Mike Kelley

In this difficult economic climate, we have seen solid growth by focusing on the following points:

1. Instead of scaling back, we spend more money and more time on marketing. In a cost-cutting environment, building managers are more likely to bid out their maintenance contracts to make sure they are getting the most for their money. We've looked at the slowdown as an opportunity. No matter what the economy does, never stop selling.

2. As we market, we look for companies that may still keep some or all of their housekeeping services in-house. About 60 percent of our top-line growth over the past two years came from securing newly outsourced contracts.

3. We continually audit the clients we currently have. Are we offering them every service we can? About 25 percent of our growth in each of the last two years has come from the expansion of current contracts.

Mike Kelley, CEO
Combat Cleanerz
Old Forge, Pa.

Jim DeGrado

While my initial response
would be school districts, specialized schools and medical cleaning, I genuinely think that what I have experienced over the last several years has been that companies from all sectors are looking for quality contractors. Our company attracts customers because of our commitment to excellence and professionalism, constant research and development and our pursuit to retain and develop the best people.

Additionally, because of our professional approach we put another level of protection between the customer and the basic liability of providing our services, i.e. unemployment, general liability and workers compensation.

Through our principles many organizations have recognized the savings and value in a consistent long-term sustainable partnership. So, yes there are certain sectors leaning toward our industry, but the largest growth opportunity out there will be directly linked to your company culture and values.

Jim DeGrado, President
Cardinal Building Maintenance
Alsip, Ill.

Joseph K. Schulman

What has been occurring in virtually every business category we service is a growth in common sense among the people who make the hiring decision.

When I go on a sales call these days I note more often than not the customer is looking for professionalism, stability and competence in a service provider, not the cheapest price. It almost seems counter-intuitive given the fact that many commercial accounts are struggling to make a profit, but I think they have adopted the attitude that, if they must go through the process of bidding out their cleaning work again, this time around they want a long-term relationship and are no longer willing to sacrifice quality for a cheap price. They want value, not thrift, and they don't want to waste their time changing services every year because of poor workmanship or lack of reliability. Today, for my firm as well as for my customers, time is money and wasting either is not an option.

Joseph K. Schulman, Founder/CEO
Gold Bond Building Services Inc.
Jackson, NJ

Next month: What skills do you value most in a supervisor?

If you'd like the opportunity to share your opinion, send an e-mail to Dan Weltin