Periodically I like to get back to the basics of cleaning since we all can benefit from reminders along the way for the steps necessary to clean a facility effectively and safely.

When starting a cleaning company, an early responsibility that could consume a considerable amount of time and effort was trying to develop and manage our operation budgets. Remember that budgeted funds need to be compared to actual funds so that we know if we are ahead of the game or heading for disaster. Many of us have experienced too much month for the money we had due to an unexpected expense such as equipment breakdown, unbudgeted expense such as an insurance payment or simply failing to keep track of outflow.

It is highly recommended that you make each account you have a separate profit/loss center as soon as is practical even if you are the only one working for the company during start up. For instance, if you have a small account that invoices for $500 per month, how much can you pay someone to clean it for you while providing equipment, supplies, benefits and other overhead? Remember that labor and benefits are your greatest expense in custodial services so when you delegate work to a paid staffer, your so-called profit margin (or retained earnings) can rapidly evaporate. The suggested route when getting started is to determine how long it takes to clean the account properly and multiply those hours by your pre-determined burdened labor rate. You then need to add in overhead including QC inspections, supplies, insurance, equipment, etc. to determine what (if anything) is left over.

The fundamentals are important and controlling costs is crucial to survival. 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