The professional cleaning industry is changing faster today than at any other time in its history. All the while the majority of cleaning contractors are so busy with their day-to-day business operations, they may not see even changes coming right around the corner.
Ron Segura, president of Segura Associates, consultants working with both cleaning contractors and facility managers, says to deal with these changes, we must take steps now to "future-proof" our businesses:
Focus on future needs.
Most cleaning contractors just focus on providing solutions for today's cleaning challenges. That will get us stuck. Keep an eye out on what types of maintenance challenges your customers may face in the next couple of years.
Listen to the front line.
Because your cleaning workers are on the front line when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, they often can spot new opportunities to make cleaning faster, more effective, healthier, and more sustainable. Open the door. Give them tools, platforms, and ways to speak up and offer their suggestions and whenever possible, act on them and make them happen.
Hire an advisor.
Some older cleaning companies may have the most challenging time future-proofing their businesses. They have operated in the same way for so long, it's now their company culture. An advisor or consultant can help them spot what needs to be changed, the steps they need to take, and smoothly guide them in new directions.
Be ready to change your niche.
Many cleaning contractors have niche markets. They may focus on maintaining just medical facilities, schools, suburban office parks, malls, or city office buildings. Situations can change and change quickly. Suburban office parks have lost their luster. Retail stores are struggling. If these are your niche markets, it may be time to find new ones.
Watch other industries.
Many cleaning contractors focus only on what their competitors within the cleaning industry are doing. To future-proof your business, keep an eye on what other industries are doing. For instance, the floor covering industry is changing. Now we have less carpet and more types of hard surface flooring, including luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Contractors need to change their scope of services and select cleaning equipment that addresses the needs of these new floor coverings.
To survive in the ever-changing cleaning industry, we must prepare for the changes coming our way. That means looking outside our usual spheres and thinking creatively. Start doing this in 2018. Vigilance is the key to future-proofing your businesses to ensure we thrive tomorrow.