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|How to kick-start your cleaning business in 2017||14/02/2017|
How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far? It’s February, which means 66% of us have probably already broken their resolutions, or perhaps you didn’t make any to start with. But it’s not too late to make some goals and resolutions for 2017.
A new year is a great time to develop your work life, whether you’re starting a brand new business or looking to develop your current one. Whatever the reason, the cleaning industry is ideal for investing in because the services will always be needed. Perhaps you already do some odd cleaning tasks for people, or you love cleaning and think you can make a career out of your passion. Why not turn those skills and interests into a profitable career?
Whether it’s a busy couple who don’t have time, landlords who need cleaning for new tenants, or office managers keeping the space tidy and hygienic, cleaning services are always a necessity. Here’s how you could tap into that consistent, prosperous market.
Put your business hat on
While a passion for cleaning can help you create the business, you need to be prepared to learn new skills about running a business as well. This includes legally registering your business and being responsible for the taxes and paying any employees. Taking on employees is a big responsibility and there is a lot to consider with training, payment and drafting contracts.
Budgeting and profit are a huge part of any business. You need to set out goals and understand every aspect of finance involved in the business. How much money do you need to start the business? How much money do you need to make? What extra costs will occur? Some of this may be familiar, but it’s crucial that you understand all the responsibilities involved when launching a business and are prepared for the responsibility.
Look at your competitors
In order to know what to offer, you have to know who your competitors are and what makes you better than them. Competitor analysis is essential for any business. If you offer the same as everybody else in the market, you’re not going to stand out. Take what they’re doing and make it better. Offering the first cleaning service for free, having a personal account manager, or focusing on using environmentally friendly products are just a few ways to stand out from the crowd.
Get your business online
Over five billion people search on Google every day. Our knowledge, research and buying habits have shifted to the internet and have changed the way we consume information. As such, any business that isn’t online is seriously depriving itself of valuable customers typing away, looking for your services.
If you already have customers, use this to your advantage. If they recommend you, make sure there is a website to be referred to. You can even use these customers for testimonials on your website to show you are a trusted brand. This is particularly true in the cleaning industry when you are working in somebody’s home and personal space.
You’ll need to create a marketing plan and ensure your business is showing up on search engines. It’s important to think about marketing strategies such as SEO and paid adverts on social media.
What services will you offer?
When it comes to cleaning, think about exactly what you can offer. Will you do commercial cleaning, domestic cleaning, or both? Branching out from that, will you offer any other similar services, such as an ironing service? You don’t necessarily want to do everything all at once. It’s best to start small, see what works well and where your expertise lies.
If you’re a business and want to expand your services, the best place to start is by asking your current clients what other services they would like from you. Qualitative research like this allows you to create a business tailored to your target audience.
Where will you offer your services?
If you’re a small business, you can’t offer your services everywhere. This isn’t smart financially and it can be difficult to compete with national companies. Think about where you are based and the area you can realistically serve. Be sure to look at your competitors’ target areas and see if there is a gap in the market. Focusing on one specific area can make it easier and you can earn a reputation within that space, giving you the platform to branch out in the future.
If you are determined, passionate about cleaning and have realistic but challenging goals, you should be on the road to success with your cleaning business in 2017.
Written by Ankush Gupta, the owner of St Anne’s Cleaning Agency in London
|6 top tips for the best way to remove graffiti||10/02/2017|
Graffiti is a culture, yes? Graffiti is an art form, yes? Err, no, graffiti is a pain in the backside! And much like those annoying wads of chewing gum stuck fast to our pavements, graffiti appears everywhere – on buildings, bridges, walls, and any other space graffiti dweebs decide is the most appropriate for their ‘creations’.
In an article for the Telegraph in 2015, Anthony Peregrine wrote about a rail trip to Paris in an article in The Telegraph. It says: ‘As is the case in all great cities, the train enters Paris via the urban armpit. The approach to mainline stations is nondescript and ugly, because nobody wants to put anything pretty by a railway line. It is, though, rendered infinitely more so by looping, bulbous swathes of multicoloured graffiti. I despair easily, and despaired at the Gare d’Austerlitz, and again at the Gare de Lyon because there was graffiti everywhere. My trigger finger itched. How dare hooded wackos with aerosols inflict this on me, as well as on several million Parisians? “If this street stuff is art,” I muttered to the world in general, “then my burp is a concerto.”’
The right tools for graffiti removal
Luckily, with the right tools and techniques, you can remove graffiti easily and safely. But before you make a start have the following items at the ready.
When it comes to solvents and cleaners, there are many cleaning products in DIY stores that can help you clean graffiti from various surfaces. But beware, as these can be hazardous to your health. You should wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and a respirator rather than a dust mask, so as not to inhale the harmful fumes.
Using wire brushes together with a solvent can be an excellent way to remove graffiti from surfaces like smooth stones, decorative rocks, wooden fences, concrete and some rough metals. If the surface is smooth, start by cleaning the area with soap and water. If this doesn’t work try using a solvent. Graffiti on rough surfaces like cinder block can cause permanent damage. In this case, you’ll probably have to use a power washer with a biodegradable emulsifier.
Sometimes a wire brush together with solvents can be a great way to clean red brick surfaces, but very often there may still be traces of paint left behind. If this is the case, you need to power wash the walls using a biodegradable emulsifier. This method minimises the toll on the surface whilst completely removing the paint.
Top tips to get great graffiti cleaning results
Before you start, protect the space around you. Using masking tape, stick plastic sheets to those surfaces that are not meant to be cleaned. Place a tarpaulin on the floor below the area you’re about to clean, put on your rubber gloves and respirator or dust mask and get to work.
Work top down
Now start from the top of the area to be cleaned and work your way down to the bottom. At the same time try to catch any running or dripping fluids. To get rid of chalk graffiti, it’s best to pressure-wash, but in the case of spray paint, you’ll probably need some type of solvent, cleaner or abrasive. Products that work really well on brick surfaces are acetone, paint thinner, baking soda-based products and WD-40, so try these.
Trial and error
Sometimes testing different methods is the best approach. Start with the least invasive method like soap and water, then try a solvent applied with a cloth, and finally try using a high-pressure washer (1000 to 3500 PSI) – but use hot water only and a wide-angled fan nozzle rather than a single jet-spray, so as not to damage the surface.
A combination can be good
A pressure washer used in conjunction with a solvent can give the best results. You should first apply the solution to the surface, wait for a few seconds while it takes hold, then start using the pressure washer.
Apply a preventative coating
Once you’ve cleaned the wall, you might like to apply a graffiti barrier coating (CPU 647, or OKON). Once applied, it forms a tough protective barrier and prevents additional coatings of paint from adhering to the surface.
Note: There are two types of coatings: sacrificial and non-sacrificial. The sacrificial coating protects the surface it’s applied to, but washes away after just one or two cleanings, while the non-sacrificial coating lasts for up to a dozen cleanings or so before reapplication is required.
And if all else fails…?
If, after all that, you can’t get rid of that messy graffiti, you’re probably going to have to re-paint the entire surface. Just remember to apply a good number of coats so that you stop the image from bleeding through.
Contributed by Cleaning Industrial Solutions
|How to make the perfect house cleaning schedule||10/01/2017|
Creating the perfect house cleaning schedule can be a tricky task. But a well-designed cleaning schedule can take the stress of cleaning away and give a great sense of achievement when the property is tidy. It can also help to boost morale and make everyone more productive.
Let's take a look at the general areas that a domestic cleaning schedule would cover. The most frequently used living areas of any home are traditionally the following:
1. Living areas and dining rooms
2. Kitchens and food storage spaces
Now that you have decided which areas are the most popular, it's time to get a flawless cleaning regime underway:
1. Ceilings and Hard to Reach Spaces
Whenever you start to clean, a good general rule is to start high and work your way down in each room. This increases efficiency and provides you with less work, stopping you from spending hours in one particular room.
For example; if you started by clearing the floor first and vacuuming, proceeding to dust furniture and remove cobwebs – there will inevitably be small amounts of dust landing on your newly cleaned carpets. The result? You will have to start vacuuming all over again (not good).
High spaces can be tricky to clean. If you haven't got one already, it's worth investing in an extending feather duster. They can be easily adjusted to specific height requirements and make removing cobwebs and dust easy. For cleaning professionals and facilities managers, these are an absolute must have.
2. Walls and Furniture
Working your way down, start to tackle the walls and any furniture in the room. Start by clearing any clutter and removing any unwanted items by putting them into a waste bin. All waste bins will need to be removed and replaced once the room is completed.
Use antibacterial surface wipes to remove any marks and small stains and allow the area to dry. Once dry, use a multi-surface dusting spray and cloth to remove the final pieces of dirt.
3. Additional Surfaces
Worktops and preparation surfaces can be tricky. You need to ensure that the right cleaning products are used, especially if you are cleaning a food preparation area.
To make sure that the product is suitable for food production environments, simply read the instructions on the back of the product. This will provide you with storage details and useful product instructions.
If you are a professional cleaner, your domestic training will allow you to identify the correct products and use them safely.
4. Floors and Carpets
Finally, now that you have worked your way down the rooms, you are coming to the closing stages.
Begin by clearing any clutter and organising items that belong in the specific room. Now that the floor space is clear you can start to tidy it. Use a quality vacuum cleaner to remove any unwanted dirt, small particles and dust. If you have a vacuum that requires a bag, make sure that it is clear before you start and empty any waste as you go.
Before you start to create your cleaning schedule, make sure that you identify the most frequently used areas of the property. It can make you feel more productive if these areas are clean first.
When you start to clean the home, start at the top and work your way down. Begin with ceilings, before moving onto walls and any solid furniture, worktops and finally flooring and carpets.
Any waste bins will need to be replaced and any refuse sacks will need to be disposed of correctly.
Article created by RCS Cleaning, residential cleaners in Milton Keynes
Some addition (Misstidy - Updated on 25/01/2017)
Great summary. Though I'd add some regular decluttering to the checklist. Looking at the amount of extra stuffs piling up it' necessary.
|Healthcare cleaning: the way forward||13/01/2017|
Carlos Alves, southern branch chairman for the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (ahcp), outlines his aspirations for the ahcp in 2017 and beyond:
I have led my team as the chairman of the southern branch for two years with some great success stories from organising the first national development forum 2016 to our study days and membership events.
Yes, some would say I can have strong opinions and perhaps tend to drive a route or ideal too heavily, but this is because I believe in the importance of our profession and how we make a positive improvement to the quality and wellbeing of the lives of the ones surrounding us.
I have a sound belief that we can be far more than we are both in terms of membership growth and as the voice of healthcare in any other arenas. I wish to take our association and its membership to another level; for it to be the first choice membership association of everyone in the healthcare environment. This not only includes those in the acute hospitals and primary care situations but for those cleaning professionals in all health and care sectors. This way we will have the weight of representation to demand our voice is heard in the corridors of power. We will have the influence necessary to change the way cleaning is perceived, giving our service the credit it deserves.
I cannot do so alone. Every one of us joined the ahcp because we care, because we know it is the way forward and because we believe that being a member means something important. Together we will grow our regional representation with the NHS Trusts, Health Boards and associated partners, and we will encourage others to join, to gain greater impact at the grass roots, with individuals and with organisations. It will become automatic that as you develop a career in healthcare cleaning that the association stays with you. We will also provide an entry route to capture those coming through who will be our leaders of tomorrow.
Outside of the association we need to develop our identity. We cannot afford to be insular in our thinking. We need to explore the opportunities that working alongside other industry partners will provide us with. We need a seat at the table of influence. We are the experts so our opinion should be the first that others seek; to offer advice, for comment and for leadership in healthcare cleaning.
We cannot stay still, we must move onward and upward. It will not be an easy climb but it is one we must do together.
|What European countries are the cleanest?||16/12/2016|
The world’s health has been under extreme scrutiny over the last few decades as research has highlighted the considerable damage we as humans have inflicted on our land, the atmosphere and our wildlife. With our population growing rapidly it’s no wonder our cities and countries are becoming dirtier and more polluted.
Despite many cities suffering from the damaging effects of their expansion, there are some countries that have managed to remain clean throughout the years. With more and more people travelling nowadays, the level of cleanliness of a location has become an important factor in its tourism success. A clean country is a green country and more and more of them are joining hands in the fight for a cleaner environment. This will ultimately not only benefit you and the world population but will go a long way in claiming back what we have lost already. If you’re looking to travel to Europe soon and want to know what European countries are the cleanest and greenest then why not refer to your list of the best. The following are based on their overall performance in terms of the countries' improvements in sanitation, forest cover, carbon emissions and pollution levels:
The city of light (and one of the most romantic places in the world) ranks highly in many arenas. Famous for its architecture, food, culture and history, France has also maintained a good environmental record for many years now. Paris is also one of the cleanest capital cities in the world despite having a population of 2.2 million people. The country owed its success to its excellent forest and water policies and low levels of pollution coupled with excellent health services.
Norway is not only one of the most beautiful and richest countries in the world, it is also one of the cleanest. Not only can you expect stunning landscapes and incredible architecture when you visit, but exceptionally high quality air, water and sanitation levels. Norwegians are far less likely than most of us to suffer from respiratory diseases because of the countries low levels of airborne particles. Its hydro power plants also provide electricity for almost 98% of the population.
This Scandinavian haven in Western Europe is the third largest country in the EU, yet somehow its nearly 10 million strong population hasn’t stopped the country from maintaining excellent standards of hygiene. It has low levels of air pollution, clean drinking water and minimal emissions and greenhouse gases. Sweden scores very highly when it comes to forest management, life expectancy and overall pollution levels. Its outstanding social health care system is an example to many countries.
The origins of Austria go back to the Holy Roman Empire days and with its rich cultural and historical background, Austria is more than just a stunning place to visit. Austria takes huge efforts in maintaining its sanitation and marine and forest protection. As well as this, the country’s streets are literally spotless due to its strict recycling laws. Known as the winter capital of Europe, Austria has many ancient palaces, castles and opera houses to visit, as well as its rivers being of ‘drinking water’ quality.Article provided on behalf of European Health Insurance Card
|8 waste management tips for the workplace||15/12/2016|
When it comes to waste reduction, the menace must be tackled wherever one is. This includes the home and the office as well. In corporate settings, waste usually comes in the form of paper. There are several ways to carry out waste management as follows:
Yours may not be a waste management company per se, but you can still provide plenty of help in this area. In truth, every company and individual needs to be part of saving the environment and managing waste, and if you can get the message to your employees, you may have a greater impact than you may have set out to have. As they learn, they will spread the information on recycling and management waste to their family members, friends and more.
Written by Erich Lawson on behalf of Northern California Compactors, Inc
|Tips for keeping sofas in top condition||28/11/2016|
Shaun Martin, after sales manager at Timeless Chesterfields, shares some essential tips for keeping upholstery in top condition within a hospitality or office environment
Sofas are a common fixture in hospitality businesses, such as a hotels, bars, or restaurants, where customer comfort is a high priority. They are also often used in offices for breakout spaces, meeting rooms, or areas where a more relaxed atmosphere is required.
In these locations, they will see a lot of daily use by a range of people, from staff to visitors or customers, all of whom will have their own standards of how they treat furniture. For owners or managers of these businesses, it can be a challenge to keep sofas that are so widely and regularly used in a condition that reflects well on their firm.
With this in mind, below are my top tips for keeping the sofas in your hospitality business or office in good condition:
Protect your leather or fabric
The best way to cut down on the time that you spend cleaning up stains or spillages on your sofas is to protect the upholstery from day one.
For leather, there are specialist protective creams available that, when applied regularly, will help the material to resist damaging wear or stains. This is particularly essential for semi-aniline or pigmented leathers, where the cream will bolster the protective coating that has been applied.
Fabric upholstery may require more specific attention, as there is a lot more variation in the properties of different materials — it’s always best to seek advice from the manufacturer about the best way to protect it if you aren’t sure.
If you are buying new sofas, it is worth considering where they will be situated and how much use they will see. If, for example, you are thinking about buying new furniture for a pub seating area, it is likely they will be frequented by casual diners or drinkers, where spilled food or drink is more likely. Therefore, it would make sense to choose a fabric or leather that is easily cleaned and resistant to stains.
With more natural light now being integrated into the design of buildings, it is important that you place your sofas in a place that is away from direct sunlight, which could cause fading in the leather or fabric. Plan where you will place upholstered furniture carefully to avoid this outcome.
Ensure your staff have the knowledge and products needed
You should also make sure that any cleaning or housekeeping staff that will be cleaning your sofas are aware that they should do so on a regular basis. Although a deep cleaning is not required every day, a simple wipe down and hoovering with a soft brush attachment will do wonders for stopping stains from accumulating over time.
Spillages can occur at any moment, and many require quick action to clean effectively. By making sure that you have a supply of cleaning products at hand, your staff will be able to take care of the problem swiftly should the worst happen. This is important for avoiding permanent stains that could reflect poorly on your business in the eyes of customers or visitors in the future.
Take these tips into account when you are choosing your sofas and planning your cleaning regime and you will find it much easier to maintain the condition of your upholstery in a busy working environment.
|How to find a cleaning company for your workplace||15/11/2016|
Want to switch the cleaning company you currently use for your office? Or maybe you’ve only just got round to investing in a professional cleaning service. There are many types of services to choose from and it’s important to pick one that’s right for your company’s needs.
Carrying out a few simple steps before you make a decision will increase the chances of finding a cleaning service that meets all of your requirements without the hassle.
Assess your needs
What is it exactly that your office needs? Does it need a deep clean with tasks such as stain removal and carpet cleaning? Do you need cleaners to come in everyday or just once a week? How long do you need them to spend there? As well as the main office space, you’ll also need to think about additional rooms such as kitchens and washrooms that might need cleaning too. Make a list of all of the services that you need so that when you start approaching cleaning companies you are ready to state exactly what you want without getting sold any unnecessary extras.
Do your research
Research is key, not only for finding the best value services but also for reading online reviews and making sure that you’re choosing a reputable and reliable cleaning company. First of all, take a look at cleaning companies that are within a close proximity to your workplace and make sure that they serve your area. Next, check out what services they offer - do they match what you’re looking for? View the website and see how experienced they are and if they have a registered address and contact details. Another vital part of the process is reading online reviews and ratings to assess them on criteria such as if they’re efficient and thorough, if current customers would recommend them, and if the service was satisfactory and good value for money.
Get a quote
Most cleaning companies will offer quotes either on their website pricing page, by getting you to submit a form, or calling a contact number. You should always double check what the quote includes, e.g vacuuming and mopping, stain removal services, dusting around computers and telephones. Once you have a breakdown of cost, you can start to compare with other services to get the best deal.
Read the terms and conditions
It’s easy to get tied into contracts with cleaning companies so make sure you read the terms and conditions to see what happens if you want to cancel at any time. Also read the small print on last minute cancellations, what happens if you’re not satisfied with the service, and if there are any extra fees or charges that you need to be aware of. Having this covered will mean avoiding any nasty surprises down the line.
Once you’ve assessed your needs, carried out the research and received some quotes, all that’s left to do is choose the cleaning company. Carrying out these steps beforehand should help ensure that you make the right choice for your company.
|How to stay safe when using cleaning chemicals||04/11/2016|
The choice of cleaning product is one of the fundamental and essential choices you have to make when you’re taking responsibility for your facilities. You need to carefully consider your chemical and product choices – especially if it’s a place that is exposed to members of the public and staff on a regular basis.
With the help of catering suppliers Nisbets, we've created a guide of things to consider and how to stay safe when using cleaning chemicals for commercial cleaning projects. Please note: all chemicals addressed in this piece are for professional use only.
The myth of pH scales
Chemicals have a scale that tells you their qualities called the pH scale rating. The scale, which runs from 0-14, tells you how acidic a chemical is (0), whether it is neutral (7) or an alkaline (14).
Although the pH scale on commercial cleaning products will be displayed, they don't determine whether you've got the right product for your needs. Instead, use the labels and pictograms on the bottles.
Know your labels and pictograms
Knowing your pictograms and labels is essential, as using products incorrectly can lead to accidents.
Sounds simple, but always read the label before use of a product. By EU law there will be information there about how hazardous the chemicals are, and suggestions of how you can use them safely. If there is nothing hazardous about the product, its supplier must still provide information about if the product can cause harm.
Pictograms on the cleaning product container are symbols, designed to indicate any potentially harmful or hazardous substances within the bottle. The full list of symbols can be found in the original article, taken from the Nisbets site.
How to stay safe
There are a number of ways you can stay safe when using cleaning chemicals and products, and all of them include using the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Make sure you have the following on hand...
A simple pair of rubber gloves can stand effectively between the corrosive, harmful products you're using and your skin. This type of substance can cause irritation and burns, so these are essential items.
Wearing the right footwear should be another high priority when you're cleaning with potentially dangerous chemicals. Make sure they are both water-resistant and slip-proof, to protect from the products penetrating your clothing.
Protective eyewear should be worn when you're using chemicals like bleach, to ensure you have good vision and your eyes are protected from any splashbacks.
With the above points, you should be able to make more considered choices when you are working with cleaning chemicals in the commercial cleaning process. For more information on this subject though, view the original article here.
|Follow the colour code: Tiger or Yellow/Black (Offensive Waste)||01/11/2016|
Initial Medical is releasing a series of blogs to help people understand the purpose of the healthcare waste colour codes, and also how important segregation of healthcare waste is. Every month we will be selecting one colour of the colour coding guide; the colour of this month will be Yellow & Black (commonly referred to as Tiger), which represents offensive waste.
The Colour Tiger (Offensive Waste)
Within the healthcare industry, the tiger stripe is allocated to offensive or hygiene waste generated in various different industries and business premises throughout the UK. Offensive waste includes the following items when infection is not present:
Example of Tiger Waste:
Where can it be found?
All manner of businesses will generate ‘tiger’ waste from restaurants to gymnasiums, nurseries, care homes, tattoo parlours, cosmetic clinics and hospitals.
Transportation & Segregation
Offensive waste is non-clinical and non-infectious, so it does not require any specialist treatment prior to disposal. In environments where other waste streams are produced, however, it is still important to separate.
Requiring no special treatment, this waste can be taken to deep landfill or recycled, so effective segregation can help reduce waste disposal costs for the business and reduce the environmental impacts of the disposal methods used, such as incineration.
In a bid to reduce their carbon footprint and really make a difference, leading waste management companies such as Initial Medical now recycle waste as the preferred disposal method wherever possible. Due to innovative recycling centres and procedures now available, even items such as nappies can be repurposed by reclaiming the valuable plastic and fibre to produce new products.
Depending on your needs and volume of offensive waste produced, there are various waste bins and tiger bags available on the market.
Follow the Colour Code
In order to comply with the relevant regulations and ensure your waste is properly segregated and disposed of, make sure you ‘Follow the Colour Code’.
It is important to know the different types of colour codes for your waste, if you would like to know more about clinical waste or the different types of waste within the colour coding guide, please view our website.
The latest Cleaning Matters guest blog is provided by:
Ankush Gupta, the owner of St Anne’s Cleaning Agency in London