Right off the bat, let me make this statement. There is not one way to properly do a COVID-19 clean and disinfect, but there is science that governs us to follow protocols and procedures to ensure best results. There are so many companies out there doing COVID disinfection. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell which are tried and true with years of disinfection and training from the ones that saw an opportunity in 2020 and short-cutted the system to make money. I would first like to give a shout out to a good friend who has become an expert in disinfection in the Washington D.C. area. Mark Lineberry of Universal Janitorial Services has an incredible article on COVID & Reopening Your Facilities (Guide) and another on properly doing Electostatic Disinfection Services. It will show you just how much training it takes to do this right and I HIGHLY recommend that you begin learning this science so you can help more families and businesses in your community. As you know, I've become a local expert in Philly on the same topic as I've been called to share to various audiences my "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". I don't use a delivery system like fogging or UV or electrostatic spraying. These require a lot of training and expertise that I don't have. They also require a large equipment investment. I have companies that I refer when clients request this. My clients understand that I do "High Touch Point Disinfecting". The philosophy is simple. 80% of the pathogens lie on 20% of the surfaces. I don't need to kill 100% of the pathogens with a complicated delivery system. I kill 80% by hyper-focusing on the surfaces where pathogens are most likely to settle.
I have two related funny stories to the theme of this podcast. Have you ever seen the "Polar Express" movie during Christmas? Most of you have. Toward the end, when the main characters are lost in North Pole, they stumble in the elf operations room. There are a number of videos playing of kids and a red buzzer goes off. One kid is shown on the Naughty List as he repeats the phrase, "I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it." After the movie, my own kids were repeating that phrase including my 3-year-old and if you have kids, so are they. This innocence is cute as a kid, but not as an adult leading a business. My Uncle Bob told me a story about a friend. This guy is a jack of all trades. He does lawns, gutter cleaning, moving, tree service, power washing, whatever. He just goes wherever the money is. But this Jack is uninsured and thus, unprofessional! He takes on a lot of risk. If he is guilty of any damage, the homeowner better hope he doesn't pull the Polar Express line. My uncle told me that a neighbor of his called Jack over to remove an oak tree. When he asked him if he had insurance, Jack lied and said he did. He successfully removed the oak tree, but he didn't put the tree where it was supposed to go. A professional would survey the yard and take vital measurements first. Jack did not and the cry of TIMBER lead to the sound of an oak tree smashing into the roof of the house! It was a miscalculation for Jack. Thankfully, no one was injured. But the house was severely damaged. My uncle told me me how this will play out. When the homeowner hires someone knowingly that doesn't have insurance they take the risk and hope that their own insurance will cover damages if something happens. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won't. Sometimes it covers partial, but never the whole thing. In this case, if it turns out the contractor lied about having insurance. The homeowner can file a lawsuit, but the guy has no money and he won't get anything anyway. The homeowner is screwed either way. What's the lesson here? It's pretty obvious. Don't be Jack. Don't hire Jack. Let him keep rolling down the hill with Jill
In this episode, I'd like to share a few updates from my solo cleaning business. It is true that I stopped striving for my goals in late 2020. But I didn't stop marketing. My "Optimizer's Website", strong "Google My Business" profile, and participation in local networking and chamber events. Recently, I had a couple find me on Google that lead to my website and a phone call. They had their questions answered on my website and the rest over the phone, so they scheduled an in-person estimate. After the estimate, I sent out a proposal my typical menu of customized house cleaning options. Matt and Laura had a few days to digest the menu, so Matt called me to negotiate as any good sales guy would. I explained what my options were so he understood them. One of my monthly cleaning options was of interest but it was about $20 too high above their budget. Ultimately, he asked if I was willing to negotiate, which means could I lower my price to get him as a client? My answer was simple and it never changes. This is not hard for me and it should not be for you either. "I don't lower my prices or my quality, but I can definitely lower the scope or the frequency of my options and provide another option which hits your budget." This would be a win for him as it hits their price. It would be a win to me because I still will earn my same hourly rate because I don't compromise on my prices.
It's a new calendar year. 2020 was so difficult for many families and so many are exploring other options for income. In this new "Best Of" series, I bring you an older episode that truly connected with my audience. "How to Start Your Solo Cleaning Business" is still one of my most downloaded episodes to date. Everything that I taught in this episode is valid in 2021 and beyond. The only addition would be for you to take cleaning science seriously. I did a wildly popular talk in my area called the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". It turned into webinars, YouTube videos, and a podcast. I encourage you to become an expert in cleaning science so you can disinfect like a pro and increase your stock as a cleaner in your area. It will set you apart big time.
I was listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast recently as he interviewed the one and only Seth Godin. Between comments, Tim uttered the metaphor of the duck does all of its work under the surface. I literally had to pause the episode and write out this one! In my last episode, Mission 20/20 Accomplished, I painted a picture of team cleaning companies growing through insurmountable odds and I shared my success in 2020. I don't want anyone to think that we had it easy or growing our cleaning businesses come easy to us. Let's learn from the duck and then come back with the goal of encouraging you and giving you truth!
2020 started with such promise to many. Unfortunately, it ended much differently. This episode is not a co-miserating-let-you-off-the-hook-if-you-did-nothing-about-it episode! This is an episode to fire up the winners. With all the doom and gloom in the media of pandemics, failing economy, and people's livelihoods being destroyed, do you know that there are scores of absolute winners that crushed it in business in 2020 despite the doom and gloom? It's true. In fact, billionaire Mark Cuban predicted it early in the pandemic when he said that many new corporations will be birthed during this time. He also said that the entrepreneur who can pivot toward the future will always thrive. I've paraphrased Mark, but it's so true. I challenge you to search for entrepreneurs who have crushed it in 2020 and learn why and how they did it. Many had their backs pressed against the wall and had no direction but ahead. That's a winner. I facilitate and lead the SMART Cleaning Tribe. This is a group of cleaning business owners growing with employees toward 7-figures and I keep them focused and accountable to their WHY, BHAG, SMART goals. On a mastermind & accountability call recently, we were discussing 2020. They all had SMART goals to double their revenues in 2020. One of the members did. Carrie Cottrell from Cleaning by Carrie out of Galion, OH more than doubled her company well past the quarter million mark. Carrie is crushing it. I've watched her all year. She provides a high quality service at an affordable price. Her product is solid. Plus, Carrie is in a rural, small-town area and she has networked like crazy. She has put herself out there on local news interviews, the chamber, local networking groups, and posting on Facebook every single day something of value to others! It seems that everybody knows Carrie in Galion, OH. She may as well be the only cleaning company there because it certainly seems like it. I'm so proud of Carrie! Jenn Jubrey (Maid Spotless Cleaning, Albany, NY) had to shut down completely by order of the state for nearly 3 months. Yet, she still managed to grow enough just to hit the same revenue as 2019 and position herself to pass $500k in 2021! Her accountability buddy is doing the same thing. Michelle Allegrezza (Sparkling Homes Cleaning, Albertville, MN) lost a large percentage of her clients and staff in 2020 due to the pandemic and she personally dealt with severe illness and family crisis. Like Carrie and Jenn, Michelle is a winner. She dug in big time and went back into the field to personally clean solo again until she had her new hires trained to replace her. Check this out. She finished the year 11% down in revenue from 2019, but was extremely wise with the money that did come in to become a 100% debt-free company! How many business owners can say this in 2020? Michelle and Jenn are racing to $500k and I love stoking the fire of competition! Hannah Brees (Shine & Sparkle Cleaning, Dallas, OR) had wild fires and a pandemic nearly take out her business. Heck, the Oregon wildfires were within miles of her house. She grew her revenue in 2020 while losing more than half of her team and also having to clean solo again for a short time! Way to go Hannah! Kate Sloan (Chicka Chicka Broom, Montgomery, MN) has also crushed it in 2020. She is in a small town with a Big Dream to show her community what a well-run business looks like. She was able to grow revenue in 2020 while many other local businesses were going out of business. She worked hard, building up a waiting list of clients over 30 deep to replace the ones she lost during the pandemic. Kate also put the time in to find great hires while she worked solo in the field again in 2020. 2021 looks so bright for Kate. She's newly married, has the majority of her business running without her again, and she's on route to 7-figures and time, money, and location freedom. All of these ladies are amazing examples of what winning looks like.
I started this podcast with no expectations. It's a highly niched show for people wanting to optimize a solo cleaning business. When my show got to 1,000 downloads, I was shocked! It kept growing. Recently, the Solo Cleaning School Podcast crossed 20,000 downloads in 13 months! That's incredible to me. I am a member of the podcasting community and the "Downloads" metric is so important to people. I've seen some tote their download number around as if they are really big stuff, yet I've seen others with millions of downloads with such humility, you'd think no one listened. I was somewhere in the middle. I couldn't figure out what this number meant until recently. The man I'm talking about with 3 million downloads and total humility is John Stange. He's a local pastor to me and runs the Desire Jesus Website. John is a total stud. He is a master content creator and has a book coming out this May with a major book publisher. I'm so proud to call John a friend.
"Hi, I'm Ken and I'm an overthinker." I constantly make simple things complex. That's what an overthinker does. We complicate the most simple task to the point that we cannot take any action to complete it. Another term for this failure disease is procrastination as Dr. Schwartz talks about in "The Magic of Thinking Big". The rare person that can take the complex, make is simple, and take massive action are the most successful in life. Our president, like him or not, is a great example of this. Unfortunately, I'm an overthinker and so are most of you!
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.