Select Businesses for Beginners

Even though our goal is to acquire accounts at the lowest possible advertising cost, it also should be our goal to acquire accounts that, once we’ve signed them up, require as minimal amount of costly equipment as possible. You’re looking for companies that generally are under 2,000 square feet and 95% carpeted, where the only tiled floor areas are in the washrooms, the entry way and a possible kitchenette. There actually is work out there that only requires a satisfactory home vacuum, basic washroom and furniture cleaning supplies, a mop, and window equipment. True, when you start a job, you’ll probably have to clean the carpets and perform some floor maintenance. But a floor machine for this initial cleaning can be rented for as little as $25.00 for the time that you’ll need it.

Often referred to as Office Centers / Centres, Parks, Campuses or Tech Centers, this tight grouping of companies typically do not have warehouses, the primary culprit behind quick and excessively soiled carpets and other office damage. Warehouse workers, you’ll find, are generally indifferent to the condition of the office areas – and it always shows. Without a warehouse, once the carpets are cleaned, the need for re-cleaning with expensive equipment could wait almost two years, although I would recommend a mid-year bonnet buffing.

Office Centers almost always have a directory in front making these select properties easier to identify. Looking at the directory in the above picture, we are able to count 40+ companies on this property. Just acquiring and servicing aquarter of this property could potentially provide you a comfortable income far exceeding that of working a dead-end job for someone else. As the white arrow in the picture on the left indicates, many of the entry doors to these companies have mail slots which makes placing your flyer that much easier. If they do not have a mail slot, then you will have to place your flyer between the space of the door and the door jamb as shown by the yellow arrow, If you’re flyer is composed on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper as mine are, you’ll have to fold it like a letter so that it’s held securely between the door and door jamb space. If you’re concerned for the condition of your flyer left outdoors to the elements like this, then use an envelope. I have never used an envelope because I feel it an unnecessary expense. The key is to never place a flyer between the door and door jamb when it’s rainy or windy.

You must understand that office centers generally have 90 percent occupancy and that these companies are all presently using a janitorial service. Your challenge is to find the company or companies within a Center that are not pleased with their present service. But most companies will tolerate their present service until an alternative is brought to their attention, hence the saturation of your flyers. if the present service sees your posted flyer, they’ll simply throw it out as well as remove them from their other accounts within the Center. They might even remove those flyers posted from all the other companies’ doors, even those companies that they don’t service just to keep you from gaining any advantage and momentum within the Center.

So when’s the best time to place flyers in doors? My observation has been that the majority of Janitorial services begin their shift as early as 5:00 p.m. in the late afternoon until 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Passing your flyers out during these hours is a sure way to lose them. Police heavily patrol residential and commercial properties after 2:00 a.m. until they resume traffic duties at 5:00 a.m. Until you are actually working within a Center and are knowledgeable of the hours that your competitors keep, the best time to pass out flyers is between 5:00 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. in the morning. These hours pretty much assure that you will not lose your flyers to competitors or invite unwelcome suspicions of the police. The best time to pass out flyers is during the mornings of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I avoid Friday because peoples minds may be more focused on the weekend than on their work or the facility they work in. When they come back on Monday they may have forgotten your flyer or its potential impact. Certainly do not pass out flyers on Saturday and Sunday. You will surely lose to every janitorial firm scheduled to service during the weekend (which all are).

However, if you have no alternative but to pass out flyers on the weekend, do it no earlier than Sunday evening. Janitorial firms are very busy on the weekend. No matter how many visits per week they are scheduled to service each of their accounts, one of those scheduled visits is on the weekend. Because of this, most firms start their work as early as Friday evening and may finish up by Sunday afternoon. So the chances are good, although not perfect, that your flyer passed out on Sunday evening will survive.

As you pass out flyers, you’ll get to know a bit about the companies you’re trying to acquire. You’ll also get a glimpse of the quality of service each company is receiving just by the condition of the visible vestibule or lobby and especially thedoor glass. One responsibility of a janitorial firm is keeping the door glass clean. If it’s filthy with soil on the outside and prints on the inside, service is certainly lacking in at least one area. Keep hammering away with flyers at places like these.

You’ll also get some idea of the size of each office based on the proximity of each company’s entry door to another’s. If they’re close together, it’s an indication that the company’s square footage is generally under 1,500 square feet. But every now and then you’ll find that a company has leased a large section within the property – 4,000 square feet or larger. The larger the office, the more the employees, the greater probably that this space will have a lunchroom and/or break-room – one covered in vinyl tiled flooring (like the one pictured above capable of seating approximately 40 to 60 employees at a time).

In office janitorial, there is no more expensive job in initial layout of equipment and supplies to you than the maintenance of vinyl tiled flooring (or VCT). Chances are, you’ll be expected to completely strip and refinish this floor within a week of acquiring an account like this. Then, once a week, you’ll be expected to buff this floor either by spray buffing with a machine operating at 175 to 350 rpm, or with a burnisher operating at 1000 to 2400 rpm (propane burnishers can operate at even higher rpm’s). I would encourage a beginner with no experience to outsource the strip-and-refinish project. But be sure to watch them do this so you get an idea what all is involved. You should, however, buff it every week on your own (more on this later). Or, you can simply bypass a company of this size until you can afford a vinyl tiled floor of this size. There are plenty of smaller, easier-to-maintain, companies out there.

So, why does one janitorial firm lose work to another? Because as each janitorial firm grows, they acquire accounts that turn out to be more profitable than others. Emphasis on earlier less-profitable accounts begins to diminish. The quality begins to suffer and eventually another janitorial firm promising better service will woo them away. Another reason that a janitorial firm may lose work is because of poor supervision of employees. Janitorial firms can eventually grow to where they need a staff to satisfy a burgeoning schedule. If the staff is not trained properly or could not care less about your accounts, without adequate supervision to correctly critique each account, train or retrain employees where needed, and especially to weed out the un-trainable, the lazy and indifferent, this janitorial firm is sure to lose many accounts along the way. There are also small firms that just don’t know what they’re doing. These firms generally fold early in the game with there accounts going elsewhere. Because of these reasons, never think that you won’t find any work. The work is definitely out there. It is up to you to find it. With great tenacity, the saturation of flyers always does the trick.

Oh, look! A new Office Center is going up. When you see an event like this, claim it as your own. By this I mean to visit this property weekly to witness the progress. One, if you’re interested in performing construction and post construction clean-up, stop by the trailer on site and ask if they’d be in need of such services, or ask who you should call to make the same inquiry. Two, as soon as you see carpeting being installed in a section of the Center, it’s usually a sign that a company has just leased a space. Begin inserting flyers because a company representative of the lessee may stop by regularly to witness the progress of his or her office. Your flyer will probably be sitting on the floor or on a ledge for him to take with him. The chances are very good you’ll be called in to bid. Thirdly, once the company starts moving in, along with continued insertion of flyers should you still need to get their attention, you can also in this instance make an unsolicited sales call during the day as the employees are setting up their new areas. It may even be welcome that someone has come in and saved them the time of looking for a cleaning service.

In closing, flyers are the most productive means in becoming intimate with the type businesses you are pursuing. It is also the most inexpensive approach in terms of having your name, number and message land on someone’s desk. A few well chosen words, clean layout, home printer, even a decent copying machine with which to run off a few hundred copies, and I can’t think of any reason why anyone cannot find work within a month’s period. Believe you can pick up every business within each Office Center. With unwavering confidence, you’re sure to pick-up at least one. You grow from there.

Chapter 9__Your First Call