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March 23, 2012: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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News, Netoworking & Events

The Residential Cleaning Connection

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional

March 23, 2012 - Vol 3, Issue 6

From the Executive Director

Ernie's Etching

Debunking the Myths

As we get ready for our Annual Executive Leadership Conference, our 2012 Convention Committee is also working on our educational programs for this year's convention. In both cases, our committees not only look to our members and industry partners for programs, but we also look for great presenters outside of our industry who can deliver a practical and useful message that has broad implications. The main reason is to help you break old paradigms that may be holding you back.

So, I thought it might me a good time to refute the common myths the naysayers have when it comes to education.

1. "Some of the examples don't apply to my business."

A great example is a great example. It is up to you to figure out how to apply it to your situation.

2. "Our industry is totally different."

If the principle is sound, the business or industry does not matter. While industries may have unique obstacles, the barriers and opportunities to success are universal.

3. "I have a unique situation in my business"

What's unique about trying to differentiate yourself from the competition, making price irrelevant, finding talented and loyal employees from a limited talent pool and getting them to "buy-in" to your system, creating a consistent product , having "above and beyond" customer service and having procedures and policies to deal with not just everyday situations, but when someone drops the ball as well.

Dealing with these key issues in a successful manner leads to success in any industry.

It is all about taking what you learn that has been successful for others and applying it to your business. One of the best examples used by business speakers is Southwest Airlines. Southwest was looking for a way to improve the turnaround time for its aircraft from the time it arrived at the gate until pushback. Reducing this time would help save money.

For a solution, Southwest did not look at other airlines, they studied Indianapolis 500 pit crews, who completed a similar function in just 15 seconds. As a result of adapting the techniques they learned, Southwest reduced its turnaround time by 50% and became the leader in their industry. Would they have gotten the same result if their attitude had been, "That won't work in our industry"?

A great example is a great example.

See You in Orlando.

(Thanks to John DiJulius, The DiJulius Group and his weekly blog that was the inspiration for this column,)

An average of 35 members participate in the ARCSI Hot Topic Tuesday calls every week. Moderated by ARCSI members, these calls pick a topic important to our industry - from marketing and advertising to employee issues - and discuss the best ideas, answer questions and offer feedback.

Both the Hot Topic calls - every Tuesday at 1 pm Eastern/ 10 am Pacific - and the recorded Hot Topic downloads are FREE to ARCSI members. Do you have an area of your business that needs work? Perhaps job descriptions or social media? There are over 100 recordings to choose from on almost any business topic you can imagine.

Get the most from your membership. Take advantage of this free resource today! Click here to take you to the ARCSI store, then select "Hot Topic Tuesday Downloads" from the drop down menu. Please note there is NO Hot Topic call on March 27.

ARCSI New Member Webinar:
March 29 @ 7:30 pm EDT

ARCSI Member logo

Have your joined ARCSI in the last 30 days? Are you getting the MOST out of your membership? What can ARCSI provide to help your improve and grow your residential cleaning business? We want to help you be the best residential cleaning service owner you can be.

Join ARCSI Board member Dee Strickland, owner of A Zing Zap Cleaning Service, as she and ARCSI member Leslie Power on March 29 at 7:30 pm EDT/4:30 pm PDT. They will explain how to make the most of your new ARCSI membership! To register for this free webinar, click here.

Don't miss this opportunity to ask questions and understand how you can get the most from your ARCSI membership.

When Kim Holland, Sales and Marketing Director for Designer Maid in Asheville, NC booked a booth for a local Home and Garden show, she was hoping to connect faces with the company's name. What she got were hundreds of hot leads and a list of 25 people who wanted estimates ASAP.

Holland booked a booth at the 2012 Western north Carolina Home, Garden and Lawn Show on March 17 and 18 for $610 (plus the cost of running electricity to the booth). She explained that the company spends a little more than that on a direct mail campaign to 1000 potential clients and gets a return rate of about 1%. With Designer Maid's rental of the Home and Garden booth, they have already recouped their investment, booking seven recurring clients from the show this week alone.

"It has definitely exceeded expectations," Holland says. She captured about 250 names, addresses and email addresses. To capture that information, Designer Maid held a raffle, offering up donations generously given by the business clients, ranging from two rooms of free carpet cleaning to local chocolates and a hot stone massage. Holland plans to target these leads with a special email campaign.

In addition, three different realtors approached the booth, wanting to talk about move-in/move-out cleans. "We also had several people ask about our construction clean-up, because they were in the process or remodeling, or looking to remodel soon."

Designer Maid owners, Michael and Shirley Wells, involved all of their teams in the event. Cleaning teams were scheduled for two hour blocks at the show throughout the weekend, to come in uniform and talk to potential clients. Designer Maid's products and equipment was on display as well, so that interested clients could discuss the quality. Holland created a presentation about the company's green cleaning efforts and also had videos from their YouTube channel looping on a television in the booth.

"The entire production took about a month to coordinate," says Holland, "but it was well worth the time and effort!"

2012 ELC Logo There has been a lot of chatter recently on the ARCSI LinkedIn Group about employee non-compete agreements. Is there a boilerplate language you can use? What are each state's requirements?

Non-compete forms are a huge deal in the residential cleaning business and they are just one of the issues Greg Hare will cover in "Managing Your Employees Within the Law" at the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference.

This year, the ELC Committee has added and element of competition to the roundtables. You will take home a tangible souvenir from the ELC - a sales plan! Attendees will be broken into groups to work together to develop a sales plan based on location, size and goals for their companies.

During this two day intense conference, you'll learn how to become a better residential cleaning service owner through sales training, a better manager of your employees and how to better prepare your business for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

The ELC is your opportunity to meet with other successful residential cleaning business owners to ask questions, solve problems and learn how to grow your business.

In addition, you can register for the ISE House Cleaning Tech Certification program, taking place just before the ELC in the same location. Click here for details.

Register today for the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference and commit to growing your company and improving your business.
As if you needed another reason to be in Florida in April, EPCOT is holding their International Flower and Garden Festival until May 20. ARCSI members attending the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference have been offered special tickets to EPCOT, The Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. There are special low prices for admission to these parks after 2 pm ($99) and after 4 pm ($52).

For more information on the discounts available, click here.
Please note that there is no Hot Topic Tuesday call on March 27. We hope to "see" everyone on Tuesday April 3 on our monthly Open Forum call, hosted by Angela Wilson.

A Certified HCT's Pledge and Primary Responsibility
byCeCe Mikell, Marketing Director

In the past two weeks, the Institute for Service Excellence has had a LOT to be excited about.

First House Cleaning Technician (HCT) Certifications Awarded! The first celebration came on March 12, 2012 when the first eleven certified HCTs received their official notices in the mail from IICRC/thecleantrust. So the next time you see the following folks, you can know that they have

  • qualified by service and examination with a satisfactory score to ascertain their competency
  • demonstrated a thorough and working knowledge of cleaning and restoration or inspection techniques to the satisfaction of an approved cleantrust instructor
  • pledged themselves to strive constantly to promote the goodwill of those they serve and to use their best talents to preserve by proper care the properties of their customers
  • agreed to subscribe and continue an effective training program approved by the cleantrust to upgrade themselves as a true professional
  • pledged to hold above all else honesty and thorough workmanship in all their customer relations.

Congratulations to the members of ISE's pilot class, who all earned their HCT certification: Hulda Brown-Jones, Derek Christian, Lisa Hunt, David Kiser, Rebecca Lovett, CeCe Mikell, Erasmo Padilla, Janice Stewart, Tom Stewart, Bruce Vance, Sarah Vance!

Training in Healthy Cleaning Practices-an HCT's First Responsibility

ISE's second celebration is shared by Modern Cleaning who is completing its first CFC Training Week (March 19-23), offering the newly released Modern Cleaning™ Cleaner, Safer, Greener™ Chemical Free Cleaning Training and Business Management Program in Charleston, SC. Four residential cleaning services have been working together all week to take the essential training and business strategy steps toward advancing their businesses into uncontested market space-which is business-speak for "no one else is doing it!"

What ISE finds so exciting about this part of its program offerings is that two of the companies made sure to complete the House Cleaning Technician certification FIRST! Sheena Newberry of Needs Met Services in Huntsville, AL (Bonita Gibson, owner) and Yazmin Sanchez-Garcia, who is currently working through the paperwork to launch her Chemical Free Cleaning business in Houston, TX, both completed the HCT certification classes in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX and Raleigh, NC, respectively.

Having acquired the scientific foundations of cleaning and the basics of a good cleaning and operating procedure enabled Sheena and Yazmin to really focus on the specific areas, especially developing a variety of marketing messages based on what consumers most want to hear: that YOUR cleaning technicians know what they are doing to get rid of the dirt and germs they don't want and to keep their home and furnishings...all while being more healthy than any other cleaning method.

After all, a House Cleaning Technician's first responsibility is to protect the health of the cleaning technician and the inhabitants of the residence!

Mastering LinkedIn
by Dean DeSantis

LI1. Change your expectation of social networking. There is no quick fix on social media, no instant gratification or get-rich-quick method. This is a long-term strategy to say the least.

2. Put some thought into your profile and make sure it does justice to the brand we call You. What do you want your profile to say about you? What image do you want to present? Speaking of image, get a picture for your profile. A professional head shot is best.

Some issues to think about:

- Consider using the privacy settings if you don't want people to know that you viewed their profile.

- Do you want your connections visible to everyone in your network?

- Do you have some clients who may get offended if they find out you are doing work for their competitors?

3. Join groups. The biggest mistake many people make is joining groups exclusively in their industry. I think that's great, but you need to branch out. In addition to the ARCSI Linked In Group, consider joining local groups or other professional groups, too.

4. Get off the sidelines. Get the feel of your group. Contribute. Add value. Doesn't this help make you more visible and help with the whole branding thing? Start your own discussions in those groups.

5. Facilitate your discussion. If you start a discussion and then disappear, you're not doing much for your branding. You not only display bad manners by doing the disappearing act, you allow your discussion to go inactive sooner. \

6. Show appreciation for those who contribute to your discussions. Always thank people in the discussion with a simple "Thank you for your input, (insert name here)."

7. Add value to your network by being a matchmaker. Introduce your contacts to people they want and need to meet. With so many displaced workers in these challenging times, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities

8. Let people get to know you by using applications such as Amazon bookshelf, SlideShare, and links to your blog. People like people they trust. One of the first steps towards trust is familiarity.

9. Cross-pollinate your efforts by putting a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature. Whenever you connect with someone, always do your best to immediately connect with them on the other venues where you participate.

10. Status updates are a great way for you to stay on your network's radar screen. The key here is to stay on the radar screen by continuing to add value but avoiding oversaturation and taking it easy on the self-promotion.

11. Be consistent. You won't build your brand if you show up two days in a row, take two weeks off and come back for a day or two. Make this a daily activity. Remember, this is a long-term investment.

12. Be selective who you ask for recommendations and be selective to whom you give recommendations.

13. Use LinkedIn Q&A. When you answer a question on LinkedIn Q&A, you can share up to three links. This is a great opportunity to gently guide someone by the hand to some new content or your website.

14. Transition your LinkedIn relationships to "real-time."

Get social from "Hello." Take the 30 seconds and write a two-sentence note when you ask someone to connect with you. This positions you as different from the start.. When someone sends you an invitation, take a minute to write an actual response.

So how long should this all take? In a relationship, how long does it take for love to happen? Is it the seventh date, seventh week, or the seventh year? Why don't we have a definitive answer? Because it happens when it happens. Social networking is not a short-term strategy. Take the time to get "social" and actually have a courtship, and then watch how loving the marriage becomes.

more Calendar

Hot Topic Tuesday: Enjoy Labor Day!

Hot Topic Tuesday: CONVENTION WEEK!


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