This is a perfect time for cleaning contractors to take a serious look at their companies and evaluate how they are doing, says Ron Segura, president of Segura & Associates, whose firm helps cleaning contractors grow and become more successful.

To do this, Segura suggests that cleaning contractors ask themselves the following questions:

• Did your company meet profit goals in 2016?
• How does your reputation compare with that of your competitors?
• How well did your management team perform this past year?
• How successful was your 2016 marketing campaign compared to past years?
• Did you lose more accounts in 2016 because of price?

“We cannot say there was a trend shared by all in the professional cleaning industry in 2016,” says Segura. “Some contractors were forced to reduce staff and scale back for many reasons while others experienced substantial growth.”

He also says he found that some larger contractors decided to reduce or eliminate add-on services such as lighting services or parking lot cleaning, so that they could concentrate on their core business. “And yet other [contractors] successfully introduced add-on packages in 2016 that proved very successful.”

While Segura says 2016 was a mixed bag year for cleaning contractors around the country, he did notice some similarities. Among them were the following:

• Some contractors were able to identify new needs and provide new services for existing customers that helped them increase revenues.
• Others put more emphasis on marketing and finding new marketing opportunities.
• Many contractors adopted new cleaning technologies that helped streamline cleaning operations and reduced costs.
• Contractors working with school districts and other organizations experiencing budget cuts developed abbreviated cleaning programs that allowed them to keep the customer and address their budget constraints. “In other words, they thought outside the box…and demonstrated they were a true partner.”

Finally, Segura says he found many successful cleaning contractors in 2016 met with their staff regularly, solicited comments from them, and listened very carefully to their suggestions that might help improve the company and its services.

“This is something all cleaning contractors must do. Contractors must partner with their staff along with their customers and if they haven’t already, next year is a good time to start."