Know Your Business to Grow Your Business feat. Jason Martell
We had a chance to sit down with industry expert and owner/operator of Inside Out Cleaning, Jason Martell. Not only has Jason’s company enjoyed steady growth since he took ownership in 2006, but his company also boasts one of the absolute highest employee retentions in the janitorial industry. How have they handled growth? What got their retention so high? How do they use these to win bids, and grow the company? Read on to find out!
Q – Great to have you with us, Jason! Let’s get right to the questions. What was it like to run a commercial janitorial company before there were software solutions to simplify all the legwork and administrative duties?
A– Well, before we switched over to software solutions, I remember many many binders. Tons of paper, in every location. Binders for clients, and binders for cleaners. They constantly needed to be updated, collected, dropped off. Managing our information in a reasonable way was just a ridiculous task. There was so much waste involved. Wasted time from all the running around, and wasted money in supplies. …and so much wasted paper.
Q– When did that crossover happen? How was the transition from pen and paper to software solutions? Did you or your employees have trouble accepting the change?
A– In around 2003, we were still writing invoices by hand. In 2006 we bought our first piece of software. It wasn’t that fancy, and it wasn’t in “the cloud”, but it certainly helped streamlines some of the things we needed to do.
It wasn’t until around 2014, 2015 that really useful software hit the market, and everything started to be stored in the cloud, and finally, we had solutions for most administrative tasks. This is when software really started to change our company for the better.
Q – Of course there is a trial and error process in finding the right software solution as well. Did you find you landed on the right software pretty quickly or did you have a few failures first?
A- I would say that for the most part our decisions and choices of software were sound, but we are definitely a company that tries to be on the cutting edge as much as possible. This was the time we started using really great products like Swept and Proposify, and they accomplished exactly what we needed them to accomplish.
Q– You made an expansion around 2016, tell us a bit about how smooth the process was of suddenly having all this extra work, and managerial duties on your hands?
A– Interestingly enough, one of the biggest factors in deciding to take on this additional cleaning company was that they just happened to be using the exact same software solutions as us. So we didn’t have to onboard them to Swept, or Asana, because they already had them in place. That really made the decision to purchase this company a no brainer. So where a lot of companies might have a headache or two with buying out another company and changing the way everybody did everything, and the resistance that comes with that. We were lucky and had a very smooth transition and growth without too many growing pains. We were really able to patch that company into our own with relative ease.
I guess if you are planning a merger/acquisition, one wise choice is to keep an eye out for a lot of alignment between your two companies.
Q– How do you feel technology has changed the way you are able to run your company?
A– I would say that overall, the output, or amount of work, everyone is doing hasn’t changed much. But what has changed is what we actually focus on. We can focus on the things we want to prioritize, instead of paperwork and administrative things that now we can automate. It has certainly given us the ability to focus on our clients, and focus on relationship building, and making sure that our cleaners are happy.
In short, it has made our work better and more meaningful.
Q- On the administrative side of things, how has Swept and other technology helped you mitigate a lot of the monotony/redundancy common of our industry?
A– We focus a great deal of administration on making Swept the one place where all relevant location data is stored – schedule info, supply info, contact info, cleaning instructions, inspection info, historical cleaning time data, etc. etc.
Q– How do you find onboarding new employees with regard to more modern software and solutions? Both cleaners and supervisors/managers. And how easily did your employees accept change?
A– Getting employees to adapt is always a really difficult process. I think that just goes with the territory. Change is difficult, whether positive or negative. Change is hard for us humans. But I felt it was important to move away from that monotonous information management process.
As far as onboarding, it’s a bit easier to bring somebody into a new process than to force someone to change their existing process.
Thinking about where we are now however, it would be incredibly difficult for management and staff if they had to go back to the way we used to work. And take some of our software away.
Q– How have you found the overall process of scaling your business? Have there been a lot of growing pains since you decided you wanted to expand, or has it been smooth sailing?
A- I haven’t seen or met growth that hasn’t come with growing pains. Hasn’t come with mistakes. Hasn’t come with learning. So not always smooth sailing, but I always say, it might not be an easy thing, but it’s the right thing.
Fully adopting Swept has certainly reduced the anxiety once wrapped around growth and scaling the business.
Q- When doing a walk through, or submitting a proposal to a potential client, how do you use software like Swept or say, Proposify to help you better sell the idea of your business?
A- That is definitely one angle of how we differentiate. Our organization, our focus on communication, and yeah, our use of these new and time saving technologies.
We’ll stop there, but if you want to check out a replay of the webinar, or the podcast, Jason talks in much greater depth about how his company handled their growing pains, and details some of the techniques they used to become the #1 janitorial company for employee retention. Which is no small task in this industry.
You can watch a replay of the webinar here.
You can listen to the podcast here :