Let's start this Carfagno Cleaning solo business with a WIN! Last week, I got 5 referrals through my local network (listen to Play Powerball with your Business). The lead from my friend and carpet cleaner, James Hardy, converted to a new office cleaning client! Since this new client is a school, I had to jump through a few more hoops. First of all, I needed to go beyond adding them as a 'Certificate Holder' on my general liability policy. I needed to increase my insurance for this additional customer. This is called 'Additionally Insured'. My current policy provides $2 million of coverage per year at $500 in annual premium. This new client cost me an additional $50, which I count as an expense. I also had to coordinate a cleaning time with the school and their weekend janitor to let me into the building. The school is not in the habit of handing out keys to outside contractors. Spoiler alert: I prayed over this situation as I desire to have offices with the flexibility to clean anytime over the weekend. A few days later, the school made an exception for me and gave me a set of keys! Lastly, this new client is a school for autistic children. I know autism and realize that these students will be on the floor a lot, touching things, and likely touching their faces. Thus, disinfecting of the classrooms and floors was vital. They already had a food & skin safe disinfectant and asked me my opinion for the floors. I researched it and immediately determined it was a bad choice. Why? The title of this episode is "Art Trumps Science". Let's talk science first. The pH was slightly alkaline at 9. The floors are VCT (vinyl composition tile). VCT is commonly used in schools and supermarkets. They are also waxed & buffed on a regular basis to keep a beautiful finish and to protect the tile. My friend James Hardy did the job, so we conferred with him and he agreed. This ph 9 disinfectant had just enough alkalinity to eat away at the wax finish, which would dull it and cause James to come back sooner. Therefore, their disinfectant was a wonderful choice for the refrigerators, microwaves, table tops, door knobs, and light switches, but NOT the floors. I connected with my good friend Mark Lineberry at Universal Janitorial and he recommended the perfect solution. It's called MatPro. The school purchased it and now uses my recommendations for disinfecting and protecting their students and staff. This raised my expertise and trust with the school big time. See! Understanding science is vital. It sets you apart from the basic cleaning service!
So many companies are ultra competitive, trying to dominate their local area. They hang onto proprietary information and get patents to own their knowledge. This is great and definitely needed so others don't steal your inventions and creative processes. But is it always good to keep your specialized knowledge close to the vest? I believe we are blessed with the ability to learn and comprehend and obligated to give back to help others. I'll even go so far to say that hoarding your knowledge in hopes of retaining your competitive advantage is selfish and unhealthy. My hope is that this episode opens your eyes that sharing your knowledge actually endears you to your target client and will not only increase your business, but serve your community.
The week of February 17th, 2020 started out with a little tension. My Nana was admitted into the hospital with pneumonia. She fought this 2 years prior and beat it, so it was a little tense but I felt good about her health. I captured my business week in "Top of Mind". Typically, I would cover the next week in business and share a lesson. However, I had a month that felt like 1 long week. It was all a blur.
Let's start with a great resource. What is the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) current understanding about transmission from their website?
Over my 15 years of professional cleaning for home & small business owners, I have seen that 90% of people DO NOT disinfect correctly. They fall prey to one of the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". This episode summarizes these 9 mistakes.
I begin this episode with a real estate investing story from my brilliant cousin Seth. He is not a big time cash buyer in the real estate world. Every time he tries to compete on their level and get to the houses at the pre-foreclosure or auction stage, he is beaten because he cannot compete with cash. Seth had to find another way. Make sure to listen to this podcast to see the shear brilliance of Seth's advantage and how he is buying properties in his area.
"You have to master your own lane." - Roland Downs
Roland knows that his wife Dina is extremely professional and understands the language of business. In his follow up with accounts that he's cleaned and helped grow, he gets feedback that the gym owner didn't think he was legit as a cleaner. Dina gave the image of a business person and secured the account. That'a Dina's lane. Roland knows he is the master of custodial arts (as he says in his Facebook intro) and he will be the best cleaner they ever had. This is how Roland uses his secret weapon.
However, as Roland states. "The problem is when either one of them tries to cross over. She tries to micromanage me or I try to micromanage her. That's when it falls apart. It just doesn't work." Our spouses have a significant role in our solo family cleaning business. Look at me. My wife started the company.
Roland dives into some cleaning science in this interview and gives us the takeaway that there are 3 parts to excellence in cleaning - 33% cleaning science, 33% right equipment, and 33% technician. Never overwork any one of these or you will LOSE time, quality, and in the case of the technician, you will injure and wear out the body. This is such a huge tip that it is worthy of it's own episode.
Finally, let's wrap this up with a Pro Tip from Roland on using Instagram. He records his cleaning excellence with before & after pics and live videos of him cleaning various areas of gyms. He starts to follow gyms (targeting) and posts these images and videos. The gyms that like his stuff multiple times, Roland will reach out to them in person, phone, or email. It's quite brilliant!
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."