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You have been lied to.

Inc., Entrepreneur, Home Business Success and a whole bunch of business opportunity magazines have told you that you can be rich and famous in your own cleaning business. If you are reading this then you have read one or more of these articles. There is the story of some smiling person holding a broom, posing with one foot on a mop bucket that is now a millionaire with a successful janitorial business. The story is true but then the article goes on to say that you can do the same thing.

Here’s the truth, you CAN but you MAY not. It is possible to make a million dollars in your own janitorial business but the question is will YOU be able to do it? Most folks reading this will not. What is very likely is that you will eek out an existence, get to a point where your mortgage is paid and you have a car to drive and have food on the table but that’s about it. You will work 50, 60 and 70 hours per week, waxing floors all night or shoveling large heaps of trash out of places you only ever saw in a nightmare, sleeping most of the business day getting up when others are just coming home after work and then you will do it all over again.

Let’s get real. If you are cleaning 30 hours per week, you are a self employed janitor. If you have less then 10 employees and still clean, you are a self employed janitor that has a lot of paper work and now you are a target of the government that treats you just like you are an enemy and in reality has a gun to your head.

You get some contracts and now have 20 people on a payroll that you pay on time, have a part-time supervisor and you are supervising part-time also and you can no longer afford to clean anything at all except new or extra work. You are on every job site and you are seeing people that can sign contracts with you. You are building a file of proposals that are pending, meeting new people who are prospects for your services. A couple of times a year you hit some nice one time jobs that make you a few thousand dollars in a short period of time, we call these tag jobs. Now you have a small janitorial company and some stay at this level for years and build a nice life around their business. You are not a millionaire and won’t become one with this size operation.

These are plateaus that I will tell you about in another article but for now, let’s look at my check list of success.

1. I have been successful in another business or field that I can transfer skills and knowledge to my janitorial business.

2. I know a lot of people that I can create a network with and generate contacts that can turn into profitable janitorial work.

3. I understand how cash flows through a janitorial business so I can pay bills and make a living on time.

4. I have a plan for exactly what services I will offer to what kind of clients in precisely what geographic areas.

5. I can sell my services directly to professional buyers of my services without middle men such as franchise companies or larger companies that perform with sub contractors.

6. I have the money or have the credit or other sources to get the money to finance new contracts when they come in for payroll, supplies and equipment.

7. I have the physical stamina to work very long hours without anyone telling me what to do.

8. I either have all the technical knowledge or know exactly where to get that knowledge to deliver the services I will provide for a profit.

9. I have pretty good idea of what I know and what I don’t know to get me to the level I want to grow my business to. I know where I will need help and have identified sources to help me when the time comes that I need that help.

10. I can and will figure out where every penny of each and every job comes in and goes out.

11. I have no problem delegating work to others and letting them perform in their own personal style and I will construct a framework for them to adhere to. I have no psychological need to micro-manage every last detail my self and understand that to be successful I will need to assemble, manage and lead a team of others.

12. I have downloaded a free copy of the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) from the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) and recognize that there is a consensus based industry standard available for me to use as a model of how a janitorial service should be run. (Click here and check this one off your list right now http://www.issa.com/?m=download).

13. I have read Ed Selkow’s article, Janitorial Marketing Fundamentals and get that in 2011 it really will take everything in that article to build a company at this time.

14. I have the courage to look realistically at my situation and map out a plan to overcome the obstacles I am facing, have an alternate plan to make a living should I decide this is not what I want out of life. I am willing to pay the personal price for success and I fully understand that success in the janitorial business is not assured without sacrifice, planning, hard work and a degree of intelligence and the help of professionals where I lack necessary skills and knowledge.

Now this list is not the final word but a beginning point only. Have fortunes been made without some of these ingredients, of course they have! Have fortunes been made without ANY of them, absolutely not!

Time to reflect and take a fearless personal and business inventory, what ingredients are you missing? It really could turn out the best thing to do is post those used vacuum cleaners and mop buckets on Craigslist, take that $50 offer for them (be a sport and throw in those mop handles, you won’t use them at the house, trust me) and go to work on a resume.


Ed Selkow
 

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Above key points are really good if some wants to have success in janitorial business. There are some keys you should keep in mind always:
  • Decide what type of cleaning you want to specialize in.
  • Write a little sales statement that is said nicely within 30 seconds or less
  • Create a professional looking flier similar to the business card
 

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Ed's Checklist

Ed-Your checklist is superb! In a former life I was a banker (lending officer) for over 20 years. I wish I had had your checklist to give to potential borrowers to see if they fit a borrower profile. Although I had a similar checklist in my head, it was not as thorough as yours. You're right not all of the checklist items are a requirement but the more squares that are filled would indicate a higher probability of success.

Well done.
 
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