March 9, 2012: The Residential Cleaning Connection
The Residential Cleaning Connection
News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional
March 9, 2012 - Vol 3, Issue 5
From the President
With the recent conclusion of strategic planning for
ARCSI, as well as for my own businesses, one of the aspects that we
looked at is our strengths and weaknesses. This type of awareness is
very important but is even more crucial and beneficial to your business
when the focus is directed on you and your staff.
As several of you
may know I am a psychology buff and a continuing student of psychology. I
want to share with you in this article an assessment tool that I came
across in my studies that I have used for many years in my businesses.
Also, to briefly explain why it could be beneficial to you and aid in
the increased success of your business.
We live everyday
of our lives with the strengths and weaknesses within ourselves as well
as within others around us. So the tool that I will share here is not
only to use for your staff but also for your own personal assessment.
where our greatest successes happen, where we experience enormous
growth, and where we enjoy a burst of energy and happiness. Think about
some of your greatest successes in life then think about what you are
the most proud of. I believe that you will find that these
accomplishments are the result of bringing forth your best qualities and
not a result of necessarily overcoming your weaknesses.
We always need to
be aware of weaknesses and work toward improving them but we must use,
improve and leverage our strengths and our employees strengths for
accelerated and successful growth.
Make a list of
your strengths and weaknesses and meet with your individual staff
members to do the same. Then use this assessment as a gauge and then
strive to align as many responsibilities and tasks with individuals
strengths to maximize productivity, moral and most important personal
and business success.
Scale: Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly Agree
(Where do you fall on the scale for each statement below)
1. ____ I am regularly able to do what I do best.
2. ____ I always play to my strengths.
3. ____ I always try to use my strengths.
4. ____ I achieve what I want by using my strengths.
5. ____ I use my strengths every day.
6. ____ I am able to use my strengths in lots of different
7. ____ I use my strengths to get what I want out of life.
8. ____ My work gives me lots of opportunities to use my
9. ____ My life presents me with lots of different ways to use
10. ____ Using my strengths comes naturally to me.
11. ____ I find it easy to use my strengths in the things I do.
12. ____ Most of my time is spent doing things that I am
good at doing.
13. ____ Using my strengths is something that I am familiar
14. ____ I am able to use my strengths in lots of different
did you join ARCSI? Are you getting the MOST out of your membership?
What can ARCSI provide to help your improve and grow your residential
Join ARCSI Board member Dee Strickland, owner
of A Zing Zap Cleaning Service, as she and ARCSI member Enid
Tate-Shephard on March 29 at 7:30 pm EDT/4:30 pm PDT. They will explain
how to make the most of your new ARCSI membership! To register for this
free webinar, click here.
Don't miss this opportunity to ask questions and understand what you're paying for!
your phone ringing? Is your company growing at the rate you'd hoped or
have you it a plateau? How do you get over the hump and grow to the next
level? SALES. |
At the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference presented by Ethos HR
Online, attendees will spend an entire day with sales guru Joe Ellers.
Ellers says his goal for you is clear: "To help generate more sales at greater margins, in less time, with less effort."
Sound like an approach that could be helpful? In addition, attendees
will walk away from the ELC with an implementable sales plan that, with a
little tweaking, can be applied to their business as soon as they
This year, the ELC Committee has added and element
of competition to the roundtables. Attendees will be broken into groups
to develop a sales plan that will be a tangible souvenir of the ELC.
Teams will work together to develop a sales plan based on location, size
and goals for their companies.
During this two day intense conference, you'll learn how to become a better residential cleaning service owner through sales training, better employee management and preparing your business for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
The ELC is your opportunity to meet with other successful residential cleaning business owners to ask questions, solve problems and learn how to grow your business.
addition, you can register for the ISE House Cleaning Tech
Certification program, taking place just before the ELC in the same
location. Click here for details.
Register today for the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference and commit to growing your company and improving your business.
Don't forget to "Spring Forward" this Sunday!
Daylight savings time begins on
Sunday, March 11!
you regularly surveying your customers to see how you're doing? If you
are going with the "If they're not happy, they'll tell me" approach,
you may not know that by the time they speak up, it is already too late
- they have one foot out the door. |
Darlene Campagna of the Cleveland firm Direct Opinions
will explain why you need to survey your customers, how often and what
you can learn from these important nuggets of information. Campagna
will also walk you through the basics of setting up your surveying
program and what to do with the information from your customers once
you're received it.
Teleconference are always free for Gold ARCSI Members. ARCSI Silver
Members can register at a reduced rate of $5 and Bronze Members for $10.
Nonmembers are invited to register at the $15 nonmember rate.
torrential rain hit Hillsborough, NJ on August 29, 2011, S&G
Cleaning Services owner Shirley Perlinsky was lucky to get her staff and
computers out of the office safely. In the hours that followed,
Perlinsky's office - including most of her equipment and supplies -
would be six feet under water.|
In the days and weeks that
followed, Perlinsky credits the support and generosity of other ARCSI
members in helping her maintain her business. "It was the worst
nightmare of my business life," said Perlinsky recently.
on February 29 - exactly 6 months after the business was completely
flooded, S&G Cleaning held its Grand Re-Opening. Perlinsky sent
along some photos of her newly renovated offices. "The last pictures I
sent were of complete devastation," she said in her note. "These
pictures are of joy and accomplishment and prove that there is no limit
to what you can achieve when you have friends like ARCSI. I hope I can
help another member one day the way fellow ARCSI members have helped me
these past six months."
Perlinsky will be the first to tell you about the importance of disaster
planning for your business. Sharon Cowan, CBSE and Amber Guy have
created this video to promote their Disaster Planning session at the 2012 ARCSI Executive Leadership Conference.
Monday, March 5, he United States District Court for the District of
Columbia issued a decision on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
case regarding the requirement of private employers to post NLRB
language informing employees of their right to unionize. |
The rule as issued by the NLRB had three main components:
1. a requirement to post a physical notice containing language drafted by the NLRB;
2. a provision creating a new unfair labor practice (ULP) for failing to post the notice; and
3. a provision allowing the NLRB to extend the six-month statute of limitations if an employer failed to post the notice.
decision upholds the notice-posting requirement, but strikes down the
provisions that create a new ULP and extend the statute of limitations.
the court struck down most of the enforcement mechanisms, employers
who fail to post the notice may still face consequences before the
Board. The decision makes it clear that, while the blanket ULP created
by the rule was unlawful, the Board may make an individualized
determination that failure to post the notice was unlawful in a specific
case (e.g. where the employer refused to post the notice when faced
with a union organizing drive).
Right now the first set of House Cleaning Technicians are eagerly
awaiting their official notification and certification from The Clean
Trust, while the next group gets started on theirs at the Sun-BeltUSA
school this week. It's also the PERFECT time to begin thinking about
and preparing the different pieces of marketing a company can use to
raise awareness and become the #1 top-of-mind cleaning company in its
market. Have this plan ready to launch the moment that wonderful,
official letter and certification arrives!
The first thing
any business should do when an employee earns a job- or industry-related
achievement is to tell the world; this is classic public relations. In
fact, when that technician receives his/her official notice of
certification (which will take about 6-8 weeks), The Clean Trust will
include some publicity material to help the company develop a few basic
items including press releases, newsletter articles and FAQs.
Press releases are a very important
and FREE publicity piece that many companies have given up on; when a company
prepares them regularly but only sees one picked up by the local paper a couple
of times a year, it seems like press releases aren’t worth the effort.
The first thing to remember is that
the newspaper isn’t the only news outlet in town. The news desk of the tv
station and the radio stations are always looking for news items, both for announcements
and for stories. Just be prepared to accommodate a last minute call for an
on-camera or on-air interview.
The other thing to remember is that
"top-of-mind” marketing is what gets a company noticed, so it’s always
important to monitor the papers and station websites and to re-send the press
release every couple of weeks until it is published.
A great way to make sure that
current customers know what the HCT certification means to them is to include
an article or even a series of short blurbs in the company newsletter. This is
also a way to introduce new or re-introduce experienced employees to
customers as they earn their HCT certifications; be sure to call some of their
current customers directly, explain to them this new achievement, and request
an endorsement of the technician to include in the article (and to increase that
ever-growing collection of client testimonials)!
Frequently Asked Questions
Be sure to update the Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ) page to include the House Cleaning Technician
certification. Most companies make a big deal about being licensed, bonded, and
insured, about a thorough training procedure, about the quality guarantees. The
HCT certification is important because of the international recognition
of the certification, the industry-wide consensus-based development of the
program and third-party validation (Clean Trust). Make no mistake, quality guarantees and training and proper licensing
are very important, but these days they are expected and so make less of an
impact on consumers.
Put the HCT Certification on the website
and any literature
While a cleaning company cannot earn an HCT certification,
the achievement does not need to be hidden. An easy way to add information
about The Clean Trust, even without being able to display their logo, is to add
a list or even a photo gallery of your cleaning technicians, noting the ones
who have earned their HCT certification.
But beyond that, a company employing one Clean
Trust-certified HCT can apply to be a Clean Trust-certified firm. When a
technician takes the HCT certification class, the course materials include this
simple, one-page form and requirements. But essentially, companies meeting the
qualifications for the ARCSI
Seal of Excellence and employing at least one certified House Cleaning
Technician are eligible to be awarded Clean Trust-certified firm status.
A Clean Trust-certified firm gains
access to two incredible web-based benefits:
the company will be added to The Clean Trust’s
searchable database for certified cleaners
being in their searchable database provides
SEO-improving results, moving the company website up the list in organic
And the most recent research shows that with Google’s new
search engine results design, the viewer hot spots are on the organic results,
not the paid ads at the top and on the sides of the page!
So for the price of about $500, even the smallest
cleaning company can have one certified HCT (class and test), become a Clean
Trust-certified Firm, and improve its SEO and placement. Not many (if any) SEO
firms or literature design agencies can net that kind of result for such a low
Use the HCT Certification in Advertising
Most folks in the house cleaning industry say that client
referrals are their #1 method of gaining awareness and strong sales assistance
for growth. Imagine what it will mean to those champion clients to tell their
friends that not only do they love the company and the service, but that the
technicians in their home each week are certified!
That only works if the awareness and education steps
mentioned above have been used to tutor current clients about the HCT
certification and the benefits to them (go back to that Newsletter and FAQ
section). How can the other cleaning and maid services compete with that?
Beyond that, in any list of persuasive qualifications
("points of differentiation” for those hard core business people), being able
to top that with ONLY or later FIRST cleaning company in the local market to
employee certified House Cleaning Technicians is going to get some attention.
Remember, the point of marketing/advertising is to get a consumer to make the
call; the sales team picks up from there with the rest of "the story” that
really sells a service!
The moral of this installment of the HCT story is that the
companies filling up the Dallas/Ft. Worth class, the Raleigh class, and the
Orlando class want to be what’s known as an Early Adopter; some may also call
the technicians certified in 2012 the Standard Leaders, the first to have
earned the newest standard defining the House Cleaning industry and the quality
that consumers should be able to expect from those caring for their health and
The marketing/advertising benefit of any new feature of a company isn’t as simple
as adding an icon to a website or a piece of paper; it’s in the constant communication and education
that raises customers’ awareness of their pleasure in the high-quality service the
certified technicians provide. That’s the real secret in securing customer
referrals, testimonials, and true, sustainable growth for a cleaning company…and
especially making an investment in HCT certification turn into the growth
profit you expect from even better professional house cleaning technicians.
you know a woman planning a wedding, remodeling a home or who is a
recipe collector, chances are she has a Pinterest account. |
is an online pin board, where users from all over the world share the
things they love - products, services, tips, you name it. While it is
easy to dismiss the site as a niche for those planning weddings or
crafting products, Pinterest has nearly 11 million users already and in
the last quarter alone grew 329% (that is not a typo).
study by MGD Advertising showed that a whopping 87% of Pinterest users
are women, the majority of those are in the marketing "sweet spot" of
ages 25-45, and 56% of users make more than $50K. If this sounds like
your target market, read on.
While Facebook remains tops in
driving traffic to actual websites, Pinterest is closing the gap
rapidly. Pinterest already drives more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn
and YouTube combined. While other social media sites are dominated by
men ages 18-24, Pinterest continues to be where the women are.
So how can you use this to your advantage?
is a visual medium where you can reach current and potential clients
who aren't on other types of social media. In addition to your logo,
beautifully cleaned homes and products that you love, you can share
things that set your residential cleaning company apart - it is a chance
to show your business' personality. Pictures of your staff, tips that
make your clients' lives easier and pictures of any awards your company
has won are all prime fodder for your Pinterest pin boards.
also allows you to add a "Pin it!" button to your website, so that
current clients can share your logo and website on their own pin boards.
You can also connect your Pinterest account to your Facebook and
Twitter accounts, making the things you share available on those sites
If you are already a Pinterest user - or if you want to
get "on board" but aren't sure where to start, be sure to follow
ARCSI's pin boards. Here you can post your favorite tips and tricks,
products and business books. In addition, ARCSI publishes pictures of
all of annual Image Award winners and logos from member companies. You
can fin ARCSI's pin boards by clicking here. ARCSI encourage members to "follow" the association and pin their favorite cleaning and business tips to the ARCSI pin boards.
For more information on how to market with Pinterest, click here.
|Marketing is one area where there can never be enough ideas. What gets a potential client's attention and makes them call your company? What goes into a great website or a fantastic leave-behind piece?|
ARCSI Image Award winners Enid Tate-Shephard of Enid's Cleaning
Service and Erica Piorkowski of Crystal Clear Home as they discuss the
ins and out of their award-winning pieces and answer your questions.
Hot Topic Tuesday calls are sponsored by the ARCSI Membership Committee. Join us to
Conducting background checks on potential employees is a major part of
the business process. Whether you're new to employment screening or
already have a program in place to run background checks on candidates,
it's important to create and implement a screening process that's right
for your business.
When hiring new
employees, you want as much information as possible to make smart
decisions. But there's a caveat. Employees have privacy rights in
certain areas, and it's a right they can enforce with legal charges if
background checks are not conducted within the laws that govern
employment screening. Become familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(FCRA). Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FCRA gives
the employer and applicant a fair method for processing reports for
employment screening. All reports compiled and received by employers are
subject to the laws of the FCRA.
If information should
surface that an employee is unfit for the job, businesses can be held
liable for negligent hiring. Negligent hiring is based on the premise
that employers have an obligation to protect employees and clients from
harm or injury (or "foreseeable" acts) caused by an employee. If a
company fails to conduct a background check prior to hiring and an
employee commits an unspeakable act, the employer assumes the liability
for the employee's actions. This is why employers should conduct
background checks on every new hire, regardless of business size.
When implementing your background screening program, here are a few guidelines to remember:
- Create a written background check policy specifically for your business.
- Follow all FCRA guidelines and federal, state and local regulations.
- Use a combination of screening products and develop job-specific searches.
- Establish criteria to evaluate information - what will constitute disqualifying information.
- Eliminate subjective opinions to ensure consistency when reviewing results.
Employment screening is a
first line of defense in protecting employees and company assets. Your
business wants to receive a return on your investment and mitigate
potential legal and financial exposures. While the scope and method of
employment screening can differ between businesses, the purpose remains
the same, to hire the most qualified candidates.
recent article in The Huffington Post underscored what we all know to
be true: Soaring fuel prices have the potential to kill a small
business, especially those who depend on driving to get to their
clients. In the article, writer Joyce Rosenberg interviewed small
business owners and highlighted strategies they are using to deal with
the increasing cost of gas.
1. Closely monitor fuel usage.
Speeding and idling for long periods of time eat away at fuel
efficiency. GPS devices can track driver behavior so that employees can
be part of the fuel-saving solution.
2. Adopt a fuel surcharge.
The article interviews two different companies that have adopted a fuel
surcharge. One company raises the charge on the price of gas jumps 40
cents and another company bases their fluctuating surcharge on the price
of gas that week.
To read the entire article, click here.
a difference a year makes! Cleaning For A Reason, an international
nonprofit and proud member of ARCSI, enjoyed phenomenal growth during
2011. The organization provides free housecleaning to women undergoing
cancer treatment by partnering with cleaning companies throughout the
United States and Canada who donate their time and services to these
women in need.
Within the past
year, Cleaning For A Reason has grown from 800 partners to over 1,100.
This has enabled the organization to donate $1.3 million worth of
cleanings to more than 4,600 women in just twelve short months. This
impact is due entirely to the fantastic efforts of their cleaning
service partners who, since the inception of the organization in 2006,
have collectively donated over $2.6 million in free services to more
than 10,000 women with cancer, a milestone that the organization will
surpass by 50 percent in 2012.
Shawn Day, owner
of Professional Housecleaning Services, Inc. in Chesterland, OH,
partnered with Cleaning For A Reason in 2007 after hearing about them
through ARCSI. He explains that ?a ton of foundations exist that
research a cure, but very few actually do something for cancer patients
today. Cleaning For A Reason is even more rewarding, not only because
it allows me to contribute through my business, but it also gives me
opportunity to support my local community in a way that makes an
To learn more about Cleaning For A Reason, visit their website at www.cleaningforareason.org.
Here you will learn not only about the mission of the organization,
but also be able to see statistics updated in real time that show the
daily impact their partners have on their local communities.