A reader writes: “I have four small accounts on my route and clean them myself. Any suggestions on how I can be more efficient?”

Congratulations on your success thus far. Many of us had to start small and cleaned our own accounts until we could grow to the point of hiring other staff and delegating tasks so we could focus on growing the business.

First of all, you need to understand that it is very important to have a back-up person to cover your accounts if you have to be absent. None of us are immune to illness, family emergencies or other emergencies. Remember that the customer still expects their accounts to be cleaned as per the agreement regardless of your personal issues. This could be a relative, friend or simply someone you hire as needed. The key is to make sure they are trained, qualified, can pass background checks and of course, dependable. Your customer should not be aware of your absence as to the quality of cleaning being provided.

Another issue to consider is your vehicle. A compact sedan really limits your ability to provide services other than a vacuum cleaner and bucket/mop system. Although it does not have to be new, look for either a mini-van or a regular van that can carry your supplies and equipment. The mini-van should technically get better gas mileage and there are surveys/reports that rate vehicles on their dependability. You can either get a commercial cargo type vehicle or one with seats that can be removed or stowed. The one with seats can give you flexibility in transporting workers. Make sure that your vehicle is kept washed and has appropriate signage to advertise your company. Check with any homeowner’s rules that may preclude parking your vehicle in your neighborhood.

We will look at other Small Business Tips in future articles. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.