What is the Best Janitorial Software to scale my cleaning business?
There has never been a better time in history (Coronavirus aside, perhaps) to run a successful, well oiled, commercial cleaning company. With the technology available, we can now scale and grow our cleaning company from our desk at home (or even the beach), in ways that we have never been able to do before. The technology has allowed our business, Picture Perfect Cleaning to scale to around 120 custodians, with fantastic systems and the ability to continue growing exponentially. And as janitorial owners, we must keep up with the industry and adapt to new technology.
When we first started our business, 10 years ago, I read a very important and pivotal book for us, called E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber. To summarize, Gerber’s main point was to build systems, so that you are working on the business and not in the business. Technology can play a significant role in achieving this. (On a side note, I was fortunate enough to have had a 45-minute private conversation with the small business guru himself, Michael E. Gerber. See below).
My aim here is to help you, the reader, find ways to work smarter; However, let me be clear, I am not advocating for working less hours, but, so that you can build a bigger cleaning business, faster. Let me be even clearer, while my understanding of technology is extremely basic – in fact, I am not a tech person at all – I am a big fan of finding ways to simplify processes and systems.
The great janitorial software we do not use, but still recommend looking at
Before I go into the ones we use, I want to mention a few that we do not use, but that certainly look to be very well designed, and about which I have heard positive reviews.
Route is a relatively new software, impressively launching into the janitorial world. They provide a walk-through and bidding software built by a successful janitorial company in Chicago. Because they are janitorial owners themselves, they have a particularly keen insight into what the needs are for a good bidding software. Their interface is modern and has one of the best interfaces I have seen. Again, we don’t use them, as we are quite happy with the current software we use for bidding (you’ll see below), but keep a close eye on Route, as they continue to update and improve their backend functionality.
Another software we don’t use, but that certainly has a name in the industry, is CleanTelligent. They have built a platform to do inspections, work orders, scheduling and more, and have been in business since the 90’s. According to their website, they have grown to 35,000 users.
The great software we do use for our commercial cleaning services company
When we first started our business 10 years ago, we had little understanding of what a quote should look like. We completely made it up by using Excel and squeezed everything onto a one-page contract. You pretty much had to use a magnifying glass to see it. Furthermore, it did not have any of the legal terminology necessary for a solid janitorial contract.
The other aspect we really struggled with when we first started was how to calculate a price. At the beginning, my partner and I would essentially walk through every single step of the cleaning tasks in our heads, write each step down, and estimate how long each step would take. Although, our calculations would be quite accurate, quotes would take us multiple hours to calculate, for the bigger sites, sometimes a full day. In time, we moved to an extremely complicated Excel spread sheet that would have a significant amount of “if this” and “if that” scenarios. If you made one small mistake in the spreadsheet, the entire calculation would be completely skewed. Certainly, the process was a headache to use.
Enter CleanGuru. Clean Guru has essentially allowed us to hire a sales manager who, with no janitorial experience, simply learns to ask the right questions and takes proper measurements. They can, then, produce a solid, accurate 10 page (or so) quote, professionally presented, and with proper legal jargon.
Once you plug in the name and contact info of the client the different physical spaces and rooms, and what the jobs are in each of those rooms, CleanGuru generates a brilliant contract, with pricing.
Once we implemented CleanGuru, our client closing ratio went up. I believe this is for two main reasons: One, we presented so much more professionally. Two, our quotes were extremely accurate.
I should also note that CleanGuru has fantastic customer service. Often, when I have some technical questions, the owners will respond directly to me with excellent speed. They also listen to, and sometimes implement, our recommendations for improving their program. They are truly great people!
To truly grow your commercial cleaning services company, you need Operation Managers. Although, Swept would certainly still be beneficial even if you don’t have managers, it is incredibly beneficial when you have one or more. We use Swept for multiple purposes. Inspections, ordering supplies and time tracking are the main functions for which we use it. They have become an extremely successful software company over the last few years, and we are proud to say we were their 8th customer.
Inspecting our client’s sites, after the work has been completed, allows us to catch anything missed, before the client does. It allows us to ensure that the services we promise are being delivered. Depending on the size and type of client, the frequency we do inspections can fluctuate; However, the frequency always goes up when we are just starting a site, training new custodians, or receiving feedback from the client.
Each of our Operation Managers are assigned a portfolio of sites that they are responsible for, and we give them a weekly target on how many inspections they should be doing. We encourage them to always find at least one piece of feedback for the custodian when doing an inspection, and to take as many pictures as possible, even when the cleaning is particularly well done. The more pictures taken, the more data you have.
Swept’s inspections are easy to use, and customizable for each site we do our inspections on.
Next, is the ordering of supplies. Before using Swept, our systems for ordering supplies was quite confusing. Some of our custodians would text us, some would email, some would verbally tell us when we saw them, and some would phone us with their supply orders. They all used different words for different supplies, so not only was the source of information inconsistent, but the terminology was too.
Implementing Swept allowed us to streamline all the communication for ordering, and to keep the terminology the same for everyone. All the supply orders go through Swept, to one specific Operations Manager, who, then, orders, once a week, from our supplier. The system has worked extremely well.
This one is very new to us, as we are only are in the middle of its integration. HubSpot is essentially a CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) that organizes our potential prospects, quoted leads, and our existing customers. It is too early for me to fully recommend it, and we have not fully integrated the operational side of things yet. However, our sales manager has already found HubSpot is helping him stay much more organized. I hope to update this article once we have used HubSpot for a longer period.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose and to implement the best technology for your business, as you continue to grow. As janitorial owners, we must keep our pulse on how the industry is moving and adapting. Because our commercial cleaning services industry is full of “old school” ways of doing the work, we are presented with wonderful opportunities to integrate newer technologies that will help our janitorial companies become well-respected and high-executing.
The Best Janitorial Software | Picture Perfect Cleaning, Inc. — Calgary, Alberta