As I look back upon my time in the cleaning business it amazes me that I was able to overcome all the errors, mistakes and incorrect assumptions I made.
I probably made just about every mistake imaginable at one time or another. Some were big and some were small, but somehow I was able to keep the ship afloat.
One “incorrect assumption” I made
One of my biggest “incorrect assumptions” when starting was not building good solid relationships with my customers. I really just tried to stay out of their way and not bother them in any way, shape or form.
This approach is not recommended because when you don’t build any kind of relationship with a customer you risk becoming a “faceless company” who is no different from any other. This doesn’t mean that all customers want to love you and hold you tight, but some do.
This is why I recommend you to get as close as they will allow. Some will love you, some will like you, some will keep you at arms length and some will be indifferent to you. The moral here is LET THEM DECIDE.
One of the many “mistakes” I made
Though I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, in the beginning stages of my business I was not very good at keeping a close eye on the accounts receivables. I knew who owed me money and all, I just didn’t “bug them” when they were late.
This problem is somewhat connected to the “stay out their hair” approach I mentioned earlier. As a “newbie”, I simply didn’t know the ground rules all that well. I kind of thought that’s “just the way it is”. Of course I was completely wrong on this.
At the end of the day the money you work for is YOUR MONEY, and you deserve to get paid on time. If you think about it, whenever you don’t get paid you are acting like a bank and “lending” your customer money.
Now I don’t know about you, but I started a cleaning business and not a bank. This is why I stay on top of this now. I’m VERY NICE at all times when trying to get paid, but I don’t let them slack off on me like I used to.
One “error” out of many, many errors
One of the biggest “errors” I made when getting started was assuming that whoever I hired would “care as much as me” about doing a good job. I honestly thought hiring people “like me” would be CAKE.
Oh how wrong I was! I could not have been more wrong if I tried. With that said, hiring the right people is not all that hard once you know how. It’s just in the beginning when you don’t know any better this type of error can sink you fast.
I hired people that were not in any way qualified to be working for me. Many could not show up for more than a few days in a row without calling out. Others would bring “unauthorized helpers” with them to get done faster. Then there were others who did “donuts” in parking lots with my company trucks.
I would doubt that anyone could have made more “errors” in hiring people than I did when first starting a cleaning business. I soon caught on and got it right, but for a while there I risked turning grey at a very early age.
The fact that I was able to succeed despite having made so many mistakes when first getting started is the main reason why I believe anyone can have success in the cleaning industry. All you need is the determination to KEEP PUSHING FORWARD. If you have that you are in good shape!
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