A reader writes: “I started my business cleaning floors in drug stores, barber shops and quick marts. I want to expand operations into cleaning regular buildings. Any advice?”

Congratulations on your continuing to expand services to other areas that can be profitable and challenging at the same time. Please note that although the grass may look greener as to stability or other factors, you have to adjust your company, staffing, equipment and scheduling to accommodate the different needs inherent with each type opportunity.

For instance, you currently have crews going from site to site in a predetermined schedule that requires them to hit most of their sites either late at night (if open 24 hours) or work around other activities. Stripping/scrubbing/recoating vinyl floors in such contracts can be very profitable since you only perform the service periodically. I am sure you make a good margin since you can charge well for your services. Your crews can be paid staff or subcontractors based on the advice of your tax expert. If you need to change the schedule you simply contact the customer and advise them that due to weather (or a pending vacation) you need to reschedule and they usually comply.

When you get into the realm of cleaning regular accounts, you usually will have a contract requiring you to have staff on site during certain hours for one, three, five or even seven days per week without fail. The customer is counting on you to service their building as per the contract and they expect clean restrooms, empty trash cans, clean carpet and shiny floors when they arrive the day after service was provided. You will find that staffing is different and that you will need to have an additional layer of supervision and quality control as the area of business expands. Although the dollar volume may increase, your margins will probably drop.

We will continue these thoughts in a future article. Your comments and questions are important. 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