Josh Melton has been a friend of mine in the industry for several years. We are both Christian husbands and fathers with a heart for men's ministry. Outside of cleaning, Josh has been involved in many side hustles including a coaching program to empower and strengthen men. Likewise, I am an author and was involved in a coaching program to help Dads. Can you see why we'd connect so well? How about this one. Josh built his commercial cleaning business to the level I'd like to attain, which is 6-figures of profit without having to clean. But he did that to earn his freedom to focus on other projects he felt more called to lead. That is also me 100%. During this interview, Josh and I share our stories and ultimately how God has been trying to turn our eyes toward Nineveh. What does that mean?
I have been fortunate to interview several visionaries in our industry over the past year. This interview with Ricky Regalado was different. He is such a visionary that he inspired me to do greater things in this amazing industry. Take the time to listen to this one all the way through and then listen again. You will not be disappointed.
John Disselkamp is the owner of First Class Commercial Cleaning in Louisville, KY. John was born and raised in Louisville and had a hard-working mentality. This suited him well in his early corporate life and propelled hiim to a bank executive at a young age. John won the prestigious "40 Under 40" Award during this banking stint. In this interview, John shares his transition from corporate to starting a commercial cleaning company in 2016 and growing to six-figures per month in revenue and 50 team members in under 3 years. He then lead his company to $5 million in revenue and 230 team members 3 years later. John is an American Success Story!
Michael Brown is the founder of Swept Janitorial Software, which is an all-in-one app that integrates employee scheduling, tracking, customer supplies, and quality control. As many of you know, Josh Melton has coached me from solo to a team of commercial cleaners over the past two years. Josh personally uses Swept and introduced me to Michael a few years ago. I've been following his journey and had to get him on the show. Michael is brilliant and I couldn't wait to listen to his mindset. I also have to mention this. We've now used Swept personally since 2021 and there is NO way we would have been able to to take 2 month-long family trips to Florida in the middle of winter without this amazing tool. As of the time of this interview, Swept had over 40,000 users in a market of 1 million janitorial companies. They have a lot of space to grow and they will!
We discuss a wide array of topics in this podcast episode anchored on our belief system. What is the underlying characteristic that has helped Debbie Sardone succeed in each of her businesses? It's her belief and conviction that what she is doing is right and is helping people. This conviction creates the self-confidence to take massive action and the massive action leads to massive results. It's this simple. You hear this woven all through Debbie's entrepreneurial journey that spans multiple decades. You hear this conviction rise up during the pandemic in the metaphor of the cow and buffalo and in helping cleaning company owners through the Valley of Despair. Here are some quotes from the episode.
Best Of - What Hole Do You Need?
Recently, a listener to the podcast took me up on my free coaching call option on my website. Niki Kempf of Custom Cleaning in Dyersburg, TN had some pretty big questions. Niki was close to pulling the trigger on a coaching program for $10,000+ and decided to hold off. She left that situation discouraged as her family has big dreams and no idea how to get there. Our call was awesome. I didn't ask her about her business or what she wanted her business to look like. Instead, I asked her about her dream. She shared an awesome vision. First of all, she is recently married and Niki and her husband want to grow their personal ministry to help people coming out of rehabilitation programs. She wants to mentor them, possibly hire them, and definitely donate to organizations that support them. She wants to get her husband out of his job to help her in the cleaning business. This lit her up! Then she told me something amazing. They have a dream to give away 80% of their income. Whoa! I shared the JC Penney story and how he was known for giving away 90% and living off 10%. This is the opposite model of the church/tithing model where the Christian tithes 10% and lives off 90%. Niki loved this. Then I built her dream as I shared a story of a cleaning friend doing something similar. Jessica comes from a rough situation where she dealt with abuse. She has a huge dream to help battered women in her area. She wants to hire woman coming out of the shelters to get them back on their feet. Then she wants to start a non-profit where her cleaning business funds a portion and both the cleaning business and non-profit could be in a commercial building that she buys. Jessica would have a building for everything she wanted to do and the income to do it. Niki LOVED this even more. That's when I shared the Home Depot story.
I want to thank a listener of this show and new friend, Megan Combs of Combs Commercial Cleaning in Las Vegas, NV. She had fantastic questions to ask me and even more outstanding takeaways about my podcast. I can't wait to share them. Thank you Megan! You have a bright future in this business
Welcome back to Solo Saturday! Hey solos, what do you think of this new monthly feature? What do you think of the new vibe of the podcast? I'd love your feedback. Please connect with me through my website or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In this month's edition of Solo Saturday, I will provide a sequel to the popular "Excellence Vs. Perfection".
This is the first Solo Saturday episode. You are still my people. I'm a solo cleaner and have always been one. This monthly Saturday solo show will guide you along my ISO Model. In this first episode, I'd like to start with a 15-minute clip from a recent Optimizer's Workshop I did with Heather Parke from Heather's Housekeeping in Roy, Utah. The Optimizer phase is the final part of my ISO Model. Over the years, I have developed a tool to examine and analyze a solo cleaner's business. It's called an Optimizer's Workshop. I did this workshop with Heather from the Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership as a perk of her membership. We spent 90 minutes together on Zoom to map out her business to see if she was an Optimizer yet. My goal is to show you the analysis needed to properly assess your solo cleaning business. I also realize that this workshop clip is harder to understand without seeing it. Therefore, I have also included the video on my Smart Cleaning School YouTube Channel.
You Are Not Apple
On August 4th, 2017, I was running my first optimized solo cleaning business in Upstate New York. I was earning over $50,000 profit on 2 days per week without employees. This is when I dove into the world of online courses and coaching in our industry. I was working on the ISO Model Course while I was in the midst of finalizing the optimization of that first solo biz. I also started a YouTube channel called Smart Cleaning Biz and released weekly video blogs to help cleaning company owners. They didn't get many views and I didn't do much in the way of promoting them. I was learning, just figuring out how to help others in the industry. On August 4th, 2017 I was happy and content to be a solo cleaning forever working a few days per week. Little did I know that only 3 months later, the Lord would open the door for us to sell the cleaning business and move back to our hometown in Montgomery County, PA.
Seth Teaches Juggling
I was listening to the Tim Ferriss Show again and found another amazing clip... again. This one is from Episode #638: Seth Godin on The Game of Life, The Value of Hacks, and Overcoming Anxiety (Repost). At the 20:00 minute mark of this conversation, Seth shares a teaching strategy on learning how to juggle. I listened and then listened again. It is profound and yet so simple. How do jugglers learn how to juggle multiple balls? Here's that portion of the conversation in transcript form from Tim's website.
You Need Quality Control
Let's continue the Control Series! My first episode was "You Must Let Go of Your Control", where I shared a few major breakthroughs in my recent ability to let go and trust others. It was an important therapy session. I continued this recently with another breakthrough about your business is not you and viewing trust and control like a rope. Check out part 2 of the series called "The Trust Rope". This is the 3rd part that goes the complete opposite direction! Are you ready?
I was asked to share a business showcase in my local networking group a few weeks ago so others knew more about the cleaning services I offered. On the day of the showcase, I didn't have a presentation or notes or handout or sales material. All I had was a picture of my family, a slide of our 5 Levels of the C3 Experience, and my full story. I recorded this showcase and wanted to share it with you. Thanks to my new Google Pixel 7, I have a transcription which I am also sharing in the show notes. After I was done, I received the greatest compliment possible from fellow member Shelby Leight of Keller Williams Realty.
Watch Out for Hector and Larry
I have held this story for several months. I am going to share the story of a young man that applied for a part-time job at C3 last summer that had all the signs of a potential leader. Let's call him Larry. One of our core values is ownership. I look for this quality in our applicants. Are they reliable, dependable, trustworthy? This is the foundation of the second core value of excellence. If they take ownership, they will work with excellence. The final core value is safety. If they are a person who takes ownership and works with excellence, they will not let safety slip. I look for this and have a strict filtering process for C3 hiring. It's obvious when an applicant is lazy or not willing to work. My dad was the hardest worker in his gas utility crew. But there was a guy named Hector that always managed to do the least amount to not get fired. He never pulled his weight. Others in the crew including my dad had to do his work. Hector was overweight and lazy. No one liked Hector, but Hector was just fine because he had a cushy job that paid well and others did his work. By the way, that guy managed to retire from the utility company. It's incredible that the leadership of this company allowed 'Hectors' to survive. They kill morale. It's obvious when a Hector shows up in your applicant pool. They stand out. But what about the other extreme?
The Trust Rope
The topic of letting go is universal across all business and family and relationships. Have you ever heard the rope metaphor in parenting? We use this with our kids. "Hey son, I'm giving you a rope. In the beginning, it's very short so I can pull you back in quick. As you take responsibility and ownership and make good decisions, I will give you more rope or trust. When you make poor decisions that put yourself or others in harm, I take away some rope. When you blame others and shirk responsibility, I take away some rope. My goal is to eventually give you the rope so you can pull me whenever you need me." As I just read this, I get a little emotional as my oldest son is 18 now and is close to getting his rope. This concept of the rope has helped us raise our kids and I fully believe it helps with our employees as well. In "You Must Let Go of Your Control", I shared the breakthroughs that allowed me to emotionally let go of perfectionism and control. It was a therapy session for me. I have a follow-up episode to further help you breakthrough your deep, dark emotional control over your business.
One year ago today, we arrived back in Pennsylvania after the most epic month-long family trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was a dream and we actually achieved it. Our family lived a full month in another location while the family business operated back home. In this "best-of" replay, I wanted to convey the mindset Teresa and I had when we left Florida. We didn't want to leave, but we knew we had to. Listen all the way through. I said this statement toward the end. "We both moved from sad to leave to excited to come back." Here's that episode replay.
I originally started this podcast for solo cleaners because I was a solo cleaner. I was the solo cleaner's champion to show that you don't have to scale to win. I had optimized 2 solo cleaning companies to $60,000 profit on 2 cleaning days per week without employees. I was also mainly in the residential cleaning world. At the time of this episode, I was growing my second company and really felt that the vision of moms helping moms helping moms would connect with so many women in the industry. But Ken, you're not a woman. That's quite obvious. But I was in an industry dominated by women, so I wanted to relate more. I have been married for 20 years. I have a daughter and 3 sisters. I'm not totally clueless.
Would you like to talk about anything in your business. I am here to help. Book a free coaching call on the Smart Cleaning School website at www.smartcleaningschool.com. Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available on the website as well. I look forward to helping you!
I attended my chamber's Fall Forum event at a local theater with four business leaders sharing on the state of the economy and business. For the purposes of this podcast, I'll keep the panelists nameless, but will share their backgrounds. Their backgrounds were the following: an analyst from the FED, a chief lending officer from a local bank, a machine shop owner, and the owner of a construction engineering company. I listened to each of the men talk on the state of the economy and business and the lessons they've learned and implemented. A theme emerged in my mind. The construction engineer noticed that customers in residential real estate were more interested in energy efficient homes than ever as they wanted less expenses to operate the home. In past years, people didn't care about this as much. The machine shop owner struggled to get good tradesman to work for him. He was reluctant to take on new work. Therefore, instead of growing the bottom line, he focused on taking care of what he already had. He focused on his existing team and doing the work he could handle. He gave increased compensation and benefits and intangibles. He focused on relationships with his team and his vendors. I thought this was incredible as his culture is now booming and morale is way up and it's more desirable to work for him than ever before. All of this happened because he couldn't grow. The loan officer shared the point of view from his customers that he lends to. He notices that businesses are doing more tightening of the budget and watching their expense lines. They are watching their cash flows also to make sure they can handle what's coming next with increasing interest rates. He mentioned one customer that normally would do a single projection for the next 12-24 months. That same business owner is doing 3-5 projections at any point similar to a meteorologist tracking a hurricane on weather.com.
A SOP Story with Kate Sloan
The Smart Cleaning Tribe has been a fun membership to run these last 4+ years. Our founding members have grown significantly as they set goals and hold each other accountable each month. Every month, I bring a subject-matter expert into the Tribe to resource the members. Our very own, Kate Sloan of Chicka Chicka Broom in Montgomery, MN, stepped up to lead the call in September 2022. She has a superpower of utilizing standard operating procedures (SOPs) so well in her business. Kate has been such a resource to the other members. We were all grateful for her sharing so much that day with us. This clip is the first 25 minutes of the 100 minute call where Kate describes her business at the different stages. It's very helpful and encouraging. It's sort of like the 45-year-old without a retirement plan yet that suddenly puts it all together at 50. That's me by the way! Ha! That was Kate as well with SOPs in her business. This 25-minute clip is a SOP story with Kate Sloan.
If you're interested in leveling up your goals each month and having a tribe to hold you accountable as you achieve them, the Smart Cleaning Tribe is for you. Check out the videos and testimonials on our Tribe page and apply to join the 1% Club! You can also book a free coaching call on the Smart Cleaning School website at www.smartcleaningschool.com. Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available on the website as well.
Relationships Trump Transactions
Coach Josh and I use Marco Polo to communicate during the week. He allows me to send questions as I have them. He listens and responds when he gets the chance. I'm very grateful to have Josh Melton in my corner as we grow C3 to the next level in 2023, which is to add the second building block and earn over $100,000 income from the cleaning business. Josh and I had an exchange on November 8th and 9th of 2022 that was so interesting to me. I've never heard it talked about before in the cleaning groups or other podcasts. I had to cover it here.
Ghosted But Not Forgotten
Have you ever had a customer or an employee that ghosted you and you didn't know why it happened? When this happens early in your business, it really affects your confidence and your heart. Some of you may have had this happen with a first girlfriend or boyfriend. It makes you question whether you should be doing what you're doing. It's natural. Rejection is very difficult.
Warnings Against HazMat and 1099s
I met a young lady named Brittany Holter on a Zoom call in December 2022. Brittany is a mom, military wife, and new cleaning business owner. She is growing fast and starting to struggle with the good problem of too much work. Her niche is in AirBnB. Brittany reached out to me by booking a free coaching call on my website. Our conversation was wide-reaching and I certainly asked her permission to record in case we talked about anything that could help other listeners like herself. Brittany agreed and we did! There were 3 topics that we touched on that I wanted to share in one episode. They are how to deal with hazardous material or HazMat, scaling, and the do's and don't with 1099 subcontractors. I have included a clip from our hour-long free coaching call to give you the highlights.
You Must Let Go of Your Control
This is a powerful follow up to my last episode, Building Blocks, I shared a story about Legos and building your cleaning company in blocks that are duplicatable. I had developed a building block as an optimized solo cleaner, but there was no scaling needed. I shared in Building Blocks that we created our first scalable building block in 2022 which was comprised on 16 commercial locations and 8 employees. This block earned my family $40,000 income on $166,000 in annual revenue. This is not a good percentage to keep because the first block is very unprofitable. The second block nearly triples our income. There is something vital that I did not mention that really deserves its own episode. How was I able to trust others after being a solo cleaner for 15 years? How was I able to delegate, create systems, and get others to do just as amazing a job cleaning as I did solo? Do you ever find yourself asking that question? Here's the simple answer. You must let go of your control or you'll never succeed with a team.
My boys love to build Legos! It's one of their favorite things to do. You should see the look on their faces when they open a brand new 3-in-1 set on Christmas Day. It's even more awesome to see my 5-year-old building that same Christmas Lego set on the kitchen floor a few hours later while his brothers are working on theirs. Once and a while, I'll even help them if they let me. A few years ago, we got them Ikea furniture for Christmas. Boring, right? Nope. They each got 9 pull-out organizer bins with a table top for their Legos. Oh my, did they run with that one. They spend hours taking every Lego and carefully placing them into the right color-coded bin. It was a win for the boys as they could build their own projects easier with the organizer like a true Master Builder and it was a win for mom and dad as it kept their Legos in one place...sort of. Legos are kind of like a virus. They spread. Legos end up everywhere. Since getting them the Ikea organizers, my boys have used all available flat space on the family room hard floors, kitchen table, and certainly their bedroom tabletop areas and floors to construct massive Lego ciites. They combine other building materials like Duplo and wooden blocks from games we have like Giant Jenga and Kapla blocks. They bring their stuffed animals and plastic animal toys into the creation and then play for hours. It's mesmerizing. Boys love to build.
Action Unlimited Story: "Our founder, Alan Glazar, joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Wounded in Vietnam, the Marine Corps trained him in heating and cooling where he worked for the remainder of his service. While he didn’t enjoy working on HVAC systems, it exposed him to mechanical skills and a field where he was involved in inspections, repairs, quality control, and maintenance. After leaving the military, he became a janitor for a company that distributed cleaning supplies. His responsibilities quickly expanded from sweeping floors to making coffee, adding up invoices, and calculating daily profits. One day the owner said, “Kid, I want you to go out and sell.” That day Alan discovered his calling—helping customers. And boy was he good at it. The competition soon noticed and another company grabbed him. Throughout his time at the company, Alan rose to fill the shoes of general manager, purchasing manager, and sales manager before eventually running the company as the right hand for the owner. In 1982, Alan founded Action Paper & Chemical Co, a company founded with the mindset of a salesman on the street with a simple guarantee: 100% Customer satisfACTION! As time progressed and our product line expanded, a name change was necessary. Today, as Action Unlimited Resources, we are still family-owned and operated and we continue to handle customer needs with a sense of urgency – just as Alan founded the company.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.