Before I reveal the janitorial software that impacted our brand message, allow me to share a story about our business and a valuable lesson we learned. One that could prove to be a game-changer for you.

We launched Impact Cleaning Professionals in 2019, starting with little experience and even less money, like many others in our field.

I'd love to brag about our success and wise decisions, but most of that would be untrue. If you have small janitorial business experience, you'd see through it anyway.

If you keep reading, I’ll make it worth your while. Instead of boring you, I'll be honest and share the gritty details often overlooked. I'll discuss the setbacks we faced, how we nearly went out of business, and the reasons why. I share this with you in hopes you can avoid the same mistakes we made. 

In 2019, my business partner, Toni, approached me with the idea of starting a commercial cleaning business. We had the drive, and like first-time parents, we treated it with utmost care. Without a real grasp of brand-building, we relied on what we knew best and ran with it. Every interaction with our prospects and customers emphasized our commitment to delivering “top-notch cleanliness.”


And we sure delivered! Until we didn’t…


When we first launched our business, we struggled to find a reliable way to generate leads. We worked tirelessly, trying every imaginable method. While some strategies brought mild success, what truly boosted our leads was cracking the SEO code. Once we mastered appearing in search results and converting website visitors into leads, we had more leads than we could handle (literally).

We had worked so hard to get to this point, feeling on top of the world with new leads rolling in left and right. 

But what we didn't anticipate was the challenge of managing our rapid growth.

We went from Toni being able to clean or supervise every account to hiring multiple cleaners a month, all without a plan to train these employees, inspect the properties, communicate with clients, and manage our teams.

Toni missed so many nights of sleep; I doubt he will ever fully recover!

Our lead generation strategy, once a blessing, suddenly transformed into a curse almost overnight.

When we finally grasped the situation, it was almost too late. We started losing contracts at the same rate we were acquiring new ones. Instead of expanding our business, we were increasing our revenue while our profits vanished.


A Valuable Lesson

For many of you, you might chuckle at this realization I had, mainly because it seems so obvious. But, as I mentioned earlier, we began this venture with very little experience. I wasn't lying about that.

What I discovered is that no amount of marketing alone will shape your brand. We believed that the message we conveyed to our customers would define our brand, but I couldn't have been more mistaken.

Nothing can compensate for poor service delivery. We marketed our brand message of: “best-in-class service,” and customers would pay a premium for it. However, when our service quality declined from best-in-class to subpar, our customers became dissatisfied with the contracts they signed. Given the service we were providing, they would have been satisfied with the lowest bid.

At some point, amidst the haze of being overworked and underpaid, we realized our approach was not sustainable. We even reached six figures in sales in a single month, yet we struggled to pay our bills. While we had solved one problem with lead generation, we faced an even bigger challenge: the costs associated with churning through accounts were crippling us.


A Turning Point

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All stories must come to an end, but pay attention because ours didn't stop there.

Somewhere in the midst of battling to keep our business afloat, we made a pivotal decision. We shifted our focus away from just growth and realized the need for a complete overhaul of our operations and brand messaging.

At the time, we had started using Swept, a janitorial software, but we hadn't fully utilized its potential. While we regularly used the geo-fencing and time-tracking feature, we weren't optimizing all of its other capabilities, including:

  • Scheduling with real-time updates for our team.
  • Reports and metrics that quickly showed the health of each account.
  • Instructions and checklists to ensure problem areas were identified and key tasks weren't missed.
  • Mood reporting to catch issues with our cleaners before they become problems.
  • Messaging to communicate with our employees and customers.
  • Inspections that could be shared with our team, customers, and management.
  • Supply tracking to prevent running out of essentials like toilet paper again.

After a lengthy meeting, Toni and I realized that we possessed the tools to solve our problem, but we hadn't fully utilized them...

So, armed with the right tools, we started to overhaul our business operations. We began to turn things around, one small step at a time.


How Our Brand Message Changed

Around the same time as we began making those crucial operational changes to stabilize our business, we also started reevaluating our brand messaging.

We recognized that no amount of training or inspections alone would restore us to the level of perfection when Toni could oversee every job. We understood that finding an employee who approached the business with the same dedication as we did would be challenging. Finding multiple employees like this would be nearly impossible.

So we focused on what we knew we could excel at.

Instead of promising perfection, we are committed to delivering exceptional communication. With the assistance of Swept, we could ensure that any concerns or complaints were promptly addressed, communicated, and documented, alleviating future worries.

We recognized that occasional oversights, like a missed trash can or overlooked office, were inevitable. Instead of promising perfection, we committed to addressing concerns promptly. 

By utilizing the tools at our disposal, we could efficiently communicate with both our customers and staff to resolve any issues. We could address concerns, leave detailed notes, or provide instructions to prevent such mishaps from happening again.


How Did It Turn Out?

After integrating our newfound brand messaging into our operational plan, we eagerly awaited feedback from our customers...

Initially, we were uncertain if our customers would embrace using a new piece of software they were unfamiliar with. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our customers were just as enthusiastic about Swept as we were. They appreciated the ability to communicate swiftly with our team and management. 

Interestingly, many of them had encountered communication issues with previous cleaning businesses, making Swept's features even more valuable to them.

Our revamped approach to operations and marketing has proven successful thus far. While there's still a considerable journey ahead, we're pleased to see that we're on the right path.


The Takeaways


Indeed, all cleaning businesses have their own unique story, with their own set of challenges and successes.

What I hope you take away from our story is the significance of having a growth plan and regularly reassessing it. While we thought we were planning effectively, in hindsight, we hadn't anticipated the level of growth we experienced, and it nearly led to the downfall of our business.

If you're in need of Janitorial Software that can assist in managing everything from customers to employees and supplies, I highly recommend Swept. This software has been instrumental in managing our operations and growth. With the right operational planning, policies, and procedures, Swept is an invaluable tool to have in your toolbox.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story. I hope it helps you avoid the same mistakes we made. 

Let’s get to growing cleaning business owners!


About The Author

Taylor Riley is a husband, a father, and a humble entrepreneur. His journey in the business world began in 2019 with Impact Cleaning Professionals of Polk County, Florida. Alongside raising a family and managing the marketing for their cleaning business, Taylor also founded Boom Facility Service Advisors, where he assists other cleaning business owners with his passion for Lead Generation.


About Swept

Swept is dedicated to highlighting stories that touch everyone in the janitorial industry. Having started as a commercial cleaning company ourselves, our hearts go well beyond the janitorial software we offer. Learn more about Swept’s cleaning company software by connecting for a demo!

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