Do you or someone you know have a fantastic logo, electronic newsletter or website? Have you seen a fantastic residential cleaning vehicle or uniform? Have you invested your time and effort in an incredibly effective marketing campaign? We want to know!

It is time, once again, to submit your nominations for the Professional Image Awards and Perry D. Phillips, Jr. (formerly Cleaner of the Year) Award. Professional Image Awards will be presented in the following categories:

  • Best Print Newsletter
  • Best Electronic Newsletter
  • Best Logo
  • Best Vehicle
  • Best Uniform
  • Best Marketing Campaign or Individual Marketing Piece
  • Best Website.

The Perry D. Phillips Jr. Award, recognizing professional excellence in the residential cleaning industry, is presented each year to one staff person of an ARCSI member business. Consistently going "aboe and beyond", exhibiting professionalism and being a great cleaner and employee are a few of the attributes that past winners have exhibited.

To download an application for the 2010 ARCSI Professional Image and Perry D. Phillips, Jr. Awards, click here.


ARCSI University: Investing in U.
ARCSI Online University

"How do I keep my best employees?"

 "I need to better understand my financials, but where do I start?"

"Is there a less complicated way to do this?"

These are some of the most frequent questions and concerns ARCSI staff and leadership hear from our members and, as always, we are here to help. The ARCSI Online University has over 3500 courses for $79 - $99 each dealing with just these issues. Courses cover a broad range of topics, including: ¡

  • A Manager’s Introduction to Business Law
  • Accounting Fundamentals
  • Accident Investigation and Reporting
  • Developing Your Employees
  • Delegation – the Personal Approach
  • Excel (several courses)
  • Promoting Your Brand to Consumers
  • Retaining Your Talent Pool

Did you find a topic in the list above that could help your business grow? We invite you to take a demo class for FREE. You can choose from

  • Business and Personal Communication Skills
  • Ethics and Professional Knowledge
  • Windows Vista User Experience

Simply click here and click on your membership type to enroll. For less than $100, you are making an investment in yourself and your business. Take time now to enroll, you are worth it!

What I've Learned Along the Way
by Kathy Gage


My maid service, Marvelous Maids, has been in business for ten years. We were always growing so rapidly that we said 'no' to one-time cleans and move in/ move out cleans. We didn't have room on our schedule and I was afraid of the "dirt" factor of these jobs.

A few months ago, we started accepting these types of cleaning jobs. We do not go to see these jobs; instead, we bid them over the phone at an hourly rate giving the customer a range.

We require a $50 non-refundable credit card deposit to hold the date. This deposit applies to their cleaning costs (helps prevent last minute cancellations and lets us run the card prior to cleaning day). We give them a range over the phone and call them one hour before we reach the top of the range if we are going to go over to obtain their approval.

The team leader calls us at the end of the job and we obtain enough information from her over the phone to bid the job on a regular basis. We then have her complete bid information and leave an estimate packet behind. If the customer takes our service, each team member receives a $15 bonus.

We are bringing in over $1,000 per month already doing these cleanings and some are converting to regular customers or occasional hourly customers. They have also filled in holes in our schedule.

Wish I hard started taking these jobs ten years ago.

2010 Convention Registration Now Open!

It's not too early to make your plans for our 7th Annual Convention and Education Conference. It's "ALL ABOUT YOU!" Register by JULY 1 to take advantage of our "Early Bird Registration" includes an option for paying your registration over six months. (June - Nov.).

You don't want to miss topics on:

  • Technology & Social Media
  • Pricing Your Product
  • The Fine Art of Customer Service..and so many more!

Don't miss the highlight of the ARCSI year. For more information, or to register, click here.

ServiceCEO Rolls Out Web Edition

ServiceCEO recently announced the release of ServiceCEO Web Edition, an application that helps small and mid-sized field service businesses manage daily operations more efficiently. ServiceCEO Web Edition can automate estimating, scheduling, dispatching, billing and marketing, giving you more time to focus on growing your business.

The upgraded software also enables jobs to be assigned to geographic zones or territories, helping dispatchers and managers more precisely assign customer appointments to the closest crew. Ultimately, this helps optimize billable hours by reducing drive time between jobs.

Also new in ServiceCEO Web Edition is a Job Analysis tool which provides detailed reports of completed and scheduled jobs by any number of criteria, such as type, zone, crew, and parts. Using the tool helps businesses more efficiently plan for staffing, inventory management and marketing campaigns.

"The release of ServiceCEO Web Edition puts some powerful new capabilities into the hands of thousands of field service businesses," said Christopher Chapman, Chief Operating Officer of ServiceCEO. "This software is not just a tool for managing day-to-day operations; it actually helps businesses convert inefficient administrative hours into revenue-generating time, creating opportunities for profit and growth."

 ServiceCEO Web Edition is available immediately worldwide with subscriptions starting at $99 per month. To watch a product demo click here, and sign up for a free trial click here

more Calendar

Hot Topic Tuesday: Enjoy Labor Day!

Hot Topic Tuesday: CONVENTION WEEK!


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