ICS Magazine

Steps To Take In Expanding Your Business

March 10, 2002


If you're like most carpet cleaners, you are looking for ways to maintain or expand the flow of revenue during the winter months leading into the spring, and turning them into a consistent source of ongoing revenue. In northern climates especially, winter weather turns against conventional, truckmount-based carpet cleaning, making alternative services and strategies essential.

A couple of simple suggestions will help you during these slower months:

Focus your attention on the commercial carpet-cleaning arena
The holiday season is over and many retail and hospital (hotel/motel, restaurants, and entertainment) facilities have just completed their busiest part of the year. It's time to clean up their facilities for the spring sales season and, if they had a good season, they have the capitol to invest in the maintenance of the facility.

When focusing on the commercial arena, what you want to do is show the savings of cleaning the carpet versus the cost of replacement of the carpet. The longer the cycle between cleanings the more damage to the carpet fibers, leading to early replacement.

Look for additional fabric that needs to cleaned
Most commercial facilities have offices, reception areas and other areas such as conference rooms. The upholstery in these areas needs to be properly cleaned with an approved disinfectant. Why? Since Sept. 11, people have become unsettled in the environment they work in. They want to be assured the area they are spending so much time in is properly disinfected and will not pose any threat to them or their families.

Don't forget to look at fabrics on the walls and ceilings
Now is a good time to remove the build up of soils from the walls. Areas of special attention include break- and lunchrooms, especially in areas that still allow smoking. The nicotine residue, once removed, will provide an odor free area with bright clean walls.

Other fabric cleaning jobs that could infuse revenue into the cash flow include blinds and draperies. Windows, windowsills, and moldings, while not directly fabric-related, are excellent add-ons that can enhance revenue at the same time draperies are cleaned.

Look up for off-season cleaning needs
Heating systems have deposited the built-up dust and residue from ductwork onto adjacent ceiling diffusers and tiles. Using a vacuuming and an approved ceiling cleaning disinfectant, ceilings should be cleaned. This process provides a healthy environment for the employees - a strong selling point - and to more productivity and less sick time from those that work in the area.

Cleaning ceilings removes the bacteria, mold and mildew that reside deep within the recesses of ceiling tiles. Like carpeting that hides soil, ceilings hide the contaminants that are filtered from the indoor airflow.

To further enhance your ceiling service, consider not only cleaning the ceiling but balancing it (making sure all tiles are properly in place and in the same direction) and replacing damaged ceiling tiles.

Use this time to cross-sell your accounts
If your customers are primarily residential, approach your best customers about opportunities where they work. You'll be surprised at how many are willing to pass your name along or, if they own their own businesses, are willing to give you the chance to handle their workplace cleaning.

Your business will come across more professionally if you create and maintain a portfolio of your best work. Take photos of the homes, offices and other locations you've serviced, and list the services you've provided each. This sales tool helps to cross-sell services; even more, it shows the breadth and depth of your capabilities.

Go back for additional training and/or re-certification
Your nearest Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) class is an invaluable business-building tool, one you should seriously consider taking advantage of during the winter months and, indeed, throughout the year. For the few pennies you invest, certification returns many, many dollars through higher fees and additional services.

Customers gravitate to cleaning companies that are certified in their work. Taking the time and effort to train yourself and your employees will put you in the top tier of your profession, and will put you on potential customers' short lists in an increasingly competitive market. For the location of an IICRC-approved school in your area, visit www.iicrc.com.