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Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to Grow Cleaning Business

A business generating strategy may sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple. All you need to do is set up a system to track where referrals come from, and then reward the individuals (including your own employees) or companies that have sent new business your way.

Before you begin actively seeking referrals, take a look at your clients and make sure that they are happy with your services. If you’re not sure how they feel about your cleaning services, send out a customer survey to see what areas they are happy with and where you might need improvement. There are also a few simple, but often neglected rules of courtesy that you should adhere to:

* Make sure that you show up on time to clean buildings. If you are delayed for some reason, explain why you were late to your customer.

* Take care of any complaints quickly.

* Do what you say you are going to do – whether it is dropping off supplies or showing up for a meeting with a customer. And remember, whenever you are meeting with a customer, turn off your cell phone!

* Always remember to say please and thank you.

You may provide the best cleaning service in your part of the country, but what your customer will remember is that one time you had a meeting and your cell phone went off or the time a complaint went unanswered.

Once you are happy with the level of service you are providing your customers, it’s time to set up your “referral machine”. Begin by deciding what type of rewards you will give your customers (and employees) for sending referrals your way. Are you just going to send thank you notes, or will you send gifts? Gift certificates are an excellent way to reward customers who send referrals; and cash is a good incentive for employees.

How do you get referrals from your cleaning customers? Ask! Think of the different ways you communicate with your customers.

1. When sending out monthly invoices include a referral form that they can pass along to anyone looking for cleaning services. Make sure you have a tracking number on the form or a place where they can write their name so they get the credit for the referral.

2. Do you send out a newsletter? That’s the perfect place to let your customers know you appreciate your business and that you are accepting new cleaning customers.

3. Call or schedule an appointment with your current customers to discuss how things are going. Ask if you can send them a referral form that they can keep on hand.

4. Ask for testimonials from your current customers. Then print part of their testimonial on a referral form that they can give to people who are looking for a cleaning service.

5. Put together a list of the individuals and business that could send referrals to you. This includes not only current customers, but employees, networking groups, suppliers and professional service providers (your accountant, lawyer, tax preparer, etc.) Send information to all the individuals on your list letting them know you are building your business and are looking for referrals.

6. People are busy with their own lives and their own businesses. So it is important that you thank them when they take the time to send a new customer your way. Taking the time to send a thank you shows that you appreciate the referral.

As any successful business owner will tell you, referrals from current customers are the best way to grow your business. Indeed, it is more cost-effective to give cash and gifts to individuals that send referrals your way than to it is to run an ads in your local media. Provide good service to your cleaning customers and remind them you are growing your business and the referrals you get will pay off much better than any money you spend on an advertising campaign.

 

Common Mistakes in Label Artwork

1. Missing Fonts

This has been a common problem with artwork since we moved to digital file preparation over a decade ago. You might have this wonderful fancy font in your artwork, but if your printer doesn’t have it, when they open your file they will get an error message. The best way around this is to always outline your fonts before sending in your file.

2. Missing Bleed

If you want your color to print all the way to the edge of your label you need to include a bleed. For example, if you want to print a 3″ x 5″ label, the size of the artwork you would create would be 3.125″ x 5.125″. Also, you need to leave some space around the very edge of your label that is free of text. The reason this is needed is because during die-cutting the label material can drift ever so slightly (up to 1/32″), so you need to make allowances for this in your artwork.

3. RGB vs CMYK

Most digital color printers today (including your little desktop inkjet) print in CMYK, also known as four color process. However, all computer monitors display color as RGB (Red-Green-Blue). Now if you create your file for the RGB color space, the color is going to look different when printed on a CMYK printer, so it is always a good idea to create your artwork as CMYK. You should request a press proof if color is very important to you.

4. Improper File Resolution

Many times people send a file of a picture or graphic that was on their web site and expect their printer to create a nice looking label from it. Unfortunately, in most cases the file on the web site is very low resolution, often as low as 72 dpi. If a file is printed at that resolution it is going to look terrible, a resolution of 300 dpi is recommended for best results.

5. Tight Borders

If you want a thin border on your labels that prints right near the edge, or bleeds off the edge you are just asking for trouble. While label printing technology has advanced a great deal, there is still some very slight movement when printing and die-cutting your labels. While this movement is only a very small fraction of an inch, if your border is near the edge of the label it will be noticeable. Our advice, if you really want a border, is to make it a thick one (more than 4 point). That way the slight movement will be much less noticeable.

6. Spelling and Typing Mistakes

This one should really go without saying, but because it is so common it has been included here. While your printer will sometimes catch mistakes, it is up to you to check your label artwork carefully. You can never proofread enough – even when you are sure it is correct, check it one more time. Sometimes we print beautiful labels only to discover a spelling mistake after the fact. You can save yourself disappointment and expense by spending extra time making sure all your text is correct.

7. Missing Graphics/Links

If you are using a newer version of Photoshop or Illustrator (CS or CS2) this is less of a problem, but for people using older versions it is still a major issue. All your graphic elements should be embedded into your document before sending them for production, otherwise when your file is opened there may be missing graphics or links.

8. Unsupported Software Format

There are dozens of different software programs you can use to design your labels. A trip to your local CompUSA will give you plenty of inexpensive choices, but these packages typically use proprietary formats that are designed to be used only on your desktop printer. Most of them cannot be used on a professional label printing press. Most printers have artwork specs on their web site, but you will always be better off if you use the graphic industry standard programs: Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. These packages create high quality art that will produce the best quality custom label. If you don’t have this software, then make sure you can export into a standard graphics format such as EPS, TIF or a hi-res JPEG.

9. Color Expectations

Many people create their label artwork and then print it out on their inkjet or laser printer, thinking this is how their labels will look. But anyone who owns more than one different printer knows that color can look vastly different between printers. If color is important to you we recommend you request a press proof – this way you will see exactly what your labels will look like when printed on our press. Some digital label printers, including our shop, will include a press proof free of charge.

10. Incorrectly Sized Artwork

Sometimes artwork is received where the size of the art does not match the size of the requested label. This may be intentional but if so, make sure you send complete instructions. Is extra white space needed? Is the label supposed to be centered, or should we be cropping the label to make it fit the desired size? If your artwork is a different size than the requested label please include detailed instructions with your order.

 

Step by Step to Get You Implementing All Your Hard Work

What’s in your way?

Determine what resistance there might be before you get started. Are you a procrastinator? Do you need a new web guy? Did you just set up a schedule where your best work needs happen when you’re taking your kids to school? Set yourself up for success by dealing with barriers and issues before you get started.

Commit to Implement

It takes 21 days to form a habit. So commit to following your new process or plan for 21 days. Come on, that’s only 3 weeks. You can do anything for 3 weeks, right?

The Proper Training

Give yourself or anyone working with you the proper training they need to in order to follow your process. Everyone (including you) should have all the tools they need and fully understand what needs to be done.

Find a Place

Decide where you are going to keep your new process or plan. Do you have a book that you can keep next to you? I am a visual person so I physically tape a new process to the wall in front of me so I always see it. I had one client that saved her new process as her screen saver.

Follow the Bouncing Boxes

Actually follow your plan or process. How do you know if it’s working if you don’t actually do it? Remember you committed to implement.

Keep Track of What’s Working – And What’s Not

As you go along, make notes and keep records of things that you could streamline, delegate out or are not running as smoothly as you would like. You’ll use these notes later.

Version 2

At the end of 21 days, go through those notes you’ve been making. Put your consultant’s hat on and see if there is anything that will make your process even better. Incorporate those changes into your process and voila, version 2.

Count down to Launch

Pick a date when version 2 goes into action. On that date, start the implementation process over again and keep that ball rolling.