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July 30, 2010 - The Residential Cleaning Connection
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The Residential Cleaning Connection

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional

June 16, 2010 - Vol. 1, Issue 5

From the Executive Director

The Milkshake Moment

Overcoming Stupid Systems, Pointless Policies, and Muddled Management

By Steven S. Little

Not being a beach person, on my recent family vacation while the rest of the "fam” spent the afternoon on the beautiful beach on the Isle of Palms in Charleston, SC, I spent the afternoon on the veranda with a book :"The Milkshake Moment" from one of my favorite business authors Steve Little ( ).

Steve, as you might guess, spends a lot of time on the road each year and his way of coping with the hassles of business travel is to promise himself a vanilla milkshake each evening when it gets to his hotel room. However, many times "milkshake” is not on the room service menu. Steve has discovered that in most of those cases he can order a bowl of ice cream, half a glass of milk, and a long spoon. So it is not that room service does not have the ingredients, they just don’t respond to the request, "because it is not in their system.”

The milkshake story is not just another example of bad customer service. Steve’s observation is, "it is a larger tale of lost opportunity. Peel back the bureaucratic layers of any organization and you will find a broad range of self-imposed limitations, from antiquated hiring practices to poor workspace design, to short-term financial myopia.”

Steve is quick to point out that this is not a "Customer Service” book, but rather the focus is on growth, what prevents it, and how to achieve it. The book is filled with examples of "stupid systems, pointless policies, and muddled management decisions.” Real life examples of how some well thought of companies shoot themselves in the foot.

At the end of each chapter Steve also provides the reader with "Mix It Up” food for thought. It makes you think about your own business in the context of what was just covered. I especially enjoyed Section 5, "Address the People Problem Problem,” because it is one that I frequently hear from ARCSI members.

Steve sites a study by American Express that polled 625 business owners. The top five answers to the question of "What skills would you like to further develop?" were:

1. Customer Service
2. Marketing & Sales
3. Financial Management
4. Decision Making
5. Negotiation

Yet the same group sited "finding and retaining the brightest and the best” as the number one obstacle to growth. The analogy here is that the ARCSI leadership and staff often hear our members say "I just can’t find enough good people.” Yet when we survey for topics for our Convention or Annual Leadership Conference, the list of topics looks very similar to the one above.

Bottom line, it’s a great book, a quick read, and will cause you to take a different look at your business to hopefully create your own "Milkshake Moments.”

Personal note from vacation, thanks to Rick Douglas and Catherine Rollins of Minit Maids in Charlotte for the tour of their office and a great evening. As you can see to the right, Rick and I also spent some time discussing "Green" cleaning.  We also had a chance to visit with Tom and Janice Stewart of Castle-Keepers in Charleston. They do all of their training "in house” at the on-site training facility.

Finally, so why haven’t you registered for the Convention yet??  See You in Orlando,


"Low Cost Advertising" Call a Huge Hit

Everyone needs to advertise, but how do produce big returns on a small budget? That was subject up for discussion on the July 20 "Hot Topic Tuesday" call, hosted by Candy Kaufman (at left).  

 ARCSI members have been using some truly amazing techniques to get more marketing bang for their buck. Here are a few ideas our members shared on the call.  

(Read More...)  

To register for the Aug. 4 Open Forum Hot Topic Tuesday call, click here.


2010 ARCSI Convention Session Spotlight:
Utilizing Technology to Grow Your Business

Is Social Media a fad or the biggest thing since the Industrial Revolution? How can you utilize Facebook, Twitter and e-newsletters to reach your target market? How much time and effort does it take to dramatically improve your website?

Christine McDannel (at left), former ARCSI board member and founder of will give you all the information you need to take back to your business and move your business into the 21st century. 

You can register for the Convention now (and take advantage of the three month payment plan) and get more information by clicking here.

Early Bird Convention Pricing Expires Friday, AUGUST 6th

If you are waiting to get the best price on the 2010 ARCSI/ISSA Interclean Convention, TIME IS RUNNING OUT!  Early Bird prices and the three-month payment plan both expire on Friday, AUgust 6th.

On August 6, 2010 prices will increase by $50 per each attendee. Click here to register now. 

The 2010 Convention in Orlando on November 9-13 offers the opportunity to meet and network with hundreds of other residential cleaning company owners who can help you solve problems and give you new ideas. In addition, the Annual Convention  features hundreds of vendors highlighting the newest technology, systems and gadgets.  

Do you still have questions about the Convention? Unsure about where to stay ot how much of your time will be spent networking versus in class? Click here to check out our Convention FAQ page for your answers

You can register for the Convention now (and take advantage of the three month payment plan) and get more information by clicking here.

On the Road with Peter Chakonas: Hawaii Edition!

I recently traveled to Hawaii (a.k.a. Paradise), and I will settle one myth. Is Hawaii EXPENSIVE? Well as this was my 14th trip in the past 8 years, I can say it can be as expensive as you want to make it, or can be done on a budget.

This was my 2nd Annual ARCSI lunch at Dukes Waikiki. Now, I did kind of splurge this year for the Sheraton Waikiki, but I got a great discount that I booked when in Phoenix for the ELC. But I normally stay at what I call Waikiki’s best kept secret The Breakers Hotel. It’s a block from the beach and is a two-story, nicely kept hotel with a Japanese flare to it. At an AAA price of $106.00 a night, it includes a kitchenette room, a friendly and personable staff, nice pool and a great Susie Restaurant.

As for dinning again its all what you want to make it. You can dine for breakfast at Walana Coffee House for $5.99, two eggs, bacon, and all you can eat macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. For dinner - if you really want to treat yourself - there is the Top Of Waikiki Restaurant. You are treated to a full view of the city as you rotate. The average dinner price of $25 to $30.

Hawaii is like home, as I my Aunt Bette lives there and has since the late 50s (as she says "before it was what it is today”). As for the sights, I can only say even after 14 trips and all the Islands I still go OMG to the sights there nothing like the views and some of the world’s best beaches. Some of the best resorts are located on the big island, and it is home to some of the BEST SUNSETS since the sun sets off to the west over the great big BLUE pacific I have many fond memories with my family there.

The view from my room of Diamond Head
and Waikiki Beach form the 12 floor of the
Sheraton Waikiki

But to me, the best view is eating dinner at Dukes on the Rail with the waves rolling in, the sun setting on Diamond Head and, if you are real lucky, a rainbow crescent in to Diamond Head. Then after dinner a nice walk through the International Market Place for some fun shopping. But no trip is complete without a tip to Crazy Shirts! I have many but I like their polo’s and t-shirts. My oldest one is one my Aunt Pat got me about 12 years ago and still looks like new. So needless to say they know me at Crazy Shirts and I cannot just get one.

I have been friends with local member Glen Pang of Honolulu Cleaning Services since 2005 and always make a point of catching up with him for lunch. Glen started his business about 10 years ago. He found ARCSI while web surfing in 2005. Joining ARCSI has been a benefit to his business in knowing he was not alone as an independent service.

If you are in Hawaii and looking for a tour guide, Glen is it. He will take you to some hot spots that you would never find on your own. Since he lives there he has taken me to some great out of the way places. Once we went to a little Korean place in Honolulu and what a great meal and price Round Top was a great find; great views and a windy turn road but you can see from Diamond Head to the Airport and everything in between.

Last year, for my First Annual Hawaii, lunch Glen brought a networking buddy, Momiala, of My House Keeper, who started her business in 2007. She heard about ARCSI from Glen, who told her I was doing a luncheon and that he has gotten a lot out of my visits. In the past years, My House Keeper has grown from one employee to three.

Momi gets a lot out of the ARCSI member blogs. She says she finds them very informative and a big benefit to her business. Her biggest benefit from ARCSI has been helping her with employment and hiring the right person for the job. But in her own words "meeting you was by far a biggest benefit and being able to call you whenever I have a question"  and she says she still refers back to the notes she took last years luncheon.

This year I had four people join me for the annual lunch; Glen, Momi, and our newest member Shirley Kaniho, Sunshine Cleaning Service, located in Waikoloa, and her manager. Shirley stared her business in 1999. She found ARCSI on the Internet. She has four employees at present. In just the short time of being a member ARCSI has given her the confidence and going out to network her business and knowing she has support in any question she might have. She is looking forward to growing her business with the new friendships formed form ARCSI.

So, is there going to be a Hawaii luncheon next year? HECK YES!!! I will continue the luncheons in the hopes of having members join me to put on a bigger luncheon. I will say you only need to go to Hawaii just once to fall in love with it and its Paradise. ALOHA!!

Next Stop was my Fourth of July weekend in Rocky Point NY, Home of my best friends Kevin and Teresa Ward.

Guarantee Girls Founder Enjoys Over 25 Years of Success -
Without Ever Being in the Field

In 1983, ARCSI Board member Ellen Folks saw an unmet need and decided she was the one to meet it. Well, not exactly, but she would start the company - Guarantee Girls - and happily provide others to meet that need.

Folks and her husband, Chunky, were already running a very successful carpet cleaning business in Baton Rouge, LA. The number of requests they were getting for their company to also do house cleaning was enough to spark Folk's entrepreneurial spirit and Guarantee Girls was born.

Folks had no intention of cleaning houses herself, but hired two of the best people she new and has grown steadily from those first two employees in 1983 to 25 full-time employees and over 200 weekly clients today.

While she sought information on how to start and run a cleaning business, she found little. She ran Guarantee Girls out of the carpet cleaning office. She was surprised that after a decade in the carpet cleaning business, she
still had a lot to learn. "I found a few books but nothing that told me very much." says Folks. "I mostly started running it on the same premise and structure as I had for our other company. We had been in business almost 10 years cleaning carpets and you think you know everything..WRONG!"

Having never been in the field, however, does have a few drawbacks. "The hardest thing for me," says Folks, "was to know what work to do for our customers and what not to do. Being a business owner and entrepreneur, rand
having never been a cleaner, this has always been my biggest challenge. There is so much information available now that would help me know what to do in this area."

Folks says her greatest reward is watching Guarantee Girls grow and continuously serve the Baton Rouge area for over 27 years. "Most people in the community know us," she says." We have a great reputation and so
Guarantee Girls grew faster than our original carpet cleaning business!"

Folks does have a word of advice for those looking to start a residential cleaning business from the ground up, without being in the field: "Do your research. There is a lot of good information out there how to start a
business, but most especially how to start a maid service. Join associations like ARCSI and meet other people in the same industry. You will learn the most from networking with others in the same industry."

"You can open a business and not have to work in it everyday," Folks says. "You must be willing and able to give up some of your income to pay someone else to do what you would be doing. People start multiple businesses every day. People own businesses and have absentee ownership. You can make it work too!" 

Nominating Committee Announces Board  & Officer Slate

The 2010 Nominating Committee has announced the ballot for Oficers and Directors for the ARCSI 2010 Election.  Members will have a chance to "Meet the Candidates" on several special conference calls during the month of August.  In addition, you will receive several special emails in August with information about the candidates.  Ballots will be mailed to all ARCSI Gold, Silver, and Bronze members in early September.

Our 2010 Candidates are:


Alonzo Adams

Busy Bee Cleaning Co, West Chester, PA

For President


Daron Tandberg

White Glove Cleaning Serivces,

Yakima, WA

For Vice President

Teresa Ward

Teresa's Family Cleaning Rocky Point, NY

For Treasurer

Kathy Gage,

Marvelous Maids, O'Fallon, MO

For Secretary

Brenda Stankus

Classic Touch Cleaning Richmond, VA

1st - 3 Yr Term






Nancy Holekamp,

Maid In Texas,

Boerne, TX (1st Term)


Board of Directors

2nd - 3 Yr Term

Brenda Stankus

Classic Touch Cleaning

Daron Tandberg

White Glove Cleaning Serivces

Teresa Ward

Teresa's Family Cleaning

1st - 3 Yr Term

Martha Lindley-Woodward

Dusting Divas

Bartlesville, OK

Don't Miss Your Chance to Submit YOUR Business for a Professional Image Award

We have seen some amazing websites and marketing campaigns this year. Many ARCSI members have updated their logos, uniforms or started using company cars and newsletters to get their business' name in front of consumers.

We know ARCSI members are creative, industrious and eager to be in front of a trend. By submitting your website, print or e-newsletter, marketing campaign, logos and uniforms for the Professional image Awards, you can help inspire other ARCSI members (and the recognition of your hard work never hurts, either)!

The deadline for Professional Image and Perry D. Phillips, Jr., Awards is quickly approaching. You can download a nomination form by clicking here.

Please send your completed nomination forms, along with corresponding pictures, etc. to:
Attn: Awards Committee
7870 Olentangy River Rd., #300
Columbus, OH 43235

You can also e-mail submissions to Executive Director Ernie Hartong at

ARCSI Welcomes New Members in July

Vladan Bursa
B&B PRO Inc.
Winter Garden, Florida

Heather Clements
Magic Maids, Inc.
Lafayette, Colorado

Monique Cohen
Pristine Maids, LLC
Crestview, Florida
Walter Ewald
MeSH Background Screening
Union, New Jersey
Kristen Faris
Kristen Faris
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Mrs. Bonita Gibson
Needs Met Services
Huntsville, AL
Ms. Jacqueline Morgan
Round About Cleaning Service, Inc
Washington, DC
Michele Olup
Countrytime Cleaning & Maid Services
La Plata, MD 20646

Ms. Deanna Quintero
Dee's Cleaning,LLC
St. Charles, Missouri
Mrs Glenda S Romero
MIL Multi-Services Inc.
Adelphi, Maryland
Aaron Warren
2Clean Maids Services
Riverdale, Maryland
Mrs. Kelly Weisenfels
Kelly Green Cleaning
Chicago, Illinois

Ms. Kay Wheeler
Classic Cleaning Services
Andrews, South Carolina
Ms. Tekla Wlodarczyk
Mother Earth Cleaners
Madison, Wisconsin

Michigan Regional Meeting Set for Sept. 23

Dawn and Ken Raffler, if Clarkston Cleaning Services in Clarkston, Michigan, are playing host to area residential cleaning company owners on September 23. The Rafflers will host an ARCSI Regional meeting at The Supply Den (1837 Enterprise Dr., Rochester Hills, MI) on Sept. 23 from 4 - 7 pm.  

The meeting, designed to promote networking and problem-solving among residential cleaning service owners, is free and is open to both ARCSI members and non-members.  

Watch for more information coming soon!

more Calendar

Hot Topic Tuesday: Enjoy Labor Day!

Hot Topic Tuesday: CONVENTION WEEK!


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