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November 18, 2011: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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From the Executive Director...

So what makes our Executive Leadership Conference different from the Annual ARCSI Convention and Why Should I attend? This was a question that I was asked several times in Las Vegas. Let me provide you with some answers.

Our Annual Convention is part of the larger event known as ISSA InterClean, the largest trade show in the cleaning industry. It makes sense for ARCSI to be a part of it because it provides a number of advantages and opportunities for our members that ARCSI does not have the resources to provide on our own. Our Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) is solely an ARCSI educational event. It's just us, so it is far more focused and intimate than our annual convention.

Out of necessity, the Convention activities are split between two sites, the hosting convention center and our headquarters hotel. At our ELC everything happens in one location. At our convention we cover a variety of topics, many relating to cleaning and cleaning techniques. Because of the number and variety of topics, sessions are relatively short and topics are usually covered in a general way. At the ELC we have fewer topics and really try to drill down and provide the attendees with more detail and in depth information. The focus in on making attendees "better business people" rather than just better cleaners. Finally, our Convention usually is over five or six days. Our ELC is just two days, so it is less time away from your business.

One thing both events have in common is that time and again, attendees tell us that the most beneficial part of the experience at either the Convention or the ELC, is the opportunity to network with other ARCSI members and our industry partners that get answers to daily issues or new ideas that can help you grow your business or approach a recurring problem in a different way, because someone else has already successfully dealt with it.

Our 2012 ELC will be in Orlando, April 12-14, 2012. Our headquarters hotel, the Buena Vista Palace, and our location, across the street from Downtown Disney (and nowhere close to the Orange County Convention Center) should give our attendees a different perspective. It will not be the Orlando you are used to seeing when you have attended ARCSI/ISSA Conventions.

Our 2012 ELC Committee has put together a great program with new speakers and some old friends. Day one focus will be on sales, that's sales, not marketing. Our keynote presenter is Joe Ellers, the "Sales Guy". His focus will be on helping you develop strategies and plans to "generate more sales, at greater margins, in less time, with less effort!" Joe was the key presenter at ISSA's series of regional meetings last spring with a similar topic. His reviews were great! On Saturday we will focus on a couple of key issues that certainly impact any business, regardless of size. "Managing Within the Law" with Greg Hare of the Ogletree Deakins law firm in Atlanta, will address a number of key employee legal issues on everything from interviewing, to hiring to firing. Ogletree Deakins was recently named to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Law Firms in America" regarding employment law.

We will wind up our exciting two day event with Sharon Cowan, CBSE, of Cleaning Business Consulting. Sharon's "Disaster Planning for Your Business" has become a "must attend" session, following a year that saw ARCSI members dealing with floods, tornados, blizzards, wild fires, and other things that could end your business life. Sharon's second session with deal with the question that comes up most frequently from our members, "Pricing for Profit."

It will be a great two days of education, and plan to come in on Thursday and play in the Third Annual ARCSI Golf Classic, sponsored by CleanMax. It will be a the beautiful Grand Cypress Resort, where they are playing this week's LPGA event.

Here is wishing all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving, a time to enjoy family and friends and reflect on the past year.

See you in Orlando!


2011 ARCSI Convention Presentations Now Available for Download

Presentations and handouts from the 2011 ARCSI Cleaning Convention are now available for download to all ARCSI members. You can download all presentations or just the few that you missed by clicking here and logging into your ARCSI account. Each session is listed separately for your convenience.

Want to view some highlights from the Convention? You can view pictures and award winners by clicking here.

Please note that several presenters either did not have handouts or have not yet submitted them to ARCSI for inclusion on the website. If you are looking for a particular piece of info and do not see it listed, please contact Chris Zimmer.

What is Your Social Media Policy?

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly cited in court cases and have more recently been involved in cases that were submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for resolution.

How does this affect you? If your employees have Facebook or Twitter accounts (and you can be they do), an air-tight social media policy is critical should you find a posting or tweet from an employee regarding your company, their job performance or that of another employee. If you think you can limit what employees say on their social media accounts, you are wrong.

Employees who openly participate in a Facebook conversation about the terms and conditions of their employment -- including defending their job performance -- are protected under the Wagner Act.

To read a report from the NRLB detailing its most recent rulings on cases involving social media, click here.

ARCSI December Teleconference: Nurturing Long Term Goals for Your Business

On Wednesday, December 7, ARCSI will host its monthly teleconference series focused on building your business. This month, chair Vanessa Tanner has recruited Brian Jessurun with Beat Yesterday ( to discuss "Looking Beyond the Sponge: Financial Tools and Goal Setting Techniques to Help You Develop a Broader View of your Business."

Many business owners live day to day with little thought of yesterday and only worry about tomorrow.By developing a broader view of your business you are not as reactionary and emotional to daily ups and downs. Jessurun will discuss what numbers you should be tracking and how you can use those numbers to develop goals and track growth.

ARCSI Teleconference events are always free to Gold members. Silver members pay a registration fee of $5 and Bronze members are $10. Nonmembers may register at a $15 fee.

Click here to register now.

 Approved House Cleaning Technician (HCT) Certification a Game Changer for the Cleaning Industry

 At the ARCSI convention in October, the 2012 schedule of House Cleaning Technician (HCT) certification courses were announced by the Institute for Service Excellence and in partnership with ARCSI. Just a few days prior at their October 15thannual meeting, The Clean Trust(formerly IICRC) had voted unanimously to approve ISE as the first and currently only training organization to offer the long-awaited HCT certification course and to administer the certification examination.

 "The House Cleaning Technician (HCT) certification is more than simply an employee training course. The certification represents the world class refinement and improvement of the residential cleaning process and is a game changer for the residential cleaning industry,” says ISE administrator and ARCSI founding president David Kiser, owner of Champagne Services of Northern Virginia. "With the approval of The Clean Trust (formerly IICRC), the leading training and certification organization in cleaning, and the endorsement of the Association for Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI), the leading professional and industry development organization, the Institute for Service Excellence is eager to begin the work of transforming the residential cleaning industry.”

 As the only The Clean Trust Certified Institute for the HCT certification training, ISE now represents the future of the residential cleaning industry on many levels. One of the defining elements of a true profession is the standardization of fundamental practices and concepts; that is exactly what the HCT certification training provides: a standard set of best practices, the successful completion of which can be measured and found consistently applied over time by the same person and the activities many using the same techniques. That said, we also know that different environmental factors make a rigidly standard cleaning methodology impractical, so there is a strong focus on the technicians following and respecting the procedures of the company they represent.

The Vances of North Carolina Approved as Instructors
Not only did ISE have to develop the course and apply for approval to offer the training, the school needed qualified and certified instructors for the HCT course and found what they needed in the knowledge and experience of Bruce and Sarah Vance of Town and Country Cleaning Services from the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.

 "The Vances together comprise 40 years of not just residential cleaning expertise but also the closely related specialties of light janitorial office cleaning and carpet and flooring cleaning and restoration,” explains Tom Stewart of Castle Keepers. " Their experience and their status as The Clean Trust-certified master and journeyman textile cleaners, respectively, as well as their certifications in more than ten areas of cleaning made them the ideal candidates to present for approval.”

 As pioneers in creating the HCT course, Bruce and Sarah were in the unique position of both meeting instructor credentials and, to a degree, designing them at the same time. The Clean Trust requires that instructors applying for HCT instructor certification meet the following minimum requirements: be a journeyman textile cleaner, complete three certifications in carpet, upholstery, and one elective, demonstrate teaching or public speaking experience, and show that the individual operates a residential cleaning business.

 "The challenge we faced in developing HCT instructor credentials was to acquire the scope of knowledge necessary to address basic cleaning of the many different surfaces our home cleaning technicians encounter,” shares Bruce Vance. "Unlike many certifications, the HCT certification is an overview certification rather than a master. It took easily ten different courses, each going in depth into a particular type of surface or technique, for me to develop the breadth of knowledge that the HCT course will deliver to technicians.”

The Vances were approved as the first and currently only HCT instructors at the October 15th meeting of The Clean Trust.

 House Cleaning Technician (HCT) Certification Program
Imagine a cleaning technician who can respond to a client’s "why” question with a real answer rather than just "that’s the way I was told to clean.” That new level of trust and respect from clients is the value of certifying each of your house cleaning technicians through the HCT certification program.

 The HCT certification is a "best practices” course developed over five years and including the consensus-based collaboration of over 40 industry experts in a variety of fields. The training truly teaches the technician about different types of dirt and microbial contamination and how they attach to over 100 different kinds of surfaces in a residence, but more importantly covers the different and the best methods for removing dirt and microbial contamination toward creating a healthy home environment for clients.

 The best way to really see how comprehensive the HCT training and certification program is would be to get the book The Professional House Cleaning Technician’s Manual ( Not only will you have essentially the curriculum for the course, you will have the ultimate preparation guide for yourself and your cleaning technicians. After all, how many of us can pass a 160 question certification exam based on 169 pages of content with no pictures…the first time?

 Beyond the HCT Program
ISE first opened its doors in September 2011 with the first mass training course in the Chemical Free Cleaning Business Model, taught by industry veterans and CFC experts Tom and Janice Stewart. The Stewarts offer a pair of courses focusing on the Business Model and on the Training it takes to educate technicians.

 And the HCT course is just the first certification program to be offered by ISE. The Chemical Free Cleaning courses form the base of a CFC Certification program for instructors, technicians, and companies. And with three ISSA Certified Experts (I.C.E.) on the instructor roster from Castle Keepers of Charleston and Champagne Services of Northern Virginia, ISE also has plans to develop training and support for companies seeking ISSA CIMS and CIMS-GB certification, which is becoming increasingly valuable to residential cleaning businesses.

 In addition to major certification courses, to be offered primarily in one- or two-day classroom formats, the founders of ISE will be offering focused business development courses in their areas of expertise and success. These segments are expected to include marketing and public relations, sales, operations, training, human resources practices, accounting and billing processes, information technology (IT), and more! And ISE is excited to have received requests from industry leaders to be guest lecturers on specialized topics.

For more information on courses or to register for a course, please visit

About the Institute for Service Excellence

ISE is the collaborative and cooperative effort of four residential cleaning companies: Castle Keepers of Charleston, SC; Champagne Services of Northern Virginia; My Maid Service of Cincinnati, OH; and Town and Country Cleaning Services of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC. The founders — Tom and Janice Stewart, David Kiser, Derek Christian, and Bruce and Sarah Vance — have more than 75 years of experience in residential cleaning techniques and technologies, business development, and industry innovation.

 The 2012 ELC: Building Leaders. Growing Your Business

The 2012 Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) is ready and registration is now open!

This year's ELC will be held in Orlando April 12-14 and features topics that will help grow your business and improve your leadership skills. If the Convention covers lots of topics on the surface, the ELC picks a few topics that members have said are important to them and spends two intense days covering those topics in depth.

The 2012 ELC will focus on sales, managing your employees within the law, disaster preparedness and pricing your services for profit. Attendees will have the opportunities to learn from the best, ask questions and spend time networking (the round tables are back!) with other residential cleaning service owners.

For more information and to register, visit the ELC website at

Employee Recognition: Doing it Right

Do you have an employee recognition program? CBS Money Watch recently reported that business owners shouldn't bother putting together a recognition program, but rather, a plan to spontaneously and effectively acknowledge employees for the great things they do.

Following these nine tips should get your employees all the recognition they crave. Click here for the full article.

HTT: Hourly vs. Percentage Pay

Trying to figure out what pay structure works best for your residential cleaning business? What are the advantages of percentage pay and hourly pay?   

On Tuesday, November 22 Liz Trotter and Wells Ye will discuss their different pay structures and help answer your questions. Bring your successes, messes and questions for group discussion.  

Click here to register now.  

Are Your Ready for Old Man Winter?

 With recent hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, there is reason to believe that the coming winter will be a brutal one. Is your business prepared for blizzards and ice storms? Winter storms can mean hundreds of hours lost, damage to your office and vehicles and worry for the safety of your employees. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has recorded a webinar on winter weather preparedness and how you cna start preparing your business now for the snow and ice that is sure to come.    

To read the full article on the SBA website, click here.    

To view the SBA webinar on preparing your business for winter weather emergencies, click here. Please note that you will have to register in order to view the webinar.    

To download the presentation without listening to the webinar, click here

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Hot Topic Tuesday: Enjoy Labor Day!

Hot Topic Tuesday: CONVENTION WEEK!


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