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November 30: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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News, Netoworking & Events

The Residential Cleaning Connection

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional

November 30, 2012 - Vol 3, Issue 22

ARCSI Industry Partners Resources


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ARCSI Industry Partner-Moody's Insurance Visit us in Vegas!

From the Executive Director
Ernie's Etching
Believe in People...Don't Be A Jerk!

I read what I thought was a great article this week from the COO of GES, Damian Morgan. GES is the vendor we use at our Convention for all of the tables, chairs draping etc on the show floor, so I get their newsletter. Damian's article was entitled, "Believe In People and Don't be a Jerk!". The points he makes in the article could apply to any owner or manager in any business.

His philosophy is simple. "I believe in people. I believe that people want to succeed, want to work and will work hard for something they believe in. I am the same. I believe that everyone on the team has something to contribute no matter the role, and that the diversity of thought will allow us all to win. I also believe in getting the process correct so that we can free ourselves to be creative and solve difficult problems. I believe that we can always be better individually and as a team."

But don't think he's a warm and fuzzy pushover, he also has the following non-negotiable points:

  • Don't be a jerk- Discrimination or lack of respect for anyone will not be tolerated no matter how good or important you are to the business.
  • Keep your eyes open- Be safe and look after those around you.
  • Be transparent and direct- That way we know where we are.
  • Don't make it up- If you don't know, say so. We can figure it out.
  • Give 100%- Try hard, work hard, and find balance in life.

To read the entire article, Click HERE, I think it will be worth your time. When you read it, think about your own company, your attitude, how you treat your team members, and what you expect from them. Do you believe in them and do they believe in the company (you)? I think it is the kind of thinking that just might take you to the next level. Great things can happen when you believe in people and aren't a jerk!

Have a safe, and joyous holiday season!

Ernie Sig

Working ON Your Business, Not IN It
ARCSI networking and education events are filled with talk of getting out from behind the vacuum and getting behind the desk. Many members are still in the field working, but want to make the transition to leading their company and thinking about the business' long-term goals.

Inc. Magazine's David Lonsdale recently wrote an excellent article detailing four steps you need to make in 2013 to stop working IN your business and start working ON your business.

1. Set concrete goals for 2013. Break each goal down into monthly and weekly goals so that, slowly and surely, progress is being made.

2. Plan your hirings and firings. No one likes firing people, but putting it off has the potential to make you and the rest of your staff miserable. On the upside, when growth is within your reach, be ready to hire and act on that as well.

3. Get your finances in order. Read your financial statements and make sure you understand them. Think about what you need to do to get to that "next level."

4. Work on long-term strategy. You know you want to stop cleaning and start leading, but once you've scrubbed your last shower, what's the plan? Where do you want your company to be in 5 years? Ten years?

To read Lonsdale's complete article click here.

ARCSI Benchmark Survey Coming Soon

What do you charge? How many employees do you have?

These are some of the common benchmark questions ARCSI members and staff are always asking, and we think it is finally time to get our members some answers.

In January, ARCSI will be launching its first ever benchmarking survey to gather basic information from members on their businesses. The ARCSI Research Committee has been working hard on developing questions to gather information that will best hep their members gauge and improve their businesses.

Participation is voluntary and replies will be anonymous, but we need your help! The results will only be as good as the number of ARCSI members who participate. The more information we gather, the more accurate the results will be.

Thank you to Research Committee members Scarlette Dale, Sam Francescon, Mike Grecky, RJ Patel and Sarah Vance for their time, effort and determination. If you have questions or concerns regarding the benchmarking survey, please contact ARCSI staff at, or 614-547-0887.

ServiceMagic Now HomeAdvisor

Last month IAC announced the launch of HomeAdvisor, formerly ServiceMagic. HomeAdvisor is a newly re-launched website that connects homeowners with pre-screened and customer-rated service professionals and provides a suite of comprehensive tools, products and resources to help with home improvement, maintenance and repair needs. Access to all of the site's features is free, with no membership required.

For more information on HomeAdvisor and its services, visit Home improvement tips and videos are available by visiting, by following @HomeAdvisor on Twitter.

For more information on the re-launch, click here.

Call for Pictures (and Stories!)

Do you have pictures from past ARCSI events you'd be willing to share? How about an inspiring or amusing story? How has ARCSI helped your business and why did you get involved?

In preparation for our 10th Anniversary, staff is seeking photos and stories from past regional meetings, Executive Leadership Conferences and Annual Cleaning Conventions. We hope you'll share! Send all info to Chris Zimmer at

Make More Money in Your Cleaning Biz by Working Less, Not More
by Pam Washington, Build My Cleaning Business

Today I'd like to talk about leverage: what it is, why you need it and how your cleaning service business can start benefiting from this powerful tool right away.

First lets get clear on what leverage is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leverage as "an inducing or compelling force". It further describes leverage as "a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or power". Doesn't sound very appealing does it?

But, if you use Roget's Thesaurus to see what the synonyms for leverage are, you'll find words like "advantage, power, influence and clout, authority and edge". Those are things you'd like to have in your cleaning business wouldn't you? Having a tool that transmits power in your business might be a good thing right?

Here's the fact of the matter. For most of us who are the founders of our own businesses (that includes me) in the beginning we did everything. Entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, people who have lots of "get up and go". We are people who take action, who make things happen and who get things done. That's a good thing. When your business is first starting out the force of your ideas, determination and persistence are the wheels that propel your company forward.

When you are starting from the beginning, the act of generating any movement at all in your business is huge! Because you’re at a standstill, it takes a ton of effort, but once you get the ball rolling, the business begins to have some momentum of its own. The law of physics states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion; this is borne out in your business through repeat customers, word of mouth referrals, and perhaps good results from your advertising or marketing efforts. So, now that things are humming along, you are quite busy running your business.

The down side to this is that you (you personally) are super busy. You’re involved in the hiring, payroll, purchasing and accounting functions of your company. Perhaps you’re handling complaints, directing scheduling, managing your employees and thinking about company equipment, uniforms and the like. But here’s the question: How much of your daily activity is directly related to creating value in your company? Isn’t that your real job? As "captain of the ship” it’s important to make sure that your day is spent doing the things that:

  • increase revenues
  • improve profits
  • drive innovation
  • promote customer satisfaction
  • enable you to dominate your market
  • move you towards your "big goals”

That’s the reason you need leverage in your business. You need to use leverage to ensure that YOU only focus on the most critical tasks that can ONLY be done by you. This means you’ll need to start eliminating, delegating, outsourcing, or automating less important activities.

Now, why is it important to create systems? If you’re self-generating too many things in your business right now, you are probably exhausted. You are focusing your time and energy on non-money generating activities. All those little things that you have to self-generate take all of your time and all of your energy, which means you can’t attract more clients and make more money because you’re using your time on stuff that simply doesn’t have to be done by you. Your ultimate goal is to maximize results with the least amount of effort. You can accomplish this through leverage: generating disproportionately large returns with a minimal investment. It may take several hours of analysis, but once you begin the process of outsourcing (creating leverage) you’ll reap huge dividends in terms of:

ü Making sure you get around to the truly important vs the urgent tasks

ü Stop feeling distracted, overworked and like you’re always behind

ü Get the kind of real control over your schedule that allows you to take a vacation from your business, pursue hobbies or spend time with your family

ü Add value to your business that isn’t based on you "working”. The business (or at least certain aspects of it) runs on "auto-pilot”.

Creating and using "systems” in your business is the way to generate leverage and it’s really quite simple. The way to create systems for your cleaning company is to actually dissect your business and look at all the different little parts. For example, there’s:

1. Client acquisition process- marketing

2. Invoicing and payment - bookkeeping

3. There’s the delivery of services – the actual cleaning

4. Scheduling

5. Hiring

6. Training

7. Management of employees

8. Purchasing – supplies, equipment, etc.

9. Customer service and quality control

Build a list like this for your cleaning service company. There is actually a system that can be implemented for every single one of these parts. If I look at my business, there is not one aspect of it that isn’t systematized in one way or another.

Consider what needs to happen for all of these things to be generated without you or to be taken care of without you. Who would it be delegated to? How would it be automated with technology? How could it be systemized so that everything happens the same way each time? Those are the questions I want you to ask of yourself.

Then, create a procedure. It could be your operations manual or just a series of checklists. When you do it once, you don’t have to self-generate it again and again. You just pull out your system and follow that. Or better yet, hand it to someone else. Maybe you’ll go over it with them the first time, but after that you move on to something else. You can have these systems all over your business. If there’s a way that you take an applicant through your hiring process, balance your checkbook, prepare the bank deposit, order equipment and supplies, etc., systematize it. Whatever it is, maybe it’s talking to new vendors for any of the myriad goods and services you purchase for your company. It could be ordering office supplies, or background investigations, drug testing or marketing activities, here’s the process for systemizing it;

Take the procedure or activity….. Do it yourself (once). Document EVERY single step of what you do- step by step. What I did in my business was I had my Administrative Assistant type out exactly what I dictated to her. And I just spoke out loud as I completed each step. Yes, it’s in investment of time to get it all down on paper the first time, but then, you never have to do (or teach it) again. How much is that worth? It’s saved me literally weeks of time over this past year (weeks that I spend visiting Rome and cruising the Mediterranean this fall instead). It was so much fun!

In advance of writing this article I looked into our folder for the systems we’ve created this year. There were 57 of them. Some I’ve already mentioned in this article. Here’s a few more:

1. Creating a ( chronological) "Monthly Report” from the daily reports sent in by quality control inspectors in the field each night (makes it much easier for me to read and track what’s going on without having the spend a lot of time on the phone with my supervisors

2. Sending inspection report to clients that request on a monthly basis

3. Issuing work tickets for periodic tasks (carpet cleaning, windows etc.)

4. Making our monthly Worker’s Compensation payment (online)

5. Paying (quarterly) payroll tax assessment to Sate of NV

6. Making time-sheet corrections prior to inputting payroll data

7. Every step of payroll data entry

8. Handling "day off requests”

9. Entering a new hires into the time clock system

10. Distribution of company property to staff

11. Conducting exit interviews with employees

12. Collection of company property

13. E-verify for new hires

14. Checklist for new hires (and existing employees) to make sure the personnel files are complete and up to date

15. Inventory tracking for equipment

It may seem like a daunting task, so just take it one at a time. Have your office person sit beside you while you do the activity. Have her create the "system” in a document. Review and edit the document as you go along. It may make something you normally spend 15 minutes doing take 45 minutes instead. But, the fact that you never have to do it or teach it again, is worth the initial effort, don’t you agree? More importantly this is the way to really leverage your knowledge and your time, so that you can begin to delegate and free up more of your own time.

Let’s face it; there are only so many hours a day. If you don’t come up with a way (soon) to create more time for yourself, by "off-loading” some of what you’re doing now, that will keep you from going beyond where you are right now. If you want to continue working the same amount of hours and making the same amount of money you are now, there’s no reason to leverage. But, if you dream of taking more time off, enjoying your business more and increasing your revenues and your profits, then leveraging your business is the way to do it!

Schooling Housecleaners: The HCT Certification
HCT ISE By now you've heard about the House Cleaning Technician (HCT) Certification. You know that it provides in-depth training to your cleaning techs abut how to treat tough stains and provides them with an understanding of the chemicals they use (or don't use). Can other residential cleaning companies in your area say their cleaners know as much?

ARCSI Past President David Kiser, co-founder of The Institute for Service Excellence, (ISE), and co-author of The Professional House Cleaning Technician's Manual, wrote an excellent article in Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine explaining the benefits of having your cleaning tech's HCT certified.

"...(This is) a way for those engaged in the profession of cleaning homes to proudly hold their heads up and say 'I know how to care for this home,'" says Kiser.

To read the full article in Cleaning & Maintenance Magazine, click here.

Attention 2012 Convention Attendees: Complete Your Survey!

Attendees of the 2012 ARCSI Cleaning Convention in Chicago have a chance to help us improve the 2013 Convention in Las Vegas.

Click here to complete a short, 8-question survey on your experience and tell us how to make next year's convention even better!

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