Cleaner Guy Forced into an Odd Situation

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
Hi Folks!

I'm John. Here's an introduction--and an inquiry from a guy who needs advise from experienced men.

I'm stuck in an odd place for someone trained to clean: I would love to get back out in the field, but it turns out that the "migraines" I kept getting **from heat** are cluster headaches--the kind of thing Viet Vets are known to get--and once you have one, it likes to come live with you a few months. So prevention (in my case, possible, unlike our poor Viet Vets) is really essential. Something about the combination of steam heat plus the chemicals really gets them going as well.

O.O

And I learned cleaning from my father. So this stinks from a sentimental view.

This is also...an immense loss of freedom. Say and think what people may about carpet cleaners (I learned from my father, and painters informed us how we usually rank abit below them on public opinion, lol), but being able to GET OUT and go place to place to work is sooo awesome.

The van may clank and crack and squeak and equipment blow-out at the wrong time (3 hours from nowhere) but you just can't beat the freedom of driving to big houses in the boondocks on the plains in the morning, then into the low-elevation mountain town in the afternoon (this was Colorado).

I've been working at a software startups (a very strange transition!). I was hired because I built-out the customer service department with a bunch of other folks for Uber. This means I get to think about QA, customers' needs and tech, process generation, training, and a lot of communications.

But I'm itching BAD to go independent again. For a long time, I've really pondered how to get into services for little businesses--the kind most desk jockies avoid like the plague, and for reasons I know (I was the bookkeep for a carpet cleaner for a while...never again, lol).

We all know how much it STINKS to wear every hat...and how it's also difficult for most of our fellow cleaners to afford help.

I've had the idea for some time to transfer those skills learned to create service-oriented departments into a business that splits work up for a couple of different SBOs who do cleaning, starting there since requirements they might have are probably far less complex than many other companies.

Less complexity = more leeway for everyone. And I already have a network of people to start drawing upon for more help/workers when the time comes: in fact, people who helped me build departments, training, processes galore, and who I know can and LOVE to work. Who would jump at job 3 and wouldn't whine about "having to work more than a job" like most people out there. People you can rely on who are...dedicated to whatever they do.

So I am wondering: what do you think? What would guys like you want or need if you needed services like this? (Even if your own business does not.) If you have an office already, what is underserved in there? Or if you're the guy who wears all the hats, what would you love to outsource and never worry about again?

The point is: build an outfit which serves multiple businesses so the costs are distributed rather than borne by just one or two outfits, find more work for worthy colleagues while I am at it, and get back in touch with a world I actually enjoyed but was forced out of.

I've got ideas but...I would rather listen first.
 

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
16,373
7,020
113
69
West Jordan, UT
From my experience, many cleaners try to wear all the hats, at least in the first couple of years, because they do not have the income to hire someone.

I know many good, even some excellent carpet cleaners who went out of business because they could not market. Everything from getting the client's attention in the first place to following up on existing customers, customer satisfaction checks, asking for referrals, 6 months and 12 month follow ups and so forth.
 

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
Sorry, I'm not sure what you're asking...

Are you thinking of a marketing option for cleaners?

Any kind of office work as well as what can be done online.

So that can include:

* marketing,
* online marketing,
* handling inbound inquiries,
* web work (I know some people),
* spreading the word,
* engaging people online,
* shepherding them away from the upsell-or-spray-and-pray mafia

And so on.
 

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
From my experience, many cleaners try to wear all the hats, at least in the first couple of years, because they do not have the income to hire someone.

I know many good, even some excellent carpet cleaners who went out of business because they could not market. Everything from getting the client's attention in the first place to following up on existing customers, customer satisfaction checks, asking for referrals, 6 months and 12 month follow ups and so forth.

Really, thanks a lot for the tip. :)

This is good to hear, I'm hard at work editing my workplace's marketing strategy. I generated (or significantly tweaked) their slogans and approaches and been the ideaman, I'm atually editing webinar and other marketing video today.*

Marketing is also complement customer departments work in a very large way: when marketing results in a large volume of inbound, a single or couple cleaners cannot handle all the inquiries on their own. I actually don't even think of CS dep. as separate anymore, as it's all about coherent communication, answers matching offers, and befriending callers/users/clients over every channel possible.

* Though ironically an NDA means I can't link it all here without getting permission. x*D
 

Shawn Abbey

Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2008
768
305
63
58
Oregon
Real Name
Shawn Abbey
Any kind of office work as well as what can be done online.

So that can include:

* marketing,
* online marketing,
* handling inbound inquiries,
* web work (I know some people),
* spreading the word,
* engaging people online,
* shepherding them away from the upsell-or-spray-and-pray mafia

And so on.

Any idea is a good idea. It's just what is done and how you go about doing it is the challenge....

Having said that, here's what's going through my head. Look at it from my end. I've been in business for 25 years. I've always liked to make sure my business is set apart from other businesses, and I can give the Customer a first class experience with my company. Maybe I'm a control freak, but I like to keep that part of my business close to me. Whenever I outsource, I use local companies that I know and trust with my business (website, graphic design, etc.). As far as phones are concerned, if a customer calls my company, and they're connected to a call center in Texas for example, they'll know. Sometimes, a customer has to give specific information that only someone native to the area will be able to answer. On occasion, they'll want to pay a bill with a debit card over the phone. Or, they may want to meet with you to drop off a rug, or meet you on an estimate. That's when I'd like myself, or my office to take their payment and information.

Nowadays, a Customer will want to make ONE phone call. Not leave a message until the end of the day, or wait until someone gets back to them. They want to get it off their chest ASAP. An outside call center can't do that.

As marketing is concerned, there used to be a few marketing companies that used to promote heavily to carpet cleaners, but I don't see them anymore (Joe Polish, Howard Partridge, George Grijalva, Jim Wolverton, etc). So, that area has been saturated and covered. Maybe its just me, but since 2008, I haven't seen their names as heavily as before. I know Howard is still active, and Joe has moved onto other marketing areas, but not like they were before. I have respect for all these guys, its just that they've already been where your idea is headed.

Now, don't take me wrong! If you want to go this direction, by all means, GO. I'm just sharing the obstacles that you'll need to navigate.

Good luck!
 

E350bri

New Member
Nov 28, 2015
10
6
3
49
Real Name
Brian Lelonde
John, before you start a business you need to think about your health. When you start-up you will have no personal time for a few years... If you don't find out why you are getting migraines that last for days rather than hours your business will fail and you could die.

Find a doctor who will listen to you and believe you. You need an MRI because an x-Ray or CT scan will not show the doctors a useful view of a brain tumor.

I had a migraine that would not go away several years ago. I got myself to a top 10 university medical center and had brain surgery from a top surgeon. My tumor was a type of cyst that may have been caused by exposure to solvents or cleaning supplies. If I did not receive medical attention, I would have died.

Don't ignore your body when it is crying for help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Omar

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
Update:

So...I ended-up "in decline" a while, thought through a ton of my past studies, began bio-hacking to get better: had a ton of symptoms that matched conditions you can get from certain kinds of health history (that I had) .

A friendly acquaintance of mine heard what I put myself through and told me a few months back "so...I had brain damage and had to re-learn everything, what you just described to me was putting yourself through cognitive rehabilitation therapy..."

Apparently the not-quite-degree (medical withdrawal earlier in life) came in QUITE handy. I reversed-engineered a lot of reading and made inferences and...implemented difficult treatment methodologies and applied to self. :)

Didn't *just* do brain though (and that's too involved to describe): once I was semi-functional I did a lot of work on other body-systems, and some "crazy" body-adapting stuff (like extreme heat alternating with extreme cold to exercise the smooth muscle throughout my entire vascular system--also = greater internal vessel stability/control in-brain), a lot of nutrition and supplement research.

For the first time in my life I'm actually waking-up, brushing teeth, and realize when I look into the mirro "whoa, I...look more and more like an inverted pyramid--and without twiggy arms!"

People have been giving me **** about "self diagnosing, OMG!!!" for some time (though did for years before, but every time I visited a doctor they'd run a bunch of tests and...come back saying "well, you were right damn it") or don't take seriously, but I'm functional.

I've got grad students (psych, neurobio, cognition-researchers) picking my brains often enough (I really need to start charging, lol), and I'm slowly getting back into normal life/work.

I'm WAAAAY behind in a lot of ways (dang it) but very glad about things generally and actually happy about how things are trending for...the first time in a very long time.

The hard part was not really being able to get help: people not taking things seriously/understanding. And some advise was good but not available/I wasn't equipped to get or couldn't: e.g. I had a doc at one point trying to get MRI but insurance/hospital refused again and again and again. :(

An important lesson I've learned though: if you've gotten intense chemo there's a good chance there's brain damage. Apparently they're beginning to monitor some kids after treatments but back when I was declared in-remission and went off to college they were *just* beginning to publicly acknowledge "ok, so the brain actually is being impacted, a lot, somehow..." I just saw, for the first time, people blogging/writing about how their kids in/post treatment are being seen/treated/monitored for such damage just a few days ago!

I've gotten back into cleaning too. Always "slow" but never really called back or complained about--lots of experienced real estate pros keep saying "we have tons of properties/decades of experience and nobody cleans like this! You guys actually do real cleaning!" SCORE! Lots of (the good kind of) pride here. :-D I don't find it hard: take your darn time. TLC the floor. You can't cheat--you can tweak (up heat, pressure, more extreme PH or different chem) but not really cheat.

There's more but...I think that's enough for one post. Rega'ds.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scott W

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
38,528
19,880
113
Va.
www.drynclean.com
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
On thing that helped me in recent months with health issues is fasting. Fasting for 72 hours really resets your mind and body. I do that about every 90 days. And I do intermittent fasting daily, 16 off and 8 on. From noon till 8pm I eat and nothing but water for next 16 hours.
 
  • Like
Reactions: John B.B.

Swani21

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2015
927
439
63
Real Name
Nick S.
On thing that helped me in recent months with health issues is fasting. Fasting for 72 hours really resets your mind and body. I do that about every 90 days. And I do intermittent fasting daily, 16 off and 8 on. From noon till 8pm I eat and nothing but water for next 16 hours.
My wife and I do the same thing. We also follow a Ketogenic diet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rob allen

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
Have you tried a chiropractor for your headaches

No though I understand why people would: I've a relative with a crooked spine and any support/straightening he gets helps.

I DID decided to correct pelvic tilt once I was much more functioning though.

But the kind of headaches I'm getting were "diagnosed"...but are themselves symptomatic of other possible causes.

I just decided to do the darn reading myself and work on every possible cause known to medical science (and some inferred potential contributors) one by one (or multiples as-possible).

I've gone from boring carpet guy to workout bro/yoga-man (ish)/meditator/breath-control man (important!)/biohacker (generally)/etc.
13
 

John B.B.

Member
Feb 25, 2013
41
5
8
34
Denver
Real Name
J. Bulsterbaum
On thing that helped me in recent months with health issues is fasting. Fasting for 72 hours really resets your mind and body. I do that about every 90 days. And I do intermittent fasting daily, 16 off and 8 on. From noon till 8pm I eat and nothing but water for next 16 hours.

Agreed and same.

I actually started my recovery plan by fasting for a week+.

I now also doe a bit more complicated treatment of this, e.g. I don't just do intermittent, I think about the end-result of fasting desired. Intermittent is still included, but if you're, say, doing keto but need/going to break it, you can extend a period of not eating to consume all the blood sugar and return you to keto, or daily have long non-eating periods to simulate (e.g. eat only once, or eat to ensure you always have 12+ hours between eating at all). :)

Long-term = renewal (kill bad cells, stimulate stem cells), shorter term = regulate/consume all sugar.

I combine with other practices for even more effect...and even the simpler version of "intermittent fasting" is, I think, something that'll benefit tons of people--especially by keeping it simple--so spread the word. :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: rob allen