The Residential Cleaning Connection
News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional
July 22, 2011: Volume 2, Issue 14
By the Numbers
I am a "numbers cruncher." I have always been one. I was the Dad that tracked his kids' stats and times at swim meets and lacrosse games (a practice I am sure they were thrilled with). I tracked the records for Ohio Girls Lacrosse which earned me the title of "Stat Man". When I has a jan-san salesman, I could always tell you how much my sales for any customer were up or down, and by which product categories.
But it was never looking at the numbers just for the sake of having numbers. I always used them to not only track performance, but they were the core of the planning process as well. So I have been "crunching some numbers" here at the ARCSI office for the last couple of days as part of my mid-year assessment of ARCSI and I thought you might find them interesting.
Of our cleaning company members, 10% are Gold, 4% are Silver, and 85% are Bronze. We need to do a better job of communicating the benefits of a Gold Membership, including Complimentary Convention Registration, Free Teleconferences, and other discounts on ARCSI products.
Only 13% of our members are part of our original "Founding Members" meaning they joined in either 2003 or 2004. Of our overall membership, 44% have been members since 2009, including 86 new members so far in 2011. The good news is that we continue to attract new members. The other news is that we have lost a significant number of members since 2003. Our Membership Committee and our Ambassadors are working hard to reach out to our existing members so we can better understand what we need to do to keep them as members and what kind of programing they expect from ARCSI.
Where are our members located? 56% are in the Eastern time zone, 25% in the Central, 5% Mountain, and 12% Pacific (including Arizona, I never will understand what time it is in Phoenix). Our membership committee already has a plan to step up our marketing on the west coast, including two regionals meetings in California in September. Texas leads the membership parade with 7.6% of our members (30) followed by Florida, California, Georgia, New York, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina all with 20 or more members.
A very surprising number was that only 30 of our member cleaning service companies take advantage of the "additional memberships" that are available to them at no additional fee. You can add members of your staff to your ARCSI membership as a "sub-account" so they can have their own log in and password to the ARCSI web site, can register themselves for ARCSI events, and will receive their own copy of this newsletter and other ARCSI communications at their own email address. We need to do a better job of communicating this benefit to our members.
Only 27% of our member companies attended our Convention in 2009. That number increased to 31% in 2010. Currently for 2011, 17% of our members have registered for the Convention even though our total registrations are running far ahead of previous years. (so what are you waiting for?) In 2009 36% of those attending brought an additional person from their company. In 2010, the number was 39%. However, of those already registered for 2011, 39% are bringing an additional person. Remember, the second or third registration gets a substantial discount on their registration.
The Biggest Number of All
Depending on which data source you chose to use, there are somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 residential cleaning companies in the US alone. So when it comes to "Market Share" we obviously have a lot of work to do.
See you in Vegas!
New Brand and National Launch for Better Life Maids
What started out as a belief in a product has turned into an unbelievable opportunity for ARCSI Matt Ricketts. In 2008, Ricketts and his wife Angela started Go Green Clean in the St. Louis area for, as he says "the same reason lots of people start cleaning companies – it seemed a perfect way to increase our family’s income.”
Go Green Clean set out with the goal of provide safe, environmentally friendly cleaning for St. Louis’ high end homes. They used Better Life green cleaning products, a top product line they believed in, and started creating a company where they wanted to work.
The Ricketts’ joined ARCSI, at the urging of local ARCSI Board member Kathy Gage and began interacting with other members. "We’ve been using ARCSI from the beginning,” said Ricketts. "It was especially important to us during our company’s infancy. There are always great discussions. We could hear what other people were struggling with and how they were handling it and decide what we did – and didn’t - want to struggle with ourselves. It has been a tremendous help for us to be able to ask other residential cleaning service owners a few questions and hear how others are running their businesses.”
By 2010, Ricketts had created "Core Values” for Go Green Clean and was building a company around them. From day one, Ricketts – an airline pilot by trade – had been all about the procedures and systems that they were creating for their company. Matt had kept his job as a pilot, so that they were able to invest Go Green Clean’s profits back into the business. They were soon one of the top-rated residential cleaning companies in St. Louis. He found they were able to charge more for their service because of the quality of both the products and the level of clean they were providing, thanks to their systems and processes.
"Clean is great, but clean doesn’t keep clients. It is the systems you have in place and the service you provide that keeps your clients coming back to you,” says Ricketts. "If you have an incredible staff and great structure, that is going to provide a superior experience for your customers.”
Last year, with their systems, staff and culture in place, the Ricketts contacted the president of Better Life to talk about the possibility of partnership. "It made a lot of sense for us,” says Ricketts. "While we were doing very well in our area, there wasn’t a lot of name brand recognition out there. Better Life products had that recognition. We thought that combining the top rated company in the market and the top green cleaning line would create a brand that could grow exponentially.”
For their part, Better Life saw the possibilities as well. They saw the great systems, training and processes that Go Green Clean had in place, and the two companies shared the belief that people are our most valuable resource. They agreed to move forward with a franchising model with the Ricketts’ structure and culture and the Better Life product line.
Six months after Matt made the call to the president of Better Life, he and Angela were ready to re-launch their company as Better Life Maids – the inaugural franchise for the new brand. "Our goal,” said Ricketts, "is to have 100 franchise units within the next five years. Ideally, 30% of those would be conversions from already existing companies tired of doing it on their own and looking for some help in the area of operations, but who has a passion for what they are doing.”
The Ricketts have a proven set of processes that can help those struggling with that part of the business. For those who need help in the operations department, Better Life Maids has a call center for scheduling and customer service. "We have a really great group of people and we are looking to add to that with our franchisees,” said Ricketts. "If you encourage people to have a purpose, you find they are engaging in your vision and helping to build the brand. You find that they aren’t just here for the paycheck, but that they believe in what they are doing just as much as we do.”
Better Life Maids currently has one operation in St. Louis with a satellite office in West County. Their goal is to maintain the brand; of offering the highest quality and service. Ricketts says the ideal franchisee might be a stay-at-home mom who is cleaning a few homes on her own; who loves it but needs support on the operations side of the business.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Better Life Maids story, or are interested in a franchise opportunity, contact Matt at 877-Maid-Time (877-624-3846). You can find out more about the company at www.betterlifemaids.com.
AUGUST 3 is Deadline for Award Submissions
It's awards time! Toot your own horn! Time for you to recognize your hard working staff, build morale with your employees and have them share your pride in your website, your logo, your vehicle wraps, their uniforms, and your newsletter. The deadline for award submissions is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2011.
Every year at the ARCSI Convention, we recognize the Best of the Best in staff, marketing and so much more. But we can only recognize you if your business is nominated. Nominating your own business is not only acceptable, but encouraged - we want to see all of your new websites, logos, vehicles and marketing campaigns.
Click here to download a nomination form!
Professional Cleaner of the Year
Presented by Mr. Clean Professional
This award will be presented by Mr. Clean himself! All cleaning staff of ARCSI member companies are eligible for this award, which is given to outstanding cleaner that routinely goes "above and beyond" for your customer and your company. In addition to bring presented the award by Mr. Clean, the Professional Cleaner of the Year will also receive two cases of Mr. Clean Professional products.
ARCSI Presidents' Award
Presented by Moody Insurance Worldwide
Presented to the "in-house" staff person that is key to every organization. Whether they are called office manager, trainer, sales person, bookkeeper or manager, this is the person that keeps your business humming and takes care of the details.
Our Image Awards include: Best Logo, Best Website, Best Uniforms, Best Vehicle Wrap, Best Marketing Campaign, and Best Newsletter. Our Awards Committee will select three finalists in each of these categories and they will be displayed in our new "Members Lounge" at the Convention, where Convention attendees can vote for their favorites. So don't be shy, blow your own horn, we know you're proud of the image your company projects. Submit an entry today!
Click here to download an awards nomination form!
The Pitfalls of Email Marketing: Is It or Is It Not Workable?
Email marketing gets a bad rap. The controversy about email marketing is a quagmire that leaves many business owners in confusion in its wake.
According to a new study by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers the highest return on investment of all media available to marketers. The study also projects that email driven sales in the United States will show a compound annual growth rate of 14.9% between 2006 and 2011. But, statistics like that only bring about real understanding when the outcome of email marketing impacting long term customer-relationship-based revenue streams is fully known.
Patrick Valtin, sales & marketing expert, President of M2-TEC USA, INC. and founder of one of the largest consulting company in Europe called U-MAN BELGIUM claims email marketing is highly profitable if done correctly. The main mistake is trying to convert a prospect when embarking on email marketing, he says. The direction one should take is instead is trying to attract a qualified prospect.
Attract first, don't try to convert. It's actually common sense if you think about it. What if someone came up to you and said BUY THIS with no enticement as to what it was and what it could do for you? Would you buy (convert)? Probably not. But say a girl scout comes to your door with a tray of cookies for you to pick one to sample. Did she entice you, attract your attention first? Yep, mostly likely. And how many boxes did you buy? And moreover, how many will you buy year after year after year on a regular basis?
Those emails that do attract your attention and entice you by putting that cookie in front of you to nibble on - those are the successful approaches.
That begs the question if they already are opt-in prospects, do you still have to attract - aren't they already qualified prospects if they are in your database?
Not always, according to Patrick. Patrick points out the best ROI approach to email marketing is to promote to inactive prospects and sleeping customers in your data base with the purpose to get them active - to turn them into (entice them to be) regular, loyal customers. Sleeping customers should also be treated as prospects. Old, inactive prospects were curious enough to inquire into your company to begin with. That is the crucial point as Valtin explains. "The biggest false data out there is the saying 'they were just curious' as to the reason a prospect didn't close. Look up curious in the dictionary - it is interest." So curiosity IS interest. It is up to you to entice them even further so they become "sold". Sold equates to being a repeat customer.
Valtin goes on to say that the ways to first attract prospects are done with classical marketing techniques before email marketing comes into the picture: pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization with your website, direct mail marketing - the "more traditional" forms are the channels used to attract. Then once you get a prospect or even a first-time customer you can start email marketing to them.
Once your prospects are on your opt-in list, you have to entice. Just on a different level. You have their interest - now hook them.
Three common mistakes in email marketing are: • Trying to sell through the marketing email. You have to cut the gradient to attract and then convert. The question is: what will motivate them to join your list?
• Making the subject line too ambiguous; using trite phrases that are actually considered SPAM. What you have to watch, Valtin also warns, is "too hot or too juicy is looked upon as SPAM by search engine spiders."
• Not being consistent with "From" address line. From very beginning, the "From" line should be consistent. Even here there is a need to have instant recognition. With customers receiving an average 400 emails per week and checking their email an average of 4 times per day, it is no wonder that email marketing has taken off. But don't fall in the trap of using it incorrectly. According to Valtin, when you screw up on email marketing lines with prospects or customers, you get cut off and most likely don't get another chance. It's too easy to junk your email address and be shut off from further communication.
Three Valtin tips for being successful in email marketing are:
• Make the subject line personalized. "How would you like a free weekend in Acapulco" compared with "Dear Jane how would you…." increases by 200-300% your chances it will be opened. (Note: opened not converted…but attracted.)
• Make one-time customers into repeat customers. Offer an exclusive newsletter only for customers with highly valuable content.
• Have an option for people who subscribe to your newsletter to systematically send it to a friend which acts as a referral and consequently per Valtin, makes it viral. SPAM legislation still requires those friends to opt-in before you can start emailing to them, but the referral raises your credibility and will give you more bang for your buck! Valtin says there are many more principles to learn about email marketing. Having studied marketing and sales trends for the last 35 years, he packs a lot of lore under his Belgian skull. Understanding the outcome of email marketing impacting long term customer-relationship-based revenue streams is his forte. He teaches email marketing at marketing boot camps organized by Joy Gendusa, CEO of PostcardMania, and Marsha Friedman, CEO of Event Management Services, Inc. to business professionals nationwide.
"Permission-based email communications can solidify existing relationships, initiate new ones and convert one-time clients into long-term customers," Valtin advises. "Relationship-building emails leverage the investment you are making in all other forms of marketing, allowing you to grow your business more efficiently."
About Patrick Valtin: Patrick Valtin is a renowned international consultant/trainer, specialized in human resources and business performance. He managed a consulting and training business for 18 years, directly trained 60,000 people in more than 25 countries. He is the author of The NEW ERA SELLING® System: a down-to-earth, effective approach to constant sales success; and The RECRUTECH® System, a practical, result-proven recruitment procedure.
Only 10 Days Left to Save $100 on Convention Registration
Save $100 on your ARCSI Convention Registration when you register on or before July 31. On August 1, prices go up and the deals are gone. The "Early Bird" gets the worm and the savings.
Not sure what the Convention has for you? Click here to view a complete ARCSI Cleaning Convention schedule.
Already know you'll be attending the Convention in Las Vegas, October 18-22? What are you waiting for? Why pay more if you don't have to?
Click here to register now!
Marketing Idea of the Month: Sponsor a Hole at a Local Golf Outing
ARCSI Regional Meetings in Full Swing - Look for One Near You!
"Awesome, down to earth and fun" was how attendee Kay English of English Maids, LLC of Waco, Texas described the Dallas and Tulsa Regional Meeting/Seminar Paths to Success. Aubrey Miliron of Natural Care Cleaning Services said "The more you learn and can present to your customers the better you'll be. This is the place to do it."
The seminar covered 14 ways to start building community relationships to attain repeat clients without spending any money, selling and quoting on the phone and a list of 10 does and don'ts for residential cleaning service owners. Facilitators for the always popular round tables covered a number of topics of interest to owners from 'Help! I need to hire now' to 'Marketing that Sizzles'. One of the most valuable segments for new attendees, who are not current members of ARCSI, was given during lunch when ARCSI members shared their feelings about our organization and all of the benefits attached with membership.
In the coming weeks, ARCSI members (and non-members) will gather in Virginia Beach, Phoenix, Annapolis, Atlanta, and both Northern and Southern California. These Regional Meetings put a "local face" on ARCSI, where members and potential members can network and learn from some of the best in the residential cleaning industry.
Here are the dates already scheduled:
July 16, 2011: Virginia Beach, VA - Hosted by ARCSI Past President Alison Palmer
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches
(Click here to register)
July 23, 2011: Phoenix, AZ - Hosted by ARCSI Board Member and Ambassador Lanette Richmond
(Click here to register)
August 13, 2011: Annapolis, MD - Hosted by ARCSI Member Ed Wright
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches
(Click here to register)
Sept. 10, 2011: Northern California - Hosted by ARCSI Ambassador Angela Wilson
Sept. 17, 2011: Long Beach, CA - Hosted by ARCSI Members Monika Zuzanska and Marton Medina
Featuring Sharon Tinberg of Rags to Riches
Speed Cleaning Moves Into the Fast Lane
The Speed Cleaning brand has been pulled over by a cop, but slowing down is not an option as retired police officer. Steve Sardone and his wife, Debbie Sardone, have purchased the Speed Cleaning brand as well as Jeff Campbell’s Clean Team Catalog. Campbell’s New York Times best seller is an easy read and the original step by step system of cleaning.
"I keep pinching myself to see if I’m going to wake up to find it was only a dream,” says Debbie Sardone about the opportunity to carry on the Speed Cleaning legacy and take over the The Clean Team Catalog business, a mail order business for cleaning products and equipment. Debbie is the owner of Buckets & Bows Maid Service, The Maid Coach Consulting firm, and the founder of Cleaning For A Reason.
Sardone’s excitement stems from the fact that Campbell’s enduring principles for cutting house cleaning times in half have saved thousands of hours on the clock for cleaning businesses all over the world including Sardone’s own Maid Service. Her husband Steve is the president and CEO of KYSO Consulting, Inc. the new parent company of Speed Cleaning, The Clean Team Catalog, and The Maid Coach Consulting.
The couple took the reins of the 67 year old Campbell’s empire in March 2011, so that Campbell could retire with confidence, knowing that the brand he founded will continue to thrive and grow under the direction of the Sardones, who say their goal is to double sales in the next 18 months.
Professional cleaners receive huge discounts on the pro website: www.thecleanteampro.com. There you’ll find the original Speed Cleaning apron, non-toxic professional-grade cleaning products, tools, and the infamous "Big Vac” along with business training tools and DVDs to grow your residential cleaning business.
July 5 Hot Topic Tuesday: First Tuesday Open Forum
First Tuesday Open Forum calls are all about YOU! Need help solving an employee issue? Looking for input on scheduling software or payroll processors? Bring your questions and success to the call!
Ambassador Angela Wilson of Solano Maids hosts the First Tuesday Open Forun calls. She'll bring her experience to the call and keep the conversation moving!
Hot Topic calls are sponsored by the ARCSI Ambassadors. Call in and access code info will be included in the Confirmation/Thank You portion of your registration.
Click here to register.
Sharon Cowan Visits ARCSI Office
I had an opportunity to visit the ARCSI office on a recent trip to
Columbus. Although I was traveling through and didn't have a lot of time, I couldn't miss a chance to say hello to Ernie and Chris and see "where it all happens".
I so wish that this organization had been in existence 25 years ago when business owners like myself in the residential cleaning industry had to go it alone. Trial and error and a few mistakes along the way and it's
amazing that any of our businesses survived.
As a business consultant to the industry, I can confidently recommend joining ARCSI to my clients. It is a resource for information, education and networking that has grown to become a powerful player in the residential cleaning industry.
Sharon L. Cowan, CBSE