During the early years of most janitorial companies, supervisors are hired to handle the nighttime operations. They oversee the janitorial staff, train new workers and make sure supplies are stocked. However, as growth occurs, questions of how their roles might change arise.

Should these supervisors also assume the responsibility of maintaining customer relationships? If a company is going to scale up, I am convinced that we must convert our field management team so they can handle both supervision and customer relations. Here are three reasons why this is important:

1. Scalability

As a cleaning operation grows, a company must find an operational model that can scale with the growth. Processes that are in place now should be able to handle a business 50 percent or 100 percent larger than the current size. Additionally, simplicity makes scalability easier. The simpler the management model, the easier it is to grow and handle that growth.

If every new customer required two managers — one for supervision and one for client relations — then the operation is complicated and makes growth more difficult to handle. Remember, simplicity is key.

2. Cost Control

If every account requires two managers to run the job, there is likely an increased overhead necessary to run the cleaning business. At my company, we switched from a “two manager model” to a “single manager model” and saved approximately $30,000 a year at one of our branches.

When creating savings like these, management can afford to pay higher wages or offer better incentives. Combined with a flexible schedule, this position should attract viable candidates.

3. Ownership

The final, and perhaps most important reason for switching to a single manager model is that it creates an ownership mentality among the management team.

When we had supervisors who were only responsible for the evening cleaning work, but not the customer relations, the supervisors were focused primarily on getting the accounts staffed and cleaned. There was little awareness of what the customer wanted because that supervisor never interacted with the customer. They never really “owned” the account in a holistic sense.

Once managers started meeting with clients and learning their expectations, this began to shape how they supervised the evening work. This paradigm shift improved both quality and customer relationships.

My challenge to you is this — Assess your current operational model and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my operation scalable with my current management structure? A model that doesn’t scale impedes growth.
  • Is my management structure cost effective? Organizational charts create room for higher paying positions.
  • Does my current management model create an ownership mentality among my supervisory team? When an ownership mentality permeates the organization, less micromanaging is needed, creating freedom to work on more productive tasks.


Jordan Tong is a BSC consultant and founder of Elite Business Coaching, in addition to being a third-generation owner of Frantz Building Services based in Owensboro, Kentucky. For more information on his coaching services, visit www.elitebusinesscoaching.net.