How many times have you sat down for dinner and wondered “Has everyone arrived on site tonight?” or “Did we complete the inspection for — insert client’s name-”? These questions, and so many more, used to haunt me when I was running my commercial cleaning company in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I faced a lot of challenges as my cleaning company grew and from what I am hearing in the industry today, many people are experiencing the same thing.
Feel like you are drowning?
In 2014, my cleaning company was growing very quickly and (what seemed like overnight) things started to get out of hand. I went from being the guy who was on top of everything — in charge of every cleaner, client account, and complaint that took place — to the guy who was “too busy” to take calls and follow up. Sound familiar?
Then, one day a client called and cancelled their contract — I was shocked and embarrassed. They had never complained in the past and I thought the contract was going well. After reviewing the account, it became quite clear: I had not inspected the site for over two months because there weren’t any complaints and I assumed everything was ok. When I had time, I didn’t make those assumptions or let things slide and I didn’t lose contracts. Note: This was before using Clean Simple, but that is not what this post is about!
Delegation, your new favorite word!
Suddenly, I was forced to learn about the art of delegation. To be honest, I was not comfortable or excited to take on this new challenge (which isn’t like me). My business partner, Matt Cooper, suggested that I get a virtual assistant (VA) to help me plan and organize my day. He said a VA could work between 2–8 hours a week and would really help take all the small things off my plate. I said two things to Matt: 1) I don’t know what a “virtual assistant” is, and 2) I need far more help than a few hours a week from someone.
Trust is huge in our company, so I trusted Matt and actually hired a VA from a company online (a quick Google search will give you many options). My VA helped me with all the little things (and there are a lot) that slowed me down during the day. For example, I was at a janitorial conference and I met someone from ProTeam and we wanted to set up a meeting. I simply took a picture of his business card, sent it to my VA and asked her to find a time that worked for a 20 minute call. It took me literally 20–30 seconds and then my VA spent 10–15 minutes balancing schedules for the call to take place.
How much time are you wasting with “busy work”?
Stop and think about all the little tasks that eat up time in your day. How many times in the run of one day do you spend 5–15 minutes on a task that someone else could do for you? Worse, how many times do you just ignore those tasks until something happens and forces you to react?
Now, you may already have an admin who takes care of these tasks, but are you effective with them? It is tough to think about, but maybe you are not that great at delegation and could improve. Here is an article with a list of 25 things that a VA can help you with.
Relief: Paired with free time on nights and weekends!
The best part about working with a VA is it really opened up each day for me to focus on the things that I wanted to do and that I am good at — closing new contracts and keeping our clients happy. My VA brought me back on track and there was a massive decrease in stress… I finally won back my nights and weekends.
What are some ways that you have won back some of your time? Please add comments below or send me an email at email@example.com and let me know how you have been successful in this area of your commercial cleaning business. Also, send me some of the challenges you are facing daily.