Software and Apps are critical components to practically every business these days. Even small practices or solo entrepreneurs rely on lots of different types of software in order to keep up with their clients’ needs and to work smarter and faster.
As a business grows and gets more complex, so does its software needs. To meet these needs, Software is a great solution to help you stay organized, scale, and grow your business.
For commercial cleaning businesses, your needs might be more unique and all apps might not work for you. But there are a lot of options out there, and each one will tell you that they can help. So… how do you make a decision? We’re here to help!
This guide outlines a general approach to making this decision, broken down into three major steps:
- Create a list of your needs
- Grade the list & create a shortlist (your top priorities)
- Start booking demo’s and speaking to representatives to see what fits
Step 1: Create a list of your needs
This list should be a special list of things that are important to you, but not every item on the list has the same importance. Maybe price is very important to you, but it is actually second to the quality of service/ability for this app to work for needs as a janitorial business.
The list can be as simple or as complex as your software needs. There are a few general items that we do recommend you consider (the relative importance of each is up to you!)
Recommended list item: partner experience
Is the partner a generalist, or a specialist? How many years have they been in operation, and how many current customers do they have? There are many software vendors out there that try to sound bigger than they are, and are vague and dodgy about their ability to meet the needs of a large or growing client. Due diligence in this area is smart, especially if it seems like somebody’s pricing is too good to be true.
Recommended list item: quality of customer service
Software and apps are always evolving. Sometimes, things will break or you will need help in resolving issues. Good software partners have robust, friendly, and easy-to-navigate customer service systems that leave you feeling relieved versus frustrated or anxious.
For example, at Swept- operational software for janitorial businesses, we’ve put a lot of effort into the idea that software support should be designed for humans, by humans—not robots. Commercial cleaning business operators typically do not want to be dealing with software headaches, so we doubled down on making customer service a top priority.
Recommended list item: flexibility
If you need custom solutions or support, it’s worth understanding the costs associated with asking your potential partners to deviate from their core services. Some partners build their whole offering around being modular, flexible and adaptable. Others stick to a firm set of solutions. There are advantages to both approaches (e.g. high flexibility may come at a higher price and slower service speed), so weigh this item appropriately!
Recommended list item: price and pricing options
Obviously, costs are important, but you should also consider your potential partner’s method of billing. Some work with flat fees, others bill based on either your usage or number of users. Look for a partner that has options to adjust their pricing based on scale—i.e. they only charge you more if you grow your business too.
At Swept, our pricing is based on the number of commercial cleaning locations you service and not the number of app users. So you can add as many staff members (users) as you want to the app at no additional cost. You only get upgraded to the next pricing tier if your commercial cleaning business scales.
Step 2: Grade the items & shortlist
Ideally, you’ll be looking at a few partners for your needs.
Each item on the list should have a weight, where the combined weight of all items equals 100%. Score the items on a consistent scale, such as 1 to 5, where 5 is “exceeds expectations” and 1 is “terrible.”
In the end, you’re looking to shortlist the 2 or 3 top scorers. Or, if one partner is clearly a standout winner, you can fast track them.
Here’s an example of what a finished list might look like using only the recommended example items above (remember, you may have more!).
|Experience||Customer Service||Location||Flexibility||Price||Weighted total|
|W: 15%||W: 20%||W: 5%||W: 10%||W: 40%||100%|
Even though Company B’s price is the least appealing, it is still a frontrunner because it makes up for higher costs in most other categories. Company D is more balanced across the board.
The budget companies may also be worth interviewing since their scores were not drastically lower than the frontrunners, so in this scenario, you might consider Company A as a backup if the others fail the final step.
Company C is probably not worth considering, even if their price was attractive. They fall short in too many critical areas.
Step 3: Interview for fit
No matter how good something or someone looks on paper, it’s worth testing out how they perform in real life.
You should have at least a few interactions and interviews with your shortlisted software partners, especially with anyone who you will be dealing with on a regular basis (so, probably not the salesperson or CEO, but the account rep and the customer service reps!)
If something doesn’t feel right, or the attitude is wrong, it may be worth going with a second or third choice that simply feels like a better match for you. A smooth relationship is critical for building trust and a strong partnership over time, so these less scientific and more interpersonal checks are just as important as the list.
You could also add “fit” to the list itself to come up with a final score, weighting it appropriately!
We hope this guide helps shed some light on how to choose the right software partners for your commercial cleaning business. As the world gets more and more digital, developing these kinds of relationships will be crucial for businesses seeking to grow.
Swept is a software partner that has a laser beam focus on digitally managing commercial cleaning business operations. We’d be eager to see how well we can score on your list!