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Benchmarks for your Commercial Cleaning Biz

1. Choose the correct data: The key to making the most of business benchmarking is to choose the data that makes the most sense to you. For instance, you can look at the number of clients you have, or you can look at the square footage of space you service. Both can tell you how much business you have, but they tell very different parts of that story. Five clients with 5,000 square feet of space each isn’t the same as one client with 25,000 square feet. So what is your benchmark here? Do you want to increase the number of clients you have, or do you prefer fewer clients with larger accounts? There isn’t a correct answer to this, but accurate business benchmarking does mean you need to use the right data to help you reach your goals.

2. Make your benchmarks challenging but achievable: Whether it’s improved customer satisfaction, increased certifications, or higher employee retention rates, your goals need to challenge you to do better, but they also need to be realistic. You probably won’t have 100% employee retention rates (although if you do, congratulations!). But you might be able to improve it by 25%. Your benchmarks can help you reach those goals by showing you where you are on the path.

3. Review your benchmarks regularly: You can set a goal and work to achieve it, but if you never look to see how much progress you’ve made or what you still need to accomplish, you’ll never know where you might need to alter your strategy or change your approach. If your goal is to reduce inventory expenses, smart business benchmarking requires that you do things like track your inventory, find out if you have issues with missing products, look around to see if you can get a better price, or see if there’s a new technology that would let you use your products more efficiently.

4. Review industry benchmarks: Use industry cleaning standards to see where your business stands in relation to different averages, such as cleaning times, workloading, and other industry standards.

5. Reset your benchmarks: Business benchmarking isn’t static. Reaching your goal is not the end of the road. The entire point of setting benchmarks and goals and tracking your progress is that you want to continually make progress. And yes, that progress could be something simple like retaining your current client base. Or it could be adding to the goals you’ve already achieved. Made it to your 25 new clients this year? Great! How about 30 next year? Or even 50? Or maybe you had a disappointing year, and you lost clients despite your best efforts. Review the reasons why, correct them, and try again to reach your original benchmarks.

One thing you don’t want to do, no matter what happens, is to give up. You can’t control what happens outside of your business. Clients close up shop, they cut back on expenses, there’s a storm that knocks out power for several days, or sometimes things just don’t work out. You can’t do anything about that. Here’s what you can do.

What to do when you don’t reach your benchmarks

Yes, failing to reach your benchmarks can be part of your success. How? When you don’t reach a goal, you get information. It might not be pleasant, but it can help you. Here are some steps you can take to reassess your situation.

Reexamine your goals. Are they realistic? Did you get close? Think about what you hope to achieve.

Review your processes. Do you need to update or amend the way you do things? For example, could your inventory management or scheduling or invoicing be more efficient?

Review your management style. As uncomfortable as it may be, if your business benchmarking is not working, it may be time to look at your management style. No, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible manager, but maybe there’s something you’re missing. Your bookkeeping skills might not be up to speed, or you could do a better job hiring and onboarding new people.

Sometimes what you need most to move forward and improve is an honest and hard look into your business. By the way, we’d be happy to help with some of these practices. When it comes to inventory tracking, scheduling, communicating with clients and staff, and pretty much anything else in the janitorial field, we’re here to make your job easier.

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