Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Your Spring Cleaning Program

Spring is a great time to perform preventive maintenance on your equipment.  This is the time of year we start rotating our vacuums out of the accounts, bring them in to the warehouse to replace bad cords, replace beater brushes, clean out the HEPA filters etc... We will also fire up the pressure washer and clean the floor pads, buckets and wringers, exteriors of the floor machines, wet vac's and other equipment.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Successful Business Ideas or Lessons

I am noticing a trend in various industries and it is something we in our service industry should be mimicking and taking notes on. American Express has been pushing their 'Support Local Business" programs and I am getting the impression it is having an affect.  I'll give a couple of examples of what I have picked up on recently.

#1, Last week while watering my garden the nozzle on the end of my hose cracked and I had to add a new one to my list of things to pick up.  While at the big box stores, Lowely Home Suppository, I found a selection of 3, all basically the same style and priced from dirt cheap (plastic) to expensive (brass). None of them were what I was looking for so I went over to my local hardware store and they had an assortment of nozzles (6 different) and exactly the type I was looking for with 20 plus settings with everything from shower, soak, jet, wet T-shirt contest, stop the dogs, mist, fan etc... AND it came with 2 extra rubber washers for when I forget to disconnect the thing from the hose until January and the current ones are all cracked.

Our Lesson-- diversification and product offering.  We need to be like the local hardware store, offer more variety of services and at a higher quality then the big national companies or Jani-Fries.  None of the nozzles at the big box stores came with extra washers, did I pay an extra few bucks for it at the local store? Yes, but I was happy to do it because I felt I was getting more for my money.

#2,   I have been getting my DDD's at Walgreens ever since the little episode in 08, ( DDD's are what I call my prescriptions-Delay Death by a Day).  With the Walgreens prescription plan at less than $25 per year, I get them at a deal and better than the pricing at WallyMart.  I picked up my refills last week, same courteous service at the counter, Julie the pharmacist always asks if I have any questions etc... But then, 3 days later I get a phone call from Julie at the store, asking me about my experience at shopping at Walgreens, any issues with my prescriptions etc.....  A new twist on customer follow up, I was impressed.

Our Lesson---How often do you blow your own horn?  We all do a good job, it's expected and it's what we promised but how often do you call your customer and ask them " What's your perception of our service?"   ---Notice:  I did not say : "Have any complaints?"   YOU SHOULD NEVER ASK THAT QUESTION because they will feel obligated to go find some.  The Walgreens experience left me feeling like I wasn't shopping at Walgreens but rather at Julies pharmacy and that will keep me coming back.  Think about it,  are your customers, account number #33071? or are they Bill & Sally at ABC Manufacturing?  To the big service firms, they are acct #33071.  I know, I used to work for them and this is one of the angles I use to take clients away from them.

#3  There is a railroad crossing a couple miles down the street from my home, I pass through 2-3x a day.  Last week, temps in the 100's, I am driving through the little series of shops and restaurants when a train comes, as the crossing gates come down, out comes  2 women with trays and they start going up the line of cars offering ice tea and coffee from the local restaurant along with a menu and coupons. Absolutely brilliant!  They are taking advantage of an imprisoned audience and marketing to the max.  I was so impressed I brought the wife there for lunch 2x now.

Our Lesson---how much did they spend in coffee and ice tea?  Probably less than $50 if they did that every time a trian went by, once  a week.  Impact?  the outdoor and indoor seating has been packed lately and that was not the case in the months leading up to their train stop promo's.  What are you doing extra to attract or retain customers?  How difficult is it to toss in cleaning some windows in key areas?  Or maybe encap some carpeting while doing floor work you are being paid to do?  It doesn't have to be a big ticket service but any little extra service can be marketed to your customers.  In our industry it is not the 1000 things you did right, it's the one thing you did wrong, last March on a Tuesday that they remember.

more next week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Freebies into Sales

Sometimes doing a little extra pays off. Last week a contract customer asked for pricing on some floor work they wanted done. I submitted my price and they called back setting the work for this past Saturday.

On Friday evening I met my project crew leader over at the job site to review the work request. While I was there I noticed that the carpeting in 2 rooms that are used for large gatherings, meetings and parties was a mess. I instructed my crew leader to bring the encapsulation cleaning items with him on Saturday and do the 2 rooms.

My view was since they were already paying for the crew to be there on Saturday for the floor work, my paying them for an extra half hour to clean the carpet was my way of saying thanks for the extra business. My other thought was, when the floors are done and looking great these carpeted areas will diminish that achievement.

Monday morning I get a phone call from my contact thanking me for the great job on the floors and asking me if I am responsible for the carpet cleaning. When I explained that I was his response was "Great!, give me a price for a carpet maintenance program for the entire building"

That is 28,000 sq.ft. of carpeting now going to be cleaned by me every quarter.

I spent less than $60 to clean two rooms of carpeting and now will make over $3,000 every quarter in return. Not a bad investment at all. I won't do this for every customer but I will do it for some.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cleaning Business Recognized by Business Leaders

Local Office Cleaning Service Recognized by Peers
StartupNation made its selection from among thousands of home-based entrepreneurs who entered the competition.

StartupNation, a leading business advice and social networking site for entrepreneurs ( today named L & K Office Cleaning Services, ( a Top Ten “Highest Vote-Getters” in the first annual StartupNation Home-Based 100 ranking of the nation’s top home-based businesses. Organized into 10 categories such as Most Innovative, Boomers Back in Business and Best Financial Performers, the Home-Based 100 celebrates the innovative, nimble and resourceful home-based entrepreneurs who have gone largely unrecognized until now. The full results of the Home-Based 100 ranking are available on StartupNation’s Web site at
“Although large companies often grab the headlines, home-based businesses today are thriving,” said Rich Sloan, entrepreneurial author, radio host and co-founder of StartupNation. “Millions of people are following their passions through entrepreneurship by pursuing innovative, sound business ideas.”
The StartupNation Home-Based 100, composed of ten Top Ten lists, presents a unique look at the nation’s top home-based businesses. Category winners span a wide range of revenue levels, sectors, ages and other characteristics.
Brookfield based L & K Cleaning, won in two categories, top vote achiever and grungiest. ( and ) L & K Office Cleaning a family owned and operated janitorial service for commercial, industrial and retail properties was started in 1999 by Laura and Ken Galo. They offer green cleaning services to businesses in the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas.

About StartupNation
Founded by Rich and Jeff Sloan, StartupNation ( provides entrepreneurial advice via a nationally syndicated radio program and through online content for entrepreneurs who want to start a business. The Sloan brothers are successful inventors, experienced entrepreneurs and authors of StartupNation: Open for Business (Doubleday). They appear frequently as small business experts on national television and in online and print media. More information is available at

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cleaning Forms and Letters

The Importance of a Great First Impression
Ken Galo
When you call upon a potential customer you need to put the best look on you and your company.
How best to do this?
1. Dress professionally, look like a sharp business person, not a painter or landscaper or cleaner.
2. Have the best business card you can afford, this will be on their desk, in their card holder or their rolodex long after you have gone.
3. Make your presentation clearly, concisely and then shut up and listen. Let the customer sell you by telling you what they are looking for so you can tailor your response to their needs.
4. Your presentation, it must be unique if you plan on standing out from the crowd of other presenters. Remember your potential customer may be seeing as many as 6 other vendors all selling the same product. Your printed presentation needs to stand out and shout, Notice Me!