4 Top Factors to Consider When Bidding a New Account

There’s absolutely no one single rule of thumb to follow when submitting a quote to your prospective customer. Needs vary way too widely. The environments you’ll have responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing have their own intricacies.

So, no matter how hard you try, you won’t find a single rule that fits for bidding every new contract. But, that also doesn’t mean you have to guesstimate.

Instead, consider these top factors so you submit an accurate quote that also makes sense to your customer:

  • Meet with Your Potential Client On-Site

The real value when meeting with your potential customer isn’t that you’ll understand their needs. While important, this really gives you the opportunity to show them you care. Customers want that the most because they’ve all been through situations with companies who don’t care.

It’s also your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and competence. That builds customers’ trust. And you also get to learn the ins and outs of their building so you know exactly what you’re getting into. You’ll also get a basic understanding of who your customer is, and how to have a successful relationship with them.

Many of your competitors won’t take the time to do this. It gives you a huge advantage.

  • Use the Workloading Method of Calculation

You’ll often see the advice to charge so many cents per square foot, based on what you learn about your customer. But that approach is overly simplistic and doesn’t accurately account for the various types of surfaces you have to clean, the precise tasks you use to clean each area, or the production rate per employee.

Yes, technically you do include all that in a per-square-foot bid. However, you’re estimating.

With workloading, you know each of those factors exactly. While you may not be perfectly accurate in your quote, you’ll be much more accurate than simply offering a per-square foot cost.

  • The Difficulty of the Customer

Let’s be real: some customers are easy to please, while you can’t seem to do anything right for others. You’ll notice the things easier and more difficult customers will say when you visit their property for the quote.

Adjust your price upward for more challenging customers, and keep it down slightly for easier ones. Higher prices attract better customers, and chase away ones destined to cause you trouble.

  • How Much You Need the Business

You have to include this too. While you’d love to price high and justify to your customers, sometimes your business needs the additional work.

In sum, view all these factors as working on a dial. For each factor that looks good, turn your mental pricing dial down, or don’t change it. For each factor that sends a red flag, turn your pricing dial up. When all is said and done, you’ll end up with a workable rate that makes sense for you and your customers.

HAI Risk Falls 22% in US Hospitals

The risk for acute-care hospital patients to get an HAI has decreased 22% from 2011 to 2015.

However, this comes as a bit of a mixed blessing, as most of the reduction in HAIs was due to reductions in surgical site infections.

Risks of other conditions such as pneumonia remain almost unchanged.

In other words, healthcare institutions still have work to do in making their facilities cleaner and more sanitary. Currently, the CDC says 1.7 million Americans get an HAI each year, with 99,000 resulting in patient deaths. It also leads to $20 billion in additional healthcare costs.

How can your professional healthcare organization prevent HAIs?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make It an Organization-Wide Strategic Initiative

Other patients, medical professionals, and your building itself can all transmit HAIs to your patients.

Typically, there’s not a single cause of HAIs at any one healthcare organization. Hand hygiene frequently plays a role, so it should be near the top of your list of things to address.

But, other factors like how you contact patients, the frequency of doing so, and your decontamination processes play a role too.

You have to analyze all these factors and processes, and design and implement ones that mitigate the risks yours have traditionally caused.

  • Measure And Understand Your Current Baseline

This one won’t be easy. But, you must have a method for knowing your current patient HAI rate to the best of your ability.

You can only improve if you know what’s happening right now.

Then, determine when you’ll follow up in the future with measuring. This most likely would be on an annual basis, or perhaps less frequently.

  • Simple Things You Can Check and Implement

That National Institutes of Mental Health offers a handbook that offers basics on preventing HAIs.

This includes the proper use of personal protective equipment. This also includes proper removal when leaving areas where patients are cared for. They note that during the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Canada, 44% affected employees. Just 9 had formal infection control training. 13 didn’t know how to wear or remove their PPE. 6 reused medical equipment. 8 had awareness of a breach of infection control precautions.

Finally, despite all the education health care workers have, they frequently don’t adhere to infection control precautions.

Knowledge Really Is Power…and So Is Training

For the most part, it boils down to really simple stuff with HAIs. Yes, it’s hard to implement and enforce procedures across many employees.

But it saves lives, makes patients happier, saves you money, and improves your reputation.

So take these tips to heart, and talk with your health care workers and cleaning team to create a plan that nearly eliminates the risk of HAIs for your patients.

How Cleaning Boosts Productivity

It’s easy to think sanitizing and cleaning your facility is done only to make it look and smell good. You might do this to improve your employees’ safety a little too.

But if that’s where you stop valuing cleaning of your facility, you’re missing out on one of the most important benefits of keeping it clean: increased employee productivity. There’s no doubt a relationship exists, but it often gets overlooked.

Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg studied workplace motivators throughout the 1950s and 1960s to understand what leads to employee satisfaction. To figure it out, he simply asked employees what made them feel good and bad about their jobs.

Their responses led to the creation of his Motivation-Hygiene Theory. This is also called the “Two Factor Theory.” Herzberg also published a famous article – that still gets incredible respect today: “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”

How Your Workplace’s Physical Condition Affects Productivity

Herzberg developed a list of factors that affect satisfaction:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • The work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Growth

And he found factors that affect dissatisfaction:

  • Supervision
  • Employee relationships with coworkers and their supervisor
  • Work conditions
  • Salary
  • Status
  • Security

As you can see, the physical work environment would likely fall under the “work conditions” criterion.

You Have A Mission-Critical Service to Perform for Your Company

Don’t feel motivated to keep your building clean and do your best work? Whether your company recognizes it or not, you perform a service vital to your company’s success when you clean your building to pristine condition.

You make employees feel cared for. They appreciate the place they come to and spend 40, 50, or 60 hours per week, or even more.

What if you don’t get the respect you feel you deserve? It’s time to start educating your coworkers and leadership about the difference you make to your company.

When your building is clean, customers become happier too. They buy more. They feel like you care about them. They’re more likely to tell their friends and family about your business, and they’ll likely come back to you again in the future.

Do you sanitize your building also? That is, do you do more than just make your building smell fresh and look clean? Do you do everything possible to remove more germs, bacteria, and viruses, and keep your coworkers from getting sick?

Does your leadership have awareness of what you do?

You do provide a mission-critical service, and it’s one that no one else in your company can do also. If they don’t think so, it’s time to start explaining to your coworkers and leadership the difference you make, how it affects them, and how you improve your company’s bottom line.

You do make a huge difference, and it’s one that nobody in your company can afford to overlook.

How to Have Successful Relationships with Your Customers

Every profession, including cleaning, requires strong customer service skills. When you don’t manage customer relationships well, your reputation takes a blow.

How do you work with many customer questions and concerns? Here are some things to say and not say, and better ways to communicate with customers that keep the relationship healthy and thriving:

  • “We Don’t Provide That Service”

Should you say this, or shouldn’t you? After all, it’s honest. You don’t want to lead the customer you provide services into feeling good about you just for this moment. They’ll feel hurt after they find out you really don’t provide the service discussed.

If you don’t offer the service, simply redirect the conversation to a service you do offer that achieves the result they want. If you don’t have that, notify your boss. You may have a new line of revenue you can access by offering a new service.

  • “Let me look into that for you.”

Customers hear this all the time, and they assume it means you’re not going to look into it at all and ignore what they asked.

If your customer stumps you with a question you can’t answer, tell them you will look into it. But, also give them a deadline when you’ll have the answer. Give yourself plenty of time so you beat your deadline and exceed their expectations.

They’ll be delighted with you.

  • “I’m sorry.”

Customers measure the truth about how sorry you are by whether you follow up your apology with action to make it right. Apologizing verbally is a good start.

But, you have to explain how you’ll fix your mistake. Be 100% honest, and follow through exactly with what you plan.

Customers can live with mistakes. However, they’ll love you when you tell them how you’ll fix it – and follow through on your proposed action.

  • “Sorry, I’ve got another call coming in.”

In most situations, this sounds like an excuse you make to a customer so you can get rid of them.

If you have a legitimately important phone call come in, tell your customer you have an emergency phone call. Follow that up with when you will get back to them, and then follow through with action.

This keeps your relationship intact in the moment so your customer doesn’t feel unimportant. Assuming you follow through as promised later on, it also keeps the customer happy with you on an ongoing basis.

Did you see the pattern throughout? Basically, mean what you say. Never tell customers what you think they want to hear. Always follow through.

Follow that recipe with internal and external customer service, and you’ll find yourself as the employee customers love to tell others about.

Why We Created the Ferveo Line of Hand-Care Products

Do you use the hand washing agents available at your business exactly as directed?

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. And even when you do use the product as the manufacturer instructs, sometimes you still don’t have all the bacteria and germs on your hands killed like you should.

Handwashing doesn’t seem like a huge deal. Yeah, so it prevents some people from getting colds and flus each year. But that’s not worth shifting to a new product for cleaning your hands and instructing your employees on properly handwashing technique, is it?

Believe it or not, it is. According to an article by the New York Times, about 100,000 patients die each year because of poor hand hygiene in the medical industry. This also leads to an additional $30 billion in medical care costs.

Those numbers may be a bit extreme and not as applicable to other industries. But it does demonstrate that hand hygiene is a sound business/organizational decision that’s worth paying attention to.

And That’s Where the Ferveo Line Comes In

Ferveo isn’t just for the medical industry. It’s for every industry. Poor hand hygiene may not lead to thousands of deaths in your industry. But, it leads to additional (and unnecessary) illnesses. These illnesses in turn:

  • Reduce productivity when workers are present
  • Increase workplace absences
  • Deplete worker morale
  • Cause other hassles, like missed project deadlines

Have you ever taken time to calculate your number of illness-related work absences? Once you have a baseline, use Ferveo, and set a clear policy around hand hygiene. Then analyze how many illness-related work absences you have.

Why Use Ferveo and Not Some Other Hand Hygiene Products?

It’s the only product that kills 99.99% of bacteria in 5 seconds or less (which is about half the time of most other hand hygiene products) without a pungent smell or taste. In fact, Ferveo users report it goes on just like a lotion.

So if you’re in the food or medical industries, for example, you and your patients (or customers) won’t have to deal with the scent or taste. It also comes with a thick and rich lather so your hands aren’t left dry or chapped.

Only you can decide whether Ferveo makes sense for your organization. For now, you have the awareness and understand the value.

Industries, Organizations, and Venues that Can Benefit Most from Ferveo

Does your organization really need better hand hygiene? How important to your functioning is it really?

You don’t have a mass epidemic going on every year. So, everything must be okay with your organization, right?

Well, not so fast. Remember, the New York Times reported 100,000 patient deaths are caused each year in the medical industry by poor hand hygiene. That results in $30 billion in unnecessary expenses too.

This in an industry where hand hygiene is of the utmost importance. You’d think this industry would have extremely high awareness of the issue, and clear policies to make sure hand hygiene gets followed to the fullest extent possible.

Will poor hand hygiene, and the resulting spread of illness, lead to the same consequences at your organization?

Probably not. But it could cost you a lot of money and productivity, which you could otherwise use to beat your competition.

Take a look at some industries, organizations, and venues that can benefit most from good hand hygiene practices and products like Ferveo:

  • Healthcare
    Clearly, any organization in the medical industry can benefit from better hand hygiene practices and products. Ferveo, for example, kills 99.99% of bacteria in less than 5 seconds – without a strong scent or taste.
    Sanitizers do the same in 15 seconds. Antimicrobial soaps do it in 30. And general purpose soap takes 60 seconds.
    Often, they have bothersome pungent odors and tastes.
    In an industry where you’re constantly on the go and saving lives, a product that works in 5 seconds or less simply makes sense.
  • Food
    Your employees constantly touch food. They wash their hands many times per day. Do they really wait 15, 30, or even 60 seconds between the time they wash their hands and touch more food to make sure it does its job killing bacteria?
    Or, do they get right back to work as soon as they’re done washing?
    With Ferveo, they only have 5 seconds of downtime. That’s a boost for productivity. And it leads to far fewer illnesses that could be caused by your food.
  • Schools and Universities
    Schools with young children always have high rates of illness. It’s just the nature of the work.
    While you won’t be able to stop every last illness from happening, you can dramatically reduce them with better handwashing policy and a fast-acting product.
    Lesser illness means better education for your students. It leads to fewer teacher absences. Parents are less stressed.

Everyone becomes a winner.

Yes, Ferveo Drives True Business Value

Regardless of the type of organization you run, improved hand hygiene helps your bottom line. You just have to take the time to make the calculation and figure out the real impact. But as you can see, hand hygiene products like Ferveo can absolutely make a noticeable difference for your employees and your bottom line.

How to Improve Strained Customer Relationships

Do you have internal or external customers? Both? From your experience as a cleaning pro, you know how hard it is to keep everyone happy.

You’d love for everyone to be ecstatic with you and your service. But sometimes, that’s not possible. People have different personalities and preferences. Sometimes they have stressful personal issues boiling over into their professional lives.

You don’t always know what’s going on with them. That makes it difficult to have a successful relationship with every customer. So of course, some relationships become strained. And in some cases, relationships will be impossible to maintain.

Here’s what you can do to get those relationships back on track after they get into a rough spot:

Consider Involving Another Team Member

The idea here isn’t to tag-team your customer. Instead, you include another team member so they can identify ways to improve the relationship. Their own demeanor may play an important role in improving it.

They may also be able to offer you feedback on things you could do to be more successful in the future. And, you might also try switching team members who interact with certain customers because sometimes, people connect better with different personalities.

Admit Where You’re Wrong First

Unhappy customers can always find something wrong. So, let’s say you have an unreasonable customer. They’re obviously 99% in the wrong, but you have just 1% of the wrong.

Own up to your 1%. Lead with that when you start conversation. Trying to show your customer where they’re wrong only results in them getting angrier and feeling more justified in their behavior.

It’s hard to have a humble attitude like this when someone else is being unreasonable. But, it helps smooth things out.

Ask What You Can Do to Improve

Some customers have their own idea of what you need to do to make them happy. Their expectations may or may not be accommodated in your contract.

If they have a small ask outside of your contract, consider giving it to them. If they ask for more, you’ll have to remind them you already pulled them a favor and bent the rules.

Otherwise, try as best as you can to accommodate what your customer wants. They’ll tell you. You’ll have to decide on your limits.

Be Willing to Lose the Customer

Some customer relationships just aren’t meant to be. Try as you might, you just can’t get on the same page.

Know your own boundaries. What are you willing to do? What won’t you do? At what point does the customer become so unreasonable that it’s best for you to part ways?

Make sure you define that for yourself.

When you follow these simple strategies, you can repair relationships that have gone off track. It leads to a more stable business, and you’ll have more fun in your work (and less stress) as a cleaning pro too.

3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Cleaning Industry

You may not think of the cleaning and janitorial industry as one on the cutting edge of technology. But it’s going to be in a few major ways.

And to some extent, these future trends are already shaping how the industry works. Here’s the new trends you should consider:

The Cleaning Robot Market will be a $2.5 Billion Industry by 2020

This data comes from research published by MarketsandMarkets. The annual growth rate will be around 15.3%.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Robotics and automation are growing industries. Robots are becoming sophisticated enough to perform simple tasks in other industries, like fast food. And the same trends will come to the cleaning industry.

Will you replace your human staff? Will you hire more sophisticated workers to monitor the robots? Will this be a mix of both?

Robots won’t be able to do everything. Nonetheless, it’s a trend you’ll have to incorporate into your cleaning practices.

Internet of Things

IoT provides heaps of data. This data affects how you do, or do not do, your cleaning.

Problem: how will you gather and interpret the data?

And who will communicate your findings with the customer?

Your cleaning staff will take on more sophisticated tasks. IoT devices will reveal how frequently employees or students wash their hands, or how often certain areas have been cleaned.

With hand-washing, it may be your job to communicate the importance of doing it a certain number of times daily, for a certain length of time.

In relation to cleaning various areas of your building, you may learn how many hours an employee ran a certain machine during their shift. Then it’s your job to show them how long that should be, and what they should be doing.

The amount and types of data you’ll collect will almost seem insane. So the potential for how this looks at your organization is quite open.

The Changing Nature of Offices

Co-working spaces are clearly gaining momentum. Traditional cubicle-based office spaces are getting smaller. Some employees stand. Others negotiate more time working from home.

All this will impact how you clean your building. If you have co-working space, you may have to spend more time preventing the spread of infections. That may include educating people at these spaces what they should do to prevent disease. You may have to spend more time cleaning office cubes to prevent spread of infections also.

We’ll see what the future holds. For now, you’re at least aware and prepared for these trends as they take shape.

What Pleasant Restrooms Do for Your Business

Bradley Corp recently released its Healthy Hand Washing Survey. And part of this survey reveals what consumers like and don’t like about using public restrooms.

So, let’s take a look at some of the good, and bad, findings from the survey:

92% of Customers Think Quality Restrooms Mean Your Company Also Provides Quality Products and Services

In other words, they think you can judge an entire business based on the quality of its restrooms (like judging a book by its cover). And when you think about it, restrooms are often near the front of the store.

So, they’re frequently one of the first experiences customers have with your company. Give them a pleasant one, and you’ve likely earned their business for some time.

One story of a big-shot investor on the East Coast said he decided which companies to invest in based on the quality of their restrooms. Poor quality restrooms meant the company didn’t care about its employees. That meant the employees wouldn’t care about the customers. As a result, the prospects for success weren’t good. So, that investor didn’t give those firms money.

What Customers Want to See in Your Restrooms

According to Bradley Corp’s survey, customers want your restroom to look and smell clean more than anything else. Not surprising. But as you know, your restroom can appear clean, yet actually be flooded with germs and bacteria. So give that appearance of cleanliness, but truly sanitize your restrooms too.

Behind appearance, Americans want touchless fixtures, and better stocking of supplies like toilet paper, soap, and towels (perhaps the IoT trend could help you with the latter).

70% of Americans Consciously Choose Businesses With Cleaner Restrooms

Your restroom works like a magnet. Customers are almost irresistibly attracted to businesses with clean restrooms. Millennials, the largest of all generations in terms of sheer numbers, patronize businesses because of their clean restrooms at higher rates (77% versus the 70% mentioned above).

The other end of the magnet pushes customers away. 56% of Americans said they weren’t likely to return to a business after having an unpleasant restroom experience.

So yes, your restroom is critical to your company’s success. If you’re not getting the resources you need to make it sparkle and shine, now you have the data to back your case up.

5 Food Safety Trends to Stay Ahead of For 2017 and Beyond

Every industry has emerging trends to watch for. What’s the latest in food safety?

Here’s some of the current thinking:

Full Digitization of Supply Chains

Leading retailers like Amazon and Target have sophisticated supply chains monitored and optimized by technology. They can make precision decisions regarding all the products they sell, and exactly how and when to ship food so it stays safe also.

The food industry as a whole lags behind retail’s top dogs. The movement towards using technological devices and analytics will experience tremendous growth now and in the future.

Food Safety Recalls Simply Won’t Go Away

With technology and monitoring increasing, recalls likely won’t decrease. Technology will catch the problems earlier so they cause less harm. And it will catch more products than are currently being caught.

Because sophisticated technology isn’t implemented at many companies, recalls won’t go down this year. However, that may change in future years.

Government Regulation from FSMA Will Be in Full Force

FSMA recognizes it’s better to prevent food safety problems than it is to let them happen and clean up the resulting mess. You’ve known this change would be coming. And here it is.

Now, the FDA will audit the big companies. Detailed recordkeeping will be kept around all recalls and outbreaks. You must have corrective actions ready to go when mistakes happen. And in the worst cases, the FDA could shut down your company’s operations.

Home Delivery Will Continue To Take Off

Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated all deliver gourmet food directly to your doorstep. Of course, that’s going to raise some food safety issues also. How do you time the delivery to ensure the food stays fresh?

Millennials love these food services. And since they’re the largest generation of any kind (numbering around 90 million), it appears as though demand for this will remain high.

Interest Will Continue to Grow in Natural and Organic Foods

While our nation as a whole doesn’t watch its diet, there is a growing interest in organic and natural foods. Organic food sales reached a record $43.3 billion in 2015. That’s up from around $28 billion in 2012. Quick math shows that’s around 50% growth.

Consumers will remain willing to pay higher prices for organic foods. And in relation to safety, you’ll have to continue to work with reputable suppliers you can trust to deliver safe organic foods.

That’s what we see happening in 2017 and the future. Which of these correlates most closely to what your company does?