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March 9, 2012: The Residential Cleaning Connection
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News, Netoworking & Events

The Residential Cleaning Connection   

News, Networking & Events for the Cleaning Professional 

March 9, 2012 - Vol 3, Issue 5


From the President  

Daron Pres

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.  

 

Strengths are 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.  

 

daron signature 

 

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   

               situations.

7. ____ I use my strengths to get what I want out of life.

8. ____ My work gives me lots of opportunities to use my  

               strengths.

9. ____ My life presents me with lots of different ways to use  

              my strengths.

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  

                 with.

14. ____ I am able to use my strengths in lots of different  

                 ways.

 

ARCSI Member logoWhy 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 cleaning business?

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!


Is 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.

2012 ELC Logo 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 arrive home.

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.

In 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.
bird
Don't forget to "Spring Forward" this Sunday!
Daylight savings time begins on
Sunday, March 11!

Are 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.


ARCSI 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.
When 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.

But 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."

Congratulations, Shirley!

Shirley 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.

On 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.

 

Monday's decision upholds the notice-posting requirement, but strikes down the provisions that create a new ULP and extend the statute of limitations.

 

While 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).

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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.
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Press Release
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.

Newsletter Article
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:

1. the company will be added to The Clean Trust’s searchable database for certified cleaners

2. being in their searchable database provides SEO-improving results, moving the company website up the list in organic internet searches

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 cost.

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 home.

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.


If you know a woman planning a wedding, remodeling a home or who is a recipe collector, chances are she has a Pinterest account.

Pinterest 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).
 
A recent 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?

Pinterest 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.

Pinterest 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 as well.

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?

Join 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

Intellicorp 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.


 

A 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.
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 Cleaning for a reasonWhat 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 immediate difference.?

 

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. 

 

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IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Phoenix)

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