While every business owner who starts a new enterprise, desires to maximise their profits and establish a thriving operation, doing so can often prove difficult. The good news is, staying true to several time-honoured business rules, can help you reach your success goals and avoid certain disaster.
When you started your cleaning business, the lure of building a profitable venture was one of the biggest factors that compelled you to proceed with it. You researched the typical startup costs, the going rates for services, the monthly overheads and all of the ongoing expenses you could expect to face. While concluding that profits may be small initially, with time, they would begin to steadily grow. Eventually, you would make enough money to carve out a decent living for yourself, and you would be content with your continued success as a commercial cleaning business owner. Beyond a few minor hitches at the beginning, your commitment and hard work would soon pay off, and things would be smooth sailing before long.
However, perhaps the road to success was a little rougher than you had originally planned, and you have since found yourself in the business equivalent of a plateau. You make enough money to offset your expenses, but you are never able to retain your clients for the long-term. Adding to your woes, many of your best workers always abandon your business in favor of other employment opportunities. To make matters worse, you seem unable to market your services effectively and struggle to secure new, higher-paying clientele.
While you continue to work hard, pay your bills and keep the tax man off your back, your business isn’t making progress. It's important to know that you're not the only person suffering through this kind of holding pattern. It’s an experience that cuts across all businesses.
The question is, how do you break out of this slump and reach the original goals that you set for yourself when you first began your business?
The following is a 5 step strategy to help you maximize the profits of your cleaning company.
1) Examine your bookkeeping records
Like every other business, your commercial cleaning company has an income and expenses. What's important, however, is ensuring those numbers are precisely what they should be. While this is an exercise that takes time, the benefits are substantial. Some of the things to look at include:
- Are you sending out your invoices to customers often enough?
- Do you have a large amount of invoices that have yet to be paid?
- How much money is being spent on equipment and supplies?
- Would it be cheaper if you purchased supplies in greater numbers?
- Are your employees using their supplies carefully, or are they being wasteful?
- Are your staff working as productively as they can?
These are just a few examples of how your expenses and revenues can be improved. Every additional minute your team spends moving from one site to another gives you a negative ROI.
2) Employ and retain the right people
Employee retention is one of the most challenging and frustrating things to contend with, when owning a cleaning business. Any hope you have of maintaining a profitable business operation, virtually walks straight out the door when you lose your best employees. Sometimes, this may be beyond your control.
An employee may wake one morning and decide that they’ve simply had enough of the cleaning industry altogether and choose to walk away. Others may elect to go back to school or go off and start their businesses. Others still may be forced to stop working due to sickness or injury. When this happens, don’t be bitter with them, thank them for their services, wish them well, and promise to give them a place in your organization should they decide to change their mind.
Another common reason people leave their job is because of low wages. If they are able to obtain employment elsewhere on a better salary, and you’re either unable or unwilling to meet raise their wages, then you have no choice but to let them go. According to recent studies, another popular reason workers depart their existing job, is because they feel that their employer doesn’t appreciates the work that they do for them. This problem can be resolved if you have communication software to reach your employees. Make a habit of thanking your employees for their hard work and dedication. Call them by name during staff meetings, and tell them what they are doing that is so pleasing to you.
3) Focus on delivering exceptional cleaning services in a particular field
It is far more lucrative to focus on becoming a specialist in a particular cleaning discipline than it is to offer mediocre quality services across a broad range of areas. Establishing your business as a specialist service will do wonders for growing your revenue. You can get certification in anything from green cleaning, carpet cleaning or office cleaning, through to toxic waste removal or even mold removal. In most cases, you may even be able to attain these certifications for free, as a part of your membership benefits.
4) Ensure your services represent value for money
It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between price and value. It’s often wrongly assumed that in order for something to represent ‘value for money’, it must be cheap. This isn’t the case. While agreeing to work for less money may enable your cleaning company to attract more clients, it’s not a long-term strategy for success. Value, on the other hand is not confined to cheap prices only, and is about ensuring high quality services whose worth is equal to or exceeds the amount of money that your business charges.
For your customers, value means turning up to clean their premises when you're expected to. It means completing your cleaning tasks to the highest standards, and also means that your clients can trust you and your staff and don’t have to keep tabs on you while you’re working. Your customers are always occupied with personal issues, and the more you can relieve them of worries concerning the cleanliness of their facilities, the better.
5) Create a business referral program
If you have an effective team, work with efficiency, and provide excellent value for money, referrals are a powerful way to grow your business and strengthen your profitability. The most effective advertising you can get for your business is through word of mouth; satisfied customers who tells their friends and family members about your business. It's not wise to simply hope that former or existing customers will refer new business to you. Instead, create a referral program and watch the results fly in.