Running a professional cleaning business now requires an array of technology.
Virtually every aspect of your company is touched or driven by some innovation that didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. We may not like to admit it, but when it comes to technology it’s easy for a cleaning business owner to become overwhelmed. Many small business people wear so many hats that it’s difficult to keep up with all the changes. Whether it’s marketing, sales, human resources, operations, or customer service, “there’s an app for that” has become a cliché. The choices are nearly endless.
I describe below four areas where user-friendly apps can make a big difference in how smoothly your operation runs. I’ll lay out the areas of concern here in this piece and then show you the solutions in my Tech Talk presentation (Monday, Oct. 29th at 3:15 pm) at the ISSA Show North America in Dallas.
For those of you who started your business with a bucket and mop in your hands, you understand that the moment you hired other people to do the cleaning, you lost some control in the quality of the work. Your clients still expected excellent service. For years the solution was home inspections. The owner, office manager, or field supervisor drove out to homes to spot check the cleaners’ work in person. Nowadays you need a way to visually inspect homes in real time, to conference in the homeowner if required, and to record the inspection.
I’ll show you an app that can do all this, is easy to set up, easy to operate, and doesn’t require your field workers or clients to login.
At Castle Keepers House Cleaning we go to great lengths to keep our clients’ keys secure. Trust is the name of our business. When a homeowner hands us the key to their “castle” we make sure we don’t drop it. Some clients trust us with an entry code instead, which we also secure. As the “internet of things” develops, clients will have even more control over who has access to their homes. But for now, most people still have a physical key you can hold in your hand.
There’s another kind of client that doesn’t just have one home or one key. I coined the term “resimercial” to describe situations where people live (residential) in a place run by a company (commercial). Resimercial clients include property management companies, apartment communities, assisted living facilities, and more. These clients don’t give you a key to every door. They give you a master key, or in the case of a large facility, master keys.
When your company is trusted with a master key for hundreds of residents, how do you keep it safe? We found an app that is both inexpensive and easy to put in place. Using it assures the client that we are able to track their master keys and help keep their residents secure. In Dallas I’ll demonstrate this app and the small device it is tethered to. It can save your bacon with big clients.
It seems like every app and device is designed to make communication more efficient or interesting. We’re all busy people. Getting or sending a message needs to be super easy and super simple. We need something that is less prone to being ignored than email and voice mail—something like the walkie-talkies we carried around as children—on our smart phones. There’s a free app that works like a walkie-talkie, plus has text, photo sharing, and GPS. In Dallas I’ll demonstrate it.
It’s easy for your team members to get sidetracked, even ones that are self-starters. When there’s too much to do, people become less productive. There are lots of new stand-alone productivity apps out there, but in Dallas I’m going to explore one that combines a wide range of tools and streamlines workflows. It’s an integrated suite of apps that is powerful and fits together, so you’re not left trying to figure out a way to bridge different tools. It’s a software name you’ll know, but like they say in the commercial “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
Every year ISSA Show North America brings fresh educational sessions and offers the camaraderie and professional inspiration that we all need. I hope you’ll join ARCSI members and non-members alike in attending what should be our best convention yet. To register, click the button below. I hope to see you in Dallas.
Tom Stewart and his wife, Janice Stewart, are co-owners of Castle Keepers House Cleaning, the 1st residential cleaning company to achieve CIMS certification. Tom is a nationally-recognized leader & innovator in the house cleaning industry. He is co-founder and publisher of Cleaning Business Today.
Cleaning Business Today is a publication of Tom Stewart and Derek Christian, who also partner in Castle Keepers House Cleaning, one of the fastest growing professional house cleaning services in the US.