A few simple tips for being more efficient when cleaning your accounts…

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by Tom Watson on March 8, 2015

Let me be clear, while I just love to land new accounts, and the revenue they generate, I like getting done as fast as possible even better.

For me the challenge is always… “How can I be more efficient?” When you maximize your time, you do the same to your profits.

So over the years I have worked hard to fine tune each job so we get done quickly. I try to pass on this knowledge to the crews every chance I get. I think this is one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful over the years. So today I’ll share a few of the simple tips we incorporate into our cleaning routine.

Tips for cleaning your accounts efficiently

Have a game plan – Know how you are going to attack the job BEFORE you arrive. If you are cleaning by yourself, set up your routine so you know in what order everything will get done. This keeps you focused and prevents you wandering around aimlessly figuring it out as you go.

If you are part of a team, lets say a two-person crew, then divide and conquer. We usually have one person clean the bathrooms and break areas while the other hits the trash and the vacuuming. If anything is left, split it up so you both get done at the same time.

Scan your surroundings – I was generally the one to hit the trash and perform the vacuuming. In doing so you can get a good feel for how bad the place is by just paying attention as you collect the trash. Look for any problems areas that you may need to focus on later.

For instance you can scan under the waiting rooms chairs while you are collecting trash there, which can give you that all important heads up to make sure you vacuum good in that area if you saw issues. Just keeping your head “in the game” can make your life easier!

Dust as you go – As I mentioned a moment ago, I usually did the trash. This means I walked the entire place pretty much. As I went from room to room, I always was passing things that could be dusted as I walked around. So taking my trusty duster in my back pocket was mandatory.

So while passing all those pictures in the hallway, I dusted them without losing a step. Maybe I would hit the top of the frame on the way down the hall and the bottom on the way back. When I stopped at each desk I would quickly dust the monitor, phone and desk. When I went under the desk to collect the trash, I dusted chair legs.

Doing all this hardly added any time at all to my trash collecting duties. Plus it prevented me from walking back to do it all separately. This is “win-win” type effort in my book. No wasted time whatsoever. Try it out for yourself and shave a few minutes off your cleaning rate.

Communicate – If you are part of a team, talk to each other as needed to convey what you see. Maybe you notice the door to the bathroom looking greasy from all the hands that push it open. Or maybe the light switch is looking grimy. Though it may not be “your job” if you are the trash person, it still needs to be cleaned.

Let me be clear, this is not “nit-picking each others work. We all are in this together so we need to WORK TOGETHER. The fact is we all SEE DIFFERENT THINGS. Good communication makes for good work!

Don’t just look down, LOOK UP – It’s so easy to just scan the floor looking for stuff that needs to be picked up, and completely MISS all the cobwebs that are nearly hitting your head as they hang from the ceiling above. This happens a lot on the jobs for some reason, so keep your chin up and scan for those cobwebs!

I’ll wrap this up by asking for your tips for getting done faster. I know that everyone has their little secret methods for getting done faster, so share what you know and help all the beginners out there amongst us! Don’t be shy!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Valerie March 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

I recently decided to start a residential cleaning business. The information you provide is very helpful. In some cases it validates what I already believed. In other cases it gave me information I didn’t have.

The business is starting slowly but I have your voice in my head. I can do this.

Thanks for all of the great information.

2 Tom Watson March 8, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Hi Valerie! You are very welcome and YES you can do this. Keep it simple, do good work, never stop marketing and everything else will take care of itself. If you need help, just touch base.

3 Susan March 9, 2015 at 11:46 am

Hi Tom,
I have been following your site for two years now. I really appreciate your generous sharing of ideas.

My tip for efficient cleaning is to label a set (we use buckets) of supplies for each location you visit. I color code mine. I use a small piece of colored duct tape on the bottles to indicate which customer they are for and use that same color in rags, etc. In some locations I need extra gloves, other locations need additional window cleaning equip. So when we set out for the day we will have a blue bucket, a red bucket, and a green bucket each stocked with specific supplies for that specific customer. This system keeps me from digging through the vehicle for the item I need. When I get to the “red” customer, I simply reach in and grab the red bucket. It takes just a few minutes of prep time before you set out for the day, but it makes a world of difference when you arrive at the location and can get right to work. I also find it helps me keep inventory of what supplies are costing me for each customer which allows me to validate the fee I charge. It’s true that I need 3 sets of everything, but I buy in bulk anyway and reuse dispensers by refilling them.

Hope this is helpful!

4 Tom Watson March 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Hi Susan! Great idea. I like how you are ready to go right out of the gate for each customer. Keeping track of the supplies is also a real nice tip for everyone out there. Thanks for sharing that info for everyone!

5 Angela March 12, 2015 at 9:12 pm

A Shout Out for Tom,
Guys who frequent here and for new comers considering the business
I have been around the commercial / residential cleaning block for 20 years now and just now going full force again…I’ve been HUGE and scaled back and now going ‘HUGE’ again

I bought some of Tom’s materials and have proudly just completed listening to every single one of his podcasts, while some repeatedly,

My comments:

Even though I consider myself “seasoned” PURCHASE his material, ALL OF IT, if you are new. That’s it, just do it, save yourself the heart ache of all the start up blunders. Everything he says OMG is right on. I listen to him and I just laugh because its like going down memory lane for most of what he talks about when he first started…listen listen listen and APPLY

Tom, where were you 20 years ago when I started??? What I would have done to have this resource???? oh my word!! wow

I have ‘that’s right’ and ‘Amen’ more in the past month listening to these podcasts, reading these blogs etc than I have in 43 years (make that 33 since I don’t go anymore) of church!!!!!!!!

Also, one more thing, Tom, wish we had a comment section to your podcasts 😉

The End!!
OH btw landed 4 contracts this week alone…
all by direct mail flyers!! and I have mailed out about 900 this month…just a tid bit to give a ratio if people want to know

two gas companies
two restaurants

now I have six all together

btw I am the expert when it comes to restaurants, I don’t hear you talk much about that!!

6 Tom Watson March 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Hi Angela! Thanks for those very kind words. Much appreciated!

I’ll look into the comments on the podcasts, let me see what can be done there. That would be fun.

7 Angela March 12, 2015 at 9:41 pm

I didn’t realize my last comment was under my email I haven’t used yet on here lol three roots cleaning is my subsiderary of Three Roots Building lol

Just to make you all smile 🙂
Only one small little thing I have not agreed with Tom on…
You know..years ago when I was ‘big’ tom, I did build “Rome” in a day…I was hungry, I had $20 left to my name, four children to feed and a husband who would not work!. I took my last $20 and ran off 1,000 flyers, grabbed a ‘book of lists’ from the local library, put my kids to the ‘stuffing envelope’ volunteer corps and got started. I put a plan together and worked 22 hrs a day…started with homes and business not much different than what you teach….In 90 days I went from almost nothing to $2500 to 5 1/2 months later I was at $28,000 MONTHLY roughly….it was only personal matters that I stopped. Topped off at around $37K monthly by years end….

All on $20 start up… determination and did not let ANYONE stop me nothing and I just had one focus….I had restaurants, industries, gas companies, doctor offices, you name it. Once the momentum started that was all she wrote. I did not take out loans. I bought equipment as I went. I educated myself. I went to janitorial supply stores and you would be surprised how much they are willing to teach you. I can strip and refinish VCT, Terazzo, ceramic you name it, and now I personally can refinish professionally hardwood flooring and am an expert in various species and understand the janka scale etc. Learn the art of diversifying as well.

One thing Tom, you are right about, I built Rome in a day, but Rome collapsed, Angela collapsed. Albeit, my circumstances were not in my control and had nothing to do with business. But I learned also that I am a workaholic and now I am 20 years older and I can not move and shake like that anymore and life is not only about money. Money is a tool to survive and there is much more to life than it. I am choosing my focus and limiting to what speaks to me personally. I will not get caught up and consumed by what can eventually ‘collapse’ because I did not learn my lessons. Times are not always “fat” and there must always be ‘balance’ of the mind, body and soul. This time, I will keep that in perspective. I will give as much as I receive.

8 Tom Watson March 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Hi Angela! I stand corrected… ROME CAN BE BUILT IN A DAY!!! That’s a real powerful story about how STAYING FOCUSED can produce fantastic results.

9 Wayne March 24, 2015 at 11:57 am

thanks so much for these podcasts. You are my inspiration! I am a one man band cleaning company, with one good office contract and plenty of house foreclosure cleanings. It’s just not enough to quit my janitorjob for the city hall here in Norway.

Do you have tips for approaching companies? Phone? Visit, email or paper letter/flyers?

10 Tom Watson March 25, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Hi Wayne! Thanks for the kind words. To your question… I like mailing my business card, references and a real simple letter saying that I own a cleaning business and if you ever need to make a change of your cleaning company, I would be happy to explain how I can help you. Then leave your contact info. You could also just drop this off in person (but mailing gets more out at a faster rate).

11 Raymon Samuel May 13, 2015 at 8:14 am


12 Tom Watson May 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Hi Raymon! Happy to help.

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