Systems, Yep, You’re Gonna Need Those Too!

Today, we want to talk about something just as important – systems.

That’s right, systems. What they are? How to create them? And what they can do for you!

First let me tell you a story….

In the first few years running our janitorial business – when we got ready to start up a brand new account, we would simply grab all the people we needed, along with the equipment and cleaning supplies.. jump in the van and go!

Sounds simple. And it was.

It just wasn’t effective. You see we’d have problems:

1. Some cleaning people we took to the account would end up simply wandering around – doing little to nothing.


Well, any number of reasons.

Either they weren’t trained properly in the first place, weren’t prepared to handle the first day at a new cleaning account, or simply weren’t being given enough direction by a supervisor.

2. We would always find ourselves missing some important piece of cleaning… so we’d end up having to send somebody back to the shop to get it.

And the reason? Well, we simply didn’t have any pre-set list of supplies and equipment to check off and be sure to bring with us.

3. And finally, we would often forget to lock a door, get a trash or turn off a set of lights…. again, because we didn’t have a set of rules and procedures to follow.

Our cleaning business didn’t have a SYSTEM.

So, we worked on it – and created a series of systems such as:

– Developing a multiple-step training program for every cleaning associate to go through.

- Creating a checklist for supplies and equipment necessary to bring to a new account.

- Maintaining a log of all important information we earned about each account.

- Designing a detailed plan to follow for the start up of any new account.

That’s what systems basically are … pre-set procedures and practices to follow to handle any number of situations.

And you know as well as I do, there are lots of situations to deal with in cleaning.

But SYSTEMS can go a long way in handling these situations. Whether it’s a system to handle a start up of a new account or start up of a new employee.

Whether it’s a system to handle a customer complaint or a client testimonial.

Whether it’s a system for checking the quality of a building or system to check the appearance of your own office.

Whether it’s the maintenance of your company vehicles or of the maintenance of your company records and files.

The key to all of them is having a SYSTEM. But, what kind?

Well, one that is well thought out, addresses the situation the way you want, gets the desired results you want… and can be understood by anyone and everyone… every time!

Will there be exceptions?

Sure, you’ll never be able to completely eliminate times when a situation calls for you to be flexible and vary from your system.

But, if you can stick to your well planned out system 95% of the time, you, my friend, are way ahead of the game.

Way ahead.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the number of so-called service companies, including cleaning companies that never seem to get it right.

They’re always forgetting to bring something.

They’re always missing a trash, light or lock.

They’re always neglecting to make a call.

They’re always losing the paperwork?

I’m not criticizing them because these problems happen. Not at all – it can happen to all of us.

What I AM criticizing them for is never finding a way to fix them, and then keep them fixed!!

It’s not easy. I know it isn’t.

I takes time to look at a problem and come up with an effective series of steps that address the problem that everyone can understand… and then follow.

But, it’s the only way.

And if you do tackle all the challenges of your business one by one, by implementing systems to handle them, you will be handsomely rewarded.

Your customers will get better, more reliable cleaning.

Your cleaning associates will be more competent, and feel more confident.

And you, well, I don’t have to tell you how you’ll feel!

6 Responses to “Systems, Yep, You’re Gonna Need Those Too!”

  1. Lisa Payne says:

    Hi we own a cleaning company here in Barbados and I can relate to all of these issues and we have started to come up with systems but “by-in” to these systems is the other problem. So my question is how do you get there outside of constantly repeating it over and over again. And are there any systems that have been designed by a company like ours that is willing to share what systems did they use? Thanks

    Lisa Payne

  2. jan partin says:

    how about sharing those systems. we could really use the help.

  3. Tim says:

    I missed the part where you tell how to create them.
    But, from our experience a good place to start would be to note when something doesn’t work and then systemize that.
    e.g. if you forget to bring something, write a checklist. If something regularly does not get cleaned properly (or missed) create a simple step by step procedure on “How to clean a kitchen” or whatever.
    Get the problem areas systemized and then move to the “wish list” later.
    Alternatively, write down on a HUGE sheet of paper everything that happens for your first call (or earlier) to the payment. (At which point the process for existing customers starts again).

  4. susan miller says:

    our system is very simple.I write everything down and follow it.my customers are free to change their minds.if we blow it,and everyone does from time to time,we correct it immediately. then add the new procedure to the list for that customer.

  5. Farnaz- North Penn Cleaning Solutions says:

    Wow! What timing! I’ve been listening to a business coach and creating systems is such an important part of successfully running any business. Literally, just yesterday, I asked a trusted employee if it would be beneficial for me to prepare a “training manual” with written systems in place to help the newer employees or for new jobs. This is definitely something high on the to-do list. Thank you for speaking on it…it just solidifies it’s importance!

  6. DLiebrecht says:

    Farnaz, thanks for your note and kind remarks. Glad you’re finding my emails and videos valuable. You’re on the right track – systems and procedures, systems and procedures etc.. Wishing you much success in your cleaning business! Dan, CleanGuru LLC

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