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June 17, 2011: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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The Residential Cleaning Connection

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional

June 17, 2011: Volume 2, Issue 17


From the Executive Director... 

It's Not Your Momma's ARCSI!

One of my early mentors had a favorite saying, "When Perception and Facts Meet, Facts Take a Back Seat!" His point was, until you change the perception, it doesn't matter what the facts are. So it always concerns me when I am talking to a member or former member or see a social media post and someone's perspective of ARCSI is based on the last ARCSI event they attended which was 3 or 4 or 5 years ago. The trick is to change the perception without sounding defensive or apologetic. So let me assure you I am not the least bit defensive about what ARCSI is doing or where we are going, but I will try and address what I believe to be some mis-perceptions by giving you my perceptions.

"The Board doesn't listen and you can't approach them."
I have yet to have anyone tell me that any Board member has refused to take their phone call or answer their email with a question about the association or the members business. My experience is that your Board members are continually seeking member input on our programs and events and are always willing to answer a question that will help you improve your business. Just today, I had a call from someone who was thinking of starting a cleaning business. He found one of our Board members who was in the same state via our web site and gave them a call. He was very complimentary about how helpful she was to him and plans to join ARCSI when he starts his business.

"I attended that "event" four years ago, and it was just for small (or large) companies."
Are you still doing business the same way you were four years ago? Well neither are we! The ARCSI Board, Committees, and staff are constantly reviewing our programs and procedures to make them responsive to our members. Do we make every single change that is suggested. Of course not, but we do consider them all and evaluate the overall impact on our members. We have made a number of changes in our Convention format in the last couple of years, and our 2011 committee has made even more. Las Vegas will be a whole new ballgame.

"Everything they do costs too much."
This one usually comes from someone who is also complaining that they cannot understand why their clients are not willing to pay more for the professional job their cleaning company does. They have also never participated in our Free Hot Topic Tuesday Calls, have never read our Free electronic newsletter, have never visited our Free website. With many of our programs and events, many members tell us the value far exceeded their costs and they don't think we are charging enough for some of the things we do.

"I just don't seem to get much out of my membership."
Have you read our newsletter lately or submitted an article on a business issue that you think might be helpful to other members? Do you participate in a Hot Topic Tuesday or Teleconference calls? Have you attended a Convention, ELC, or Regional Meeting? Have you worked on an ARCSI Committee? Have you applied for the Free ARCSI Seal of Excellence which recognizes the professionalism of your company? Are you participating in our new Free monthly book club? Have you taken advantage of any of the offerings from our ARCSI Industry Partners that are designed for our members. Well if you haven't, you're probably right, you don't. Your membership is ENHANCED by your INVOLVEMENT!

 So, we are not they ARCSI you might remember from 3 or 4 years ago. Give us an opportunity to change your perception. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I realize that if you have read this I am "preaching to the choir," but you are our best resource for helping us change the perceptions out there. The next time you see an email or social media post that has a different perception of ARCSI than yours, don't just let it hang out there in cyberspace unchallenged and don't let the facts take a back seat.

(Sidebar - Thanks to Shirley and Michael Wells, Designer Maids, Angela Wilson, Solano Maids, and Derek Christian, My Maid Service, for recruiting new members in the last month through our Member Referral program. Enjoy your ARCSI BUCKS.)


Annie Duke to Address ARCSI Convention Attendees

ARCSI is excited to announce that poker icon and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Annie Duke will address its 2011 Convention attendees in Las Vegas.

Duke's passion for poker translates well into business and she'll tell ARCSI Convention attendees how the principles of poker can help you win big in business.

"In poker," Duke said in an interview with USA Today , "you look for patterns from your opponents, how they behave in certain situations... Gather data on your opponents so you can predict what they actually have. Understand how they perceive you. It's an extremely important tool in business negotiations. Poker is really just a negotiation."

Born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire, Duke grew up in a family that had cards and competition in the blood. In a home where card playing was the glue that held the family together, everybody needed to win. Over the course of the last decade, Duke established herself as one of the best poker players in the world.

In addition, Duke was the runner-up on the 2009 season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, winning more money for her charity (Refugees International) than any other player that season. After her Friday afternoon presentation, Duke will happily take photos and sign autographs for for ARCSI Convention attendees.

To register for the 2011 ARCSI Convention, click here.

For more information on Annie Duke, click here.

2011 Nominating Committee Seeks ARCSI Board Candidates

The 2011 ARCSI Nominating Committee has opened the application process for members interested in serving on the Board of Directors. You can have a direct impact on the future of both association and the residential cleaning industry, but you have to get involved!

Board terms are three (3) years in length, and applications must be submitted in writing and mailed to the ARCSI Office by July 19, 2011.

The committee strongly urges any interested candidates to please read the Board of Directors Position Description before submitting your application.

To learn more about the requirements to serve on the Board and to download application click here. It's YOUR association, get involved!  



ARCSI Book Club Meeting: June 23

ARCSI will hold its first-ever Book Club meeting on June 23 at 7 pm EDT (4 pm PDT). Our book this month is Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and we are excited that so many members are reading along!

On our June 23 Book Club call, we'll have a Convention surprise for Book Club members only - you won't want to miss this opportunity.

In Delivering Happiness, Hsieh will explain how, by making your employees and customers happy, you can achieve happiness as well. To order the book online click here.

BONUS: The 2011 ARCSI Convention in Las Vegas will feature two speakers on customer service from Zappos! Be sure to read the book and be ready to ask lots of questions of speakers Duke Cajala and Marlene Kanagasuku at the Convention!

Ten Minute Solutions to Target Marketing: ARCSI June 22 Teleconference

On June 22 at 7:30 pm EDT, Renee O'Brien of SharpChip Consulting will present "10 Minute Solutions to Target Marketing" for the ARCSI Monthly Teleconference.

Are you tired of wasting time and money marketing to people who do not buy; trying expensive advertising that does not work; marketing to the wrong people, or juggling so many marketing ideas that nothing gets done? It's time to stop spinning your wheels, and learn Target Marketing.

Google, social media, postcard mailings, and an endless list of other media can be a huge waste of time, and won't deliver the results that you want without target marketing skills.

Take O'Brien's Target Marketing Assessment, see how you rate, and what you need to change to speed up your marketing results NOW!

Click here to register.

Teleconference calls are always free for ARCSI Goldmembers. Silver members pay a $5 registration fee and Bronze members a $10 registration fee. Non-members are $15.

Member Profile: Jeff Lange of McMaid in Rolling Meadow, IL

Jeff Lange, of McMaid in Rolling Meadows, IL has only ben an ARCSI member for three years. But boy, has be made productive use of those 36 months. Jeff and his business partner - and mother - Kaye, have been fixtures at the ARCSI events since they first became involved through an ARCSI Regional Meeting held in Chicago.

Fast forward a few years, and Jeff is co-chairing and event of his own - The 2011 ARCSI Convention in Las Vegas, and will serve as the Chair for the 2012 Co nvention in Chicago. "The reasons we decided to join ARCSI at that time are still some of the same reasons we stay involved today, " says Jeff. "The continual push by ARCSI to professionalize the industry. The ability to exchange ideas, network with and learn from other business owners. And, the one reason which we didn't know when we first joined: the friends that are made through the organization."

When Kaye started the first suburban McMaid location 29 years ago, Jeff started on a cleaning crew and eventually learned some of the office procedures as well. During his summer breaks from studying Economics and Business at the University of Illinois, Jeff was responsible for customer service and management. When he graduated, he thought he might want to pursue a law degree. After one year at a law firm, he decided it wasn't for him. SO nineteen years ago, Jeff bought his first pre-existing suburban McMaid location.

Residential cleaning was not Jeff's first entrepreneurial venture, however. "I come from a family of entrepreneurs and my work background/history is a bit different," Jeff explained. "I started my first business with a friend when I was in 6th grade. It was a neighborhood landscaping business named C&J Lawn care. After a few weeks, my friend/business partner "C" decided that the work was too tough and quit. While "C" was no longer involved, I kept the name and continued the business. I've only ever applied for a job once. A new Taco Bell was opening near my high school and a group of friends and I applied. I worked there for one high school year and found it to be a good experience."

Many residential cleaning businesses become family affairs, and Jeff knows first hand the ins and outs of these tricky business and personal relationships.

"Having two Type A  personality entrepreneurs in the same company can have its challenges. Just like everything else in life, our working situation has its pros and cons. It is great being able to have a business partner that loves you, always wants what is best for you and wants to see you succeed. On the other hand, at times it can be quite challenging when your parent always gets the final or deciding vote when the two of you don’t agree. That said, my mom, Kaye, and I have been working in the same office for the last 14 years. She is an extremely bright woman and has taught me much of what I know in business and in life. I would not be where I am today without her."

When Jeff takes a break from running his business or working on the 2011 ARCSI Convention, you can find him at the rink playing hockey, a hobby he started when he was just six years old. He is thrilled that his oldest son, William, has already donned skates and a hockey sweater at the tender age of 4-and-a-half. Jeff's younger son, Henry, age three, has also started taking after dad - with a pair of drunsticks. Jeff marched  with the Cavaliers, a competitive Drum & Bugle Corps, as a drummer. Always looking for a new adventure, Jeff recently obtained his pilot's license. An avid golfer, Jeff played well at the Second Annual ARCSI Open in Atlanta.

"Both of my boys enjoy playing golf and watching airplanes," Jeff says. "When I'm not working I sepand as much time with them as possible. It is so awesome to watch them grow up.


ARCSI Regional Meeting Popping Up Nation Wide

In the past year, ARCSI members have hosted Regional Meetings in Honolulu, Clarkston, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and Orlando.

In the coming weeks, ARCSI members (and non-members) will gather in Virginia Beach, Phoenix, Annapolis, Atlanta, and both Northern and Southern California to put a "local face" on ARCSI, network and learn from some of the best in the residential cleaning industry.
Here are the dates already scheduled:

July 16, 2011: Virginia Beach, VA - Hosted by ARCSI Past President Alison Palmer
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches
(Click here to register)

July 23, 2011: Phoenix, AZ - Hosted by ARCSI Board Member and Ambassador Lanette Richmond

August 13, 2011: Annapolis, MD - Hosted by ARCSI Member Ed Wright
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches

Sept. 10, 2011: Atlanta, GA - Hosted by ARCSI Member Jan Maskew

Sept. 2011: Long Beach, CA - Hosted by ARCSI Members Monika Zuzanska and Marton Medina
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches

Sept. 2011: Northern California - Hosted by ARCSI Ambassador Angela Wilson


The Tech Corner for ARCSI: A Cautionary Tale

Experience comes when we learn from our own mistakes. Wisdom comes when we learn from someone else’s mistakes. With this in mind, I want to share an incident I consulted on. Here’s the story.

A client engaged a house cleaning service to do regular maintenance cleaning. The service provided the customer with a list of cleaning agents to buy which she dutifully stocked for their use. All went along fine until one day when the floor seemed particularly dirty and the cleaning staff mopped her hardwood floor twice. The floor finish broke down and it had to be sanded and recoated with new polyurethane at a cost to the client of $1800.00.

Upon investigating, the cleaning agent used on the floors is considered by many in both the hardwood and cleaning industries to be inappropriate for polyurethane floors. In addition, the client noticed that the cleaners were simply pouring the product into a bucket of water without measuring. It is likely that by using a mop and bucket, the cleaners probably used too much water and possibly too strong a solution given their lack of careful measurement.

The client expects the cleaning company to pay for the refinishing. The cleaning company’s insurance will not cover it since the floor was in the cleaners’ "care, custody and control”. The client and service are currently negotiating, trying to keep this out of the courtroom.

So – what can we learn from this mess? This is clearly an opportunity to gain wisdom!

1. When you run a cleaning service, as opposed to just working for Ms. Jones as her employee, you are a professional. That means that you are assumed, for legal purposes, to have expert knowledge, so if something goes wrong under your "care, custody and control,” you are responsible. If you supply the cleaning agents or ask the client to supply specific chemicals, it is still your expert knowledge that is being relied upon. If the client insists on a specific cleaning chemical, document it, particularly if you disagree that it is appropriate.

Furthermore, most liability insurance will cover you for accidents but not for your ignorance or bad judgment. This means that it is critical that you as a cleaning service owner, manager or trainer must obtain the expert knowledge you are "assumed” to have and keep up on the changes in finishes, materials and surfaces, as well as developments in cleaning techniques. The decorators can throw some lulus at our industry. Did you know that such a far-out thing as leather flooring is coming into use today?

2. Review your insurance coverage. See if you have coverage for "care, custody and control.” Moody Insurance sent out an excellent letter on this very topic a couple of months ago. Did you see it and understand the importance of that phrase?

3. Make sure your staff members are all trained to follow label directions—as you see from today’s story, it does matter. If you are following manufacturers’ directions and the manufacturer says their product is appropriate for the use that causes a damage claim against you, you may get some help from the manufacturer in defending you. If you mix up your own cleaning solutions you are totally on your own.

Will the cleaning company have to pay for the floor? Probably. Either all or a portion of the $1800.00 This is one of the responsibilities of being a professional. Do your research, test new products and test known ones when using them on unfamiliar surfaces.

 Check the veracity and reliability of your information sources. Remember that just as an electrician or a plumber has to learn their trade, so do we.

Here’s to your success and prosperity!

Bruce Vance Bruce Vance is a 20-year veteran of the industry and holds the IICRC Master Textile Cleaner certification. He also holds industry certifications in Stone and Tile care, Hard Floor care, and Applied Microbial Remediation. He is the current chairperson of a national cleaning industry’s Technical Advisory Committee.


Hot Topic Tuesday - First Tuesday Open Forum

You've tried postcards and door hangers. You've dabbled in Facebook and have a few Twitter followers. But how do you wow the clients and potential clients you have marketed to in the past and make your company and its advertising stand out?

Join ARCSI Ambassador and Board member Martha Woodward of Dusting Divas in Bartlesville, OK, as she moderates the call and shares her experiences.

Click here to register.

Hot Topic calls are sponsored by the ARCSI Ambassadors.

Call in and access code info will be included in the Confirmation/Thank You portion of your registration.

Awards Committee Seeks Nominations

It's awards time! Time for you to recognize your hard working staff, time to build morale with your employees and have them share your pride in your website, your logo, your vehicle wraps, their uniforms, and your newsletter.

Professional Cleaner of the Year
Presented by Mr. Clean Professional
This award will be presented by Mr. Clean himself! All cleaning staff of ARCSI member companies are eligible for this award, which is given to outstanding cleaner that routinely goes "above and beyond" for your customer and your company. In addition to bring presented the award by Mr. Clean, the Professional Cleaner of the Year will also receive two cases of Mr. Clean Professional products.

ARCSI Presidents' Award
Presented by Moody Insurance Worldwide
Presented to the "in-house" staff person that is key to every organization. Whether they are called office manager, trainer, sales person, bookkeeper or manager, this is the person that keeps your business humming and takes care of the details.

Image Awards
Our Image Awards include: Best Logo, Best Website, Best Uniforms, Best Vehicle Wrap, Best Marketing Campaign, and Best Newsletter. Our Awards Committee will select three finalists in each of these categories and they will be displayed in our new "Members Lounge" at the Convention, where Convention attendees can vote for their favorites. So don't be shy, blow your own horn, we know you're proud of the image your company projects. Submit an entry today!

To download the Awards Application Form, click here. 

What You See Isn't Awlays What You Get
by Bill Gelderman, The Steering Group, Inc.

Having been a supplier of the Orion Pre-Employment Survey for 15 years I have come to appreciate two important points. "Change is inevitable” and "Some things never change”. At first blush these two points appear to be in direct conflict with one another, and they are. But, that is the nature of our personal and professional lives. So what has changed?

There are two biggies on my list. The first is technology and the second is information. Being at the early stage of the "Baby Boomer Era” (I’ll be 65 this year….wow), I’ve watched as we’ve moved from manual typewriters, to electric, to computers. I don’t miss carbon paper or mimeograph machines. I’ve seen the price of calculators go from over $1,000.00 to under $10.00. We’ve moved from dial phones, to pagers, to car phones, to cell phones, all of which got smaller and became less expensive. Obviously, the list goes on and on with no slow-down in technological advancements on the horizon.

The second item on my list is information. There is clearly no shortage of information and the immediate access can almost be overwhelming. However, this abundance of information has a built in booby trap, it’s not all good information. I recently purchased a new electronic device over the internet. While on the site, I decided to look at the customer reviews. I found the experience very interesting. I read several reviews and it was as though these people were talking about two different items. One said it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, while another thought it must have been developed in the bowels of hell. They couldn’t have been farther apart in their view of the product. So, this made me dig a little deeper. It became clear that the person writing the ugly review had an axe to grind, or was having a bad day. Other reviews on that site were overwhelmingly favorable.

So my point is, just because someone (including myself) writes something that ends up on a website doesn’t make it true. Be careful about how much weight you give to unknown (and sometimes known) sources. Do your own homework and make yourself satisfied that you’ve got good information with which to make decisions. And, always ask questions until you’re satisfied that you know what you need to know.

So what hasn’t changed? When it comes to hiring new employees, not much has changed. Ignoring the objective, like work history or survey results, etc. in favor of a "quick fix” is still a major obstacle to success. There is clearly a place for how you "feel” about a candidate, but that should only be used to rule someone out, not in.

For example, if it becomes apparent that an applicant would not get along with you and/or co-workers, that could be a reason to rule them out. However, the opposite, by itself, is not a reason to include someone. The lack of a clear set of standards leads to continually making subjective decisions because you have no objective measures with which to compare the applicant.

I have a client in a major metro market that has the highest rate of positive survey results in the country. In the same town, I have a client who struggles with hiring issues and has negative outcomes regularly. The owner with the great results has very strong guidelines/standards for who they will consider for employment with his company and he sticks to his guns, especially when the need is the greatest. This results in turnover that is far below the industry norms and allows him to continue growing the business with a sound and steady workforce he can depend on. This owner still misses a few, but the Orion Survey catches those.

Sometimes we confuse standards with discrimination. You wouldn’t hire someone 15 years old, and that would not be age discrimination. That person simply does not meet the age standard for employment. Likewise, you would not hire a recent felon. This person does not meet the bonding standard, or guideline (I’m not offering legal or bonding advice).

For those using the Orion System, they would not hire someone who is High Risk for Workplace Drug Use, or High Risk for Theft. This does not mean the applicant failed a test. The Orion is not a test. It means the applicant did not meet your standards, or guidelines, for consideration. Setting out a "written” set of standards and then sticking to them is your very best defense and will improve your hiring results.

The next and equally important consideration is your interview process. Only interview those applicants who have met your standards. It is NOT your position to sell an applicant on why they should come to work for you. Keep your interviews short and relevant to the work, and what the job demands and how they will be held accountable for performing to your standards.

Do you really care if they went to High School with your sister? Or you shop at the same grocery store?

Know the questions you are going to ask before you start and stick with those questions. ALWAYS interview all applicants the exact same way. This method will become boring for you, but by asking the same questions and keeping focused on the job and what’s best for your business, you will develop radar for those trying to lead you down the garden path.

Remember: Hiring is a process, not a one-time event. Don’t be eager – Be careful. Always keep in mind------You are not a Social Services Agency. You are a "Business”. Hiring someone who needs a hand up is a wonderful thing, but it is not a reason to hire someone. They must first demonstrate that they have met your standards and are prepared to be held accountable for their performance. Along the same line, don’t drag out firing the bad apple. You have all heard "Hire Slow – Fire Fast”. If you can’t pull the trigger on the bad apple you will damage the morale of good employees and give yourself an ulcer.

Click here for the full article by Bill Gelderman of The Steering Group

We LOVE it when members come to visit!

ARCSI staff enjoyed lunch this week with Board Member and Ambassador Liz Trotter of American Maid in Olympia, Washington. Joining us were local ARCSI members Pam and Craig Sedoris of More Time for You (pictured at left with Liz and ARCSI Executive Director Ernie Hartong) and Rosemary Stader of Elite Home Cleaning.

In the 2010 Ambassador's Silent Auction, Rosemary "won" a visit from Liz, who was in town helping her re-vamp the Elite Home Cleaning culture. "It was intense!" said Rosemary of her work with Liz, who is legendary in ARCSI circles for her fantastic corporate culture.

"Rosemary was up at 3:30 am doing her homework and was ready to go at 6:30. It was amazing!" said Liz of the experience.

more Calendar

Hot Topic Tuesday: Enjoy Labor Day!

Hot Topic Tuesday: CONVENTION WEEK!


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