Coping With Cleaning Market Downturns
The seasoned building service contractor knows from direct experience that the commercial cleaning business has its ups and downs. He/she must not only anticipate these events but also have a plan in place to respond rather than react. Dealing with an upsurge in business can be challenging since new staff must be trained and supervised oftentimes on short notice. Equipment and supplies have to be funded from what financial resources are available at the time. Behind the scenes office costs, transportation and related expenses can place additional short term stress on a growing business.
A downturn in business can be just as challenging since layoffs (or at best transfers to other accounts) can be costly. Cash flow is drastically reduced which means allocating available funds may be important to survival. The investment in training may be lost unless those qualified staff can be salvaged through transfers. Excess equipment and supply inventory for anticipated needs can tie up cash flow since the vendor must be paid if there is to be future business and support from this crucial partner. Also, any financial backers may be concerned since their loan support was based on a certain dollar amount of business with anticipated growth in the future. If a major account is lost, they may pull back their support or even expect accelerated repayment. It is important to anticipate and be prepared for either eventuality since one cancellation or new account can stress the owner and onsite staff.
When buildings become vacant and only skeleton crews are needed consider it an opportunity to get placement for growth when there is the inevitable future growth if you can survive in the interim. Having a strong relationship with vendors and financial backers is important in either case.
Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…
Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.