The Computer Revolution
What cleaning professionals need to come to terms with is computers can and should be an important aspect of their professional lives as well. To be honest, I tend to think that most carpet cleaners and restoration professionals understand this. For them, it's a truism; a mantra. Try chanting this, repeatedly: 'Computers are good, they make things easier. Computerize your office and life is breezier.' Repeat, but avoid the Lotus Position. You may never get out of it.
While our professional associations have adopted computers and electronic technology in a variety of ways (think e-mail and the Internet), they've also taken the revolution to the next step: Education. Ask the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC, www.iicrc.org) or the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR, www.ascr.org) and you'll see that electronic education has been adopted in a big way.
Why? Because these are avenues that provide readily accessible training opportunities for their member, the cleaning professional. Speak to some cleaners, and you'll get a pretty good sense of this. Some of the early adopters of computer education (i.e., Tom Hill, Lee Pemberton or Larry Jacobsen) have taken the development to an entirely new level by providing educational opportunities unheard of for cleaners just a few years ago.
While the larger cleaning companies have recognized the importance of computers and the Internet in their business lives, many single-person operators have failed to recognize the importance computers. That's a problem that needs to be addressed, and the many associations and regional organizations are doing just that.
It's imperative that we as an industry espouse the merits of the electronic office. From cleaner-specific software to run an office of any size, to laptop computers and wireless communications that allow the tech in the field to relay information back to the home office, computer technology has given cleaners who have adopted it an edge on the competition in cyberspace (the Internet via e-bulletins, e-mail informational pieces/how-to's, customer follow-ups and customer referrals) and in the real world (the industry-specific software that makes it all possible).
We're big fans of computer technology here at ICS Cleaning Specialist. From our the development of each issue to our Internet site (www.icsmag.com), online news and online Bulletin Board, we're working to provide our 'plugged in' readers with all that our monthly magazine offers and more. We view it as an extension of your magazine; a way to provide you with the information you need to help make your businesses run not only smoother, but smarter as well.
If you haven't given technology the opportunity to prove itself in your business life, now is the time to give it a shot. If you want to exist in today's business environment, then you're going to need all of the tools to make you a candidate for success. In today's cleaning world, it takes more than a good extractor, vacuum or truckmount to get the edge. It takes an adoption of all areas of modern technology. And that means computers.
We're not saying that having a computer will make you the best in your area. That will also take a good business acumen and a thorough understanding of your field. But if you want to give yourself that extra edge, use all of the tools at your disposal.
Don't fear technology. Embrace it. Computers and the software that drives them are the difference between success and failure in an increasingly difficult business world. It's time to get plugged-in.