Is the janitorial business even worth it? | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

Is the janitorial business even worth it?

ryan81588

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Ryan Jordan
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There is a janitorial co here that has a hundred subs and does a lot of buildings. Not one that I have been in are even somewhat clean. They look terrible. The carpets, the hard floors, the dust at the wall/floor transition, under the doors ect. The quality of the workers is substandard just like their work. We have many buildings that we take care of all the floors janitorial just mops or vacuums and they look great even considering only cleaning 1 or 2 times per year.
How large are the accounts you do compared to them?
 

ryan81588

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The carpet cleaning has been in business much longer than the office cleaning and was actually used to build the office cleaning
During the economic downturn we decided to focus on the office cleaning thinking that it would be more stable in built it larger than the carpet that was a very bad decision!!!
Now we are focusing all of our efforts to build the carpet cleaning back up to its Glory days hopefully I'll be able to have it back to three trucks by the end of the year.

carpet work it is way easier to get carpet work than it is to get office cleaning I think you have to beg barter and steal to get the office work just to have it take months to pay and barely float you through the slow times of carpet work.

half the time we're living on the carpet cleaning and just paying the bills with the office cleaning I'm frankly very sick of it

Shoot during the winter months we had to make payroll with the carpet work explain that to your CPA
Originally thats how my Dad built up the business, but over time we focused only on the janitorial. I wish he would have kept the Carpet Cleaning business going before I took over.
 
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SMCommerical

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I do Janitorial accounts and now looking into getting into carpet and hard floors like strip & waxing. Customers do tend to want to add things with no additional cost, and the profit margins are lower. What I do like about it is that I do not have to be present to make money. However, the down side is having employees and it is tough, really tough to manage them at times because everyone's issues become your issues.
 

rob allen

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I think companies like "Coverall" have damaged the janitorial business profits in my opinion and observation.
 
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floorclean

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Dale MacDonald
Your vale to anyone is Only as high as you hold it. If your concern when bidding anything is getting it based on price pack your shit up and go get any hourly job. You don’t want any job you’ve been hired to do because they chose you on your price. Half of any inspection with a customer is educating them as to why your more money any anyone else. Most first contacts I have with any potential new client to to let them know I will be the most expensive. And I’ve been around the longest. And then explain why. If your getting more than half of all jobs your pricing then your to damn cheap.
 

Anderson

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Couple of options......
I know you can sale a janitorial business because you have contracts!!!!!!
Come up with a business plan in 2-3 years to transition out of janitorial

1. Sale your janitorial........
keep the carpet cleaning.....with those companies and bid them separate as you sale the janitorial.....

2. Downsize to 1-2 employees - and keep your best janitorial...
while building your carpet cleaning.

3. Bid resturants.....high rises.....and focus on OOperator carpet cleaner and or 1 employee.
 
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Mama Fen

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Your vale to anyone is Only as high as you hold it. If your concern when bidding anything is getting it based on price pack your shit up and go get any hourly job. You don’t want any job you’ve been hired to do because they chose you on your price.
I think the biggest problem in the jan-san industry is the above.

There has been a large majority of companies whose only focus has been price, not quality, and the industry has suffered as a result. In their scramble to get high volume, jan-san companies habitually sacrifice quality or margin... and in turn, customers come to expect jan-san companies to be cheap, unhappy, high-turnover fly-by-nights and the cycle becomes self-perpetuating.

Carpet cleaning is dangerously close to the same precipice. Guys who are willing to stab one another in the back by undercutting each other on price wind up hurting not only themselves, but the industry as a whole.
 

floorclean

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Most janitorial contracts are non-transferable. So your value on selling a janitorial company is more about profit than contracts.
 

SMCommerical

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I did a bid for a large cable/internet company at one of their customer service locations where they house hundreds of employees. It was about 60k sqft building. They did what most dont do and showed us the pricing of the lowest to highest bid but removed the name of our companies. We came in 2nd lowest and only a couple hundred behind the lowest bidder. Despite being more years in the industry, higher insurance coverage, higher wages for employees, they only cared about what the bid amount was and who was the lowest. Quality was never really discussed other than to keep it clean.
 

floorclean

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Hence it’s better to look for RFPs than it is for tenders. Tenders are usually just lowest bidder where RFPs are based on a point system where price is usually no more than 20% of the point system.
 

ACP

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I wouldnt want to be in janitoral in my area its extremely competitive and very very low profit margins.

Most high end buildings that would actually pay a decent price have their own in house janitors, they have a storage room with all the equipment and hold them to their standard.
 
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Ymetimme

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I wouldnt want to be in janitoral in my area its extremely competitive and very very low profit margins.

Most high end buildings that would actually pay a decent price have their own in house janitors, they have a storage room with all the equipment and hold them to their standard.
Unfortunately your statement is very true across the entire country

We have quite a few medical buildings and every dollar has to be accounted for twice

It's actually pretty nuts how slim then margins are!!!

We have two accounts where we make less than $100 on after we're done paying all the expenses now granted I don't have to step foot in that building my staff takes care of most everything

But if one of them was to slip and fall I would never make it back some way it would raise my workman's comp

And what's crazy is people suggest just raise your price the market is insanely competitive any moron was a mop bucket called themselves a janitor.

I mean shoot to bid on some of those medical buildings all you need is a pulse a million-dollar insurance policy and workman's comp if you have over eight subs for employees oh and you can't have a felony record

So the second every factory has layoffs there's a thousand guys trying to bid on my work at this point I don't care I have loyal customers and they will never get past the GateKeeper but I am going to say is it out over the next couple of years
 

AZHome&Carpet

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Cleaning was/is very good to us in a sense. However I can earn in one day Carpet Cleaning what I did in several days housecleaning. We don’t do much janitorial, and mostly residential. I took every dime of profit and invested in carpet equipment and have been so happy I did. Carpet cleaning is hard work, but it’s nice to actually get payments worth the effort.
 

DDLP

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David De La Peña
I’ve been in the Commercial Janitorial/building maintenance sector for about 5 years now (currently service high-rises @ 275,000 sq/ft+ nightly), and expanded this year to full service carpet and hard floor restoration (thanks TMF for some great resources).

We keep a 30% margin because our nightly work is kept modern, efficient, and innovative. If we worked the same "mop-bucket-style" of yester-year, we’d be SOL, and failing.

This all took an investment to upgrade but:
1. Our lite-duty-specialists ONLY pull trash cans, dust, and wipe.
2. Our vacuum specialists THEN use battery operated vacuums and therefore vAcuum a shit ton more space, than your average employee would with a corded.
3. Our hard floor specialists polish, and auto-scrub hard floors (using machines- not mop buckets).
4. We pay bathroom specialists more than other employees to clean the restrooms with specialized powered equipment. This is the biggest investment, and the best job-security.
5. A manager is always on staff to see work through; every night (owner operator looking after investment)!

6. Additional income: We now do all VLM maintenance carpet cleaning, hot water extraction, tile and grout restoration in bathrooms and walkways, power-wash parking garages, and polish stone floors. We used to sub out that work, but recently invested and now in-house.

And we’re growing..
 
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Ymetimme

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Tim yeater
I’ve been in the Commercial Janitorial/building maintenance sector for about 5 years now (currently service high-rises @ 275,000 sq/ft+ nightly), and expanded this year to full service carpet and hard floor restoration (thanks TMF for some great resources).

We keep a 30% margin because our nightly work is kept modern, efficient, and innovative. If we worked the same "mop-bucket-style" of yester-year, we’d be SOL, and failing.

This all took an investment to upgrade but:
1. Our lite-duty-specialists ONLY pull trash cans, dust, and wipe.
2. Our vacuum specialists THEN use battery operated vacuums and therefore vAcuum a shit ton more space, than your average employee would with a corded.
3. Our hard floor specialists polish, and auto-scrub hard floors (using machines- not mop buckets).
4. We pay bathroom specialists more than other employees to clean the restrooms with specialized powered equipment. This is the biggest investment, and the best job-security.
5. A manager is always on staff to see work through; every night (owner operator looking after investment)!

6. Additional income: We now do all VLM maintenance carpet cleaning, hot water extraction, tile and grout restoration in bathrooms and walkways, power-wash parking garages, and polish stone floors. We used to sub out that work, but recently invested and now in-house.

And we’re growing..
Enjoy your growth in business I wish you the best

We've been doing this for over 20 and I'm done
Give it some time buddy you'll get sick of the nitpicky NeverEndingfavors for free especially once you start cleaning carpet doing Stone polishing etc etc.

275.000 sqft just a drop in the bucket buddy lol

there's a reason janitorial work is out and easy to getis mostly because the giant companies underbid and do terrible the little guys willing to bid a little higher and do just okay and the good ones have established working aren't looking for more

Also I can tell that you read cleaning gurus guides lol

I guess on year 22 you're just done putting out fires filling in for sick people people that take vacation excetera excetera

we have a successful carpet cleaning business and it yields considerably more profit there's no way we're picking up more janitorial just not worth it in comparison

100 per hour protects Prophet
verses $4 an hour per tech prophet
 
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ryan81588

Member
May 20, 2010
204
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Ryan Jordan
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United States
I’ve been in the Commercial Janitorial/building maintenance sector for about 5 years now (currently service high-rises @ 275,000 sq/ft+ nightly), and expanded this year to full service carpet and hard floor restoration (thanks TMF for some great resources).

We keep a 30% margin because our nightly work is kept modern, efficient, and innovative. If we worked the same "mop-bucket-style" of yester-year, we’d be SOL, and failing.

This all took an investment to upgrade but:
1. Our lite-duty-specialists ONLY pull trash cans, dust, and wipe.
2. Our vacuum specialists THEN use battery operated vacuums and therefore vAcuum a shit ton more space, than your average employee would with a corded.
3. Our hard floor specialists polish, and auto-scrub hard floors (using machines- not mop buckets).
4. We pay bathroom specialists more than other employees to clean the restrooms with specialized powered equipment. This is the biggest investment, and the best job-security.
5. A manager is always on staff to see work through; every night (owner operator looking after investment)!

6. Additional income: We now do all VLM maintenance carpet cleaning, hot water extraction, tile and grout restoration in bathrooms and walkways, power-wash parking garages, and polish stone floors. We used to sub out that work, but recently invested and now in-house.

And we’re growing..
Not sure this would work in a school. Have you tired it there?
 

DDLP

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Jan 4, 2019
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David De La Peña
Enjoy your growth in business I wish you the best

We've been doing this for over 20 and I'm done
Give it some time buddy you'll get sick of the nitpicky NeverEndingfavors for free especially once you start cleaning carpet doing Stone polishing etc etc.

275.000 sqft just a drop in the bucket buddy lol

there's a reason janitorial work is out and easy to getis mostly because the giant companies underbid and do terrible the little guys willing to bid a little higher and do just okay and the good ones have established working aren't looking for more

Also I can tell that you read cleaning gurus guides lol

I guess on year 22 you're just done putting out fires filling in for sick people people that take vacation excetera excetera

we have a successful carpet cleaning business and it yields considerably more profit there's no way we're picking up more janitorial just not worth it in comparison

100 per hour protects Prophet
verses $4 an hour per tech prophet
No arguing with your points you’re exactly right.
But these are things every business owner faces. I currently own other businesses (over 30 years) in other industries, and can’t tell you how many times I’ve been underbid on a job by huge shity companies. Or how many times an employee called in sick, and I had to cover for them at 5am. Or employees let me down before a deadline.
These days I turn down jobs that either don’t fit, or the property manager doesn’t sit right etc..
I’m firm on my prices and never fold to the big companies.
I don’t do freebies. All additional services are priced appropriately.
I hire just enough staff to cover sick calls.

Most of all I have a reputation of excellence, and know that money follows quality.

You either own a business or you own a job. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner, so they are slaves to their job.
Besides the fact that I’m personally learning the floor restoration side, My businesses run on their own.
 
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DDLP

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David De La Peña
Not sure this would work in a school. Have you tired it there?
We don’t service any schools but if I had to bid on one, I’d do the math to see whether it would be profitable. I recently turned down a 80,000 sq/ft commercial job because their expectations didn’t fit my math.
 

Mama Fen

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I recently turned down a 80,000 sq/ft commercial job because their expectations didn’t fit my math.
The hardest - and healthiest - thing you can do. (y)
 
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OxiFreshGuy

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It's weird, I seem to always hear either its horrible to be in or its insanely profitable. Lots of carpet cleaners say the same thing....